cast items are Indian Hand Made items using a procedure developed by the Navajo
silversmiths in the mid 1800s. It is a labor-intensive process that involves many
The sterling silver naja pendant
shown at right, by Navajo artists Albert and Mary Bitsui, is an example of sandcast
Using Tuff Stone, a porous
rock from volcanic ash, Tufa Stone, a porous limestone that forms near hot springs,
or Sandstone, a harder stone, the artist carves the design of the item being cast.
Another flat stone is placed against the carved half of the mold. The halves are
fastened together and a sprue hole is carved into one end. Molten silver is poured
into the mold using the sprue hole. Once the silver cools, the item is taken out
sterling silver bracelets, like the one by Francis Begay shown at left, are poured
flat and then shaped.
Due to the porous
nature of Tuff or Sand Stone, sandcast items will have character marks and imperfections
such as small pits. That is the nature of Sand Casting and Indian Hand Made.
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