lost wax glass

Lost Wax/Cire Perdue
lost wax glassGlass from the
lost wax GlassGlass Encyclopedia

lost wax vase
above: detail from a
"lost wax" vase

Lost Wax (or Cire Perdue) Glass: A short explanation:

The "Lost Wax" technique of forming glass was used by the Romans over two thousand years ago, and is still used today by some glass artists. It is a method of making glass pieces with more intricate or elaborate shape than is normally possible with glass. The French name is "Cire Perdue", and the technique has been used for casting bronze statues as well as glass over many centuries.

When used in glassmaking, an original model for the glass item is first carved from wax (much easier to form complex detail as shown in the picture on the left, which is part of a vase by Rene Lalique). When complete the wax form is fitted into a frame and encased in a moulding compound such as wet clay or plaster. Rene Lalique used a mixture of plaster of paris, quartz, and water. When this casing has hardened, it is warmed so that the wax melts and can be poured out. A plaster mould has then been formed and this is either filled with molten glass (to produce a figurine or statue) or a gather of molten glass is blown into the plaster mould to form a vase.

In most cases the plaster mould has to be destroyed in order to release the "lost wax" item. Sometimes the artist succeeds in producing a design in wax which can be used to form a mould which will release its contents without needing to be destroyed. It is believed that Rene Lalique made some semi-permanent moulds for cire perdue models.

"Lost Wax" and Cast glass are techniques that have become popular with glass artists in recent years as they do not require the very high temperature furnaces needed for blown glass. See our page on Cast glass (click here) for more information.
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References and sources:

Here are some books that you may find helpful. Click on any book cover or title to read more about a particular book.
  • René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass (May 2014) by Kelley Jo Elliott. Hundreds of color photographs-many of them full-page images selected from the extensive collection of The Corning Museum of Glass which includes design drawings and photographs.
  • Glass Casting (Jan 2020) by Amy Whittingham. A practical book explaining the glass casting process, with step-by-step instructions.
  • The Art of Glass: Art nouveau to Art Deco (Sept 97) by Victor Arwas. Stunning pictures covering all the major glass producers of the art nouveau and art deco periods, including many French such as Galle, Daum Nancy, Argy-Rousseau, Leveille, Lalique, Sabino, Marinot, Navarre, and Schneider.
  • Lalique Perfume Bottles, by Glenn Utt, (1990). A definitive book on Lalique perfume bottles.
  • Lalique Glass: the Complete Illustrated catalogue for 1932 (Oct 81). An invaluable aid to identifying Lalique Glass, this reproduction of the 1932 catalogue has pictures and names for the entire production range of Lalique at the height of their popularity.
  • The art of Rene Lalique, by Patrica Bayer and Mark Waller, Quintet Publishing, 1988. Over 350 colour photographs of the range of Lalique's work.
  • Lalique Glass, by Nicholas M Dawes, Viking, 1986. A useful book for collectors.
  • Lalique: a collector's guide by Christopher Vane Percy. (1977 reprinted in 1983). Covers design and manufacture of Lalique pieces.

Rene Lalique Lalique by Lalique Collecting Lalique Lalique by Hodge Lalique book, jewels Essential Lalique Lalique catalogue book Warman's Lalique book Lalique book

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