Jewelry Serendipity: Karla's Poppy Jasper and Cold-Connected Jewelry Project

By Karla Rosenbusch, Managing Editor of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist

I love the thrill of the hunt. Oh, I'm not talking about safaris. No, I love the hunt for the most perfect, most unusual gemstones I can find. And I love finding them in new and unexpected places.

  Karla's picture jasper cabochon

Recently, I've been hanging out on Facebook (don't judge me), where I joined some delightful groups of my fellow stone enthusiasts. One of those groups has a weekly auction of stones–both rough and cabs. So after checking the budget, I thought I'd bid on some of the cooler ones. And lo and behold, I actually won an auction! My prize? The most amazing picture jasper. It's about an inch and a half round, beautifully cut, and lightly domed. I'm in love!

Karla's poppy jasper cabochon  

And when the picture jasper arrived in my mailbox (a red-letter day!), it came with a surprise! The lapidarist that I won the stone from also sent me the most gorgeous poppy jasper, cut in a wonderful diamond shape. The timing was actually perfect, too. I had just finished proofing Sharon Elaine Thompson's "Smokin' Stones" column for the December issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine, which is about poppy jasper!

According to Sharon's text, "poppy jasper is a riot of yellows and reds. The most beautiful stones show off patterning reminiscent of a field of blooms blowing in the breeze. Many stones are largely red, ranging from brilliant scarlet to a more subdued brick red." My wonderful new stone has orange-red "poppies" on a gray/black background. Absolutely stunning!

poppy jasper cabochons by Jim Lawson
                                                                                                                                                           Photo by Jim Lawson.
Lexi Erickson's poppy jasper earrings  
Lexi Erickson's poppy jasper earrings
Photo by Jim Lawson.

Now that I have this great stone, what next? Well, obviously, I have to set it. I live in an apartment with no room for a "real" workspace, and I have no torch. So, since I'm a riveting fiend, I'm thinking of a cold-connected pendant. (I love cold connections.) I don't really know exactly what I'm going to do with it yet (all suggestions are welcome in the comments below)–but I know who to ask. One of my favorite jewelry-making mentors is the Queen of Soldering and Settings, Lexi Erickson.

And wonder of wonders! Included in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist for December is a poppy jasper earrings project–by Lexi! Doesn't it just feel like the stars have aligned for me and my little poppy jasper? And even better, LJJA Senior Editor Helen Driggs's "Cool Tools" column in the December issue lists many of her favorite metal and mixed-media tools–like hole punches! Just what I need for my riveted poppy jasper project.

Sound good? Okay, how about one more awesome coincidence? The main feature for the December issue is Cathleen McCarthy's article "Second Nature." In it, Cathy takes a look at some top jewelry artists who are inspired by nature and organic themes in their designs. Could it be any more perfect for working with poppy jasper?

I can't wait to come up with an idea and get started on my poppy jasper project. With a little help from my friends–and an issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist–it's going to be epic!


Join Karla for a grand learning adventure when you subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine. You'll find interesting and informative articles in each issue about jewelry and lapidary tools, gemstones, and the art of jewelry making, plus step-by-step metalsmithing projects and lapidary tutorials from favorite jewelry artists, including Lexi, Roger Halas, Jeff Fulkerson, and others. LJJA has been published and loved for over 65 years–isn't it time you saw what all the buzz is about?


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