I used to try to make shot with sterling scrap. It seems a
logical way to recycle it. I did have trouble with both pitting
and wrinkling on the surface at times. A friend who was also a
jeweler turned me on to using fine silver bezel scrap instead
about 20 + years ago and I never used sterling again. Fine
silver is much easier to ball up with very little problems with
pitting and wrinkling. i don’t use flux at all with it. When
trying to do larger shot (larger than 3 or 4 mm) I use a liitle
squeeze bottle of water to cool it fast just after it has melted
and find this works great about 99% of the time to avoid the
aforementioned problems. Sending sterling scrap back to the
refiner in exchange for new metal is my current best use of it.
Because of the way I market my work at juried art shows, some of
which I have participated in annually for over 20 years, I get
to see work that I created over all those years as clients wear
it back to show me. I have noticed no problems with the fine
silver shot I have used as design and engineering elements in a
variety of pieces because of it being softer than sterling.
Give it a try.
Depending on what kind of designs you are doing, I find that now
I use a lot of 14k shot in the same way on silver designs to get
a mixed metal look. My experience is that the silver and gold
piece sells faster and for significantly more money than the
same design in silver. This has been true consistently over a
dozen years and as a result I rarely make all sterling pieces
anymore. That is of course frustrating for those that want only
silver. One can’t do everything though.
Jima Abbott / N. Calif./ @jica