Creating Masters for Casting Fine Jewellery
Fine jewellery is most often created from a single master. Jewellery and sculptures have been created from masters for more than 5700 years.
Masters can be produced either by hand or CAD. Masters of organic pieces need to be crafted by hand. For other pieces which are more symmetrical we use CAD.
Once a design is complete we need to make a master. Handmade silver masters are used for pieces with an organic feel such as the London Road Jewellery Kew Collection, where golden falling leaves are whimsically scattered in clusters on a beautiful bangle, drop earrings and pendant necklace. Each piece in the Kew leaves collection was originally created in silver by craftsmen in the London workshop, adding fluted edges and textures to each of the falling leaves, a finish that looks fabulous when cast in a rich 9 carat gold.
For pieces which require absolute symmetry we would create a master using CAD technology. It is excellent for producing pieces of fine jewellery that are very technical in design. CAD – Computer Aided Designs are produced from the original drawings from jewellery designers. The design appears in 3D on screen and can be viewed and perfected from every angle. Once a design has been created, the information can then be used to produce a 3D model of the design, a wax master. Rapid prototyping is the technology used to build physical models from CAD data. The models can then be directly cast or moulded. Rapid Prototyped models are made up layer by layer. Should any changes be required to improve the jewelelry design, the CAD drawing is altered and a new wax master is produced. This process can be repeated until perfection is reached.
Lost wax casting
Lost-wax casting is a process used to create a piece of jewellery or sculpture in precious metal from a wax mould or an existing piece of jewellery. Lost-wax casting, also known as investment casting or precision casting has been identified as being used to produce jewellery and sculptures for more than 5700 years. The oldest know examples of this technique were found in southern Israel and have been carbon tested to date 3700BCE.
Lost wax casting is an effective way to produce unique jewellery designs, as well as reproduce timeless classics. A piece of jewellery can be created by making the piece in wax, carving every intricacy into the wax, exactly as you would like it to be in a precious metal.
Once a mold has been produced, a centrifuge is used to force molten precious metal into the investment mold where is it is left to set. When the metal has cooled and the mold is opened, a duplicate of the wax model will be released in the precious metal. The piece is then taken to the bench in the workshop where it is cleaned, filed and polished by hand to bring out all of the intricacies of a piece. During this stage precious gemstones can also be carefully set into the precious metal to complete a design.
London Road Jewellery takes great pride in using British jewellery specialists to produce the collection of fine jewellery. Each and every piece within the collection is designed and produced in the UK. Every piece is delivered from a specialist casting house in the UK and meticulously finished by highly skilled craftsmen in the London workshop. Stone setters Roger and Tom have been setting gemstones for London Road Jewellery for many years, with over 70 years experience between them. Whilst gemstones are sourced world wide for their vibrant colours, fabulous cuts and clarity, they are all carefully set at work benches in London.