Fresh Water Elephant

March 5, 2014

Broken record? You have no idea! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about something but there is a reason behind the dormant state of my blog. To sum it up in a jiff, I’ve been planning a new website for my business and I wanted to incorporate my blog with my new website. Something modern but to the point while showcasing what my company does – providing service for that niche jewelry market that I’m in. I look at this blog post as a precursor letting everyone who stumbles upon it that a few changes for the better are coming in the very near future.

Anyway.

Fresh Water Elephant? What the heck does that mean? I’m glad you asked. It’s a great topic starter for this blog involving some freshwater pearls that I’ve obtained. I don’t consider myself an artist, but for the sake of this particular blog, let’s just say that I am (even though I’ve been caught doodling and animating over the years). When you have this free-form freshwater pearl looking right at you, begging for someone to create something with it, you start to let your imagination wonder a bit. What does this pearl look like? What can I build around this pearl? You start sketching around it. You start Googling different variations of things. Okay, lets go animal kingdom with this odd looking pearl. You start to Google more images. A bird? A frog? An elephant? (as an aside I have done some stuff I’ve done with free-form pearls so keep a look out in the near future when my new website is launched.) So, I went with an elephant. Now we’ve got ourselves an elephant to design around this pearl. What part of the elephant? I know, let’s go and use the pearl as the head, legs and upper torso and I’ll build around that. I can’t CAD the around the elephant. It won’t be possible due to all the natural curves the CAD program won’t capture. So let’s do hand-carved wax. Keep it old school with this elephant. So I wax carved it by hand.

Elephant pearl Wax carving (1) Elephant pearl Wax carving (2)

Elephant pearl Wax carving (3)

Not bad, right? So I wax carved the trunk, the ears, the feet and the tiny, cute, little tail for this tiny elephant. I also decided to give it a traditional cap so I can set some diamonds on top to make it a classy looking elephant. That section between the feet, I didn’t want to leave it empty so I added some sort of grass like bush to authenticate it with its typical surroundings. Now it’s time to carefully remove the wax off of the pearl and send it into casting. I was thinking 18 karat, yellow gold should do the trick.

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (5)

Pretty cool I might add. This little guy, who’s a little larger than a quarter, is coming out great!

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (6)

That little section which I like to call it’s baseball cap, we pave set some beautiful white diamonds and right underneath it, we bezel set a nice blue sapphire. It looks like a classier circus elephant. If you notice, I’ve marked with a sharpie a black mark with where I’m going to be drilling a tiny hole to give this elephant some sight.

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (1)

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (2)

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (3)

So for the eyes, I cut a tiny ruby cabachon to accent the yellow, white, and blue undertones. I slightly oxidized the little holes and outer lines on the ears and feet to give it a little more depth in color contrast. I also added a hand made bail/jump ring for the chain to run through it.

Elephant Such a killer looking piece. It’s original, it’s mother natures giant beast at it’s best. So why not showcase this little guy with his friends, haha. It may look tacky to some but this pro shot of this elephant is awesome to me. Enjoy the details of this finished 18 karat, free-form freshwater pearl, dressed up as an elephant. I call these sort of pieces, ‘one-of-a-kind’ collector items.

Keep a look out for my brand new website and a more consistent flow of blogs. Cheers!

InstaGem

November 12, 2012

The age of social media has changed the landscape of how to get your product or service noticed. MySpace was great at first, but just took a dive after users had to deal with spam and junk. Eventually this pushed everyone to Facebook. Facebook was amazing at first and still is to a certain degree but I honestly haven’t been able to use it to get my work as a gem cutter or inlay lapidarist appreciated. So I started to blog my work and write about it, explaining the different processes of how much work is put into certain projects I deal with. I recount experiences with jobs form the labor to the end product. Sometimes I will even throw in a little background explanation on certain stones. I’ve got just enough info not to bore you to sleep.

Then Instagram came into play. If you don’t know by now, it’s an application, which can only be accessed through your iPhone and Android devices. You take photos of your journey through life and share it with the rest of your friends. You get to see their pictures your friends put up as well. If you like the image, you double tap to like it and or leave a comment. So I started using Instagram to promote my business and it honestly works. It cuts through the bs that facebook creates on your wall. It’s honestly one of the best tools to promote yourself because it delivers quick, visual content to those who are interested.

