Jewelry: Before The Revolution

Above photo: A large Tahitian Black Mabe Pearl Pendant in 18 Karat Green Gold with Diamond.


Wax Specialties, Inc.

(Writing in 2015) The past eight years have passed without any new jewelry designs coming through my hands, as I have sought to write for the Liberty Movement.  In creating The Mental Militia website I am featuring the works of many wonderful people, organizations, and writers who know more about “Liberty” than I do. I will continue to feature additional experts as time permits, with the idea in mind to showcase the “guiding lights” who have shaped my vision of personal freedom.

I need to capitalize this website’s completion. Fortunately, I am an experienced jewelry designer and gold caster, as well as a full-service repairman and diamond setter. I am also a well-connected diamond and colored gemstone source. That is how I made my living for most of my adult life. I got into jewelry design work while working as a Dental Technician making gold crowns and bridges for Dental offices in Memphis, Tennessee, way back in the 1970s.

Yes, before I became involved in the “consciousness revolution” I was a jewelry designer, stone-setter, and gold sculptor. A romantic at heart, with an eye for the miracle of beauty, I made a living by the work of my mind, heart, and hands, building permanent homes in gold for precious gemstones.

But before that, beginning in the 1960s, I was a crown-and-bridge technician for the Dental profession. I created a personal dental crown-and-bridge lab at my home and serviced six Dental offices by making gold and porcelain crowns and bridges which they would seat in their patients’ mouths. That kind of waxing and casting work required state-of-the-art techniques as well as precision equipment. I spent money and time attending Dental seminars, such as the Hinman Convention in Atlanta, where I studied all the aspects of restorative wax-model making on laboratory stone dies, and the science of casting gold. But I’ve always been a creative-minded sort of guy, and eventually I grew bored with building molars in gold — after all, our “back teeth” (molars) present very little room for artistic expression — each gold crown required exacting fulfillment of the patient’s and Dentist’s needs, but beyond the scientific excellence involved, there was little to stir the imagination.

I knew nothing about jewelry, but discovered in the early 1970s that much jewelry is made using the “Lost Wax Casting” technique, about which I was already very competent. I tried my hand at jewelry designs and found that work to be very rewarding. I began my jewelry business, Wax Specialities, Inc., by offering the jewelry industry high-quality gold castings from their wax models. The transition was accompanied by an increase in the number of Dental offices I was also servicing, so that by the late 1970s I employed three Dental technicians and began to hire bench jewelers to help keep pace with a growing clientele comprised of more then 15retail jewelry chains.

The business was named “Wax Specialties, Inc.” It was a Tennessee sub-chapter “S” corporation. I sold forty thousand dollars worth of stock to outfit the business and leased a lot of space on the second floor of a bank building at the intersection of Poplar and Perkins in Memphis. It paid a living and it had the spiritual rewards which come with working with one’s hands. It also allowed me to pay excellent jewelers, from whom I learned yet more about techniques.

One of my favorites was a Russian immigrant from Kiev, who came over to America legally in a deal made between IBM and the Russian government. He couldn’t speak a word of English. To give him his daily workload, I used a translator from the Jewish Community Center at Germantown, Tennessee — the wealthy side of Memphis. Within six months he and I had built a system of communicating well enough that I could quit calling the Jewish Community Center’s interpreter every morning.

That Russian jeweler had been on the same bench at Kiev for twenty-two years, mastering old-world hand techniques which many American jewelers have let slip away into the past. While I would customarily order my “findings” from manufacturing firms, my Russian jeweler would sit there at his bench and make the findings himself from gold wire and sheet stock. He, himself, was a gold mine for my jewelry education, teaching me centuries-old hand techniques as I sat beside his bench from time to time. (He also taught me much about the reality of life in the USSR, the problems encountered in  applied communism.)

What I had to offer other jewelers who would talk shop with me was a highly perfected casting technique and a wax technique which was not taught in the jewelry industry. My technique was given to me by a prominent gentleman in the Dental field, the man who wrote the crown-and-bridge manual for the University of Tennessee, and who was an advocate for the Gnathological Society.

He turned me onto a set of waxing tools called “P.K. Thomas Wax Placers”. Those tools are used by some Dental crown-and-bridge labs for waxing models for dental crowns and bridges on a sophisticated instrument which was at that time a precursor to the “Granger Gnatholator” articulator. (See note below)

That instrument allowed for full duplication of any patient’s temporo-mandibular joints, occlusal details for natural mastication during mandibular processes. The wax technique used with these tools is a “placing” process instead of a carving process.

I’ve kept, and used, those wax-working tools since the early 1970s, and am about to pick them up again after the recent years of during which I was writing for the consciousness revolution.

The photograph below is a shot of my hands busily creating a wax model for a show-piece lady’s finger ring. The slender tool in my hand is a P.K. Thomas wax placer. The alcohol burning wick-lamp is used to heat the tip of the steel wax placer. Warmed, the placer is touched to a sheet of Moyco dental wax. The wax melts a globule which adheres to the heated tip of the tool and is quickly moved to the wax model being created.  The technique is very slow and tedious, as the model is created by adding one drop of wax at a time to the build-up. Heat tool, touch wax source, move melted drop of wax to model, repeat again and again. And again.  Slowly, a general shape and design starts to manifest. The rote handwork allows the ego to recede and allows for the creative expressions relative to whichever gemstone I’m designing for to come through in a three-dimensional model. It is a technique which is too slow for most jewelers, but which allows for unlimited designs in three dimensional model-making.

Now I am going back into sculpted jewelry design.  I hope you enjoy viewing the photos of my previous work, below and on the linked pages.

Samples of jewelry designs created with my unique technique for wax model making by hand:

Above: Wax model for a large Emerald with diamonds to be cast into one ounce of 18 Karat yellow gold Gents Finger Ring. Finished piece is resting on quartz crystal cluster.

Below: Wax model for Boulder Opal with one diamond to be cast into 18 Karat yellow gold as Gent’s Finger Ring. Both pieces, Emerald and Opal, are in private collections, as are all jewelry pictured on this page.

Miscellaneous Pictures of Designs by Elias Alias

(Note: All pieces shown on this page are in private collections.)

Montana Opalwood in 18 Karat Gold

Mozambique Garnet in Yellow Gold w Diamonds

Rhodolite Garnet w Diamonds in 18 Karat Finger Ring

Ethiopian Precious Opal Pendant in 18 Karat Gold w Diamonds

Pyrope Garnet w Diamonds in Yellow Gold Ladies Finger Ring

Below and to the Right —  18Karat yellow gold cross with 96 mele diamonds (F/VS) and one European-cut half-carat antique center diamond. This cross includes a hand-made wide-link chain also in 18Karat yellow gold. This necklace weighs well over two ounces of 18K gold. Total diamond weight: 3.38 Carats.

An individual wax carving cast into 18Karat yellow gold with diamonds.

In a brighter light…


Gold and Diamond Finger Rings For Ladies, Some With Colored Gemstones

Diamond and 18 Karat Yellow Gold Ladies Cocktail Finger Ring

18Karat Yellow Gold Finger Rings with Diamonds. On Left is with an Oval Rubelite Tourmaline; On Right is with a large Pear-cut Tanzanite.