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Pâte de Verre
Laser Xpressions Pâte de Verre Crystal
To showcase the fine craftsmanship of our work and insure that every work is uniquely beautiful, Laser Xpressions uses only the lost wax casting method.
To capture the refined aesthetics of history and art, create massive objects, and express the substance of our world’s ancient heritage, Laser Xpressions decided to exclusively use the lost wax method. Historical records tell us that the pharaohs of Egypt employed lost wax casting. In this technique, 47 painstaking manual steps are required to complete each object.
Pâte de Verre Crystal Manufacturing Process
Creative design - The creative concept is rendered as design drawings.
Prototype Production - Following the drawings, a sculpture of the desired shape is carved from clay or wax. To achieve perfect proportions, elegant lines, and fine details, exquisite care is taken with each stroke of the knife.
Production of silicone mold - Layer after layer of silicone is applied to the surface of the prototype, producing a mold. The exterior of the mold is held in place by plaster. Because of the delicacy of designs used by Laser Xpressions, the prototype is usually damaged when the silicone mold is removed.
Making an Epoxy Model - The silicone mold is filled with epoxy resin to produce a permanent model. Since the silicone mold would tend to deform and deteriorate if it were filled with hot wax, the epoxy model is used to produce a new silicone mold. The mold is held in place with tape and plaster and prepared for the making of a wax model.
Supporting the Negative Mold - After the epoxy model is removed from the silicone mold, it is used to produce a silicone negative mold. The silicone mold is held in place with tape and plaster and prepared for the making of a wax model.
Production of a Wax Model - The liquid wax is mixed and poured into the silicone negative mold. After the hot wax cools naturally, it remains surrounded by silicone and plaster.
Removal of the Wax Model - The cooled wax model is removed from the silicone and plaster. Since the wax is easily damaged where there are small openwork details and chamfered edges, extreme care must be taken when removing the wax.
Trimming the Wax Model - Since the cooling wax model often tends to shrink or deform, and can be scraped or marked when removed from the mold, it must be carefully trimmed.
Production of a Plaster Mold - The next step is to produce a heat-resistant plaster mold retaining the correct proportions. After the wax model has been trimmed, it is coated, or “invested,” in plaster to create a plaster mold.
Using Steam to Remove the Wax - The plaster mold, still containing wax, is then placed in a steamer to remove the wax. After the wax has been “lost,” a heat-resistant plaster negative mold remains.
Carefully Selecting Raw Materials - Glass materials of appropriate sizes and colors are selected to match the design. Each piece of glass is carefully washed.
Placing the Raw Materials - To properly control the colors and their flow, the glass must be placed in the mold in carefully arranged pieces.
Heating in the Kiln - After the mold has been washed, the plaster mold and carefully arranged glass material are placed in the kiln and slowly heated to approximately 1562°F (850°C). The glass softens to the consistency of malt sugar and slowly flows into every corner of the mold.
Annealing - It is important to make sure that the interior and surface of the glass cool evenly. Uneven cooling places uneven stress on the glass and leads to cracking. Cooling curves must be followed, and the cooling process takes several days. Different designs require different annealing approaches.
Removing the Plaster Mold - The mold is removed from the kiln after the annealing process is completed. The plaster mold is carefully cut open, and the rough pieces are removed.
Cutting - After the rough pieces have been removed from the mold, excess glass remaining around the inlet is cut away.
Grinding and Polishing - Because the cut surface is still rough, the inlet area is ground flat and polished. Adjustments are made so that the piece will sit at an ideal angle.
Cold Working and Fine Trimming - The details of the piece are painstakingly trimmed and modified using diamond brush tips and other tools. It takes consummate skill and much time to insure that the surface of the piece is smooth and delicate.
Grinding and Polishing - The piece is placed on a cloth polishing wheel and polished repeatedly. The work is completed when it shines with the transparent brilliance of crystal.
Signing and Packaging - After final inspection, a signed certificate is affixed and the work is packaged.