Testing a New Technique – Silver coating Copper.

As a jeweller I am always looking for and trying out new ways to use materials in my work. I really enjoy taking a rather hap hazard approach and learning from the mistakes as much as the successes. I truly believe you should never let a fear of failure stop you from trying.

I want to take you along on one of these very journeys which I have just enjoyed.  I heard rumors while surfing the web of ways to fuse metals  to create new surface textures – Perfect!

Here is a short video I made while having a go (Appologies if you get You Tube Ads)

So what do you think?

I was semi pleased at the end nd felt that it was something I needed to take further. So First of all I took the resulting sheet from the end of the video and I subjected it to more heat and this is what I got.

Silver and copper sheet

The silver had spread around further and the copper had produced much deeper colours. Of course I could have stopped there and sealed the surface to keep this effect but I was experimenting so I pushed onward. 

 

Silver and copper sheet

 

 

I used a wire brush meant for sued shoes in a past life and brushed up the surface to see if I could bring through more of the silver colour.

Silver and coper sheet

Nice! but what else could you do? So I popped it in the Pickle. Pickle is a week acid bath that we use to remove oxidisation (blackening) after we have heated a piece of metal to anneal or solder it.

The Pickle stripped some of the colour changes off the copper turning it a lovely soft peachy pink. But what was really obvious now were the patches of Borax Glass. This is formed by the powder I sprinkled on the copper right at the beginning.  I am not overly keen on them, but not to worry. Just like glass they shattered with a tap of a hammer and I was able to crack them off revealing copper underneath.

Silver and copper sheet

Last but not least I polished up the surface with a soft mop ad rough.  

The silver is securely fused onto the copper and has formed a gorgeous wrinkled and crinkled texture similar to old skin. Now I am itching to make it into some jewellery. So of Course that is what I did.

After all the heat earlier the sheet was nicely annealed so I cut the sheet into strips before hammering them over with a soft hide hammer. At this point I was happy to notice that the silver did not crack or flake off the copper – Result! 

 

Experimenting to the end, I even decided to try different finishes and polished the shorter pair while leaving the frosty white and pink surface of the longer pair untouched.

Having been a jeweller for over twenty years I still experiment. It is all part of evolving your work and moving forward. Nothing stands still and I think we should really enjoy the journey and push forward.

silver and copper shhet
beading silver and copper sheet

 

The End Result: Long and Short ‘Branch ‘stud earrings

Long Branch Earrings

Long handmade ‘Branch’ earrings in silver and copper.

Short Branch Earrings

Short handmade ‘Branch’ earrings in silver and copper.

I hope you enjoyed following me on this short adventure. You can read more of my Blogs on my website and see all of my work there too.

Dani  x