By Robin Callahan, Robin Callahan Designs
From my point of view as a jewelry designer, inspiration starts with gem-quality rough or a beautifully cut gem. There are even times when I literally dream designs because I’m so moved, inspired, and in love with a newly cut gem.
Today, lapidary artists have taken gem cutting to new levels of perfection and amazement—from custom faceted designs to concave and fantasy cuts to mind-blowing carvings. My clients are aware of the labor and vision necessary to create these ultra-precise gem works of art, so they’re understanding of the costs; they’re more than simply cut pretty gems, and it’s an experience to own a piece of gem art.
When I founded my jewelry business in 2015, I made masterfully cut gems from artists the stars of my designs. As many in the industry head out to the gem shows in Tucson, Ariz., next week, I offer up this list of some of my favorite cutters with whom I’ve collaborated. Some you can find at the shows, while others you’ll have to fall for on social media. I hope you enjoy and get to see the brilliance of their work firsthand. Booths are noted for those who exhibit in Tucson.
No booth in Tucson but will be walking the shows. Direct message him on Instagram @dalanhargrave
When I stumbled across Dalan’s work, I thought ‘Who is this gem god’? He has won multiple Spectrum Awards and has work in the Smithsonian.
Ales Krivanek, Masterpiece Collective @masterpiece.collective and Ravenstein Gems @ravenstein_gem_co (Some of my own Robin Callahan Designs work will be there as well. Find me on Instagram at @robincallahandesigns.)
22nd Street Show, Showcase Tent K11
When I met Ales, he owned the Pana Oregon Sunstone Mine in Oregon. And when I visited Tucson for the first time in 2017, my first market appointment was with him. Ales custom cuts gems and promotes other cutters.
Doug Robinson, @dougrobinson1005
Doug taught me to use a Facetron cutting machine, on which I cut a beautiful piece of Oregon Sunstone rough gifted to me by Ales. That lit my fire to buy rough and learn more about cutting, and inspired Ales to convince former Lapidary Artist magazine writer Jim Landon to cover the journey of a gem from the mine to the lapidary artist to the jeweler. The story appeared in the January/February 2019 issue. Since then, I have commissioned many gem carvings. Last year, two of those gems received Spectrum Awards, one of which was my very own Spectrum Award for my “Bubblelicious” ring design.
Troy Richardson, @ExcessDesign
I came across Troy on Facebook and started sending rough to him as well as buying his cut gems. He is a precision cutter with flawless techniques and creative faceted designs.
Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show Room 118
Larry’s creative faceting and carving has enabled him to win numerous Spectrum Awards and landed his works in the Smithsonian. When Larry started teaching, I saw my chance to learn more. So, in 2018, I spent one week at Larry’s Texas ranch learning how to facet. Afterwards, I went back to Texas for another intense week with Dalan, who also taught me some cutting techniques.
David Tyrpak, @Timberwolf_Artisans_Guild
I’ve also collaborated with another Texan, David Tyrpak, on a beautiful Aquamarine. Since then, David has cut many of my pieces. While some artists just facet or carve, some do it all, and that’s David—a precision cutter. His concave faceting and creative designs are fantastic, as are his intaglio creations.
Ryan Joseph Anderson, @RyanJosephGems
Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show Room 43
Ryan is another award-winning lapidary artist, and we have collaborated on several pieces. His fantasy cuts are true fantasy and fantastic!
Boyd is another talented lapidary who specializes in all kinds of gem repairs.
I could write for days about all the incredible talents who elevate our industry and how they add so much value to what our earth produces, but pragmatism will prevail here. I’ll leave you with an even longer list of carvers to fall for below. And if you’ll be in Tucson next week and want to obsess over these talents in person, I’ll be happy to oblige. Reach me at [email protected].
More Carvers to Collect
@ILoveGreenRocks (Young talented female cutter!)
@Forged_Elements (Dragon carvings! Find some of Jack Hoque’s work at Discovery Gems SC K9 at the 22nd Street Show)
@JohnDyerGems (GJX #1011)
@Sunstone.Da (Daryll Alexander, Alexander Jewelers, Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show CP 5–6)
@gemcarver01 (Nick is the son of Daryl Alexander)
@vtuzlukov (Tucson Gem & Mineral Show)
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