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…

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Candy Wrapped

July 15, 2011

I’ve been lagging as of late from my last post so I do apologize. But behind the scenes I’ve been compiling a list of projects I can blog about so I can bang them out on a weekly basis. On that note, I had a friend drop by my office the other day with a crazy idea. She wanted me to supply a pearl that has been unwrapped and make a silver ring out of it. I was like ‘what the hell are you talking about???’ So she goes into her purse and pulls out this drawing of her idea.

After looking at this picture for like a minute with the biggest puzzled look on my face, I asked her to explain herself. She told me she wanted a pearl ‘candy wrapped’. Still didn’t make sense. I said, ‘paint the picture for me’. She went on to tell me that ‘you know how when you open an oyster up and a pearl sits in the middle? Well, what if you can unwrap a candy wrapper and it presents to you a pearl like an oyster does?’ Really, hippie woman? I asked her to draw it for me right there on the spot. Picasso would love this abstract piece of art.

After looking at this, I told her that I’ll work on something. I get the concept but to put it into 3 dimensions without making it look bad was the part that I was having a hard time with. I pulled out an oval shaped pearl, went downstairs to the liquor store and bought myself a butterscotch candy. I unwrapped it, removed the candy from the wrapper, and sent it straight into my mouth. I put the pearl into the candy wrapper and twisted it shut. The unveiling I was about to perform was about to put the picture into reality. I unwrapped the candy wrapper and that pearl looked right back at me. I’ve finally figured out how to CAD design this ring and complete it.

It looks cool right? This is a top view of the pearl ring.

I gave it a split shank look with a stem like support on the edge of the wrappers.

Here’s the silver/white gold look. Night and day difference from the my friends drawing.

Here you got the yellow, white and rose gold looks.

I sent the CAD file to my solid scape machine and started to grow the wax. Are you wondering how the pearl is going to sit? I’m glad you asked as always. I drilled two holes where pins on both sides of the mounting holds the pearl in. After wax is done growing, I send it for silver casting. I receive it back from casting and set the stone polish and finish the ring. I present to you the ‘Candy Wrapped Pearl”…

Here’s a top view. My cellphone camera takes better pictures then my 8 year old camera. Horrible, I know.

Here’s a more clear image from a top view. It looks great!

Here’s another angle.

Here’s another side view shot of the ‘Candy wrapper pearl’ ring.

Here’s the bottom of the ring. Keep in mind my friend was on a budget and wanted something simple and this came out to be on budget and for everyday use. It’s an awesome ring for any outing.

I delivered the ring to my friend and she absolutely loved the way it came out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a picture of the excitement on her face.

But she did allow me to take a photo of her hand with the ring on it.

Keep in mind, me being a gem cutter, I can cut you any stone to fit into the candy wrapped design. Whether it be rose cut all around a black onyx or some nice dark Amethyst from Uruguay. Name it and I can sculpt away. Yes, I do special orders if you haven’t noticed. I’ll be featuring some more later on.

Next week, I’ll be featuring some crazy Turquoise carving I did for a customer of mine. Till next time…

Actually, I wanted to give a nice shout out to the US Women’s National team because what they pulled off in the 122min into extra time against Brazil was something out of Hollywood. I was in awe. Good luck to them as they try to capture a 3rd World Cup against Japan. Ok, now I’m done. Cheers!

[si-kah-dah]

October 12, 2010

Who says you can’t modernize an old school jeweler??? A website wasn’t enough to get with ‘the program’. I needed to create a blog. A blog that shared my thoughts on a modern day gem cutter like myself.

Before I continue, lets get the pronunciation right, ‘Ci·ca·da’ [si-kah-dah]. After you’ve practiced saying it a couple of times, let me continue with my well deserved bio of what I’m trying to accomplish after just two blogs.

What I wanted to achieve on this blog was a more of an in depth feel to the world of gem cutting. Hopefully with the two other blogs that I’ve posted, have been entertaining and yet, a bit educational at the same time. People don’t appreciate the effort put into the manual labor put into the inlay lapidary world. What better way to get ‘stuck in’ and choose a job or project that I’ve been working on and just simply break it down for you. Go into detail and just explain what the process and the amount of effort is put into the labor aspect of cutting a gemstone.

Check out “star fish conundrum” and the recently posted , “deep blue sea”

Till then…