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Daily Wire Tip: What Does Intarsia Mean?
Daily Wire Jewelry Making Tip
I’m curious. You mentioned that cabs can be used for intarsia. To me, intarsia is a knitting term. What is intarsia when applied to jewelry making?
Yes, the term “intarsia” (to insert) is a knitting technique. However, intarsia is also the definition of the art of inlaying wood and/or gemstones to form a picture or design, dating from the 1300s or earlier.
There are two common methods of creating a gemstone intarsia:
In the first method, the lapidary carves the center out of a softer stone, like marble, leaving the back intact, forming a flat bottomed bowl shape with frame edges. Then the lapidary cuts a variety of gemstone materials into shapes that will represent the planned design when all are fitted tightly into the marble base, and adhered together. Finally, the lapidary grinds the top smooth and polishes as they would any cabochon.
Another way of doing this is planning the picture or design first, and then cutting all of the chosen gemstone materials to fit together like a puzzle. Next, the lapidary glues all the materials together, grinding and polishing the final product. To finish, intarsia is framed with metal, or set into a wooden frame.
For some nice photo examples of both types of gemstone intarsia, please follow this link for an example search.
Related: Inlay Cabochons
Answer contributed by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong
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