Professional Jeweler Archive: In Line with Inlay

December 2000

Gemstones/New Products


In Line with Inlay

Embedding a gem into the surface of precious metal creates eye-popping jewelry


Inlay jewelry allows designers freedom.The design direction isn't determined by the shape of a faceted gem, rather its beauty lies in how the metal and the gem become one, says Stavros Eleftheriou, owner of Kabana, Albuquerque, NM. The result is a smooth, fluid design, free of prongs or other extensions.

Gems can be inlaid several ways:

  • Inserting thin strips of precious metal into narrow grooves in the metal's surface.
  • Cutting a pattern into a sheet of metal, soldering it to another and filling the spaces with thin slices of gems cemented into place.
  • Making a recess in a piece of metal by chiseling or etching, then filling it with a gem cut to size.

"Inlayers begin training with stones such as mother of pearl or lapis and refine their craft until they are capable of working with more fragile opal," says Remmy Rotenier, design director of Kabana.

Opal, onyx, mother of pearl, lapis and turquoise allow for striking contrasts and bright creations. The ultramarine of lapis is one of the most appreciated colors. Black onyx and white mother of pearl create the ultimate contrast for classic, timeless jewelry. Opal creates an instant attraction with its flashes of blue-green to orange and red.

– Lorraine M. O'Donnell, A.J.P.

Heart-shaped yellow sapphire is inlaid with blue sapphire and accented with 0.33 carat of round diamonds and 0.72 carat of tapered baguette diamonds. Each earring suspends a 14mm-by-14.5mm South Sea pearl. Suggested retail, $15,000.

Ella Gafter for Ellagem, New York City; (212) 398-0101, fax (212) 302-0153.

Diamond Serengeti 14k gold bracelet features a 14mm-by-7mm marquise amethyst and 0.51 carat of channel-set diamonds and is inlaid with sculpted sugilite and Australian opal. Suggested retail for the limited-edition design, $9,950.

Sosa Designs Inc., Wilmington, NC; (888) 233-1444 or(910) 256-2323, fax (910) 256- 2243.

Handcrafted 14k gold ring and slide pendant each hold an Australian opal, 5mm-by-7mm tanzanite and channel-set diamonds. Triple keystone, $2,670 for the ring, $2,850 for the pendant.

Idaho Opal & Gem Corp., Pocatello, ID; (800) 635-9800, fax (208) 233-0120, idopal@ida.net.

14k bracelet features inlaid opal and 0.43 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $6,075.

Kabana, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 521-5986 or (505) 843-9330, fax (505) 843-9624, kabana@kabana.net.


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