I was given a small skull mask to try casting. I decided to try delft clay sand casting of the skull in sterling silver. Delft clay casting is where the piece is pushed into compact sand to create an impression which can be filled with silver. First you pack the bottom of the mould with sand, then press in the original to leaving in impression. The top of the mould is then added with a filling ’spout’ and an air escape hole, this allows the mould to fill with silver as the air escapes and doesn’t leave unfilled areas in the work.
Once filled with silver, there is a small ‘button’ of silver visible at the top of the mould, this needs to cool before the piece can be removed from the mould and the sand re-used. Seperating the two mould haves is always a tense moment, as this is when you find out if you have been successful in your casting.
In this case, the skull cast well, as can be seen from the photo. Once fully removed from the sand, there is a large piece of silver attached to the back of the skull where the metal was poured into the mould. This can be removed with a hacksaw and the skull smooth finished with files and sandpaper.
In this batch, I cast two skulls, with an idea to finish both of them differently. Once was to have enamel to highlight the eye sockets and mouth, and the other was to be left plain, bit with a facetted Garnet added as a crown to the top / front of the skull. I thought they would both look good as pendants.
The cast skulls are heavy and suit men and women, looking good on either a simple chain, or on a rubber necklace.
I have made other versions of the skull, some plain, some decorated. They are all fully hallmarked with a UK hallmark to assure the quality of the silver used. This is done independently by the UK Assay office, and is a legal requirement in the UK for an silver piece weighing over 7g to be sold as silver. Anything unmarked over this weight cannot be sold as silver, and must be described as white metal. Please see the results in our ETSY store.