So this is me paying homage to a great social media application. I’m sharing some of the photos I’ve taken using this wonderful app called Instagram.

Emerald cut Aquamarine, Santa Maria color. This was one of my first ever images I upload on Instagram.

Downtown, Los Angeles. This is where I call home from 9-5, Monday through Friday. It’s always sunny and nice in southern California, for those who think it’s a myth.

This piece was an intricate job that I had fun working on. Cutting a half cylinder black jade with grooves so the chains can sit in each channel.

This is how your diamonds are cut. It’s a diamond cutters little mecca where that giant disk creates that shine all you boys and girls love.

Made a matching duplicate ring where I’ll be supplying and cutting some taper baguette cut sapphires that go around the cushion cut diamond.

The ring is the same as the one in the above image, but with the sapphires almost set completely, and minus the bezel set cushion cut sapphire. It’s a step by step process when dealing with jobs like this. You have to cut a few sapphire pieces, have your setter set them, and proceed to the next few pieces.

… and the cushion cut diamond is set into its bezel.

Typical Hollywood right in this picture. Filming a pilot for a reality tv show. My pops in blue trying to be the next reality tv star.

Butterfly shaped onyx pieces ranging in various sizes.

Attention to detail. Doing a high polish on a piece.

With all this jewelry stuff, I do find time to have some fun on the grill. Instagram makes everything look so serious with their various filters.

This was a step by step process of repairing the channel walls and repairing all the emeralds. There was no need for a filter here. Just wanted to show how I incorporate gem cutting with jewelry repair work.

And finally, saving the best for last. This emerald cut Emerald needed a high polish, oiling, and setting in this custom made ring.

I could share more images but I picked a few out of the bunch. If you like what you see and would like to follow me click on the link here.

Look out for the next blog I’m simultaneously releasing with this one called, “35 gram Emperor”.

Till next time…

Emerald Aisle

July 30, 2012

On to my 31st blog post. I’ll just pat myself on the back for reaching this small milestone. My last blog post wasn’t up-to-par according to my father, the godfather of the gem cutting and inlay lapidary world. Touché dad, you were right. I blame writers block. Hopefully this post makes up for the last blog I put up. Let’s dive right into it then, shall we?

So I get this job where we had some non standard cut baguette emeralds that were sitting in a channel set setting on one side. On the other side of this ring, we had some baguette diamonds also sitting in a channel set. The ring had a large emerald cut diamond and a large emerald cut emerald acting as the two center stones for this old school accessory (probably dating back 50-70 years to my estimation). Before I continue, ‘non standard cut’ stones means that you wouldn’t find this style at your regular gem dealer. Standard cuts usually follow manufacturing guide lines based on increments of size change. I.E. 4x2mm, 5x3mm, 6x4mm, etc… That’s the easiest way to explain it for people not familiar with industry terminology. So for something like the size I need to cut down to, at 4.2×2.2mm, I’d need to find a stone close to that size. It’s always economical for me to find something that is as close as possible in size and weight.  Every gem stone has some sort of market value set and and you multiply it  towards the weight and you get the total worth of the stone itself.

With this particular job, the emeralds in the channel set were damaged from years of wear and tear, and the outside walls of the channel needed some laser soldering. Plus, to finish off the ring a nice high polish. You may be wondering where are all the pictures? (coming up below). I wasn’t planning on making a blog on a standard job like this but what unfolded, became a nightmare.

Before I hammered out all the emeralds to break them to start my process of cutting new emeralds for my setter to set into this ring, I took it to my jeweler to fill in the walls by laser soldering the area. While applying the gold solder onto the outside side wall, my guy calls me in to see what’s going on.  We were all baffled with the current situation we were facing – the metal started to crack and flake.. I did a little research and it turned out this ring was nickel plated. So here’s my educated guess on what was done to this ring (I might be wrong but it makes perfect sense). The ring was originally 18karat white gold and whoever owned this ring decided to nickel plate the piece. Why would you do that? My guess is that when you nickel plate something, it produces a crazy shine that sterling silver gives off and it’s way cheaper versus plating something in gold and silver. Nickel plating consists of copper, nickel and zinc properties. Economically speaking, it sort of makes sense. My customer didn’t know it was nickel plated and nor did I. This is where I started to think this job was ‘blog’ worthy.

