Precious metal clay makes you a real recycling fan. Almost everything can be recycled: from broken parts to dust collected when sanding greenware. Almost…as long as the piece is not fired. However, if anything goes wrong after firing, all you have is fine silver scrap. You also probably have lots of sterling silver scrap. Sterling silver scrap is generated when cutting silver sheet and wire, for instance, for making a bezel cup. And last but not least, all this silver scorched during (failed) soldering can make you simply desperate! Here are some ideas for scrap silver recycling.
|Heart from recycled silver scrap|
|Rose from recycled sterling silver cuttings|
A professional jewelry maker wouldn’t have any problem at all with this ‘waste’. He can cast it in any shape he likes, creating even more beautiful pieces than the failed ones. Serious firing (and fire safety) facilities are needed to create the temperature high enough for casting large pieces. But being a hobby jewelry maker very often all you have is a butane hand torch and a small melting pot like this one on the left. All you can do is to use these tools to their best, knowing that: 1) silver melts at a point of 961 degrees Celsius 2) the smaller the pieces the easier the melting temperature is reached and 3) liquid – and also liquid silver – always takes a rounded droplet shape.
So the easiest way is to melt silver scrap to balls. Every time I see a jewelry piece richly decorated with balls, I think of recycling. But you would also like to have more sophisticated shapes. Making hearts of melted silver scrap is, for instance, not difficult. Just hold your titanium soldering pick in the middle of the piece during melting, thus splitting the top of it in two – and here is your mended broken heart. Of course some serious sanding needs to be done afterwards to complete the heart shape. The silver dust produced during sanding should be collected – and here you go – recycled again. No time to waste, indeed!
Do you have other ideas for easy scrap silver recycling? Your comments and suggestions are most welcome.