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Hello Everyone!!


chris-c

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Hello fellow carvers and lapidary enthusiasts!

 

I just signed up here and thought I would say hello to everyone as the admin suggested I do, so here is a warm hello and Merry Christmas from Nova Scotia Canada!

 

I'm actually kinda new to "carving" although I have been doing lapidary for some time now, and run a small business importing opals and cutting & polishing them for resale, but aside from the business end of things, gemstones are my passion and my life, and I can't imagine what life would be like without being surrounded by some kind of "sparkly"!!

 

I mostly carve opals, but am getting into other things like jade and other stones, but opal has always been my one true love for sure.

 

Here are a few examples of my opal carvings, I'm not as good as I once was actually, as I am actually currently disabled with a severe chronic pain syndrome, and arthritis in my hands, as well as a neurological condition caused by a head injury that has robbed me of the "proper" use of my hands, so I actually look at everything I do as "therapy", improving on everything I do one stone at a time, and getting better control of my hands the more I use them. I endeavor to keep on carving and challenging myself, and improving my skills until one day I can actually call myself "master".

 

I tried to get my wife to call me that but it didn't work, haha ;)

 

Take care all!

 

Chris ;)

 

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As you can see in the below picture, this Ethiopia Welo opal has a root embedded in it!

 

bud-carving-7.JPG

 

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Chris:

 

Welcome to the Carving Path Forum! There are a number of gemstone carvers here; me, Kenneth, Daniel, Lauri, Billy and Shane, just to name a few. This is what I do: http://picasaweb.google.com/deborahkirkpatrick56

 

Your opals are beautiful and I hope to see more of your work soon. I'd love to seen what you could do if you had no impairment, I don't think you could possibly do much better than what you have done.

 

Debbie K

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Thanks Debbie and Kenneth for your replies!

 

Both of you guys have OUTSTANDING work, and it just does not get much more creative and original than the works of art that you both produce, wow!

 

I can only hope to achieve such fine workmanship one day, but then again, that's why I'm here, to interact with like minded people who maybe can nudge me along by sharing their tricks and techniques, and maybe (although I doubt it!) I can contribute something back!

 

Debbie, i think I've actually seen your work before, although because I have memory issues, I just cannot place it. I "was" a member of the Nova Scotia metal arts guild, as I do silver-smithing and wire wrap jewelery work as well, but lately, I've really just been concentrating on cutting and polishing gemstones.

 

It's hard when money and income dictate your actions, as I think we would all like to be more artistic if we just had that little bit of extra time to do so, I think we would all be creating more elaborate works of art than when we are forced to "produce" things for quick resale, or at least that's my recent life experience! LOL

 

My wife and I just had our 1st daughter back in September, so we are also VERY busy with that, so it's been a real challenge to get anything done, that's for sure!

 

Hopefully, I'll be able to dedicate more time to doing my carving, I'm working on a few more opal carvings that will be up for sale immediately after being finished, and then after that, I'm hoping to be able to concentrate on doing some carvings in jade as I recently acquired some jade material from a guy in Honduras from whom I also import black matrix Honduran opal from as well, although he never "did" tell me if it was nephrite or jadeite jade, but I'm "pretty" sure it is the good jadeite Guatemalan jade, as it looks almost exactly like some ancient Mayan jadeite carvings in appearance anyway.

 

Maybe I'll post a pic of it, and if anyone is knowledgeable in "visually" assessing jade they could tell me a bit more about their own experience with this material, and maybe even some carving advice, as jade is something I literally have NO experience with, but seem to be drawn to and fascinated by for a very long time now, especially carving ancient Mayan type sculptures for some reason!

 

Thanks again for your replies, you really do great work you guys!

 

Chris ;)

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Chris,

Good to see another gem carver. I have been hooked on Opal since 1978, I have been blessed to know and work with some of the largest buyers in Australia so needless to say I have had some pretty nice Opal over the years. I have stashed quite a bit fo my Opal I have purchased over these past ten years as I had no place to work on it, I am just finishing up on a new studio so I should be back in Opal heaven soon.

