There are many ways to make your own homemade silversmith jewellery and silver objects. The specific method you use is determined, at least in part, by what type of silversmithed item you want to make. Certain basic fabricating techniques are used to make most silversmithed items. While specialised techniques can be added or substituted and the specific type of jewellery or object influences how to make your design, understanding basic silversmithing techniques will enable you to make many kinds of silver jewellery and objects.
Sketch the design for your homemade jewellery or silver that you want to silversmith.
Transfer your silversmith design onto the sterling silver sheet metal. The gauge metal you use depends on the project. For example, 22-gauge sterling silver sheet is good for earrings and pendants whereas 18-gauge sterling silver sheet metal is good for making bangle bracelets. Draw the design directly onto the sterling silver sheet or paste the design directly onto the sheet metal.
Use your jewellery saw to cut out the silversmith design.
Drill all holes needed for your silversmith design, if any. Holes are useful if you need to add jewellery connectors or findings to construct your silversmith design.
File the edges of the silversmithed piece to remove tool marks caused during fabrication.
Begin sanding away tool marks using 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Switch sandpaper to 400-grit, 600-grit and 800-grit sandpaper. Change the direction you sand each time you change sandpaper. Sand until all tool marks and scratches are gone and the silversmithed piece has a nice polish.
Polish the silversmithed jewellery or object using polishing compound and a polishing machine. Skip this step if you prefer a matt finish for your silversmithed item.
Add any needed handmade or commercial findings to the silversmithed piece. Feed the appropriate finding through the drilled hole(s). For example, add a bail to make a pendant, add a jump ring to hang a charm or add an ear wire to make an earring.
Repeat to create matching components, if any. For example, create a mate for earrings or the required number of pieces to create links for a bracelet or necklace.
Things you need
- Sketch paper and pencil
- Sterling silver sheet metal
- Jewellery saw and blade
- Wet/dry sandpaper (220-, 400-, 600- and 800-grit)
- Polishing machine and compound (optional)
- "The Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight; 2005
- "Metalsmithing"; Robert Ebendorf, Michael Jerry, and Thomas Markusen; 1973
- "Jewellery: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing"; Tim McCreight; 1997
- "Jewellery Concepts and Technology"; Oppi Untracht; 1982
- "Form Emphasis for Metalsmiths"; Heikki Seppä; 1978