It’s all about the stones

My jewelry designs begin with rough gemstone material. I study the stone’s shape, size and color and consider how I can best facet and/or carve the stone to highlight its natural beauty. I create the finished stones myself through a process of grinding, shaping, faceting and carving. Each stone is different and designed to a make a statement in a piece of jewelry.

Robert Slater faceting
Robert Slater making jewelry

From an idea to wearable art

Once I’ve created a gemstone to use, I work out the design of the piece of jewelry on paper. Then I either sculpt the piece in wax and cast it or fabricate it by hand. The goal is always to complement and enhance the stone.

While I have a background in art (ceramics) and design, when it comes to jewelry I am self-taught. It all began with teaching myself how to fabricate and cast silver jewelry, then I learned the properties of gold and how to set stones (traditional prong settings, bezel set, channel set and inlay). But when I saw the big difference in how commercially cut and well-cut stones look in jewelry, I decided to it was time to learn how to facet gemstones. And in search of the most precise gemstone faceting, I even built my own faceting machine! 

My latest leap of knowledge has been carving stones, which I not only use in my jewelry but also sell individually.