I'm stating the obvious but I feel I need to highlight that the gemstones that we see so perfectly set with metal, come from the earth. The reason for this is that I often see the stones, polished and gleaming, and react immediately to it, gushing like a noisy magpie. Rather like seeing a beautiful woman on a pedestal, it's difficult to remember or recall how she came to be in the first place.
I'm lucky to have liberal access to the rough, especially because there are so few rough trading centres in the world. Sieving through piles of rough has to be one of the highlights of the creative process for me. To feel the uneven edges and examine the insides against the light allows me to feel a certain relationship with it, and allows me to be engaged a little more emotionally in the designing process.
Strangely enough, my greatest affection is always reserved for the rough that is not quite perfect. I don't seem them as flaws, but rather quirks. Little black dendrites, florescence, inclusions and cracks, I love them all. The “clean” rough, the ones that typically go for the highest prices, I appreciate on an intellectual level but the emotional pull is oddly towards the organic and quirky. From experience, when cut and polished, they can be as beautiful as their perfect cousins, but with little idiosyncracies that give them their unique stamp of character, never to be replicated exactly. The challenge that then arises is how to cut them, so that their flaws come across as personality quirks, rather than an irritating detraction to the overall stone. And for that, my lapidary artisans are the stars... (to be continued.)