Friday, March 30, 2007

Jewelry Art: Etched Long Dome

This long-dome style ring is a classic shape for my style - I love what a longer ring does to a lady's hand. This one I treated a little differently: first, I covered the surface with designs and glyphs, tediously etched into the surface with dental burrs and stipple tools... and secondly, instead of flush-inlaying the sugilite stone into the surface, I thought it would be more dramatic if the stone rose out of the top surface in a polished bezel. And I went one step further: I made the bezel just slightly smaller than the opening in the dome, leaving a black space between the bezel & dome that forms a dramatic accent.

The stone is sugilite from Africa - a gorgeous purple stone with bluish-white & dark matrix. This ring is available now, and was made in a size 7 with a wide shank. Signed on the back with my hallmark stamp. Price is $345 plus $5 shipping and handling (priority mail). If you want me to send it to you, just email me at or phone me at the studio: (505) 296-1400.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sculpture: Eskimo Dream

For the life of me, I just can't remember the title I gave this piece - Eskimo Dream will have to do for now. The body is carved from a mineshaft timber that my father-in-law, Allen, picked up somewhere in the Wyoming back country. He intended it to be firewood, but gave it to me to carve.

PHOTO BY AZAD - click to enlarge

The cavities in the body and head were flame-carved, the way canoes used to be hollowed out. I carved the face and mittens out of a slab of Mammoth ivory. I carved the fish out of Basswood (no, really!), and painted it with acrylic artists' colors - some of the "interference" and metallic and pearlescent colors are perfect for 3-dimensional shapes, and especially a fish! People kept asking me what kind of fish it was, so I invented the species - it was an "Everyfish". The base was carved from a chunk of snowy-white marble.

This piece sold many years ago - call me at the studio to ask about a variation on this theme.
(505) 296-1400 .... or email me at

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jewelry Art: Scorpion

W-a-a-a-a-a-y back at the beginning of my career, one of my new collectors commissioned me to do a large gold scorpion pin/ pendant. The colored-pencil drawing below is what I came up with:

The black areas would have been carved ebony, inlaid with Australian opal in the center and the left claw, as well as the little stones in the tail segments. It would have had fire agate eyes, as well as turquoise, diamond and coral accents.

Well, as it turned out, the customer had in mind something more "realistic", and wanted me to use some really cheap, dull opal triplets someone had given her. I drew a new design, got approval and did all the goldsmithing by hand, but when it came time to set the stones, I just didn't have the heart to put those ugly stones in my design. I refused - hey, a fella has to draw the line somewhere to maintain his integrity! So this was a piece I had to "eat"! Luckily, I had some really stunning Mexican Opals and Fire Agates to use - the colors of the desert. The final piece was about 4 inches long - really dramatic.

The price on this piece was originally $8,000, but that was a l-o-o-o-o-ng time ago, and it has since found a home with some good friends & collectors. I've had a lot of requests over the years for one in a smaller size, but I haven't made one yet. Call me at the studio if you want me to quote you a price on the first one : (505) 296-1400.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Jewelry Art: My Favorite Ring

Despite its simplicity, there's a reason this ring is my favorite - and that is that it's YOUR favorite! I've been making this ring design for over 18 years, and it's always been a best-seller at the fairs I've done coast-to-coast. Variations on this bubbly theme were some of the very first designs I handmade in jewelry 30 years ago.

I also make a plain version of this ring (with no pearl), but this one with a plump, pinkish freshwater pearl is actually the first version I came up with. I guarantee the pearl will remain intact: First, I drill each pearl and set it on a silver post that is cast into the ring, and secondly, I use EPOXY to hold it on. More tedious to use, but it's much tougher than traditional pearl cement. So ... if you ever lose the pearl, just send it back to me, and I'll put a new one on at no charge!

I can make this ring in virtually any size - it looks GREAT on any finger. Just specify your size, and I'll make one just for you for $48 plus $5 shipping & handliing. or just Email me at: , or call me personally at the studio: (505) 296-1400.

I'll be glad to send you one of my favorite rings!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Jewelry Art: Bird in Flight necklace

Some pieces of jewelry are actually miniature sculptures, and can even stand alone. In the past, these were often called "cabinet jewelry", and while it was meant to be a somewhat derogatory term that implied it was hard to wear, I have enjoyed making a few pieces like that in the past. But then once in a while, on the other hand, a truly successful artwork in the medium of jewelry surfaces - one that forms a symbiosis with its wearer. Such a piece is actually not complete until it is WORN. Seen by itself, it just sits there - but once it is put on, it literally comes to life. This necklace, titled "Bird in Flight" is just such a piece!

It is called a "torque" necklace, because it relies on the torque or springiness of the silver neckwire to hold its shape. The silver is hand-hammered on a polished anvil with polished hammers, not only to shape it, but to impart the "memory" of its graceful shape that clings to the nape of the neck. The position that it naturally comes to rest is actually on the SHOULDERS, not the back of the neck! Thus, its wearer is allowed total freedom of movement without feeling any sort of binding on the neck.

This position results in something remarkable happening that makes it an incredibly flattering piece to wear: First, it exposes the beautiful curve at the base of the neck, where the neck swoops into the shoulders (one of the most beautiful lines on a woman's body).... and, secondly, because the necklace is open on the front, there are no horizontal lines across the front of her throat, so the full sweep of the neck is visible in the front! Perhaps my most flattering piece when worn. The neat thing, though, is that the neckwire is wide enough so that it can be worn on a turtleneck, too.The "wing" surface is cast from a reticulated torch-textured silver piece, that emphasizes a rich, furrowed texture that contrasts nicely with the polished silver framework. This textured surface is meticulously hand-finished by a process that involves heating it to red-hot heat and quenching it in acid. This process is repeated over & over, until the silver is a pure crystalline-white color that reflects light in a unique way that can't be achieved any other way.

This piece currently goes for $350 in the silver version shown here, and I also make it as a fancier version (to be posted soon) with Amethyst and Freshwater pearls. Check out the earrings I designed to go with it (also to be posted soon!) I'll have a shopping cart set up soon, but meanwhile just call me personally at the studio to order one: (505) 296-1400, or
Email me at: - I'll be in touch!

Jewelry Art: Raven Ring

Raven Ring-click image to enlarge view

I'd like to get back into the swing of things by posting this job I just finished - hot off the bench! I'll definitely be posting some of my best-sellers soon, but to keep it fresh, I want to put my current projects up, too.

This ring posed a small problem: Ravens are Dark ...Silver is bright. To keep the beak from becoming too glaring, I carved it as a series of polished ridges, keeping the main surface lower so it would hold the chemical oxidation - the dark patina that I usually use to bring out detail. Then I meticulously carved lots of detail into the feathers, so they would hold oxidation, too. When the dark areas contrast with the polished rims of the design, it forms a more dramatic image.

The ring stands up a bit on the hand - it's not a quiet, demure little accessory! It's what I call "bodacious". The eyes are black onyx inlaid into the carved head. Didn't have a model around, but take my word for it - it looks cool on the hand!

Price on this piece is currently $200, and I can make it for you in any size you want. I'll have a shopping cart set up soon, but until then, just call me personally at the studio - (505) 296-1400 - to place your order, or Email me at: , and I'll be in touch!