Notice the indentation on the wall? That’s where I’m supposed to fill it in with the laser solder process.

You can sort of tell some of the emeralds are damaged from the image but take my word on it, they were all either chipped, cracked or damaged in some sort of way. You can even see on top of the wall of the channel there is a bit of damage as well.

What we decided to do is rebuild the whole channel from scratch, lap off all the nickel plating, and build a new support system and new channel for the new emerald baguettes. If you take a look, the large emerald cut emerald center stone was removed to avoid damage that heat and any stress would cause the stone. Emeralds are very fragile and few brave setters dare take on such a task of setting these stones. They’re loaded with tons of natural inclusions you can visibly see and not see so you have to be careful setting them or they will break on you.

The walls are slightly higher then the rest of the ring because it gives the diamond setter more flexibility while setting and it would be eventually leveled out and made flush with the rest of the ring.

So we started to set the baguette emeralds into the channel. In situations like these, it’s always great to have your setter close by when working on jobs which require each stone to have a special measurement in order to accent the limited space you have to work with. The setter would tell me ‘trim the stone from this angle a little bit’ and we’d go from there.

I’ll let you marvel a little so I can stop rambling.

This monster of a ring turned out just fine. It’s like I restored an old car back to life with some modern touches. The customer was extremely happy with the results, after some unexpected hiccups on my end, but it was well worth the trouble. The owner of this ring should be proud sporting such a classic on their finger.

So this is where I want to plug myself via my Instagram page to expand my viewership . If you have instagram, look me up at ‘CJD_Sako‘ or click on this link here, http://followgram.me/cjd_sako/ which should take you to my profile. I’m not sure you can follow someone via a home computer but from what I read, followmegram.me allows you add a user without a phone. For my next blog, I’ll be doing a unique Instagram special on all the jewelry items I’ve posted on the site. Some of the filters really make my work look like something out of Vanity magazine. Anyway, if you have any questions, comments or concerns or even suggestions on what you’d like me to chat about, let me know, leave a comment on this blog or email me at sako@cicadajewelrydesign.com. I can help you out with all your needs.

Till next time…

At a snail’s pace… Onyx

February 28, 2012

At a snail’s pace is more like it. Fits well with the title of this blog. I’m horrible at keeping this thing updated. Have no fear, I’ve got a belter of a blog for you. Before I begin, can I just say that I’m still fuming with the Grammys. What a shocking award show. The only reason it got ratings is because Whitney Houston passed away the night before. Nicky Minaj, what the hell was that??? Horrible, horrible, horrible. Sorry, I consider myself some sort of musician and that was an insult to struggling musicians out there.

To the blog we go! So I got this crazy looking yellow gold onyx ring that needed a matching section supplied and cut.

The middle channel of the ring is set with a bunch of diamonds .

I don’t know if your imagination is as vivid as mine but the onyx looks like a snails shell, no?

There it is. The missing section where I’d need to cut a piece of onyx. Here’s the thing. Onyx is moderately priced but the time and labor is what you’re really paying for to have this piece look brand new again. If you’re still confused, continue reading and you’ll see the process, step by step on how it’s comes into fruition.

If you notice the original loose, broken piece of onyx that used to be in the empty section of the ring. I need to match that broken piece.

This is my favorite picture and angle. Look how the wall curves in and the foundation of where the onyx should sit curves. That’s  where some of that labor goes because I have to manually shape it with my hand tool. If you keep reading and scroll down, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

So I eventually got my piece of onyx rough and I started to grind away on it.

It’s a trial and error process (Though I try to avoid the ‘error’ part). That piece of white tape I crazy glued to the onyx is my guide for me when to stop grinding away without starting all over again with another piece of rough.

The wheels spins so fast that anything you put against it will cause friction and that’s not good when dealing with gemstones. So it needs a water pump to deliver water onto the spinning disk to kill any heat when a piece of gemstone comes into contact. Hence the water, in case you were wondering.

