The Lost Wax Casting Process for Making Jewelry

By: SusanaGormen

How many times have you looked at a piece of your jewelry and wondered just how it was made. Is the meat carved? How is it created with such fine detail? The methods that are used to create the fine jewelry that you wear use the same technology that lifted civilization from the Iron Age to the Bronze Age.

In fact, many anthropologists theorize that ancient people stumbled onto the idea when molten copper melted out of chunks of copper ore that they had lined their fire pits with. Its called the 'lost wax' casting method and its the same method that ancient peoples developed to make copper and bronze axes and tools with.

To create a piece of jewelry using the lost wax method, the piece is first crated in exact detail out of sculpting wax. The wax piece is then encased in plaster and allowed to cure and dry. After the chunk of plaster has been allowed to dry it is then placed in a hot kiln so the wax piece inside of it can melt and burn out.

When it has cooled, the chunk of plaster with the hollow shape of the original wax piece in it is placed in a centrifugal jewelery casting device. The centrifugal caster then spins around and molten gold or silver is forced into the hollow spot in the chunk of plaster by centrifugal force.

After the the metal inside of the plaster has been allowed to cool, the plaster is then chipped away. What is revealed is a whatever was originally encased inside the plaster made of wax, only now it is made out of metal. Even things such as bugs and leaves can be encased in plaster and then reproduced in gold this way as long as they can be burned out in a kiln.

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