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[Looking4] Jewelry casting stones-in-place


#1

I made a ring in wax and have mounted all the diamond accent stones.
I read this was the new latest and greatest way to get castings done

  • until I called my casting company. They told me this is ‘old
    school’ and nobody does this any more.

I need at least one ring made, and depending on what their comments
are on my ability (the % liklihood it will cast OK) will determine
if I do it in silver or gold. CAN ANYONE ECOMMEND A SOURCE for
casting rings with Stones-in-Place?

Help… and thanks for the advice


#2
I made a ring in wax and have mounted all the diamond accent
stones. I read this was the new latest and greatest way to get
castings done - until I called my casting company. They told me
this is 'old school' and nobody does this any more. 

Latest and greatest 25 years ago, perhaps. Not any more. But it’s
still done, especially with lower end high volume production, such
as what’s common in India and China and other such places. Some of
those folks have it down to quite a science. Done poorly, the result
is absolutely useless crap jewelry that shouldn’t be sold to anyone.
Done right, and it can take a careful look by someone who knows what
to look for, to determine that the stones weren’t hand set. But
doing this right tends to be something that normally takes some trial
and error to get the molds just right. It’s not generally a "one off"
sort of method, though of course it can be if you wish. But doing it
that way, especially if you’re chosing this method because you are
not confident in your normal stone setting skills, may be a mistake.
Better, in that case, to job out the setting work to a skilled
setter, I think.

The trick with stone in place casting is that this isn’t just a
matter of popping your diamonds into the wax and using some special
magic to have it cast. The casting operation is almost the easiest
part of it. The real key to whether it works is the design of your
mounting and how the stones are set in the wax. Done right, they are
not set as you would do in metal. You want less contact between
stone and wax than you’d want setting directly in metal, to reduce
both heat shock to the stones and the force of shrinkage stresses,
and also so that there is enough contact area between the stones and
the investment on both top and bottom of the stones, so they are held
firmly in position. Done wrong, and you can burn or break stones, or
have them slip out of position during burnout or casting. The result
of all this is that if there are any errors in the design of the
mounting for this method, the stones will not stay secure. It’s not
as simple as it sounds.

Hope that helps
Peter Rowe


#3

Matt- I’d recommend that you learn to set stones in metal after the
piece is cast. Yes stones can be cast in place, but it’s often just a
way to avoid setting stones. The results are often less than
satisfactory and it’s difficult to clean up the settings afterwards.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer
www.timothywgreen.com


#4

Matt,

I made a ring in wax and have mounted all the diamond accent
stones. I read this was the new latest and greatest way to get
castings done - until I called my casting company. 

This is NOT old school… its done every day. Most casting houses
won’t do it because if there is an “OOOPS” they can be in real
trouble. As well… your jewelry item is seldom, if ever cast
alone… it is normally cast with a dozen other pieces. Thats the
only way a caster can make money. If they wash your stones out and
they get loose in a flask of a dozen pieces… the caster just lost
their tail feathers! Casting stones in place is one of those things
that you are a hero when you pull off the trick… but mess it up
and your reputation is dirt. This can & does go wrong. It takes a lot
of skill and the most thorough understanding of casting you can
imagine.

I would suggest you find a local…highly experienced jeweler that
has cast in place before…successfully… and get the job done. My
guess would be that most that do this technique would be like me… I
would want to set the stones in the wax myself… nothing against
what you have done, but there are many many tricks to making casting
in place a success story.

Good Luck! Dan.
http://www.dearmondtool.com


#5

Jo,

I think your post is absolutely right.

There is some thinking that stone-in-place casting is a viable
short-cut, which avoids having to set stones later in the finished
piece. Some do use this method and get some unbelievable results, but
unless you’ve got super clean wax carving and wax finishing skills,
your finished castings ( now set with stones ) will come out needing
considerable sanding and polishing to look finished. The problem
comes in when you are sanding or finishing metal around already set
stones. If you’re not really careful, you can scratch the set stones.

The other issue is the fact that gemstones are going through the
extreme temperatures of the casting process. Only certain stones can
be used in this process, and sometimes things can go horribly wrong.

When I was a goldsmith on Maui in the late 70’s, I had some friends
who ran a jewelry mfg. co. in Lahaina. George Benson, the jazz
musician who lives on Maui, came in to have some custom work done on
a big ring he wore with the letters “GB” set with 20 pt. diamonds.
George wanted to have a wide yellow gold border put around his white
gold “GB” ring top. My jeweler friends thought the only practical way
to do it was to make a wax model around his existing ring, and cast
with his “BG” diamond ring in place.

Long story short, the casting frosted every diamond in his ring, and
the jewelers had to pay to replace every stone in his ring. Ouch!

Jay Whaley


#6

Replies so far:

a couple state forget it and mount the stones after casting like a
real jeweler

a couple state it can be done, but be careful

Nobody has suggested a casting house that will do this one. I gather
I will scrap the idea and start over the way I have done my other
items.

But why do suppliers list they have supplies for this great process,
when nobody will cast it?

Matt


#7
But why do suppliers list they have supplies for this great
process, when nobody will cast it? 

Because virtually everyone doing this is doing their own casting in
house. Stone in place casting is not so often jobbed out to casting
houses. The manufacturers doing this retain control over the whole
process from original model, to mold, to stone selection and
setting, and casting, and can refine and tweak things as needed to
get their desired results. Often, it will take several tries and
modifications on a new design to get it working right. When you’re
doing the wax work and stone setting (in the wax, or injecting the
wax into a mold containing the stones so the wax is pulled from the
rubber mold with stones already in it) and then turning it over to
the caster, you then expect great results. But the caster doesn’t
have all the info yet, and isn’t given multiple tries to get it right
for that design. Not a greatly satisfying experience for the
craftsman, and an even less profitable experience for the caster.
That’s why you’re not finding casting houses to do it for you.

Peter


#8
But why do suppliers list they have supplies for this great
process, when nobody will cast it? 

Because jewelers are casting it for themselves in their own studios,
and bearing all the risk right there.

M’lou