How were these made?
orchids are mounted on a wax wire called a sprue and set in a base. A
flask is set over the base.
The flask is then filled with a cement called investment.
The flask is then burned out in a kiln at 1450°F degrees for 8 hours, so all the organic orchid parts evaporate into carbon dioxide, leaving a cavity where the orchid was. The resulting cavity is then filled with molten silver at 1800°F by centrifugal casting. Everything that was orchid is now silver.
The investment is removed and all that is left is the silver orchid. The resulting silver orchid is then cut from the sprue, oxidation removed, polished, findings added, tumbled with steel shot to burnish it, and heat treated. The entire process takes approximately 3 days. Each piece of jewelry is as totally unique as an individual flower.
Color is added by an additional process on the fourth day. A ceramic coating is applied to the surface by electroplating. It is then baked to set the color.
24 Karat Gold Vermeil is plated directly to the Argentium Sterling Silver surface. Vermeil plating is a much thicker layer of gold than standard plating, but does not utilize additional layers of other metals such as nickel. It takes much longer to plate and uses a lot more gold, which is why it costs more.