 

My speciality in Opal is Opal beads but I have in fact carved a few over the years, I have some stones that I will be carving as they lend themselves to this far more then being cut up into beads, as I carve them you can be assured they will be posted on the forum for all to see.

 

Regarding your Jade, Jade is my passion as far as collecting a gem goes, if you post a close up of your Jade I should be able to tell you if its Nephrite or Jadeite. I spent nine months in China in the late eighties and everywhere I went I made it a point to study any and all the Jade I could, I even got to go to the preview of a Sotheby's fine Jade auction in Hong Kong in 1987, one of the items in the auction was a strand of super fine Jade beads, I think 55 on the strand .......... It sold for over one million USD at the time and I'd guess its worth ten times that now.

 

The image of the Opal beads I have attached are beads from about fifteen years ago, I made five of them and my nephew made the three with the longer beads in them.

 

Welcome again ............. All my best ............ Danny

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Chris,

Good to see another gem carver. I have been hooked on Opal since 1978, I have been blessed to know and work with some of the largest buyers in Australia so needless to say I have had some pretty nice Opal over the years. I have stashed quite a bit fo my Opal I have purchased over these past ten years as I had no place to work on it, I am just finishing up on a new studio so I should be back in Opal heaven soon.

 

My speciality in Opal is Opal beads but I have in fact carved a few over the years, I have some stones that I will be carving as they lend themselves to this far more then being cut up into beads, as I carve them you can be assured they will be posted on the forum for all to see.

 

Regarding your Jade, Jade is my passion as far as collecting a gem goes, if you post a close up of your Jade I should be able to tell you if its Nephrite or Jadeite. I spent nine months in China in the late eighties and everywhere I went I made it a point to study any and all the Jade I could, I even got to go to the preview of a Sotheby's fine Jade auction in Hong Kong in 1987, one of the items in the auction was a strand of super fine Jade beads, I think 55 on the strand .......... It sold for over one million USD at the time and I'd guess its worth ten times that now.

 

The image of the Opal beads I have attached are beads from about fifteen years ago, I made five of them and my nephew made the three with the longer beads in them.

 

Welcome again ............. All my best ............ Danny

 

 

 

Hi Danny,

 

Thanks for taking the time to message me here in this thread!

 

Not to sound "creepy" or anything, but I've actually noticed your presence online for awhile now, seen your diamond powder for sale on eBay (and almost bought some from you recently as I need more!) and have already viewed your web-page and your little studio setup some time ago, as I don't get out much, and spend much of my time scouring the internet for information, and happened across your web-page probably about a year ago, if I wasn't such a snob, I would have said "hello" to you....LOL

 

Thanks also for your offer to ID my jade for me, I actually started a new thread about that, as I didn't want to jumble everything all up in one, I "do" try to organize things as best as possible, usually without much luck, hehe.

 

The thread is located here, and it has some close up pics there to view:

 

http://www.thecarvingpath.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=2303

 

I'm not sure what is drawing me to jade exactly, I think it is the fact that I have been really drawn to all things Mayan and from Central American over the past few years, not because of that whole "2012" thing that seems to be becoming "trendy" all of a sudden, but I've always felt this "connection" to those ancient jade carvings, not really caring about the value of jade, but the actually artwork carved in it!

 

As I get older, (I'm only 43 in molecular age, but about 83 in my mind and life experience...LOL)I seem to be gaining a new respect for certain forms of artwork, and have come to appreciate alot of things that I didn't really notice before, but now really realize the truly amazing effort that it took to create some of these ancient works of art, not to mention it really reflects the mentality of the people who created them, which in itself is very interesting.

 

After carving SOFT opal for quite a long time, I'm now realizing just how HARD other material like jade really is, and how much LONGER it will take to carve it!