Once I’m done with my grinding session, I take the stone to my bench for detailed work so I can get it to sit properly in the ring. I have my hand tool here with a special diamond grit drill bit to give me that curvature I’m looking for.

The drill bit has a sort of cone shape to it. Each section of the bit has a different purpose when using this kind of shaped bit.

Hey look, it’s starting to fit.

I used flash so you can see the wave like shape I need to create so it hugs the wall of this ring.

And it fits nice and tight. Here comes the fun part.

So I went back to my lap diamond grit disk and shaved it down to a close matching shape before I can get to use my hand tool to start carving out the swirlly snail shell shape.

Honestly, nothing scientific here. I used a pencil to map out the exact match of how I needed to cut into this piece of onyx.

Another favorite angle of mine that helps me explain the process. It shows the different layers and rounded curves I cut into the onyx for that match I’m looking for.

Pretty damn close, no? It’s a match alright. Now to manually lap and shape the onyx with my hand tool and then switch to a polishing cloth bit to give it that matching high polish look.

Done. This job took about 8 hours to complete. Time and labor. Just talk to your mechanic if you don’t believe me. The customer loved it, it turned out great, and I’m thrilled I got to share this little project of mine with guys. Till next time…

A broken record. That’s what I’m starting to sound like when the time comes to explain my reasons on why I’m not delivering on my blogs. I’ve had this blog ready to be written for a month now but I’ve been too busy with the whole Christmas period of the jewelry world that my blog was put in the back burner and I neglected it. Better late than never. Fear not, it’s back and hopefully with a bang. They say 2012 is a year of risks, so what better way to start my blog then to get controversial.

Part of me wants to support the whole movement of ‘Occupy Wallstreet’ and part of me wants to tell these people to get a job. I honestly don’t know where I stand on this topic and it’s such a sensitive one to voice your opinion on. I believe in the notion of ‘fighting for your rights’ and protesting for what you believe in. The protests have focused on social and economic inequalities, high unemployment, greed, as well as corruption, and the undue influence of corporations – particularly that of the financial sector of the government. Very commendable. However, this is a jewelry blog and the annoyance that I dealt with with the daily traffic because of the “Occupy’ movement was unforgivably horrendous.

 

In the end, it is what it is, and you all got kicked out of your occupied areas as it became a health hazard. Maybe fight your causes in different manners by using the given social media tools to your disposal. Petitioning seems to work but then again, what the hell do I know? I have a job that I bust my ass off for and with these difficult times, I’ve learned to adapt. There’s always room for improvement. I don’t want to come off as insensitive, but if plan A isn’t working out for you, always have a plan B. Am I making sense? Who knows. But what I do know is that this isn’t a political blog and I wish the ‘Occupy’ people luck with what they’re trying to accomplish.

Fast forward to today and this is how Occupy Los Angeles looks like. I tried my best to take some good shots and some are drive-by style shots while waiting for the light to turn green but you get the feel of it.

Anyway, as of late, I’ve been working with these beads  for a bunch of Shamballa bracelets I’m in the process of making. Here’s a little teaser of some of the material I’ve been working with.

You got yourself some Howlite and Coral beads which are perfect for making Shamballa style bracelets. I’ll get into more detail in another blog when I have my custom pieces finished for a new Shamballa line that I’ll be coming out with.

I just love this. The wild wild west but in modern times. This is how they roll in Downtown LA these days, assuring your safety in the jewelry district. Thought I’d share this image to get a little chuckle out you folks.

So I get a request to cut two matching Rudilated Quartz, pear shapes for some designer. Here’s the catch. The table isn’t your ordinary flat table. I had to have the table cut in a concave style cut. What is a concave cut? I’m glad you asked for those who do not know. A concave cut is curved rather than a flat facets, resulting in a more brilliant gem.

You got yourself here a matching pair concave cut rudilated quartz.

I tried to give you the best possible angle so you can see the curvature of the table.

Those lines you see in the quartz is called a rutile. It’s made up of titanium dioxide and it often appears as needles of included color. Who says you don’t learn anything from reading this blog?

Yes, those are sleeping beauty turquoise sitting in a tray. I specialize in manufacturing turquoise to calibrated sizes and fancy, special order style cuts, depending on what that designer in you wants to create. In that tray, you’ll notice I’ve made a bunch of matching pairs for earrings and pendants.

