intagliogems

R Strange & Co. Glyptics and Intaglio

Portland, Oregon

Buyers are raving!

This shop got multiple 5-star reviews in the past 7 days.

Announcement    Welcome! I engrave gems with wonders inspired by Mediterranean, Nomadic, Libromantic, Mystic, Proto-Scientific, Meditative and Esoteric Art History, including Alexandrine and Silk Road Traditions. It all fits together snugly and respectfully like slices of an orange. I also do custom requests.

I do this part-time! I also write and make music, so this is a service that calls for patience! Average wait-list for custom gems and simple settings is 3-5 weeks, for hand-cast signet rings, it's 4-8 weeks. Most intaglio shops ask for three months minimum, but I usually do better than that. Rush orders are sometimes possible, for a premium.

Read more:

I also have a separate Clearance Shop that is nothing but ready to ship items! https://www.etsy.com/shop/RStrangeMetalsmith

My work is primitive and rustic. I do with one hand what the masters do with two and special machinery I do not own. So my engravings are imperfect, done with simple tools, and are more like ancient intaglios than the crisp precision technology has provided.

I often like to get a little add-on as a gift - consider there are a number of charity items that receive cash donations on specially discounted items. Just search the word "charity" in the shop. Past recipients include Native American Rights Fund, current ones are: Farm to Table, NCADV, National Bail Out, Nature Conservancy and the Food Depot. I know from fundraising, that it's the small donations that add up and make up a substantial part of the budget.



* * *

Established 2016

FAQ FAQ FAQ FAQ FAQ

How do I request a custom item?

Visit this page: https://www.etsy.com/listing/465696399/custom-gem-intaglio-engraving-any-size or start a convo from any item.

Did you make it yourself / is it handmade?

This is a gem engraving service, I do almost everything myself in a small workshop in a remote mountain village. I started making jewels while working for a bronze sculpture foundry in Los Angeles circa 2008. I’m self taught and it’s been moonlight and DIY most of the way.

Can I give you a design, or have something engraved on my jewelry?

Yes! You are welcome to send me your artwork, or I can create it with your description. You can send me your blank gemstone in a ring, or I can help you find one, whether I make it or not. This is about enjoying something strange together.

Can you do a full coat of arms with pennants and the rest?

That can be a bit out of my league. My gem engraving has a ‘lower limit’ determined by tooling. So the very precise heraldry on those 15mm ring stones carved by the master gem engravers is something I am not able to approach with the tools I have just yet. Browsing my shop will clearly demonstrate the level of detail and skill that is available. The good news is that this means my engravings are 1/3 of the price or less than most shops.

May I buy just the gem? Do you have a batch discount?

For all shop examples, I can offer the engraved gems alone, for you to collect or have installed by your own jeweler, or I can set it in the jewel of your choice, or I offer wholesale discount to designers ordering multiples of 4 or more.

I see similar gems for less than $20 called Venetian Glass, why are your prices more?

All of the items in my shop are made on natural gemstone. Glass is a much softer, more fragile and volatile material. It chips and cracks very easily, especially when in a ring setting. And putting one in a setting is risky all to itself.
Another huge difference is that most of the glass gems you see are cast, they are reproductions produced in bulk, from a mold. Each of these carvings, like the stone itself, are one of a kind, and completely done by hand without reproduction machinery. So a glass or resin version is abundantly cheap, but nothing like the real thing.

Are these reproductions?

Each of my designs is intentionally divergent from known historical examples in some way. Under a microscope or checked against catalogs they can be confirmed to be modern, so these are not suitable as fake antiquities any more than a photocopy of a dollar bill would be. As far as the ethics, everything I present in the shop I consider to be part of my own path, so it’s personal. My only goal is to produce nourishing, inspiring, educational objects.

It is hard to authenticate an ancient gem however, so to designers and retailers let my shop be a warning that point of sale assessment is really tough. While the average price of a decent ancient gem at auction can fetch $5k, let my incredible bargain prices, for I am just an engraver, help you realize the risks and recommend you use a certification service and professional appraisers when considering a gem claiming to be ancient. I am always willing to help authenticate with what knowledge I have about historical gems.

What is your specialty?

I am always trying to focus on new imagery as well, but my main scope of study has been 5th Century BC to 5th CE subjects. I think that the material culture of ancient gems from this time period offers vital, tangible context for the roles that Africa, Asia, as well as a range of nomadic and maritime trading networks, played in the creation of Western culture. This role that has historically been downplayed, not only through biases, but also by scarcity of literature and research on many of the themes until very recently. These gems are like a lost chapter to some legendary epic has just washed up from the sea. They are also an early chapter in the history of modern medicine and a neglected field in the history of magic.

