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The History Behind Pate-De-Verre


Lost-wax Casting (Pâte de verre)

One of the main techniques used by LIULI in producing glass is known as “lost-wax casting” (pâte de verre). In this process, a refractory mold is fashioned by coating a wax model with a layer of fire- resistant plaster; once the plaster is dry, the wax is heated until it liquefies and drains off, hence the name “lost-wax.” The resulting mold is then filled with molten glass. The advantage of this technique is that it allows for the inclusion of minute details in the final artworks and expands possibilities for the artist’s unique expressions.

During the 19th century glass artisans in France revived the lost-wax casting technique used in ancient Egypt more than 3,000 years ago, which subsequently became a major element of the Art Nouveau style, leading to a new wave of interest in glass art throughout Europe.

Archeological evidence indicates that this technique was widely used by Chinese artisans during the Han dynasty (202 BC–220 AD), but was unfortunately not handed down by later generations. This ancient technique was revived in 1987 by LIULI, and is currently being used by over one hundred workshops throughout greater China.

The lost-wax casting requires meticulous attention to detail, since the slightest error can result in cracking, irregular air bubbles, or the introduction of impurities. The procedure consists of the following 12 steps.

THE CREATION PROCESS OF LIULI via Pâte de verre Technique

Exclusive 12-steps Glass Art Process by LIULI Crystal Art
*To Continuously Create Art for the Good of the Heart*

  1. Design and sculpting
  2. Silicone molding
  3. Infusion of molten wax
  4. Shedding of silicon mold to obtain the wax form
  5. Wax form refinement; removing imperfections
  6. Coating the wax sculpture with plaster to form a refractory mold
  7. Removal of wax with steam—the essence of the “lost-wax” process
  8. Choosing color; kiln firing
  9. Re-firing at 1,400 degrees Celsius
  10. Removal of plaster mold
  11. Retouching of details; burnishing and polishing
  12. Final inspection; etching of serial number; packaging