Precious Metal Clay
Clay that when fired turns into pure silver! Why that’s just alchemy!
Precious Metal Clay, or “PMC,” is a pliable material made of microscopic particles of silver, gold or bronze suspended in an organic binder. It was invented in the mid-90s in Japan for the electronics industry, but soon took the jewelry world by storm.
Today, jewelry artists use PMC to achieve creations unheard-of in the days of traditional metal-smithing. The nontoxic PMC media comes in clay, paste, slip or paper forms – no mixing is needed. PMC prices fluctuate with the current market value for the precious metals they are made from.
After working the clay – rolling, shaping, molding, cutting and stamping – the PMC piece is set aside to thoroughly dry. After any imperfections are filed away, it is fired by torch or in a special kiln. The organic binder is burned away and the metal particles fuse together.
The piece usually then is tumbled in stainless steel shot to bring out the final metal brilliance. It can then be patinated or finished with many other techniques. Because a silver PMC item is .999 pure silver, it never will tarnish, unlike silver that is alloyed with other metals.
Complex shapes such as rings, pens, hollow vessels and fanciful three-dimensional shapes can be made with PMC. Gemstones, metal and other heat-resistant objects can be set into PMC before firing, to become a permanent part of the piece.
I have been a Certified Precious Metal Clay Instructor since 2007, and enjoy teaching this exciting creative medium through classes and demonstrations, as well as making my own PMC pieces – including my exclusive Remembrance Jewelry.
Check out the PMC images in my Jewelry Galleries and the Remembrance Jewelry page for some examples of what can be done with Precious Metal Clay.