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Thread: Sterling Silver, Enamel and a tricky design.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
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    Default Sterling Silver, Enamel and a tricky design.

    Hello everyone!
    My name is Alana and I started making silver jewellery as a hobby around 5 years ago. I have mainly worked with Sterling Silver and Brass and created a few pieces I really love. However, I would like to kind of give a little upgrade to these pieces. Here is a picture of them:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    They were made using Sterling Silver of 0.5mm thickness and wire of 0.8mm. They were oxidised, and that is exactly what I would like to change. What I would like to achieve is a darker and more durable black than the one you get with patina. I have been researching how could I possibly make this, and I came across enamelling. However, after reading tons about it, I have so many questions about the process and, ultimately, I am not sure using enamel would be a doable solution for this design. The main questions I have are (note that I have no formal education on jewellery making/silversmithing):
    • I understand that I have to depletion gild Sterling Silver in order to successfully enamel on it. However, in this piece I have three main details that are soldered into the main piece: the two wires and the little ball. Is it possible to depletion gild on Sterling Silver even if it has stuff soldered into? Must I use a specific solder rather than the usual one?
    • As for enamelling the piece I will have to keep in on hight temperature, I am worried that the soldered pieces will get detached or worse: that the wire details will melt. I aim to use the torch-fired enamel technique (I donít have a kiln). Is this possible without compromising the piece? Will I have better luck in a kiln?
    • Once the piece is enamelled, how can I properly polish it? Is polishing even an option?
    • If this is a totally impossible design to enamel, do you recommend other materials (either another metal or another way of adding black)? Would I have better luck if I try to cast the design and thus no solder is involved?



    I would really appreciate your help and thank you in advance for sharing your opinions on this 😊

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    Hi Alana and welcome to the forum.
    Enamel would not be my first choice for your problem, as it would take some experience to cover round objects, hollows and balls with an even coating.
    You might try Platinol, from Cookson, which can be brushed on with a synthetic brush, or used as a dip. It will become darker than you have now, but not a true black. It is caustic to hair and skin, so wear gloves.

    An alternative would be to have your pieces professionally plated, and you could enquire here: http://www.fsinclair.co.uk/polishing/#contactus

    Dennis.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2017
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    29

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    Hi Alana this might be of interest to you ..

    https://www.metalclay.co.uk/efcolor-cold-enamel-10ml/

    E

    Sent from my SM-G780F using Tapatalk

  4. #4
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    South Australia
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    Also this https://www.jewellerssupplies.com.au...with-led-light I have never used it, but may be worth considering, ( basialy thame stuff they put in your teeth) with future item enamel would be possible you would just have to design to suit and follow a procdure
    that would suit

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by china View Post
    Also this https://www.jewellerssupplies.com.au...with-led-light I have never used it, but may be worth considering, ( basialy thame stuff they put in your teeth) with future item enamel would be possible you would just have to design to suit and follow a procdure
    that would suit
    Cookson were promoting similar for weeks and the results looked quite exciting but it was horrendously expensive both for the light source and the resins

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2022
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    Thank you all for your views and suggestions on this topic, they really help! Unfortunately, I am on a tight budget, so the most expensive options are a no go (at least for now).
    I also thought about the Efcolor cold "enamel", but it kind of hurts to use a material such as resin on a high-quality material like silver. I kind of want to keep that as the last option

  7. #7
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    Mar 2011
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    Manchester UK
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    I have used the EF colour that you can heat in the oven (I used my vulcanising machine as it was handy. Its a bit tricky to get right the temperature is pretty critical it spoils it of you overheat it, I have used it on the top of silver signet rings and also some horse racing jewellery as It needed bold colours. Its ok but I would practice with it before you do anything precious. You can burn it if you mess up and start again but you need to clean the metal again. You will need some good ventilation though.

  8. #8
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    I’m using a lot of resin with silver, having given it up in the 80s. Customers really like the addition of colour

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
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    Hi Alana, I know exactly what you mean using high quality enamel, I suggest you purchase some enamel and some copper to practice with and get the feel of using enamel

  10. #10
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    Jul 2010
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    The Netherlands
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    Black rhodium plating will give you a more consistent and darker black than obtained with patina.
    Poor old Les

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