Daum Crystal is the only crystal manufacturer who still uses the pâte de verre (glass paste) technique, which is incredibly elaborate. The technique produces a sculpture that has a transparent - and even opaque - coloring. It allows for minute details on the surface of the crystal and precise placement of the colors. During the firing process, the crystal melts and allows for a flawless transformation of colors in the sculpture.
First, a well-renown artist creates a original work of art exclusively for Daum. This original sculpture helps form the mold for the wax. The mold must be made precisely to capture all of the original details the artist made. Additionally, the mold must be strong enough to withstand multiple uses.
The wax is poured into the mold and allowed to solidify before they remove it. Generally, the mold is flexible and allows for easy removal. Once the wax has cured it is removed and the sculpture is checked for imperfections. They buff out unneeded lines or bumps and polish the wax to make sure it's smooth and every trace of the molding process is removed.
After the wax version has been perfected, plaster is poured to encase the sculpture. This plaster will be the final mold that houses the crystal while it's being fired. Daum waits for the plaster to dry before they put it over a flame to melt the wax out of the mold. Once the wax is melted, the mold is cut open, then cleaned of any residue before the crushed crystal (called frit) can be placed.
The mold is then ready for firing, but the crystal must be placed inside first. The frit can range from bigger shards to almost powder, for easy access into small corners. The mold is filled to the brim with frit and is now ready to be placed into the kiln.
The sculpture is now placed into a kiln for firing along with other Daum Crystal Sculptures.
The firing process is complete and the piece must be broken strategically out of the plaster mold because the crystal melts and attaches to the plaster. If done incorrectly, large chunks of plaster will cling to the crystal and the piece will be ruined. This process is an art form in itself. Because the plaster mold is destroyed, Daum has to use the mold for the wax to create more sculptures. Once it is broken out, smaller chunks of plaster can be blown off in a power wash with water.
The Daum crystal is finally free of the plaster and can now be checked for imperfections. Extra details that were lost in the previous molding processes can be regained with a swish of a drill. Sections that are not needed are cut from the piece entirely. The peice is then polished smooth to the touch.
The Daum crystal figurine is cleaned off with a brush to get rid of any leftover crystal residue from the polishing and carving processes. Once that is finished, the pieces are ready to be signed. No piece created by Daum Crystal will be without the signature of "Daum France." There can also be a limited edition number for limited edition pieces.
The process allows each Daum Crystal vase, figurine, or bowl to be one-of-a-kind. Because of this unique firing process, Daum has set themselves apart from other crystal-making companies. The rich transition of colors and close attention to detail inspires those who view it. And the creation process allows us to enjoy these mesmerizing sculptures even more.
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