The Colors of Christmas in Gems

December 2nd, 2011 by James L. Sweaney, CGA, FGA. GG

Every year for Christmas, we jewelers put our best foot forward, looking to make special pieces that will find their way into Santa’s sleigh. This year, I was able to find some spare hours to make these three special rings that feature one of the world’s most unique gemstones, the American Fire Agate.

This 21.20 ct beauty features a wonderful dome of bright red wreathed with green– a touch of purple peeks out occasionally. I hand carved the wax model to fit the stone perfectly, then cast the piece in 14k yellow Harmony gold. Jeweler Scott Reeves actually has to hammer the gold around the gem to accomplish my proprietary setting style.

This large man’s ring is dramatic and striking, measuring about 21 x 19 mm across the top. The stone came from Bob Beaudry, a major collector of finest fire agates — he says the source was Slaughter Mountain, San Carlos Reservation, Arizona.  Happily, it’s already found it’s way to a new home!

The Fire Agate is a rare cryptocrystalline form of the earth’s most common mineral, quartz, found only in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Mexico. Gemmy stones like these are actually carved to expose the iridescent spectrum colors. The color layers are thinner than a breath of air on a window pane, and they follow the distinctive bubble-like botryoidal forms that characterize this gem material, so the carver must patiently and carefully take away just enough material to bring forth the glowing colors.

For the ladies, I created these two 14k yellow gold rings, one with a crimson twin, one with a holly green gem. Both stones are probably also from the Slaughter Mountain locale, and were cut by Ryszard Krukowski, Fire Agate Studio.


These rings are truly one-of-a-kind original designs, just right for the person who appreciates fine quality unique American gems and hand crafts. We have more great stones in inventory and will be glad to carve a ring just for you. Now Showing at Mard

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