After going through and carving our wax models, we went to the Taba Casting Center where we got our wax models cast. We first encountered the mold makers. What the mold makers do is pour silicon on top of the jewelers model and once it solidifies they cut it open to reveal the perfect model left behind. The mold makers check carefully if the details shined through so that they can make multiple copies by shooting wax into the silicon mold.
We then saw peculiar looking “trees” which at first looked like grape vines. One of the workers placed the wax injections from the molds on a center wax rod to create trees. Daniel, the owner then explained to us how they place a metal flask around the tree and pour a plaster-like investment on top. Once this solidifies, they place the flasks in a kiln overnight so the wax melts leaving a perfect negative space of all the models.
There were 8 different kilns, and each one had its own purpose for different temperatures for different metals. Once the flask is at the correct temperature, they put it in the casting machine and pour molten metal into it. They have a few different types of casting machines, like vacuum and centrifuge depending on the type of metal.
On our way out we saw a replica of the world cup trophy – although we thought it was solid gold, we found out it was gold plated once we picked it up. A solid gold trophy would be unmovable.
Then we went to see a gemstone showroom where they also cut and polish stones from the rough, natural state.
First impression was that it was a very secret place. It was really small and they had bins of rough stones piled to the ceiling. Seeing amethysts, peridot, rose quartz and other gemstones made us think of all the crystal gems in the show Steven Universe. It was really cool how all the gems came from many different parts of the world. When we asked if the internet has improved his business, we were surprised to hear that all the competition has significantly lowered prices of rough stones.
In conclusion, the jewelry district seemed really shady. There were lots people on the street trying to solicit your business to buy and sell gold. Once you get past that, there are so many skilled artisans, mostly learning those skills by being passed down from generation to generation. It was interesting to find out that you can’t go to college to learn these skills, but rather apprentice with a master and work your way up.
Written by Art Ready students : Kodai & Willy
Art Ready Mentor: Emilie Shapiro