How I Choose the Perfect Stones for my Jewelry - Process Part 1
I’ve been making jewelry for a few years now, and have found that my customers love to hear the story of each piece. With that in mind, I've decided to write a series to share my process with you from start to finish. Part one of the series is about sourcing the perfect stones and creating designs that are complementary to the stones I have chosen.
Social media is a great tool that allows me to connect with and follow several stone cutters, some who even mine their stones themselves. Others work directly with the miners to purchase rough material, then cut the stones to sell. I am very picky about this step, and very selective on who I choose to purchase from. Over the years, I’ve built relationships with a few stonecutters who I've come to know and trust, so I purchase from them over and over.
But how do I choose which stones to buy? I always make sure every piece is top quality since the market can be saturated with trash turquoise. When looking for pieces to purchase, I look specifically for shape, color, and size, but I also focus on the design composition of the stone itself, in the turquoise and matrix (the host material remaining in turquoise that gives it unique patterns). Another aspect that is very important to me is the angle of the base of the stone, which is important for bezel setting. The stones I purchase must also be mined ethically and sustainably.
Every now and then, I'll go to gemstone markets or sales events, like the Tucson Gem Show. At these events, I often see stones and immediately know what it should be as a piece of jewelry—the stone speaks to me. With other stones, I'm drawn to the color, shape, or another feature, like a unique matrix, and I hope a design will come to me for these pieces. Sometimes it just takes the right inspiration!
Once I’ve sourced my stones, I move into the design portion of my process. With the pieces that have spoken to me, I know exactly what to make. With others, I seek inspiration and sketch new ideas. You might have seen this in my Instagram stories, but sometimes I'll trace the stone into my sketchbook, then draw a design around it to solidify my idea and see the scale of the pieces. My brain sees these sketches in 3D, so often the 2D drawings don’t do the designs justice, but the drawings help cement the idea in place. Once I’ve solidified the design, I move on to making the pieces.
Stay tuned for my upcoming blog posts to learn more about each step in my process! Next time I'll be writing about inspiration and go more in depth about the design process.