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Handmade by Dan Balk
Artist, goldsmith and designer, Dan Balk’s collection of contemporary fine art jewelry is for sale and on exhibit at The Greenhaus Studio in Lutz, FL. Each piece of jewelry is one of a kind, designed by Dan, who creates his own sterling silver, 18K and 14K gold alloys that he fashions, mills, forges, fuses and brazes into miniature sculptures for personal adornment. Dan selects and sets each stone, often performing his own lapidary work on select stones. This allows Dan complete contact and artistic connection with each piece of fine art jewelry from concept to collection.
Dan is an artist, who lives and works from his studio at The Greenhaus. He is committed to living as green as he can, and incorporating his lifestyle into his work. By creating his own metal alloys, out of recycled precious metals, and taking care to purchase his gemstones from ethical sources he strives to respect and protect the resources provided by our earth.
Materials used to create Dan Balk Jewelry
Sterling Silver (.925), Mokume Gane (Argentium Silver .975 & Copper Combination Patina-ed), and 14K & 18K Yellow Gold, Rose Gold, Green Gold and White Gold.
Mokume-gane: ( 木目金 ) is a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. Translating as “wood-grain metal”, the name was borrowed from one type of pattern created in the forging of swords and other edged weapons.
The traditional components were relatively soft metallic elements and alloys – gold, copper, silver, shakudo, shibuichi, and kuromido – which would form liquid phase diffusion bonds with one another without completely melting. After the original metal sheets were stacked and carefully heated, the solid billet of simple stripes could be forged and carved to increase the pattern’s complexity. To achieve a successful lamination using the traditional process required a highly skilled smith with a great deal of experience.
Coloring of Mokume-gane:
To increase the contrast between the laminate layers many mokume-gane items are colored by the application of a patina (a controlled corrosion layer) to accentuate or even totally change the colors of the metal’s surface. One example of a traditional Japanese patination is the use of rokusho. Rokusho is a complex copper verdigris compound produced specifically for use as a patina.
Methods of Jewelry Creation by Dan Balk: Hand fabrication or Lost Wax Casting Method
Lost Wax Casting Jewelry
A wax is obtained from a custom-made wax or mold. Occasionally, a custom-made wax might be molded in rubber first as insurance against the loss of the unique wax and related labor costs incurred in carving it. The wax or waxes are sprued and fused onto a rubber base, called a “sprue base”. Then a metal flask, which resembles a short length of steel pipe that ranges roughly from 1.5 to six inches tall and wide, is put over the sprue base and the waxes. Most sprue bases have a circular rim which grips the standard-sized flask, holding it in place. Investment (refractory plaster) is mixed and poured into the flask, filling it. It hardens, then is burned out as outlined above. Casting is usually done straight from the kiln either by centrifugal casting or vacuum casting. The lost-wax process can be used with any material that can burn, melt, or evaporate to leave a mold cavity.
or handmade refers to the method of using raw materials to create jewelry.