Orange shaped Triangle

January 3, 2013

‘Another year, another day’ is usually the saying that I go by to start off my first official work day back into the so called ‘daily grind’ of life. Nine out of ten times, I’d agree with that saying but this year seems like it’s going to be a different year. Unfortunately, 2012 didn’t really seem to end on a high with all the tragedies happening around us. It was heartbreaking just reading about all these horrible things that was happening in our society. But, we are human beings and we do tend to pick ourselves up when faced with adversity. The way 2012 ended for me as a whole was on a positive note. I was busy as hell during the Christmas rush period that the jewelry industry faces around the months of November and December. Yes, it isn’t what it used to be in terms of volume of work that used to show up on my doorsteps but, times have changed and would you look at that, I’m writing a blog to share my work and help people understand the labor side of my industry. Before I get into my first blog of 2013, my heart goes out to those who lost their lives and the family and friends that were affected with these horrible tragedies.

Now on to the business end of my blog. Orange shaped Triangle? I know my blog titles are sometimes tacky but they do tend to blend in with the subject that I’m writing about. So I get this job order to make some custom made cufflinks, in 14 karat, white gold. Simple right? Not really because the customer wants me to supply and cut orange sapphires, set in a channel setting with black mother of pearl cut into the bezel which sits in the middle of these cufflinks. It sounds so simple and standard but for some reason, jobs like this always ends up on my doorsteps. If anyone knows anything about how hard it is to find baguette shaped orange sapphires, they should know how difficult this job really is. There is no such thing as baguette shaped, orange sapphires because there isn’t a demand for it so none of my suppliers would have these stones, sitting around,collecting dust. My next option would be to find oval shapes sapphires large enough to cut down to the size I need. Seems simple, right? No, it isn’t simple. You need enough pieces, which in my case, 30 pieces that match in color and size. The size that I need are 6x4mm oval shapes which then, I need to cut down to some special cuts which involve tapered cuts and what not. Okay, so oval shaped, 6x4mm orange sapphires seems easy enough right? First of all, to find 30 pieces that match in color is going to be a difficult task. This requires me to find a few suppliers that carry orange sapphires.

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Fast forward the boring and annoying parts and I went through three suppliers and I found myself 32 matching 6x4mm oval shaped stones.

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So here comes the fun part. Mapping out how I’m going to cut these sapphires. There are three corners in a triangle, obviously, but for those who didn’t know, you’re welcome and you can thank me later for your geometry lesson for today. I tried cutting a large diamond shape for each corner and it looked ugly so my next step was to cut that diamond shape that I originally thought would work, in half. So each corner would need 2 stones, sitting flush, next to each other, supported by the bezel walls.

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Here you got my pops cutting the sapphires to the sizes that I need.

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He’s changing out the wheel so he can start polishing each facet he put on the orange sapphires.

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As you can see here that having a large stone on each corner would make it look so bulky so cutting the sapphires in half just made it look so much better.

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My customer approved on how we were going to cut the sapphires for all three corners because frankly, it looked ten times better. After I got the okay, my father started the process of cutting the other 10 stones for each corner of the cufflink pairs.

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After cutting the sizes needed for the corners, my pops polished the sapphires. The next step is where your setter comes into play. This is the part where you pray that you have a good setter that knows how to work and set colored stones so he doesn’t end up breaking the stones. This isn’t your ordinary channel setting so it’s vital your setter is a seasoned veteran when it comes difficult jobs like this.

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‘On the money’, so far, with the setting job. You start to get excited when your job is starting to come to life. The next process is cutting six pieces for each cufflink, so twelve total for the pair, of baguettes. tapered cut on one side only to sit flush with the corner sapphires. That should leave you with the middle section open where a straight baguette should sit, which is 6 total for the pair of cufflinks. This is the part where I fast forward the setting process and just show you the finished product.

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Amazing. ‘On the money’ job by my setter again. So for the final part of this special order, I supplied and cut some black mother of pearl for the middle bezel section but I did not glue it just yet. I had my jeweler polish and rhodium the cufflinks so that all I had to do was just glue the mother of pearl into the bezel. Fun fact of the day, rhodium ruins mother of pearl.

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Here’s my dad gluing the black mother of pearl into the cufflink.

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Beautiful. I mean, it’s not something that I would wear personally but the amount of time and effort and the years of experience and skill that takes to complete a special order job like this to perfection, isn’t always appreciated. My customer loved the cufflinks and that’s all that matters.