The cleanest G shock customized face I’ve seen in the market. Don’t mind the arm hairs (and don’t mind the date, I haven’t adjusted it). It comes from those Armenian roots I’ve inherited which isn’t a bad thing and it sometimes has it’s perks. We have an iron chef Geoffrey Zakarian to claim now which is amazing. Anyway…

I made some more Lena Wald rings for an order over the Christmas period. You got yourself some size 7 finger size, Turquoise and Ruby cigar band rings with a smooth surface which are about 18mm wide with silver linings.

Talk about a nightmare job…

This custom ring turned out to be a headache job. I don’t know if you can see in the image itself but the open corners with no sapphires in them are supposed to be cut into millimeter perfect tapered cuts, which I specialize in.

I laid out the princess cut square sapphires for you so you can see how many I needed to cut into tapered cuts.

Here’s another look at it.

If you were wondering what that smudge was on the top corner of the ring is, I applied wax to the tapered cut sapphires so the setter can know where each stone goes

The empty rows are meant for pave set diamonds and the center is for a big diamond that’s going to be sitting in the middle of this hexagon shaped ring. Gotta love custom work sometimes.

Here you got this eternity style band that has a twist shape to it. You’ve got some round black diamonds set on one section with milgrain work and bezel set round white diamonds set in a 14k ring.

And that should do it for this particular blog entry. I just want to wish you all a successful and better 2012 and hopefully the Mayan’s are wrong. Till next time… (next week hopefully)

Fried Chicken and Gems

October 24, 2011

Fried Chicken? Really? Once I saw this picture, I had to share my thoughts on it. Some of you may or may not know who Nicki Minaj is but for those who don’t know who she is, she is a pretty big recording artist. I don’t want to call this a rant but more of a funny mention to what she was sporting around her neck recently. Just have a look at the image below.

I don’t know what to say. If someone asked me to make them a special order of some fried chicken necklace, of course I’d be happy to make it, but this is just too funny. This necklace is perfect for the trending topic of #hoodmemories on Twitter as I type this. Over the top? Yeah, it is. Fits her character? Of course it does. In the end, I’m not going to sit here and judge someone on what he or she decides to flash in public and I always go by the saying, ‘whatever makes you happy’.  Moving on…

I’m stuck and honored with the duties of trying to figure out what kind of center stone I can put into this white gold ring I made for a customer of mine. All they said is ‘something yellow’ in a cushion cut with a certain budget they want to stick by. I was thinking of something like a yellow ceylon sapphire or a yellow tourmaline. Any suggestions? This is the part where you help me decide with your suggestions.

It’s a beautiful and elegant looking ring that deserves something nice in the middle. One of the perks of being a gem cutter dealing with special orders is that I have the power to cut any shape and size to my needs and nothing holds me back when dealing with jewelry related problems like this one.

I have this obsession with showing off Tanzanites in my blogs for some strange reason. Well here’s another one for you viewing.

This 20 carat plus monster of a stone needs more life to it. No disrespect to all the hard workers over seas but most of the stuff I see cut from Asia and India is way below par. They are told to cut to preserve the weight while sacrificing the quality of the cutting job. I’m a big advocate of USA made products when it comes to the jewelry world. This topic is a perfect intro to the following images you’re about to see.

I don’t know if you can tell from the image but this is a parcel my customer received from their factory in Thailand and my first glance at these multicolored sapphires, I thought to myself, ‘were they drunk when cutting this?’

The cutting is awful, the person who maps out from where to cut the sapphires from the original rough, should be fired. These sapphires are filled with inclusions that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

It’s my responsibility to re-cut and salvage these sapphires so that they can be presentable and can easily move rather then collect dust in some parcel bag in some stone dealers safe.

Next week, i’ll be showing you a detailed look at this special new cut I’ve been cutting. Till next time…

3-1 kind of a weekend

October 4, 2011

I’m going to make this a short one and not a 1000 word blog. 3-1 kind of weekend? It’s a play on words title I chose. It’s referencing my beloved San Francisco 49ers record into a young season. Niner fans have been suffering for about 10 years and milking it ‘while it lasts’ is one thing that I will be doing. I’m also going to share with my readers 3 various jobs that I’ve done. Hell, I’ll just include a YouTube video showing you a process of this coral job I did.

