View Full Version : PMC3 Charms look terrible now....:(
04-05-2010, 11:11 AM
New here and new to PMC, which is why I need help.
I have made 3 pmc3 charms for myself. I waited over night till they were completely dry. Then I torch fired them for approx 2mins each (once they'd reached the 'glow'), then allowed to air dry. Then I polished them up using some super fine steel wool. Then I wore them. I hung them on a chain all freely moving next to each other and they looked great. But yesterday morning when I went to wear them, I noticed they were looking terrible. Scratched all up as though I had been wearing them forever. Then I noticed some black appearing on the back of one of them too :(
I have pretty much assumed that you can wear pmc3 charms just like you would with sterling. Am I wrong?? Are they too fragile to wear clinking and clanking around each other? Should I be wearing them separately? And what could be the reason for the black??
I have attached pictures of the charms from when they were first finished to how they looked a few days later.
Thanks to anyone who can help me out!!
04-05-2010, 01:38 PM
I'm afraid I can't help you out as the only time I played with silver clay I ended up in a big mess.
:welcome: in though and hopefully someone will be along to help you out soon. I've always found this forum very helpful :D
04-05-2010, 02:32 PM
Firstly yes fine silver is softer than sterling so will scratch more, on the positive side it normally tarnishes less.
Do you sleep in your charm necklace (that's often when the most scratching can occur as things can get tangled)
You say you let the charms "Air Dry" are you referring to cooling or did you dip them in something?
The easy solution to the darkening is take them off the necklace and fire them with your torch again
(this will burn off any contamination and restore them to white metal) a quick polish and they should be back to shiny :)
Another thing to bear in mind is that torch firing doesn't generally result in as dense a metal as kiln firing so if you
wear body lotions or shower in them etc then chemicals such as shampoo can get into the slightly porus metal.
Let me know if any of this helps
04-05-2010, 04:09 PM
Would it have been an idea to either tumble them or use a burnisher on them to work harden the surface? (Or am I talking nonsense as usual?)
04-05-2010, 04:37 PM
Yes fine silver is softer but I wouldn't have expected them to deteriorate like that - I don't think any of my necklace pieces look that scratched after years of wear! Tumbling/burnishing is definitely the thing that springs to mind to work harden the pieces.
As Nic said its easy to get rid of the tarnish, and you do need to be more careful with metal clays and things like perfume and body lotions. They are more porous.
04-05-2010, 05:32 PM
Hi, I'm certainly not an expert (see above for them!) but some of the marks in the 2nd/3rd pics look like the cracks you can see in fresh clay after you've re-squidged it to roll it out again. Any dints or cracks in the clay before firing will still be there afterwards and could be a potential weak spot in your finished charms. What were they like before you fired them? If you think it's strength you could torch fire for longer next time, it does make a slightly denser metal but it will still be stronger if you use a kiln - there are places who will fire for you if you want to do that.
04-05-2010, 06:41 PM
Yeah, the heart looks like there may have been a crack in it in the first pic but I can't really see properly.
Personally, I don't like blowtorching, I just don't think the strength is there. I'm happy to kiln fire for anyone that needs it.
04-05-2010, 10:32 PM
Thank you to all who replied!
Okay, when I made the charms out of the clay there were certainly a few little scratches (as you can see in a different picture of them at the bottom) in them as I didn't sand them off perfectly, but there were no cracks, or I would have rerolled the clay etc. I don't wear perfume on my chest, so that won't be why they were blackened, but I do use body wash. I don't wear them in bed or in the shower either. When I let the charms air dry after firing, I just meant that I didn't quench them or put them in anything to cool them down quickly as I've read that it can be a bad idea for if you wanted to solder to them afterwards.
Oh and there is something that I didn't remember to mention - I did solder the jump rings that they hang from, before polishing them off with the steel wool. So they did get heated up again, but only for roughly 5 seconds or so and not directly. Could that be why they are black now??? Sigh...I guess it's all a learning curve, but I thought it might have been easier than silver smithing lol.
04-05-2010, 10:48 PM
Some of the lines might just be the darkening of the lines that were there (you can see them better in the pic you just posted)
They're just more noticeable now the silver has darkened.
Little scratches will happen on any multi-charms (even sterling) but a good clean & then tumble/burnish might help
05-05-2010, 12:55 AM
Thank You Nic! I will have to try n steel wool them again and then pop them into my tumbler for a few hours and see what results. Thanks so much for your help everyone. :)
05-05-2010, 06:33 AM
I'd avoid the steel wool as it might have contaminants that could be getting into the metal somehow...
try using the polishing papers or very fine sanding pads to get rid of any marks you can.
heat them to white and then go straight to the tumbler to work harden them from there
05-05-2010, 09:55 AM
May I ask you if the little stone setting cup is the type that comes on a strip like NVY 013 in the Cookson catalogue?
09-05-2010, 08:20 AM
I tumbled my charms and they turned out way better and haven't gone back to the blackish colour they were turning!
Kwant - I live in Australia and I got my claw settings from metalclay.com.au
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