I have begun to work towards becoming a certified gemologist through the GIA, Gemological Institute of America. It will take a couple of years, especially since I will continue to work full time. So far it is very interesting for me, I just passed the final exam for my first intro course to colored stones. Besides colored stones, I will study diamonds and pearls.
Just the other day I was looking at a little bunch of green stones that I have and beginning to think about designs. Knowing more about stones in general will be a great addition to my 20 years of metalsmithing.
Above I have Prehnite, Malachite, a glass taxidermy eye, Verisite, Jade, Garnet and a Bloodstone (it turned out looking black here but it’s actually a forest green with red specks).
I have taken a small break from the jewelry making to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with my family and friends. However I am back in town and will be diving right back into the jewelry bench. Right before I left for the holiays I made a beautiful turquoise bracelet with 6 strands of Nevada mined turquoise with a sterling silver clasp that I recently designed. I will be offering more bracelets with this clasp with various gemstones.
I’ve been working on the chasing and repousse technique that I recently learned. Here are a couple of ‘in the works’ photos of a practice copper bracelet that will have ivy leaves on it.
The first photo is the outlines dotted with a punch to guide my work. The second photo is the beginning of the ‘repoussage’, I press out the shapes with various punches and then will flip the piece over for the ‘chasing’ portion where I do final forming and detail work. After that I will form the bracelet into a cuff.
I took a course from Davide Bigazziin California in the springtime to learn this technique. He’s a true master and makes amazing pieces.