Add etchings, inlays, and patinas to your metal jewelry with surface manipulation techniques. Learn what tools and materials you’ll need to start.
3M XR wheels, formerly known as XK wheels are ideal for sprue removal and smooth deburring with minor surface reduction. A channel can be created in the wheel for repetitive multiple part processing. They replace stone wheels, have superior edge retention and last up to 4 times longer. The side of the wheel can be used as a lap to produce crisp edges and they generate less waste than conventional wheels..
3M Radial Bristle Discs were introduced to the jewelry industry in 2000. Additional discs and end brushes have been added to the selection and over time and with the extensive selection I’ve reinvented how I semi-finish castings and perform other pre-finishing techniques. They are flexible, cool running, clean, non-loading and provide a controllable uniform finish. Here’s an overview of semi-finishing a rough casting using the discs.
Michael Rowe uses functional containers as a base from which to explore formal studies of space, form and balance, which are enhanced by his expressive use of patination. His holloware gains strength from the fact that he is not distracted…
As part of a large scale patination project in which I patinated a steel roof surface 24 by 48 feet on both sides I performed some 40 experiments to find out how to patinate the steel which was a requirement for structural reasons. In doing so I also experimented with paint.
It took about two months of experimentation to get the formulas for Platinum Sterling Silver just right – Robinson created alloys containing 5 percent, 3.5 percent, and 1 percent platinum. But he’s the first to admit that combining silver and platinum isn’t a novel concept..
This article is based on technical information taken from my personal notes and experiences, shared information from the Penland Anodizing Symposium (Fall 1985, Penland, NC: Invited guests: Christine DePaul, Garret DeRuiter, and David Tisdale) and published information generously provided by…
The purpose of this paper is to acquaint the reader with the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing aluminum as a material for construction of wearable ornaments. In high-purity form aluminum is soft and ductile. Most commercial uses, however, require greater strength than pure aluminum affords. This is achieved in aluminum first by the addition of other elements to produce various alloys which singly or in combination impart strength to the metal.
The expressions which have come to identify the pre- and post-World War II generations – Me decade, suburban frontiersmen, spoiled baby boomers, generation gap – are clear if perhaps overly stereotyped images. While encapsulating specific attitude changes in 10- or 20-year increments…
For nearly 30 years, Ambery-Smith has been using architecture as an inspiration for her work. Her name has become synonymous with finely wrought precious metal jewelry, boxes, and condiment sets whose inspiration lies in Renaissance, Palladian, and classical architectural precedents: a pendant based on the fifteenth-century Florentine architect Brunelleschis lantern, for example, or the Temple of Jupiter brooch, an exercise in pure classicism. Her work is represented in galleries, museums, and private collections in Europe, the United States, and around the world.
This article is one of a series of articles from Metalsmith Magazine “Art and Technics” talking about techniques in craftsmanship and design. For this 1987 Spring issue, Tim McCreight talks about finishing up with your work. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There comes a…
Over the years, bad habits creep into our work procedures. Periodical review of our techniques is needed to assure us that these “bad habits” are not allowed to continue to effect the quality of our work. In this article, we will continue our Back to Basics Series with an article on Filing.
In working on jewelry there are many tasks that seem simple – you just do it and don’t think about techniques. Milling is a prime example. You stick a bur in your flex-shaft, step on the pedal, and away you…
Many jewelers see polishing as a mundane task. However, it is one of the most important operations in the process of repairing or making jewelry. The final appearance of the jewelry to a large extent, will determine the acceptability of…
The correct use of modern, semi- automated finishing processes enables the manufacturer not only to reduce production costs, but also to improve the quality of finish on jewellery produced in series. This is the first of several articles, originally published in AURUM in 1982 on this important topic.
As with most Japanese metal coloring methods the techniques are metallurgically based rather than solution oriented; in the West we tend to use a myriad of coloring solutions and limited number of alloys; in Japan there are a limited number of coloring solutions and innumerable metal alloys which react differently in the same solution.
Almost any metal or hard plastic item can be buffed to a high polish or a satin sheen with the correct buffing wheel and the proper polishing compound. This includes copper pots, doorknobs, golf clubs and switch plates, to name a few common items. The molecular composition of different metals is as different as the appearance, density and luster of the metals themselves. To polish and enhance the shine on a beautiful piece of jewelry requires a totally different set of polishes and buffs than to get a real professional shine.
