Thursday, December 17, 2009
This is my first tutorial and it was tons of work. I learned this technique from a master goldsmith while I was in Idar Oberstein. I lucked into an apprenticeship with him somehow even though originally I'd gone to Idar Oberstein to learn stone faceting. We only worked together for about a month but in that short time he managed to teach me a few great tricks. He was taught the traditional German way of goldsmithing and has over 50 years of experience. He comes from a long line of goldsmiths dating back to the 1700s and lapidary artists dating even further back. So for me it was obviously an amazing experience. I wish I could go back and do it again.
Idar Oberstein is a really interesting town and if you love lapidary, this place is for you. The industry has definitely seen better days. They are having a hard time compete with cheap labor in India and China, so they aren't producing on the same scale as they were in say the 70s, but there are still many master lapidary artists at work. Through my boss in Idar Oberstein, I was introduced to a man who had been faceting stones in Idar Oberstein for over 60 years. He is retired now, but let me come to his house to watch him facet an amethyst. In one hour and using only 1 wheel and 2 laps, he faceted a perfect oval 12mm by 10mm stone. He then gave me the stone as a gift. Pretty amazing, right?
I brought this stone to show my boss who then helped me design a ring which I then built and set the stone into. It was a combined effort which made it extremely meaningful to me. I designed the ring to fit my mom, because this ring will definitely stay in the family.
(photo of ring to come...)