Dance of the Diamonds

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Thomas Turner’s dazzling copper-bearing opal necklace

By Tina Snyder

When it comes to designing a piece of jewelry, overthinking may be overrated. Thomas Turner of Kalamazoo, Michigan, prefers a somewhat subconscious approach, starting with a beautiful gemstone and letting his mind wander. 

That’s exactly how the necklace design for a copper-bearing opal from West Java, Indonesia, came to life. After picking up the stone at the Tucson gem shows two years ago and cleaning up the edges with lapidary tools, Turner took his signature unstructured approach to designing around it. 

He started by scanning the stone into Photoshop and printing it out on about eight different sheets of paper. “I then sketch different ideas quickly, almost without controlling myself,” he says. “I try to remove the conscious effort and let the subconscious take over.”