Craft & Design
Hand Made Jewelry Through “Lost-Wax” Casting Methods
A gold dragon ring, handcrafted by an artisan's metal cast wax sculptures
A gold dragon ring, handcrafted by an artisan’s metal cast wax sculptures

With 3D printing on the rise and at the forefront of most industries technology efforts, it is both refreshing and perplexing to see anything made by hand. Particularly wax sculptures, but here you are, not everyone has lost the romance of hand-crafted artisan processes. In this day and age of zero-crafting skill 3D printing, I admire and respect this wax sculptor for her skill and efforts.

Lost-wax casting is an ancient process that casts a metal sculpture from an original sculpture, typically made of wax or another soft, melt-able material. The oldest lost-wax cast sculpture was found in the Cave of Treasure in Israel, and has been dated back to c. 3700 BC. I find this fascinating! It’s 2014 and we have artists using methods that are over 5700 years old.

Daphna has a flair for creating little animal rings, and starts by creating a sketched drawing, which she then turns into a full 3D wax sculpture, which can be seen below.

Step one.. the shape. Then chip away everything that is not a bulldog
Artist, Daphna's hand-crafted sculpture of a bulldog
Artist, Daphna’s hand-crafted sculpture of a bulldog

This sculpture is then turned into a ring by casting it with silver, bronze, brass, or gold. The process is called lost-wax casting, since the wax sculpture is lost in the process (i.e. it melts away and metal takes it’s place). The finished product can be seen below from concept, to a full-fledged metal ring. I guess robots will never take over everything, if these artists have something to say about it. See more about this process and a bunch more pictures at Daphna’s gallery.

A finished bulldog ring, created by covering the wax sculpture in silver, brass, bronze, or gold
A finished bulldog ring, created by covering the wax sculpture in silver, brass, bronze, or gold


11 thoughts on “Hand Made Jewelry Through “Lost-Wax” Casting Methods

  1. Of course this would also probably work with 3d printing. They can’t print in metal very well yet, so a soft meltable plastic might be able to be printed and then replaced with metal. I prefer to do it by hand myself, but it is nice to be able to print out 10 at a time.

    1. typically with lost wax you take your original, whatever it may be made of, and make a mold of it. Then you make castings in wax and do the lost wax process. This way you can make lots of copies even on one metal pour. You also wouldn’t need to start completely over if you had a bad pour (voids, inclusions whatever) just make some more waxes. I worked at a large art foundry that is still 100% lost wax.

    2. Another great use of printing the originals is scaling. I have a very hard time resizing designs to fit properly on multiple finger sizes or taking a pendant to make earrings. In the past I would use shrinking PMC to scale down, but think of it, type in the ring size dimensions and the design is replicated perfectly for the wearer!

    3. 3D printing with metals can be done very well (well enough for industrial processes). Note I said nothing about it being cheap. However, if you have the money and want a prototype, single item, or replacement for something that’s no longer manufactured, 3D printing can produce what you need.

    4. Yes, I was talking more about the small scale guy that just wants to print up a few small thing, but wants to sell them too. Industrial 3d printers are not always easy to get a hold of.

  2. Our Art Dept. casts directly from 3D prints in PLA…the corn-based plastic burns out nicely when casting bronze.

  3. How to make jewelry through Lost-Wax method?
    According to this article, the same as you draw an owl.

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