Computer aided design (CAD) was used to develop three designs in multiple views to show the customer. After the design was selected, the wax was milled and the ring was cast, pre-finished, set and polished. Foredom tools, equipment and accessories were used to make the process more efficient.
The use of PnP paper-originally designed to create printed circuit boards-to meet the artistic needs of metalsmiths, jewelers, and enamelists. With results similar to photo etching, but without the expense and more complex procedures, the heat transfer method using PnP has revolutionized the world of artistic etching. Now, the procedure is not only used throughout the USA, but also in many other parts of the world…
Myth: Singeing buffs to prep them is faster and more effective than raking them.
There are as many people in favor of raking as a buff preparation method as those who prefer singeing. So armed with two brand new, six-inch stitched muslin buffs and a stopwatch, I set out to discover which buff preparation method was faster and more effective..
This method of etching uses a prepared ferric chloride solution which also contains hydrochloric acid. This ‘etchant’ is not a pure acid, but etches copper and copper alloys (like brass and bronze). It will not work on silver. It is available from electronics supply shops, such as Radio Shack or from chemical suppliers. It is generally used to clean or etch copper circuit boards. It can also be found at some printmakers’ supply stores.
This patination solution gives you a range of greens, olives, browns, black, turquoise and yellow-greens on many metals because it is a surface finish. It is quite adhesive and controllable. You do however need adequate ventilation.
True damascus steel is made by a casting process utilizing very high carbon steel. The material is held at or near the temperature of fusion for an extended period of time. This causes the formation of large, high carbon dendrites…
This is an academic paper, not a technical ‘how to’ guide. Many of the procedures described are unsafe in practice.
Laser engravers can do wonders for a jewelry manufacturer’s hallmarking process, making it more efficient and leaving a crisp, clear mark of even the most detailed logobut the benefits of this technology don’t stop there.
As the cost of laser engraving equipment has come down in recent years and the degree of accuracy and versatility has increased, more jewelers have started looking at laser engravers as more than just marking tools. On the following pages, you’ll read about how three jewelry companies are putting their engravers to use as design tools, creating unique and personalized details that help set their jewelry apart.
This technique involves the transfer of an image to metal using a material that will “resist” the dissolving action of acid. Where you apply a resist the metal will be protected; everywhere else, the acid (ferric chloride) will etch the metal, resulting in a raised image or pattern. To illustrate the etching technique, one of the more versatile resists, a type of blue acetate film known as PnP (“press ‘n’ peel”) paper, will be used. One side of this paper is shiny and the other is matte. It is the matte side that is used to transfer a pattern onto the metal. The pattern will transfer as a mirror image, so if the direction of the pattern is important or includes lettering, it may be necessary to copy the pattern to clear acetate first and flip it so that it will be reversed on the PnP paper.
There are four principal methods of producing jewellery today: Hand making, using traditional craft skills, Investment (Lost wax) Casting, Pressing (stamping) and Electroforming.
More than 50 % of all jewellery is produced as hollow parts; this is mainly realized by using either a pressing technique or electroforming. The advantages of hollow jewellery are wearer comfort on the one hand, such as in the case of ear ornaments or brooches, and price on the other hand, since hollow parts are less expensive than solid parts due to precious metal savings..
Electroforming is the process of controlling the metal deposit from an anode metal, through electrolyte solution, onto an electroconductive surface. Basically, a skin of metal is built up into a rigid structure. The materials you will need to get started are as follows.
The size of the bath must correspond to the rectifier. You cannot have a huge bath and a small rectifier. The tank must be made of glass, polypropylene or polyethylene plastic. Plastic is preferred because there is less chance of breakage. You can get a plastic container from the plastic supplier in your community. A glass tank can be obtained from a fish or pet shop. Be aware of leakage.
