Craftsman of the Month
Cover of Rock&Gem V1N1 March-April 1971

Richard Morris - November 2000 - Gem State Bola

"I became a rockhound following my retirement in 1994," says November Craftsman of the Month Richard Morris. "Since I was a welding engineer, the silver and lapidary work came quite naturally. I have been doing my own lapidary work for four years and sliver work for three years." Some of the stones for his project were found in the Carey, Idaho, area.

"As soon as I saw the small ceramic plate with 'Idaho: The Gem State' in the center, I knew I wanted to use it in a bola with Idaho stones. The stones I selected are, clockwise from top, star garnet, Spencer opal, Fir Grove fire agate, red and black agate, petrified wood and bloodstone."

"I first saw-cut a circle of 22-gauge silver and fitted grooved twist wire to the outer rim. Then I made bezel cups for the stones and ceramic piece. I melted solder on the backs of the seven bezel cups and the two leaves, positioned them on the silver circle, and soldered them in place."

"I placed the assembly upside down and installed the grooved wire, holding it in place with pins. I then soldered it and the bola back in place. I darkened the piece, and polished only the twist wire and leaves. I mounted the stones and ceramic, and added a leather bola cord with Idaho horsehair tips. I held the top of the horsehair in place with braided leather ring knots."

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