All the excitement around the recent discovery of the Staffordshire
Horde has motivated me to finally get going on some experiments with
the garnet inlay technique used in many of the pieces (and in many
of the pieces of the Sutton Hoo Treasure).
Does anyone have a recommendation for a source of rough garnet
appropriate for the technique?
My current thinking is that the best rough for this technique is a
bit different from the usual for faceted stones. For faceted stones,
“chunky” rough is best.
For inlay, you want relatively large, but quite thin (no more than
1-2mm when finished) “plates” of polished garnet. The individual
inlays varied quite a bit in size (l x w). The smallest shaped
pieces were only a few tenths of a mm square, but largest pieces
approached 10mm on the longest dimension! It seems more reasonable
to target working somewhere in the 5mm x 5mm range if possible, or
at least with pieces that are 5mm on the longest dimension.
From the reading I’ve done, it seems that most inlay was a true red
pyrope garnet (perhaps Bohemian Garnet?) or almandine garnet (from
Asia, pehaps Ceylon?).
I’ve surfed around on the 'net and found that most sites,
unsurprisingly, emphasize the suitability of their rough for faceted
gem cutting. If anyone knows of an appropriate rough supplier, or a
potential supplier who might be willing to talk with me about this
project generally, suggestions would be greatly appreciated.