Natural Stone Inlay}

Natural Stone Inlay

by

Jonas DeSantis

Natural stone inlay consists of all types of natural gem quality Australian Black Opal, Lapis Lazuli, Black Onyx, Sugilite, Coral, Turquoise, Mother of Pearl, and Spiney Oyster.

There are four steps usually taken in successfully completing natural stone inlay: -grading the gemstones-carving each stone for a channel within a piece of jewelry-correctly bonding each stone to the very bottom of the desired jewelry channel-the final polishing of the gemstones After each inlay step, the stones are carefully inspected for fractures, cracks, and inclusions. If any of the aforementioned is detected, removal of the stone is required. GradingEach gemstone requires careful grading where there will be no calcite (white patches) in lapis lazuli, no black matrix patches in sugilite, no pits or discoloration in Coral, etc. As for natural opal inlay you will see that each stone displays a generous play of color ranging from blue-green to yellow-red flashes (this play of color will determine the overall price as well). CarvingThis process requires skilled hands. Each stone needs to be precisely cut to the desired dimension. When the shape of the desired piece of stone reaches the size of the channel of the jewelry, the next step is then performed, which is bonding the stone into the channel. When you carefully look at high quality stone inlay, you will notice that it is very uniform. There are no gaps, only uniform design and symmetry when inspected from all angles. BondingOnce a stone is ready to be inlaid, it is precisely bonded with an industrial strength 2-part epoxy to the bottom of the jewelry channel. Many sub-standard jewelry makers will only use a thin piece of stone within the channel backed mostly with epoxy in attempt to maximize their stone inventory. This results in minimal life of the inlay and poor durability. When purchasing jewelry with stone inlay, especially opal, make sure the stone is properly adhered to the bottom of the channel without filler or backing. Provided that all the stones are securely set, there are no traces of epoxy on neither the metal nor the stones.PolishingThe most important and last process is polishing the stones. It is important to make sure each and every stone inlaid is polished to its highest luster. This is accomplished through a tedious process of introducing the stone to numerous grinding wheels of different grits or harnesses. There should be no signs of scratches on the surface of the stone inlay, just high polished, lustrous stones.

Jonas DeSantis writes about

fine art jewelry

and the steps in the jewelry making process.

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Natural Stone Inlay}

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