Check out the process of lost-wax casting...also know as investment casting, precision casting, and cire perdue. (video above)
At lelamooi we begin the process with lots of ideas and inspiration, a pad of paper, pens and a little magic. Sometimes a design is created with a particular gem in mind. Once a direction is clear, various angles are drawn out and shared with Master Metalsmith, Jimi Fortune. The new design is further discussed and Jimi interprets what he sees and hears into a 3D piece carved out of wax. Further adjustments are made until we land on the vision.
At this point Master Metalsmith Caster, Steve Godwin, steps in. He creates what is called a master mold off of the final wax (we'll use a ring as an example). A perfected master mold is essential. Jimi can then make multiple wax rings off of the master, with just small adjustment for size or gem choices. In larger casting Steve will take multiple wax rings and attach them to a form, creating what is called a wax tree. The wax rings are attached with a sprue, which forms a channel for the metal to enter the mold.
The wax tree is then put into a cylinder, which is filled with a plaster-like material called investment. A vacuum removes all the air from the cylinder to create a perfect mold of the tree. The cylinder is kiln fired to harden the investment and melt the wax away. The mold now has a tree-shaped cavity ready for casting. The hardened mold is placed inside the casting machine and filled with molten metal, which creates what is termed the casting tree. After the metal is poured and set the investment is washed out, leaving behind freshly cast rings attached to the sprue and tree. The rings are then removed from the tree and go back to Jimi, where they are polished and set with the perfect gem. Voila a lelamooi treasure!
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