Skystone Creations new line of cast Contemporary Sterling Silver Jewelry called Skystone Designs

Skystone Creations new line of metal casting of Sterling Silver Jewelry called Skystone Designs

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All of the items in Skystone Designs section are done by a casting method, opposed to handmade, that is done in our Navajo Section. The important part of this section is, that we are presenting and selling, like in our Navajo Section, our own product. Each item from the beginning to the end, is made in our shop, and all is designed by Skystone Creations. The end finish of each piece is done by our Navajo Silversmiths. All items like: Pins, Pendants, Rings, Bracelets, Earrings, Bolas and Buckles, and Crosses are made out of Sterling Silver.

What do we need to know about Casting and Metals?

For most people, the pleasure of making jewelry comes from time spent at a workbench, actively driving tools to cut, bend and assemble a piece. Metals are made of crystals that arrange themselves in a regular pattern called a lattice. This has a lot to do with the physical properties of a metal. Metals with the same crystal lattice will probably have similar density, malleability, conductivity, and so on. Crystals, also called grains, are clusters of molecules gathered into units whose structure determines the ability of metal to bend, conduct heat and reflect light. All of these attributes are important to jewelers.

When grains are small, a sample will be harder to bend, more likely to break, tougher, and a better conductor of electricity. Large crystals make a metal more responsive to patinas and more malleable, except when the grains are very large, which causes the metal to become tough again. The usual way grains become small is through hammering or rolling. Do this enough and a sample of metal will eventually break, as the grain boundaries become too small to hold the piece intact. This process is called work hardening. Its opposite, annealing, uses heat to recrystallize the internal structure, building large grains from small ones. All of this goes on at a microscopic level.

Annealing temperatures vary with each metal and alloy, but as a rule of thumb they are about two-thirds the melting temperature of a pure metal. Annealing can be done as often as necessary.


By far the most common form of casting in contemporary jewelry making is lost wax waste mold centrifugal casting. It's a long name, but worth understanding because it tells us a lot about the process. The word wax tells us the model, or replica, is made of wax, while lost refers to the fact that the model will disappear somewhere along the way. Each model can be used just once. The waste mold part of the name tells us this is true of the mold as well - it too must be destroyed (or "wasted") to retrieve the casting.

Like the model, this mold can be used only once. We know that some metals, including silver and gold, will draw up into a sphere when heated. This explains why gravity alone is not sufficient to fill a large, detailed mold. And here the word centrifugal tells us what kind of force is used to push the molten metal into the cavity. Lost wax. Waste mold. Centrifugal casting.

Skystone Creations master design for casting precious metal Jewelry called Skystone Designs Making a master model look exactly like the intended design is one of the most difficult challenges faced by the model maker. For one thing, the master has to be made larger than the intended finished piece to accommodate shrinkage. In addition, things look quite a bit different on paper than they do in metal. Model making can be viewed as an exercise in intelligent compromise. The model maker must find an acceptable middle ground between what the designer wants and what can be done within the limits of casting. The best results can be achieved when all parties involved understand those limitations.

Natural rubber or silicone rubber? In the world of lost-wax casting, this question is hardly an academic one. The mold material chosen must be up to the task of turning a single original model into hundreds or even thousands of wax models for casting, and choosing the wrong material can lead to some serious hair - pulling in the casting department.

There are actually three primary categories of rubber mold making materials: natural rubber, vulcanizing silicone rubbers, and room temperature vulcanizing (RTV) rubbers, a non - shrinking, no - heat option. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and as a result, each may be the best choice in certain situations. The key to choosing between them is to understand the properties of all three, and then decide which to use based on what qualities are most important for a given situation.

Whatever your choice for mold making, you'll need to use the right tools and techniques to get the best possible results. When cutting molds, be sure to use a sharp blade, and replace it immediately if it gets nicked or dull. Make sure your hands are clean and that the model has no visible defects.

Skystone Creations Wax Mold for casting precious metal Jewelry called Skystone Designs

designing for precious metal Jewelry casting called Skystone Designs Pattern alignment is often a matter of choice. Some casters prefer to stagger the rows so they can pack the pieces more tightly. Others prefer a straight alignment, which causes less turbulence in the main sprue. Product design will often dictate which alignment style is most suitable. People clipping the patterns from the tree will also have opinions regarding which alignment is best, at least from their standpoint, but keep in mind that casting successfully is the primary concern.

More than 70 million pounds of investment powder is used worldwide each year by lost - wax casters in the jewelry
industry. Yet all powders are not created equal. While the major investment manufacturers in North America, Europe, and
and Asia all aim for high quality, casters should understand that some powders are truly premium, while others are
tailored for casting base metals. Ultimately, the investment's performance depends on the particular composition of ingredients, and on how well casters use - or, more important, misuse - their powder.

