Once all your designs are drawn on paper and perhaps a piece or two has been made by another artist, you may believe it is time for getting started making metal jewelry on your own. In addition to the designs and materials you will need to produce your items, you will also need a few tools and the ability to use them before getting started making metal jewelry.
In addition to the expected pliers and cutters, you will need a soldering iron. If you plan to solder nothing but costume jewelry getting started making metal jewelry with the use of an electric soldering iron will work for you, but if your plans include working with silver and gold, then you will need a small torch for what is referred to as hard soldering. Torches usually use oxygen-propane or oxygen-acetylene gas mixtures for fusing the higher temperature solder.
Typically, the lower temperatures, referred to as soft solder, will use a mixture of tin and lead, which has a very low melting temperature. Hard solder will have a mix of silver or gold and lead and have a higher melting temperature, which will not be reached by an electric soldering iron. When you are getting started making metal jewelry decide which type of materials you will be using and buy that type of equipment.
Allergy To Metals May Harm Customers
When you are getting started making metal jewelry you should know that some people are allergic to some metals. The most common allergy is to nickel and while there is no industry-wide standard on metal content, some people will have an intolerance to even the slightest amount of that metal. The base metal used in costume jewelry can be any metal that is not considered to be one of the precious metals, silver, gold or platinum. Usually in metal jewelry the base metal is coated with a thin layer of a precious metal.
Even surgical stainless steel, tolerated by a majority of the population, may contain as much as eight percent nickel so you should make your customers aware of the potential for exposure.
When getting started making metal jewelry you should also learn the terminology associated with the craft. You will need to know the difference between filled and coated as well as plated and you will want instruction on the proper and safe methods of antiquing metal jewelry.