How to Anneal Metal for Jewelry Making

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Metal will work harden as you work with it to make jewelry. When you saw, file, sand and form sheet metal and wire you change the molecular structure of the metal. From time to time you will need to anneal the metal to reduce the internal stress in the metal. This tutorial will explain how to anneal sterling silver and other non-ferrous metals (such as gold, gold- fill, bi-metal, fine silver, copper and brass).

Things You'll Need

  • torch
  • jewelry making tools
  • flux
  • Apply a layer of flux evenly over the surface of the metal to prevent oxidation while you anneal the metal.

    Flux is made out from a borax acid compound. Flux is sold in both liquid and paste form.

  • Place the metal on a fire safe work surface. Heat the metal with a torch until the entire piece of metal turns a cherry red color. The cherry red color indicates that the metal has heated up to the annealing temperature.

  • Once the metal reaches annealing temperature, quench the metal by placing it in a pickle bath to clean off any oxidation. Take care that the acid pickle bath does not splash when you place the annealed metal into the bath.

  • Remove the annealed metal from the warm pickle bath with a pair of copper tongs. Rinse off the pickle with water. Dry the annealed metal.

  • Use the now annealed metal in your jewelry making. Note that if you are forging or hammering the metal, you may need to stop and anneal the metal several times in the jewelry making process.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some folks like to dim the lights to make it easier to see when the metal has turned cherry red and reached the annealing temperature.
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