In order to use sterling silver findings with metal clay:
Use a heavier finding than you might if you were soldering after
firing the metal clay.
Use a metal clay formula that fires at the lowest temperature for
the shortest time. Longer firing and higher temps disrupt the
You can coat the sterling finding with metal clay Slip or paste
to try to cut down on the inevitable firescale.
Pickling will help remove the firescale, but when using a metal
clay that fires at low temp and for short duration, the resulting
metal is a bit less dense than I like it to be, and can absorb some
pickle. In order to remove the pickle from the fired object: Prepare
a saturated solution of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and water
in a nonreactive, heat-resistant pot (stainless steel is best); Bring
it to a boil and immerse the fired object in the solution; Any
residual pickle will have been neutralized after about 20 minutes;
Remove your piece and finish as normal.
[!!!] all of this step, including the pickling, assumes that you have
not set a stone(s) in the unfired metal clay and fired them in place.
some stones might survive the pickle and/or the neutralizing bath,
but i wouldn’t take a chance doing either or both with a stone set in
Hope this helps,