A Journey from Rock to Jewelry
About two months ago, a man contacted a local brick and mortar jewelry store. He walked in with a 20 pound rock. He asked the bench jeweler what it was. The jeweler said, that he did not know how to identify a rock, but he knew someone who could help him. So I got a phone call, the man came over to my shop (home) with his rock. Without any real work except looking at the rock, it was a pegmatite with a large crystal of amazonite imbedded in it. The man had been operating a grader about 20 years before cutting a road for an exclusive residential community when he hit a pocket of rock, and saw some pale blue. So he picked up a piece and kept it in a cooler immersed in water.
After making the rock into a more acceptable size for the slab saw (see picture above) , I then cut the amazonite crystal into slabs and the started cutting some cabochons from the slabs. The really nice part is that I now have enough pretty pale amazonite to make a whole pile of cabochons. There is enough rough that I should be well occupied with what is there for several months. While the blue/green of the amazonite is pale, it makes some beautiful stones with a gradual shift from color to white within the stone.
After cutting the two cabochons shown, I decided to make one into a pendant for a necklace. Using 21 gauge square half-hard Sterling Silver wire for the frame, and 21 gauge half round half-hard wire for the wrapping I fashioned the frame for the pendant. Not wanting a lot of excess wire at the bail, I soldered the top wrap to the wires inside so I only had three wires one of which became the bail. The other two were shortened, the ends rounded and then rolled up to the bail to accent the stone. The pendant is purposefully asymmetric and the bail was placed to the stones left.
That is an abbreviated tale of this pendant, and many more to come, at least as cabochons. This stone is 30 mm tall and 20 mm wide at the base and weight 45 carats. This is a fantastic way to start the new year (ok, a day early as I am writing this on the last day of 2013).