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 Transforming rough into finished...


It all starts with an idea...  "Wouldn't it be neat to have a piece shaped like a Star Trek ® communicator...?"


What would that look like? Well, we'd start with a picture of an actual Star Trek ® communicator [1]







Then we'd convert this to a sketch we could use as a template... [2]  This one is about 2¼ inches high and about 1¾ wide. Any larger than that, and it would look too big when worn.







Now we have to decide what to make it out of...  We could try to replicate the image (perhaps in bronze and pewter), but any competent metal shop could do that. We want something unique—a finished piece that could be worn with...well, something other than a Star Trek uniform!

Let's go with some really bright colors. How about brilliant blue and green? What do we have that might qualify? How about lapis lazuli and malachite? [3]










What would our finished piece look like? To find out, we convert the template to a realistic illustration of the finished design, complete with the wire we'll use to wrap it with. [4]

How does that look? If it doesn't seem quite right, we make the changes at this point, not after we've cut the pieces and started wire-wrapping.







Okay, the next thing we must do is to slice a "slab" of each of these stones off of the larger rough chunk. We use a diamond saw for that task. These chunks are about 6 to 7 inches across the narrowest dimension, so we can use a 16-inch saw for the job. [5]





We cut the slabs about a quarter inch thick for the lapis and three-eighths inch thick for the malachite. The thicker malachite allows us to make it a "dome" shape, which results in a higher polish in the finished piece. [6]










The resulting slabs are large enough to accommodate the parts of our communicator. The lapis lazuli must be large enough to scribe an ellipse 1¼ inches high and 1¾ inches wide.

The malachite must be large enough to scribe the "swoosh" 2¼ inches

high.  [7]









We trim the slabs as close to the scribed lines as possible, leaving a narrow margin outside the line to be ground into the final shape. [8]








The malachite "swoosh" is refined to the exact shape of the outline. The bottom is left flat, a narrow (eighth-inch) vertical "girdle" remains after the top is ground into a dome, and the dome and girdle are polished to a high shine. [9]







The oval lapis lazuli backing likewise has an eighth-inch girdle, but no dome. Instead, a beveled edge is ground into the oval. The bevel and the top (flat) surface are polished to a high shine. [10]













Here's what the two components look like after cutting and final

polishing... [11]

Now it's time to wrap them in silver wire...








...and this is what the finished piece looks like! It has two bails to accept a chain. One bail at the vertex of the malachite, allowing the communicator to hang normally... [12]







...and the second bail at the bottom of the lapis, to allow the piece to hang upside-down, if desired. (Not everybody wants to be seen wearing a Star Trek communicator!)  [13]


There is also a pin affixed to the back to allow the piece to be worn as a brooch.


That's our idea, "brought to life"...  What can you envision?