Electroplating is a method to put a metal coating onto an object, in our case a piece of jewellery, by placing it in a solution containing the metal to be plated and passing an electrical current through the piece and the solution. It is possible to electroplate coatings of most pure metals and even some alloys. In this paper, we shall concentrate on the electroplating of gold and gold alloys and rhodium one of the platinum group of metals with a good white colour and tarnish resistance – for decorative applications. Electroplating is a comparatively quick and easy process to carry out and does not require major investment in costly equipment. It can be done successfully with very simple, basic equipment. Finished carat gold jewellery may be electroplated with gold for several reasons.
The “General Safety Rules for Tools” article applies here too, as with all power tools. Read the instruction manuals and directions most carefully. Plating and stripping solutions usually contain cyanides, bases or acids which, if mixed together, are used improperly or carelessly or come in contact with a cyanide plating solution can release hydrogen cyanide gas, which was used by the Nazis in the gas chambers and is still used in gas executions in the United States.
June Schwarcz (b.1918) in Denver, CO. She is a Fellow of the American Craft Council and received their Gold Medal. The museum collections that have her work include Metropolitan Museum, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, and Kunstgewerbe Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. Mostly she makes electroformed, three-dimensional objects. The richness and brilliance of transparent enamels still fascinates her after 47 years of enameling.
As important as the gravers are, it is hard to understate the importance of the devices used to secure work while engraving. Or to say it another way, even a properly sharpened graver in experienced hands will be difficult to use if the workpiece is sliding across the bench. Knowing this it is not surprising to find that several tools have been developed to hold onto the work for cutting.
Many industries have need of specialized engravers, for instance those who make dies, who cut stones and glass, and others who carve reliefs. Though a goldsmith might call on a specialist for certain jobs, it is useful to have a general understanding of the technique and sufficient skills to use gravers for simple everyday tasks at the bench.
I have found through may research on metal etching that there is a plethora of information out there. I hope by compiling it and offering it to you, you will be better able to choose the best option for your champleve needs. There are of course means other than etching to prepare a surface for champleve enameling, namely piercing and soldering, forming with a hydraulic press, stamping or engraving. This article however will deal only with the etching options..
A micro-waterjet device can be used to achieve fine matt finishes on precious metal surfaces. Parts required for this are: jet or wet lap hammer, slow-running compressor, vacuum apparatus, and pressure sprayer.
Jeff Mathews has developed a process for polishing the inside of platinum rings using 3M abrasive technology. To illustrate how he performs the job, I follow his procedures using this hand fabricated flat platinum band. Tool and forming marks are easily visible. The quality and identification marking has been completed..
After several years of use, the small stainless-steel pins in my magnetic finisher had became dark, were stuck together and yielding poor results when tumbling precious metal mountings. Seeking advice for improvement, I turned to Andy Kroungold, Stullers tool specialist.
Understanding and using updated materials will help you accomplish pre-finishing and finishing requirements professionally and efficiently. Here’s a brief overview of some new and established products.
JA Certified Master Bench Jeweler Linda Steinke uses Foredom’s new pre-finishing wheels and polishing compound to finish fabricated and cast platinum pieces. ‘Using these new products has eliminated the multiple-step process I formerly used and I’m able to accomplish my pre-finishing and polishing in half the time’. Michael Dickey, also a certified master agrees stating ‘In my operation, time is money and we are thrilled to benefit from using these quality products to speed up our finishing procedures’.
Full eBook.186 Pages: Modern Letter Engraving in Theory and Practice – A Manual for the Use of Watchmakers, Jewelers and Other Metal Engravers – Illustrated with Numerous Etchings – 1898
This paper describes a process that combines techniques researched by others with a few well known facts about the properties of certain metals. This information was applied to a metal fabrication process specifically designed to extend the images and forms…
Every bench jeweler has experienced the frustration of trying to sand and polish a nearly inaccessible area on a piece of jewelry. The goldsmith who can detail these small corners and crevices can bring his or her work up to the level of fine jewelry. Anything that gives the work a cleaner, more attractive look translates into greater sales in the showcase.
Etching uses chemical corrosion rather than mechanical force to selectively remove metal. Simply put, the idea is to cloak parts of an object with an acid-proof paint then submerge the piece in acid. The caustic liquid eats away at exposed areas to create a relief. When the proper depth is reached the piece is withdrawn, rinsed and cleaned to reveal a pattern of raised and lowered sections. The process can be used for delicate linear drawings, for bold reliefs, for letters, and as a preliminary step for enameling, niello, or inlay.
