always thought of myself as a metalsmith rather than
a jeweler. My work is not about rocks. It is sculptural,
and the stones I treat as found objects that bring
contrasting color and light into my pieces. I prefer
to use stones that are environmentally and politically
ethically mined, and hope one day to make a difference
in the procurement of precious metals as well.
love the translucent opals that make me feel like
I'm gazing into exotic landscapes or under the sea.
With the exception of the brilliantly colored titanium
bonded drusies, I tend to stay away from stones that
are irradiated or heat or laser treated, preferring
color created by nature.
(Boulder) Opal: These are some of my most favorite.
All of the ones I have used so far come from a mine
owned by Gene McDevitt in Queensland, Australia. Gene
spends about 6 months of the year digging and cutting
in the outback then brings them home to the States
to taunt us artist types. His cuts are wonderful to
work with, and the stones themselves are mesmerizing.
Opal: These are some of my other favorites. When held
up to the light, they remind me of coral reefs in the
Caribbean. They range from clear to green to blue with
beautiful dendrites (those ferny things inside), and
more and more the pink ones are becoming available as
from the Moon"
These look like a rock split open to reveal a geode.
They occur when a layer of quartz naturally forms across
one side of another stone, giving those tiny crystalline
structures on the surface.
Bonded Chalcedony Drusy: These stones have a layer
of titanium vacuum bonded to the surface. The brilliant
color is formed when the titanium is heated. This
coloring is permanent and very durable. When I go
for stones that have been treated, I go for the ones
that have been REALLY messed with.
I use primarily freshwater pearls, including Biwa
pearls, which come from lake Biwa in Japan and are
easily identified by the oval or teardrop shapes and
the characteristic banding around the middle. Some
of the pearl colors occur without any enhancement
(white, cream, pale pink, gray). The more unusual
colors come from mussels and oysters that have been
treated to produce nacre of a specific color. The
color goes all the way through the pearl. I NEVER
use any DYED pearls. Because of the demand, all pearls
are cultured or farmed now.
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