Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 1998, Vol. 34, No. 1

Leigha: The Creation of a Three-Dimensional Intarsia Sculpture

Traditional gem intarsia, essentially flat interlocking mosaic work, is generally restricted to two-dimensional surfaces. Taking intarsia into three dimensions “in the round” requires the use of new techniques. This article illustrates the process of creating a contemporary three-dimensional intarsia sculpture. The skirt in Leigha was executed with over 800 separate pieces that averaged 1 to 2 mm in thickness. As the skirt is over 12 inches (30 cm) long, the necessary tensile strength to hold the pieces together required the use of the relatively new ultraviolet-curing cements, as well as structural design elements that would not be concerns in two-dimensional work. Inspired by an ancient Minoan motif, this intarsia sculpture illustrates some of the expanding possibilities for gem materials in the realm of gemstone objets d’art.