What’s in the Box? Will you walk into my parlour…

Check out this recent donation from master faceter Steve Richards. At first glance, it may seem like just another large faceted stone… until you peer into the middle. Look closely and you’ll see a decoration fit for Halloween! Just how did that get there?

Faceted Quartz - Widow Spydey

Sometimes, the value of a gemstone comes from its design, rather than the type of gem. This 230 carat quartz has 168 facets that were hand-cut by Steve, who worked from Gregg Glen’s “Widow Spydey” design. This phone camera photograph really does not do it justice.

It may seem astonishing in this age of automated factories and precision machinery, but virtually all gemstones are still cut by hand today. The majority of commercial gemstone cutters live in Asia. Most cutters are paid by the weight of the finished stones they produce each day, so time-consuming, intricate designs like this aren’t common.

Steve is a member of the Columbia-Willamette Faceters’ Guild, a local club that offers gem faceting lessons here at the Rice Museum.

(The title of this post is the first line of a poem called “The Spider and The Fly” by Mary Howitt.)

This post is part of our What’s in the Box? series.

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