Last fall, the National Ornamental Metal Museum in Memphis, Tennessee hosted a retrospective of the work of Helen Shirk. Nearly 70 pieces, from her early silver work in the late 1960s, to her recent patinated copper and brass vessels, confirmed…
There are several methods of obtaining the smooth rotation of a piece of metal necessary for engraving on it. Many North West Coast American Indians use a hard leather pad and hand control to do it. One can install various chucking devices onto a heavy base as well. A standard machined engravers ball can cost $500 and more. This version costs less than $30.00.
Homemade flex-shaft guard using a soft drink plastic bottle, a solution to the annoying and potentially hazardous problem of breathing dust from polishing and rubber wheels used with your flex-shaft.
The annealed metal is placed in a sandwich between soft ‘pusher’ paper and a hard paper which will serve as a monoprint paper die to emboss the metal sheet. The metal maybe pre-polished which leaves any areas that were cut out in the paper polished and tie surrounding areas matt and slightly textured by the paper.
This is a HIDI, (How I Do It). It is not the only way to make a piece like this, there are probably better ways, but this one worked for me. I also assume you are familiar with all the basic…
There are many techniques in which contrasting metals are placed side by side. Those that can properly be called inlay require a mechanical attachment to secure a soft material into a harder one.
Trying to get a really high polish on the inside of a ring can be frustrating. Because inside ring buffs have such a small diameter and the surface speed is quite low, it takes a long time to get much done. In addition, the heat from the extended use of the buff makes holding the ring painfully difficult.
Japanese artists have contributed significantly by using their unique alloys in innovative combinations. Perhaps the best example of this is mokume-gane, a lamination process in which layers of various alloys are manipulated to create a rich pattern. In addition, Japanese work of many periods shows highly skilled inlay techniques where, again, the complex pallette of Japanese alloys is used to achieve subtlety and a controlled use of color.
This is the basic recipe for the iridescent patina. This patina is most effective on highly textured pieces, such as torch texture, rollerprinted and reticulation. It has a slight color interference pattern, similar to oil on water. It has a high natural luster, similar to the nacre on pearls, if done correctly with many repeated dips in a weak solution. It is durable, the colors remain stable to a high degree, and.
The rich history of Japanese patinas is the result of hundreds of years of experimentation, innovation and tradition. This article covers some special Japanese Patinas; Wara-ibushi, Nuri-iro, Iroe-do, Ryuka (Sulfuration and Concentrate), Furubi, Kin-Furubi and alternative Furubi formulas.
This Korean technique for applying 24k gold to silver is in fact widely used in various cultures; Japanese, Chinese and in the west historically primarily to adhere gold to iron, steel and copper. I found few historical mentions in the west of application of gold to silver using the same methods used in Asia, though there are plenty of Roman and Greek artifacts which upon reexamination in recent years seem to have been gilded in this manner.
Adding vibrant colors to jewelry can involve any number of methods — from careful enameling by hand to the high-tech physical vapor deposition (PVD) process. But what if you could use a simple method similar to rhodium plating in your shop to apply a vibrant, durable color in 17 different hues to your precious or base metal jewelry line? That’s the promise of Kliar, a new nanoceramic e-coating developed by Legor’s Plating Division in Bressanvido, Italy.
Effectively sign your work when you customize each of your creations with unique Impressions™ laser engraving on 14K yellow gold, sterling silver and Argentium® Silver tags.
While the tide might seem to have been chosen to be catchy or thought to be frivolous in nature, it actually addresses just what I have been doing with both materials for the last 15 years. I have been firing…
Liver of sulfur, a stinky jewelry studio standby, can be used to create beautiful patinas on Silver, Silver Precious Metal Clay or Art Clay.
The natural beauty of this white, bright and light palladium ring is enhanced with hand engraving of initials done in relief. 950 palladium manufacturing methods and techniques covered in this project are:
a) Injection wax preparation for 950 palladium casting.
b) Filing, sanding and polishing a 950 palladium ring casting with flat surfaces and crisp edges.
c) Relief hand-engraving initials with a stipple finish in the recessed portion.
