I have been making one-of-a-kind jewelry and would like to consider
having some pieces cast. I have no idea of how to go about placing
an order or how to get what I need in the finished product. I need to
find a company that will work with a “small fry” and educate me a
little about how to order what I need and what to expect in the
finished product and how to get my stones to fit, etc.
Any recommendations for companies?
J. S. Ellington
I recomment Daniel Grandi, Racecar Jewelry. He was an honest and
thorough advisor in helping me prepare masters for the casting
process. The finished pieces were excellent quality. He is an Orchid
supporter and I believe you will be pleased. Here’s his website
http://www.racecarjewelry.com with email and phone info.
Judy in Kansas
Dan Grandi at Racecar
PO Box 10327
52 Glen Road
Cranston, RI 02910
I have used him for about nine years. His skills are very high. He
has amazing tools and he is a nice guy. He also teaches.
J.S., there are many casting companies. One here in the Bay Area is
I’ve known Gabe for years - there are many others that people wll no
doubt post here. If you are going to have molds made from master
models - as opposed to using a CNC design base in recent years- then
you need to make models, unless you’re going to pay to have them
made, which I doubt, from what you said.
Periodically we get students from the schools around here, and other
people too, wanting molds made of their pieces. The #1 problem they
all have is that they want to mold a piece of jewelry. Since the
typical shrinkage through the molding/casting process is 8-10%, what
they get is a piece that shrinks away, or even nothing at all. There
is cold molding and “no-shrink” rubber that works more or less well,
but even so, it matters. If your piece has a two inch long piece of
22ga wire sticking out, you won’t get it without extreme effort. If
your piece is made of 22ga, it’s going to come out as 24ga (or so). A
model is different than a piece of jewelry - prongs are a gauge
thicker, the shank is a bit heavier, on and on. A model is a piece
that’s built 10% bigger than the piece is wanted, and that’s done
selectively as to the pressures of mold making. I’m not suggesting
that you become a model maker overnight, but be aware that just
grabbing a stock piece off the shelf and expecting it to mold well
will bring you nothing but grief. Is the shank perfectly proportioned
and finished? If not, then every piece will come out with that
problem inherent in them. You will need to make a “perfect” model for
each design, one that is designed for molding, and maybe it will need
to be in more than one piece, to be assembled later. It’s not that
you can’t mold just about anything, it’s that the whole point is to
have the process run smoothly, without constant problems and repair
to the finished product… Good models accomplish that.
Dear J.S. I really enjoy working with Racecar Jewelry, they have
helped this small fry to make quality pieces that are difficult to
cast due to the type of finish I require. Daniel Grandi is the owner
and he is a wealth of and experience.
Sam Patania, Tucson
I can gladly recommend Racecar Jewelry Co., one of Orchid’s sponsors.
They can lead you by the hand, with plenty of experience and
expertise. Tell them right up front that you need to know how to make
a proper model, so you will start off right.
Speaking of production work…I am venturing into a new series of
work and am looking for someone who can do medium sized orders of
pieces to be laser welded. So far I’ve been working with a local
company (that I used to work for and am on good terms with). But
they are primarily a retail and repair operation. I hate to jam up
their schedule with 50 -100 zaps at a time for my series. I am
working with glass and silver and once the glass is set I have no
choice but to laser weld some elements. Does anyone know of a company
that I could send pieces to to be finished up? Cost is,
unfortunately, a factor and at this time I am not able to get a laser
welder and do it ‘in house’. Thanks in advance!