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Sandcasting is an old Navajo technique of utilizing sand as a mold. Here the mold frame is packed with specialized sand that has a clay-like consistency. One-half of the mold frame is packed at a time.

First the sand is packed. Then the model is placed in the center of the frame. In this example the model is a single thick ingot, which will be rolled through rolling mill. Although, this example is simple and plain more intricate designs can be casting; however due to the natural sand and the crudeness of the casting, there are limitations.

More sand is then packed onto top of the model.

The mold is then opened and the sand is parted in half, leaving the impression of the model.

Silver is placed in a crucible and heated until liquid (approx. 1400 degree F). The packed mold is now ready to receive molten metal. The metal is poured into the mold. After cooling the sprue-button is cut off, leaving a rough ingot of silver.
After cleaning the ingot, the ingot is compressed with a rolling mill. The rolling mill rolls the ingot out into an even desired thickness. The rolling mill that I use is hand-powered; thus it takes many passes through the rolling mill to get to the desired thickness.

Rolling the silver out compresses the metal, which makes it hard and brittle; therefore, the silver is then annealed to “soften” the silver. Annealing is a process of heating the metal and letting it cool slowly.

After the silver is properly annealed, then it is tooled with hand-forged stamps. All the tool that are used to tool the metal are also handmade. The designs that are used are based on traditional Navajo designs.

The bracelet is finally taking shape. After annealing the bracelet after stamping, the bracelet is formed over on a mandrel. It is tooled with a rawhide mallet, which does not mar the surface of the metal.

In this case, stone will be added to the finished piece. Here the stones are selected and bezels are made for each stone. Around each bezel a thin rope of silver is used for embellishment.

After the setting for each stone is made, they are then soldered to the shank of the bracelet. At this point, other adornments are soldered on. .

After the stone settings are solder, and the piece is cleaned. The silver in antiqued with sulfur and the stones are set. The bracelet is then ready to be hand polished.

All prices are subject to change

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Erick Begay * 1311 Nevada Hwy * Boulder City NV 89005