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Sometimes people who buy jewelry don't realise how long a journey it is from the collection the raw material to the finished product or the effort and talent required of craftsmen and craftwomen. Here is one such example.

John Downie is a local metal smith whom I have featured before. This pendant was commissioned by one of his clients whose husband collected a slab of petrified wood all the way from Idaho. John first arranged for Hans Durstling, a lapidary and jeweler based in New Brunswick to cut and polish a piece. Once that was done, John then backed the stone with sterling silver and bezel set it with copper. John was inspired by the petrified wood to add an arc in the form of a twig. He sand-casted it in sterling and connected it to the main part of the pendant with jump rings.

Petrified wood, from its Greek root names, means "wood turned into stone". This fossil wood no longer has any organic material. It is mostly silicate like quartz which explains why it can be cut and polished just like any gemstone. The range of colour and patterning produced during the petrification process comes from contaminants such as manganese, iron and copper. Like amber, this gemstone is beyond vintage.

John is a member of the Metal Arts Guild of Nova Scotia which was founded in 1951. This not for profit organization aims to encourage and instruct members in traditional as well as innovative metal work. If you're local and interested in learning more or joining, please contact the Secretary : mary.fraser@ns.sympatico.ca
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The Beading Gem's Journal
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