In this series of three videos, Idar Oberstein-trained gem cutter Alexander Kreis relates the different approaches he takes to unlock the beauty of a variety of rough gemstones, which include Oregon sunstone, various beryl colors, and rutilated quartz. He tells us the influences that play into his unique designs; it might be the pure, crystalline beauty of a flawless piece of rough or the presence of striking inclusions, which drive him to produce beautiful pieces of wearable art.
At the GJX show, Sonja Kreis (Unique Jewelry, Niederworresbach, Germany) displayed exceptional examples of the jeweler’s and gem carver’s art. Kreis designs the jewelry, and her son Alexander cuts the gems.
Figure 2. The Oregon sunstones in this fantasy-cut pendant and ring, displaying deep red color and intense stripes of schiller, were cut from the same piece of rough. Photo by Eric Welch; courtesy of Sonja Kreis.
Figure 3. Left: Alexander Kreis displays one of his unique pieces: a star-shaped rutilated quartz. Right: This superb 442.78 ct faceted Brazilian quartz with rutile inclusions is typical of Kreis’s art. According to Kreis, the orientation of the needles is the most important decision in the design of the finished gem. Photos by Eric Welch (left) and Robert Weldon (right); courtesy of Sonja Kreis.
Alexander Kreis explained that their family has a tradition of over 500 years of gemstone cutting and jewelry manufacture. He apprenticed as a traditional gem cutter, but elected to find his own path to unlock the beauty of fine gem crystals. His cutting is a spectacular blend of freeform curves and dramatic geometrical cuts. Alexander works with many materials, including tourmalines and beryls (figure 1), but Oregon sunstones (figure 2) and rutilated quartz (figure 3) are among his favorites. The fine Oregon sunstone was on display at their booth. Alexander’s father, Stefan Kreis, described their very strict criteria for selecting rough. On a visit to a set of mines in Oregon’s Rabbit Basin, they selected 395 grams of rough out of the 50 kg they were shown; one such piece of rough is featured in figure 2.