I hand-craft all my jewelry myself, using only hand tools and high quality silver and gold wire, but that’s not all! I am also a “Lapidarist”, or stone cutter, which means I saw, cut, and polish all the gems in my jewelry as well. I have been collecting and polishing gemstones since I was eight years old. Of the many different ways to cut stones, there are two techniques that I practice.
The first is a process called “Tumbling”. This is almost exactly like what the ocean does to the beach stones. You must first crush large stones down to a reasonable size, usually one inch chunks are adequate. These rocks are put into a rubber tumbling barrel. I will then add an abrasive called silicone carbide, that will grind and smooth the jagged edges of the stones, (much like the sand and silt in the ocean) and the final ingredient is water. The exact measurements of all the components will depend on the size of your tumbling barrel. Now the barrel is placed on rods that a motor will rotate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for months. I open the barrels and check the progress once a week. The system I follow is a four step process, in which the grit starts out very coarse, and ends very fine, after all that you can clean them and add a polish for the final step.
The second technique that I use is called “Cabbing”, or cutting cabochons. These are gems that are individually hand-cut and polished, but not faceted. A rough “chunk”, or block of stone is put into a slab saw; where it will be cut like a loaf of bread. Then each slab is brought to a trim saw. On this machine I will cut out shapes from the slab by hand. All my saw blades are diamond and stay lubricated with oil or water. The next steps involve a cabbing machine; this machine consists of a series of diamond impregnated grinding wheels, starting with a very coarse wheel, and getting successfully finer as you go, the last being a pre-polish. Throughout the entire process, water is needed as a lubricant, it is usually sprayed upon, or drips onto the wheel. The last step is to polish; I choose a leather polishing pad and a variety of polishes.
I wire-wrap the gems by hand to create “one-of-a-kind” pieces of jewelry. I also sell the cabs to other jewelers. I travel to different shows, fairs, and events displaying and selling my wares. I also do corporate vending, home parties, special orders, custom pieces, and private appointments. My pieces are sold at various shops and boutiques also. I love to cut all types of precious and semiprecious stones, including the popular gems such as amethyst, turquoise, lapis, jaspers, malachite, agates, as well as some of the more obscure and rare gems; like hemmimorphite, sugilite, moldavite, cobalto calcite, ect. Besides stones I utilize an extensive variety of different materials including crystals, birthstones, fossils, meteorites, arrowheads, teeth, claws, carvings, coins, and more! With such a diverse variety of unusual materials, I hope to help you find that treasure for yourself, or someone special!