A German couple brought me a set of wedding bands the other day
to be engraved. They were tri-colored 18k gold that I’ve never
seen anything like before. I was hoping someone here could tell
me how they were done. The different colors of gold were about
the size of a period (.) or slightly larger, with a slight smear
like a comet tail. The pattern, and the slightest texture were
consistent and looked something like bird feathers overlapping
The texture on the inside of the rings was in good shape, but
the outside of the rings were burnished a little from being worn
and the colors were blended together a little. The couple
wanted me to rework the texture to look original and I didn’t
have a clue how to do it. They told me that in Germany this was
called a mosaic style. They were beautiful rings, but I just
couldn’t figure out how they were made. It was almost like a
fine braided cable of tri-colored gold was fused solid and the
rings were cut from it, but that still doesn’t explain the
texture. Hopefully someone can understand my rambling about
periods, bird feathers, and comets, and satisfy my curiosity.
I have an old victorian stamp box at home which has a mosaic
pattern on the lid. Each wooden block is les than 1mm square. It
was ages before I found out that they were made by bundling long
thin wooden strips to form the final pattern, glueing them
together and then sawing them into thin slices to reveal the
final pattern. A similar method is used to make these polymer
clay pendants and at a simpler level, stick of rock.
Do you think these could have been cut from stock prepared in a
It’s an interesting idea.
Dr Alex Ball
Electron Microscope Unit
The Natural History Museum
London SW7 9BD
Tel 0171 938 8973/9348
Fax 0171 938 9268
Greetings from your old neighborhood. This type of gluing of
woods into a pattern, called marquetry, is used extensively in
the manufacture and embellishment of many fine musical
instruments. The practical use is the joining and fastening of
the top and bottom wood of fine guitars and lutes to the side
pieces. In the decorative sense, the sound hole in the front of
guitars and lutes often have extremely ornate and colorful
marquetry. This is many times one of the signatures of the
maker. Generally the more complex the marquetry, the more
expensive the instrument.
I have seen some marquetry and colored wood inlay in both
geometrics and mosaics bezel set into silver pins and pendants.
The pieces I saw were made in Bayern (Bavaria) about 1830. I
wish that I could remember where I saw them!
Orchid Jewelry Listserve Member
N.R.A. Endowment &
in all disciplines
Certified Illinois D.N.R.
Hunter Ed, Instructor