On that note, I want to wish you all a successful and happy 2013 and hell, the Mayans were wrong, the world didn’t end and I’m thankful for that. Till next time…

35 gram Emperor

November 13, 2012

Here are back to back blogs just to make up for the silent treatment I’ve been giving you guys. My Instagram blog was just to promote myself on the photo sharing application. Self plugs on my own blog is always acceptable. Anyway, this blog is a good one. I’m going to share my experience making this custom men’s ring that I made from scratch.

I get an email from one of my customers saying they need a size 11 men’s ring, custom made. So we get to talking and I ask for some ideas he had in mind. He first sent me an image of this Lapis rough that he’s had in his possession for many years.

He wanted me to build a ring around this piece of rough. I asked him to send me some ideas he had in mind for the ring. He starts to send me some images and I started to get an idea of what he wanted. Most of his images that I received looked like this ring was supposed to be heavy. I received some more images of some filigree style designs you’d find on antique picture frames. So, in my head, I was like ‘Ok, this seems like a project that I’m going to enjoy’.

Jobs like this are fun because it’s on the jeweler to design freely without sacrificing the attention to detail that certain projects, like this particular ring requires. So I pull out my piece of paper and dust off the art supplies and I start to design. A little back story on how I became a so called ‘artist’. When I was a kid, my mother used to drag me to work whenever I was off from school and in order to keep myself busy, I’d animate. I was heavily involved with comics and that inspired me to duplicate drawings of Spiderman and classic characters like that. Anyway, so this is what I originally came up with as a draft for this ring.

Here’s some close up shots of the ring. I gave my client a birds eye view and a 3D view of how the ring would look like.

He loved it for the most part but he wanted to remove some filigree twirls and add some sort of pattern on each corner of the ring. He also wanted the filigree to act like a setting and just sit on the stone. So I started to design an altered version of my original sketch.

Like I said, a rough sketch. He loved the little winged sections on each corner and how I incorporated each little section to act like a ‘prong’ or a bezel so this stone could sit nice and tight.

After he approved it, I started the process of bringing this piece to life. So I started the CAD process. ‘CAD’ stands for ‘computer-aided design’. This style of designing a wax with the aid of a computer came into the business about 10 years ago. It’s more accurate and spot on with the angles. Anyone can CAD but some people that CAD, don’t really understand the jewelry side to things. You need to know why the section needs to be there versus just drawing something. You need to understand the math behind it before getting into the CAD business.

It’s such a trip seeing your drawing come together like this, in CAD form. I went with a woven look to give some life to the shank. The customer loved my idea since I started incorporating it into my sketches.

My customer loved the CAD and approved it. So my next step is to send this CAD file to the wax printing machine. These machines will grow the wax from the ground up. It  lays down the foundation and starts to grow your file, layer by layer. This ring took about 23 hours to grow.

So you got the bezel with all the filigree work on the left, the gallery in the middle, and the ring itself, on the right, all ready to be casted.

I made the bezel separate in order to fit the large Lapis, that I’m going cut, into the ring without damaging the stone itself. The stone has a few natural inclusions (cracks). It’s not recommended to set into a bezel setting when you are dealing with a fragile stone.

I showed the customer the wax that I grew, just to get him excited before I sent it to casting.  He loved it and gave me the ‘OK’ to cast it in 18 karat, yellow gold.

The casting came out beautiful. But before I do any work on this, I’ll need to cut that Lapis rough into a cushion cut with a high dome and a checkboard cut.

I started the process of shaping the Lapis into the Bezel.

This is the final, ‘attention to detail’ portion where I’m getting the stone down to the millimeter in order to have it fit perfectly into the bezel.

After sizing the stone into a cushion cut and shaping the domed section, I started to process of adding facets to the Lapis. This is the finished look that I had envisioned in my head when I first thought about how the stone would look like on this ring.

After doing some gold work and adding the polish and finish to this ring, I was impressed how this 35 gram, 18 karat monster of a ring, came out. It sort of looks like a ring that would of belonged to an Emperor or some sort of royalty. The woven design on the shank adds flavor to the big filigree work on the bezel. This was a fun project I must say. The customer was pleased with the results and he almost cried when he saw it. It brings joy to my heart, knowing that work like this is still appreciated.

