me trimsawingI hand-craft all my jewelry myself, using only jewelers’ pliers and high quality sterling silver and gold wire, but that’s not all! I am also a “Lapidarist”, or stone cutter, which means I saw, cut, grind, and polish  the gems in my jewelry as well. I mine, or source my materials myself too. So I do every step from raw material to finished pendant! 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, when they are ready to move on to the next step, you must first wash all the stones and the barrel well. The system I follow is a four step process, in which the grit starts out very coarse, and ends very fine, after the fourth step, you 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 secured in the automatic feed of a slab saw; where it will be sliced like a loaf of bread. Then each slab is brought to a trim saw. On this smaller saw,  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  grinding wheels, starting with a very coarse wheel, and  each consecutive wheel is finer than the previous one, the last being a pre-polish. Most of the cabbing machines have six grinding wheels. 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 sell online and at events, I also do custom pieces. I love to cut all types  gemstones, and fossils, I work with all the popular materials, and also have a large variety of the more obscure and rare gems, so you can find something different!  I’d love to help you find a special treasure for yourself, or someone special!