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Patterning silver

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  • Patterning silver


    This is my first post on Craft forum - well come to think of it, on any forum - but having read some of the other threads, it seems like a friendly place! So here goes...

    I recently did a silver jewellery course which I absolutely loved and am now keen to start making some more pieces at home. I'm proud to say that I've had lots of requests from friends asking me to make them a ring like the one I made on my course! The only trouble is that this involved using a rolling mill to put a pattern on the silver... and unfortunately I just can't afford this at the moment - either financially or in terms of space!

    So, I wondered:
    a) if there was an alternative way of patterning silver?
    b) if anyone knows of any studios/equipment in London that can be 'rented' out for a couple of hours or a day? (I've no idea if this happens?!)

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    lepetitpapillon x

  • #2

    Have you thought of silver clay? You can do any pattern you like using minimal equipment. To get texture on silver you could try reticulating it, ie melting it until the surface starts to move. You could also try hammering the silver with a round ended (ball pein) hammer or use a rusty nail or something.
    You can also get a bark effect with the end of a cross pein hammer. You can also etch the silver using stop-out fluid and acid. You can drill holes in it. In face, the list is endless. Alternatively, if you still want to roll print it, if you'd like to post the silver and material to me, along with p&p, I'll put it through my rolling mill for you.
    Best wishes


    • #3

      Hello! There is a fantastic book called 'The Jewellers Directory of Decorative Finshes' by Jinks McGrath. It is a really inspiring reference book for anyone working with metals and will guide you through all the tools, materials and techniques for creating a wide range of effects on metal, different finishes, textures & patterns using techniques such as reticulation, granulation, enamelling, engraving, inlay etc. As well as being a very useful reference book, it has photos of lots of beautiful and very inspiring jewellery designs too.

      Best wishes


      Kernowcraft Rocks & Gems Ltd
      Your Destination For Gemstones & Jewellery Making - Since 1967

      For jewellery making advice, call our friendly team on 01872 573888



      • #4
        Hiya & welcome!! Have you tried etching? There is a jeweller in Cornwall who does gorgeous etched work I was mouching around at a local agricultural show a couple of weeks ago and saw her work in the craft tent. It really stood out against the other beaded work there and the etching was beautiful in person.


        • #5
          Hello and to the forum. As mentioned above I would have used silver clay at home, loads of pattern templates to use as well.


          • #6
            You have probably already thought of this but could you contact the college or the tutor and see if they will let you hire/use their mill at the college. The tutor may have one at home.



            • #7
              Wow - thanks so much for all the great advice! And the warm welcome .

              I've obviously got a lot to learn... I did wonder about using silver clay but would really prefer to use sheet silver. Still, it sounds like it would be worth trying the clay. Etching looks cool too so am looking forward to trying that!

              Thanks again.



              • #8
                Originally posted by Kernowcraft View Post

                Hello! There is a fantastic book called 'The Jewellers Directory of Decorative Finshes' by Jinks McGrath.
                Best wishes

                I also have this book, my sister bought me as a pressie one year & it's absolutely gorgeous. FULL of inspiration, different ways to pattern silver. I'd highly recommend it.
                carla jennings jewellery
                my blog


                • #9
                  I've ummmed and aaahed over that book a few times, I'll have to treat myself
                  My Website:
                  Twitter: EndevaJewellery


                  • #10
                    Sounds like I should treat myself to it too!


                    • #11
                      To Lepetitpallilon

                      I've pm'd you about the piece of silver you sent me for putting through my rolling mill.
                      Best wishes



                      • #12

                        I really want a rolling mill too!! Just can't afford it at the moment!
                        I found that if you lay the silver on a metal surface and cover it with the textured item you want to impress on it, then tape it down and cover the whole thing with a piece of copper or some kind of metal. Hammer on top of this sandwich with a large heavy hammer and you should get a good spread of the pattern on your silver without making hammer marks.
                        I did this using a very coarse sandpaper to get a satin finish and it worked very well.

                        Oh and that book everyone recommends is brilliant I use it all the time as a reference!

                        I hope I've been of some help!

                        Sophie x


                        • #13
                          Thanks Sophie! That's another technique I'll have a go at. I'm struggling to find the time at the moment but hopefully next weekend will be less hectic and I'll be able to get some jewellery made!

                          Gail x


                          • #14
                            Just another suggestion... I used to use the rotary burr attachment on a Dremel tool to 'draw' texture and patterns freehand on silver when I did silverwork.

                            Wood Tattoos
                            Decorative Pyrography for all Occasions - Author of "Woodburning with Style" (2010) and "Learn to Burn" (2013)


                            • #15
                              If you have a Dremel or hand held motor you could use an assortment of burrs to texture the surface.

                              I have a device with metal rods that fit into a drill that spin round and 'dents' the surface to make a rough texture.

                              Alternativly you could buy a cheap hammer and texture the head so when you hit the silver you leave an imprint.

                              Have you also thought of hammering punches into the surface. Even the point of a 4 inch nail makes an interesting texture if repeatedly hammered.

                              Fundamental Jewellery Repairs DVD just released.

                              Check out for more information.