Thursday, September 11, 2014

Atelier Munsteiner - The Fantastic World of Fantasy Cuts

Post by Patricia Syvrud

Fun, fanciful, fine, FANTASTIC! Not that I get giddy, or anything, when I see the amazing creations of Atelier Munsteiner.  Founded by master gemcutter Bernd Munsteiner who grew up near the lapidary 'mecca' of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Atelier Munsteiner is now in the extremely capable hands of Bernd's son Tom Munsteiner (gemcutter) and Tom's wife Jutta (jewelry designer).

Tourmaline and 18K Yellow Gold Ring
Cut as a "cube" with faceting on the underside, giving a 3-D sculptural feel - stunning!

Bernd Munsteiner, known by many as the 'Father of the Fantasy Cut' was one of the very first lapidary artists to deviate from the time-tested methodology of faceting gemstones in the classic 'brilliant cut', or with small triangular and kite-shaped facets.  Rather, he was one of a select few that in the 1960's, chose to re-invent gems and jewelry as an art form, using the natural shape, exterior surfaces, interior inclusions and understanding of crystallography as his muse to create geometric expressions of natural beauty.

Aquamarine and Platinum Ring
An oval cabochon with a "line" of faceting underneath in a step-like fashion

Munsteiner stretched the boundaries and defied the traditional methods of gem cutting and developed what some believe is the finest technique in cutting since medieval times.  He started faceting the "backsides" and "bottoms" of gemstones, referred to as "negative cuts." This style of faceting became known as the "Fantasy Cut" and a modern era of gem art was formed.  When looking at the gems, the way the light reflects and refracts throughout the stone makes it appear to glow from within.  The gems are sculptures - true art jewels!