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Granulation Supplies

Hi All!

Just joined. This is my first post. I’m a relative newbie to
jewellery. I only joined my local gem club at the end of last year.
I did my club cabochon course at the end of February and my
silverwork course in May. I’m a reenactor and my main interest in
jewellery is to make reproductions of Ancient to Medieval jewellery
for myself and my closest friends.

I understand from part 2 of Sandra Bucholz articles on Fine Silver
Granulation that there is at least one supplier in the US of
granules suitable for granulation. There is only a phone number in
the article however and being in Australia I’d rather use email and
not have to get up at stupid o’clock in the morning. I’m not very
coherent before the caffiene has sunk in and worked its magic. ; )
Does anybody have an email address and preferably a website for them
and/or any other suppliers of suitable fine silver granules?


Andrea WIllett
Geelong, Australia

Hi Andrea

Not that I am any expert but I do a lot of reading (dangerous!) and
have seen several ‘how-tos’ on making granules for granulation from a
suitable (depending what size you want your granules) size wire by
cutting very regular lengths using solder cutter and melt into balls
on a charcoal block.

There is an article in the latest “Art Jewellery” issue November
2006 on this technique which you may be able to obtain from your
library and several books offer similar

Good luck
Best regards - Kimmyg
Sunshine Coast, Australia - not too sunny today!

If you have access to some natural charcoal that you can run through
a sieve to make fine particles, or otherwise grind it, and a coffee
can, and a jewelers supply that sells fine silver wire. Simply cut
wire into even lengths put a layer about an inch thick of charcoal
into the can add about fifty lengths of wire to that layer, and
continue with a layer of charcoal, layer of wire bits, etc, ending
with a layer of charcoal…i put a few pieces of wire on top as an
indicator put the can on a tripod, or on a few bricks so that you can
get a torch or other heat source under the can ( or if you have a
kiln, put the can in the kiln on ceramic supports apply the heat
the can gets red hot in the kiln, or otherwise about four minutes
with a good oxy/acetylene flame and an ambient temperature of about
75 degrees Fahrenheit ( more if its cold, less if it’s hot) the wire
will then form perfect balls in the layers of coal have a bucket of
water ready, and a fine sieve…then there are two methods:

either toss the contents (using leather gloves or a pot holder to
pick up the hot can, or wait a few minutes until cooled off ) into
the pail of water, the coal dust tends to rise and the granules sink
and quench at the same time ( provided you have not waited for the
whole to cool off), then slowly pour off the water through the sieve
and save the charcoal powder on a board in the sun to dry out for
re-use and collect the grains of silver at the bottom of the
container. you can also line the wire lengths up on a block of
compressed charcoal not too close to each other and apply a reducing
flame they ball up pretty uniformly and you can simply pour them off
into a jar of pickle, or water and repeat until you have enough
granules to work with.

there are a number of companies that sell fine silver grain for
granulation ( hoover and strong, cookson in the UK, southern
findings in the USA, and i believe thunderbird supply and even Rio
grande- however all of them charge not only a spot on silver price
but a fabrication charge…and even though this seems wordy, it’s
truly easier than it sounds, and a fairly quick process…let’s say
in about an hour you can make hundreds of granules, if not a
thousand… tim McCreight’s “the complete Metalsmith”, jinks McGraths
numerous books on jewelrymaking, and charles codina’s books all have
instructions on how to, as does lapidary’s archives, and
art jewelery magazine’s current, or last month’s issue… the real
secret is in the fusing and to do this most efficiently I have found
(with fine silver) that about a cup of used, that is bluish pickle,
and about 15- 20 grams of gum tragacanth ( available from wine making
suppliers) make an excellent solution to stick the granules where you
want them on the metal before putting the torch to them…

hope this helps…and if you want to see some excellent examples of
granulation work check out elizabeth gaultieri’s site, it’s quite inspirational.!

Hello Kim!

Thanks for the reference. : )

I’ve already got instructions for two different methods of making
the granules from The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight. I’m
trying to find contact details for somebody who can supply them
readymade. Unlike almost everybody else on this list I don’t have a
bench at home. I have three hours on Monday nights to use the
facilities at gem club. : ( I want to use that time to teach myself
how to get the balls to fuse to the substrate.

Thanks again,

used pickle is the best way to get a thin film of copper ( which is
critical to using fine silver as irt has no copper alloyed in it)
onto each granule. hoover and strong sells ready made granules as i
posted, as does southern findings, and pmc supply, pmc guild and pmc
connection…the other thing is to add a bit of mucilage to the
copper solution/pickle to make the granules stick. don’t use elmers,
but a clear organic glue: gum tragacanth works best, followed by
mucilage, just a note: everyone takes their time to post responses to
the novice metalsmiths to help them…it takes our time, so the
courtesy of your time to read the posts is equivalent to the time to
write them, sometimes…it takes more time to write them then to read,
as some orchid members don’t aggregate all posts so they only see new
requests for info, not everytone’s responses…

Hi Andrea,

A fellow Orchid member, Ronda Coryell, has made 2 great Granulation
DVDs. They are available in the US, not sure about Australia. You
might want to check her website. The first volume shows an easy way
make granulation balls using washers of various sizes. Hold fine
silver wire in the center of the washer and cut across with wire
cutters. Heat the pieces on a charcoal block to form the balls.

Good luck, Nancy

Hello R!

hoover and strong sells ready made granules as i posted, as does
southern findings, and pmc supply, pmc guild and pmc connection. 

Found Hoover & Strong’s website and sent them an email. PMC Supply
likewise. Google couldn’t find Southern Findings though. Do you have
an email address for them?


Hi, I was disconnected from the web for a couple of weeks, due to a
technical problem, and then travel for a workshop in CA. So, I am
catching up, now.

Stern-Leach is now making granules in Argentium Silver. Nancy
Howland and Ronda Coryell have both been very impressed with the ease
of fusing Argentium Silver. Ronda showed images at Clasp, and spoke
of falling to the floor with amazement, saying to herself, “Wow!”.
Interestingly, Ronda, who has always preferred working in gold, is
now enjoying working in silver. And, I, who have never cared much for
the idea of granulaion Nancy wrote an article for the most recent Art
Jewelry magazine about granulation using AS 925.

Rio Grande will have these in stock in a few weeks, I hear, and I
think that G&S is also working to get them in stock. I imagine that
you could ask your favorite Argentium Silver supplier to stock them
for you.

Best wishes,
Cynthia Eid

With all this talk of Argentium Granulation, I’m getting anxious to
try it. I’ve done all of my granulating in fine silver and 22k gold.
Has anyone tried enameling on Argentium? All of my fine silver
granulation has been enameled so I’d like to know if anyone has done
the same with argentium.

Tammy Kirks
Red Bee Designs

I have spoken with the author of “enameling on Precious Metals”. She
says that the results are disappointing. The germanium that makes it
non-tarnish make it less “sticky” for the enamel. It seems that
pinging off is a problem. She also says that Peter Jones (inventor of
Argentium) IS working on an alloy with the Argentium type properties
but suitable for enamel.