Martha Glowacki’s works are sculptural abstractions on the theme of landscape. They demonstrate her interest in the imposition of order on the randomness of nature and her discovery of pattern, both natural and manmade, in the landscape. The pattern may…
Design dictates buyer’s choices when gold jewelry is purchased and the quality of the pieces certainly plays an important part as well. Not to be overlooked, However, as gold jewelry is readied to go to market, is that shoppers, regardless of price range, are attracted by the glitter of gold. This article deals with recommendations as to how manufacturers can attain that glitter and ensure that the sparkle of the surface finish of their products catches the buying public’s eye and wallet. We are going to focus on Mass Finishing, what it can do for you and the various methods and equipment that are available to save you time and money.
Entering the enameling studio, one is struck by its openness. Light fills the space. Shelves are lined with organic vessel forms and dense architectural silhouettes. Glass and pools of color illuminate the density of these shapes, creating a light of…
Metalsmiths and enamelists have used ferric chloride for several years as a safer alternative to nitric acid for copper and brass etching purposes. Although it is generally thought of as etching with an acid, ferric chloride is actually a salt. Etching and resist removal solutions recently developed by Friedhard Kiekeben have greatly improved the process and final product, as well as safety, cost and simplicity.
This article summarizes my experiences with these exciting methods for etching metal and removing resists. I have also included my own observations as well as an overview of the etching process, resists, equipment and materials necessary.
Extremely clean metal surfaces give better results. See the article on Cleaning metal Surfaces for more information on cleaning.
A bench jeweler typically uses a split mandrel to sand and finish the inside of a ring. Various grits of abrasive papers can be cut to size and inserted into the slit of the mandrel, where they are held by friction during the rotary filing process. With minor modification, you can use the split mandrel as a holding device to finish round bezels and other small jewelry components quickly and consistently..
Pre-finishing, finishing, polishing and re-finishing have all been tasks usually done with a flexible shaft at the bench and/or a motor away from the bench. This article features methods and procedures used for a variety of these projects – all done at the bench with bench top equipment and flexible shafts with newly developed accessories and innovative applications.
Niello is a deep black metal mixture that is fused onto metal for decorative effect. Though worked on three-dimensional objects, the effect might be considered graphic because it relies primarily on shape and pattern. The contrast of the lustrous black inlay against either matte or polished metal is striking and has earned niello a special place in the arsenal of decorative techniques.
Using 1 inch by 11 inch belts with a 4.25-inch working surface, this sander fits onto a flex-shaft with a quick-release collar. It can be clamped onto a table or bench and is adjustable to many angles. An optional mounting attachment is available for use with the GRS Benchmate. The sander comes with five assorted belts in a variety of grits from very coarse to very fine. Why it’s one of Pat Pruitt’s coolest tools.
The surface of metals may be colored, a patina added either chemically or with heat. Patinas are generally achieved by causing the metal present to react with another element. It may be the air forming oxides or another chemical added to bond molecularly with the surface. A few pseudo-patinas are simple coatings on the metal’s surface. The following patina formulas are but a sampling of the hundreds in existence. The formulas selected illustrate the wide range of application methods employed as well as a rich variety of colors. The first 30 formulas listed are represented on a supplemental sampling chart to designed for use as a visualtext-book..
This procedure should be undertaken with appropriate precautions; goggles, gloves, protective clothing, adequate ventilation. Recently I have been presented with the problems of repairing or changing the color of Indian made polished brass objects, usually to brown or grey tones. In one case the object was a Shiva which was about three feet high and across.
Patination is a technique which has become popular for some kinds of fashion jewellery in recent years. Usually a patina requires the application of a toxic chemical mixture or the conversion of the metal surface to a salt of it’s metal. For most patinations then good ventilation and a knowledge of chemistry is necessary. There are however a number of old patination techniques which are based on a simple.
In recent years there has been an increased interest in patination and metal coloring. This may be seen as a response to the use of nonprecious metals in jewelry. A trend towards objectmaking in North America has produced relatively large…
Jewelers use so-called -oxidising- solutions to darken metals like silver, copper, brass, nickel silver, bronze and, with specialized mixtures, on gold. Metalsmiths patinate both large and small objects, as well as jewelry. We usually think of patinas as being green, but they come in many colors. There are also metal dyes which are very adhesive. Paints, epoxy resins and other materials are also used to darken recesses on work. Metal coloring solutions are often made up of chemicals in toxic concentrations, so all chemical-lab precautions need to be taken with them.
