Jewelers Techniques and Skills


    Acid Etching - Etch involves immersing the metal in an acid solution while protecting certain parts with a substance called a resist (asphaltum, rosin, wax, etc.) in order to create a pattern on the metal's surface.


    Anodizing - Anodising, or anodizing, is a technique used to dye and/or modify the surface of a metal (usually titanium) using electrolysis. The dye enters the pores in the etched oxide surface of the metal.


    Appliqué- A design cut out of one piece of silver or goldand soldered to the silver base.


    Basse-taille - Translucent enameling that is applied over an engraved metal surface.


    Beveled - A stone cut on slant


    Burnished Finish - A directional bright finish done by hand with a burnishing tool or "burnisher."


    Champlevé - Enameling technique, meaning "raised field," are stamped depressions in metal that are then filled with enamel.


    Electroplating - Depositing one type of metal onto the surface of another type by using the process of electrolysis or an electro-chemical reaction. Plated coatings are measured in microns.


    Engraving - Incising designs in metal or stone with sharpened steel gravers. 


    Etching - A process of producing a design upon stone or metal using corrosive acid. 


    Filigree - Delicate jewelry or metalwork with wire soldered to a metal background in patterns. Also describes pattern-work made with twisted threads of gold and/or silver.


    Granulation - Tiny granules or "grains" are fusion-welded to the metal's surface to create a pattern or design.


    Hammered Finish - Using a cross peen hammer to leave indented hammer marks on the metal's surface.


    Intaglio - Intaglio is the opposite of cameo with an incised negative image. Intaglio is used to make engraved seals, where it leaves a raised design on the material being stamped.


    Lamination - The bonding of two different metals to create a pattern when cross-sectioned.


    Limoges - French technique for enameling and firing to create a pictorial image, typically a portrait, to be used as a brooch.


    Lost wax casting - Creating an original artwork from wax, a mold is made of the original sculpture. When the molten metal enters the mold, the wax evaporates leaving the cast metal in its place.


    Metal Inlay - Imbedding or inserting of sheet metal or wire into an indentation or groove in the surface of a finished piece of metal.


    Mirror Finish - A highly reflective surface with no visible abrasion pattern. Created with rouge, muslin, or a flannel buffing wheel.


    Mosaic Inlay - Patterns or designs using small pieces of stones that are not seperated by silver.


    Overlay - A design is cut out of one piece of silver and soldered onto a plain piece of silver abd then the design is oxidized with sulfate.


    Patina - Patina is a chemical film formed on the surface of metal through wear, corrosion, or oxidization due to exposure to the elements. A patina is often deliberately added by metalworkers.


    Pavé technique - A setting in which jewels are placed close together so as to show no metal.


    Piqué - Gold or silver inlayed design pattern (pricked). Also, a carbon diamond inclusion.


    Plique à Jour - Translucent enameling technique that has the look of stained glass.


    Repoussé - French for "to push back," Repoussé is a technique for creating a relief design by pressing or hammering the inside or backside of a metal surface.


    Reticulation - Giving the surface of the metal a rough or wrinkled texture (network or web) that has a naturally formed appearance.

    Sand Casting - Sand casting uses casting sand (a mixture of dry cement and oil) to form silver jewelry. A master sample is created and a reverse mold created in the sand. The master sample is removed and filled with molten silver to create a new piece. Sand cast molds can only be used once before being discarded.


    Satin Finish - A non-directional or directional finish created with abrasive compounds that produce fine lines across the surface of the metal.


    Scoring - Using a tool to engrave a groove or furrow into the flat surface of the metal.


    Shot Ball - Metal fusion using tiny shot balls fused to the metal's surface to create a pattern or design. A technique used in ancient Etruscan jewelry to add texture to the surface.


    Stampwork - The use of a tool with the design on one end and hammered until the design is impressed into the silver or gold.


    Tufa Casting - Tufa casting is named for the tufa stone, a soft lava rock into which a shape and some design elements of a piece of jewelry is carved. The tufa stone is not completely smooth, so the silver jewelry cast using this method is textured. Because heat degrades the tufa stone, a tufa stone mold can only be used once or twice before a new stone must be carved.