ARTIST INFORMATION STATEMENT
Designer Jewelry – Lost Wax Casting in Gold with Diamonds and Semiprecious Stones
A majority of the jewelry is cast in 14K and 18K gold using the ancient lost wax method and mounted with diamonds and semiprecious stones. The original designs are first created using pin and ink sketches. Then the selected designs are rendered three-dimensionally in wax. This is accomplished using wax wires and sheets to initially block out the design. Steel sculpturing tools, heated with an alcohol lamp, add the finishing details to the design.
When gemstones are used, the wax is actually shaped around the stones, creating bezels, and prongs, directly in the wax for mounting of the stones, which are then removed before casting.
The casting process begins by welding the wax patterns on a series of sprues (wax wires) to form pathways for the gold to flow. The sprued patterns are placed in stainless steel flasks and covered with a special casting plaster. After the plaster hardens, the flasks are slowly heated in a kiln to 1350 degrees F until the entire wax and carbon residue evaporates. The flask temperature is lowered to 1100 degrees F and the molten gold is centrifugally cast into the voids in the plaster (where the wax once resided), thus duplicating the design in gold. After cooling, the flasks are plunged in water, the plaster falls away, and the gold items are finished with numerous filling, sanding and polishing steps. If stones are used in the design, these are set before the final polishing.
Initially, I started cutting gemstones in the mid-60’s after graduating from the University of Texas in Austin with a Masters degree. Special stones were cut for a number of local Austin jewelers, and I also taught faceting to several disabled Vietnam Veterans studying under the GI bill. My displays of cut stones won numerous first place awards in local gem shows.
My introduction to jewelry design and construction began in the late 60’s through several jewelry design courses taught by the Austin Gem and Mineral Society. My design skills were sharpened through drawing, oil, and watercolor classes at the Laguna Gloria Art Museum here in Austin. However, my present work, for the most part, is self-taught.
I do all of the jewelry work from the initial design, the waxwork, casting, final finishing, and stone setting. About half of the stones used in the designs are cut in my lapidary shop. Other stones used are carefully selected for their high quality, unique cuts, and color combinations.
Most of my work is sold at Arts and Craft Shows. I exhibit at 20
shows a year, mostly in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Check my Show Schedule for dates and locations. Several stores and galleries also feature my work, and I have most of my recent designs in the Jewelry Section of this web site.
Some of my awards:
Numerous Awards in Lapidary – Austin Gem and Mineral Society
Best in Jewelry Category - Kerrville Arts and Crafts Festival - May 2001-
Second in Category 2012
Second Best in Show Corpus Christi ArtFest - April 2002
Top in Jewelry Division – Ruidoso, NM Art Fair - July 2004
First in Jewelry – Angel Fire, NM Art Show – July 2005 and 2006
Best in Show - Angel Fire, NM Art Show -