Here are some patination sources on the internet.
Remember that all patinas are toxic and irritant and should not be worn next to skin unprotected.
Our castings can be flawless, our assembly precise, and our settings secure — but let any surface go a bit rough, a little uneven and wobbly, and the jewelry is judged to be inferior. Ironically, even the ultimate finish begins to deteriorate as soon as a piece of jewelry leaves the showroom. But to attract a willing buyer at a fair price, a piece needs be in top form when it enters the showroom. The tools, tips, and techniques presented in this article can help manufacturers avoid the harsh criticism that can result when a less-than-perfect finish clouds the public view.
Though mass finishing procedures continue to improve, it is nearly impossible to match the beautiful polish obtained through hand finishing. The following are a series of procedures, suggestions, and products that should help you achieve the perfect polish. Eliminate surface…
In photoetching a photo transparency defines the area of a metal plate to be etched. The transparency is the control unit, the program, that prescribes which parts of the light-sensitive resist will chemically harden, polymerize, to become impervious to attack…
Photoetching metal is simple AND FUN! Etching can be used for printing processes, as an artifact of art, or for roller print embellishment. It involves a mordant (acid) to etch an image onto metal and a resist to repel the mordant. A resist can take many forms: plastic, vinyl, marking pens, duct tape, nail polish, etc. As long as it resists the mordant, the procedure will work. This technique creates high resolution images, and intricate surrounding textures that give your pieces an organic quality. With current photocopier, digital imaging and laser printer technologies you have more design flexibility. You can add text, reverse images, and control contrast. The photoetching process we describe below essentially uses the same techniques that printmakers employ. Except we use brass, copper, bronze and silver instead of zinc as printmakers do. This process also gives you the options of soldering and making cold connections.
Jurgen J Maerz of the Platinum Guild International USA outlines factors to consider when adding platinum to your line of manufactured jewelry. Technical education is the key successfully manufacturing platinum jewelry. Platinum is often regarded as a difficult metal to…
There is a major difference between durability and scratch resistance. Platinum is very durable. When scratched, the scratch actually displaces the metal, leaving ridges on the edges of the scratch. This is where durability comes in. Whereas other precious metals, if scratched, lose metal, and thus wear down, Platinum does so at a much slower rate.
In the last issue I wrote about safety issues concerning polishing platinum. In this issue we will continue the discussion with notes on Platinum Polishing Procedures and Supplies. The entire process of finishing any material is about first defining the…
Opinions differ considerably when discussing the ease or difficulty of polishing platinum, but most agree that when a piece is well polished it tends to stay that way. Herein I will be covering the main points regarding platinum finishing, and I may possibly be able to offer some obscure shortcuts..
For polishing it is recommended to use primarily bristle brushes for most of the removal work and to follow up with a buff where necessary. Feel free to use a lot of compound, it is the compound that does the work, not the buff. Old polishers would have dozens of shaped and turned wooden, leather and even paper shapes and wheels to go on the spindle for different problems.
I believe polishing compounds are perhaps one of the most misused tools in the modern jewelry shop. Most jewelers are pretty vague as to exactly what each type of compound actually is and how they work. Truly effective polishing requires…
When it comes to fine jewelry making polishing is a very important step – it can be the difference between an okay piece and a high-end piece. Personally, I like to polish every single corner of a piece, no matter how small…
The mantra of polishing jewelry is the shinier the better – and obtaining polishing perfection takes skill and practice. It also helps to have the right tools in your polishing arsenal. The following are some suggestions for tools and tricks you can use to obtain a better shine.
A microscopic and technical view of mass finishing presented in layman’s terms. Understanding of mass finishing must start at the very basic level of what happens microscopically to the surface of various materials. All the variables will be discussed, such as the media, compounds and the effect of various types of machinery on the finishing process. Practical techniques and the associated costs will be presented for pre-finishing of precious metal jewelry as well as costume or imitation jewelry. This article is an explanation of Mass Finishing from a practical standpoint.