If you have any custom ideas that you’d like to bring to life, email me at Sako@cicadajewelrydesign.com but other then that, till next time…

Keepin’ Busy

July 10, 2012

This is by far the biggest lag I’ve had between blogs. I promise to put them out more regularly. Hope you all had a good and safe 4th of July everyone. I’m just going to start this edition of my blog with some of the stuff I’ve been fiddling with in my shop. So let’s get straight to it then, shall we? So I’ve been cutting some onyx into these earrings for a designer that I shouldn’t really mention on my blog (the photo is my only hint to who it is.).

The onyx sits into the channel with a slight angle. In order for the onyx to sit into the slot, I was forced to slide it in from the side rather from the top – the normal side when it comes to inlay lapidary . Once the onyx sits into the channel, I start the process of lapping the onyx flush with the piece.

So I got this yellow gold ring that needed some a new enamel applied to the side of the shank. For those who aren’t familiar with enameling, it’s the process of heating powdered glass at temperatures between 1300 to 1500 fahrenheit, which causes the powder to melt, flow, and harden. Color is added with various minerals in the mixing process. I’ll get into more enameling talk some other time.

So basically we need to remove all the old enamel and re-enamel the middle area of this ring with the same colors to match the original colors that were put into this ring.

The red enamel with the blue dotted area showing the detail of the work and the whites in the hands was just half the work that was needed. My customer needed blue enamel filled where the writing wraps around the top of the ring.

The ring came out great and the enamel gives it that pop which brings out all the details that are on top of this ring. Apparently, this is ring has some religious undertones, which seem pretty interesting.

So this customer wanted me to cut some onyx and inlay it into the white gold frame with a dome cut and then add facets on top. (Yes, it’s shaped like a bear). The white tape on top of the onyx is my guide to make life easier until I get my hand tool and put the details into inlaying this onyx shaped bear to fit into the white gold piece.

I received this white gold diamond ring with onyx inlaid around six pieces of princess cut diamonds. This is tough to do and you’re bound to break a few of the onyx pieces when you attempt to inlay it into the ring. On the bottom of this picture, there is the old onyx that was inlaid previously by me about 10 years ago maybe? I’m impressed this ring lasted this long. These are actually old ‘Simon G’ rings that I used to inlay back in the day so It was a surprise to see it come in for repair from a different customer 8-10 years later.

This stunner of a ring with a gorgeous antique look I’ve been working on needs elongated sapphires that I need to cut into each side of the shanks to be set. Should be fun and I’ll keep you posted on that one.

This is my little tray of stuff that’s in process. There is a heart shape pendant that I’ve cut two pieces of crystals with loose diamond bezels that sit in the middle, between the crystals for the pendant. There’s some inlaid rings that need to be lapped flush with a high polish finish. A Black star sapphire that needs a nice polish to get that star shining in the middle. And an emerald and diamond ring that I’ve been working on. I rebuilt the channel holding the emeralds and supplied new emeralds and set them in. I’ll blog about that soon.

This octagon shaped emerald cut emerald is a thing of beauty.

It’s about 11 carats in weight and my customer wanted me to polish the table and crown facets of this emerald. After I polish it, I was asked to oil the emerald to bring out that Colombian color that makes it such an expensive stone to own.

I used some flash in this image to bring out the color on this emerald. An olive green color that collectors go after. If you guys have any questions regarding the jewelry world or the gem cutting and inlay lapidary world, feel free to ask away. This blog is meant to give you a better understanding on the jewelry and gem world and the man hours that are put into works like these. I try to simplify things and avoid sounding like a robot. I want your reading experience to be organic and have you, the reader, know there’s someone real behind these words. Till next time…

Armored Innovation

November 16, 2011

This post was supposed to be up 2 weeks ago but I’ve been lagging it. I don’t buy into the whole notion of saying ‘I don’t have time’, because you can always make time for anything you put your mind to. I either fire my secretary, which I don’t have, or I learn how to schedule myself better. Anyway,  I always love coming up with different cuts that’s not in the norm. They’re usually special cuts to inspire that designer in us all. Shapes that you won’t find in the market because there isn’t a demand for that shape. Well, I was inspired to come up with this new cut that looks like a shield so I named it a shield cut because me being the artist/designer, I have to exercise my artistic freedom.  If you have a vision I can shape your creation so feel free to ask me or send me your requests. Ok, enough selling myself, time for the good stuff.

