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Erich C. Shoemaker - Jewelry Gallery


Hi Jim,

Sorry for the late reply, but I somehow missed your comment earlier. Acanthus leaves are a bit of a holy grail for me. I’d love to figure out how to draw them accurately, but I’m not sure where to start. They seem like such a complicated design in terms of how the leaves can curl, roll over, flatten out, droop back, etc. I just don’t have any eye for that yet, but I’d love to get to thew point where I could recreate the kind of work seen often in the Baroque era. It’s perhaps a bit too ornamental for me, but the scrolls and curves on many of the regal pieces of that era would be fantastic to incorporate into some new pieces.

Thanks for the advise and helpful tips!


mh159, which one are your referring to?


Hi Erich.
I would start with gun engraving, as well as western belt buckle engraving (google images).
Looking at the Acanthus in it’s natural form is confusing, it’s hard to resolve the depth (3 D to 2 D).
Also Google acanthus images , first, “Acanthus image drawings”. second, “Acanthus images, Bas relief” (without the quotation marks) .
See what happens there.
Are you on Mac or PC?

Thanks, Jim


Thanks for your reply, it was the 18K granulated ring with Black Star Sapphire, Rubies, and Diamonds (Classical Collection). The piercing work is amazing. Im interested in the steps taken to fabricate.



Hi Jim,

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll have to see if I can get some free time as the year goes on to explore these more because it seems that there would be so many possibilities if I could just “unlock that door”. Thanks again for the help!


Also, I’m on both PC and Mac (Mac for personal, but PC for business)


Thank you Michael. I’ll see if I can get some pictures posted of the process in a bit. I’m pretty sure I took some as I made it for my FB page, but I don’t think I put all of them up there. Stay tuned!




So a step that I missed in photographing was that once I made the bottom portion of the ring (the gallery area, not the shank), I then covered it with China white and drew on the pattern for the pierced area with a pencil. From there, I was able to drill some holes, thread the sawblade through and pierce out the design.


Thanks so much for posting these Erich.
Your attention to detail , pre polish, azures and the whole of the design are remarkable. These elements are currently lost to the greatest number of the jewelry buying consumers. Please keep publishing, in time I hope to see work like yours, James’, Jo’s and the like presented in a format that reaches deeper into the buyer’s awareness. Ganoksin is becoming the digest for that type of exposure. In time we’ll find a way to have these arts discovered newly, rather than seemingly lost.
Great work,


Erich, if you’re interested in studying the art of scrolls and leaf structures, I would recommend the book “Advanced Drawing of Scrolls” by Ron Smith. Although written with a singular focus towards firearm engraving, as Jim suggested, firearm engraving is an art form in which acanthus leaf design is still a very important element.

It’s not an inexpensive book by any means, but it’s worth every penny if you really want to learn how to draw scrolls and leaves. It can be found at GRS.

You’re work is absolutely wonderful. Your granulation is astounding, both in it’s use and execution. As Jim also said it’s nice to see attention to detail like your azures. The bar keeps rising.

Dave Phelps


"Azure, inner-rings is almost a ‘thing of the past’. When I made a few
rings, my Cad fellow hadn’t seen too many of them. WE Orchidians must
re-introduce this lost art-form & Orchid IS THE PLACE to show it!!
I see other jewellery web-forums but no one has the time or patience to
create “Azure’s” any more, pity! Everything is done with CAD, I spent over
5 YEARS learning how to Bright-Cut, using the basic of gravers! I use only
Onglette #1 & #2 gravers and not using any speedy machine to cut-corners.
Can you all appreciate this fact that many decades ago, jewellers used to
’cut & pierce’ each Azure hole with a #8/0 & #6/0 saw-blade. Now CAD has
taken over that particular skill-level!!! I could go on & on listing all of
the skills that have been ‘lost’. Thankfully, this one art-form is not
lost, but has been shown & is so very much alive!!!
Gerry Lewy


Thank you very much for the encouragement Jim! Having my name mentioned in the same sentence as James’ and Jo’s is an honor I am far from deserving of.

I agree and hope that buyers can become more detail oriented and I suppose this is one of several ways to help promote that. I’ll continue to post what I can as I’m able, but I often get carried away working on projects and then forget to photograph 50% of the steps involved :confounded:


Thank you very much David. Not to sound like a broken record, but I really appreciate such kind words regarding my work!

Thank you as well for the book suggestion. I’ll have to look for it as it sounds like exactly what I need!


Thank you Gerry. Gravers are one of the primary tools I use for azures. I just can’t quite get the hang of creating them with saw blades yet without either chewing up the hole or having the blade wander. I’ve never been good at sawing on an angle (as required for azures), but it’s something I intend to learn. . . . just as soon as I can find some more time :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Incidentally, I believe we met briefly a few years back in Grand Haven, MI. You were teaching a setting class at a studio downtown and I thought I’d pop in real quick to say “hi” since I was familiar with you from Ganoksin. Hope you had a great time while you were here!



Great pieces Eric!! So great to see others wonderful work!


Hi Erich,
I use what ever will get the shape, saws, gravers, burr edges, even surgical blades at times, I usually fight the finishing more, again, gravers then Thrumming (I really do NOT like do it, but gotta’…).
Keep up the great work and the pictures, and, However good you think you are (or want to be) you’re better, this is top level stuff you showing. Keep it up.


I know I’ve said it before, but thank you very much. I very much appreciate the encouragement and the vote of confidence!


A few months back, I was saving some family video off our video camera when I discovered some footage of a work in progress I had filmed. It’s incomplete and I couldn’t find any decent music to pair it with without violating copyrights so I just left it silent. However, if you’re interested in a rough ball-park idea of how some of this stuff is made, here’s a hodgepodge video of it. Sorry for the quality, but I figured I’d try to use it since it was there.


Wow, thanks Erich.


My pleasure. I’m just sorry it’s such a bad amalgam of projects. I don’t know what I was thinking (or wasn’t thinking I guess) when I randomly filmed these various parts. Still, I guess it’s better than nothing. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: