Thursday, July 17, 2008

romancing the stone: custom-cut stones (part four)

Over the years, there are a certain number of gemstone shapes that get cut over and over again, because people can't get enough of them. These shapes and cuts have endured with good reason I feel, because they are undoubtedly beautiful. Sometimes however, the design calls for something different, and that's when the traditional boundaries of jewellery get torn down.

Recently, I wanted some aquamarines with inherent quirks cut in a slightly asymmetrical fashion but I knew that there was no way I would be able to find them just the way I wanted. So I had to start right at the rough, which was fine by me, because I love that part of the process anyway. I deliberately chose the ones with character quirks, avoiding the more perfect cousins. For added texture to the design of my piece, I selected a variety of colour shades, from blue to green, and milky opaque to complete transparency. And then, requested them faceted in a checkerbox cushion cut, with the slightest hint of asymmetry to it.

I then had them carefully drilled right through, to ensure that the fragile beryl (with a Moh's hardness of just 7 and compounded by the cracks) didn't break and then wove them together with keishi pearls, tiny icy blue aquamarine briolettes and organic hilltribe silver ornaments.

And for another organic hilltribe piece, I had requested that the beryl be just shaped and polished into different sized cabochon rectangles, to mimic the rectangular silver ornaments themselves. The lapidary artisans had looked at me like I was crazy, and tried to tell me that no one ever cut their stones this way but after I insisted, delivered spectacularly all the same. :)

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