Thick, mixed and textured metals are often a popular choice when it comes to men's jewellery design, so we've put together a list of tools and products needed to create overlay and textures on metal. We also spoke to jeweller Caroline Jones who incorporates beautiful textures into many of her designs, a number of which are made for men. Caroline gives us a great insight into how she creates her amazing designs and what tools she likes to use.
"These were textured by striking the metal directly with my favourite old battered jobbing hammer. The dings in the hammer head are transferred to the metal giving it a random aged look".
"This ring was textured using an old blunt chisel-like tool and then struck with a jobbing hammer/ball pein hammer. The lines are random and overlapping to give the effect of natural tree bark"
"These cufflinks were textured in the same way as the previous ring. I used the old bunt chisel-like tool and struck this with a jobbing hammer. Again, the lines are random and overlapping to create the effect of natural bark".
A jobbing hammer is also known as a ball pein hammer - it has one domed end as well as a flat round head and is an essential tool for anyone who likes to create texture, especially a traditional hammered effect. Don't forget to use a steel block for hammering your work.
A cross pein hammer is also a fantastic tool for creating rich, bark-like texture on your metal designs. It's also great for using with punches and stamps too.
With a few simple tools and materials, you can create amazing textures with overlaying metals and mark making. This technique can be incorporated into so many designs to create unique pieces such as cufflinks, brooches, tie pins, rings and cuffs.
For example, the sterling silver fish brooch featured in this blog was created by our managing director Hannah Hodge.
Hannah used the following tools and products to create both the marking on the metal such as the scales as well as the raised metal areas such as the fin and lips...
Use a piercing saw to cut out the shapes you desire. A piercing saw is the best tool for cutting any shapes you may require from sheet metal, as well as being ideal for cutting metal tubing and thicker metal wire. The saw frame is sold separately to the blades . To view the saw frame click here and to view the blades click here.
Smooth the edges of metal shapes off with needle files cut from metal sheet. Needle files are ideal for controlled and accurate filing of metal. They are small enough to reach into tricky to reach places and are are ideal for the intricate work of jewellery making. We recommend our swiss needle files - slightly higher in price than the standard set but very high quality and made to last!
Use wire to create shapes and outlines on metal surfaces. This could be the same metal or you could experiment with mixing metals.
Flatten and texture the wire or sheet to your desire with a repousse hammer. This is a great tool for flattening wire or forming and raising shapes from metal sheet. This is such a versatile hammer you are sure to wonder how you ever managed without it!
Use a gas torch and solder paste to solder together your shapes. Solder paste is much quicker and easier to use than traditional solder. The paste stays where you want it and there is no need for extra flux.
Engrave marks, patterns and textures in the metal using gravers. These are available in a variety of shapes depending on your design. Attach a wooden graver handle to make the process much more comfortable!
Use liver of sulphur to achieve an antiqued, black or iridescent coloured patina on silver, copper, bronze, brass, gold and metal clays. Colours can range from black, purple, blue, copper and gold and the coloured or darkened effect is great for making any surface texture or decoration more visible.
If you have any further questions, feel free to call our friendly team who will be more than happy to give you some advice through Facebook, Twitter, Email or simply calling us on 01872 573888 8.30am-4.30pm.
Alternatively, for more information and how to's on all areas of jewellery making visit our other Gemstone Setting Advice pages.