First off, I’m a fan of Amethyst. One, it provides me with a wide range of that purple hue color that I’m a fan of. Two, It’s affordable and I have a that freedom of trial and error without killing my pockets. You can waste a lot of money if you’re not trained when mapping out where and how to cut your piece of rough so take your time and map out the steps when dealing with the cutting process.

So here’s my piece of rough I chose. This particular Amethyst is a ‘rose de france’ amethyst. The color is reminiscent of a lavender lilac shade which is a lighter color that usually comes from the Amethyst family.

This is the process of slicing. I need to slice this piece of rough in order to get my desired section I choose to preform the stone out of.

This diamond grade disk is spinning at a high RPM. Water is needed to cool off the friction this process causes.

Take your time when pushing the piece of rough through the disk. You don’t want to break the stone and don’t want to lose a finger in the process so be cautious if you ever decide to slice.

So I sliced through the rough and notice how clean it came out.

I displayed the two pieces of sliced Amethysts for an up-close, personal view so you can to check out the aftermath of the slicing process.

After the slicing process, I started to preform the Amethyst. I started the process by hand until I got the desired shape I’ve been looking for. I then transferred the stone to my dop stick (check out one of my older blogs by clicking on the link to get the terminology, I.E. ‘doping stick’ by clicking here.) for a more controlled and measured feel to the shape I was aiming for.

If you can see here, I’m cutting rounded inward grooves into the girdle (the side of the stone which separates the top from the bottom of the stone).

I got the rounded areas done. This is that time in this process where you really start to get excited by the way it’s starting to take shape.

The next step for this rose de france amethyst is to start cutting some facets into it.

I’m touching up the rounded sections on the girdle.

I added a regular table to the top of the amethyst but I wasn’t too pleased with the outcome so I decided to go with a double-sided checkerboard rosecut to the stone.

I love the ‘trial and error’ process. I’m honestly satisfied with the final product.

Why put the inward, rounded grooves into the stone you ask? I don’t know, maybe I can build something with bezels that snuggle perfectly into those grooves or have some sort of prong or build some weird bezel? Who knows, it all comes down to your artistic innovation – when that designer in you comes out to play.

Till next time…

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…

I feel like I start off every blog by apologizing for not posting my once a week post. I’ve been so busy (knock on wood) that I’ve fallen behind. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t been working on my blog. A lot goes into preping my blogs. I’ve developed a system I go by that involves showing you step by step photos of the labor process that goes in to my work. I usually take about 20-30 photos with my HTC EVO. Funny enough it’s from my camera phone but the technology on cellphones have come a long way and they rival any standard digital camera out there. I then transfer all the photos on to my computer and touch up the resolution of photos on Adobe Photoshop. It’s a process and a half but it’s worth it if I’m getting my point across to my readers. In order to deliver the goods, you have to keep the high standards and keep improving on each blog post.

Now, on to the business end of my blog. So I get these two matching pair, 14mm round Tanzanites the other day from a customer of mine that wanted to have it cut into a special fancy cut. If you want a nice and easy breakdown on Tanzanites, please click on the link ‘here‘ from a previous blog post I wrote a while back. Other then that, take a look at these beauties of a Tanzanite.

For people who don’t realize how hard it is to match certain stones, let alone to find 14mm round matching Tanzanites, in this quality, just do me a favor and appreciate the rarity of these images and good luck finding two matching stones like these in this size.

These images don’t do any justice to stones like this so I took a bunch of pictures to show off that nice blue with a hint of purple color these beauties give out.

The last two photos is a shot of the pavillion. What the customer wanted me to do is cut these Tanzanites into a domed, almost ball-like shape, matching 11mm pairs. This is where the title of my latest post comes into play. Tanzanites are expensive and when I’m asked to cut them into some fancy domed cut, the stone is going to lose a lot of weight. It’s called a massacre in my book, hence the title but the outcome is beautiful. If you’re still lost, continue looking at the next photos and you’ll see the process unfold and you’ll get what I’m talking about.

I glued the Tanzanite upside down on the dope stick in order to get the domed look because the pavillion is where all the weight is held.

The first thing I did was to cut the size needed so it can fit into the custom earring being made for the Tanzanites. I trimmed it down to 11mm from the original 14mm. As you can see, I now have space to pre-form the stone into a domed shape before I start cutting in the facets.

