Christine De Prinse of Silver Cavalier is a lapidist and jeweller based in Melbourne, Australia. Christine is interviewed as part of a series I'm starting on some of the people and businesses that are part of my supply chain and help shape my business.
Christine's passion for beautiful stones and unusual shapes shows in her work. Her work provides the Australian market with high quality free-form cabochons that are generally difficult to source, and are loved both here and overseas.
I started asking Christine with how and why she started in lapidary.....
"I got into lapidary because I couldn’t find cabs of any quality and in the shapes I wanted for my silversmithing. The owner of my local bead shop suggested that I join the local lapidary club and learn to cut my own. So I joined and quickly decided that I liked it a lot.
I like to challenge myself with something new all the time and I love finding new material to cut and shape.
The stone cutting has taken over from silversmithing over the past few years and I cut cabs during the day and then do silversmithing at night after my family go to bed.
Lapidary is loud so I don’t really listen to any music when I’m working. You have to use water to cut the stone so I am always wet and dirty and you never have nice hands or fingernails.
Serious amounts of dopping. Source: Instagram
I source the rock from many sources - mostly online through eBay, Facebook and Instagram. Lapidary Facebook groups are always a good source of material and information. Gem shows are also a great place to find material. I went to the Tucson Gem Show in February this year and it pretty much an overwhelming experience. So much to see there and the market for stone and lapidary in general is so much bigger than in Australia. The exchange rate and shipping costs from the US make buying material from there more difficult however.
Christine at the Tuscon Gemshow: "The things I do to find just the right piece of Aussie Variscite!": Photo: Instagram
Christine meeting fellow stone cutter Eric Key @cactusyogi at the Tuscon Gemshow. Photo: Instagram
Instagram is a good place for showing what I do and an easy way to have sales rather than having to write up descriptions and photos for a website. I’m not a fan of how Instagram has changed the algorithms and I think that they have gone the way of Facebook - the almighty dollar is what they are after and they have ruined what was a great platform. I have met some fantastic people through Instagram and I have met some of them in person and they have now become friends which is always a good thing.
I guess my favourite part of what I do is seeing a dirty, dull piece of stone transformed into shiny, polished cabochon that people will enjoy looking at and turning into a beautiful piece of jewellery. I also wanted to create an account that other Australian makers could buy from because I know how hard it is to get cabs from overseas that are of any quality and are easy to set.
When I’m not working I spend time with my family, my dog and friends - but I do work a lot lol."
You can follow Christine's process and be part of stone sales on her lapidary page on Instagram @silvercavcabs
You can follow her jewellery page Silver Cavalier Jewellery @silvercavalier