Beads and pendants - using precious metal clay

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Age 14-16 years
First published 2012

This resource contains two videos showing how to use precious metal clay in making jewellery. It also has a brief PowerPoint presentation introducing the concept and tasks. The teacher notes that accompany this resource give a basic explanation of PMC, its history and uses, costs and links with GCSE specifications and to other resources. The notes then outline the two video tutorials in some detail. This resource should be used alongside other designing activities in which students design and prototype using modelling clay of similar material.

Precious metal clay is a modern material and was developed in the 1990s in Japan. It is a mixture of finely ground silver particles, an organic binder and water. This means it can be moulded and worked with just like normal modelling clay. However when fired with a blow torch or in a kiln, the binder burns off and the water evaporates leaving just the silver piece which is 99.9% pure silver. It can also be hallmarked as pure silver (999). As it is pure silver, PMC will be slightly softer than sterling silver and so it is recommended that it used for items where less contact will be made (pendant, earrings). However, if thick enough clay is used (although this adds to the cost), there is no reason why it cannot be shaped into any item required.

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