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Matte Glazes Safe On Jewelry?


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Hello Good potters,

I've just made some stoneware pendants, finished in a dry matte glaze. Are glazes that are not food safe, such as dry matte or those marked with a 'CL' caution label (using commercial glazes) safe to use on jewelry that will be touching the skin? Many thanks--

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It depends on the glaze. If it is matte but still has well formed glass that does not leach, then it will likely not be an issue. If it is a dry matte because it is underfired, then there is the potential for it to leach when in constant contact with the oils on the skin. Will someone have an allergic reaction? Probably not except in severe cases, but it could discolor the jewelry or their skin.

 

Food safety and the CL label are two different issues. The CL label means that it is toxic in the form in which is is purchased, i.e. the liquid or powdered glaze. Food safety has to do with whether or not is safe for contact with food after it is fired. A glaze can have the CL label and still be food safe. A glaze can be certified AP Non-toxic and not be food safe.

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Thanks for the reply, Neil. The mattes I used were Cone 6 and I fired them to a 5 1/2 according to a witness cone, so I don't think they're underfired, but they did feel kind of 'sandy' right out of the kiln. I'm pretty sure they'll attract dirt like a magnet. Maybe I'll stick to food safe glazes on the parts that touch skin, just to be sure they don't cause any issues for the wearer. Looks like I need to do some reading on how glazes leach, I'd been under the impression that jewelry was classified as 'non-functional' and so had sort of skipped through those parts (these are the first dry mattes that I've tried, though). Back to the books, then!

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Thanks for the reply, Neil. The mattes I used were Cone 6 and I fired them to a 5 1/2 according to a witness cone, so I don't think they're underfired, but they did feel kind of 'sandy' right out of the kiln. I'm pretty sure they'll attract dirt like a magnet. Maybe I'll stick to food safe glazes on the parts that touch skin, just to be sure they don't cause any issues for the wearer. Looks like I need to do some reading on how glazes leach, I'd been under the impression that jewelry was classified as 'non-functional' and so had sort of skipped through those parts (these are the first dry mattes that I've tried, though). Back to the books, then!

 

Many matte glazes, especially those that are very dry and sandy, are actually just underfired glazes that could be fired much hotter in order to fully melt.

 

With allergies being so common these days, I'd stick with something glossier, at least on the back side of the jewelry, where it will touch the skin. Go nuts on the front.

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