For all metal coloring and electroplating a clean metal surface is essential. The cleaning process must remove mineral oils, organic oils and greases as well as traces of chemicals on the surface. It must remove oxidation which might interfere with the metal coloration or plating adhesion and it should possible activate or roughen the metal surface to better receive the treatment.
The first time I saw a machine for pumice finishing and brass wire brushing was at the School for American Craftsmen. I don’t know if it is available as a ready-to-use product as I have never seen it in a…
Electroforming is an old, established technology and, in its original form, it was a bit cumbersome to use. However, as with other jewelry technologies, it has made great strides over the last decade and is now a much easier and quicker process. In this article, I shall focus on gold, but other precious metals can also be electroformed successfully.
With the ever-higher cost of precious metals, many jewelers are increasingly working with non-precious metals such as stainless steel, titanium, and copper. As jewelers design with these materials, color and pattern development have become popular ways to dress up the surfaces of these pieces.,,,
Reticulation is not difficult, but it does take practice, concentration, and a deft torch hand. Also, the pattern and appearance of a reticulated piece is not predictable; you probably won’t get the same results twice.
Reticulation produces lovely textured surfaces that appear very ‘natural’ and can be controlled to produce specific patterns with practice. Used extensively by craft and art jewelers in the 1960’s and early 70’s in North America it lost fashionability in the 80’s. It provides textured sheet metal that can be used as a component part of an object.
The revolutionary PolishPlus process with MiracleMedia is a new mass finishing technology developed by Peter Richardson of Aurum Plus Resource and Development Co. in San Bernardino, California. The resulting polish is reportedly comparable to the finest finishes attained on supercomputer, space, and other high-tech components. Surface finish thus far was measured at 13.9 angstroms.
Double is a German word of french origin meaning rolled gold or gold fill material. I use it for the gold-fill material described here to differentiate it from the commercially produced sheet. Hand made double has different qualities than the manufactured metal. It is far less perfect, its finished size is limited by one’s workshop facilities and counting hours it costs more per square centimeter.
The best ‘Sneaky Goldsmith Tricks’ involve taking mundane, everyday items and repurposing them as goldsmith’s tools. Two classic tricks that are valuable to detail-finish hard-to-reach spots involve a wooden toothpick and cotton packaging twine. An ordinary round toothpick becomes a precision polishing instrument in the hands of a bench-savvy goldsmith.
Platinum takes more effort to polish, for the simple reason that it does not wear as other precious metals do – Platinum, has a liquid surface. Other metals lose mass over time, these deteriorations take a lot longer with platinum.
“Culture of materials,” an expression originating from the early 20th-century teaching of Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin, defines the artist’s deliberate examination and selection of materials for use in the art-making process. This examination and application defines the form and concept…
It is important to understand that many variables will affect patina results. Our tests were made on smooth, rolled metal. Textures will change the color, and cast metal has a different structure that can also influence color. These samples include no solder, and because solder is a different alloy, it will react to the solutions differently. Changes in temperature, length of exposure, climate, and strength of the chemicals wilt all influence colors.
When AJM asked me to test the new 3M FX Polishing Wheels, I was reminded of a neat factoid: The House of Faberge didnt have the fancy technologies – laser welders, CAD/CAM, etc. – we have today, yet the objects of art they produced are in collections and museums worldwide. Think-ing of this, I wondered if these new polishing wheels would really outshine the more basic tools on my bench. I decided to find out.
Plenty of information has been published about how rhodium plating solutions should behave under ideal conditions-but little data and real-world information exists for manufacturers and bench jewelers to apply to their own plating operations.
In the twentieth century there can be little doubt that electroplating is the best way to develop a gold coating on a metal object. It provides successful results in many colors and can be adapted to one-of-a-kind or mass production. Knowing this, it might seem peculiar to devote the following section to the ancient art of fire gilding. It is more time consuming than modern methods, it requires more material, there is a greater risk of failure, and it is a health risk unless performed under ventilation. Why then should it be included?.
