Do you have a great idea for a metal pendant or charm but you need someone else to help with the design and production? Though there are a number of methods available for constructing a metal pendant or charm, more than likely, you would need to use a method called casting to produce the finished jewelry product.
In this process, a wax (or sometimes plastic) mold is used to create a piece of jewelry. This wax mold, called a pattern, is first weighed so the amount of metal required to fill the mold (gold, silver, etc.) can be determined. Then the mold is attached to a base, and a flask is fit over the base. Once the mold is in the flask, a kind of plaster that looks like pancake batter called investment is mixed up, put in a vacuum to get all the air bubbles out of it, and then poured into the flask. It is then left to dry and harden. This takes a minimum of two hours.
Once the investment is dried, the base and flask are removed. Now the piece is put into a kiln to burn out the wax. Next, a centrifuge is used to force the melted metal into the investment mold. Finally, the piece is cleaned up by filing and polishing it.
Sounds like a lot of work! Actually, once you learn the process, it’s not that difficult; however, along with some expertise, it does require some specialized equipment, so not everyone wants to go so far as to make her own cast jewelry pieces. What, then, is the alternative? You can pay a casting service to make them for you. A casting service takes your mold and can duplicate it as many times as you’d like using a similar casting process to what was just described. Cost depends on a number of variables such as the type of metal, size of the item, number of jewelry pieces you want to cast, and whether you want them to be completely finished – file, cleaned, and polished – our if you plan to do that yourself.
Most casting services can help you through the entire process. Even if you don’t have the ability to carve your original mold to send to them, some will also be able to do this for you as well.