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…

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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…

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…

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…

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.

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…