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Intarsia 411

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This polished intarsia contains multiple layers of stone, with the center containing Montana Moss Agate, Santa Maria Plume Agate, and Turquoise; completed with a double border frame and final black backing. The cabochon is constructed from 12 individual pieces. 

This piece contains a beautiful scene of a forest reflected onto a lake beneath, created by the middle layer of Santa Maria Plume Agate allowing the blue of the turquoise backing to show through. Both the sky and lake are created from this combination. The plume agate has tiny white plumage that has been arranged on the top of the scene to add clouds in the sky, and green plumes beneath to create a line of trees. The ground layer is perfectly created by a split in the plumage color and clarity that allows one section of crisp, sage green plumes, and one section of foggy, less saturated plumes that mirror each other along a line. Finally, a layer of exceptionally clear Montana Moss Agate tops the center section. This layer gently places three birds soaring above the lake, with their wings spread. It also gives the entire piece a uniform, mirror-like polish over the plumes beneath.

The frame is built from Wildhorse Picture Jasper and Black Onyx. The picture jasper, while in this case not adding to the "picture" section, adds a complementary sage green to the piece. The final Black Onyx frame ties in the black of the birds in the sky. The entire piece is backed with black basalt for a solid dark base and added strength, with an angled back bevel. 

Montana Moss Agate
Santa Maria Plume Agate
Black Basalt

Wildhorse Picture Jasper
Black Onyx

43mm x 35mm 


Intarsia: The Gem Shop’s founder, Eugene Mueller, has an MFA in painting and has won awards in the Cutting Edge Competition® for his intarsia, and has crafted and/ or designed many of the pieces available here. For thousands of years artisans have been using stone, striving to create the most beautiful scene possible. This process is commonly referred to as Intarsia. Intarsia traces its history back to the Italian Renaissance, and was called pietra dura or pietre dure. This is a term for the inlay technique of using thinly cut and polished stones to create images. The stonework is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been sliced and cut in different shape sections; and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section is practically invisible. Intarsia items are generally crafted on green, white or black base stones. Traditionally Intarsia pieces have a flat polish, but more contemporary pieces are more freeform and have a dome polish, and are often referred to as “composite cabochons.” Intarsia is a high expression of lapidary art requiring a close mastery. Each piece is eccentric and highly collectible – a true work of art.

Learn more about Intarsia and its history, as well as Gene Mueller's work and artistry in the technique.