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Etched Silver Pendant

Follow these steps to create your own silver pendant necklace.

Project by Jacqueline Sanchez from Atlanta, Ga.

Jacqueline helped pay for school by selling jewelry she made at Grateful Dead concerts. These days, she makes a beautiful etched silver pendant that features graphite details.

Materials and Tools:

18-gauge brass sheet
design pattern on paper
PNP paper
copper etching acid
plastic container
copper or plastic tweezers
electrical tape
28-gauge sterling silver wire
22-gauge sterling silver sheet
sterling silver solder
blackened stainless steel neck wire
electric sharpener
black graphite pencil or paint
rolling mill
jeweler's saw
dapping block
propane/oxygen torch
solder pick
pickle solution
copper tweezers
half-round pliers
polishing machine
hand-engraving tool
ultrasonic cleaner


1. Photo-etching on metal is similar to a printing process. Photocopy your design/pattern onto PNP paper. Cut out a piece of brass with a jeweler's saw. Clean the brass thoroughly with a Scotch Brite pad and soap. Avoid getting any fingerprints on the surface of the metal.

2. Place an iron right side up in a vice on your work surface and preheat. Put the clean brass on the iron. Once the brass is warm, lay the PNP paper face down on the brass and press with a cloth, making sure the design transfers evenly.

3. Place the brass on a steel block to cool. Peel the PNP paper off the brass. If all the pattern transferred to the brass, it was successful. Use electric tape and tape the back and sides of the brass. Soak in copper etching acid for three to four hours.

4. Once it is etched as deep as desired, take out and clean off the photocopy ink with acetone. Now the brass is ready to be rolled with the silver.

5. Cut a piece of sterling silver. Anneal it to soften it. Pickle and clean it. Then put it on top of the brass and insert into a rolling mill. With pressure from the mill, the design is then transferred onto the silver. Anneal the silver again (because it has been work-hardened from rolling it).

6. Measure out the size button you need and saw out the circle. Now the metal is circular. Dap it into a steel block to form the shape. Through several daps and anneals later, you'll have the desired shape.

7. Cut a piece of wire and bend it to form the bail in the back that will be held by the chain. Solder it on. Polish the edges. At this point, Jacqueline engraves her name and .925 on the back to indicate that it's silver. Sandblast the surface of the silver to give it some texture. Soak and steam; then let dry.

8. Using a graphite pencil, color in some of the lines in the design. Sharpen the pencil after each little line to insure that it will stay within the line.

9. Spray it with a clear lacquer and let dry overnight. Tomorrow it’s ready to be worn!

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