From Coin To Pendant
Step 1: The Sketch
Almost all jewellery begins with a sketch. Even though our inspiration was a coin we had, proportions and other technicalities are important to sketch out.
Sketches also include all design details.
Step 2: The Model
The sketched design is then carved into being by gifted artisans.This model must be perfect and flawless in every detail, since the final piece will only be as good as the model.
Using tools to carve and shave wax, the artisans create miniature sculptures.
Step 3: The Rubber Mold
The rubber mold is created by placing the wax model in an plaster that hardens in an oven, while burning away the wax model, leaving behind a Hathi Pendant shaped void.
Now that there is a rubber mold, any number of waxes can be created!
Step 4: The Wax Tree
To finally turn wax into gold, 10-20 wax models are placed on a large branching wax tree.
Positioning each piece on the tree must be done carefully, thicker pieces go on the bottom and thinner on the top.
Step 5: The Plaster Mold
When the tree is complete, the whole wax structure is placed in a flask. Liquid plaster is poured over it to encase the tree. The flask is then incinerated in an oven at temperatures as high as 1600° F for 12-16 hours.
A properly burned out flask will have no remaining residue of wax, leaving a hole in the plaster that is an exact replica of the wax tree.
Step 6: The Pour
The flask is then filled with molten gold or brass to bring the lost wax sculpture back to life as a precious metal.
After the metal hardens the mold is cracked and the golden tree is removed.
Step 7: Finishing
The pieces are then plated with gold through the process of chemical or electrochemical plating.
Finally each piece is buffed by hand, making sure that all the details and highlights shine.
All images by Tenzin Lhagyal.