So I get this order for this red coral job that I needed to supply into a tear drop shape with grooves cut into them. You may remember a blog I wrote on this Turquoise job I did called ‘Turquoise Grooves‘ which explained the whole process.

I mapped out how and where I’d like my grooves to be cut on this calcium induced piece of red coral using a small disk drill bit.

As you can see, this is the process of mapping out lines into the tear drop coral.

Here’s that video I promised showing you the process.

You may notice that I cut the lines deep so I have room to make the grooves.

Here’s the finished product. I filed the grooves in and used various custom made drill bits to give it that rounded look between each groove.

I finished it off with a 1mm hole so that some sort of post would sit into the drilled area.

So I get this David Yurman two toned ring in that needed a new Moonstone cut into it.

I supplied a nice cushion cut cabochon Moonstone to sit into the bezel.

The stone should sit perfectly inside and I recommended to my customer to glue it in and to do a light hammer on the walls of the bezel to give it that extra secure fit into the mounting.

And finally, I machine cut, to the millimeter, diamond shape cut blue sapphires that I supplied into this white gold ring.

As you can see, they go from large, medium, to small.

The blue sapphires sit perfectly into the desired area and some how, I kept this blog from reaching 400 words which is a new record for me. Hopefully, I’ll have another blog out and running by the end of this Friday. Till next time…

Ten years later…

September 13, 2011

This is probably the toughest blog I’ve written since I’ve started exploiting my world of gem cutting and inlay lapidary. I wanted to start off by saying this. You never know how much you love someone until they are not around anymore. 2 weeks ago, I lost my grandfather. We are all tired of the same cliches but he was an amazing man. He lived life to the fullest, had 10 kids, experienced everything life had to offer. He was 92. You’ll always have a place in my heart.

Ten years on and it’s still a daunting memory in the back of my head. I was lying in bed sick to my stomach when my mother comes into my room and tells me that a plane just hit the World Trade Center. I honestly didn’t comprehend it and went back to sleep. Ten minutes passed and I woke up again. I turned on my TV and all I see is a building up in smokes. I switch to the next channel and it’s the same thing. I then see another plane hit the other tower. I honestly thought I was watching a movie. My jaw dropped in a shock of awe. Was this really happening? I just graduated high school that past summer and I officially started working at my fathers company and it hit me:  If this is happening in New York, could this happenin Los Angeles as well??? I jump out of bed and ran straight to my mother and she was on the phone. I waited impatiently waiting to ask her “what’s going on with dad?” She was on the phone with my father and he was on his way home.

9/11 is a very sensitive subject and ten years since I’ve seen this Jewelry industry take a dive like no other. Manufacturing that was done in the USA was moved overseas to deal with economic downturn. People that came into this business 15 years ago have been flushed out. I was talking to one of my customers yesterday and he was frustrated that the old age  of knowledge was not there anymore. The new generation wasn’t getting involved to keep this craft going.

I was speaking to another customer of mine who called me and asked me if I was driving (speaker phone of course) and I was like “yes, I have to drive to deliver jobs. It’s a service I have to provide to keep some of my customers happy.” I’ve flown to San Francisco to drop off a job outside of the gate, then hopped onto another plane 15min later and flew back to Los Angeles. Work used to come to my doorsteps but now I chase after it. I mean, it’s all for the better right? I’m always trying to stay on top of my game and this is why I started exploiting my work while trying to educate people. My father, being old school, thinks that people would get offended by me using the word ‘educate’ when I write my blogs. I’m not trying to offend anyone but if it’s put out there for people to learn  something new, then why not?  The National Jeweler had an interesting piece about jewelers reflecting on 9/11.  If you’re interested in reading it, click on the link ‘here‘. My prayers are with those who lost their lives to protect this great country.

Onto the business end of my blog which contains a few things I’ve been working on.

For those that haven’t read my ‘Turquoise Grooves’ blog, I received another job similar to the grooved, oval shaped turquoise with a high cabochon.

