We have a cabinet in our kitchen that always seems to collect all sorts of loose ends from around the house. Last month I was sorting through this catchall when I discovered Alissa has a lot of old gold jewelry she never wears (with good reason… some of this stuff was really ugly). It seemed like such a waste so it got me thinking about how we could reuse this precious metal. I did a little checking around and it turns out a lot of jewelry makers will cast a piece of jewelry with your own gold, for a small fee. I thought this was great – a recession is upon us and not many people can afford to splurge on jewelry, so let’s make it ourselves! (Be warned, this was my first foray into jewelry making.)
Things I determined you will need:
Old gold jewelry that is far too ugly to wear anymore. If you don’t have any old gold jewelry but still want to participate your caster will sell you gold or try casting in silver instead (much less expensive).
A wax file, simple wax carver, some sort of handsaw (Dozuki saw is easiest to use) and carving wax.
A local precious metal caster or casting company (I just did a quick Google search).
and, if you’re kind of clumsy like me, A Band-Aid for when you cut yourself with the wax file or the wax carver.
Step 1: Plan out your design. I went with two simple teardrop shapes because I thought they would be easy to carve.
Step 2: Using the handsaw, cut an appropriate sized piece of wax from your wax block. The closer you can cut to the finished size of your piece, the less time the next few steps will take you.
Step 3: Using the tip of the wax carver, lightly sketch your design into the surface of the wax piece(s) you cut in Step 2. This will be your guide.
Step 4: Use the coarser side of the wax file to start shaping your wax. Be patient – this may take awhile. As you approach the guide you sketched into your wax in Step 3, switch to the finer side of the wax file.
Step 5: When you get very close to your desired shape, use the wax carver to help finish any areas that need touching-up or were too difficult to carve with the file. Again, this make take a little patience and time but you want to get the shape as close to finished as possible as it is much harder to correct mistakes after it has been cast.
Step 6: Take your wax and your gold to your caster and ask them to attach jump rings to the top. This is the little loop through which the chain will run. I lacked the necessary skills to attach them myself (it involves fire and Alissa won’t let me play with fire in the house).
Step 7: When the casting is finished your gold will have a rough edge and be slightly imperfect. Have the caster finish and polish the piece to your specifications. I asked them to round out the teardrops to compensate for my slightly misshapen wax mold and then I had them “apply” a satin finish.
Step 8: Put your new pendant(s) on a chain. I thought mine needed a little something extra, so I found a garnet bead that was part of an earring whose mate Alissa had lost and I attached it to the necklace with a wonderful gold headpin I bought from Etsy.
Step 9: Rock out in your new recession friendly jewelry! (or in my case I gave it to Alissa to rock-out in).