According to the Tim McCreight’s classic jewelry making book, Complete Metalsmith, “Annealing is the process of reducing stress within metal by heating to a prescribed temperature.” Tim refers to metal here, but this definition also is true for glass.

In the case of glass, such as lampwork beads or fused glass pendants for example, proper annealing is necessary or the glass can eventually shatter. For metal, there are a few reasons to anneal. First, it relieves internal strains, which usually come from previous cooling. Another use for metal annealing is to soften the metal in order to make it malleable enough to work with, especially if it has been work hardened (stiffening or hardening metal by bending, hammering, or stretching it).

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