Fine silver, also known as pure silver or .999 bends easily, is soft and malleable and does not become hardened when you work with it. It does not tarnish making it ideal for intricate wire work such as wire crochet, one very important factor is that it does not create firescale.
There are many reasons to use this type of metal. Since it is very malleable it allows you to easily mold it into different shapes.
It facilitates the process of wire Wire wrapping because of how malleable it is.
It can be used with glass in lampworking (bead making) to add interest to the bead by making interesting chemical reactions with the glass – making cream-colored glass look stone-like or black look blue. The reaction with the copper in sterling is not so attractive, and so fine silver is used.
Fusing with this type of silver is recommended because it has a lower melting point and it gives you more flexibility.
Generally, much of the process used with sterling silver, such as the fluxing and the pickling, is eliminated when working with with this metal.
Metal Clay, is fine silver and it is probably one of the most exciting materials in the jewelry design field in the past 10 years.
Metal clay is a clay-like medium that consists of very small particles of precious metals (such as silver, gold or platinum) mixed with an organic binder and water. It can be shaped just like any soft clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, it can be fired with a kiln, with a hand held gas torch, and/or on a gas stove. The binder burns away, leaving the pure, sintered metal.
Because of its unique characteristics it has opened the world of jewelry design to many artist who can now experiment and explore different textures and molding possibilities.
Designing jewelry was always a dream of mine. I will never forget the excitement when my first piece was fired in the kiln. Finally, I had reached a new level, I had made silver jewelry.
Even though, I now prefer to work with sterling silver and gold, metal clay will always be in my heart because the sense of accomplishment it gave me, and because it opened many creative doors.
Now, I am experimenting with fusing both sterling and metal clay together.