Burnishing Metal Clay

Burnishing metal clay will achieve a fine polished surface along with decorative textures when desired.

If an antique finish has been applied burnishing will highlight all the raised surfaces.

Using a number of techniques you can produce items with different types of finishes.

Precious metal clay can be burnished with special brushes to bring out a shiny surface and/or texture to the item.


A fired piece of jewelry will be white. This can be removed with either a stainless steel or brass brush.

Brushes will reach deeply textured surfaces and may be the only finishing method required.

Stainless steel brushes will produce a very nice matte finish; brass brushes produce an almost satin result.

By brushing the in one direction and then across the original brush marks a nice patterned surface can be obtained.

Brush under running water, you can use a gentle soap or a mix of water and baking soda to clean the piece.

Brushes can be obtained from jewelry supply stores or precious metal clay suppliers.

Burnishing Tool

To create sparkling high lights on fired pmc, use a hand held metal burnishing tool.

By pressing down on selected spots with the tool you will be able to create contrasts between the shiny and satin finish areas.

When rubbing an item you need to hold it firmly then press down with the tool whilst rubbing on the surface of the item.

Tumble Polishing.

A very good finish can be obtained by using an electric rock tumbler to polish pmc silver.

Always use stainless steel shot and follow the maker's instructions.

You should polish between 15 minutes to one hour, any longer and some of the detail may be lost.

If your jewelry has scratches then tumbling will not remove them. Hand polishing is the only way to rectify this problem.

Hand Polishing.

Hand polishing, apart from removing scratches, will produce the best finish of all.

Time and patience will be needed to produce a mirror finish but it is well worth the effort.

You will need a range of wet and dry sanding papers for this.

Jewlery supply stores have a range of 3M flexible sponge sanding pads graded from medium through to fine.

A range of 3M polishing papers of varying grades are also available.

Hardware stores carry ranges of fine papers, or you can obtain papers from an auto body shop.

Place your pmc jewelry item on a rubber block. Blocks of different sizes can be purchased from jewelry tool suppliers.

Use a 600 grit paper and rub in one direction keep the paper wet and free of grit.

Move to 800,1200 and then 2000 grit papers, changing the water with each change of paper.

Rub the 2000 paper at a 90 degree angle from the previous grit to remove any small scratches.

Using a magnifying visor check for small scratches and holes.

Fill and sand out any problem areas.

If these areas are left untreated they may prevent you achieving a true mirror finish.

You may need to fire the piece again if you have had to fill holes.

When satisfied wash and dry the piece, polish with a silver polish and soft polishing cloth to bring up a mirror surface.

Mix a paste of baking soda and water to remove any traces of the polish.

Rinse under running water, dry and one final buff with a polishing cloth and you should have a gleaming pure silver jewelry piece.

You can use power tools such as a Dremel or a flex shaft and various brushes to finish your piece if you wish, some of these tools do an excellent job.

It is very hard to duplicate the final result of hand burnished jewelry.

Please visit Silver Jewelry Clay at Delphi Glass for a large range of metal clay tools and supplies.

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