Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sliced Natural Stone

Sliced aquamarine surrounded by diamonds

I’ve been intrigued by a cutting technique that I saw many years ago at a jewelry show. The jewelry designer who was showing their wares have thinly sliced quartz set in 18k yellow gold surrounded by small diamonds. These stunning little pieces came in the form of earrings and pendants. They used a white agate or quartz and sliced them super thin so when you held the earring up to the light it almost glowed. While this was a new look to me I’m starting to see it more and more.


I’m sure this technique of cutting stones has been around for a long time. The ability and equipment to cut stone into thin slices isn’t new. Let’s face it, most everyone has natural stone countertops and there has to be a way to cut marble or other stone into a slab from a large chunk of stone. It probably wasn’t much of a stretch to cut a small piece of natural stone into an even thinner piece. What is amazing is how thin some of these designers are getting the stone.


Sliced quartz banded with gold
Natural stone has wonderful patterns and colors. When you slice the natural stone into a thin piece the stone takes on a transparent quality that retains these patterns and colors but is enhanced by light. A thinly sliced stone allows natural light to come through and make the stone glow, almost like a stained glass window. I am weirdly fascinated by this technique and the jewelry it produces. I’m sure the strength of the stone denotes how thin one can cut it and this has a direct impact on the effect.


Many pieces not only retain the natural color and pattern but the existing shape which can be quite free formed. You don’t have to make them perfectly round, square or oblong, you can experiment with pleasing shapes formed by nature. Sometimes the stone is wrapped in a thin band of gold to reinforce the edges, other times it is simply polished. Any way you slice it makes a beautiful piece of jewelry that has to be seen to be believed and best of all, some are quite affordable.
Sliced carnelian makes wonderful beads

1 comment:

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