Fried Chicken and Gems

October 24, 2011

Fried Chicken? Really? Once I saw this picture, I had to share my thoughts on it. Some of you may or may not know who Nicki Minaj is but for those who don’t know who she is, she is a pretty big recording artist. I don’t want to call this a rant but more of a funny mention to what she was sporting around her neck recently. Just have a look at the image below.

I don’t know what to say. If someone asked me to make them a special order of some fried chicken necklace, of course I’d be happy to make it, but this is just too funny. This necklace is perfect for the trending topic of #hoodmemories on Twitter as I type this. Over the top? Yeah, it is. Fits her character? Of course it does. In the end, I’m not going to sit here and judge someone on what he or she decides to flash in public and I always go by the saying, ‘whatever makes you happy’.  Moving on…

I’m stuck and honored with the duties of trying to figure out what kind of center stone I can put into this white gold ring I made for a customer of mine. All they said is ‘something yellow’ in a cushion cut with a certain budget they want to stick by. I was thinking of something like a yellow ceylon sapphire or a yellow tourmaline. Any suggestions? This is the part where you help me decide with your suggestions.

It’s a beautiful and elegant looking ring that deserves something nice in the middle. One of the perks of being a gem cutter dealing with special orders is that I have the power to cut any shape and size to my needs and nothing holds me back when dealing with jewelry related problems like this one.

I have this obsession with showing off Tanzanites in my blogs for some strange reason. Well here’s another one for you viewing.

This 20 carat plus monster of a stone needs more life to it. No disrespect to all the hard workers over seas but most of the stuff I see cut from Asia and India is way below par. They are told to cut to preserve the weight while sacrificing the quality of the cutting job. I’m a big advocate of USA made products when it comes to the jewelry world. This topic is a perfect intro to the following images you’re about to see.

I don’t know if you can tell from the image but this is a parcel my customer received from their factory in Thailand and my first glance at these multicolored sapphires, I thought to myself, ‘were they drunk when cutting this?’

The cutting is awful, the person who maps out from where to cut the sapphires from the original rough, should be fired. These sapphires are filled with inclusions that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

It’s my responsibility to re-cut and salvage these sapphires so that they can be presentable and can easily move rather then collect dust in some parcel bag in some stone dealers safe.

Next week, i’ll be showing you a detailed look at this special new cut I’ve been cutting. Till next time…

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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…