Saturday, October 31, 2015

What's on My Bench??

Today's episode comes from JET member Donna Arena of DonnasArtisanDesigns. Donna designed the new banner the blog is sporting today in honor of the JET's birthday, but more about that later. Let's see what Donna has to teach us today!

Hello everyone!

I'd like to start by wishing the JETs a happy birthday! Also sending best wishes to our trusty captain Emo and of course to all of our devoted leaders. Wow... the team as been around quite awhile - founded on October 31, 2007. I wanted to make a special banner to celebrate the team we love so much. On to the What's on My Bench portion of this episode!

Anyone who knows me knows I'm partial to Opals due to the brilliant flash of color. It's almost magical to me, and I'm sure many of you as well. Although the purple, pink, and blue opals don't give that flash they are still a beautiful color and look fabulous in any jewelry piece. 

My fellow JETs like opals very much too. For example, Elizabeth of Foret has this Pink Peruvian Opal Pendant Necklace. I know I can always count on Denise of LoveStoneArts to have beautiful opals such as this set of Ethiopian Opal Post Earrings.

 I chose today to work on pink and purple Peruvian Opal which are found only in the mountains of Peru. From some sources I've read, the mining for these opals is done only in one location so these are considered rare. For the pink (and I'd guess the purple too) the deeper the color the higher the grade of stone.

Here is a collage showing a few of the steps involved in the lapidary process of creating a Pink Peruvian Opal cabochon. During this process, my work is spread across 4 dedicated spaces: my desk, my bench, my lapidary arbor, and my saw and dop station. Within this collage you can see some pictures from the lapidary process. They aren't in order; however, you can still see the evolution taking place.

On the top right of the collage is a picture of the stone with three little lines drawn on it. I call those lines my stepping stones - they are very crucial to the stone's overall appearance. First start with a flat cutting; then shape around the initial cutting to establish the domed appearance for the stone. I learned to start with a 60 degree cut first then a 40 degree cut. It is much easier and faster to turn out a cabochon without flat spots on the top! You may have wondered what the cabochon with the criss-cross lines is all about. All I will say is that is a lapidary secret trick!  The cabs you see above are traditional calibrated sizes which are much easier, especially when you are a beginner! 

This collage is actually the "after lapidary" and is my favorite part. It is the creating of the actual jewelry piece! Of course my husband knows me quite well and when I find myself partial to a design or stone he'll hear me say, "this one's mine"!

Thank you Donna for that glimpse into your creative process. Remember, if you want to learn more about Donna, check out her beautiful shop, DonnasArtisanDesigns.

Stay tuned for another episode of What's on My Bench?? next week. 

See you then,

Val Swanson


Urban Pearl Studio said...

Happy Birthday to the Jets!

Thank you for this great post!!

Michele said...

~~Happy Birthday to the JETs~~~

Donna lovely post!!!!!

Gemstones on My Mind said...

Yay Jets!! Happy Birthday to all Jets!!

Donna, you are so talented! Here I am drooling over those gorgeous blue cabs and the bracelet with them. If I could only come watch you work!

LoveStoneArts said...

Wow Donna!! Just WOW!! I love the banner- "Still Soaring". Your lapidary work makes you my hero. You do it all, don't you girl? Thanks so much- here's a cupcake!

SatinDollCo said...

Happy birthday,Jets!!!

Donna,great post and lovely pieces.

SendingLoveGallery said...

Fascinating post Donna! love your lapidary work and the lovely banner for our birthday. Thank you!

Beadsme said...

Love watching these rough stones turn in to beauties.

Happy Birthday Jets.

babble on said...

Happy Birthday Jets. I am a new member but I love this group. Wow 7 yrs. Great job everone!!

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
babble on said...

My bad 8 years!!!

capitalcitycrafts said...

Happy birthday to the JETs! And thank you Donna for the interesting peep into the world of lapidary. I love your new banner too!

jemsbyjb said...

Love this team. Happy birthday Jets!! Donna this is a wonderful article. You are so talented!

Tracy said...

Happy Birthday Jets!!! WOO!

Niranjan Khalsa said...

Wonderful, thanks for sharing!