Friday, March 15, 2013

Faux Heathergems in Polymer Clay

There is a lovely faux stone made from heather in Scotland. The heather is harvested, dyed, the dyed sticks mixed in color, bound together and covered with dark resin. The resulting slices cut across the many differently colored sticks making an unusually colored 'gem stone'. Left is a Heathergem set in a silver brooch. 

After watching how they were created on a show called "How It's Made" Joe suggested we try making something similar in appearance using polymer clay.

Faux Heather Stone Cabochons
We went into the studio where I gathered up bunches of scraps of solid colors of clay, many pearl and metallic and rolled them into ropes. Then the ropes were sponged with dark blue acrylic paint (the closest dark color) and allowed to dry. 

Like the real Heathergems the sticks of clay were gathered up, the colors sorted, then stacked. After some squeezing to press the sticks together, the bundles were cut across, at an angle and more.  The resulting slices were put through the pasta machine first on #2 then turned at right angle and put through again on #3.

Scrap clay was used to fill a number of our cabochon molds half way full, then de-molded.  The slices of Faux Heathergems were wrapped around the cabochons which were returned to the molds and the clay press very firmly to seal the clay slices to the cabochons. After baking, our 'gems' came to life and the colors popped with the application of a high gloss finish, just like the real Heathergems.
Faux Heather Stone Earrings

Left are a pair of my Faux Heathergem 'stone' earrings. The cabochons are set in bezels from Fire Mountain Gems.  They are not like the Heathergems as there is no wood grain in the bright colors but the overall effect is pleasing.

The cabochon molds used to create the faux stones were:

Both are available on our website 

Faux stones and cabochon molds by Penni Jo Couch

For more eye candy and a video of how the Heather Stones and Heather Gems are created visit their website: 

I hope you enjoy the Heathergems website and beautiful jewelry shown there as much as Joe and I did. 

Penni Jo

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