Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/Amethyst pendant (again)
QUESTION: Sorry, I think I forgot to attach the image!
Here it is. Sorry again!!
ANSWER: Dear Tess,
A jeweler will find your project beyond the scope of services generally offered by a jeweler.
The most likely source for the pendant you desire is a seller of commercially carved gems, or to have the work done by a carving artisan. Commercially cut carvings range generally from lower end products to custom work by a skilled gemstone carver. I have included links to two sources of gem carving services, one in the United Kingdom. Items ready done for sale will have little to offer between low quality and very good work. To find amethyst ready done will be quite fortunate and I believe a difficult challenge. I suggest you contact the persons or companies below who provide carving services. They would also likely have better sources of gem material and possibly manmade amethyst crystals which could be sliced and then carved. Natural amethyst for the project will be often too internally flawed to provide a substantial and attractive pendant.
These websites show gem material of the sort to possibly use for your carved Star.
Excellent gem carving in Denver, Colorado, USA http://www.gemcutting.com/carving.gemstones/
A lapidary and carving business in the U.K. http://www.aewgems.co.uk/contents/workshop.htm
Natural amethyst is silicon dioxide with trace elements contributing to color, etc. A piece of native mined gemstone suitable will not be easy to find. That task will generally be up to the one offering the carving service. A piece such as the one on the ebay link might work. You would need to contact the seller and ask it the piece is free of fractures which would make carving difficult without breakage. Because of risk to a gem material while being carved, some gem carving artisans will not use material supplied by the customer and prefer to select the suitable gem material.
I mentioned the chemical makeup of amethyst, a member of the quartz family of gems which includes colorless quartz, smoky quartz and citrine. This is because man-made quartz was first produced for the electronics industry and now the process is used to make synthetic amethyst. Synthetic gems have the same chemical and general crystallographic structure as mined, earth produced quartz. Be aware that the words synthetic and simulated are often misused and a synthetic must match the characteristics of the natural material, as does synthetic amethyst quartz. On the other hand, simulated amethyst could be plastic, glass or more commonly man-made sapphire developed to be purple. The last material would be very difficult to carve due to hardness (like a sapphire) and does not have the appealing color and overall look of amethyst. A synthetic amethyst would be a good choice and may be more available than a natural slice of mined amethyst.
Tess, please do get back with me as questions arise concerning your intriguing pendant.
God Bless and Peace. Thomas
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Dear Thomas,
Thank you so much for your extremely detailed and helpful answer, as well as for the links to the carving services. However, the pendant I want is a Star of David, a symbol of Judaism, and I would like it to be made by an Israeli carver if possible. Do you know any gemstone carving services in Israel that you would be able to point me towards?
I would also be very grateful if you could tell me – if I could find a natural amethyst free of defects, how fragile would the final pendant be? Obviously I would be careful with the pendant, but I do intend to wear it every day.
Thank you very much, again, for your help.
Very best wishes,
I do not know carvers in Israel to recommend but do know gemstones are an important part of industry in Israel, with the diamond markets being of great importance. This website is the English version of Israeli site:
Please notice the "contact" link in the header. Also, carving is part of what is featured in this particular issue. There are skilled artisans in Israel and perhaps a contact might put you in touch with the one you need. It certainly will not hurt to ask!
As for durability of the pendant, this mostly depends on the freedom from defects in the stone used. Yes, amethyst of very clean material is available. Size might be a problem but I do not envision a large pendant. More so, In my minds eye I see a very well carved Star of David, likely more domed in some extent than flat on front and back. Slight doming will allow the color to play better in the gem and will provide a slight added thickness, a thickness that means more durable than a flattish cut Star. Color tends to wash out in a flat faced cut and both play of light within the material and thickness can influence greatly the color of the carved piece.
If natural amethyst is used, a diameter of 1 inch is close to max for clean material(clean being a term to describe gem material free of internal defects). Slightly smaller might be better. However, durability is reasonably good. The danger is dropping the pendant or striking it by accident on a hard surface. A sharp blow could chip and edge or crack the stone. Overall, I do not foresee much risk in everyday wear. Tess, be sure to have a sturdy neck chain with a safety clasp!
I am Christian but do have great respect for Israel.
I am glad you got back with me and do hope you obtain workable direction from the website provided.
God Bless and Peace. Thomas.