A miniature galaxy

I had never heard of dumortorite in quartz before my brother brought me this stone but immediately fell in love.

Unfortunately its heavenly blue spangliness was meant for his wife and he wondered if I might set if for them. Even more unfortunately, she didn’t like it much! She is blessed with creamy skin and a mass of shiny, almost black, hair so wears more dramatic colours in the warm end of the spectrum.

After a bit of a chat she conceded that perhaps she might like it if it was set in a ring with a textured, darker finish. We discussed hammered finishes but reticulation came out tops.


Dumortorite in quartz ring by Erica Madelin. The Dumortorite crystals form a thin layer at the bottom of the cabochon, their facets catching the light beautifully.

Reticulation is where a piece of metal is heated to the point it almost melts but, like skin on a cooling custard, can be manipulated with a flame into a textured, slightly wavy surface. It’s great if you are going to use a section in a pendant but is a bugger if you are going to use a bit of it for a ring. Metal bends where it finds least resistance so the thinner bits bend and the thicker bits remain stubbornly straight. It’s also wasteful of silver because your neat rectangle of a ring shank is going to develop a waist which will have to be filed parallel  again.

Those, and other problems mean that I am not entirely happy with this project but it’s still a beautiful stone and I hope she will like it and wear it.




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