The first stage of gemstone cutting is to select the rough. At first this doesn’t look like much, a bag of old rocks. It takes an expert to predict what the final quality of the cut stone will be.
Wetting the stone or oiling it often brings out it’s true colour. This is a bag of Lapis Lazuli used to make our necklaces this year, you can even see the stripes of gold coloured iron pyrites running through some of these pieces. We look for the pieces that are a true blue, if there is any white crystal we disguard that part.
This year we also bought Green Brazilian Emerald, Tanzanite, labradorite, tourmaline and amethyst. Above you can see the tanzanite rough being graded for size and the larger pieces that have been cut into slices ready for shaping. These are then shaped on a grinding wheel by hand.
Gemstone cutting is painstaking work. Each piece of rough is carefully calibrated for the design that it is for. here you can see tanzanite pear shapes being made for pendants and earrings. You will notice that we have carefully selected a natural rough surface for use in our designs and that this is created before the shape is cut and the back and sides carefully polished. To assemble one of our Tab Necklaces each piece is cut especially for it’s place in the necklace.
This year we also bought and cut some rough braziliam emerald. to get a rough natural surface to the stone we only use the outside of the rocks.
Cutting lapis lazuli turns the workshop blue. It used to be prized over gold as a blue pigment.
When we’re selecting labradorite for cutting not only are we looking for an attractive rough surface but for the surface to catch a stunning range of colour as it catches the light. These pieces refect blue but we also look out for a range of greens and a rarer gold to make one or two very special pieces.