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!
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.
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.
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).
Also plain, but dark-colored shell laminate (Paua ab., Green ab. heart,
or Red ab. heart, leave the choice to us).
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:
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.
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!
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!