Silver clay class at London Jewellery School

Silver clay jewellery class

I was invited by the London Jewellery School to try out one of their taster classes, so I jumped at the chance to try working with precious metal clay (PMC). I’ve seen it around the internet and have been intrigued by the possibilities it offers to make jewellery in real silver without the need for traditional silverworking skills and tools. It can be shaped like polymer clay, but contains silver particles with water and binder – the other bits burn off when fired leaving a pure 999 (purer than regular 925, even) silver charm.

Silver clay jewellery class

The lovely tutor Chu-Mei started by giving us a quick history of PMC, its properties and uses, then she demonstrated how to use cutters and textures to make a small charm. There are many ways to shape the clay, from cutters and moulds to drawing freehand shapes, and anything from leaves to leather can be used to add texture.

Silver clay jewellery class
Silver clay jewellery class

I decided to go freehand, cutting a button and feather shapes from my clay (playing cards are used to transfer the shapes and as a rolling thickness guide). You have to work fast because the clay dries out quickly with handling and exposure to air. Our shapes went onto a hotplate to dry out (you can also use a low oven), then a hole for the jump ring is drilled using a fine drill bit. Then Chu showed us two ways to fire the charms – either the traditional kiln method or a more DIY method with a kitchen blowtorch, which only takes around 2-3 minutes.

Silver clay jewellery class

This was the exciting part. After firing, the shapes are still matte white but after a quick polish they magically become shiny solid 999 silver! There were tons of oohs and aahs as people unveiled their new jewellery charms. My efforts are a little rustic but for a first try I’m very happy with them. The best part is that the process is completely achievable at home using fairly everyday materials, and I had two lovely wearable charms to take home at the end of the class.

Silver clay jewellery class

You can pick up PMC from beading supply shops and eBay. The raw material is pretty expensive, but there’s absolutely no wastage as unused clay or broken pieces can be ground back down and mixed with water to create new clay. I’d definitely recommend the London Jewellery School‘s taster classes as a great way to try out the process without spending much money (the PMC class is £35 including all materials), and they offer lots more advanced classes if you’d like to learn more.

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11 thoughts on “Silver clay class at London Jewellery School

  1. Woah, that's so cool! I've heard of PMC before but didn't know that's what it was. I love the little leaf charm :)

  2. Thanks for the blog post Katie, we are really pleased you enjoyed the class and your pieces are lovely! Be warned it is addictive, such an amazing material to work with and as you saw produces lovely pieces which can be done at home.
    Thanks again,
    Jessica x
    London Jewellery School

  3. One of my best friends did a course here in January, it was one that lasted several weeks & she made quite a few pieces. She'd had some money from her Grandma's will and wanted to do something special with it. I really want to go now too! Seriously considering doing a course for my birthday.

  4. Love your button necklace! I've heard of this stuff before as they run classes at The Create Place in Bethnal Green where I used to work. Always meant to give it a go!

  5. Wow, £35 is a bargain! Sounds like a really excellent course. I did a silversmithing course at Central, which was great fun, but there's not really much you can do with your skills once you're done which is shame.

  6. This looks so awesome. I've heard of this before but never really looked further into it. Your charms are lovely too!

  7. How inspiring. I have never thought about venturing into jewellry making before, but this has instantly made me want to. I shall investigate further. Lovely blog you have too by the way :)

  8. London Jewellery School is fine for a day out with the girls making silver clay or doing a craft/beading class, but don’t waste your money on their Diploma course is not an accredited course and it shows in the poor teaching structure of the classes and the poor attitude of tutors, who are obviously untrained in educational technics and practices. You will not enjoy the diploma but by all means for a fun day out do a day course.
    For a silversmithing course I would recommend taking a credited course, such as School of Jewellery Design Vannetta Seecharran, as their silversmithing diploma is cheaper and you will cover a lot more skills working with silver, such as casting, etc, the diploma is also credited so it can be used for entry into certain other courses, not the case with London Jewellery School.

    Anyone tried the new http://www.cooksongold courses? Would be interested to hear what people think?

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