Clay shared with me what he knows about the sapphire I acquired from him. “I bought it in an estate sale from a jeweler/customer of mine in Nashville, TN. It was a poorly cut oval, with an abrasion pattern that looked like it had been worn for many years. The weight was 8.5 ct. It was unmounted, so I don’t know what kind of jewelry it came from originally. It may or may not have been heated, and you’d need a certification to be sure – also for the origin (it looks Sri Lankan to me). I bought 8 sapphires in the estate sale, and this was the biggest, finest. The cut is a Zava Pillow Cut – my own proprietary cut which utilizes a combo of radiant styling on the pavilion, and step cutting on the crown. This cut is featured in two separate Cutting Edge awards – both in pairs/suites category. It is my signature cut. This sapphire was cut in late summer 2010.” Which makes us love his work even more as he is as big a proponent of repurposing as are we.
While I design and craft each piece of jewelry, I collaborate with stone cutters to shape the gems to fit each design. Each gem cutter has their own unique style, Zava Mastercuts is one of my favorites. He was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions for us even though he has a new baby on his hands! His signature pillow cut has won several Cutting Edge awards.
What is Zava Mastercuts and what inspired you to start?
Gemcutting is transforming what I view as raw material, into a gem that I can sell and that represents my brand. When I was child I would play near the site of an old city dump, and antique marbles would erode from the worn heaps of dirt. I get the same feeling today when I see a beautiful garnet crystal, or a spinel octahedron.
What do you want to see reflected in your work?
I want to see dollar signs reflected in my work. So I can buy more rough gems and keep this ball rolling. I ignore this and I won’t have have a business for long.
What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?
Being a one-man operation, I find it rewarding to know that I have a hand in absolutely every aspect of bringing a stone to market. It’s fun to wear the different hats.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by designers who work with me and challenge my abilities. My best work has come from these collaborations.
If you could pick a place to teleport to right now, where would you go?
I would like to teleport to the other side of the room, for starters, until I get a little more comfortable with this idea of my cells disassembling and reassembling.
What’s your motto for life and why?
I use the phrase “perfectly imperfect,” often. I like the aesthetic of balance, and I avoid absolutes – anathema to a gemcutter, one might imagine, but I love asymmetry, inclusions, things like this.
If you would like to see some of Clay’s work online, click here.
If you would like to see it in person please contact us.