Those who get the jewelry bug often look into learning a bit of the trade themselves only to run into some confusing terms. Two terms that are often confused with each other are metalsmith and silversmith. Of course, most people have probably heard the term ‘blacksmith’ which is also a smithy who deals in metals. If we want to intentionally add more confusion to the mix there’s also coppersmiths, platinumsmiths, tinsmiths and goldsmiths.
While most of those merely refer to the type of metal they work with, they also refer to the objects and sizes they typically work with:
Blacksmiths work with iron and typically forge and repair iron accessories and tools. In the old days they were used to forge swords and armor. Needless to say, blacksmiths are hard to find these days and making a career as one is next to impossible, as automation has taken their place. In rare cases where you need a custom iron accessory, you can find usually find a hobbiest though.
Metalsmiths are the newage Blacksmiths, but more useful as they work in most base crafting metals on a smaller and more affordable scale. They tend to craft custom jewelry, kitchenware, tools and, sometimes, weapons. They typically have a higher mastery of most, or all, metals and use forges and files, similar to a blacksmith. While Blacksmithy requires a forge, metalsmiths can usually get by with smaller instruments such as blowtorches.
Silversmiths typically just work in silver, though most know a few additional metals. Silversmiths use soldering tools, hammers, files, torches, measuring and shaping tools to get the job done and mainly use blowtorches as their heat source. Silversmithing is typically a bit easier to get into as you’re working with a single metal, though any of the smithing professions will require a lot of tools. Similar to silversmiths, the other smithies such as coppersmiths and goldsmiths simply just work with different metals and use different tools.
Which One Should I Start With?
Silversmithing is typically a beginner-friendly crafting profession, though a lot of tools are still required. Below is a quick list of some of the items you’ll need before you dive in:
- Ring Mandrel
- Soldering Tools (Pick and Board)
- Metal File
- Pickling Solution (For Cleaning)
- A Mask
Of course, you’re also going to need your actual materials such as silver, wires and polish. If you’re looking to try your hand at the craft then don’t be afraid to dive in; the research on silversmithing is much lighter than some of the other professions.
And if you want to leave it to the industry experts, we’re here to help! Give us a call or book your appointment to get started.