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Partially Cast vs Hand-forged? - I'm a confused newbie!

SC86

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 25, 2011
Messages
195
There has been some posts recently on PS regarding some designers using the cast process instead of completely hand forging. I have been trying to read old posts to understand the disadvantages of casting. It seems that porosity may lead to structural/durability issues for rings that are cast (I am not saying that casting does cause these problems, as I know many people of PS are very happy with rings that use the cast process! I have never had a ring made yet!) Has anyone experienced these problems?

It seems that some PSers are opting for “completely hand-forged” rings (ie. by VC) over LM or SK because they believe/have seen examples of SOME rings made by LM/SK that are partially cast. I’ve been looking at rings made by all 3 designers on PS and have seen each of their work in person and they all look amazing! I’m very new to PS and to the ring design process. :confused: So I am just wondering what the reasons of getting a completely hand-forged ring vs a ring that is possibly partially cast ring. Is it mainly a durability/structural integrity issue? Do consumers want to know that they are only paying for a hand-made ring? Should rings that are partially cast be less expensive to make?

I know that some posts discussing this topic and specific designers have caused some debate on other posts. I don’t mean to cause any further debate and have only mentioned specific designers b/c I’ve seen their work in person. I am looking to get a ring made and just wanted some more info on this!
 

thbmok

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2010
Messages
891
IMO the only certain difference between hand forged and cast items is the difference in labor and time costs. Hand forged items will take more work and time to make and will cost more. I only speak from experience working with silver a long time ago, so I apologize in advance if the same does not apply to gold/platinum.

Well made hand forged items certainly have the potential to be stronger and more durable than cast items. Hand forged items generally have greater density as they are rolled/hammered into shape and may be able to take more abuse.

At the same time, poorly made hand forged items have the potential to be weaker and less durable than well made cast items as well, especially at the joints. There are many more steps in the hand forged process and many more things can go wrong.

In any case, I find it hard to quantify the differences. It's not certain that a well made hand forged item will outlast a well made cast item anyway. A lot of it still depends on the usage of the item and the amount of abuse that it takes.
 

LGK

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 27, 2007
Messages
2,975
The difference, ultimately, is pretty much the durability issue. Particularly with the incredibly, incredibly delicate, diamond encrusted settings- one of those, I would reaaaalllly prefer hand forged. If we're talking, like Victor vs. Leon or Steven- because all of those are top-of-the-line craftsmen. Between those three, I would definitely pick Victor for a really delicate micropave piece, with the durability edge hand forging from a master craftsman like Victor would have.

Also the price. Cast is typically a less expensive method, and being charged prices on par with someone that does top of the line hand forged pieces is a bit... frustrating, I would think.

Personally, the issue of transparency is one I would consider too. Victor has shown many pictures of his hand-forged process. From SK, it sounds like maplefemme got a rather... confusing email answer when she asked about whether or not SK hand forges rings. I personally would find that not OK- especially with the prices Leon & Steven charge.
 

maplefemme

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
874
LGK|1312490354|2984293 said:
The difference, ultimately, is pretty much the durability issue. Particularly with the incredibly, incredibly delicate, diamond encrusted settings- one of those, I would reaaaalllly prefer hand forged. If we're talking, like Victor vs. Leon or Steven- because all of those are top-of-the-line craftsmen. Between those three, I would definitely pick Victor for a really delicate micropave piece, with the durability edge hand forging from a master craftsman like Victor would have.

Also the price. Cast is typically a less expensive method, and being charged prices on par with someone that does top of the line hand forged pieces is a bit... frustrating, I would think.

Personally, the issue of transparency is one I would consider too. Victor has shown many pictures of his hand-forged process. From SK, it sounds like maplefemme got a rather... confusing email answer when she asked about whether or not SK hand forges rings. I personally would find that not OK- especially with the prices Leon & Steven charge.
Yes LGK, I did find it to be somewhat of a cryptic answer from SK to my very direct question about how he makes his rings.
I think LM, SK, and VC create some absolutely stunning rings, I would never argue that.
I think you really hit the nail on the head, it's a transparency issue. Please just tell me exactly how the ring will be made and let me decide if I want to pay a premium price for cast or partially cast components - but fully disclose so my choice is one of full awareness.
 

PinkJellyBean

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2011
Messages
22
my advice to everyone is, if you are extremely picky, if you are extremely precise and technical, if you are a measurement and loupe nut, you would want to go straight to a jeweler that is proven to do hand forged work.

the reason why hand forged work is super precise is because wires are pulled through a mechanism that makes sure the wire is absolutely even in measurement... something like a pasta machine, you set the "gauge" or "width" of the slot and roll the slab of metal through which is then pulled into a wire. while being pulled through this mechanism, the metal is compressed in such a way that would not allow any bubbles/air pockets to occur inside the metal, unlike the method of casting where you pour the hot metal into the mold, guaranteed to trap some amount of air inside the metal causing bubble/air pockets to form. another point is that once the wire is pulled, there is no filing / re-shaping needed. it is right away ready to be bent into various components of the ring. Different gauged wires are pulled for the different parts of a ring, so no filing down or smoothing is needed at all. thus there is absolutely no irregular edges or unevenness in width or length, like a casted ring would potentially and usually has. A casted piece of metal definitely get porous even in a minimal way, the act of pouring hot metal into the mold guarantees a certain degree of trapping air in causing bubbles/air pockets that would either be trapped inside of the metal or appear on the surface of the metal (so you see tiny indented dots on the metal). this also explains why hand forged rings are much more durable than casted rings (air pockets inside of the seemingly solid metal creates weak points in a piece of casted jewelery). furthermore, the casted piece of metal needs to be reshaped / smoothed / filed to be rid of the excess metal until the "precise" gauge or measurement is met, guaranteeing un-evenness even at the smallest degree.
 
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