What does a Preciou Metal Worker do?

Cast, anneal, solder, hammer, or shape gold, silver, pewter or other metals to form jewelry or other metal items such as goblets or candlesticks.

Jobs Roles

  • Cut and file pieces of jewelry such as rings, brooches, bracelets, and lockets.
  • Solder parts together or fill holes and cracks with metal solder, using gas torches.
  • Polish articles by hand or by using a polishing wheel.
  • Pierce and cut open designs in ornamentation, using hand drills and scroll saws.
  • Position and align auxiliary parts in jigs and join parts, using solder and blowtorches.
  • Examine articles to determine the nature of defects requiring repair, such as dents, uneven bottoms, scratches, or holes.
  • Shape and straighten damaged or twisted articles by hand or using pliers.
  • Anneal precious metal objects such as coffeepots, tea sets, and trays in gas ovens for prescribed times to soften metal for reworking.
  • Rotate molds to distribute alloys and to prevent formation of air pockets.
  • Weigh and mix alloy ingredients, using formulas and knowledge of ingredients' chemical properties.
  • Carry castings or finished items to storage areas or to different work stations.
  • Heat ingots or alloy mixtures to specified temperatures, stir mixtures, skim off impurities, and fill molds to form ingots from which parts are cast.
  • Design and fabricate models of new casting molds, and chipping and turning tools used to finish product surfaces.
  • Rout out locations where parts are to be joined to items, using routing machines.
  • Determine placement of auxiliary parts, such as handles and spouts, and mark locations of parts.
  • Form concavities in bottoms of articles to improve stability, using tracing punches and hammers.
  • Weigh completed items to determine weights and record any deviations.
  • Design silver articles, such as jewelry and serving pieces.
  • Peen edges of scratches or holes to repair defects, using peening hammers.
  • Secure molded items in chucks of lathes, and activate lathes to finish inner and outer surfaces of items.
  • Research reference materials, analyze production data, and consult with interested parties to develop ideas for new products.
  • Position articles over snarling tools and raise design areas, using foot-powered hammers.
  • Trim gates and sharp points from cast parts, using band saws.
  • Verify that bottom edges of articles are level, using straightedges or by rocking them back and forth on flat surfaces.
  • Engrave decorative lines on items, using engraving tools.
  • Sand interior mold parts to remove glaze residue, apply new glaze to molds, and allow it to dry for mold assembly.
  • Strike articles with small tools, or punch them with hammers, to indent them or restore embossing.
  • Wire parts such as legs, spouts, and handles to article bodies in preparation for soldering.
  • Hammer out dents and bulges, selecting and using hammers and dollies with heads that correspond in curvature to article surfaces.
  • Assemble molds, wrap molds in heat-resistant cloth, and ladle molten alloy into mold openings, repeating casting processes as necessary to produce specified numbers of parts.
  • Strike molds to separate dried castings from molds.
  • Glue plastic separators to handles of coffeepots and teapots.
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