My fine silver jewelry is made from a product called Precious Metal Clay (PMC) which was introduced in 1990 by Mitzubishi, the Japanese car manufacturer. They patented a process in which minute particles of pure silver are blended with a non-toxic binding material to give it the consistency of clay. When fired in an electric kiln at 1650 degrees Fahrenheit, the binder burns away and the silver particles shrink together leaving behind solid metal. The silver used in this process is recovered from discarded medical, computer and photography equipment, so not only is the jewelry made with PMC beautiful, it is kind to the environment as well. I use a version that is 96% silver with 4% copper added for strength; it is hallmarked “.960”. By comparison, sterling silver is 92.5% silver (hallmarked “.925”) and fine silver is 99.9% pure (hallmarked “.999”).
From an artistic perspective, silver clay is a tremendously exciting medium. It can be molded, textured and shaped to create designs not previously possible with traditional silver-smithing techniques. Textures as delicate as individual fingerprints can be captured, and complex three dimensional shapes can be formed, all without using casting equipment. My pieces are made by hand, one at a time, and no two pieces are exactly alike.