PMC - Precious Metal Clay
$230 per student
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Metal clay is a
medium used to make jewelry, beads and small sculptures. It consists of
very small particles of metals (such as silver, gold, platinum, or
copper) mixed with an organic binder and water. Alloys such as bronze or
steel are also available. Metal clay can be shaped just like any soft
clay, by hand or using molds. After drying, it can be fired in a variety
of ways including in a kiln, with a handheld gas torch, or on a gas
stove. The binder burns away, leaving the pure,
sintered metal. Shrinkage of between 8% and 30% occurs (depending on
the product used).
metal clay results in objects containing 0.999 pure silver - aka fine
silver, which is ideal for enameling. Although gold metal clay is much
more expensive to use, the color and richness is phenomenal. It can be
used to make stunning solid gold objects or used sparingly to make
beautiful accents on silver pieces.
Lump metal clay is sold in sealed packets to keep it moist and
workable. The silver versions are also available as a softer paste in a
pre-filled syringe which can be used to produce extruded forms, in small
jars of slip and as paper-like sheets, from which most of the moisture
has been removed.
Metal Clay or PMC was developed in the early 1990s in Japan by
A. Morikawa. The material consists of microscopic particles of pure
silver or fine gold powder and a water-soluble, non-toxic, organic binder
which burns off during firing. Success was first achieved with gold, and
later duplicated with silver. The original formula of PMC, now called
"Standard", must be fired in a kiln at 900 °C (1,650 °F) and has a
shrinkage rate of 30%.
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi, later
developed two additional versions of silver called "PMC+" which can be
fired as low as 810 °C (1,490 °F) for 30 minutes, and "PMC3", which can
be fired as low as 599 °C (1,110 °F) for 45 minutes. Both PMC+ and PMC3
have a shrinkage rate of 12-15% and may also be fired with a handheld
torch for 4-7 minutes. A 22k gold gilding material called "Aura 22", and
lump 22k yellow gold clay (an alloy of fine silver and gold) are also
available. PMC also manufactures an 18k gold clay and a platinum
clay, but these latter two are only marketed in Japan.