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Update: September 22, 2019

See It Made

Watch craftsmen as they work with precious metals and polish,carve,and cut gemstones.These workshops give a close-up view of the superb techniques that Yamanashi's history and traditions as a jewelry-producing area have fostered and how craftsmen carry on those local traditions. (Available on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.)









Precious Metalworking

Precious metal working includes processes that range from the creation of original molds to casting and finishing. Many meticulous steps are involved: cutting, shaving, soldering (to join two precious metals), and setting gems. These operations require the use of a great variety of tools to produce each part, and then assemble them to form the finished jewelry.


Gem Cutting and Polishing 

Flat grinders are used to cut and polish crystals. At first a coarse-grained polishing compound or slurry is used, then, step-by-step, finer grained compounds are used to achieve the finished polish on the surface. There are many different cutting methods. These can, however, be broadly divided into two categories: Facet cutting involves the creation of numerous differently angled facets in the crystal to maximize its brilliance. Cabochon cutting shapes and polishes the crystal to form domes or rounded shapes.


Crystal Art Carving

The process begins with drawing a sketch on the stone. The carving begins with shaping the overall form of the piece. To sculpt the stone, a spinning tool with a rounded tip, known as a bur, is applied to the stone. Holding the stone in one hand above the bur, the artisan slowly adds slurry with the other. The details are engraved using first metal and then wooden burs. A wooden bur and chromium oxide polishing compound are used for the final polishing.



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