You'll find two types of pendants in my collection - those made with metal clay and those cast via the lost wax process.
A Quick Summary -
Metal clay pendants are 100% handmade, have a more rustic look, and may have tiny imperfections due to the nature of the material.
Lost wax cast pendants have a more finished and polished appearance.
You can read more about the two types below.
Metal Clay - These pendants are 100% handmade and are made of a material called "metal clay silver", which looks and acts like clay, but is actually made of very fine silver particles joined together with a binder material. When fired, it results in a piece of jewelry that is 99.9% pure silver, also known as "fine silver".
Because of the nature of this material and its inherent limitations, these pendants have more of a rustic, handmade look (because that's exactly what they are), are more likely to have tiny imperfections, and have an uneven, matte finish on the backside.
Most of these pendants are one-of-a-kind because they are my design explorations. They are highly labor intensive to create, which is why they are more expensive than other pieces in our store. If you purchase one, you are likely the only person wearing that design in the whole world.
Lost Wax Casting - These pendants have a more refined and polished look than the ones made of metal clay because they are created using a different process. The wax model for these pendants are carved entirely by hand and then sent to our foundry in Rhode Island to be cast using the ancient lost wax casting process.
In lost wax casting, the original carved wax model is used to create a plaster-like mold. The original wax model is then melted out of the mold and destroyed, hence the name "lost wax".
You can imagine what a disaster it is when you've spent weeks carving a wax model, create the mold, and melt the wax away, only to discover that the mold did not turn out correctly - there is then no choice to but carve the entire thing over again. It is a deeply disappointing experience.
The lost wax process is a way to create duplicates of the original design without having to re-carve the design each time.
Photo credit for lost wax casting image: Impressionmanufacturer, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons