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Useful and interesting  stuff for Jewellers and Silversmiths


INSIDER Trade Tips : Burnishing

What is Burnishing?

Hand Burnishing jewellery or silverware creates a polished finish using the friction created by continuously pressing and smoothing an agate, haematite or steel burnishing tool across the surface of the metal.

This action will compact the grain of the metal to increase reflectivity across the surface, without removing any metal.

Insider Tip...

“Using a lubricant when burnishing by hand will produce a better result

  • Try using a washing-up detergent like Fairly Liquid cut 50/50 with water.

  • A slight adjustment of the lubricant ratio may be required depending on the metal you are working with.

  • Always rinse the work thoroughly with hot water to remove any residue which may cause staining”

Who Shared this Tip?

This Tip of the Trade was generously shared by David & John Barker from The Antique Burnishing Company, who have over 50 years’ experience, using traditional burnishing techniques and tools to re-create, restore or radically improve the original appearance of distressed surfaces.

Tool images by kind permission of HS Walsh Ltd

About the author Dawn Meaden-Johnson has over 30 years’ experience working in customer facing Creative and Commercial Industries and in Further Education, including at Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, during which time she has worked extensively with external national and international clients. Dawn is a creative business development consultant and the founder of The Bespoke Jewellery Training Company which provides national one-to-one practical tuition for Jewellers and business enterprise skills training and enterprise mentoring for young makers in the West Midlands. A Silversmith graduate of Birmingham City University School of Jewellery, Dawn still creates jewellery under the brand which specialises in limited edition anodised aluminium jewellery with silver. Read more...



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