Precious metal clay is simple to use and opens up a world of possibilities in jewellery making. The popularity of this adaptable material continues to grow due to the ease of use, flexibility and variety it provides artists and jewellery makers alike. A popular resource in arts and crafts, it is often used for making jewellery, beads or sculptures.
Developed in Japan in the 1990s PMC is malleable, easy to use and ideal for producing individual and intricate pieces. Made from a combination of organic binders and fine metal particles, PMC can be used like modelling clay but can then be fired to create a dense metal object. This simple process has revolutionised jewellery making, allowing both professional jewellery makers and those making jewellery as a hobby to create unique and stunning pieces in precious metal.
There are various forms of precious metal clay available, and one of the most popular choices of PMC for jewellery makers is silver clay, which is made up of 99.5% silver and provides a finer finish.
Like soft clay, this type of medium can be shaped and moulded by hand to create a great variety of shapes. The softness of the clay is also ideal for creating intricate designs with etching, stamps or transfer paper. The metal clay will shrink in size during the firing process which is useful in creating fine and complex detail on the work. Once dried out, the metal clay is heated in high temperature conditions and can then be polished to leave a stunning piece of design in a variety of finishes.
Moving on with PMC
The longer you work with precious metal clay, the more comfortable and confident you can become with the medium. Designs can get more intricate and complex and new techniques can be introduced for fresh and interesting jewellery textures and shapes.
The versatile and flexible qualities of PMC mean that there are various techniques to be discovered in creating jewellery made from this adaptable medium. There is plenty of scope to create interesting and intricate shapes and textures using advanced methods. Get creative with handmade moulds or start using origami with PMC sheets, which present even greater flexibility in creating unique designs. Made of PMC, the sheets are a versatile way of moulding interesting and inspiring shapes and creations, which are then fired to become a dense metal.
Other ways in which to advance your jewellery making skills are to experiment with texturing techniques and adorning jewellery with stones or PMC shapes which can be attached after firing. The finishes of metal clay jewellery can also be experimented with to create a combination of high gloss and matte shades.
Whatever type of jewellery style you prefer working with, precious metal clay offers freedom and choice over designs. Create earrings, rings, pendants or brooches and combine designs with beads, glass or stone to create an individual finish. PMC also gives you the opportunity to expand your repertoire as a jewellery maker, allowing you to push the boundaries of your creativity and advance beyond the mundane into new areas of more advanced jewellerymaking techniques.