Without doubt the most intricate and delicate shape ever constructed, at least in shell, the first (and so far only) production run of these inlays took about 250 hours of development time, $3,000.00 in shell, three separate computer programs, and thirteen tool changes while being machined, as well as the invention and application of entirely novel techniques of handling and assembly. It takes two men three days in the world's most technologically advanced inlay factory (Pearlworks, in Maryland) to produce just a small handful of these pieces, using their most sophisticated machine.

Made from the only shell material capable of taking this level of detail, .030" thick laminated shell, there are still only about 50% of the pieces that survive the complete machining and assembly process!

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Celtic Knots, Fancy Celtic Knots, Plain

The PLAIN inlay panels are available in either light or dark shell, and are actually the pieces that would eventually be used to construct the .010" borders on the "Fancy" sets.

The FANCY inlay panels feature .030" wide dark abalone knotwork entirely bordered with contrasting light-colored shell (M.O.P., Agoya, or Donkey shell) only .010" in width.

Already used in some very exclusive hand-made knives, other uses would be for instrument peghead or fingerboard inlays, box top ornament, borders, or jewelry. Can be installed in a scribed-outline routed cavity, using a tinted epoxy as both filler and background. We can also supply pieces that are perfectly machine-inlaid in a number of materials, including Ebony, ivory, solid mother-of-pearl, and various types of reconstituted stone (such as Lapis lazuli or Malachite). Call for quotes.

(KNOT-LIGHT): This is a plain, light-colored shell laminate (M.O.P., Agoya, or Donkey, our choice depending on availability).
(KNOT-DARK): Also plain, but dark-colored shell laminate (Paua ab., Green ab. heart, or Red ab. heart, leave the choice to us).
(KNOT-FANCY): The main design is done in a dark-colored shell laminate, then bordered with a contrasting light-colored shell, but due to extremely limited availability you'll just have to trust us with the choice.


Here's something just for fun! You've never seen anything like these exquisitely rendered fantailed peacocks, done entirely in shell, available in a simpler as well as a more complex style:

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Fine-line Peacock Detail, Fine-line Peacock

(PEACOCK-UF): In this UNFRAMED, very intricate "Fine-line" version the body, legs, and feather "eyes" are of hand-sawn M.O.P. veneer, but the tail is made from thousands of .5mm (.020") wide Paua abalone shell veneer strips, each hair of each feather separately graded for color, detailed, and curved, with layers of feathers showing through the feathers overlapping them, hair between hair and color on color! Rare to the U.S., but common in Korea, which is the only country where this ancient shell veneer overlay (not inlay) technique is practiced, our own peacock is responsible for astonished comments from every visitor to our home who sees it! Several factories in South Korea do this style of work, but only one was able to handle strips this narrow, and they agreed to make this commission for us exclusively. Sadly, they've since gone out of business, so the few remaining can't be replaced.

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Sawn-veneer Peacock Detail, Sawn-veneer Peacock

(PEACOCK-S): An UNFRAMED, "Sawn-veneer" version, and although much less complex still a nice example of the traditional art of hand-sawing paper-thin veneers into shapes which are then (as also with the "Fine-line" peacock) bedded onto the surface of a thick wooden slab prepared with a sticky varnish. After drying, black lacquer is built up around and over the shell, then dressed down level with the design to create what appears to be an inlay but is technically an "overlay". A larger frame containing both peacock panels would be a spectacular way to present both styles of work in a side-by-side display -- so get 'em both!

(PEACOCK-F): Fully FRAMED, our superb "Fine-line" bird is now dressed and ready to hang, matted in burgundy, the 8" X 10" panel mounted in a quality 11" X 14" navy blue frame, both colors perfectly accenting the intense abalone!