Beautiful and exquisite jewelry is not only made today or yesterday. Unique carved gemstone jewelry is popular for ages and on everyone’s wishing list. And it is not only the carved gemstone jewelry that is wanted by a lot of people. You can use all kinds of (softer) gemstones to make that great carved gemstone jewelry, but you can also use, shells, bones, ivory, bamboo, and even paper. In this blog post, I want to show you the possibilities of this unique carved gemstone jewelry.
The process to come to carved gemstone jewelry
In ancient times when people found a beautiful stone, gemstone, or just an ordinary stone, they polished it, drilled a hole in it, and used it as a necklace. They polished the stone with sand to make it soft and shining.
We make a big step through history and arrive in a society where there is enough food for everyone and where it is possible for very talented people not to work on the fields, but to become an artist. The artists made pottery, or wooden artifacts, and jewelry, carved gemstone jewelry.
Chinese masters make carved gemstone jewelry
The jewelry designers used the somewhat softer (gem)stones to make beautiful necklaces (in the first place) and fibula (a kind of two-part brooches to keep a shawl together during the cold). They invented tools to decorate these stones with animal or geometrical figures and lines. The Chinese artists were masters in carved gemstone jewelry, and they used jadeite or nephrite to make that carved gemstone jewelry. Their skills became better and more excellent. Those jewelry makers did not only design carved gemstone jewelry but also carved statues up to 30 feet high.
How I got a great piece of carved gemstone jewelry!
And the Chinese carvers are still masters in making carved gemstone jewelry. A few years back I visited China and found a great gemstone bead shop. I loved shopping there, but when I wanted to pay, the shop owner told me that he only accepted cash. No problem, but I had only large Yuan bills in my wallet and he did not have enough change.
The solution was that he showed me beautifully carved nephrite pendants that came from under the counter. He told me they were in the family already a long time. No idea whether that story was true or not, but the pendants were beautifully carved and I accepted 2 as change. I used one of those carved pendants to make this wonderful necklace and a fine example of carved gemstone jewelry.
Techniques to make carved gemstone jewelry
When people found gemstones in the rivers or mined them from volcanic rocks, they noticed that the so-called precious stones (diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire) were too hard to carve. They could only polish them or make facets to let them shine more beautifully. Or they made a variation like a cabochon. The cabochons were cut into round or half-round (domed) geometrical patterns.
The techniques and the skills developed and the jewelry makers start mixing the technique of cutting and polishing harder gemstones adding facets. And the technique of making cabochons, using the polishing skills to make certain patterns in the gemstones.
They started adding kinds of channels, plateaus, tunnels, step conceits, round shapes, etc. A huge innovation and step forwards in the gem cutting world. This ‘fantasy cutting’ as it was called made an endless variety of making carved gemstone jewelry possible.
Mr. Bernd Munsteiner, a German gem cutter, was a master in making fantasy cut statues and sculptures.
Used material making carved gemstone jewelry
I already mentioned that softer gemstones are excellent to make carved gemstone jewelry. Sometimes the carvers used diamond cutting and polishing wheels to form the bigger picture of their carving. But after that, they had to use smaller wheels, special tools to make the most exquisite carved gemstone jewelry. And after every stage, they had to polish the stone. Otherwise, they could not reach every spot to make it smooth and shiny.
Shell, ivory, or coral used for carved gemstone jewelry
And before they start the carving work they had to choose the right (gem)stone for their design. For instance, agate has beautiful bands and you should have the capability to see how those bands added beauty to the design and how they can become an integral part of that design. Difficult work and you need a lot of experience and skills to make unique carved gemstone jewelry.
In an earlier blog post, I described how the cameos are made. Actually, cameos are carved images, made of shell or ivory, glued on a gemstone to make a fabulous piece of carved gemstone jewelry. This type of carving and making carved gemstone jewelry is getting popular again.
A few years back I lived a few weeks in Egypt finishing my history study. After I was finished I wanted to go to the temple of Abu Simbel. That is in the South of Egypt and this temple is saved by Unesco because it threatened to vanish underwater due to a dam.
This visit would be a kind of ‘desert’ experience during my stay there. But there was no train or public transport at that time. So we hired a 4×4 car and started driving. We had to spend the night in the desert and for safety reasons, we asked a tribe if we could put our tents in their neighborhood.
How I got wonderful bone carved beads
The famous Arabic hospitality helped us out. This tribe was on its way from the South to the North of Egypt with a caravan of camels. It took them 5 days to reach their destination. I got into contact with one of the ‘camel boys’ and he showed me that they use everything of the camel. Their skin to make tents, their meat, and even their bones.
In the evening near the campfire, under the stars, he made exquisite camel bone beads. With his own made tools he showed me how he carved them to perfection. At that time I was not a jewelry maker yet, but I was born as a magpie and raised by a jewelers family. So the result was that I bought his carved bone beads, to make a beautiful necklace out of them a little while back.
I love delicate pieces of jewelry and I adore carved gemstone jewelry. The two necklaces in this blog post are (at the moment) in the collection of FlorenceJewelshop. These carved beads are unique and so are the necklaces. No duplicates can be and will be made.
While reading my blog posts full of stories and information about gemstones and jewelry -in this blog post the carved gemstone jewelry- you might want to know more about all these beautiful gifts of our earth.
I wrote a PDF full of stories about birthstones and other gemstones. It is free and you just have to let me know where I can send it to.
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