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Antler Twist with opal

By DonSimpson
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29 Comments
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A pendant made from an antler tip carved to look twisted, and set with a white opal. Front view on the left, back view in the center, and an enlarged view of the top on the right.
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© 2007 - 2020 DonSimpson
Comments29
anonymous's avatar
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jessa1155's avatar
fuish's avatar
This would make a beautiful set of gauged earrings... but it's already a very pretty pendant.
DonSimpson's avatar
I forgot to note the size. This pendant is somewhere between two and three inches long, and fairly heavy. Now, I do know people who wear that much weight on their ears, but not many.
fuish's avatar
Well, I meant if you made a smaller version. Like maybe a half inch long...
DonSimpson's avatar
Well, I'll keep that in mind. I've never made any earrings... yet. Probably should.
fuish's avatar
Do you take commissions? If the price is right I'd so buy a pair of earrings that you made.
DonSimpson's avatar
I do take commissions. A number of the pieces in my gallery were commissioned. Send me a note, and we can discuss it.
fuish's avatar
I'll send you one sometime within the next few weeks, hopefully not months, but depending on my job situation, and money... blah blah blah. You know how it can be right?
DonSimpson's avatar
I do indeed. Whenever, then. :)
SoulStoneDesigns's avatar
That's a beautiful way to showcase an opal. The organic nature of the antler seems to compliment the folklore around opals. I could see how that piece could be seen friendly or sinister. It's very dynamic.
DonSimpson's avatar
Thank you. :) I think it looks less possibly sinister in person, but that might just be me....
raven-spirit's avatar
when i forst saw this i first thought of ear plug earings, (earings for streatched ears) i like it as a pendant too.
DonSimpson's avatar
I've never made plug earrings (or any other kind of earrings), though a couple of people I know wear them. I'd make them on commission, but generally I do pendants. I haven't done any cufflinks, either, though I've done a few bolo ties. Maybe I should think about doing a few samples of such stuff.
Ignisburns's avatar
Ohhh, opals! I adore opals! :D
DonSimpson's avatar
So do I. And I see so many of them that I can't afford.
Ignisburns's avatar
I can say that again! :)
DonSimpson's avatar
I see so many of them that I can't afford. :)

The best deals I've seen on opals were at the Opex Opal booth at the International Gem & Jewelry Show. At the IG&JS I buy diamond drills, and tantalize myself with dragons carved from deep purple sugilite set in opal intarsia work, quartz crystals the size of five-gallon drums, cabinetfuls of antique jewelry, etc. There are also lots of totally boring stuff, and amazing things like huge synthetic ruby crystals, and practical items like the diamond drills. Besides real opals of all grades, Opex has the incredibly tacky synthetic opals; they combine the authentic opal chemical and physical structure with the ugliness of 60s polychrome foil jewelry. :) But I suspect the technology is on the way toward slabs of actually nice-looking synthetic. Diffraction gratings used to be rare and extremely expensive items, made one at a time with a machine scratching lines in a substrate with a diamond tip. Now diffraction grating is available in plastic sheet, by the yard, and is used for wrapping paper.
Ignisburns's avatar
Well, I'm mostly looking at opals online and suffer in silence. ;)
I know what synthetic stones are but I thought they look the same when cut to specific shapes... :/
DonSimpson's avatar
Well, the synthetic ruby crystals would look the same when cut. From what I've read, natural ruby forms under conditions {pressure, temperature, matrix) such that a nice-looking faceted crystal is never found, but this is possible with some synthetic methods. So it's like the difference between a cluster of quartz crystals and a vein of quartz within a rock.

The look of opal is very dependent on the exact patterns of the "fire", and the difference between cheap and expensive stones is in subtle patterning of the microscopic structure. Synthetic opal is real opal, but it looks fake; it's ugly and gaudy.
Ignisburns's avatar
Thank you for the informations. :) I didn't know that synthetic opal looks ugly.
DonSimpson's avatar
Well, it looks ugly to me. :) It may be that someone is producing nice-looking synthetic opal and isn't letting on that it's not "natural" stones....

It's interesting that a major ruby synthesizer deliberately uses a dopant (tiny amount of foreign atoms detectable by lab tests) so their rubies won't undercut the price of otherwise identical natural stones. Like modern limited editions, it's a completely artificial scarcity.
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BraveAnimal's avatar
I so admire you work.. still.. the organic, simplistic earthy feel it has.. Yet still rich to the senses.. i really wish I could touch it!
DonSimpson's avatar
It would be great if we had tactile data on the internet. A lot of my work has a tactile component, and sometimes that is what I think is the major aspect.
anonymous's avatar
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