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Marriage of metals

I’m interested in trying this marriage of metals technique I see in
some gallery books. Silver and copper are somehow fused together and
then the copper is etched away leaving a clean silver design, very
cool. what I am wondering is how the metals are fused or does one have
to buy a silver/copper sandwich metal from someone? It doesn’t seem
like soldering a sheet of copper to silver would work since there
might be air bubbles in there somewhere and the potential for problems
with that. Any help would be appreciated…Dave Stephens

We may not be talking of the same technique, but I’ve done marriage
of metals in the past and we always drew a pattern on tracing paper,
cut out the pieces (silver, nickel silver, copper) and then soldered
them together to make the design. We used IT solder, and you need to
fill in ALL THE SPACES. Then you file the surface until all the
excess solder is removed and then smooth the surface down. If you
look at the opposite side of a marrige of metals piece it should be
the same design. It’s not a surface design at all. You can then dome
the piece (if, say, it’s to be a pin or something). I’ve done
checkerboard where you cut identical strips of silver and nickel
silver, solder them together, then cut the piece into strips across
(the other way) and reverse them and solder them again. It’s very
time consuming for a small piece. Anyway, hope this helps.

Judy, Your description fits the textbook methods for the technique
called marriage of metals and the technique presented at ASU the
semester I took a jewelry class there.

I believe that the term has been “borrowed” to apply to some surface
techniques which mimic the visual effect of marriage of metal. The
different metals have been joined, the contrasts are there and can be
accentuated by patination, all of which are characteristic of the
technique you described.

I took a workshop with Carrie Adell a few years ago which included
what she called marriage of metals. She demonstrated application of a
variety of metal pieces to sheet by soldering and then rolling the
composite. The results can include intricate patterns and abstract
effects which would be mighty difficult, not to mention
time-consuming, to achieve by the cut-and-fit model we learned. I
have seen a number of jewelry images with descriptions naming marriage
of metals that appear to be such surface application. The name may be
misappropriated, but the techniques can be stunning and are admittedly
achieved in much less time.

Pam Chott

Hi, Dave- Reactive Metals sells a sterling and copper bi-metal which
should work for what you propose. Check out

Lee Einer

    I'm interested in trying this marriage of metals technique I
see in some gallery books. Silver and copper are somehow fused
together and then the copper is etched away leaving a clean silver

Dave – The technique you are talking about is called Mokume Gane and
it is truely wonderful. I just bought Steve Midget’s new book (this
is his second on the subject) and it is a real page-turner!! It
includes great detail about several approaches to this technique and
has chapters written by several other experts in this field (James
Binnion, who contributes to this site often, being one of them). I
know you can order it from his website and am sure that Amazon will
carry it as well. It’s about $35.00 retail I think.

For reference, the married metals technique itself is a little
different, in that you combine metals in a side-by-side fashion,
using solder. The pieces are cut and fit fairly precisely (not unlike
a patchwork quilt – only a lot more work!!) I have seen some pieces
which are so detailed and finely done that they look like paintings.
Steve’s book includes a wonderful collection of photographs of work
from several artists. Some of these include mokume gane sheet used in
a piece that is done in the married metal technique.


Dave , My perception of married metals goes back to a workshop I had
the pleasure of being a part of 20+ years ago. It was taught by Glenda
Arenson ? on spelling. It was a lot of fun she had a rather loose
approach to joining copper sterling brass and nickel sheet
together,butting the edges or fitting odd shapes together. It is a good
idea to use hard sterling solder and solder from one side .later you
attempt to file or sand of the extra solder off.I have had great luck
with shaping pieces such as these with no joint problems or pitting.I
do remember one thing Glenda said about my work “nasty neat” my joints
were very tight,not much solder to see. So solder well and push the
limits. It is much different than Mokume-Gane