HOW TO WORK WITH SILVER-CLAY
Precious Metal Clay represents a dramatic development in the handling of precious metals.
Art Clay 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. Art Clay can be worked in the fingers and with simple tools to create a vast range of forms and surfaces unobtainable or laborious with traditional techniques.
When it is heated to a high temperature, the binder burns away and the metal particles fuse to form solid metal that can be sanded, soldered, colored and polished like conventional material. This webpage describes some of the techniques devised for Art Clay, and will guide you through your first firing experience.
WHAT IS IT?
Precious Metal Clay is a patented material developed by Aida Corporation of Japan in the early 1990’s. The principle ingredient in Art Clay is tiny metal particles only 20 microns in diameter. As a point of reference, it would take as many as 25 of these particles to make up a single grain of table salt. The rest of the material consists of water and an organic (naturally occurring) binder. After firing, both the water and binder have been completely removed, so Art Clay may be hallmarked and will assay as .999 pure. Dried-out Art Clay or unwanted fired objects can be refined just like conventional precious metal.
The firing process leaves a metal that is less dense than conventional sheet or wire. This means that a piece of jewelry made of Art Clay is lighter than the same piece made by fabrication or casting. Because it is less dense, Art Clay is not recommended for applications that require high tensile strength such
as findings. Art Clay is available in two versions: Art Clay, which provides the best modeling ; and Art Clay 950, which is more durable. Both kinds of clay are worked with the same tools, fired in the same kiln, and can be finished in exactly the same way.
TWO KINDS OF ART CLAY SILVER
Art Clay Silver Fires similarly to PMC3 (30 minutes at 1200°F, on a continuum to only 5 minutes at or above 1472°F)