Gem carving is a challenging art form. Read about its history as well as modern interpretations in both stand-alone pieces and jewelry.
Gemstones that were mined in the USA
How does concave faceting create so much more brilliance than regular flat faceting? Imagine a typical flat, square mirror, Now push the top and bottom closer together so that the reflective side curves toward you. Than take the left and right edges and curve them away from you so that the whole thing is slightly cylindrical.
Until fairly recently, gem cutting was one of the few areas of the world economy to remain uncontaminated by the computer revolution. All of that changed with the proliferation of personal computers in the 1980’s and 90’s Since that time, new computer based technologies have trickled to all segments of the trade from huge, commercial gem cutting operations to thousands of semi-professional faceters and hobbyists at work around the globe. Nowadays, gem cutters from Boston to Bangkok work hand in hand with computers, software, sophisticated instrumentation, and robotic automation to maximize efficiency and reduce waste.
The idea that a given material is, by nature, precious, is a relatively recent one. The idea that one material was precious while another was merely semi-precious simply did not exist in ancient times. The idea of dividing gemstones into the categories of precious and semi-precious is a relatively modern idea. The word semiprecious itself entered the English lexicon only in the nineteenth century..
Engraved gemstones as jewelry or a symbolic interpretation of the world and society around us have a long tradition. Until today, the art of gemstone engraving can be seen in many different forms and variations such as deep-cut intaglios or gems with enhanced cameos and reliefs, three-dimensional sculptures and optical illusions. However, modern engraving is by no means exclusively restricted to purely figurine motifs in the style of portraits or heraldic styles, as they have been carved in large numbers of colored layer agate in the past centuries.