So I rounded out the Tanzanites with a the biggest dome I can get out of the stones and added the facets. It’s sort of free form but it resembles a Portuguese cut.

This is the polished and finished product. They don’t look like they don’t match but I promise it’s from the picture.

You’ll see a series of photos from different angles so you can get the complete show of these beauties.

The thing with Tanzanite, for example is that 85% of the stones you get look like a 5carat stone from the top/table but when you put it on a scale it reads 9 carats. The high concentration of mass is sitting in the butt (pavillion) of the stone and as a result emits a killer blue-purple color.

Cutting the Tanaznite bottom heavy, retains the color in most cases. My customer was aiming for a ball shape and was hoping to retain most of the original color from before I cut into them. He lost about 10% of the color but nowhere else in the world do these Tanzanites get cut like this.

What was the top of the stone, the table has now been demoted to the bottom of the stone.

I used a little flash to bring out that killer color I’ve been raving about. Imagine these matching pairs in natural day light and how much attention it’ll attract for it’s owner.

Now I thought this was the finished product and my customer was happy with it but when he started to make his earrings, he wanted the girdle area more rounded and faceted. This is why this blog has been lagging.

So I rounded out the girdle and continued the facet patterns.

The original size was a size 14mm and in order to get that dome for the Tanzanites to sit in the setting, I cut it down to the biggest size possible, which was an 11mm and rounding out the girdle, the millimeter size dropped to a 10.8mm.

On a final note, projects like this excite me and always keeps me on my toes. It’s out of the ordinary jobs like this which makes what I do different form the same daily grind the most people go through. I’ve been working on this onyx piece that just keeps breaking on me where I have to carve into it and inlay this shield emblem. Yes I cursed when it broke but in the end, it’s a trial and error process which helps develop new tools and techniques that can be utilized for future projects. It’s  a learning experience and I am always willing to learn something new. Hopefully by Monday, I’ll have another short blog up with few things I’ve been working on. Till next time…

‘G.D.’ for those of you who don’t know is a  ‘Gem Doctor’. People come to me to solve their gem cutting and inlay lapidary needs. Hell, I even blogged about it here (click the link to view the ‘gem doctor’ blog). I have a quick blog for you guys I’d like to share. I get this customer coming in with a problem. He has a 55carat oval shaped Tanzanite. A monster of a stone with a cut so bad, he’s having a tough time selling it. Whoever cut this overseas, cut the stone comparable to the 5 dollar a day salary he makes. Look, if you have a Ferrari frame and put some Toyota Camry body kit on it, the car is going to look like a Toyota Camry. Get it? You get what you pay for. I don’t think you can tell by the pictures but this stone had the wrong cut, an uneven side to it, and wasn’t given the love it deserves. He wanted me to improve the cutting and I’m telling him it’s going to lose about 30 percent of the stone and thats about $3k worth of weight loss right there so he opted not to cut it and let the stone look like Shrek.

Beautiful color but as you can tell, look at the top left corner of the stone and you can see the uneven area.

The pavillion on this Tanzanite was cut into a portugease cut and it’s cut with a fat bottom to give it maximum color. Can’t tell from the image but it’s bad cutting.

… I’ll hand it to the stone, it has a great vibrant purple/blue color to it.

I also received this yellow gold diamonds set around the bezel style piece with a gold plate bottom. Customer wanted an 8mm thick, domed, rose-cut top with a slightly domed cabochon bottom Lemon Quartz. Done.

Slightly domed cabbed bottom

Hopefully by friday the 17th of June, I’ll have my monster of a blog including 20 pictures and a video ready. I made a rose gold, diamond pave piece with a custom cut onyx in the middle of the ring for a customer.

A little preview..

By the end of next week, I’ll be featuring some work I do for a great LA based jewelry designer named ‘Lena Wald’. So keep your eyes peeled for that one!

‘Cigar band’ faceted onyx with silver lining by Lena Wald.

Starry Night

June 11, 2011

If Van Gogh was told to paint and create a gem stone, he would have created the opal. I should just end my blog on that note if you can make the connection right there. But for those who can’t, I’m here to give you the ‘macro’ look at the opal.  Who wants to hear the boring stuff about the opal anyway? Just Google the boring stuff I left out and we can call it even. But I’m sure I’m not going to leave out anything because I’m known to ramble on when it comes to my blogs.

