How a cast silver pendant is made
Let me show you how my latest batch of sterling silver pendants were made!
This process is called lost wax casting, which is a method that goes back thousands of years.
It starts with carving an item out of wax...
The wax figure is fixed onto a wax stem called a sprue. Eventually this stem becomes the channel that the silver will be poured through. Here I've put several pieces onto one sprue, so they'll be cast all at once.
Then it all goes into a metal flask...
The flask is filled with liquid "investment," similar to plaster, which dries into a mold.
Once the investment is dry, it has to sit in a super hot kiln for a few hours. During that time, all the wax burns away, leaving an empty mold. Now it's time to cast, and fill that negative space with metal!
Tiny granules of silver are heated in a crucible with a torch, and then poured into the hole left by the sprue (the flask has been flipped upside down).
Then once you dissolve the plaster away, you're left with a complete silver replica of the wax carvings.
Then you cut the pieces off the sprue and file/polish to perfection!
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how much work goes into a piece of cast silver. This doesn't even touch on what it takes to carve something out of wax- whew. It's a super exciting process though, there's no feeling like pouring molten metal!