Things You'll Need
- Scrap silver
- Acetylene or propane torch
- Flint striker
- Crucible with handle
- Fire bricks
Jewel-making, like many crafts, involves investing in supplies that can be expensive. Luckily, when making jewelry out of silver, scraps can be reclaimed by melting them down into a solid chunk called an ingot. It’s important that the silver scraps, whether bits of wire, whole pieces of jewelry, sheet or tubing, are clean. If they are contaminated with bits of metals, such as steel, use a magnet to remove these scraps before you melt the silver using a torch and a crucible.
Place two to three fire bricks side by side as a base for the crucible. Balance the crucible on top of the bricks. The crucible is a vessel that’s heatproof. It’s usually lined with ceramic and has a long handle.
Put silver scraps into the crucible.
Turn on the torch. Light the flint striker to create a flame. Turn the gas on high so that you see a sharp blue flame.
Hold the crucible in your dominant hand since you will be pouring the molten silver into a mold. Hold the torch in your non-dominant hand.
Place the flame over top the scrap silver to start the melting process. The flame should be close to, but not touching, the silver.
Add about a 1/2 tsp. of borax to the scraps of silver when they have begun to liquefy. The borax will help keep the silver clean since heat causes fire scale or oxidization.
Focus the flame over the metals, gently shaking the crucible to mix the metals and redistribute the bits that haven’t melted. Heat the silver until is turns molten and is devoid of chunks, about five minutes.
Hold the torch over the lip of the crucible where you will pour from. When it turns read hot, carefully pour the molten metal into a mold.
It's important to pour silver into the mold in one fluid motion as the silver cools really quickly once the torch is removed.
Melt silver in a well-ventilated room making sure flammable items, such as paper, are kept well out of reach.
- YouTube: Making a Silver Ingot at Home
- “The Art and Craft of Making Jewelry”; Metals and Their Properties; Joanna Gollberg; 2006