Did you know 97% of Opals are found in Australia??? Haha, I know, too lame on so many levels. Anyway, the structural make inside an opal allows it to diffract light. It can take on many colors which it all comes down to the condition of the way the opal was formed. Opal ranges from clear through white, gray, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, magenta, rose, pink, slate, olive, brown, and black. Of these hues, the reds against black are the most rare (it beats out some diamond prices per carat, no joke), whereas white and greens are the most common (the McDonald of opals is the best way to describe it). It varies in optical density from opaque to semi-transparent. For gemstone use, its natural color is often enhanced by placing thin layers of opal on a darker underlying stone or wood. This is where you get an opal doublet. A triplet is 3 parts which consists of a thin layer of opal with a dark-colored backing and capped by plastic of crystal dome to protect the opal and magnify it. Another fun fact about opals is that it’s made up 30% water so it needs some sort of moisture here and there or it will crack. Heat cracks the gemstone as well.

Just like our friend, the ‘evil eye‘, it has been said back in the middle ages when people were slaying dragons and pillaging villages, owning an opal was considered good luck. Why? As always, I’m glad you asked. It’s believed to have possessed all the virtues of each gemstone whose color was represented on the color spectrum of the opal. Here’s a crazy ‘fun fact’! If you wrap your opal with some bay leaf and held it in your hand, you’d be invisible. What they forgot to mention (after some of you tried this out) is that you needed to add a little seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil with some shallots. Bad joke. For all you people born in the month of October, hit me up and let me hook you up with a nice piece of opal jewelry.

If Van Gogh were to paint a gemstone, he would have created the Opal. Can you see the connection in the photo?

Here’s an opal doublet for some of you still confused. It’s made up 2 layers.

Here’s the triplet. 3 layers and is considered not to be gem quality

So I get this ‘Kabana‘ style yellow gold ring that has taking a beating like no other. Opal is missing, cracked, loose and gold bars that separates the opal is missing. The ring is a mess as you can see in the image below.

You can’t really tell by this picture but the opal is broken.

I ended up cleaning up the whole channel and I added gold dividers in order for me to inlay the blue-green opal into the ring.

Best way to get the most out of opal in terms of color is placing it over a black background to enhances the color (that sounded like something a chef would say). I search through my rough, find the match and take the opal to my saw and start to slice away. I get the opal to my machine and start sizing it down to get it to sit inside the slots I’ve created. Once the opals fit, I get my epoxy and mix it with some black material (it’s a secret) and glue them down and let it sit for overnight. This is what you get as a final product!

I lapped the opal and the gold down flush and finished it off with a high polish and this is the finished product!

I wanted to show off this ‘Starry night’ Black Opal I have so you can all appreciate the beauty of this thing. It’s an oval-shaped 14.8×11.3mm cabochon at 4.24cts. By the way, this was all taken by my phone’s camera, the HTC Evo.

It’s the same black opal, I just flipped it around and look how it diffracts light like no one’s business.

I used the flash off my phone for this one.

I put it next to other opals so you can see the difference of the color properties it carries.

Well that should do it! If you guys have any question, comments, or concerns, please feel free to hit me up. Hopefully by next week, I’ll have another blog up regarding this crazy onyx job I got. The picture is below this but until then, cheers!

Next week, I’ll talk about this monster of a job.

Inlay Into History

May 18, 2011

(sorry for the lag on this…)

As I was sorting out images to upload into this blog on Sunday, the 8th of May, I was one of the many in Laker nation, thinking that a comeback was possible. As it turned out, It was like I was watching a bunch of Ray Allen’s lighting it up beyond the arch and the game was done, just like that! Swept! I was 2/3 on all things positive that day. I woke up at 7:45am to watch my beloved Manchester United destroy our nearest rivals, Chelsea in a 2-1 victory (don’t look at the scoreline, it should of been 6-1.. BTW, we won the league). I greeted my mother with a happy mother’s day, kiss, hug, and a card with some chocolates. Then the Lakers happened. Apparently, BenBaller from IfandCo. confirmed the news about some controversy regarding Kobe and Pau. The blog article is here. Pau Gasol in the playoffs turned into Pau Gasoft. A big let down but It’s ok, hopefully by next season, we’d have a better starting line-up/bench.. *AHEMdwighthowardAHEM*. My Gem Cutter’s Corner blog has turned into a venting forum for me. I’m trying different formats on how I should write my blogs. I’m trying to include personal life with my work stories. A better way to get to know me through my writings, rants, and venting.

