Susan Hayward's Star Brooch | Wax Carving

Since we decided to cast the brooch we have to make the wax models. We prefer to carve using wax made by Ferris. It comes in three different types - we like the Purple: General purpose wax, hard with some flexibility.

I throughly enjoy working in wax. Even with the advances in 3-d printing - carving waxes by hand gives me exactly what I see in my mind’s eye. I feel that it is one of the lost arts in today’s world of making jewelry. Many clients ask for 3-d CAD and as we work on their project find that CAD just can’t produce what we are trying to achieve.

We have carved many items for casting - wine glass stems, hardware, fine jewelry to name a few. Nothing is like sculpting forms from wax. It happens to be one of our specialties.

The following images document carving the waxes and creating the gemstone layouts in Photoshop. As you can see in the images below we even drilled the holes for the gems prior to casting the wax - it is a lot easier in wax than drilling in metal.

 One has to be careful not to carve too thin a plate, the casting metals will not flow properly when being cast if the design is too thin or too large. This brooch was one of the largest multi level casting we have ever made for a single piece of jewelry.

Gemstone layouts were created in Photoshop and applied to the wax - using them for positioning and drilling
— Kathleen

Counting and placing diamonds or crystals for this design project is painstakingly slow work. We selected varies sizes of crystals ranging from 1mm - 4mm to re-create the Pave style setting for Susan Hayward's Star brooch. Having created the initial design drawings for the brooch on the computer enabled us to have the flexibility of getting the design exactly the way we waited without moving an actual gemstone. A wonderful time saver in the gemstone layout process.

Using the print-outs from the computer we overlaid them onto the wax carving and hand drilled the location of each stone. Once complete we removed the paper and proceeded to shape and size the openings to fit each crystal specified. The better the wax carving the less time you will spend in metal during the finishing process.

Once the holes were drilled in the wax then I could add the micro balls using a light blue wax - this melts to form a crisp round ball. These balls, once in metal will look like Pave setting.

The carved waxes are ready to go to the caster!