Over 4,000 years ago, between the Tigrus and Euphrates Rivers in a land known as Mesopotamia, ancient artisans produced statuary and elaborate jewelry using natural beeswax for patterns, clay for molds and manually operated bellows for stoking the furnaces. Today this process is called the lost wax casting method.

  I was attracted to and have used this method (modernized) my entire career because of the freedom of sculptural possibilities it offers me. In addition, it is a great technique for allowing customer feedback and mid-course corrections when creating a new customized design.

  To create a new design using the lost wax method, I first create the jewelry pattern in exact detail out of sculpting wax. The wax piece is then encased in plaster and allowed to cure and dry. After the plaster has been allowed to dry it is then placed into a hot kiln so as to melt and burn away the wax pattern inside.

  When it is ready, the plaster, now with the hollow shape of the original wax pattern in it, is placed in a centrifugal jewelry casting machine. The centrifugal caster then spins the plaster mold around, forcing molten gold or platinum into the hollow spaces of the mold. After the metal inside of the plaster has been allowed to cool, the plaster is then dissolved away, revealing the original wax design pattern transformed into precious metal.

  Now comes the transformation, by hand, of this raw and rough casting into a precisely fashioned and finished piece of jewelry. I first saw off the gates of metal that fed the casting. Then I file the casting smooth to prepare it for sanding. I sand with three to five levels of finer and finer sand paper to prepare the surface for the buffing and polishing, next to come. When the piece is near complete any stones in the design are now seated and set, then on to the final polishing.

  This explanation is just a simplified version of all of the detailed steps and tools that I use to achieve the final out come. Producing a fine peace of jewelry is a highly skilled and precise task, but well worth it when you see and feel that original idea manifested and finished in your hand!