Jewelry making is interesting work for children who wish to make jewelry of silver and other metals. It is an ancient and honorable craft which has unlimited possibilities. It will introduce them to the skills and processes of an ancient and honorable craft which has unlimited possibilities.
An interesting feature of this type of craft work is that from the beginning, with a few essential tools, materials, and simple working drawings, one can learn to make really wearable jewelry. As in any craft, practice is necessary in order to acquire the workmanship which will give good results. The processes should be practiced many times.
The transition from simple to more advanced work can be accomplished by experimenting with units of metal which vary in size, shape and texture until a good workable design has been arranged. Then the sequence of the processes will be determined and the working plan made. In this way, the beginner will build up a knowledge of the craft which will inspire him to do more finished work.
Several inexpensive metals, both in sheet and wire form, can be used to make interesting jewelry. For the beginner, copper and brass are recommended because of their low cost, but even advanced jewelers who work almost exclusively in sterling silver frequently use copper and brass for variety and color.
As far as construction is concerned, all the metals named can be used interchangeably. When the beginning craftsman becomes more skillful he may want to work more often in sterling silver which, although it costs a little more, is a fine adaptable metal.
The different metals vary in hardness. Annealing is a heating process which is given to the metal to make it soft and pliable. Most of the metals may be purchased annealed. If the metal has to be annealed, lay it on a screen and hot plate until the heat turns it a glowing red, then set it aside to cool or plunge it into water for quick cooling.
COPPER is used in its pure metallic state. Its reddish-brown color gives it a warm outdoor quality. Cold rolled and annealed sheet is smooth and easy to work. It can be polished and lacquered for a permanent finish.
BRASS is an alloy of copper and zinc, harder than copper. It is gold in color. It takes a high polish and is lacquered to preserve the luster.
STERLING SILVER is an alloy of pure silver and a small percentage of another metal, usually copper, to harden it. It is a more precious metal than copper or brass, it is easy to work and can be finished in several different ways; polished for a soft luster, given a high polish, oxidized for depth of color and then polished for highlights.
IRON is taken from iron ore and, when treated, is both tough and flexible and can be pulled into wire. If lacquered, iron will not rust and its dark color and dull texture contrast well with the other metals used.
TIN has the whiteness of silver and is used in many important alloys, among them being solder. Tin is used for solder, in pure state or alloyed with lead.
Using any of the above metals, attractive and simple jewelry can be made by children with an interest in the field.