I escaped during the workday Tuesday and met our Canadian friend at B. Golden Jewelry School, which I’ve heard about for years but never looked in to. Reader, it was so fun! Our class was an “intro to precious metal clay,” aka a mix of silver dust and binders that acts just like clay.

You roll it out on a texture plate and cut it to shape, then let it dry a little. (If you’re friends with our friend, you can also bring a 3D object and use her silicon mold-making supplies to make a mold of it and then press the clay into that mold.)

Then–the exciting part!–you torch fire it with an acetylene torch (!) to burn away (!!) the organic binders in the clay and sinter the silver dust into a solid.

Then you scrub off the residue from the firing and add patina if you want, and polish it all up:

And then you have JEWELS! That are fine silver, that you MADE! Including a couple casts of a Toby claw that I’m already planning on learning how to add a cap and a bail to:

I haven’t talked about it here but this year I’ve gotten into fine jewelry, which started when I got some of my mom’s to wear. Is jewelry making the next step? Can I afford a gold smithing hobby? It’s probably about the same as a gold collecting hobby…