I am going to give a very basic tutorial just to show you that it is truly easy to make something like this without any training (I am completely self-taught!)
The main item you need, obviously need silver clay. You can get clay like this in gold, bronze and silver. But with the price of gold being what it is, start with silver! I use Art Clay Silver. Get the slow drying version or you will be rushed and it won't turn out well.
You will also need a olive oil, a stamp, a cookie cutter, a brayer, gloves, plastic guide/gauge strips, something to dome the piece ( I used the bottom of a soda can that I cut open, I will show that later), A self igniting butane torch, firing block, large tweezers, a stop watch, sand paper, nail file, stainless steel brush, thin pointed files. I know it seems like a lot, but I got all of this in a kit from Fire Mountain Gems. Here is a link to it.
First you need to put on the gloves and coat your hands and work surface (I use a floor tile) with olive oil. This will prevent the clay from sticking. Then you need to condition the clay (just like polymer clay)
Just mash it up, fold it over and repeat. Silver clay is so soft, you will only need to do it a few times. Plus, you need to remember, this stuff has to air dry when you are finished, so time is an issue.
Then roll it out using your plastic gauge strips and your brayer.
I made this picture bigger to see that after I rolled it out, I used a heart stamp and pressed well, but not hard into the surface. Make sure you oil the stamp first, or it will stick and you will never get it out of the stamp!
Cut it out using an exacto knife (Sorry no picture). Then carefully remove the outer pieces of clay till all that is there is the heart. Take a clay blade like this one and carefully lift up the piece. Then grab something to dome it with. I cut the bottom off of a soda can and use that.
Make sure you use an exacto knife to put a little whole some where on the silver, otherwise you have to have a bail and its easier to just use jump rings with the finished product.
Let it dry completely. You will notice the color change from grey to white, this is what you want. Generally speaking, I usually give it a day, to make extra sure it is dry, if it is wet in anyway when you fire it, it will have drastic effects to the silver.
Once it is dry, you need to file it. I had to learn the hard way to carefully file your clay. easy small strokes to get the edges smooth. Honestly, I have come to realize the less you have to file, the better. However, you need to know it is really hard to file it once it is fired, so make sure you did what ever filing you are going to do before the firing process.
Then you fire it. I will be honest. I didn't take any pictures of the firing process. Mainly for safety reasons. Its fire with a torch. I thought my focus needed to be on the project at hand and not the pictures. So, instead I found the perfect video on YouTube that demonstrates the process perfectly, enjoy!
Once it is fired, you will need to burnish it with your brass brush and a polishing cloth helps too! Once again, I did not take pictures of this part but I found a video telling you how to burnish, its pretty simple, just brush the piece till it's silver then polish it.
Then, once its silver and polished, use jump rings to connect it to your cording and add embellishments.
My mom really liked her necklace and I think it means more that I made it myself!!
Love you mom! Happy Birthday!