Casting manufacturers should have in place an adequate ventilation/exhaust system that eliminates powder inhalation by workers. The microscopic particles cannot be seen by the human eye, but they are present. Workers can also protect themselves by wearing respirators while working around the powder.

Skystone Creations Wax Mold burnout during casting of precious metal Jewelry called Skystone Designs The burnout of wax happens in hidden cavities of the set investment; if problems occur during this phase, they will become apparent only after the tree has been broken out.

After burnout, you're ready to cast. Gold, Sterling and other metals used for models and samples ( in fact, all metals other than platinum) enjoy the ability to be cast in the same equipment, since the maximum melting temperature will be 2,100 F. However, if you casting platinum - for which the melting temperatures can reach 3,200F - you will need special high - temperature equipment. Vacuum casting has become very common these days - even very small shops often go with it. Vacuum is a method through which ordinary gravity is used to vacuum out air from under the perforated flask and to help move the air and gases from under the incoming casting alloy.

The Casting of Sterling Silver Jewelry called Skystone Designs


This is a huge topic, even taken quickly, so we'll confine ourselves to metals used by beginning jewelry makers: copper, brass, silver and gold. Three of these are pure metals, while one, brass, is a mixture, or alloy, of two metals. Pure metals, also called fine, are often too soft for wearable jewelry, so they are alloyed as well.


Fine gold is given the arbitrary designation "24," so we can say that of 24 parts, all 24 are gold. In the case of 18-karat gold, 18 of the 24 parts are gold, with the balancebeing something of lesser value. If you write this as a fraction, 18/24, and reduce it, you'll see that 18-karat gold is three-fourths gold andone fourth something else. Generally speaking, alloys of 18K and purer are called high-karat golds.

The additive ingredients in alloys are used to affect the color, strength, ductility and value of the resulting alloy. In the case of yellow gold, equal parts of silver and copper are added. Rose gold ( also called pink gold ) is made by increasing the proportion of copper, and green gold is made by increasing the percentage of silver. Note that in all colors the proportion of gold remains the same. The most popular gold alloy for jewelry in the United States is 14 karat, which is also written as .585, or 58.5 percent gold. The balance can be anything, but it is usually some combination of silver and copper, except in the case of white gold, where platinum, palladium and nickel are used to change the color.

Pure silver is occasionally used in jewelry components, particularly when malleability is an asset. This us the case with bezels, which need to be safely pressed down againstgem. For most applications, however, fine silver is too soft, so a small amount of copper is added for strength. Hundreds of years ago, it was determined that the addition of 7 1/2 percent copper created a metal strong enough to stand up to use while retaining the warm shine of silver. This alloy came to be called sterling, and it is far and away the most commonly used silver alloy for jewelry.

A slightly baser alloy that contains 10 percent copper was used for hundreds of years in coins, and is therefore called coin silver. It is rarely seen today,, except in older pieces. Coins minted in the United States have not contained silver since 1966.


Copper is used in jewelry for its color, which is orange when polished, brown with normal wear, and green or blue after exposure to certain atmospheres. It is inexpensive, malleable, resilient and attractive, but its one shortcoming is the fact that copper not only discolors when worn, but discolors the wearer as well - typically by turning skin green. This is because of copper's eagerness to combine with almost any element that passes by, from oxygen to ammonia. Despite these shortcomings, jewelers value copper for its colors; it is usually patinated and sealed to protect the metal from further corrosion. Because its melleability is similar to sterling, it also makes an excellent practice material. It is slightly more difficult to solder because of its tendency to oxidize, but this means that a person who has mastered soldering by experimenting with copper will find the transition to sterling especially easy.

Another of copper's virtues is its affinity with other metals. As described above, copper is used to strengthen gold and silver. When alloyed with the low-melting gray metal called zinc, copper pulls a magician's trick to yeld a metal - brass - that is yellow and has a higher melting point than either of it constituents. By definition, brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, but the proportions can vary and will yield a wide range of results. The most common mix, called yellow brass, or CDA 260, is 30 percent zinc and 70 percent copper. As the proportion of copper increases, the color becomes more golden and the metal more malleable. An alloy of about 88 percent copper called NuGold is widely used in jewelry making, as are other low-zinc brasses.

Nickel silver, also called German silver, deserves mention not only because it is useful in jewelry, but because its name is so misleading. It contains no silver, and does not come from Germany. It is an alloy of copper, zinc and the element nickel. To see what it looks like, search your pocket change for a 5 cent piece. We should call this alloy " white brass " because it is so similar to yellow brass in cost, malleability, and the way it solders.