Emerald Aisle

July 30, 2012

On to my 31st blog post. I’ll just pat myself on the back for reaching this small milestone. My last blog post wasn’t up-to-par according to my father, the godfather of the gem cutting and inlay lapidary world. Touché dad, you were right. I blame writers block. Hopefully this post makes up for the last blog I put up. Let’s dive right into it then, shall we?

So I get this job where we had some non standard cut baguette emeralds that were sitting in a channel set setting on one side. On the other side of this ring, we had some baguette diamonds also sitting in a channel set. The ring had a large emerald cut diamond and a large emerald cut emerald acting as the two center stones for this old school accessory (probably dating back 50-70 years to my estimation). Before I continue, ‘non standard cut’ stones means that you wouldn’t find this style at your regular gem dealer. Standard cuts usually follow manufacturing guide lines based on increments of size change. I.E. 4x2mm, 5x3mm, 6x4mm, etc… That’s the easiest way to explain it for people not familiar with industry terminology. So for something like the size I need to cut down to, at 4.2×2.2mm, I’d need to find a stone close to that size. It’s always economical for me to find something that is as close as possible in size and weight.  Every gem stone has some sort of market value set and and you multiply it  towards the weight and you get the total worth of the stone itself.

With this particular job, the emeralds in the channel set were damaged from years of wear and tear, and the outside walls of the channel needed some laser soldering. Plus, to finish off the ring a nice high polish. You may be wondering where are all the pictures? (coming up below). I wasn’t planning on making a blog on a standard job like this but what unfolded, became a nightmare.

Before I hammered out all the emeralds to break them to start my process of cutting new emeralds for my setter to set into this ring, I took it to my jeweler to fill in the walls by laser soldering the area. While applying the gold solder onto the outside side wall, my guy calls me in to see what’s going on.  We were all baffled with the current situation we were facing – the metal started to crack and flake.. I did a little research and it turned out this ring was nickel plated. So here’s my educated guess on what was done to this ring (I might be wrong but it makes perfect sense). The ring was originally 18karat white gold and whoever owned this ring decided to nickel plate the piece. Why would you do that? My guess is that when you nickel plate something, it produces a crazy shine that sterling silver gives off and it’s way cheaper versus plating something in gold and silver. Nickel plating consists of copper, nickel and zinc properties. Economically speaking, it sort of makes sense. My customer didn’t know it was nickel plated and nor did I. This is where I started to think this job was ‘blog’ worthy.

Notice the indentation on the wall? That’s where I’m supposed to fill it in with the laser solder process.

You can sort of tell some of the emeralds are damaged from the image but take my word on it, they were all either chipped, cracked or damaged in some sort of way. You can even see on top of the wall of the channel there is a bit of damage as well.

What we decided to do is rebuild the whole channel from scratch, lap off all the nickel plating, and build a new support system and new channel for the new emerald baguettes. If you take a look, the large emerald cut emerald center stone was removed to avoid damage that heat and any stress would cause the stone. Emeralds are very fragile and few brave setters dare take on such a task of setting these stones. They’re loaded with tons of natural inclusions you can visibly see and not see so you have to be careful setting them or they will break on you.

The walls are slightly higher then the rest of the ring because it gives the diamond setter more flexibility while setting and it would be eventually leveled out and made flush with the rest of the ring.

So we started to set the baguette emeralds into the channel. In situations like these, it’s always great to have your setter close by when working on jobs which require each stone to have a special measurement in order to accent the limited space you have to work with. The setter would tell me ‘trim the stone from this angle a little bit’ and we’d go from there.

I’ll let you marvel a little so I can stop rambling.

This monster of a ring turned out just fine. It’s like I restored an old car back to life with some modern touches. The customer was extremely happy with the results, after some unexpected hiccups on my end, but it was well worth the trouble. The owner of this ring should be proud sporting such a classic on their finger.

So this is where I want to plug myself via my Instagram page to expand my viewership . If you have instagram, look me up at ‘CJD_Sako‘ or click on this link here, http://followgram.me/cjd_sako/ which should take you to my profile. I’m not sure you can follow someone via a home computer but from what I read, followmegram.me allows you add a user without a phone. For my next blog, I’ll be doing a unique Instagram special on all the jewelry items I’ve posted on the site. Some of the filters really make my work look like something out of Vanity magazine. Anyway, if you have any questions, comments or concerns or even suggestions on what you’d like me to chat about, let me know, leave a comment on this blog or email me at sako@cicadajewelrydesign.com. I can help you out with all your needs.

Till next time…

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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…

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!

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)