 

When carving opal, especially the Welo opal from Ethiopia, you can barely touch the surface without making a mark, or a change in the carving, even with the finest grit tools and tips, so the lightest of light touches is required, whereas with material like jade, a little more (and I mean a LITTLE) force is required, and a MUCH longer time frame of the bit applied to the surface of the carving is required.

 

This will take some getting used to, as well as working WET, as I do only DRY polishing on my opals for many reasons, but I think it actually is a bit better that way, as one of the main issues I find with carving soft opal is that you suddenly look at your stone, and it is a miniature replica of the carving you started with, as material is being removed proportionately all over the stone in such a subtle manner that you don't realize your work is SHRINKING until you have lost a ton of carat weight!

 

I don't suspect I'll have that trouble with jade, and I like the idea of being able to work an area of the carving for awhile to get it just right without removing more material than you want or intend to!

 

Thank again for your reply, and for posting your opal beads, those are really beautiful, having a respect and love for opal, I can really appreciate what went into getting all those beads to be a calibrated and even matching size, I'm too lazy for that, which is why almost EVERY opal I cut and polish is a freeform opal, and really, no 2 of my stones are ever alike!

 

This seems to be a selling factor of my work however, as my customers have commented on their liking the originality of my stones, and I really don't like to feel like I'm a "cab factory", and want to keep as much artistic creative energy in my work as I can, so making calibrated stones is not something I can bring myself to do.

 

I endeavor to spend MUCH more time creating opal carvings rather than all cabs, but carvings are SO time consuming, it really is difficult to get paid for your time, and still make any kind of profit, so I make sure when I do a carving, that it is a labor of love, and if I "happen" to get paid for it in the end, that's great, if not, that's ok too, as long as I have an artistic outlet for my creative energy that all I need!

 

Chris ;)

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Chris,

I have found over the years that Nephrite jade is far more free cutting than Jadeite, I think if you do a few pieces in Nephrite first it will be helpful in getting used to working jade. Nephrite cuts very smoothly and it seems to come off much easier than Jadeite. If you want to see some nice Nephrite carvings check out Deborha Wilson on the web she works alot of BC jade and her work is outstanding.

 

Regarding Opal carvings, don't know if you know of CHRISTINE ROUSSEL if not, see if you can find some of her work online. I met her some years ago at Tucson, she was carving stones for one of the mine owners out of stones they thought would not cut into cabs well ................ Truly amazing what she did ........... Much better than cabs.

 

You mentioned you had a bit of waste when carving Opal. When I make beads I have an 80% lose, I one time saved the dust in a jar from a parcel I was cleaning prior to getting into making the beads, I showed my wife the jar of dust and said this dust just cost us 3,000.00, this was prior to cutting any into finished beads.

 

All my best ....... Danny

 

Below is an image of some material from Lightning Ridge I bought over the past ten years, I kept buying potch and color from a good friend as long as he would continue sending it to me. I think I bought over one hunderd pounds .............. Pretty interesting what the miners end up calling potch and color ......... Once my friend saw this and much more I found in the parcels he decided to start having another friend in Hong Kong cut it all into whatever ............ While cutting whatever he found a piece of balck that cut a cab that sold for 17,000.00 ........... Pays to go through other peoples left overs!!

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Here is another Ethiopian Welo opal carving I call "Bird of paradise", as I was just free form carving this rough nodule, I suddenly saw the form of a bird standing upright, and so, with a very slight enhancement of the natural features of the opal nodule, I fashioned it into the "bird shaped" small carving that you see here in this picture. what do you think?

 

I just finished this about an hour ago......phew...alot of hours!

 

I wanted it to look kinda "abstract" looking, as if it represented a bird if you intended it to, or maybe not if you were to turn it up side down....lol.

 

I don't really like carving realism, I'm more into artistic representations ans just shapes and contours of abstract forms rather than trying to capture the accurate toenail on a bald eagle....LOL

 

Chris ;)

 

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