I am a contradiction. In my heart I am a minimalist but I have chosen to work in a medium of adornment. My uncomplicated style of creating hand cut stones and using clean bezel settings lets me highlight the beautiful patterns and colors of the natural stones I choose. Simplicity of design meets the complexity of nature in my bold scale pieces.
I received a BFA in metals at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1984 and at the same time earned a certificate from Bowman Technical School in Lancaster, PA for Jewelry Repair and Stone setting. I also continued my education with courses at the Gemological Institute of America with Diamond Grading, Pearls, and Sales 1986-2007. Most recently I have been studying lapidary (2016-present) and continue to integrate this process into my fine jewelry.
My proudest achievement has been my role as a Mom to four incredible humans for the past 37 years. They are the single greatest thing to ever happen to me. And now I am Nana to five more incredible tiny humans all making my heart so full and happy.
Lapidary is the art of cutting gems. There are thousands of beautiful gems to be found and these minerals combine to make millions of unique and wonderful specimens.
As a lapidary artist, I discover the hidden treasures inside these gems and frame them in my one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Shown below is a piece of Pietersite from start, to initial cut, to polished stone.
I have been building relationships with miners from around the world to select rough rocks and polished gems. Additionally, I find my own rocks in deserts and streams and bring them home to unlock the natural crystals inside. Lapidary gives me an even closer connection with my finished jewelry and allows me the freedom of unlimited design.
Most of the pieces I find have quite a bit of the surrounding host rock. This is the rock that the minerals attach to while forming.
Using a diamond saw I slice the host rock and the mineral it contains into slabs.
The rough slices of gems are then cut into the smaller pieces that I will be polishing into the finished cabochon stone. A cabochon is a smooth domed stone with no facets.
The size and shape of the finished piece depends on the patterns in the gem. I think of them like little paintings and I look for my favorite composition. Once the general shape is established, I take the stone through a series of six cutting wheels until I have a highly polished finish.
At this point, the gem is ready to be set in a piece of jewelry. I use hand fabricated bezel settings and a minimum of adornment to frame my stones. They are the centerpiece and I let them shine.
Shown above is a Dendrite Agate Opal from rough, to initial cut using the diamond saw, to the polished stones.