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)

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Modern ROCKer

June 24, 2011

Busy. This is somewhat of an rare occurrence in the jewelry world during June at times like these. I’ve been busy finishing up some inlay work with some gem cutting and my special orders have picked up as well for me. I’m not complaining nor am I not getting ahead of myself,  just keeping it ‘solid’ – as a UPS security guard named Jay once told me. Work used to show up on my doorstep back when it was real good. Now, you have to chase after it. Times have changed and most of you reading this are being introduced to my blogs via email while I try to generate interest in the work I do. But I digress. This blog entry is an homage to one of the most exclusive Los Angeles jewelry designers I’ve had the privilege to work with. Lena Wald, the Modern Rocker.

Who is Lena Wald? As always, I’m glad you asked. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. Like most of us out there, we have a puzzled look on our faces after we graduate asking ourselves, ‘what the hell now?’ Lena always had an interest in the arts so she moved back to LA where she started doing wardrobe styling for commercials, print ads, etc. She later moved into the magazine world working for publications such as L.A. Style and InStyle. Over time, she realized that the magazine industry was not for her. But she always had an interest in fashion and design. So she pursued a job at Richard Tyler (a fashion house in L.A.).

Lena was hired as the assistant to the fabric buyer Lela Rose. After 3 months, Lela Rose left to start her own clothing line and Lena was promoted to fabric buyer. She saw this as a great opportunity to begin making a name for herself. Along the way, she met some of her closest friends at Richard Tyler and made some incredibly good contacts. Her job allowed her to travel to Europe twice a year for fabric shows.

After three years at Richard Tyler, she felt like she gained enough experience to start a jewelry line. (This is where I come in). Lena’s ideas usually begin with something that she wanted to make for herself to fulfill her unique style. She wanted a ring carved out of a solid ruby. The 1st sample she made, came out so well, that she brought the idea to Maxfield (A prominent fashion retailer) and they immediately placed an order. The rings are made from natural stones, such as turquoise, ruby, black onyx and crystal. She was fortunate enough receive press in W magazine, Vogue, Bazaar, Elle, and other famous publications. She began to further expand her line to include necklaces and bracelets. But then she had a completely new idea which spawned from her need to get herself some diamond-initial earrings.

Here’s Lena Wald’s Vogue magazine spread.

People love anything personalized. You name it and you can get it personalized to your liking. The earrings have been very well received by stores and their customers. Even Cameron Diaz wore her ‘C’ and ‘D ‘ earrings to the Oscars.

look who’s ring she’s wearing. This was a screen shot from the movie called “The Sweetest Thing”.

These are the diamond initials and charms from Lena Walds line.

This line has expanded into many different styles of trend setting necklaces and earrings made in yellow, rose, and white gold with a choice of either plain, adorned with diamonds, or set with other precious stones.

Lena’s business has grown significantly over the years and many stores and websites carry her jewelry worldwide.  She has a great following among stylists and many celebrities have been seen wearing Lena’s jewelry including Kate Moss, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Kate Bosworth, Charlize Theron, Reese Witherspoon, Katie Holmes and according to Lena, her favorite out of the bunch, the first lady, Michelle Obama.

Hope you liked my little introduction to the Modern Rocker herself, Lena Wald. Now on to this onyx I was commissioned to make for Lena. I can’t give you a 100% breakdown and you’ll notice certain steps are missing, but you’ll get a basic idea on the process that goes through making this ‘Cigar Band’ faceted onyx with silver lining.

The silver lining insert is at 7.5 finger size which will sit inside the onyx.

The silver lining surface is made purposely rough so when I glue it into the onyx, it will have a tighter grip to avoid sliding around.

I drilled through some onyx rough and glued the silver insert into the onyx.

The onyx was pre-formed to this perfect round, cylinder shape.

I cut the sides down to 18mm thick from wall to wall

Fast forward through all the cutting and faceting and you get this beauty!

Notice the domed curvature on the onyx.

