Thursday Tip – Buying Silver Sheet for your Project

Thursday Tip

Welcome to the latest in a series of articles to do with enamelling and making jewellery. I hope you find them useful. I am writing about issues and problems I have experienced (and hopefully overcome), and tips and shortcuts concerning enamelling and making jewellery that I have come across in the course of the past twenty years or so. As I always tell my students, I have made most of the mistakes possible over the years. I am trying to share what I have learnt so that you don’t have to! Today my tip concerns how I save money by calculating  the exact amount of silver to buy for a project.

Planning Your Project

Planning How Much Silver to Purchase for a Project

It is much more economical to buy the correct sized piece of metal for your project than just fitting it onto a randomly chosen piece. Here you can see I am laying pieces out onto metric graph paper. You will notice that I have numbered the millimeters in tens so it is easy for me to see what I am doing. Here I am deciding on the amount of metal to choose for backing a setting. I plan to texture each piece using my mini rolling mills. It is economical of my time not to have to do too much intricate sawing out before I roller texture. Do remember to allow a little extra around each piece to allow for cutting out. It is a good idea to do this part either on tracing paper that you can stick into your ‘Technical Notebook’, or alternatively to take a quick picture like I have here.  I played around with layouts for these pieces and for a number of other shapes. I ended up buying two separate pieces as being the most economical and I actually ‘saved’ 250 square millimeters of silver on my original layout. I can then input these sizes into Cooksons website to decide what thickness of silver to buy. For backing pieces I usually choose 0.4mm or 0.5mm depending on size and design of the piece. Here you can see the reverse of one of my Indian Memories chokers.


Reverse of Indian Memories Choker Showing Roller Textured Design

Hope you find this useful in saving you money by helping you to calculate the exact amount of silver to purchase for a project. Happy Jewellery Making!