My question is this; does anyone know what the material is
that they used back then for this purpose? It is red in color,
shiny and hard...and where the impression is, it has more of a
frosted look. I tried to melt a corner of it with my wax pen, but
it barely melted. Certainly didn't react to heat like wax would. It
is not at all flexible. Almost feels shellacy when I score the
surface with a scalpel.
Hard sealing "wax" of the type you are describing is actually more
of a shellac mixtuRe:
The typical formula is 4 parts flake shellac, 1-3 parts Venetian
turpentine, 1 part rosin, and 1part coloring agent (anything from
chinese red, to gold leaf). It's really a closer cousin to dop wax
than anything else.
Next question; the impression is in positive , not a negative.
I had assumed that the hand engravers would make a wax impression
for their clients' approval but carving design in metal, warming it
and letting it sink into a sheet of wax. Once it cooled, it would
be pulled away, and presto..a negative of what was carved.
Actually, you heat the sealing wax in an open flame until it is
liquid and apply it to the surface, it will remain soft enough to
take a seal matrix impression for a good 20 to 30 seconds.
Traditional seal matrices are either a straight lost wax casting, or
a casting with engraving work added. A few simple ones were just
The sixteenth century goldsmith Cellini described the making of seal
matrices in his Treatises on Goldsmithing. The process likely
stayed pretty much the same until the advent of modern metal working
Seeing that this is in positive, including letters, I guess I
really don't know the process. And then; My plan was to invest this
"wax" seal, burn out, cast it in gold, then make a rubber mold of
it. Shoot a couple seals and adhere them to the tops of carved wax
signet rings, then casting in 18ky as he's requested. Make any
If they don't mind losing the original impression, it's not a bad
way to go for your stated goal.
Ron Charlotte -- Gainesville, FL
@Ron_Charlotte1 OR firstname.lastname@example.org