Annealing The process of heating metal to restore its malleability.
Base Metal Any metal other than a precious metal, such as copper zinc.
Bezel A band of metal that fits around a gemstone and secures it to a base.
Casting The process of pouring molten metal into a hollow mold. The cast metal duplicates the object (wood, hard wax, etc.) originally impressed in the mold material.
Champleve (“shahm-pleh-VAY”) Enamel work in which transparent or opaque enamel is fired into etched or carved areas, leaving the metal partly exposed.
Chased Metal whose surface is patterned by striking with a hammer or other non-cutting tool. Applied to one surface of the metal only, this process is often combined with repousse to achieve greater detail.
Cloissone Enameling in which the colors are separated by thin metal ribbons or wires to maintain the pattern and keep the melting colors from running together.
Constructed (1) Handmade in parts and assembled to form a whole. (2) Not cast.
Electroformed Creation of a metal object by electrically depositing metal on a master form of wax. After the wax is removed, a metal shell remains.
Electroplated Coated with a thin layer of (usually precious) metal by passing an electric current through a chemical solution containing a source of the metal.
Enamel A usually opaque vitreous composition applied by fusion to the surface of metal.
Engraving A decorative technique in which lines or patterns are carved or cut in the metal surface.
Epoxy A plastic coating applied to the surface of metal which may look like enameling.
Fabrication Making an object in parts and assembling it to form a whole.
Filigree A delicate ornamental design formed by bonding very fine wires together.
Forged Metal shaped, usually by hammering, while at a red or white heat in blacksmithing, but usually cold in jewelry.
Granulation Tiny balls of metal heat-fused to a metal surface without the use of solder.
Grisalle (“grih-ZI”) Enameling made by firing various layers of fine, white, opaque enamel on an opaque black background to produce a three-dimensional effect.
Holloware Vessels, such as bowls and pitchers.
Inlay A process in which negative lines or shapes are removed from a material and then inset with corresponding lines or shapes or another material.
Lapidary The art of cutting, polishing and engraving precious stones.
Lost Wax Casting A one-time process in which an object (as of wax) is impressed into sand or surrounded with a special plaster to make a mold. The wax is burned out, and molten metal takes the form of the “lost” wax.
Married Metal Patterns or imagery developed by joining various colored alloys, such as of bronze, copper and silver adjacent to one another.
Oxidize Natural darkening and coloring of metal when exposed to oxides in the air. Can be accelerated or controlled for effect.
Patina (1) A surface coloring, usually brown or green, produced by oxidation of bronze or other metal. It occurs naturally or can be produced artificially for decorative effect. (2) The substance used to produce the effect. (3) A surface luster occurring from age or use.
Plique-A-Jour (“PLEEK-ah-ZHOOR”) Enameling in which transparent enamels fill small openings in metal, suggesting stained glass window.
Raised Hammering a flat sheet of metal into a three-dimensional form.
Repousse (“reh-poo-SAY”) A design raised in relief on a metal surface, or the process of hammering (on both sides) to achieve it.
Resin A plastic which may be bonded to metal or cast in molds.
Reticulated A metal surface delicately wrinkled by a special heating process.
Rivet A joining technique in which a pin or tube is used to connect components without using heat.
Sand-Cast To produce a casting by pouring molten metal into sand molds.
Soldering Joining metal pieces by heating and flowing an alloy with a lower melting point than the components to fill the seam.
Wrought Shaped by beating or hammering, often elaborately, for decorative effect. Wrought iron is also a low-carbon metal which can be elongated without breakage and is resistant to corrosion.
- This glossary was developed by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and is used with permission