How is Jewelry Made - the Whole Process Explained

Author: Shelia Foster

Have you ever wondered as you looked at a piece of gold jewelry just how it it was made. How did the jeweler start out with raw bulk product and end up with the finished product. Jewelery is created using many methods but the most common method is by the “lost wax” casting method. It was developed in ancient times and it is still used to this day, although modern tools are now used.

The reason that is is called lost wax is, because the object that is to be created is first sculpted out of wax to the exact specifications that the finished product is going to look like. After the wax sculpture is completed it is then encased in a silica encasement or in the case of jewelery it is then encased in plaster. Then after the plaster encasement has hardened and dried it is put into an oven or kiln. This will cause the wax to melt and burn out leaving its hollow image inside of the plaster encasement.

Then the plaster encasement with the hollow shape of the piece of jewelry is placed into a casting centrifuge which is a device that will use centrifugal force to drive molten gold down through an opening in the chunk of plaster where it will fill the hollow spot left by the wax melting out. After it has cooled the plaster is broken open to reveal a piece of gold jewelry where the wax sculpture once was.

Its the same technique that is used to create larger bronze sculptures, only with bronze it is done on a larger scale and the centrifugal caster isn't used. The lost wax casting method was what was used to bring civilization out of the Iron Age and into the Bronze Age. In ancient times primitive metal smiths would use bees wax to shape objects such as axes and arrow heads. These was objects were then encased in clay and placed in the bottom of fire pits to burn off.

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