By Antoinette Rahn
Asking anyone interested in rockhounding or lapidary if they remember when and how their interest developed is a bit like asking someone if they remember meeting a special someone. Something so momentous seemingly becomes a cellular memory.
Samantha Rosenberg recalls her fascination with gems and minerals taking hold during childhood, in her hometown of Camano Island, Washington.
“(I) spent a lot of time collecting shells or finding pearls in our fresh oysters,” said Rosenberg, who currently resides in Mount Vernon, Washington. “I was eight my first time rockhounding, finding buckets of amethyst geodes at a nearby public collecting site, often giving them all away at school.”
That same sense of curiosity and fascination with gems and minerals is still present for Rosenberg. Furthermore, today it fuels her work, which has transitioned from hobby to profession, not to mention her admiration and appreciation for Darryl and Nick Alexander, co-owners of Cutting Edge Supply Co.
“Throughout the years, I dabbled in carving and cabochons, then silversmithing. Once I began faceting, the transition from hobby to business was inevitable,” explained Rosenberg. “I thoroughly enjoy the seemingly endless techniques and surprises of cutting gems in their many forms.”
Discovering the Alexander family’s work and service to the community quickly became a source of inspiration in Rosenberg’s evolution as a gem cutter and lapidary artist.
“I’ve admired Darryl and Nick Alexander’s work for years, so when I decided to add carved details to my faceted gemstones, I knew they would have the items I needed,” she said, as she accurately recalled the details of her first order. “My very first purchase from Cutting Edge Supply was a few V Wheels in a variety of grits and sizes, a package of Felt Bob Rounds, and a Core Bit.
“The felt bobs are great for polishing concave areas, while the V Wheels really help make crisp carved lines.”
Given the amount of time and effort that Rosenberg, just like many of her fellow gem cutters and artists, put into each project, the value of tools and equipment that add critical efficiencies and sharpen the effectiveness of techniques is nearly immeasurable.
“Some things can be done in many ways, but we all know it’s better to have the right tools for the job,” said Rosenberg, who sells her cut and carved gemstones and creations and does commission work through Calamity Sam’s Jewelry Gems and Minerals via Facebook. “I’ve used a few different versions of V Wheels but wasn’t getting the results I wanted until I started using the V Wheels from Cutting Edge Supply. (The wheels) leave a consistent finish, which makes the polishing process a breeze.”
At a time in history when connecting with family and friends sometimes requires creativity and patience, finding a way also to connect and continue to do business with gemstone and lapidary companies may also be a tad tricky. This current scenario is why, as Rosenberg explains, knowing that skilled lapidary artists operate Cutting Edge allows her to confidently and quickly act on the advice and product suggestions the Alexanders offer.
Inspiring and encouraging business relationships, such as the one Rosenberg has with Cutting Edge Supply, creates an atmosphere and opportunity for gem and mineral work also to be a creative outlet, Rosenberg said. “The process has become a form of meditation rather than a task, which is always more fulfilling.”
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