Precious metal clay is a substance developed by Mitsubishi Materials of Japan in 1990. PMC is microscopic silver or gold particles combined with water in an organic binder to form a material with qualities similar to modeling clay. As with other soft clays, metal clay can be sculpted using hands or simple tools, shaped, molded, and given texture.
After a precious metal clay creation has air-dried, it is fired in a kiln or with a hand-held torch. This burns away the binder leaving only the pure metal. Depending on the type of metal clay used, some shrinkage will occur.
Sounds amazing, right? A couple of things before you run out and buy it:
* It is not cheap. A 16 gram package (this is just over half an ounce) of silver PMC is around $37 and can fluctuate with the silver market. As expected, gold metal clay is significantly higher. Copper and Bronze metal clays are lower cost alternatives.
* It dries out very quickly. You'll want to know what to expect and plan your design before opening the package.
Visit this gallery for a slideshow of designs by PMC artisans. Fascinated? Search for a local class.
If you are already familiar with pmc, Cool Tools is a great resource. The site includes an online learning center with videos, guides, and projects for beginners and beyond. Cool Tools also offers the most competitive pricing I have found when purchasing precious metal clay.