One of the things I most love about working with crystals and crystal jewellery is the wonderful people it brings into my life.
As well as the beautiful clients who share with me their personal stories or let me know their crystals arrived safely, I am also meeting some awesome suppliers.
During my recent travels in Far North Queensland, I had the pleasure of meeting my new friends, Karin and Rudi. They create the beautiful pendants and jewellery I stock in my gift shop. I was able to visit their showroom and workshop and chat with them for the morning. What an amazing experience! I’m excited to share this behind-the-scenes look at how the crystal jewellery I stock, is created.
I’m really picky when it comes to selecting all of my stock, whether it be crystal tumble stones and specimens or crystal jewellery. Karin and Rudi are the same! Rudi has been creating gemstone jewellery for over 20 years and I’m sure that what he doesn’t know about gemstones is not worth knowing.
As I sorted through the thousands of stones that were available to be made into pendants, rings and bracelets, Karin and Rudi patiently explained where the stones had come from (this Charoite from Russia; that Chrysocolla from the Congo; those Rhodochrosite pieces from NSW….), how the colours in it were formed, how it could be cut in various ways etc. I could have stayed there for weeks and soaked up this information!
As you can see from the photos below, the stones are laid out on trays, ready to be sold as they are, or converted into wearable pieces.
I chose the stones I wanted to be made into pendants, and was expecting to pick them up in a week, but Rudi offered to add the silver bails (the silver part that attaches to the stone to allow a chain to go through) while I waited, and invited me to watch.
He uses a fine drill to create a clean hole though the stone. This is done in a flat tub of cold water. The dust of many of stones, like malachite and shattuckite is poisonous and cannot be inhaled – so drilling the holes in the water bath stops the dust from flying everywhere, lubricates the stone and keeps its temperature down to stop it from cracking.
Once drilled, the bail is fitted to the stone. This happens on another dedicated bench in the workshop. All of the plastic bags you can see along the window in the photo below, contain various sized bails. It looked like there were hundreds of different sizes.
Rudi explained that the bail was really important – it could either help to support the stone’s true magnificence or diminish it. He feels that bails should be generously sized, without being too big (or overpowering the stone). I just love his perfectionist view about crystal jewellery making!
With a few pieces, he also asked whether I would like the bail in one end of the stone or the other – there’s no right or wrong with this stuff as it’s all personal choice, but I really enjoyed having input into those pieces.
As he came to make up one of my pieces, he noticed a flaw on the tip of the stone. He asked if I wanted to pick another one or if I wanted him to polish it out. I was happy to have him polish it out.
This involved serious machinery on another bench – polishing wheels covered in sand paper-like material with increasing levels of hardness to softness. This process is kind of like what happens in a manicure – you use a harder file to shape your nail, and the finer buff to finish it all off and give your nails a shine. That’s my simple analogy of how rough stones are made into the polished pieces we see when we buy them. It’s a good thing Rudi knows a bit more about it than me 😉
I absolutely love the process of buying crystals, and working with Karin and Rudi has added an entirely new dimension to that. It’s truly a pleasure to work and speak with people who are masters of their craft, and passionate about it.
When you buy jewellery from my Gift Shop, you can be assured that it has been hand selected from a place of love and intention, by Rudi, Karin and/or me. Through these lovely people, I am able to source a huge range of gemstone jewellery – so if you are after a specific piece (ie, type of crystal, shape or size), I am happy to work with you to create it!
Here’s a link to some of the pendants currently in stock and pics of a couple of the pieces I saw being made 💗