Stardust Original Gemstone Designs By Terry Lee Martin


Meet Terry Lee Martin

Hi, I'm Terry Lee Martin, and I create the perfect gift, a gemstone designed and named just for you, unlike any other in the entire world. The actual term that describes them best is Sui Generis. This essentially means One Of A Kind.

While my interest in stones began while I was very young, it was the encouragement of my wife, Dr Larisa Martin, that has brought me to this type of work. Larisa has a great passion for Astrology, and gems, and she is my best friend.

The primary quality that makes my gems so unique, is that I create gemstones that have 300 – 800 + facets on them. Most ordinary cut gems have less than 150, and generally they have less than 100. I am the only cutter in the world, that I am aware of, that specializes in this type of work. I also cut only one gem from each design that I create, so these gems are truly One Of A Kind.

I named my company 5C's Collectors Gems, based on the "4 C's" of gem buying, that were developed by GIA, The Gemological Institute of America. The "4 C's" are, Carat, Color, Cut, and Clarity. Along with those, in my work I bring a 5th "C", "Craftsmanship", into the equation.

I compare my artistic approach to gem cutting, to that of the Wood Craftsmen at the time of Louis XIV. For example, they did not just create a chair. Instead, they created a work of art that also just happened to be a chair. My works of art just happen to also be gemstones.

When you buy a gemstone for yourself or for someone else, you are connecting that person to the past, and you are extending this part of them into eternity. When Mother Nature produced that piece of material thousands, hundreds of thousands, or maybe millions of years ago, she made that piece totally unique from any other. Therefore, I feel that my gemstone, produced from that piece of material, also deserves to be totally unique, and unlike any other. By cutting only one gem from every design that I create, I help to insure that.

I work with many types of gemstones. Recently I have been cutting a lot of Sapphires. I completed a 9 carat Pink Sapphire for a gem dealer in Los Angeles which he sold, two days later, for $21,000.

I also cut a lot of Sunstone. Each summer I spend up to a week in the high desert of southern Oregon, mining for Oregon Sunstone. For me, this involves using a 5 pound hammer and a chisel to dig into hard basalt. Others that I go with, have a generator and a pneumatic hammer. You have no assurance that you will find anything. In the summer, when the temperatures are in the low 100's, working very hard and finding very little makes the Sunstones that you do find, very special.

This beautiful gem is not widely known, and is only found in a few areas of the world. It is probably more than 20 times more rare than Sapphires, and probably 50 times more rare than diamonds. Speaking of Diamonds, even though everyone tells you how rare they are, they are not really rare at all. They are simply artificially kept expensive through very close price controls of the supply, and very effective advertising. Sunstone, on the other hand, is actually quite rare but much more economical than Diamonds. This is simply because it is not yet very well known.

My favorite type of Sunstone to work with is called Dichroic Sunstone. This type has colors of pink/red and green in the same piece. Sometimes when you cut it you will see both colors at the same time, but in other cases you see one color, and as you turn the gem, it changes from pink to green and back again. These are so beautiful, that they are considerably more expensive than the solid color pieces. If you have never heard of Sunstone, I understand, not many people have.

I also enjoy working with Peridot, Garnet, Aquamarine, and Tourmaline. There are many others that I intend to work with in the future, as soon as I am able to obtain pieces to cut.

I am fully aware that I approach and see my art differently from other designers and cutters. Heck, for that matter, I enjoy seeing the whole world a bit differently. For example, I only work with female gemstones. Before I explain, please understand, I am fully aware that rocks and minerals are not actually alive, and probably don't have specific genders. Having said that, my philosophy in that regard simply is, Who Cares?

I approach each piece of material that I intend to cut, as if it were alive, and female. I like spending my days with beautiful women. The ones I get to work with, are like my wife. They are not only very pretty, but they are plenty tough too. I refer to all the gems that I cut as ladies. I give each gem a unique, Romantic, and therefore a feminine, or at least feminine sounding, name. When I awaken in the morning, I'm pretty well convinced that I am hearing the gem I am presently working on, calling on me to get up and make her beautiful, and that voice I hear is always feminine. To me this is a very good way to start the morning.

I'm sure that you might be a bit curious as to how I tell the difference between male and female gems. Well, to me it's rather simple. If the gem comes home with me, it is female. Period. It is really no more difficult than that.

In the romantic world that I choose to live in, and surround myself with, I can see definite similarities between women and the gemstones that I work on.

1. Each woman deserves to be as beautiful as she can be, as does each gemstone that I choose to work on. I have a policy, that once I began to cut a piece, I do not give up on it until it is finished. It may not be a perfect piece of material, but when I'm done with it, it will be cut as perfectly as I can make it. Mother Nature did her best to create it, and I will do my best to cut it as beautifully as I can. If Mother Nature didn't give up on it, I don't think I have that option either.

2. The beauty of a woman simply exists, just as the beauty of a gem is already inside that piece of rough before I even start to work on it. My task is simply to work with that piece of material until I bring out all the feminine beauty that is hidden inside.

3. There are good and bad ways to approach both females and gemstones. I really wish I could have known that in High School. If I attempt to cut a gem the wrong way, sooner or later, before I finish working on it, I know that I will hear about it one way or another. In addition, if I don't listen to what the gem is telling me, it will take much longer to cut, and will be less perfect than it could have been.

4. Both woman and gemstones must be handled gently, or they can each be damaged.

Larisa tells me that I should only work on my gems when I am in a good mood. She believes that because of the large amount of time that I must spend to create these gems, and the passion that I put into my efforts, a part of me goes into that gem, and stays with it forever, even when it goes to its new owner. She wants only good things to go along with that gem. I agree. I'm pretty sure that this is the only instance where Larisa is comfortable with me going home with another woman.

Terry Lee Martin