Sterling silver charms seem to be in a renaissance right now. Everywhere you go I see people wearing these jingly bracelets or not so jingly bracelets, depending on the number and size of the charms.
It requires highly skilled artists to work with bronze, and there are a number of discrete casting processes that have to be mastered, such as sand casting and centrifugal casting. When artists plan to create a large bronze sculpture, they usually create a miniature example of what they plan to create first. They also use a large number of measuring devices to scale the dimensions of a piece accurately, and to try to keep the weight as light as possible.
A ceramic shell is placed around the copy. The shell isn’t really ceramic but a sand and liquid silica combination. You will repeat this step until the shell is thick enough for the piece. You will then heat the item which will melt the wax inside. The wax runs out of the shell through the paths placed during spruing.
If the artist utilized the microfusione acciaio inox of casting, then a wax “lining” is added to the mold. The completed wax sculpture is then heated until the wax melts and runs out. The space that is created is then filled with molten bronze. This process produces a sculpture that is very fine in detail. Sandblasting, polishing and assembly follow.
Early man was at the mercy of so many dangers. Naked, without fur or sharp teeth, he depended on his skill and ability to think to see him through the day. A harmless pebble blessed with the power to keep him safe must have been some, if not great comfort.
When sand casting, the artist makes a replica of the object to be produced, then has to make a mold. Sand and clay are compacted around the object to make the mold. Then molten bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, is poured into the mold and allowed to cool and harden. The rough metal is then polished, ground and preened to create the work of art, toy, or sculpture. Other metals or decorative interest can be added.
After allowing the molds to cool for at least two hours, the bronze can be uncovered by chipping the layers of coating away. The entire statue is filed. There is almost always some small defect associated with the entire casting process. Air can be trapped in the mold creating a gap in the bronze or a piece can break off when the bronze is freed from the mold. Delicate reconstructive surgery takes place by heating up strips of metal to fill in the holes. This process is difficult and does not always succeed in solving the problem. For this reason a perfectly cast sculpture with no defects and perfect proportion is a prized piece since only masters of the art of bronze casting can achieve perfection in the entire process.
So, really, why settle for gold or silver, when you can have a piece of art, sculpture, toy, candlestick, wine stopper, or figure crafted by bronze experts. When you own a cast bronze sculpture you know the expertise, craftsmanship and artistic talent that went into creating it. So go for the bronze!