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Silver patina pendant

Contrast patina with a bright, clean finish to accentuate the shape of a pendant.

Patina emphasizes the contrast between the antiquity of the cuneiform writing and the shiny silver of the moon’s crescent. 


Designer’s Note: A photopolymer plate allows you to create your own textured surface for your piece. Kits for creating a photopolymer plate are available at 


The inspiration for this simple pendant was the crescent shape of the alchemy symbol for the element silver. I created a photopolymer plate with a Mesopotamian cuneiform font, since the Mesopotamians were known for their involvement in alchemy. The pearl symbolizes the balance between the heavenly and the earthly.


pendant 1 5/8 x 1 1⁄4 in. (4.1 x 3.2 cm)

  • 7–9 mm pearl, half-drilled 
  • 1/2 in. (1.3 cm) 20-gauge fine-silver wire, half-hard
  • 14 g metal clay (Art Clay Standard Slow Dry)
  • 5 g syringe metal clay 
  • acrylic roller
  • baking soda
  • cellophane tape
  • chainnose pliers
  • craft knife
  • cyanoacrylate glue
  • fiber blanket
  • 2 fine-silver bail backs
  • finishing items: tumble polisher and burnishing compound, or brass or stainless steel brush, burnishing compound or dish soap, burnishing tool, fine-grit jewelry-grade sanding pads, set of finishing papers, and polishing pad
  • 2 glass bowls
  • index card or cardstock
  • jeweler’s files
  • kiln
  • liver of sulfur
  • nonstick work surface
  • olive oil or nonpetroleum hand salve, such as Badger Balm
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • paper towels
  • pin vise and 1 mm drill bit 
  • polishing cloth
  • sandpapers, to 1200 grit 
  • scissors
  • 2 1 mm slats or playing cards
  • texture plate or photopolymer plate of your choice
  • wire cutters

Supplies available from 

Silver patina pendant_a
Silver patina pendant_b
Silver patina pendant_c

1. Make two copies of the template (IMAGE above) on an index card or cardstock. Cut out the first template on the outer line only. Cut out the second template along each line, making two pieces.

2. With a craft knife, gently score the one-piece template along the inner line. Do not cut the template in two. Fold the template along the scored line, creating a top to the crescent. Bend the tips of the crescent toward each other to make the template more three-dimensional. Holding the template in the correct shape, use a piece of tape to secure the shape of the crescent (PHOTO A).

3. Lightly oil the work surface, roller, craft knife, and texture or photopolymer plate. Using the roller and 1 mm slats or playing cards, roll out the clay 1 mm thick on the texture plate (PHOTO B).

4. Gently remove the clay from the plate, and lay it face up on your work surface. Place the bottom piece of the two-piece template onto the clay, and cut around the template with the craft knife (PHOTO C). Be sure not to press into the clay or disturb the texture. Re-wrap the remaining clay for later use. 

5. Position the clay over the bottom of the shaped template, matching the corners (PHOTO D). Extrude a line of syringe clay along the top edge of the clay (PHOTO E).
Silver patina pendant_d
Silver patina pendant_e
Silver patina pendant_f
Silver patina pendant_g

6. Roll out the remainder of the clay on the work surface, using the 1 mm slats. Cut around the top portion of the two-piece template, and wrap up any remaining clay. Place the piece on the shaped template against the extruded clay and the textured segment, matching the edges and making sure that the join is secure (PHOTO F). Smooth any excess syringe clay with a damp paintbrush, keeping the edge sharp and crisp. Let the piece dry thoroughly on the template.

7. Once the pendant is dry, carefully remove the template from the inside. Reinforce the inside seam of the clay form with extruded syringe clay, smooth it with the paintbrush, and let the piece dry again.

8. Use files and sandpaper from roughest grit to smoothest, and refine the outside edges, seam, and top surface of the pendant (PHOTO G). 

Silver patina pendant_h
Silver patina pendant_i

9. With the pin vise and drill bit, drill a hole in the top of the crescent where the wire that will hold the pearl will be inserted (PHOTO H). 

10. Cut a 1⁄2-in. (1.3 cm) piece of 20-gauge fine-silver wire. Using chainnose pliers, bend the tip of the wire at a right angle, and curve the bent tip slightly to match the curve of the pendant. Insert the wire through the hole from underneath the pendant, allowing the curved end to sit against the inside curve of the clay (PHOTO I). Extrude a small amount of syringe clay beneath the wire end, and press the wire into the wet syringe clay. Cover the end of the wire with more syringe clay, and use the paintbrush to smooth.

Silver patina pendant_j
Silver patina pendant_k

11. Hold a bail back with chainnose pliers, and apply a generous amount of syringe clay to each end tab. Position one tab against one inside corner of the pendant, and the other tab against the seam. Cover the tabs with more syringe clay, and smooth with a damp paintbrush (PHOTO J). Repeat with the second bail back in the other corner. Let the pendant dry completely. 

12. Support the pendant with a fiber blanket, fire according to the manufac-turer’s instructions, and allow the pendant to cool.

13. Brush the fired piece with a stainless steel brush and burnishing compound or soapy water. Use a burnishing tool and/or sanding papers and pads to shine the top crescent to a mirror finish. If you use a tumbler to polish your piece, use the stainless steel or brass brush to create a matte finish on the bottom crescent only. Wash the pendant with a paste of baking soda and water, and let dry.

14. Prepare a liver of sulfur solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using a paintbrush, apply the solution to the bottom crescent of the pendant only, leaving a clean mirror finish on the top (PHOTO K). Carefully rinse and dry the pendant.

15. Trim the fine-silver wire to about 1/8 in. (3 mm) above the surface of the pendant. Place a drop of glue on the wire, and attach the pearl. Let dry.

16. Use a polishing cloth to buff the top of the pendant, and attach it to the necklace of your choice.

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