Historically, a wide range of techniques has been used to clad or coat silver or base metals with gold. These processes are based on efforts to balance three factors: cost, physical properties and appearance. Rolled gold or gold-filled stock is…
To learn the art of inlay, its best to start with the basics. This project will walk you through the fundamentals so that you become comfortable enough to move on to a more challenging project. Once you master this simple circular design, youll be setting stones and shells in plaques of various shapes and sizes in no time!.
About five years ago, Robert Fairbank, John Reynolds and I created a “living entity” called Goldsmiths 3 in Concord, Massachusetts. Our name simply reflects what we are: three goldsmiths, custom-designing and handcrafting all sons of objects in precious metals—primarily gold…
When you’ve made the decision to learn hand engraving, you have basically 3 options: Spend little or no money but lots and lots of time. You can get by spending very little on one book (Meeks) and the most basic hand tools. Hammer ‘ chisel or hand pushed burins were all that was available for the past couple of hundred years, and some astonishing work was done with them and is still being done by that method..
The English enameller, Alan Mudd, born in Lancashire, began his studies in the fine arts, and served an indentured apprenticeship as an engraver in the textile industry. This gave a wide-ranging background in design and comprehensive skills in engraving, extending,…
Niage is an important Japanese patina, and one of the most basic. It has been used as the base color on copper and copper alloys for centuries, and today it is also used as a final patina. As is true of all the recipes given here, these proportions are general guidelines, and experimentation is encouraged. A wide range of colors can be achieved by changing the concentration, proportions, or the time of exposure.
It is impossible to pretend that a single description of tools, materials, and equipment will suit all needs. Obviously these elements will depend on the scale of the work you do, the layout of your studio, and the resources at your disposal. A sculptor working in large-scale bronze castings will have different needs from a jeweler.
Five thousand years of Korean goldsmithing was interrupted from 1913 to 1953 due to the Japanese invasion and the Korean War. In looking back, goldsmithing or metalsmithing programs in Korea’s colleges and universities formerly concentrated on design rather than practice….
Preparation for writing this piece began, I guess, when I was six or seven years old. At that age, my whole world was confined to a small yet comfortable apartment in Brooklyn decorated in the material evidence of my parents’…
There are few artists who can subtly control the relationship between what they perceive and the manner in which this perception takes form. The ability to communicate an idea tangibly is a thoughtful, emotional endeavor, dependent on a clear sense…
We asked a number of top jewelers to tell us their best practices, techniques, and tips for creating satin, brushed, and hammered finishes as well as patinas on jewelry. Take notes – you’ll want to test these popular finishing touches…
The word “technology” is defined as the totality of the means employed to provide the objects necessary for sustenance and comfort. Although the average person would probably not put a hammer in the same category with the computer, both are…
This article, “Transparency Making for Photoetching”, is the first of two parts written by Allan Liu and Carol Webb. Check out the second part of this article series “Photoetching for the Studio Jeweler.” Photoetching is a radical departure from the traditional…
When burnishing very detailed pieces, use stainless pins in your mixed shot. Dont use them any other time because the pins will often strike the work pieces with the pointed ends, creating a very undesirable pitting or orange peel appearance. If you must try mixing pins with your other stainless steel media, the pins can be removed with a medium strength magnet. I use the kind of magnet.
This is a mixture of potassium sulfides which has traditionally been used to darken or ‘antique’ silver and bronzes. This is usually called ‘oxidizing’ the surface though it has nothing to do with oxygen, what is really happening is that sulfur is reacting with the surface to produce the grays and blacks. So if you call it ‘oxidizing’ as most jewelers do just remember that is untrue. Most people who make jewellery are quite familiar with its use.
Considering metals prices continue to be sky high, it’s no surprise that plating companies’ phones are ringing off the hook. “We’re getting a much higher volume of inquiries from jewelry makers who produce silver or karat gold product and have never had items plated before,” reports Neil Bell, owner of Red Sky Plating in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Chemical and mechanical processing work together to treat the vibratory finishing wastewater at Aro-Sac, increasing production, making the water reusable and rendering the sludge a non-hazardous waste…
New patented Warrior Power Tool System kit provides a revolutionary proficiency advantage for bench jewelers and jewelry manufacturers for split-lap abrasive pre-finishing, finishing and polishing.