Sterling silver is combination of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent copper. Both pure silver and copper are soft metals, so sterling silver is also malleable and suitable for embossing. You can emboss items such as sterling silver pendants, dangle earrings or any items that are made of silver sheets. Start with easy projects such as basic geometrical shapes and move on to more complex embossing projects as you gain experience.
Things You'll Need:
- Metal Stamps
- Bench Block
- Tracing Paper
- Stylus, Pencil Or Knitting Needle
Sketch your design on a piece of paper and if needed, scale it down to fit the size of your jewelry.
Copy the design on a piece of tracing paper.
Place the jewelry on a soft surface such as a piece of felt or foam. Tape the jewelry onto the felt.
Tape the tracing paper to the back of the jewelry piece and use your stylus to trace the design on your silver jewelry. If you don't have a stylus, use a sharpened pencil or a metal knitting needle (size 0 or 1).
Remove the tracing paper and reinforce the design and create a deeper outline.
Turn the jewelry piece on its back and emboss the spaces between the lines you traced. Use a rounded object, such as the back of a paintbrush or a pen, and perform circular movements until you create the desired effect. The amount of pressure you need to apply depends on the thickness or gauge of the material. If you are working on a 30-gauge sheet, you don't need to apply a lot of pressure. If the silver jewelry is slightly thicker, you will have to apply more pressure.
Create embossed effects using metal stamps representing small designs. Place the jewelery item on a hard surface such as a bench block. Work on the back of the pendant or earring. Adjust the stamp and hit the back of the stamp once or twice. Use a 16-ounce or heavier hammer. Emboss the spaces between the outlines created by the stamp using the technique described in Step 6. The embossed design will be visible when you turn the jewelry piece on the other side.
Before you emboss your silver jewelry, work on cheaper materials such as a piece of tin foil or a copper sheet to experiment and get used to the technique. Select sterling silver items that are made of sheets. The ideal thickness of silver sheets for embossing is between 30 gauge and 20 gauge. Lower gauge silver is thicker and more difficult to emboss.