by Jake Woolley, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

An ancient art form, bone carving continues to influence artists' creations ranging from necklaces and earrings to larger projects such as knife handles, chess sets and jewelry boxes.

This time-honored tradition derives from the early Stone Age, as bones were commonly used for tools, weapons, figurines and jewelry. Several cultures throughout the world have passed down the arduous process of bone carving from generation to generation. Each bone carving is a hand-made piece of art, created by experienced artists with an incredible amount of patience.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads maintains strong relationships with bone carvers from around the world, namely in India, China and Indonesia to bring customers the finest bone products for customizing jewelry designs.

Artists' love affairs continue to grow with this three-dimensional style of design due to its exotic nature and flawless attributes. Typically, artists use the bones of cattle, oxen, deer, goats and camels. Although the use of horns or antlers is somewhat common, most experts recommend an animal leg bone, particularly the hind shin of cattle because of its dense quality. The bones used are agricultural bi-products adhering to environmental principles.

Depending on the style of the final product, all bones are washed, treated, bleached or dyed and finally dried. Similar to wood carving, the harder and thicker the bone the better it will uphold the pressure of sculpting and detailed designs. Generally, softer bones are dyed or smoked to give an antiqued look, while harder bones are bleached giving them the smooth appearance of genuine ivory.

Once cut to proper proportions, the bone artists begin removing excess material revealing the beginnings of the design. Whether it's a detailed flower, ancient dragon, face shape, or islander hook they all start out the same--a clean plain bone. Like Michelangelo sculpting from a solid piece of marble, these international artists utilize quality bone as their blank canvas awaiting a steady hand and creative intervention.

Using precision instruments such as rotary hand tools, etching knives, steel cutting burs and polishing brushes, the bone carvers apply their inherent skill to create one-of-a kind natural creations for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads customers. These bone carvings add an original effect to any assortment of jewelry or other personalized gifts.


The Timeless Practice of Bone Carving



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