Craftsman of the Month
One of the many thrills I get from the hobby of lapidary is when I cut into a rock and something beautiful or amazing appears from within. Usually, people seek out the type of material that they expect to yield these surprises, so it's especially exciting when something appears when least expected. Such was the case when I cut up the remnants of a marble tabletop that someone had donated to our club for use in our cabbing classes. Marble cuts and polishes so easily that it is a perfect material for students to learn with.
It was a dark, black marble with light-brown swirls running throughout. I was cutting this piece into cabbing size blanks when, to my delight, I saw this ghost staring up at me.
With Halloween only a few weeks away, I felt I had to mount this in some way for my wife to display to her students at school. After several drawings and various attempts, I settled on this rather large, but appropriate, pendant.
I constructed the setting from 24-gauge sheet sterling, with a 24-gauge, 1/4-inch-wide bezel. The pendant is slightly over 2 inches wide by 2-1/32 inches long. I trimmed the marble ghost, which was 1/4 inch thick, to 3/4 inch wide by 1-1/2 inches long, sanding and polishing it to an elongated dome shape, and almost losing the ghost's right arm in the process. I then trimmed the ends in order to mount it on an angle for effect.
The tombstone was cut from a white marble slab 1/4 inch thick, trimmed to shape, and ground on an angle in the back to sort of face toward the ghost when seated flush to the backing. The grass area at the bottom is a thin slice of greenish-blue chrysocolla, and the cloud above the plot is druzy quartz. The fence was cut and shaped from 1/8-inch bezel, positioned and soldered to the frame to hold the ghost, tombstone and ground covering in place. The stones were also set with superglue for rigidity. The background inside the pendant was lightly tinted with silver-black patina for a nighttime effect.
The chain is a basic double loop-in-loop, constructed from 22-gauge fine silver wire following the instructions in Jean Stark and Josephine Smith's fantastic book, "Classical Loop-In-Loop Chains & Their Derivatives."
My wife reported that the children, as well as other teachers at her elementary school, were fascinated with the results, and I have been asked, "Did you dig that rock out of a cemetery?"
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