Tony Vine: Stonetones

During a cupboard clear-out in 1997, Tony unearthed a long-forgotten gift of a simple tumble stone polisher and, alongside it, a sand-castle bucket of stones collected from Llandudno beach by his children, many years earlier.

Eight weeks later, the first batch of stones gleamed brightly on a tea-towel and he was hooked – what had begun as a mild curiosity developed into a compulsion to explore the stunning beauty concealed within so many seemingly drab stones.

Over the next couple of years his hobby became a passion, as he began to source material from every continent. Almost entirely self-taught from lapidary books and magazines published in the 50s and 60s, more was learned from failures than successes, but gradually skills developed as he acquired a rapidly expanding array of diamond saws, grinding wheels and polishing machinery.

From simple tumble stones to cabochon jewellery, and then a technique to display gemstone as decorative wall art, his love affair with the endless variety of natural beauty from within the Earth prompted him to quit corporate business in 2005, and commit fully to the wonderful art of lapidary.

A fascinating project to incorporate his cabochons with re-cycled watch parts has introduced him to the world of “Steampunk” jewellery, an increasingly popular area of fashion that utilizes designs that incorporate an essence of the Victorian/Edwardian Industrial Age. Think H G Wells’ Time Machine, lots of brass, copper, cogs and pistons, and you will get the idea.

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