The Art of the Wax Process
The lost wax process is an ancient, multi step, and highly effective method of producing cast metal jewelry. Goldsmiths Dealers in Dreams utilizes this technique in approximately 70.0% of its gold and platinum jewelry.
The lost wax process is the preferred technique for replicatory highly detailed small areas.
It is an 8 step process.
A wax model is carved from a variety of specialized waxes. These waxes range from hard pre-formed sticks or blocks to soft sticky matter. The hard waxes are used by sawing off portions and sculpting out areas using dental-like tools, files, rasps, and scalpels. “Sticky wax” is used for the building up process. Layers or mounds can be created to give height or depth. Sticky wax is also used for stone holding settings or bezels.
After the artisan has completed the wax model, there is a meeting with the client. The client can examine the wax model and discuss any changes(if needed) with the artisan.
A wax rod is then connected to the model. The rod and model are both weighed to calculate the amount of metal needed to complete the job. Both the rod and the model are placed on a rubber cap.
A metal cylinder is then secured around the cap, creating a seal. Special liquid material called investment (like plaster of Paris) is then poured into the sealed cylinder.
This cylinder is then placed inside a bell jar where a vacuum is created. This is important to insure there are no traces of air bubbles . Bubbles must be avoided at all costs. Bubbles create “Bad Castings.” Bad castings have small holes created by the bubbles.
The filled cylinder is then placed in the burn out oven. The burn out oven is a small oven lined with heat resistant blocks. This oven is where the “lost wax” occurs. The cylinder is heated for a slow curing at approx. 800 to 900 degrees. (6 to 8 hours depending on the size of the item being cast.) First the investment will harden. Next the wax will evaporate leaving an exact inverse impression (or cavity) of the wax model.
The cylinder is gingerly lifted by long thongs and placed in an automatic centrifugal cast machine. This machine is a large metal tub. Inside this tub are 2 interconnected items. The first item is a metal bed and clip where our cylinder rests. Directly next to the cylinder is the “dragon.” The dragon is a ceramic crucible with a cavity. This cavity is filled with a pre-calculated amount of metal. This amount is determined by wax to metal ratio’s. (Simply put – enough metal to fill the cavity in the cylinder.)
The metal is melted in the dragon by a thermostat that is preset on the melting point of 14kt./18kt./20kt. gold or platinum. When the metal becomes liquid an arm swings around at high speed creating a centrifical effect. (The dragon and cylinder spin around the tub at high speed.) During this process the metal is “thrown” inside the cylinder filling it and creating a positive metal casting. This completes the “lost wax casting process.” There is of course, several finishing/polishing (and stone setting if needed) steps before your Creative Goldsmiths masterpiece is complete.
DID YOU KNOW!
AMETHYST Amethyst, a sister stone to citrine, is deep purple colored quartz. Fine amethyst is usually found in Brazil… TELL ME MORE >