A customer recently brought me a special piece of of petrified wood that he wanted cut into 7 pendants for his 7 daughters. The wood was collected somewhere in Utah by his grandfather in the 1930's and he felt that it was time to have jewelry made from it. The wood was a rare utah star dadoxylon in stunning red and yellow jasper.
After examining the piece of rough and discussing design ideas with the customer, we settled on carefully slabbing out the wood into 7 pieces, cutting 7 cabochons in free-form shapes to preserve as much material as possible and setting in simple sterling silver bezel settings with cut-outs in the backs to show off the stone. We settled on a price for the work, took payment and gave him an estimate on when the work would be completed. That weekend, I began slabbing out the stone.
I ended up with 8 total pieces, 6 slabs, two end cuts, only one end cut suitable for a pendant sized cab. Hairline fractures ran throughout the stone, so the cabbing process would require an extra delicate touch to ensure successful cabochons. I cut the first two cabochons into the natural free-form shape of the stone and sent pictures to the customer for evaluation.
The customer came back wanting to know if we could preserve the natural edge of the slabs. Yes, it's possible I told him however we would have to change the way the stones would be mounted into jewelry as traditional bezel setting would no longer be an option. Heavy prong settings would be required instead with much more labor involved. The customer agreed and I proceeded to cab the remaining 5 pieces, retaining the natural edge. I also completed fabricating the bezel settings for the first two cabochons.
The remaining stones with natural edges required prong settings, and since each stone was unique in size and shape, the prong placements for each stone had to be carefully mapped out to ensure that the stone would be held securely. I wanted to accentuate the natural edge of each stone as well by framing it in silver and mirroring the contours of the rough edge in the silver setting. The final result is that each piece and setting is unique. Seven stars for seven daughters in seven unique settings...sounds like something out of a fairy tale.
I will miss looking at these beautiful stones, I doubt I'll ever encounter another piece of petrified wood like it.
I mentioned earlier that there 8 pieces of wood, one end cut that was too small for a pendant. So what happened to it? The customer decided he wanted a pair of cufflinks for himself, and this end cut was perfect for the job. Here they are, set in sterling silver:
Do you have a special stone that you would like to have cut, polished and set into jewelry? We would be happy to discuss your options. Find us on Facebook, Etsy and Instagram. Or contact us directly using the contact form below.
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