Antique Indian bronze jewellery mould (mold) making tool. This is a very interesting and decorative item that has a functional purpose but is also a very decorative item for display. It makes a very unusual looking paperweight!
The hexagonal shaped bronze jewellery making mould has been stamped with about 60 different motifs for producing wax half moulds to be used for casting gold and silver and other metal decorations using the lost wax process ( cire perdu ). The motifs include fish, birds, hearts, a shield, flowers and various shaped stars and other geometric shapes.
The jeweller would fill the relevant shape with casting wax, when set, the half section would be carefully removed and another half mould would be taken. The two wax halves would be carefully joined together and covered in a coating of fine heat resisting clay (investment powder) with runners and risers or sprues connecting the shapes. A caster or founder would normally make a number of items in one cast and there may be few of the same or different shapes for casting, often termed "trees". Once the clay had dried the shell would be heated to melt the wax which is poured out (lost) leaving a hollow version of the mould. The founder would have weighed the wax mould and would use ten times the weight in brass, 12 times for silver and 16 times for gold. The caster can then pour the molten metal (which could be silver, gold or brass) into the mould and when cooled the cast metal version is removed from the mould for finishing. It is surprising but this little tool is for mass production!
The mould weighs 201g and measures 3 3/8ths inches wide. It is in very good condition and a great item for a collector.It could still be used by any budding jewellery makers keen to use traditional methods. This would make a great addition to any collection of antique jewellery making tools, Indian Bronzes or just as a decorative conversation piece.
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The Long History of Lost Wax Casting OVER FIVE THOUSAND YEARS OF ART AND CRAFTSMANSHIP by L.B. Hunt of Johnson Matthey & Co. Limited, London, U.K.