Elaborate Silver crafts |Japanese traditional crafts


Japanese traditional crafts for Elegant and gorgeous, Silver crafts  

As the name suggests, silversmithing ( or silver crafts) is a product made from silver. The name “silversmithing” refers to small ornaments and interior goods mainly composed with pure silver. The history of the silver age dates back to B.C., but it was not until the Edo period (1603-1868) that silversmithing became active in Japan. In other words, it has a history of more than 400 years in Japan.

The main reason for its development during this period was the development of silver mines. As the demand for silver increased, more company and people began to develop silver mines all over Japan, and the silversmithing industry also developed at once thanks to the development of mining technology. For example, in Akita, Osaka, and Nara prefectures, where silver production was abundant. Distinctive silversmithing flourished in each region. For copper products, You can see Takaoka copperware, Tsubame copperwork.

As explained in a previous article here, traditional Japanese crafts often differ greatly in characteristics and manufacturing methods from region to region. For example, Tokyo silverware and Akita silver wirework are different from each other even in the same form of silverwork as follows. The explanation of the manufacturing process is quite maniacal in content, so if you are interested, please read it. We have listed some silver craft products at the bottom of this page, so please check them out.

Production Process of silver crafts

Tokyo silver crafts

silver crafts
picture from Tokyo silverware

1. Forging

(a) To make it easier to process, the base metal get annealed by heating to soften it.

(b) Craftsmen draw scratches in the required area of the silver  with a compass, and cut the area on the silver plate to carve away from the rest of silver.

(c) For a round shape, they place the silver plate in the hollow of the base and hammer into the shape of the base with a wooden hammer. Then they form the round shape of silver by hammering the silver plate into the using a hammer and a tool called an “adze” (a metal hammer).

(d) The hardened base metal stays raw and continues to be hit with hammer. And then, the plate turns in to hardened ingots. Hitting the ingots still goes.

(e) The metal then transforms into a certain shape of a pattern. The pattern on the hammer, such as a rock or a tortoise shell pattern, is hammered into the metal.

2. Chokin and Kiribame

Chokin” is a technique of engraving patterns with a chisel.

(a) The design is copied onto gampi-shi paper and pasted on the censer. Grease the inside of the censer to make it easier to drive a chisel into the censer.

(b) A “hariuchi” is done to mark a mark for engraving with a chisel.

(c) Different types of chisels are used to create patterns.

Kiribame” is a technique to cut out the patterned part of the base metal and fit another metal.

(a) The silver plate is first polished and flattened on an anvil.

(b) Gampi-shi is pasted on the silver plate, and the pattern of the base metal is cut out.

(c) The cut-out portion of the base metal is cut out by placing another piece of metal over the cut-out portion of the base metal and “gaki” it off.

(d) Concentrate on the fingertip and fit the design into the base metal.

(e) Apply borax and silver solder to the inlayed area. Shave off the raised portion of the silver solder and smooth it with a whetstone.

3. Finishing

1.Stewed finish

(a) Incense burners that have been cut and fitted are sharpened using Suruga charcoal, etc.

(b) Incense burners that have been cut and fitted are sharpened using Suruga charcoal, etc. Polishing sand and baking soda are used for cleaning.

(b) The fabric is polished by “arashi-uchi,” which removes the luster and makes it more austere.

(c) Clean with baking soda and powder horn,
and remove the oxide film with ume vinegar. Soak in the juice of grated radish.

(d) Color it with boiling water in which copper sulfate and greenish blue are dissolved in water, then rinse it with water and finish it off with “nikkoshiki-tsuki” (stewing and coloring).

2.Kinkofurubi (gold antique beauty) finish

(a) Remove grease and care of the fabric with polishing sand and baking soda.

(b) Coarse Kongo sand is applied, followed by golden sanding.

(c) Make a solution of “kinfurubi” and apply it to the base metal with a cotton ball soaked in the solution, then expose it to the sun.

(d) The darkened surface is then cleaned with horn powder and baking soda. Finish while observing the overall condition.

Akita silver crafts

-About bullion-


Silver is used as the material. Silver is second only to gold in terms of properties and ductility, is a scientifically stable material, and is easy to work with, making it highly attractive. It also has excellent physical properties, making it suitable for a variety of uses.

2.Ingot Blowing (Melting)

The process of making pure silver materials is called “inganebuki,” or “sasabuki” when small, easy-to-measure silver grains are used.

When the ingots are melted in the crucible and become rounded by surface tension, a little borax (a kind of mineral) is added, and impurities in the hot water (molten metal) are removed with the tip of a graphite rod, together with borax. The ake mold is made of iron.


The resulting ingots are in the same state as castings and are not solid. If it is rolled with a rolling roll or a hammer from the beginning, the ingots may crack or the corners may be cracked.


A process in which various materials are simultaneously formed and extended by rolls.

-Machining process-

The production of silver wirework begins with the process of making silver wire from silver sheet. However, due to cost considerations, finished silver wire is currently purchased from bullion wholesalers.

The process consists of

  1. silver wire,
  2. wire twisting,
  3. rolling,
  4. frame making,
  5. flat wrapping,
  6. flat fitting,
  7. waxing,
  8. yose-matching,
  9. coloring,
  10. finishing, in that order.

First, two or three thin silver wires of 0.2 to 0.3 mm in diameter are twisted together to form a rope-like thin twisted wire. This is then rolled and flattened to form a wavy shape on both sides of the wire.

Next, a frame is made with silver wire 0.5 to 1 mm in diameter, and the hirato is wound spirally with tweezers or fingertips and inserted into the frame.

These parts are then put together one by one to form a three-dimensional shape of flowers, plants, animals, etc. After the pieces are made, impurities are washed off with dilute sulfuric acid, and then the coloring is completed. Silver work combined with jewelry, cloisonne, etc. are also made.


(1) Making silver wax

Silver wax is made by mixing and melting silver and brass in a certain ratio. The ratio of 10:3 silver to brass is called 3-minute wax, and 10:5 is called 5-minute wax. It can be made into thin sheets or ground into powder by filing. The powdered wax is rubbed together with borax and water using a mortar and pestle until it becomes a thick, smooth wax, and then it is applied to the joints and waxed. The melting point temperature at this point is around 650℃. Traditionally, powdered wax has been the mainstream in Akita.

(2) Winding method for hirado

The twisted wires are rolled on a flat roll, bundled into a round bundle, annealed, untied, and cut to the required length. The end of the wire is then pinched with tweezers and coiled, then removed from the tweezers and coiled by hand. The wire is then rolled until it reaches the size of the outer frame line, and inserted into the frame with tweezers. In addition to hirado, small parts such as arabesque, nonoji, arabesque, and katauzu are also used.

(3) Color Finishing of Products

A 2% solution of dilute sulfuric acid is made and the temperature is set to 50 to 100 degrees Celsius. The product is then annealed and placed in dilute sulfuric acid at the same time to remove impurities and make it pure white.

Next, the product is polished with a metal bar, and a silver antioxidant is used. Silver tends to oxidize and darken, but if it is kept out of the air by an antioxidant coating, it will last for four or five years. However, it will participate in the process over a long period of time, so this is an issue that will be studied in the future.

Recommended Products


Price : $169.05 

necklace silver cafts
Picture ©BECOS
Picture ©BECOS


 Price : $169.05 

Picture ©BECOS
Picture ©BECOS

The silver crafts are wonderful combination of soothing colors and the gorgeousness created by the beautiful luster. It is the perfect partner to make you behave with elegance not only on special occasions, but also in everyday life.

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