I've done a bit of casting in all of my jewelry classes, and have cast everything from carved rings and pendants to seed pods and barbie hands. While I enjoy casting, I've always done it somewhat sparingly compared to fabrication - I would enjoy it for shorter periods of time and welcomed the break from torches and solder, but I was always excited to go back to them.
For the record, (red) garnets are thus far the most difficult stone to capture with my camera. They usually just look black, no matter what tricks I pull out of my DSLR.
Also, I am on a mission to get my shop UPDATED with all of the items I have laying around! I have these rings, the tiny warm stack, a tiny stacker on its own, the persimmon necklace, a pair of mod moons, and that's just what I can think of off hand.