(here’s the original matching pairs I just mentioned)

I needed to cut out of rough some salmon color red corals, matching pairs. I gave a detailed breakdown in my turquoise groove blog so click on the ‘link‘ and have yourself a look.

I love the color on these corals. They came out great and that high domed look just makes the stones for me personally.

I’ve also been working on this special order involving 2mm princess cut yellow sapphires. For those who haven’t sorted through a parcel of color stones, your eyes start playing tricks on you when you are trying to match a color.

For those who were wondering, I oil emeralds.  Oiling is one of the oldest treatment in the world. Oiling improves the clarity of the emerald. I received a job like this that needed a light polish on top with oil treatment after on a cut cornered, step cut emerald.

I had my setter remove it from the setting of this diamond filled ring.

I polished the stone and oiled it. I don’t know if you can tell, with the image but with the naked eye you can tell right away at the enhanced clarity of the stone.

I used a little flash to show off that beautiful green color this emerald gives out.

I had my setter set the emerald back into the mounting. This ring has such a mature and classy feel to it.

For my next job I received this ring that needed 3 rows of thin onyx, inlaid, replacing the cracked and broken original onyxes in the yellow gold ring.

I removed the old onyx and inlaid 3 new pieces of each row. With jobs like this, you need to be patient and have a light touch or you’re starting this job over.

Here’s a front view of the ring. What makes this job even more difficult is that it sits above the setting and it’s rounded surface gives it that more expensive look.

Hopefully by Friday, I’ll have another blog up on this crazy Tanzanite project I’ve been working on. The weight loss that these two beauties went through just for a fancy cut was ridiculous.

14mm matching round Tanzanites.

Till next time…

A quick round up…

August 23, 2011

What a weekend I had. On Saturday I was  at a wedding that wasn’t Kim Kardashian’s, but had some Armenian involvement. Sunday night involved me driving to LAX to go pickup my brother and bandmates from their European adventures rockin out to a bunch of Swedes at the Malmo Festival. My brother is a mirco-bio major and still has time to tour the world with his band ‘Viza‘. Afterwards, I got home at 3am and hit the sack. I didn’t end up making work the next day but it’s okay since I haven’t had a vacation in almost 4 years. But I did feel guilty for missing work. So I ended up writing a blog to make up for the guilt.

As a quick side note – gold? Forget about it. It hit 1900 for a sec and it closed out below that dreaded 1900 mark. Shocking.

Anyways, Last week I took some photos of some jobs that came in. I received this 18k white gold, antique ring that needed some matching color sapphires supplied and cut into them. The stones needed to be cut in an non-typical style which was no problem. I specialize in precision cutting – I cut stones to the millimeter, usually non-standard cuts.

Here’s a top view shot of this antique ring. The diamond bezel is surrounded with tapered baguette sapphires.

Notice the side of the shank were the sapphires are missing.

You won’t find anything out there that will fit into that area without special, custom cutting.

I supplied and cut 3pcs of tapered sapphires to complete the rounded curvature of the ring.

The sapphires sit perfectly in the open space. Just get yourself an experienced setter that does great milgrain work *ahem* and make sure they don’t break the sapphires or it’s coming back to me – which I wont mind.

For my next job, I got this $1000+ a carat opal in that needed a good polish in order to bring out the beauty it radiates.

My cellphone couldn’t pick up that crazy purple hue this opal was giving.

You can barely see the purple hue on the outer rim of the opal but I promise it’s there. I’ve rarely seen something like this so i figured I had to share it.

Finally, I just wanted to give a little insight into the current Jewelery market and what I’ve been doing to stay relevant.   The recent increase in overseas jewelery production has created a new competitive market which favors big factories and stamps out the smaller guy.  In order to survive in this cutthroat environment you need to have something which can stand against big business. So, I’ve been producing these “Shamballa” bracelets for quite a while now. I make them to order and so far whatever I’ve made, I’ve sold off. Here’s one I’ve made for myself featuring 2 skulls with diamonds set in the forehead region.

I used silver colored rope and onyx beads with a matte finish. I had some 3.5mm burma ruby rounds I wanted to set into the eye sockets of the skull but I think I’m going to go with some 3.5mm black diamond rounds. Still deciding, but you guys can always give me some input on what you think would look better.

