If you've found this article you may be on the hunt to find a caster to help with your jewelry making. Perhaps you need a mold made of one of your designs so that you can reproduce it in a cost effective way. Or you have been working in wax and would like someone to cast it in a precious metal. At the bottom of the page I have compiled a list of casters recommended by community members to hopefully help you locate someone. I can't personally vouch for these casters as I haven't used most of them but just like a hair stylist you have to find someone who is a good fit for what you need done.
First let's talk a little bit about what a caster does. Jewelry casting is an art form that has been used for a very, very long time. Like the 3rd Millenium BC (it's okay if you have to google that, I did!) This process involves pouring molten metal into a cavity.
For jewelry making purposes a caster uses the lost wax process. Here is a simplified version of what that technique is all about:
You create a model from a wax carving, a wax that has been injected into a mold or a 3D printing which you then encase in investment which is similar to plaster. The investment is heated to extreme temperatures in a kiln to incinerate the wax material, creating an impression of your form. Next the caster fills your form with molten precious metal.
You might hire a caster to create a mold of a component you made and then from that mold they can produce waxes and you can cast multiples. These Lightning Bolt Studs are a design I used to sell when I worked in silver. I carved an original out of wax and that was cast, then had a mold made to reproduce multiples. This allowed me to keep labor costs substantially lower and sell them for a good price point. Now that I work mainly in gold I still use a caster to cast components and custom rings I have carved which I then engrave. You can see my work here: corkieboltonjewelry.com
Important questions to ask a caster prior to working with them:
What metals do they cast? The company I've been working with for years does not cast in white gold as they find it too brittle. I'm totally fine with that because I don't like working in white gold lol. Some companies don't do platinum. Platinum melts at much more extreme temperatures and requires specialized skills, and equipment.
Do they have minimums? Some companies might work primarily with larger companies and won't cast a single ring in silver. So just be sure to ask them!
Average turn around time? The biggest complaint I hear from jewelers is that the caster took a very long time to get their work back to them. If you discuss this is advance you will have realistic expectations.
Cost of making molds, labor, metal markups? Have an open discussion so you can get an idea of the costs involved in using this process. A caster will be looking at the current metal prices when they are calculating costs and these can fluctuate.
What is their policy if a mistake is made on their end? I don't think anyone is perfect. Sometimes even with perfect execution a casting may not come out the way you envisioned. It's always nice to know beforehand how a caster deals with those rare times. Do they recast for you? Credit your account? If you are working with someone and they are chronically having issues with your work it may be time to try working with someone else :)
Can you ship them work? This is a great solution for folks who don't have a local caster they can use. When I lived in Boston I was shipping casting to New York. If they are willing to ship you may want to discuss best practices for sending waxes without them getting damaged in the mail. What the cost of shipping your work to you will be etc.
My best selling Micro Bezel Studs are created with stone settings I have cast! It still requires a ton of care and polishing but cuts down on the time without compromising on quality. You can shop them here ;)
Harrison Casting 1-401-944-3695
This list if of casters who sell their own castings that you can incorporate into your work!
They sell solderable accents, components, ring shanks and cabochons borders!
Hand carved castings, components and organics.
They cast organic botanical themed silver accents for you to create with!
They sell a wide variety of castings; their own Original Hand Carvings as well as Organics that range from Botanicals, Sea Shells, Octopus and so much more.
I hope this list is helpful! If you'd like to send a caster to be added to the list please email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to add. If you'd like to support Metalsmith Society consider making a purchase from the Society Shop! :)
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UNISEX ALL-OVER SOCIETY PRINT SHIRT (XS-2XL)
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