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Foundation Course 3: Heat Hardening




About the Course


Tutor: Annette Petch

Two Heat Hardened Stick Pins

Through the construction of these stick pins you will be introduced to the special heat hardening property of Argentium Silver, and discover the benefits of this attribute in jewellery making and silversmithing.

Through this process you will begin to understand:

  • The purpose and value of heat hardening finished items.

  • The method of heat hardening Argentium Silver.

  • The use of the jewellers’ piercing saw for controlled cutting of fine shapes in metal.

Essential tools required not supplied in kit:

  • Small gas torch (& butane gas)

  • Charcoal blockFlush cutters

  • Half-round pliers

  • Flat, round & snipe nose pliers

  • File, needle file & sanding stick

  • Jewellers’ piercing saw & blades

  • Bench peg

  • Kiln or domestic oven

  • Oven-proof or pyrex dish

  • Metal tweezers

  • Argentium flux & small brush

  • Argentium pickle

  • Glass or ceramic dish for pickle

  • Safety glasses


  • Heat resistant pad

  • Spinner tray for charcoal block 

Items can be purchased from the website or appropriate suppliers.

Learning outcomes from Heat Hardening Module:

Understanding the purpose and value of heat hardening items.

To gain practical experience and knowledge of:

How to heat harden Argentium Silver.

The malleability of Argentium Silver.

Recognising the fusing temperature of Argentium Silver (heat/colour recognition) and developing control over this application.

How to fuse multiple components.

How to use a jewellers’ piercing saw to cut complex metal shapes.

Finishing processes (cleaning/polishing/satin finish).

Your Instructor

Annette Petch

Annette Petch

Annette started making jewellery on her Arts Foundation Course in Northampton when she was sixteen, she then moved to Sheffield to do her BA (Hons) in Three Dimensional Design, Jewellery and Silversmithing. After graduating she set up a jewellery studio, which she ran for some years.

Annette later qualified as a teacher - her teaching career included working in secondary education, teaching Design and Technology, Resistant Materials, and then teaching for an online project called Notschool. She then set up the jewellery making department for a special needs college, working with young people on the autistic spectrum. This led to her once more working as a jeweller and teaching from her own studio.

Annette discovered Argentium about ten years ago, this was a revelation after years of battling with firestain in standard Sterling. Information about the working properties was hard to find, so she applied for some funding from Arts Council England to do some research and development with Argentium. The funding was awarded, and the project culminated in her solo exhibition ‘Immaculate’ during the Galvanize Festival in 2013.

The properties of Argentium that Annette loves are its lack of firestain, resistance to tarnishing, whiteness, malleability, fusibility to itself and other metals, and ability to be hardened. Most of her work involves chasing and repoussé and anticlastic raising, so the malleability of Argentium is a huge advantage to these processes. Many of her pieces combine silver with different coloured golds, so being able to fuse these together saves time and opens up lots of possibilities.

Annette’s work is inspired by nature, as a gardener she loves leaves, seeds, pods, bark, flowers, buds as well as birds and insects. She doesn’t work with stones, preferring to get colour into her work by using different metals together, fusing yellow, red or white gold to Argentium. She likes to make all her own findings, especially chains - she finds chain making quite meditative.

Annette is very passionate about Argentium and runs courses in her studio to encourage others to share her passion. As well as teaching beginners, she also runs master classes for jewellers in fusing and granulation, and anticlastic raising.

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