I usually wear these when I go out and about. If someone takes a liking to it, I show it off and give them a sales pitch. They usually put in an order or sometimes they even buy it right off my wrist! Talk about covering a bar tab.

Hopefully by Friday I’ll release another blog with this new cut I’ve been working on. Till next time…

Turquoise Grooves

July 29, 2011

I’ve been slacking once again with my blog entries. I do apologize, but I have a good one in store for you today – Turquoise. If you come to my office, you’re bound to find turquoise rough just hanging around somewhere. I actually just stopped typing to take a peek into my workshop to catch a glimpse of a turquoise rough just hanging next to the window. So, before I describe my most recent endeavor, let me share some information about turquoise.

Turquoise is an opaque stone, which means it is not see-through. It has a hardness of just under 6 on the Mohs scale. Turquoise is found in or near copper deposits/mines as it depends on the presence of copper ions for it to form. It is composed of a hydrous hydrate of copper, aluminum and phosphorus elements. Turquoise was one of the first gem stones to be mined. It comes from all over the world (Afghanistan, Africa, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Siberia, Tibetan, Turkey and the US of A). The particular turquoise I am working on comes from a unique mine located in Arizona. The western state is home to some of the largest mines in the world including the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ mine where my stone originates. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is a solid stone with no matrix that ranges in color from Royal Blue to a very light Sky Blue. Generally speaking, turquoise color ranges from green to greenish-blue to blue.

And what better way to finish off this little digression on turquoise with these interesting facts! Did you know that no English gentleman of the 17th century was not regarded as well dressed or well adorned unless he wore jewelry of turquoise? This stone was so highly valued that all 79 of the emeralds in the crown that Napoleon gave his consort Marie Louise were replaced with Persian turquoise cabochons. In my opinion, I prefer sleeping beauty turquoise for its color, quality, and the nice value it carries. I personally think it’s better than the Persian stuff. Again, that is my opinion.

I made a special order ring about a year ago with diamonds around the mounting and I supplied it with a high cab sleeping beauty turquoise with grooves that I carved into it. I would of blogged about it but I didn’t have a blog at the time. But now I do!

My customer has asked me to cut 2 matching oval shaped sleeping beauty turquoise with the same carved grooves for some earrings that she wants to make.

Here’s the top view of the Carved Sleeping Beauty Turquoise I supplied and cut.

Here’s a side view. Notice the classy look on the ring, yet the Turquoise is still the center of attention.

So I go pull out some Sleeping Beauty Turquoise rough.

Here’s another angle. I’ll be slicing through this to get the deserved size I want before I preform the turquoise.

I quickly preformed the 2 pieces of turquoise I need with a flat bottom by hand after I sliced it from its rough form.

Here’s another angle. Notice how high the dome is. It gives me room to carve into the turquoise and give it its groove without sacrificing too much of the height of the stone.

I glued the turquoise onto the dopping stick as a guide so I can start going into detail with the desired size. I’m using a millimeter gauge to measure the 16x12mm size I need. If you don’t know what a dopping stick is, click this link ‘here‘, which should take you to one of my first blogs explaining the steps into the gem cutting world.

you have to apply the softest touches to the disk or it’ll eat away at your turquoise.

I ended up with 2 matching color, cut, and shaped beauties (no pun intended) after I used the preforming machine.

Here’s a side view of the matching turquoise cabochons on the dopping sticks.

I removed it off the wax/glue and I started to pencil in the areas where I’d be carving in the grooves.

Here’s a better look. What’d did you expect? A pencil is an awesome tool sometimes.

I just started filing in the grooves. Sorry, my bench light is ruining the picture but you get the idea.

I’m using my filer to cut into the turquoise. By doing it by hand, you have more freedom in your movement.

I’m working the edges on the turquoise here.

I finished using the hand file. It sort of looks like a preformed state after I filed it.

I started using a specially designed drill bit with a round disk with an inward curvature to round out the grooves.

I took it to my lapidary machine and gave it a little nice polish on top to get these 2 beauties.

Matching cut pairs.

That was a fun and challenging project. Next week I’ll start putting some of my special orders I get that  involve some sort of gem cutting + whatever I make for the gemstone. Till next time…