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December 1999

Feature

A Lovely Apparition

Angel emerges from two of the industry's creative souls

"She was a phantom of delight,
When first she gleamed upon my sight.
A lovely apparition sent,
To be a moment's ornament...
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of angelic light."

These immortal words of William Wordsworth seem fitting to describe Angel, a work of wearable art conceived and rendered by designer Mark Schneider featuring a chalcedony lapidary creation by gem cutter Glenn Lehrer.

"I saw the chalcedony at Glenn's a year ago and fell in love with it," says Schneider. "It had an angelic feel about it – its dendritic pattern looked like stars or snowflakes. Glenn's artistry reminded me of wings, and that's how the whole concept originated."

Schneider, known for designs depicting animals with distinctive personalities, says he found this project easy to conceptualize. "This wasn't work," he says. "It was a labor of love."

Perhaps, but the delicacy of the design, the gold work and the placement of diamonds had to have been a nerve-wracking experience. "We conceptualized the design and started carving waxes," Schneider explains. "We carved the face a few times to get it just right, encased it in 18k gold, then all the pieces started to come together."

Eye of the Beholder

"No two people looking at this piece will see the same thing," Schneider says. The 1.5-in. tall Angel is designed to be worn as a pendant on a heavy chain or can be shown as an objet d' art so it can be viewed from every angle.

The response has been "fantastic," says Schneider, who first showed Angel at Tucson in February 1999 and has meticulously manufactured three more one-of-a-kind angels since then.

"Angel does take some explaining," he says. "People aren't sure whether the dendritic pattern was something we put there, so we explain dendrites form in nature."

Earthly Collaboration, Heavenly Result

Schneider sees his relationship with Lehrer as a close collaboration between artists. "My love is looking at finished gems; Glenn's skill is picking spectacular rough and then working with it to get the highest possible beauty and yield."

Lehrer sees it much the same way. "Mark feels and understands gems and then seizes upon the challenges they present. He comes up with concepts that haven't been explored, then he uses my surreal carvings to bring realism to the finished piece."

Lehrer notes the material chosen for each piece lends itself to the design. "The chalcedony we used for Angel rivals the finest pliqué à jour with its subtle translucency," he says. "And nature placed the dendrites so perfectly they almost have a stellar effect."

Schneider describes Angel as a token of peace. "When I look at Angel, my feelings are of utmost tranquility and happiness. That's my message to retailers this Christmas: peace and tranquility."

by Robert Weldon, G.G.

Angel is hand-carved white chalcedony with a natural dendritic pattern. It's cast in 18k yellow gold and has 0.145 carat of diamonds. Jewelry design by Mark Schneider, Schneider Design Studio, Long Beach, CA. Carving by Glenn Lehrer, San Rafael, CA.



Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.



 

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