Queen’s Crown

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Queen’s Crown

“It is  a crime to steal a purse, daring to steal a fortune, and a mark of greatness to steal a crown. The blame diminishes as the guilt increases.” – Schiller

A true artist is always looking for ways to expand his skills and create something “bigger” than before. Making a crown would be a test of one’s skills. This crown was not made the easy way by shaping sheets of silver and then joining them together. Instead the whole piece was casted in one go from 2 kilograms of molten silver. Only the cross on top was added later.

The Challenge

Every metal has its own quirks when it comes to casting. With silver, it is its ability to dissolve oxygen. When this amount of silver was in molten state, several liters of oxygen could be dissolved in the metal. A good analogy would be any fizz drink.  Cooling down molten silver is like opening a can of soda. The gas rushes out and it has to be gone before the metal solidifies. If it doesn’t go fast enough, the places were the gas was dissolved become craters. The whole thing looks like the Moon’s surface. A modern day solution to this problem is to apply vacuum to the mold and it works fine for rings as they are smaller. However, jewelry casting machines don’t have the ability to accommodate and apply vacuum to very large molds. Large industrial casting equipment such as the one used for casting car engines is not within artists’ reach, so it had to be done the old fashion way using gravity only.
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The Solution

Bronze church bells and cannons had been casted that way for ages. The only difference is that bronze does not dissolve oxygen. The first piece took some trial and error approach. It was successfully casted from the lucky 14th attempt.