These beautiful sterling silver keys are each individually hand-made by Rollande Krandall of Singing Lemur Jewelry using the traditional lost-wax process. A “Master” is made in wax, then cast in silver, refined, and then a mold is made from the silver key. Using the mold, more waxes are then cast. Perfect waxes are then arranged in a “tree” using sprues, which create little tunnels for the liquid silver to travel down during the casting process. Once the wax tree is built, the entire tree is invested in a substance similar to plaster-of-paris, but made specifically for casting. Once the plaster is dry, the investment is heated until the wax melts and runs out the bottom, leaving a hollow empty place inside, shaped exactly like the tree, only in negative-space. Once the investment is cool, sterling silver is heated to a molten state and either vacuum-pumped or centrifugal-forced into the mold. After the silver cools, the investment is dipped in water and melts away, leaving the silver tree. The individual keys are then carefully cut free of the tree, the remains of which are melted down again to make more keys. Each key is then hand-polished and refined to completion.
As you can see, the process is quite long and involved, and requires an amazing amount of skill (and not a small amount of luck!) to get one perfect key from wax all the way to completed silver. Since each is entirely hand made, no two will be exactly alike. Rollande refined the master key over a four year period — it’s been a long and sometimes frustrating road, but the end pieces are truly magnificent, and worthy of Heinrich’s approval.