Fresh Water Elephant

March 5, 2014

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

Anyway.

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

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

Elephant pearl Wax carving (3)

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

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (5)

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

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (6)

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

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (1)

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (2)

Elephant pearl pendant 18k YG (3)

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

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

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

InstaGem

November 12, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Butterfly shaped onyx pieces ranging in various sizes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Till next time…

Tapered French Cuts

February 28, 2012

image

This is my first attempt at posting a mini blog, if you can call it that, off of my WordPress application off my phone so bare with me. I’ll be doing a lot more to keep this blog active.

I supplied about 30 square step cut sapphires with extra just incase my diamond setter breaks some. I re-cut them into French cut tops and slightly tapered the sides of the stone so it can sit side by side with no gaps when my setter sets them around the eventual diamond that will sit in the bezel. These stones are all machine cut to the millimeter to improve accuracy.

Cheers for my first mobile blog post and many more to come.

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)

3-1 kind of a weekend

October 4, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back on March 17, 2011, I posted a blog regarding a Kashmir Sapphire I received for polishing (read it if you haven’t). I just wanted to do an update on the high-end gemstone. I felt like I didn’t give it the love and attention that it deserved. Kashmir Sapphires were first mined a 100 years ago in the Padar region of Kashmir which lies mainly in a valley between India and Pakistan. A region of great natural beauty, Kashmir was a luxurious state in the 19th century.

It became a disputed territory after the partition of the subcontinent in 1947, when it joined India rather than Pakistan (sounds like something out of a playground incident with a bunch of kids, just saying). The dispute continues to this day, with parts of Kashmir occupied by Pakistan. It’s also abundant with Muslim guerrilla activity which further increases the turmoil. Bidding has opened for mining purposes and hopefully, this gemstone gets it’s time in the limelight because once you’ve seen this baby, I guarantee you’d fall into it’s spell just by the vibrant colors it gives off. I think I gave the Kashmir Sapphire the justice it deserves.

Tax time means jobs sit in my estimate box. Every year, around this time, the month of April becomes a period that drags you down from the consistent flow of work you gathered from the holidays. Your mind starts to wander into an abyss of negative thinking when you thought this industry was picking up from this God awful recession. My father told me that this generation of jewelers isn’t as lucky as his. He enjoyed his late 20’s well into his 30’s. He partied it up like no ones business and his business was growing at a staggering rate and forcing him to expand to keep up with the demand of the service we offer. I never thought, at 27 years of age, I’d be finding ways to occupy my down time teaching myself how to cook Italian cuisines (trying to master the risotto) and budgeting my daily spending  just to get by when I should be building a foundation for my future little family I’d like to start one day. Weird how things work out. Hard work leads to a positive outcome? Hope so… What a ‘Debbie downer’ that little segment was. I do apologize for that. So yeah, the point is, tax time equals to more jobs on hold.

My risotto with shrimp drizzled with a little olive oil and some smoked paprika

I get a call from a customer around 10pm the other night telling me that his polisher broke his customers stone set in the ring. It’s an 11 carat spessartite  garnet, while steaming it. He needs a matching replacement. If you guys didn’t read my last blog on that Tanzanite piece I wrote about, read it. Extreme temperature changes can cause severe damage to your stone and to your wallet. A spessartite garnet of that size runs about 900-1000 per carat. The stone comes from Tanzania (like the Tanzanite) and its color shades are orange to reddish orange to red.  I’ll try to take a few photos of it and blog about it next week.

Till next time…

just another day…

March 17, 2011

Greeting! This blog is brought to you live, from my office as my laptop’s cooling fan sounds like it’s about to die! On a sad note, I’d like to send out my prayers to the people of Japan and wish them well. Watching these videos that just keep popping up and the destruction and devastation that mother nature unleashed on Japan just brings a sense of humility on to me. Just counting my lucky stars…

Let’s see, I support an English footballing club (soccer) called Manchester United and over the past two weeks, I’ve seen my team get their asses handed to them by the refs (Chelsea game), by Liverpool and hand Arsenal their 3rd cup exit in two weeks. If you’re not a fan, become one. This sport is filled with the drama that drives us humans.

I was downstairs, next to the lobby of my building a few weeks ago on the phone, chit chatting away when I noticed seven, 7 footers walking towards me, all African-American, blinged out and looking like defensive linemen. In the middle of all this, was one of my Jeweler Buddies who designs huge, ‘iced-out’ pieces for rappers, athlete’s, etc.. and walking next to him was Floyd Mayweather Jr. I don’t get all giddy when I see or run into celebs but on this occasion, I did. The only thing I could come up with to say to Floyd, as he walked by was, ‘what’s up with the Pacquiao fight?’ This is how original I felt at that moment. #lame???

So I get this 5 carat beauty of a stone into my office the other day that you don’t really see too much of anymore do to the rarity of the stone. Kashmir Sapphire. The Kashmiri mines stopped producing the sapphires over a 100 years ago.. make a long story short, ‘Extreme geographical conditions and lack of resources have hampered the commercial exploitation of the natural reserve..’ But, I was reading an article saying that the mines could reopen and the Kashmir Sapphire could be making its long await comeback to the international markets. Don’t we all love comeback stories?? Here’s the article http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/colored-stones/color-market-reports/article_detail?id=25944. I was asked just to polish the top of the Kashmir Sapphire and nothing else. The girdle of the stone was chipped away and I was told to leave it because it was being set back into a bezel mounting. The customer was looking for minimal weight loss because this particular Sapphire was about 15k plus per carat at least, so do the math. Enjoy the images brought to you by my HTC Evo’s 8 megapixel camera with a little cropping via Adobe Photoshop.  Here’s another cool article on the Kashmir Sapphire. http://www.gemselect.com/other-info/kashmir-sapphire.php.

I get a call the other day from one of my customers asking me if it’s ok to have a field trip set up at my office/workshop for a bunch of first year college students. I of course said ‘yes’ and why not introduce a bunch of young adults like myself to a trade that isn’t your typical trade? As soon as the field trip happens, I’ll be posting photos and videos of the experience on my site and blog so stay tuned to that. Should be fun!

Next week, I’ll be talking about how NOT to break a Tanzanite while finishing up your jewelry piece.

Till next time… Happy Saint Patty’s day! Get your green beers in and cheers!