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Lapis Lazuli Pendant

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Hi all,

Finished this one yesterday as a stock piece. (finally) :)




The lapis weighs 33ct and comes from Afganistan. The peridot comes from Pakistan and weighs 1.5ct, which I faceted after drilling the lapis. A diamond core drill was used to drill the lapis.The gold rim and backing and the chain weighs 42 grams. All of the gold work was done after the lapis was carved and finished. This piece was a mission to make, because the lapis is very delicate when it is unsuported. I carved the surround and backing first in wax and then cast it.

The wax has about a 3% shirinkage after the cast, which means the gold has to be carved out a bit to

accomodate the lapis. (many a slip from the cup to the lip :)

Once all was resting nicely in the gold, I set the diamond, then the lapis and then the peridot. The peridot was last because the collet (prongs) were 'expanded' after the lapis was tight. ( a bit like an upside down umbrella)

I don't make many of these anymore, because the average succsess rate is only 20%. I prefer to work in tougher materials these days, like quartz, beryls and tourmaline

Size is about 50mm x 40mm and everything took 110 hours to make. The chain was made using standard goldsmithing techniques.


Cheers, Hans Meevis

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Guest ford hallam

Hello Hans,


Congratulations on getting this one done. I think I can appreciate the delicacy of the Lapis, especially when so elegantly shaped. I can also fully commiserate with you about the tedious back and forth process of shaping the cast setting to perfectly fit the stone. I'm shocked to hear that so many of the stones fail though, it's made me seriously reconsider having a go myself. You made it look so easy in your tutorial :) . I was thinking of using some tougher, Jade-like material, any tips would be most welcome :)


Thanks for bringing your work to this forum. I spotted our other gem carver, Donn Salt, earlier, no doubt you've seen his beautiful tutorial showing his making of a jade piece titled "Uroboros". It's great to know we have such diverse areas of expertise so generously represented here.


Namaste, Ford


Here's a link to see Uroboros, which may give a further insight into the painstaking work involved in shaping gem stones.

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Hi Hans,

What a beautiful piece! That is a huge investment in time with only a 20% chance of success.

Irving Mazze who was a good friend of mine was a gem engraver here is a link to some of his work http://www.medialiagallery.com/exhibitions...2005spaceI.html Irv worked for the top companies like Tiffany and did some extraordinary work during his lifetime.


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( That is a huge investment in time with only a 20% chance of success.)



I re read my post and it sounds as if I only have a 20% success rate over all! Not true. Only for materials like lapis, azurite, chrysocolla etc. They have 'veins' of dissimilar materials that run through them. ( calcite in the case of lapis) That makes them very fragile when carved in thin forms. For instance these pendants,






were never meant to look like that. Rather, I had to "redesign" the remains of them, instead of losing all that time. :)

But, materials like jasper, coral, jet all the quartzes etc seldom present any problem, other than if the material is of low grade


Thanks for the two links. Mr Salt's and Mr. Mazze's work are both totally inspiring!!. Jade is an amazing material.



Cheers, Hans Meevis

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