One day I was looking at his finished stones and spotted this gorgeous half-cut blue topaz discarded in a pile of broken tools and chipped rocks. I asked about it, and the diplomat told me he'd started to facet the stone and then realized it had some serious inclusions so he tossed it out (inclusions are like fractures in a stone, or can be intrusions of some other mineral...they make it very hard to properly facet a gemstone). What was junk to him was definitely treasure to me!
I've been waiting for nearly three years to do something with this blue topaz and finally made it into a ring for the first project in my casting class. I made the shank and structure out of wax wires, then cast them in sterling silver. My idea was to make the setting so that I could bend one of the top wires open, slip in the stone, then coax the wire back over the top of the topaz to hold it in place. This was not an easy operation, but I managed to make it work and the stone is nice and secure in its setting.
I am very pleased with the clean lines of this ring. I don't usually work in a minimalist style, but this semester I am trying to explore a more distilled, less decorative style than my usual pattern- and ornament-happy look. It's not easy to work in a style that's not really my comfort zone, but I can definitely feel it's been a productive, growth-inspiring exercise.