Hannah Kyriakou - April 2022
My Making Process-A Little Glimpse
As a trained silversmith and goldsmith I have worked and experimented with many techniques to fine-tune my skills, my ultimate aim? To create heirloom pieces of jewellery that my customers will find unique and treasure forever. One of the most common questions I get asked is: how do your pieces looks so realistic?
A small part of that is down to a process called lost wax casting...
Most of my jewellery is made using a process called lost wax casting, which you may of heard of before but not quite know exactly what it involves. This method in particular allows me to create an exact replica of a piece of nature, such as a leaf, twig or acorn for example - to form a silver or gold piece which has the exact same shape and texture. I would love to share with you all a little more about the process. It’s a method which has been used for centuries and is used not only by jewellery makers but also by car manufacturers and ornament makers.
A little more about the process...
My starting point is always finding a piece of nature which I think would make a beautiful piece of jewellery, so I’m always on the look out for leaves and feathers when I’m out walking or combing the beach to hunt for shells. These piece are then the core component to start the casting process. Some of the pieces I may have to alter or strengthen to make sure they will cast, but the main aim for me is to keep the texture integral to the piece. Once I’m happy with that starting point I will then create a mould for the piece.
These moulds are created from a special silicon which allows me to to create a wax piece to use in the wax casting process. The wax piece is essential in the ‘lost wax casting’ process’. The process means that many wax models can be sprued onto a ‘tree’ (image below) that is then put into a flask which, when the wax is lost, in its place is a Sterling silver copy of that wax piece. This piece then becomes the starting point for me to form into a piece of heirloom jewellery, whether that’s a pendant, bangle, or ring. These pieces are as unique as the natural material they are cast from, and many of them will be limited to a certain amount as the moulds will not last forever and once they have been I will create another unique piece.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a bit more from behind the scenes, and you’ve learnt some more about my little business.
Making a mould of a new piece-I’ve been experimenting with some new types of shells, here’s a sneak peak!
Mould making of shells.
A wax tree and mould preparation.