Polymer clay is a synthetic modeling material that has been used by artists for the last few decades. For a fascinating account of the development of polymer as an art material, you can’t go past Elise Winter’s PolymerArchive site.
When it is raw, polymer clay is soft and pliable and you can stamp it, texture it, mix it with other materials and blend it to create new colours. It becomes hard when cured which can be done in an ordinary oven at relatively low temperatures. After curing it can be carved, scratched, sanded, painted, polished and further altered. It comes in a range of colours although the colours I use are generally hand mixed from the standard colours.
There are many brands of polymer and different types are good for different styles and conditions. Monsoonal heat and the need for strength and flexibility dictate my choice of clay (Kato Clay) but I also like Kato because it polishes to a high sheen. Polishing is a laborious and time consuming process but the results are worth it.
Jewellery made from polymer is durable, fade-resistant and water-proof. Use your common sense and give your hand-made, lovingly-made jewellery the respect it deserves. Polymer can be cleaned using a soft cloth and warm soapy water if required. Rubbing with a rough towel will restore the shine on a previously polished piece if it has dulled. Do not store cured polymer jewellery with uncured clay.