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Author Topic: Silver castings with stones  (Read 1998 times)

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Jerseydevil

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Silver castings with stones
« on: March 26, 2018, 06:52:30 PM »

Hello all, I have been sand casting for a little over a year now. I use delft clay, and a two part mold. Most of my work has been with aluminum, but I have also done some silver casting as well. I do simple pieces that I carve out of wax, which becomes a reusable model. I would now like to try placing small bits of stone directly into the mould, and then pour the silver on top of them and cast them into my silver designs. The stones would be imbedded into the sand with a small piece sticking out into the impression.  I have seen where others have done this, or at least something very similar. I know only certain stones can be used due to the high temperature it takes to melt silver.
      I’m curious if anyone has tried this, and if so, how did it work out? Any tips? I want to try faceted gems, and rough stones. Has anyone polished any rough stone after it was cast,  or should any polishing be done before casting?
   I know there are no guarantees with this process, and stones may fail, and I know there is probably a degree of trial and error as well, and I’m ok with that, but if there are some errors I can avoid, I would prefer to.
Thanks for any and all feedback
JD
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Jerseydevil

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Re: Silver castings with stones
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2018, 10:49:43 PM »

Well, I ordered some tiny pieces of emerald and sapphire. Tonight I tried float casting with them. I was able to make two unsuccessful attempts before running out of propane. My problem was nothing to do with the stones, but something to with the silver I was casting. For some reason the metal didn’t fill the molds, and I was left with a partial casting (a blob) both times. I’m not sure if my sprue wasn’t large enough or if I needed to add an air release riser. However, several of the stones were securely imbedded in the blob, and did not seem to suffer any damage, other than the emeralds darkening a bit. The sapphires didn’t seem to darken much if at all. I am not sure if I’ll be able to recover the stones in useable condition, but I’ll be remedying the blobs, and removing the stones.
     Although it was a night of overall failures, I am kind of happy about my few successes, and I think I’ll have better luck once I fill my tank tomorrow.
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Sapphireminer

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Re: Silver castings with stones
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2018, 12:00:43 AM »

Hi with the sapphire heat is not a problem as when they are heat treated they are heated to 1700 degrees but they are heated slowly I would be cautious with the shock of heating suddenly by pouring molten metal on them.
Dave
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gemfeller

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Re: Silver castings with stones
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2018, 11:40:11 AM »

There are a few gems that can successfully be cast in place but most will be damaged by the large and rapid change in temperature.  Here's a Rio Grande tutorial on the process:

 https://media1.riogrande.com/Content/Stone-in-Place-Casting.pdf
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