How does the lost wax method work?
At Oogst we work with the ‘lost wax technique’ a lot. All the more natural pieces in the collection are created with this technique as it is the best way to create flowy lines, interesting texture and naturalistic details. And it is a great technique to use when we create jewellery from heirloom gold. We get a lot of questions like “How can you make a perfect piece of jewellery from an old broken necklace and a dented hollow bracelet?”. So we decided to write this blog post.
The wax model is where it all starts. This wax model is created out of wax sheet or wax wire material, that is moulded into shape and melted together. As it is quite soft, in comparison to gold, it is very flexible and pliable, so the shapes become very lifelike. With its pink, green and blue colours it has a different look than the end result. The wax model shows you the shape, texture and size, it gives a very good impression of the result. We add a little wax stick to the outside of the model which will be the channel to cast the molten gold.
And how is the gold cast?
The wax model will be fixed in a tube. The tube will be filled up with plaster. After the plaster sets, the tube will be turned over and the bottom will be taken away. The plaster will be heated so the wax can run out. Now there is a cast with a hollow shape inside it. With a big burner the gold will be melted in a special ceramic pouring tray. Once the gold is liquid it is poured through the channel into the hollow form to fill up the cast. After cooling down we can break the plaster and take out the golden piece. This is then finished with sawing, filing, sanding and polishing to create the end result.
On our website we have many examples of jewellery that has been made with this ‘cire perdue’ or ‘lost wax method’. Quite a few are made with heirloom gold for this technique is perfect for the recycling of your own gold.