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

Rich Ragle - April 1999 - Quartz Crystal Chess Set

The craftsman of the month for April is Rich Ragle of Sandia Park, New Mexico, for his breathtakingly beautiful and extremely original handmade chess set, pictured. Here's how he describes it:

"The base is padauk wood; the checkered pattern is lacewood and white ash, both inlayed with silver."

"The crystals are from Hot Springs, Arkansas, and I mined them all myself. The superior aspect is natural, some with chips and all. The inferior aspects are all different from side to side. One side has a smoothed, polished inferior aspect; the other was polished to double-terminated crystal."

"The silverwork is mostly lost-wax casting. One side has single scrolls, the other has double scrolls."

"The pawns are crystal and silver. All the other pieces are associated with a particular gemstone--i.e., the kings have amethyst, the queens opal, bishops blue topaz, knights garnet and rooks peridot."

"The set was fun to make and is delightful to play Chess with. Most people adapt quickly to telling the two sides apart by how they look even though it requires paying a bit more attention to whose men are whose at first."

"Since I do have a day job and I only worked on this in my spare time, it took me about nine months to complete, but was a labor of love which I thoroughly enjoyed. I don't think was too long to spend on such an attractive conversation piece. My family and friends enjoy playing chess with it and, when the set is not in use, it is always a lovely decoration in my home."


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