Wow, Dori, what a wonderful gift.
First off, many of us use acetylene with silver as the tool of
choice for most work. There is no problem with it. If you get a
little firescale or fire stain (from overheating), there are several
tried-and-true ways to remove it, such as adding hydrogen peroxide to
your pickle and/or sanding. Acetylene/air torches are pretty much the
standard in many schools for teaching beginning silversmiths;
additionally, most of us have the torch we learned on as our "old
faithful" in our shops, so there are a lot of silversmiths out there
Having said that, there is no reason to melt those coins unless you
really want sterling! Use a rolling mill to roll them out to whatever
gauge you want. If you want a hint of the design (which can be a cool
and almost abstract effect once rolled to that thinness), then just
anneal and roll. Otherwise, you can use a file or grinding wheel to
knock down the highlights on the design (you don't have to remove it
all, just hit the high points) and start rolling. You'll need to
anneal several times to get it done.
Keep in mind that fine silver is not going to ever harden as much as
sterling, but it's still WAY harder than 24K or 22K gold. If you're
using it judiciously in your designs, it's a truly lovely component.
And if you draw or mill it into wire, it can be a lovely chain, as
Enjoy and don't let it intimidate you. You'll learn a lot about the
working properties of the metal by just working those coins down.
No Limitations Designs
Hand-made, one-of-a-kind jewelry