Concrete for jewelry?

"What kind of concrete for jewelry ? " is the real question. The
wifesays "I want some stainless -and - concrete jewelry “, so I say
"Er, um… well, you know me : why buy it when I can make it for you
?”. Which is what I say to her on a regular basis, except that I can
actually make jewelry. I’ve made concrete before, too, so… what
could possibly go wrong !?. But first, what kind of concrete ?. Is
there a special recipe for 'Jeweler’s Concrete ’ ?. I could see
adding bits of junk (turquoise, glass, metal, old bits of petrefied
food from under the refrigerator. whatever) to it, just for fun.


1 Like

Hi Dar

I have used a mix of portland cement and sand and a mix of portland
cement and marble dust with satisfaction for jewelry. If you are
going to carve it, use less water for a drier mix and it will be
stronger If you are going to cast it, use more water so that the
concrete slumps better into the mold. There are of course all sorts
of colouring agents. Whatever you do, I hope you send pictures to
Orchid for us to see.

Barbara in the middle of yet another snowstorm. The giraffes are up
to their necks now.

i think you would have to mix it with something, usually they use
some plastic polymers which would give it some elasticity, but wow,
could you mix it with molten metal???, powdered metal??

You want to use cement, not concrete.

The above is not my site. It’s just the first link that popped up in
a Google search for ‘concrete vs cement’.

Paf Dvorak

There’s a Ganoksin article on the basics of concrete jewelry.

There are also a few Pinterest boards about concrete jewelry where
you can see differing looks for the concrete.

Elliot Nesterman

The only person I ever saw using concrete was a guy by the name of
Javier Perez in San Francisco and he used white portland cement and
added fancy colored stones and glass as the gravel in his concrete.
It was set in silver bezels if I remember correctly.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

Check out the work of Andrew Goss.

Dar - I’ve tried this using a high-strength cement with no
aggregate, and it worked out OK. Technically that might not be
concrete, but it has the right look. Pics are here:


And then there is Andrew Goss who wrote a book “Concrete Handbook for Artists Technical Notes for Small-scale objects” for concrete
jewelry on his website.

Like investment plaster the killer for a good finish is the porosity
so when you make your mixture I would advise on not skimpimg on the
water but degassing the slurry by vibration or better still, vacuum.
The chemical reactions that make cement hard take place over time so
I would recommend leaving your cast piece for 28 days before
working/polishing. I wouls also say that you need to add some silica
to your OPC, very fine acid washed sieved sand is best, and for a
bit more texture crushed marble doeswell. The growing calcium
trisilicate crystals bond really well to the very fine sand and give
you a stronger solid than just adding water to the OPC and letting
it set. Try very fine crushed glass (almost as a dust) as an
alternative to sand for body colour. Bullseye Glass do some really
good powdered glass for casting and fusing in a suitable sieve size.
Nick Royall

There was an artist several years ago either at the Smithsonian
Craft Show or the Washington, D. C. Holiday Show who did this type
of jewelry. The cement was stained or dyed and done in a similar
manner to champleve enamels. You can also search jaguarjulie, who
has these kind of items on her website.

Donna in VA

I wanted to try making concrete and silver jewelry many years ago
after seeing some interesting pieces (sorry, can’t remember the
maker). I never quite got around to it. But I purchased a book,
Concrete Handbook for Artists Technical Notes for Small-scale objects’ by Andrew Goss. It looks pretty comprehensive and is still
available on Amazon. If you pursue this kind of jewelry it might be
a good reference to have.


I just found the workshop list for Haystack summer/2014. James
Cotter will be teaching ‘Contemporary Cement Jewelry’ in August.
Looks very interesting.

You want to use cement, not concrete. 

The site referenced above is basically correct on the difference
between cement and concrete. But I think that concrete, not cement,
is what the person who asked this question would want to use.
Portland cement is just the binding agent for whatever aggregate is
used to make concrete; it has little strength by itself. Mixed with
gravel, it makes a hard building material.

Mixed with sand and clay, it makes a good mortar. Mixed with marble
chips and ground off, it becomes a terrazzo floor.

A similar approach, using 2 parts or more of crushed turquoise,
lapis, chrysocolla or another relatively soft stone to one of cement
would probably make a good “jeweler’s concrete”. I’d leave out the
sand, though, which is too hard; it will grind off more smoothly
without it. Some acrylic admix, mixed into the water used to hydrate
the mixture, would improve its adhesion and durability.

Andrew Werby

I have worked with white Portland cement. One thing I discovered is
to placemy pieces in water after the set up a bit. The chemical
reaction for the cement to cure needs moisture.

I am looking forward to reading the links everyone has posted.

Karlette Murray