Speaking of my footballing club, Manchester United are partnered with watch makers Hublot for the new ‘Manchester United x HUBLOT -King Power Red Devil’. Hublot incorporated actual grass from the field, Old Trafford, to each index on the face of the watch. Thought it was interesting by sharing it in this article here.

Now to the jewelry. I received this yellow gold ring that needs some black onyx inlaid into the leaf shaped slot. This particular job is labor intensive and hopefully, my pictures give me some sort of justice when it comes jobs like this onyx job. People say, ‘it’s onyx, why are you charging so much?’ I know it’s onyx, but you try to cut that piece of onyx into that slot at the price that YOU think it should be priced at!

First thing I look at is the thickness and the rounded curve on the ring to figure out how much you need to cut from the onyx rough. Once I figured that part out, I get my white tape, stick it to the top of the desired area and with my razor blade, cut out the shape of where I’m inlaying. I placed my guidance tool/tape on the onyx and begin to cut away until it fits into the ring. Take a look at the images below so you can get a better understanding.

Yellow gold ring that is in need of some inlay onyx work in a shape of a leaf.

I sorted through some rough, thick enough for this inlay work. Notice the ring is curved, which means I need a thicker piece of onyx to make the onyx flush. I applied my white tape, used a razor blade and traced out a guide to make life easier on me while I start the inlaying process.

To get the sharp edged areas, I used my hand drill.

Once I get it close enough I start to adjust and fit into the open slot till it sits tight and comfortable.

Once you get it fitted, I glued the Onyx into the ring and let it rest for a day. Keep in mind, if there’s a gap, I have to start this job all over.

Once the glue has dried, I get on my lap machine and start to grind down on it until it’s flush.

And finally, I get on my polishing lap machine and smooth it out and give it that give that shine that it deserves.

Till next time…

Who knew that delaying my blog would give me an opportunity to talk about the man who played one of the best hide and seek games known to man. I’ll tell you what, a big sigh of relief trickled across America. The ‘Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden’ game, ended after a ten year hunt from the moment the world trade center went down on that horrific day on September 11, 2001. I’ll tell you what, thank god that’s over and thank god all those family members of the 3000 plus that perished on that day and any other attacks that had Bin Laden was linked with, received some sort of justice and closure.

Did I wake up at 4:00am to watch the royal wedding? No, I didn’t. I was navigating through my third dream by that time. I’m sad to say that I was NOT part of the two billion people that watched Prince William and Kate Middleton tie the knot on April 29th, 2011. I did however, watch the 5 minute round up video of the wedding just to catch up. Kate’s wedding ring has caused some sort of frenzy to replicate, duplicate, etc.. I saw a knock off of the ring on some retailers website for $80 today. As is tradition for royal brides, the ring has been fashioned from Welsh gold, valued for its quality and scarcity. The people of Sri Lanka were represented in the wedding by providing the center stone for Princess Diana’s wedding ring. The 12 carat, ceylon sapphire was the choice for the center stone that was wrapped around with 14 round diamonds. The ring is estimated to valued at $500k.  So, well done to Prince William for hooking up his bride with his mother’s – Princess Diana’s – wedding ring. Keeping it in the family and keeping it real with traditions.

Now here is a section where if you continue reading, your stomach will turn from the horror of hearing about another broken Tanzanite story. The biggest rule when it comes to Tanzanites – do not expose it to extreme temperature changes or you will get cracks inside the stone and you will be forced to call me to replace it for you (I thought it was funny). My customer comes in with this 14 carat, cushion cut, gem color of a Tanzanite. You wanna talk about having no luck? This wasn’t a clean break so you could completely salvage the stone. This stone had multiple cracks and I decided to have a go at it and start slicing up the stone to see where and how I can salvage it. The pictures below pretty much tell the rest of the story. Read my older post about a similar topic here. Till next time…

Notice the heavy inclusion looking cracks in the Tanzanite

… the crack is noticeable on the pavilion end of the stone as well

I flipped the stone so you can see the multiple fractures

Here’s another top view of the stone.. such a pity this stone has to go waste.

I was asked to salvage the stone and see what I can cut out of the damage.

I forced the stone to break by putting it against my diamond saw and I got the cut I wanted causing the rest to come apart.

I ended up cutting a trillion, a cushion, an oval shape and a pear shape.