One of my favorite clay stories dates back to when I worked part-time in my friend’s bead store. A customer came in with a pair of jet earrings, one of which had cracked and broken at the top where the earwire attached to the jet. The earrings were family heirlooms and she was upset that she wouldn’t be able to wear them anymore.

With a quick bit of research, I discovered that jet is similar to coal or petrified wood (and therefore bakeable at 275 degrees F). I told the woman that I could try to fix her earrings with black polymer clay, and described how I would shape a new top for the earring and bake it together. I said I wasn’t sure it would work, but that I was fairly sure it wouldn’t ruin the earring either. She gave permission for me to try this repair. She’d been to several jewelry stores and they all said there was nothing that could be done.

I shaped a new top for the earring and baked it. The process worked better than I hoped. The clay bonded well with the jet, and the matte finish of the clay blended almost invisibly. The customer was so grateful that her favorite earrings were saved, and I was pleased that polymer clay could come to the rescue.