A first! Texas Amethyst Agate Signature Jewelry Release

A first! Texas Amethyst Agate Signature Jewelry Release

I have been asked by many about my company’s name, Texas Amethyst Agate. So what is Texas Amethyst Agate?

Amethyst Agate from The Carver Agate Field

Amethyst agate is a blended stone, being part agate in combination with amethyst, which is a purple semiprecious stone and the February gemstone. Amethyst, although not geologically rare worldwide, is quite rare as a Texas stone. Combining agate with amethyst is an even more rare Texas stone. Amethyst is not only rare in Texas, but is found only occasionally on The Carver Agate Field in West Texas. In fact, many of my long time West Texas rocker friends who have collected in West Texas for many years have never personally found amethyst in Texas. Among those friends, amethyst agate in Texas is virtually unheard of. That is why I named my company after this rare and beautiful purple, banded stone. I have not previously created a piece of jewelry from this rare and beautiful material—until now. To understand ‘why now’ is a long story. Here it goes:

When I was in third grade, I asked my parents for a Sears Craftsman Gem Maker which cost about $36 back then. That was a lot of money then and accordingly I received the gem maker as a Christmas gift that year. I ‘needed’ the gem maker to cut and polish the pretty beach rocks I had been collecting on Maine coast beaches since I was 4 or 5 years old—almost too young to remember.

I was self taught on the gem maker and held stones that I was grinding with my fingers rather than dopp sticks and dopping wax, which by the way never seemed to hold. I still grind all my stones handheld without dopp sticks, which may explain why my big hands have such short stubby fingers—but I digress. I made and sold my jewelry during high school. I was in tenth grade in high school where a dedicated art teacher at my request agreed to teach me the basics of silver soldering and jewelry making, while my friends were in study halls. I think my art teacher was happy to have at least one student who was actually interested in art work—but I again digress. As time in college allowed, I cut and polished a few stones and made a small amount of silver jewelry. Further education, work, life and family took up most of my time, but I still pursued cutting and polishing stones, and honing my silver smithing skills, up until the present.

So! As I approach my 72nd birthday this month, I decided to do a special signature piece of jewelry, which would really stretch my modest smithing skill level and showcase for the very first time a handmade piece of jewelry featuring amethyst agate from The Carver Agate Field. This particular stone was selected because it is a unique and beautiful natural shape and coloration which set off my artistic juices. Somehow I wanted this particular piece of amethyst agate to be incorporated into my jewelry and be seen for the first time. Coincidentally, I had just cut this very large stone (for jewelry) which had a very odd shape and coloration on the stone’s rind, and included within the stone a beautiful agate pattern and amethyst crystals. I wanted this stone when set to be 100% natural in shape, color and pattern. I think I did it!

Then I had to somehow set the stone into a piece of jewelry. Due to the size, shape, and agate pattern of the cut stone only a pendant would work. I wanted the stone’s point to point straight down. I wanted to use gold rather than silver, as gold and amethyst are a warm and elegant combination, more so than silver, which is my usual medium. I wanted to avoid a heavy perimeter setting style, or one which would involve a bezel. I wanted the stone to be the focus, not the setting. I wanted light to be able to move through the stone without a backing material blocking the light. If the light were blocked, the beauty of the amethyst and the agate would not be seen.

I wanted to create a setting of gold (GF) that was simple and elegant, but still provided a mechanical connection with the stone, without overwhelming the stone’s beauty. To make this mechanical connection, I drilled a hole through the stone utilizing a diamond bit. This was a terrifying part of this project because of the high probability that the cut and polished stone might crack or break while being drilled. I drilled in water to keep the stone cool and minimize the damage possibilities. It worked! I then took 14/20 gold fill 14 gauge round wire which I hand hammered flat, then filed, shaped and polished (partially). To make the mechanical connection sought, I then bent the golden strip to be simple, elegant and functional as it passed through the hole in the stone.

For strength and reliability, I made one design concession that I did not want to make. I utilized a molecular connector in the area where the gold passed through the stone’s hole. This was primarily to stabilize the drilled hole and add strength to the mechanical connection. I think of this as the ‘belt and suspenders’: either one will work but both together are even better. Yes, I am a ‘belt and suspenders’ guy! But again, I digress. After setting the stone, there were hours of handwork, polishing the gold using more than 5 types of sanding material, involving more than 13 individual steps, until all visible scratches were gone. I then power buffed with a high tech polishing rouge. Then soap, water, and a toothbrush were used to thoroughly clean and remove any unwanted polishing material. Lastly, I am matching the pendant with an 18 inch gold fill snake chain.

Conclusion: For me, this is maybe as good as I get after 60 years of trying. I now have my signature stone, I believe, cut and well set. More information about this stone is available in a new Carver Report and this new pendant is now ready for you to view in my Shop.

And here is a video with more information about the making of this new pendant:


One Comment

  1. martha scott says:

    You Rock! John Carver.

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