Custom Designed Etruscan or Hellenistic bracelet in 22 Karat yellow gold
We had the opportunity to custom design a bracelet around collection of old intense red Mediterranean coral.
The coral came from a matched pair of bracelets that had been gifts to the family many years ago. our clients desired to reset all of the coral into a single new bracelet.
The Clients concept was to design the piece to look like an Etruscan or Hellenistic artifact.
We chose 22 Karat gold for the metal for our modern Etruscan revival bracelet because it would have been made in of high karat gold if it had been made in ancient times and the combination of the color of the gold is very beautiful in combination with the coral.
We carved the bracelet model in wax to make a lost wax casting.
The stones were each re-polished to a high luster, measured and numbered . Each stone was unique in size and shape and so each stone was fitted to its own wax bezel setting, one at a time. The wax bezels were attached to the bracelet equally spaced. Gateways (sprues) were attached onto the wax model it was then fitted inside of a flask and covered in a refractory investment, heated in an oven to burn away the wax leaving a void in the flask the shape of the bracelet. Gold was melted in a crucible and poured into the flask.
The flask was destroyed and the casting revealed.
This shows the piece in 22 karat gold after casing , the sprues have been removed..
The inside of each gold bezel was marked with a Roman numeral corresponding with one of the corals.
The sprues had some shrinkage porosity. these created a small void in the center of the place were the gold had flowed into the flask.
The next step was to file the entire surface of the bracelet and repair any casting flaws. The entire bracelet is carved and filed at this point and pre-polished in preparation for stone setting. as you can see there is a small void in the center where the cooling gold shrank after the casting was made.
I drilled the spots where the void was and made small round balls of 22 karat gold that each fit perfectly into the voids.
the balls were welded into the surface of the interior, heated in each spot to 1,930 degrees F to melt the balls into the surface.
The beads were burnished and filed down. The entire bracelet was very carefully prepared for setting. there are no traces of the repairs.
I set the stones one at a time, in order and according to the roman numerals engraved inside of each of the bezels.
In the background you can see the stones in bags marked with the Roman numerals that correspond to the bezels on the bracelet. To the left and in front of them of them is a bar of 22 Karat yellow gold . The beads that filled the voids were made from that bar. Great care was taken to ensure that the surface on the outside of the bracelet was not touched during the stone setting process, the 22 Karat gold is very soft and any slip of a tool would result in damage that would take hours to repair.
Finished! The interior and beaded edges are highly polished but the outside surface we left with the natural cast surface. The bracelet is very, Very heavy! but extremely comfortable because of the convex shape of the inside of the bracelet.