What Is Precious Metal Clay?

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Mary Hood | 0 Comments

Precious Metal Clay is a material used to create unique and beautiful jewelry designs. | Barbara Michelle Jacobs

Fused Glass and Silver Necklace Made with Precious Metal Clay

According to the Society of American Silversmiths, Precious Metal Clay (PMC) is a metal crafting medium that “consists of microscopic particles of silver or gold suspended in an organic binder to create a pliable material with a consistency similar to modeling clay.” The metal used in PMC is “noble,” i.e. in their pure state. The microscopic particles are smaller than 20 microns; it would take as many as 25 of these particles to form something the size of a grain of sand!

Developed by Japanese scientists in the 1990s, PMC may be molded with fingers and tools (just like soft clay) to create a variety of shapes and surfaces. PMC can help cut down on the labor and time used in traditional methods of metal working. Just like drops of water forming a larger puddle, the microscopic particles of metals combine to form a unified piece. Once the desired shape is reached, the binder may be burned away using a kiln handheld gas torch, or on a gas stove, depending on your materials. The remaining precious metal may then be polished, soldered, colored, or sanded—just like any normal piece of metal.

What Is Precious Metal Clay? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs

Fine Silver Precious Metal Clay

See other suppliers of PMC here.

PMC comes in different forms: lump clay, metal clay paper (or sheet clay), and watery, metal clay paste (or slip). Metal clay paper may by cut or hole-punched. Metal clay paste can be used to glue pieces of lump clay together, or it can be painted onto lump clay to create pretty designs. PMC may also be applied via a syringe to create texture and detail. 

 What Is Precious Metal Clay? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs

Sherri Haab Designs Silver Branch Made with Precious Metal Clay

For more information on making your own precious metal clay jewelry, check out Art Clay Silver & Gold: 18 Unique Jewelry Pieces to Make in a Day by Jackie Truty or Silver Clay Workshop: Getting Started in Silver Clay Jewelry by Melanie Blaikie, both books about making jewelry with PMC.

For more resources on DIY metal clay, please consult the Metal Clay Academy

What Is Precious Metal Clay? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs

What Is Precious Metal Clay? | Barbara Michelle Jacobs

Have you ever worked with precious metal clay?


Photos: Fashion Jewelry, Artbeads, Sherri Haab Designs, Amazon

Posted in DIY, DIY jewelry, precious metal, precious metal clay



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