Stardust Original Gemstone Designs By Terry Lee Martin


Stardust Designs

The gems that I create have between 300 and 800 facets, and only one is cut from each design. New gem, new design. Some of them are so complex that they take upwards of 20 – 30 hours to complete.

I only create these high number of facet gems in round shape gems. It just isn't possible to put 500 facets on an Emerald Cut, or a Pear shape gem, or a Princess Cut. I've tried. If you are really interested, send me any Email, and I'll explain why it isn't possible, but there is really no point in doing that here. I would be very happy to design and cut an Emerald cut, Pear Shape, or a Princess Cut gem for you, but there will be no appreciable difference between my design, and any other well cut gem in that shape, that has already been cut by other gemstone artist. Mine may be simply be a bit more precisely cut however.

My gemstones are unique for a number of other reasons. The most obvious difference is the light return that they produce. Pretty much all gems will return some light to your eyes, but when you look straight down at the crown on one of my ladies, you will see light returned quite evenly to all portions of the crown at the same time.

The vast majority of gemstones that are available for you as a customer, will have less than 100 facets on them. My gemstones have much larger numbers of facets than these ordinary gemstones. Although I will occasionally create gemstones that have 250 to 300 facets on them, I primarily enjoy creating gemstone works of art that have between 300 and 800+ facets on them. I refer to these as my "Collectors Gems."

The assistant to the editor of one of the magazines that did an article on me and my work, wrote to me about the gems that I sent to them for photography, and inclusion in the article. She said that the gems seem Supernatural. They were convinced that I had a shop full of elves that were creating these wonderful works of art for me.

After about 2 years of doing this type of work, this is now what I specialize in. When I began this style of cutting, about 2 years ago, I was questioned by other cutters, as to why I wanted to spend my time doing this style of work. They knew that it was very time consuming, and that I would be able to cut many less gems than they would, and therefore I would make much less money doing so. As I saw it, they were only doing what everyone else was doing, and I wasn't interested in that. I needed to do something different in order to keep my excitement high. At the beginning, it was only intended to help me build my skills. I realized that if I wanted to get better at cutting, the best way for me to do that was to create, and then cut, increasingly difficult designs. Very soon, my goal was to create the most complex and as close to impossible to cut designs that I could dream up, and then simply cut them. Because of the beautiful effects that these designs produce in the final cut gem, I very soon became addicted. As a result of the hundreds of hours of cutting highly complex designs, I became a very good cutter.

In many cases I am cutting facets that are less than 1/10th of a millimeter in size. Trust me, it takes considerable control to avoid destroying facets when they are this tiny. It is tough enough just to see them. It is simply a matter of doing this type of work for hundreds of hours in order to develop the touch needed to pull it off.

I created a 2550+ facet 16 carat Topaz as a self test, about 3 months after starting this type of work, to see how far I had come in my development. This was featured in the magazine article I previously mentioned. The girdle on this gem has 60 facets. Most gems have less than 20. The first 8 tiers alone are made up of 540 facets and in total, those tiers measure just under 1mm in height. There are more than 36 tiers on this gem. Think of it as a wedding cake with 36 different layers. It actually has more than 2550 facets, but I lost track of the number, and have never really felt the need to count them. I also created a 1/3 carat Sapphire that has 357 facets on it. They both were very difficult gems to cut, and took all of my skills to complete.

Part of the reason that gemstones with this number of facets are not being cut by other cutters is the skill level required to do this type of work. Unless you specialize in this type of work, and do a great deal of it, you can't develop the skills needed to create this type of gem. Another reason you will never find this type of gem easy to buy, is the much longer time required to create them. That means that they are much more expensive to create. These gems are incredibly time consuming.

In the same amount of time that it takes for me to create just one of my Collectors Gems, an average cutter can possibly create 7 or more standard cut gems. In the Asian gemstone cutting centers, those cutters are capable of cutting many dozens of Native Cut gemstones in the same amount of time. Allow me to help you understand what that really means. The Asian Gemstone cutters can complete a gem in less than 20 minutes. Cutting a standard gem will take the average amateur cutter (99% of the cutters in the United States are amateurs) about 3 – 7 hours. Some of my gems will take 20 – 30 hours or more to complete. What this means is that, in terms of time, and time is money, my gems are many times more expensive to create. This makes my style of designing and cutting much less commercially viable than what other gemstone artists are doing. There never will be thousands of my gemstones for sale, because I physically can't make that many of them. For other cutters to switch to this type of work, would not make much economical sense for them.

Because of the World Class precision cutting I am able to give them, and the varied geometric designs that I create for them, these gemstones are absolutely exquisite when viewed under magnification. The unbelievably complex, and incredibly intricate patterns are simply beautiful, and mesmerizing.

The hundreds of facets, and their special placement on these gems, allow light to be returned to the entire crown much more evenly, and deliver even more fire to your eyes than gems cut the standard way. These micro facets create patterns of light and dark areas that are unlike anything seen in standard gems. These gems have greater fire, than standard cut gems. The natural brightness of the material that the gemstone is created from is enhanced. The tiny flashes of light produced by the hundreds of miniature facets on these gems, produce an effect that I refer to as "Stardust."

You hear the word scintillation when jewelers talk about gemstones. What they are talking about is the flash of light or the brilliant outburst of light that a gem produces. Most types of gemstones produce flashes of light when faceted. If they didn't, they wouldn't be used to cut gemstones. My designs produce higher amounts of scintillation, simply because they have many hundreds more facets then ordinary gemstones have. This is the reason I call the designs that I use to create them, Stardust Original Gemstone Designs.

Most gemstone artists are primarily concerned about the crown on their gems. On my gems, you will find that my gem pavilions are equally as complex and ornate as my crowns. Because of this, many of the gems that I have sold are kept un-mounted and displayed only as Collectors Gems. This way both the crown and pavilion can be viewed and admired.

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