The Custom Jewelry Making Process

A five century old icon of courage in battle, is embattled again. Michelangelo’s “David” may not stand for long. The latter-day Goliath is a high-speed rail system to be built under the city of Florence this summer. The tunnel will be drilled only 2,000 feet from the marble statue.

As for Thankgkas (religion based paintings), according to K.B. Lama of Dharmapala Thangka Centre in Durbar Marg, one will be lucky to find genuinely antique Thangkas. ‘Nowadays very few old Thangkas come from Tibet,’ says Lama. He exports Thangkas to Europe and has held a lot of exhibitions abroad. A 6x4ft. Thangka depicting the Gelungpa Sect Lineage is priced at Rs. 4,00,000.00. A twin set of Thangkas depicting Dharmapala Manadala and Amituyus Buddha based on Japanese style costs Rs. 4,00,000.00.

Students will create a piece of work choosing their own design either from a pattern, drawing or photograph to transform from a wax model into a sturdy and beautiful bronze artwork. Designs are carved in wax, then centrifugally cast in this non-toxic, beautiful and hard alloy. Students can make a pendant, earrings, charm, small statue or key fob.

Lost Wax Casting is an ancient technique that has been used to create very complicated metal castings and involved pieces that would other wise be impossible either because of economic reasons or manufacturing reasons. Everyone from small jewelers to large industrial foundries can use precision casting. This process is also called Investment Casting when it is used in commercial industries. While jewelry makers are the primary ones to use the Lost Wax Casting, many others use it to achieve a number aims and goals. Lost fusione a cera persa is the ideal and preferred method for artists who are interested in making items like sculptures or rings from a variety of alloys like bronze, steel, or copper.

Among the earliest metal antiques in the country are statues of ‘Ganesh’, ‘Yaksani’, and ‘Narayan’ (all from 10th century A.D.). The impressively sculpted bronze statue of Queen Lalit Tripura Sundari is almost life size and is from the 20th century A.D.

To melt the bronze a temperature of at least 1800 degrees Fahrenheit is needed for approximately two to three hours .Once the firing is completed the molds are removed with the nails .facing upwards. Forceps are used to pick up the containers with the melted bronze so that the bronze can be poured into the molds through one of the nails.

The wax casts are then dipped into a mixture of plaster and sand. This is repeated many times. Each dipping has to dry thoroughly before the next. With each successive dip, the sand and plaster mixture gets more coarse. This results in a very strong shell being built up over the wax cast. After these shells have hardened, vents and ‘runners’ are added to allow the molten bronze to enter the shell, and for gases and excess metal to escape. The shells are then placed into a kiln and baked at very high temperatures. This heat causes the wax inside of the shell to melt away, leaving an exact image of the sculpture in the shell. This gives the process its name of ‘lost wax casting’. After baking, the shell is now a mold ready for molten bronze.

A hint of David’s fear shows in his furrowed brow. But because his head is some 16 feet in the air, the brow is not readily discernible. You also deny another of Michelangelo’s intentions. Portraying David in the nude emphasizes his vulnerability, rendering him all the more valiant. It was Michelangelo’s avowed aim, after all, to replenish the spirit of all who see David.

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