What to do with rough garnets?
September 6, 2017 8:39 AM   Subscribe

I received some raw garnets as a gift. They have sentimental value. I would like to have something nice made from them as a memory piece, but I have no idea where to start. I am possibly the least crafty and/or creative person alive. Help?

I have two separate stones and one larger rock containing at least two other stones. They aren't large, and I doubt they are what you would normally consider jewellery grade. I was gifted them during a very big trip with my best friend, and I would like to make something for both of us with them to give her as a memento-- a ring? necklace?

But where do I start? I'm based in Hong Kong, so I'm probably looking for a plan of approach more than specific recommendations of people who can help-- but the latter would be great too, if you had them.
posted by frumiousb to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you want them to be cut & polished, or left in their current state? To get them cut and polished, look for a gen shop that caters to hobbyists, they may be able to do it, can definitely refer you if needed. Then decide what sort of design. Do you and your friend wear pendants or rings? Jewelry store designs are usually sleeker; I like a more artisanal look, if you shop on etsy.com, you'll find tons of silver and goldsmiths and see lots of eaxamples.
posted by theora55 at 9:07 AM on September 6, 2017

How big are the stones? A quick and easy option might be a glass vial necklace. Search Etsy for inspiration, and then pick up the vial and chain online or at a craft supply store. You can also throw in some other stuff that visually coordinates with the stones.
posted by Alioth at 9:53 AM on September 6, 2017

Sometimes gemstone rough has enough edges that you can wire wrap it - I'd love to see pictures!
posted by ersatzkat at 12:40 PM on September 6, 2017

I would look for jewelers who do custom work in-store (lots of them do), see if you like their stuff, and then show them the stones and ask them. (It's okay if they're not "jewelry quality" -- lots of people have things turned into jewelry that aren't, and there's a whole category of jewelry from interesting or personally meaningful stones rather than "fine" stones.) Don't worry that it's not expensive work -- most jewelers love this kind of personal, one-off project even if it's small. Diamond engagement rings pay the bills, but they're kinda boring. Resetting grandma's semi-precious malachite beads so a grandchild can wear them, they love that. Creating a BFF memento from garnets from the trip? Super-fun.

It's okay to have a small budget and ask them to work within that budget. If they can't, they'll tell you, and often can suggest another jeweler who can (maybe someone up-and-coming, or someone who does more custom work, or who owns their own shop and can take whatever projects they like). But I've had remarkably inexpensive custom work done -- like $20 or $50 -- at fancy jewelers, and it's not weird or awkward at all. Not only do most jewelers provide a wider range of services than people realize, but they want to take care of your low-cost jewelry stuff so when you're ready to spend big, you'll spend with them. (Or when your friends are ready to spend big, you'll say, "Oh, I LOVE Jeweler X, you should go!")
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:42 PM on September 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas so far. Here is a picture of the stones on a credit card size card to give you a feeling for size.
posted by frumiousb at 4:38 PM on September 6, 2017

Those smaller bits would be dead simple to wrap with sterling wire and turn into pendants!!
posted by ersatzkat at 6:29 PM on September 6, 2017

Good timing... thanks for this post! I spent too much time just last week Googling options for turning a tiny rough stone into a pendant. My family was camping at Lake Superior, and my husband found the most lovely tiny green stone for me. I was hoping to save it and wear it, so a glass vial necklace will be perfect!
posted by hessie at 6:25 AM on September 7, 2017

Response by poster: one last question, at the risk of thread sitting-- if I take it to a jeweller, can they cut into the big rock to extract the garnets inside? Or should I go to gem shop for that part? Also, if I want them a *little* polished (you can see they are garnets) can a jeweller do that too or is that something completely different? Thanks for all the answers so far!
posted by frumiousb at 6:27 PM on September 7, 2017

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