Pewter is a tin-based alloy used to make many items from utensils to jewelry. The use of this alloy dates back at least 2,000 years to Roman times. Pewter is cast, hammered, turned on a lathe, burnished and sometimes engraved. Pewter jewelry is popular, because it looks like silver but is easier and less costly to manufacture. Pewter has a low melting point, making it easier to mold than some metals. In fact, you can even make your own pewter jewelry at home.
Things You'll Need
- Ventilation mask
- Carving tools (such as a linoleum cutter)
- Steel pot with pouring spout
- Heat-proof surface (such as a hot pad)
- Ribbon or chain
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Cut the soapstone into slices about 1-inch thick using the hacksaw. Wear the ventilation mask to make sure you do not breathe in the soapstone powder or dust.
Carve into the soapstone, creating the design you would like your jewelry to be. You can use any variety of carving tools; a linoleum cutter works fine. Make sure you carve a raised bump in the top of the mold to ensure that your pewter will include a hole through which to thread your pewter piece onto a chain.
Melt the pewter in a steel pot on a stove burner set to medium heat. This process takes between 10 and 20 minutes. The pewter emits a burning smell as it melts, and a dull scum gathers on the top of the liquid, which is the impurities of the metal rising to the surface.
Skim the impurities from the liquid using a spoon.
Remove the steel pot from the burner and place it on a heat-proof surface, such as a hot pad.
Pour some pewter into your mold using the pouring spout on the side of your steel pot. Take care not to overfill the mold, or the pewter will overflow.
Allow the pewter to cool. Pewter begins to cool almost instantly when it hits the mold. When the pewter turns from shiny to dull, it is cooled.
Flip the mold upside down onto a heat-proof surface. The molded pewter should fall right out. Do not touch the pewter, because the molded side is still extremely hot. Allow the front side of the pewter to cool completely.
Thread a ribbon or chain through the hole in the top of the pewter piece. Clasp the ribbon or chain together, and you have made your own pewter jewelry.