A passion for silversmithing

STERLING SILVER : Noun, meaning silver of 92 and a quarter percent purity.....

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Reticulating sterling silver

Reticulation is the process of heating metal so that it reaches melting point, then removing the heat before the metal melts.

I have experimented  with reticulating sterling silver to greater and lesser degrees and I love the textures and finishes that can be achieved. Heating the silver this much causes it to oxidise and turn black. Once you have the finish you are after you can tumble polish it which will brighten up the raised parts of the texture leaving the indented area dark. 

It's a good way of using up your scrap silver. For the earrings above and the pendants below, I have melted some scrap silver and flattened it through my rolling mill, then cut out the shape I want, either with my disc cutters or with my hand saw. I heat it with my blowtorch, moving it over and away, til the surface begins to bubble and melt, repeating the process until it's how I want it. By polishing and tumbling it you can the lovely organic textures shown here.