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Sizing finished metal clay rings?

Can a finished silver metal clay ring be sized up or down using the
conventional methods of torch and solder? Can it be tapped up a bit
on a mandrel with a hammer? Stretched on a ring stretcher? Reamed out
with a cylinder bit or abrasive band to enlarge?

Just curious.

Yes, Mark, you can size a fine silver (you are talking about fine
silver, aren’t you? You didn’t specify.) ring up but you wouldn’t
want to stretch it more than 3/4 of a size up. I wouldn’t use a ring
stretcher, but certainly tapping with a rawhide mallet on a round
tapered mandrel would work. Again, don’t try to go too far.

Adding a piece of fine silver using soldering would be a little
tricky, but it can be done, if you are careful to burnish the area
on the fine silver original shank where you will be placing the
solder paillions and adding the milled sheet.

If the shank is thick enough, it can definitely be ground out to
increase the inside dimensions, effectively making the ring
’larger’. Don’t thin it too much since it is sintered metal, and
requires a certain thickness for durability.

Board newbie here…

I have been designing wire wrapped rings, and want to venture into
low fire pmc. I want to make myself a silver ring with a 6x9mm (3.3
carat) ruby. My question/concern is the best setting method that
accounts for shrinkage. My rubies are hand dug and were
professionally cut. There are no flaws or heat treatment. All
suggestions, tips, and assistance is welcomed. This is not a rush
project. I will not proceed until comfortable with the design plan
and procedure.

Thanks in advance.
David Kresge

When in doubt ---- don’t — (Rule # 1) – for the Ruby — This is
my 40 years of bench experience talking – on any situation where it
will cost me time & money or having to explain to the customer what
went wrong!

– as far as sizing – the (2) rings-- I have played with do not
like the laser nor the torch maybe just poor results of the PMC I
don’t know. The structure of the metal looks ok on the out side but
the inside under the laser microscope looks like Swiss cheese lots of

– stretching will not work – hammering may work a little or may
come out like a pancake I don’t know. Reaming – good luck! I am sure
the PMC experts will say I am incorrect but to that see I say see
(Rule # 1)

I asked my friend who is a certified PMC instructor, and she said
sizing would be very difficult. Unless the ring is very thick, it
would most likely crack under the stress of being enlarged on a
mandrel. Some have success in soldering, but only after the surface
has been well burnished to closeany pores.

Also, she strongly advised against firing a genuine ruby. The only
gems one should use are those that are not heat sensitive. CZ’s, lab
created gems, and some natural gems can be fired along with the pmc,
but one should check out the lists of such gems which are posted on
the internet.


I work with metal clay and my advice is this - for a ring,
especially a ring with an expensive stone, I would not advise using
any of the silver metal clays. You can expect a better experience
with the sterling metal clays but you need some experience in working
with it before you plunge into an expensive ring with an expensive
stone. There are groups on Facebook with some very experienced metal
clay artists who are ready to help. Maybe taking a workshop or two
might get you further along the path you have chosen. Just because it
comes as wet clay does not mean that it is easier than working as a
traditional silversmith. In many ways, getting a successful product
is more difficult in clay. Metal Clay Now is one of the groups on
Facebook that I can recommend. Hoping you have a happy journey with
metal clay.


Hi David,

From what you have written it seems to me to be rather a large
quantum leap for you from wire wrapping to a full on PMC ring making

To give you an analogy, how many years of learning does it take to
be able to sit at a piano and interpret Chopin’s revolutionary study?
you know the answer as well as i do.

So, there is no quick or easy way to do what you want yourself.

In fact you mention design, well, this in fact only becomes possible
when you have mastered the practical techniques of what ever you
want to make, in your case PMC. Design is always limited by material
in any case, PMC might not be the best way forward anyway…

Therefore you will as others have suggested, take a course somewhere
to look at the basics, then put your hand deep in your pocket to put
together all the tools, furnace etc to start.

You will find it a frustrating and steep uphill path, but with
determination you should get there.

Then, when you have made lots of items and more failures youll be
ready to make the ring with the stone you have purchased.

As to mounting, once you have reached this stage, well look at the
various options of doing this.

there are several simple ways, but ist things first. Get back here
when your ring is fired and ready for setting.