Things You'll Need
- Jewelers wax
- Wax tool or craft knife
- A metal flask
- Kiln or oven
- Forge or high temperature industrial burner
- Centrifuge or vacuum
- Engraving tool
- A rubber base
Making silver jewelry using a wax cast allows you to make your own designs that as as elaborate as you skill allows. The actual wax is very pliable and very precise engravings and designs can be carved. The technique is referred to as lost wax casting because the wax is actually consumed in the firing process leaving a hollow cast in plaster. This plaster cast can be used over and over again allowing you to create large quantities of your favorite designs. Here is a good overview of the process involved in making a silver ring from a wax cast.
Wax cast a silver ring
Cut off a small piece of jewelers wax and carve a ring to your finger size from it using the wax tool. Use the engraving tool or any precise instrument to engrave any design you want into the wax sides of the ring. Leave a wax stem at the underside of the ring.
Mount the ring using the stem you carved unto a rubber base and place inside the flask. Mix the chrystobolite with water and pour into the flask until the ring is well covered.
Put the flask in the kiln or oven on high heat until the wax is burned out (ten to twenty minutes) and the chrystobolite mixture becomes plaster. Remove flask from oven with tongs and let cool.
Remove chrystobolite plaster from the flask, turn upside down and remove rubber base. The wax stem should have left a hole into the plaster that leads to the ring cast inside.
Heat the silver on the forge or burner until it is molten, using tongs for the handling of all instruments. When the silver is molten, pour it through the hole in the plaster.
Use either a vacuum or a centrifuge to draw all bubbles out of the silver and to ensure that it completely fills the ring cast.
Let the flask and silver completely cool. When it is around room temperature you can begin to carve out your silver ring from the chrystobolite plaster.
Use the sander and the craft tool to work away the silver stem at the base of your ring. Your ring can now be polished and cleaned and is ready for use.
High temperatures are dangerous and this process should only be attempted under proper experienced supervision.
Based in San Francisco, Ocean Malandra is a travel writer, author and documentary filmmaker. He runs a major San Francisco travel website, is widely published in both online and print publications and has contributed to several travel guidebooks to South America.