Morrisonite Dragon Brooch/Necklace Project

Silverwork by Steve Ferenz

 Below is Steve's documented process of the Morrisonite Dragon Project I commissioned him to do for me.

I had Steve create it based on my idea's on how best the cab could look without overwhelming it with a bunch of silverwork. I also wanted him to document the process for prosperity.  One of the main factors in my design decision is that I needed to cover up a fracture that ran half way across the cab. Re-cutting it was not an option, because it would take away the whole beauty of the stone.  I acquired the Morrisonite cab from the Collection of the late Wally Hendrickson. Wally was a great friend of Jake Jacobitz and more than likely got the rough slab from Jake. This cab must be pretty old, because Wally tried to use Hide Glue to seal the crack...without too much success. The idea was to have a dragon tail sweep across the front of the cab covering the fracture just enough so that the look of the stone is not compromised.  Steve did great work and held true my ideas and design concept. Thanks Steve!

Philip of RareRocksAndGems – contacted me and asked if I would be interested in doing a project for him that he had been thinking about for a while.  It is a dragon mounted on a piece of really cool Morrisonite.  Always looking for a challenge, I asked to see what he had in mind.

Here’s the 1st photo Philip e-mailed me to look at >>


Asking him for more detail on what he wanted I received this photo with instructions that he wanted the dragon’s tail modified to cover the crack in the stone >>

Interesting……….so I asked for a larger photo of the dragon he wanted so I could study it to see if it was possible >>

After Studying the photos I figured that it was possible and I would accept this project so Philip sent me the stone for 1st hand scaling and re-designing >>

 This being a monochromatic photo it was hard to determine the different layers that would be needed to complete the overlay process to construct the dragon.  So I traced the outline of the dragon making a simple line drawing >>

Next, I scanned the outline and downloaded it to a photo program I use for design work.  Now came the tedious work of whiting out all the shaded area to bring out the line drawing.  Pixels at a time quite tedious………

The tail had to be re-positioned so I changed that to cover the crack.  The claws were not very pleasingly designed, so I re-designed those also and added them to an improved line drawing >>


Using the add color aspect of the photo program I added different colors for the different layers that were to be needed >>


Scaling it down to the size required for the finished project I sent Philip an e-mail for final approval to the design concept >>


He approved and so continued on with the design concept >>

 The first thing to do was to break down the different layers to be constructed by tracing them from a larger scaled line drawing. There are a total of 11 major pieces and a few other minor ones >>

Next, the photos had to be scaled to the correct size and determine the gauge of sheet silver to use for which part. After scaling to the correct size I transferred the two drawings to a ¼” graph paper for the final pattern >>

As you can see, the dragon is a little on the small size (approximately 2 ¼” x 1 ½”) with a lot of small pieces to cut, overlay solder and fabricate the finished piece. What a challenge……

 Now comes the harder part – cutting and soldering the sub-assemblies.




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