Friday, July 9, 2010

Meet Tom Munsteiner:

Tom learned to cut and polish gems literally on the knee of his father and grandfather. A fourth generation gem cutter, Tom Munsteiner first learned the skills which he would need to successfully cut and polish gems into the classical faceted cuts, before learning the special incisions required for the geometric cuts that his father pioneered. Tom Munsteiner has taken his skills on a path towards his own style, however, and has earned a reputation as a master gem cutter in his own right.

Tom inherited a keen sense of color and form from his father. Yet the young Munsteiner has also developed his own philosophy and style of shaping precious stones. His work is more understated than the frequently jagged cuts of his father, and the cuts don't follow the natural features of the stone quite as much. He often cuts hemispherical recesses in the back of geometrical designs, such as circles or squares. The combination of spherical forms with prisms and basic geometric forms provides designs that are not necessarily hard and angular but may be soft and organic. Using his expert knowledge of optical laws for crystals, Tom creates refractions and reflections, which produce mystical three-dimensional plays of color and light.

Crystals, the reflecting play of light its inherent structures, are fascinating testimonies of nature to Tom Munsteiner, which lead him to a formal expression in the cut which is incomparably rich in variation. The crystal is not just dead stone to him; the crystal, which looks at him through its reflection of light as it were, leads an independent existence at the threshold between inanimate and animated nature like something organic. This is the reason why Tom Munsteiner combines clean cuts in the material, geometric figures, such as prisms and circles, testimonies of internal constructivist architecture of the stone, with spherical, organically soft round forms.

Once the gemstone meets Tom's exacting requirements, it is handed over to his wife, Jutta, a trained goldsmith, who 'envelops' the stone in a creative wrapping. Like her husband and father-in-law, Jutta also refuses to be guided by conventional wisdom when it comes to jewelry making. When deciding on a material and a support for the gemstone, she takes into consideration its uniqueness and character instead of merely making a frame for it. With her geometric and sometimes asymmetrical designs, Jutta adds to the magical aura of these extraordinary stones. With a preference for the coolness of platinum and the warmth of yellow gold, she is the perfect designer for the Munsteiner creations.

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