Monday, May 27, 2013

Romancing the Stone

One part of the business of creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery is the process of choosing the stones to be used in the designs. The first part of this process, for me, is finding the right supplier. I research all my suppliers, making sure they have excellent reputations for honesty and integrity. There are a lot of fake stones out there and I don't ever want to be required to question the authenticity of any of my designs. The stones have to be right and true. Once I have chosen the supply partners with whom I want to work, the next stage is to find the right stones. 

When choosing stones, I like to find pieces that are unusual and unique. To a certain extent, you can say all natural stones are unique - no two are ever the same. That is the joy of working with the products of Mother Nature rather than the products of laboratories or factories. But I like to find focal stones that have that 'wow' factor. When I see a stone, I know immediately whether or not I want to use it. There is no hemming or hawing. And sometimes I find a stone when I don't have the funds with which to purchase it. Fortunately, the suppliers I use will allow me to reserve stones so that I can purchase them within a specified time. What do I look for, specifically, when I am shopping for focal stones or even for the smaller stones that act as complementary parts of a design or used for earrings on their own? 

Firstly, I look for the right size. If I am looking for a focal stone, I try to find stones that are about 2 inches or more in length. A focal must make a statement and it can't do that if it is too small to be seen or gets lost in the design. Secondly, I look for colour and pattern. Do I have stones in my inventory that will work well with the stone? Does the stone lend itself to working well with copper or bronze? Does my mind immediately start designing around the stone? If the answer is yes to these questions, then I know I simply must have the stone. It is already part of my collection before I've even purchased it.

Boulder Opal
I like to buy stones that are less known or less available. The brecciated red jasper in the 'Flame and Ash' design is a good example. Brecciated jasper is becoming more and more difficult to find. The colours in this particular piece were amazing. I knew the moment I saw the stone that I had to have it for my collection. The bonus is that it is even more beautiful in 'person.' I have recently added a boulder opal to the collection to be used in The Selkie's Haunt jewellery. Usually reserved for use in the sterling silver designs of Ailleas Designs, the boulder opal is expensive and completely unique. But the colours of this particular opal seem perfect for use with bronze or copper. I hope to start working on a piece incorporating this beautiful opal very soon. It's not time, yet, though. I will sense when it it time to sit down and work with this incredible piece of Mother Nature's artwork. As you can see, it is a stone that easily captivated my imagination. I think it was a case, this time, of the stone romancing me.

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