The inside of the silver lining has a high polish to it.

The onyx walls are flush with the silver lining

I introduce to you, the Cigar band faceted onyx ring with silver lining.

Here’s another one I made a while back.

The turquoise material is called a spider web green turquoise

It’s beautifully cabbed with a gold lining insert with a high polish. Killer stuff!

And my favorite piece. The classic blue turquoise piece with a nice high polished cabochon with a gold lining insert.

I truly enjoy doing work for Lena Wald. If any of you out there that are interested in a signature Lena Wald piece, please feel free to contact Lena Wald direct at info@lenawald.com

Till next time.. (next week as always)

So what is this? 3 blogs in a week? I have 20 images and a video to show off a ‘step by step’ process of a ring I made. It’s a weird design a customer drew for me on a napkin which I perfected, tweaked to his liking, and eventually came up with this design below.

But what the hell is onyx? It’s a Chalcedony Quartz gemstone that is mined right here in my home state of California, India, Brazil, and Uruguay. The name is derived from Greek legend which tells the story of Eros who used to clip his fingernails all over the floor without proper disposal (Talk about a slob). Because no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned the fingernail clippings into stone which later became known as onyx. And as final fun fact of the onyx, the stones are  given out on the 7th and 10th wedding anniversaries and is considered one of the birthstone of December.

Now back to my ring.

It has a curve to it that any man can appreciate… He wanted it in Rose Gold with a tube like shape. It almost reminds me of one of those crazy pipe organs you used to see in old school movies or at church. He wanted a piece of onyx cut to fit in that middle slot, flush with the tubes and curves with a high polished finish.

Here’s another angle from the side

For those who are not in the industry and are wondering what these holes are that are on top of this ring, the holes are indicators for future setting. For example, this ring was given to my diamond setter who mapped out where he was going to place the diamonds with pre-drilled holes for a pave setting finish. What is pave? Here’s a link and free plug to this random website.

So I begin my search to find a thick enough onyx to put through my saw and cut a nice proportioned piece.

I eventually cut the onyx. I have to take into consideration that the ring is curved from the top and it needs to mimic the curvature

I put the tape on there as a guide while I am cutting the onyx out of its rough form. A little tip that works great!

Notice the bottom of this onyx and how I curved it out and shaped it out so it sits smoothly on the ring. I used a hand drill with various diamond drill bits to get the nice fit I wanted.

I take the onyx to my machine and grind it down.

Notice the round curvature on the onyx. This has turned into what I didn’t want my blogs to ever turn out as. A step by step, boring instructional video. There’s always an exception to the rule I guess.

This picture shows that I’m about to get this onyx down level with the top of the rose gold ring.

The video shows you how this process of grinding the onyx down was done. It’s a 30sec video. Go watch it and enlighten yourself with the process that goes into stuff like this.

I eventually took this onyx and used my hand drill and pre-formed it. I gave it that matching look of the gold work on the ring which ended up with this rounded tube look.

I should really use a moisturizer. My hands look dry, haha. From this angle you can finally see the piece come to life as it amalgamates (comes together as a structure) with the ring itself.

I glued the onyx piece to my dopping stick to give me that controlled movement when I start to lap the onyx and give it that high polished shine to it.

I started the lapping process and as you can see how the surface is smoothing out.

and here’s your high polished finished look!

This is the part where I part with the ring and let my diamond setter have fun setting some pave set diamonds into ring.

After the diamonds were set and the ring was polished, I glued the onyx into the ring, let it sit for 3-4 hours and we have ourselves a happy customer.

G VS1’s all around.. way to make her eyes sparkle buddy!

I am officially done blogging for the week. 3 blogs in a 7 day span? The next blog should be available on June 24th, 2011. I am covering a Los Angeles based jewelry designer that has been rocking the fashion jewelry world – Lena Wald. I’ll be featuring some of the rings I make for her. Here’s a little preview of what a Lena Wald ring looks like… Till next time…

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

‘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.