Metalsmithing & Lost Wax Casting
The art of working silver into usable objects and jewellery.
The Redcliffe Gem Club provides the facilities and instruction to work with various precious and semi-precious metals, including gold, silver, copper, brass and bronze. Silver is the main metal that members work with, due to its relatively low cost and suitability for forming jewellery. The two chief techniques practised and taught at the club in this area, are silversmithing and lost-wax (or investment) casting. As implied by the name, silversmithing describes the art of working silver into usable objects and jewellery.
Although many members use silversmithing techniques to create settings for their various lapidary creations, some members choose to work exclusively with silver and other metals to create various objects and jewellery. Sawing, soldering, filing, polishing, texturing and burnishing are just some of the silversmithing skills taught at the club.
Lost-wax or investment casting describes the process by which wax replicas of objects (e.g. a ring or pendant) are replaced (or lost) with molten metal. The replicas can either be made from making a mould of the original object, pouring or injecting liquid wax into the mould and allowing it to set or by purchasing the wax replicas from a third-party manufacturer. The models are set with a tree-like structure (or sprue) on their base to provide a path for molten metal to flow along when the model is encased in a silica-based cast (or investment) and subject to centrifugal casting or vacuum casting. Both casting methods describe a process by which molten metal is forced along with the sprue and into the model of the desired object, inside the containment vessel or investment.
More information about gem faceting can be found by clicking here.