I am always asked if some of the Metal Press Collection could be made in Sterling Silver and so with some investigation I have started to make a few pieces ! Its been a long journey and the process is a little complicated. The piece has to go through many stages before the molten metal can be poured.
A mould is made of each piece, so that a wax can be made of the master pattern. A wax injector is used to make the wax without bubbles. Once hardened the wax is cleaned up and made as perfect as can be bofore adding to a tree of finished waxes, ready for coating in investment plaster.
The investment plaster mould is then heated so that the wax melts and pours out of the mould. It takes time so that there is no tiny piece of wax left. Once the mould is hot enough, then the already heated molten sterling silver is poured into the mould and allowed to harden.
It comes out when soaking the plaster in water and pressure washing. The silver looks black and dull and not at all like silver. But the pieces then are cut off the tree, filed, sanded and fettled, holes drilled if needed and then polished in a barrel polisher. And oh, what lovely bright and shiny silver.
All the pieces are then made using sterling silver jump rings, which are silver soldered closed and if a pearl is inside, this too is on a soldered sterling silver header pin, all hand made. The chains that go with these pieces are from Cooksons a well known precious metal supplier and are very good quality.
As a test I have worn a set of mini mussels for about 6 months now, in the shower in the pool, never taken them off and they are as lovely now as when I put them on. I have to say the process is complicated and not that easy, sterling silver grain is a high price, so it is reflected in the prices you will find.
Having made a few mussels, I have also done a set of cockle shells – but if anyone has a special request of something from the Metal Press collection do please let me know.