Our claw and tooth replica pendants are created in a way that does not harm the animal of the original artifact. Cats (including tigers and lions) routinely shed the outer portion of their claws. These claw sheaths are recovered by the observant keepers at the Animal Park at Conservator’s Center when they maintain the animals’ enclosures. On occasion, lost teeth are found as well.
A mold is then created from the collected material, leaving the original item intact and undamaged. From this mold, polymer or metal clay copies are created. While the piece dries, imperfections are smoothed and filed away. Each piece is stamped with a maker’s mark before being allowed to dry overnight.
Once dry, the pieces undergo a different process depending on the metal it is made of. Metal clay pieces are fired in a kiln at high temperatures to burn out the clay’s binding material leaving a solid metal piece. The polymer clay pendants are placed in a conventional oven to cure and harden.
The next step in the process is finishing. Metal items are polished in a tumbler. Bronze and copper metals are sealed with a clear varnish to inhibit the oxidation of the metal and prolong the original polish. Polymer clay replicas are topped with a thin layer of sienna brown tempura paint before being sealed with a glossy finish.
The metals all start out the same size before being fired but contract at different rates. From smallest to largest – white copper, copper, silver, bronze, polymer. All of the metal pendants are smaller than true size of the source material.
Each piece is as individual as the animal it originates from and as such is unique. Variations will occur between pieces due to the hand-made nature of the work. Also due to the inherent nature of the metals, color and finish may change over time.