Silver cuff braceletts appropriate thickness

I am designing some cuff bracelets 60mm wide, with a 1" opening at
the back.

The designs will have a lot of open work or filagree.

The solid members of the cuff (the net of metal that will actually
form thecuff) will vary from 2 - 10mm in width.

I will be having these cast for me, I will be providing the waxes.

Not being that familiar with silver or argentium I am wondering what
would be an appropriate thickness for the cuffs not to be to subject
to deformation or fragility during normal use

I am thinking I would like to go 1.5 - 2mm thick. as far as the
aesthetics of my designs are concerned

Also what choices in silver alloys if any will most service bureau
make available, some that might be harder (what type of silver
should I specify), and what about argentium? or other alloys?


Only you can decide how long you want your product to last.

People are notoriously bad at looking after jewellery, they for
example put on cuff bracelets and bend them in the middle, not the
way at all. then unbend them to take them off! This treatment limits
their life span down to months, if they are as thin as 2mm.

They need to be strong enough so they cant bend them!.

Also if you either concave or convex them they are a lot stronger
than flat.

Ted, who has made several thousand cuff bracelets in just about
every metal.

This is the sort of piece which should not be cast. The crystal
structure of cast metal makes it more brittle than forged metal and
gives it little elasticity. A thin cuff that is cast will not return
to shape when putting it on or removing it from the wrist and have a
tendency to crack at the point of greatest stress.

A cuff like this should either be pierced from sheet or, if you want
proper filigree, built from drawn wire. It will take a better
polish, you won’t have any porosity issues, and it will be stronger.
If you don’t want to pierce by hand, investigate having the pieces
cut by laser or water jet.

Elliot Nesterman


I completed a similar such bracelet in the last week. In my case it
was about 20 mm wide but shaped into a curve to make an overall
synclastic design which was pierced and shaped with a wax pen to form
a free form lacework. I fabricated the pattern out of 1.5 mm wax
sheet which was rather fragile when doing the heat work but made a
lovely clean casting in.925 silver despite being at the limit of
capacity of my casting flask. It did have to be well sprued. I ran 6
2.5mm sprues from the sprue base all around the edge of the pattern.
I also ran a couple of sprues across gap both to strengthen the wax
pattern and to ensure a good metal flow all round.

Running the sprues to the edge made sprue cutting and cleanup much

The two way curvature of my design made the bracelet quite strong
but still able to be finally shaped to suit the wearer. The final
weight came out to a little over 38 grams.

If you are interested I can send some photos of the bracelet and
another sprued pattern I have just completed. All the best

Jenifer Gow
Tears of the Moon Artisan Jewellery

I have made cuff bracelets for forty years. All are fabricated and/or
forged from various sized elements that have either been purchased in
their final size and shape or formed in some way in my shop. With the
cost metal these days, they are more often forged, rolled or drawn
from metal ingots that I have cast in my shop. 2 - 4 mm is a good
thickness, but I am concerned about your intention to cast them. The
cast metal will be brittle and likely to fail very quickly. The life
of a cuff bracelet is not kind. It is very important that they be the
right size or they will be bent in both being put on as well as being
taken off. Look at the following page from my website for guidance on

This bending will eventually cause a well annealed fabricated or
forged bracelet to fail and I fear that a cast bracelet that thin
will not last very long at all. Jewelry design should include the
consideration of manufacture, safety, wearability, product life and I
am sure other factors. They all go hand in hand. You can not ignore
one in favor of the other unless you are making something that will
only sit on a shelf or hang on a wall. Jewelry should be worn and, as
a result, it needs to be designed to be worn. My two cents. Rob

Rob Meixner

1 Like

There are many suppliers that sell spring harden-able sheet- it is a
lighter gauge than you would normally choose in designing cuff
bracelets- only problem is the vendors usually only offer spring
hardenable sheet in 14 Kt which I don’t use - You could always
consider fabricating your own spring gold sheet if you want to offer
your bracelets in other karats ( and have a grasp of how to do it
and the basic equipment: a rolling mill, a kiln or furnace and can
fabricate your own stock) since having a cuff bracelet cast seems
like a contradiction in terms to me as all we’re talking about is
texturing if applicable and forming some sheet then finishing it! in
fact, why are you having cuff bracelets cast at all? I suppose I’m
confused. rer

While I agree that many cuff bracelets and bangles are made by some
combination of forging and saw piercing, the suggestion that other
methods of construction such as casting, or for that matter
fabrication involving soldering, cannot remain unchallenged. The fact
is that we choose the techniques of jewellery construction to what we
wish to express and achieve.

As I said in a previous posting I have made an open oval cuff
bracelet using lost wax casting and intend to make at least one more
so I can see how people respond to them. I chose lost wax casting for
this project because I now have sufficient experience with this
technique in my studio to have some insight into what it can and
can’t achieve. In the case of the bangle I made I wanted it to
express an informal organic flowing aesthetic and I achieved this
through a combination of fabrication with soft wax sheet, overall
shaping around some dies and mandrels, piercing with wax burrs,
shaping and flowing using a wax pen, smoothing with a flame and
finally finishing with wax solvent. This was a considerable amount of
work which at times cruised on the edge of disaster, and I would
suggest required more than a modicum of expertise on my part.

Some of the postings on casting versus “metalsmithing” seem to carry
the carry the implication that there is something inferior, lazy, or
perhaps “industrial” about casting and that real jewellers saw,
solder and bash metal and the extra real jewellers don’t sully their
hands with mere silver but only work in gold or platinum. I will
simply suggest there is also a long historical tradition of casting
in jewellery. My initial interest in casting was aroused by a display
of Inca jewellery. As it happens I also saw, solder and hammer

To return to the issue of the appropriateness of casting versus
other forms of fabrication, I agree I have seen some fine bracelets
produced using forging and saw piercing. I have also seen some fine
work produced through fabrication which like casting would have left
the metal in an annealed state. This is inherent in the technique and
is an issue that must be addressed through a range of measures
including work hardening by hammering and tumbling, the inherent
stiffness in the design of the piece (e. g., the use of curvature and
the thickness of metal) and possibly also heat treating the metal.

Finally might I respectfully suggest that if a questioner suggest
the particular technique they wish to employ, then please respect
their right to make that choice unless it dangerous or highly
inappropriate (e. g., casting opals in place). Otherwise let’s just
accept people may legitimately choose to do things differently than
we might.

All the best
Jenifer Gow
Tears of the Moon Artisan Jewellery

Hi All

Some of the postings on casting versus “metalsmithing” seem to carry
the carry the implication that there is something inferior, lazy, or
perhaps “industrial” about casting and that real jewellers saw,
solder and bash metal and the extra real jewellers don’t sully their
hands with mere silver but only work in gold or platinum.

I think I missed those posts. I do remember ones about appropriate
techniques for the usability of jewellery e. g. cuffs.

Also I don’t remember anyone saying that silver is not used by real
jewellers. Try Georg Jensen.

I work in fine silver, sterling and 18 kt, and IMHO 18 kt is far
easier to work than sterling. Visually I prefer the look of
sterling, that is purely personal. 18 kt is very beautiful but comes
second IMHO.

I have said that I think silver is costume jewellery, by this I mean
it is affordable and great for everyday wear. I see no need, unless
structural, for using anything less.

This is from someone who has no problem setting the resin I cast
into sterling, and neither do my customers.

There have been many “discussions” about quality karat golds and
what are crap karats.

Xtines Jewels