Stone kintsugi process

My collection of stone kintsugi artwork includes a wide variety of jewelry and accessories made with kintsugi repaired stones. I generally create these with gold colored repair, although silver colored repair is available via custom order, if desired.

A general outline of my process for creating these items is provided below. The riskiest step of this process is the first one: breaking the stones. Stones are hard!

Some types of stone break better than others, and I still lose a number of stones at this stage of the process because they shatter or crumble into so many pieces that they cannot be adequately reassembled.

Breaking

Once I’ve chosen stones to work with, the first step is breaking them. I do this using a heavy cast iron chisel and a hammer. The chisel is placed directly on the stone and hit solidly (and often repeatedly) on top until the stone breaks.

Good eye protection and a means of containing the pieces is vital at this stage because the broken pieces can fly quite a distance at the moment of breakage.

There is often at least some crumbling of the rough face of the stone along the break that happens during the breaking process. Stones that are too badly crumbled to be usable are discarded. Others can be repaired with extra layers of fill in the next step.

Repairing

Once the broken pieces have been collected and I have verified that there are a sufficient number of intact pieces for it to be reassembled, the rough faces of all pieces are coated with a fresh mixture of powdered gold mica and a thick epoxy paste along each break. The type of epoxy paste used is dependent on the type of stone, shape of the stone, and the breakage pattern.

These pieces are then reassembled and squeezed together tightly to minimize the repair lines. Excess adhesive mixture that bubbles up along the repair line can be wiped away at this time. The reassembled piece in then allowed to dry and set up overnight (at least).

In areas where crumbling has left gaps, additional amounts of the epoxy mixture are added in layers—allowing for full drying between each one—until the fill is close to the original shape of the stone.

Finishing

Once the repair is complete, the stone and the area surrounding the repair line must be carefully cleaned of excess adhesive where it has bubbled up or been smeared along the surface of the stone. This is accomplished with the mixture of gentle scraping, wiping with damp cloths, and polishing.

The repair lines are then highlighted with gold acrylic paint.

Once this has dried, the repair lines are sealed with acrylic sealant to protect them.

Finally, the stones to be used in jewelry or accessories are affixed into settings or otherwise connected to whatever cord, chain, or other parts necessary to create the final piece.

 

The Breaking and Kintsugi Repair of Stones video series on my YouTube channel provides additional information about this process.

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