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Beginners Silversmithing. Instructor Ivy Reid, Ext. Agent Family and Consumer Sciences. Why Make Jewelry From Silver?. Silver possesses qualities similar to gold but enjoys better reflectivity and achieves most brilliant polish of any metal

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beginners silversmithing

Beginners Silversmithing


Ivy Reid, Ext. Agent

Family and Consumer Sciences

why make jewelry from silver
Why Make Jewelry From Silver?
  • Silver possesses qualities similar to gold but enjoys better reflectivity and achieves most brilliant polish of any metal
  • To make jewelry, pure silver is alloyed with copper for durability
  • In many companies Sterling Silver (92.5% silver, 7.5% copper) is the standard for silverware
safety rules
Safety Rules
  • Always wear safety glasses when using the buffer or grinder
  • Always wear your face mask when using the buffer or grinder
  • Always wear gloves when using “Black Max”
how to begin your silver jewelry project
How to Begin Your Silver Jewelry Project





step 1 choose your design
Step 1 – Choose Your Design
  • Study jewelry books
  • Check out designs when you visit stores that carry jewelry items
  • Sketch shapes that you like
  • Decide whether you want to make a ring, necklace, pendant, bracelet, etc.
step 2 choose your materials
Step 2 – Choose Your Materials
  • Patterned wire
  • Sheet silver
  • Pre-cut silver shapes
  • Soldering
  • Findings
step 3 prepare materials
Step 3 – Prepare Materials
  • Patterned Wire
  • Sheet Silver
  • Pre-cut Silver Shapes
  • Soldering
  • Findings
patterned wire
Patterned Wire
  • Cut patterned bracelet wire using wire cutters
  • Using the grinder, grind edges so they are smooth and will not pick clothing or scratch skin
  • Buff out any unwanted marks with bobbing compound on the buffing wheel
sheet silver
Sheet Silver
  • Draw your design on paper and cut it out leaving 1/8th inch border
  • Glue design to the gauge sheet silver you chose
  • Saw article using slow, steady up and down motion
pre cut silver shapes
Pre-cut Silver Shapes
  • Bevel edges
  • Drill holes if needed
  • Buff out any unwanted markings with bobbing compound on the buffing wheel
  • Choose items to be soldered
  • Most times these are bezel cups to set stones in
  • Place a pie tin on the element of a stove
  • Turn stove on medium
  • Place solder between items to be soldered and place in the pie tin
  • Watch for solder to liquefy and run
  • Remove pie tin and item from heat
  • Findings are those items that you use to put your jewelry together
  • These include jump rings, bails, french earring wires, bezel cups, etc.
  • Most findings are polished and ready to use
step 4 stamp
Step 4 - Stamp

You can stamp “Sterling” on your item if you

choose. In order to do this:

  • Place item on a solid flat surface
  • Place stamp flush against the item
  • Give the stamp one solid tap

NOTE: Lightweight items may be dented on the front side if you are not careful.

step 5 oxidize item
Step 5 – Oxidize Item
  • Place a light coating of “Black Max” on the item with the brush provided.
  • This substance is a chemical so you should wear gloves and a face mask.
  • Pat the item dry with a paper towel.
step 6 polish
Step 6 - Polish
  • Polish using rouge on a buffing wheel
  • Hold item at a 45 degree angle and apply moderate pressure when polishing
  • Clean frequently to determine if black marks are oxidation or rouge build-up
  • Final cleaning should be with ammonia
  • Pat dry after cleaning and hand polish with a sunshine cloth
step 7 shape
Step 7 - Shape
  • Using your hands or padded tools – shape

your items into whatever you like

  • When shaping cuff bracelets shape mostly with your hands to avoid scratching
  • When using wrapping wire – be careful not to knick the wire with the pliers
  • Minor knicks and scratches can be buffed out with bobbing compound on the buffing wheel
step 8 admire
Step 8 - Admire
  • Place your new jewelry on your person and look in the mirror
  • Be proud of your newly found silversmithing skills
  • Smile and admire your new creation!