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Engraved Platinum Cross & Handmade Chain

Martyn had a sentimental silver cross. He wanted it replicated in platinum.

Martyn came to see Louise in our Shaftesbury Design Studio for an initial consultation. They discussed a couple of different options, Martyn wanted the new platinum cross to be thicker than his original silver one, he also wanted a proper bail (the part that the chain slides through) instead of the simple jump ring he currently had. He gave Louise some dimensions for the size, the height, width and thickness he wanted.

Louise created his cross in CAD and then 3D printed a resin version for him to view. Once he had seen the resin copy, he opted to shorten it slightly. On the grey resin print above, you can see the pen mark, this is where Martyn chose to shorten the length of the cross to. He also chose to make it slightly thinner.

Here is Martyn’s rough cast solid platinum cross and bail. You can see the lines and texture on the surface of the platinum from casting. This is a direct copy of the 3D printed wax from his CAD file. 3D printing works in layers, and the use of Lost Wax Casting makes an exact copy.

You can see the sprue’s on the sides and bottom of the cross, this is where the molten platinum flowed into the mould left by the wax. The wax is attached to a ‘tree trunk’ in the same way that a branch is attached to a tree. The tree trunk and branches are called the sprue. The purpose of creating this structure, is to make a mould, the wax ‘tree’ is covered in a substance called ‘investment’ (similar to plaster of paris) and left to dry out for 24 hours.

This is then heated and the wax runs out of a hole in the bottom and is ‘lost’. Molten platinum is ‘thrown’ into the mould and spun using centrifugal force, this gets the air out and the metal in quickly. Now the investment is very hot, and its plunged into cold water, it cant cope with the temperature change and it bubbles away – leaving your platinum tree standing proud! The sprue is snipped off with pliers and returned to the pot for the next melt for casting.

Martyn’s cross now needs ‘cleaning up’ and polishing with three different grades of platinum polish, by hand on our wheel. Different grades of very fine sandpaper are used to create a high shine, this is all done by hand and takes about half a day to get smooth.

This cross was then finally buffed by hand for a high shine, it was now ready for hallmarking at Birmingham Assay Office.

Martyn wanted the initials of his late grandparents laser engraved around the edge. You can see SK and PL on the edge, the opposite side is engraved with BA and BA. Martyn will add family initials to this cross as time passes, with a view to passing on this family history to his own children.

Placing the laser engraving around the edge is a really subtle and lovely tribute to his past family members. Martyn wanted a good thick platinum chain handmade for his cross. Our Mark made him a silver sample of a chain style that he thought would work well – you can see this in the video below.

Martyn agreed this link design, and Mark handmade him a platinum chain to go with his cross. His chain was entirely handmade from platinum wire. Each link was hand rolled into a coil, then cut and clipped together to form a chain. Mark welded each link closed and then shaped and flattened them to match the silver sample that Martyn had agreed.

This chain is long, Martyn opted not to have a clasp so he simply slips the chain over his head. Hand making chain gives you a far superior product than anything made by a machine.

You can see his cross and handmade chain together here. This is a completely understated creation, with a subtle tribute to his late grandparents.

It’s so shiny that Louise struggled to photograph it without reflections!

It was a complete delight to welcome Martyn back to our Design Studio to collect his creation, he immediately put it on and wore it out of the door! No need for a box for this one!

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