* * *

For visual browsing, my Pinterest boards contain a more global range of intaglio examples, from Minoan to post-Antique, visit here: https://pin.it/6IFLGO9

Other sources: The Cornell collection is a good starting place, and the Getty Museum has a display room of them, as well as an online catalog - just search for Engraved Gem.

I’d also search out Ancient Coins in general, for more studied examples of intaglio, because they were also the work of glyptographers in those days, who carved intaglio coin impressions directly into the metal dies.

I can buy a signet ring with my own design online for $10, why do you charge what you do?

Sure, it's never been cheaper to order a wax seal or signet ring overseas, one that is completely made by computer and robot. But those are like items you buy at the gift shop from an amusement park... if you don't mind your piece being made by the same factory that creates key chains and mugs with logos, the prices automation has brought can't be beat.

My work is the real thing, and the character of a human hand can be felt in every piece. It's true, it takes me a day or more to do what a robot can replicate in minutes. And a laser can do things no human hand (at least not my own) can do.

Why don’t you discuss magical properties for the gemstones and symbols?

I do it out of respect for the different traditions out there, many of whom tend to overlap in the symbol arena. So my baseline is to just not comment on it, so that you may truly create the gem of your intention, from scratch.

I'm a supporter of Natural Sciences and Human Rights. No claim is made regarding efficacy of subject, symbol or gemstone. Still, reliant upon the earth-bound character of hand carved gems, each jewel is made to deliver a magical experience. My pieces are in museums, and the collections of writers, archaeologists, scholars, psychologists, magicians (of both the stage and the strange), performers, and other artists of considerable variety. My ethic is designed to serve the imagination and let you work out your own meaning, I am humbly just your engraver.

Visit this listing for more details about requesting a gem carving:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/465696399/custom-gem-intaglio-engraving-any-size

Did you seriously read that whole thing? Wow, you have beautiful eyes.
Thanks again, R.


"There was a gem in the brain of the dragon, Philostratus told us, and 'by the exhibition of golden letters and a scarlet robe' the monster could be thrown into a magical sleep and slain." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Announcement

Last updated on Oct 9, 2021

Welcome! I engrave gems with wonders inspired by Mediterranean, Nomadic, Libromantic, Mystic, Proto-Scientific, Meditative and Esoteric Art History, including Alexandrine and Silk Road Traditions. It all fits together snugly and respectfully like slices of an orange. I also do custom requests.

I do this part-time! I also write and make music, so this is a service that calls for patience! Average wait-list for custom gems and simple settings is 3-5 weeks, for hand-cast signet rings, it's 4-8 weeks. Most intaglio shops ask for three months minimum, but I usually do better than that. Rush orders are sometimes possible, for a premium.

Read more:

I also have a separate Clearance Shop that is nothing but ready to ship items! https://www.etsy.com/shop/RStrangeMetalsmith

My work is primitive and rustic. I do with one hand what the masters do with two and special machinery I do not own. So my engravings are imperfect, done with simple tools, and are more like ancient intaglios than the crisp precision technology has provided.

I often like to get a little add-on as a gift - consider there are a number of charity items that receive cash donations on specially discounted items. Just search the word "charity" in the shop. Past recipients include Native American Rights Fund, current ones are: Farm to Table, NCADV, National Bail Out, Nature Conservancy and the Food Depot. I know from fundraising, that it's the small donations that add up and make up a substantial part of the budget.



* * *

Established 2016

FAQ FAQ FAQ FAQ FAQ

How do I request a custom item?

Visit this page: https://www.etsy.com/listing/465696399/custom-gem-intaglio-engraving-any-size or start a convo from any item.

Did you make it yourself / is it handmade?

This is a gem engraving service, I do almost everything myself in a small workshop in a remote mountain village. I started making jewels while working for a bronze sculpture foundry in Los Angeles circa 2008. I’m self taught and it’s been moonlight and DIY most of the way.

Can I give you a design, or have something engraved on my jewelry?

Yes! You are welcome to send me your artwork, or I can create it with your description. You can send me your blank gemstone in a ring, or I can help you find one, whether I make it or not. This is about enjoying something strange together.

Can you do a full coat of arms with pennants and the rest?

That can be a bit out of my league. My gem engraving has a ‘lower limit’ determined by tooling. So the very precise heraldry on those 15mm ring stones carved by the master gem engravers is something I am not able to approach with the tools I have just yet. Browsing my shop will clearly demonstrate the level of detail and skill that is available. The good news is that this means my engravings are 1/3 of the price or less than most shops.

May I buy just the gem? Do you have a batch discount?

For all shop examples, I can offer the engraved gems alone, for you to collect or have installed by your own jeweler, or I can set it in the jewel of your choice, or I offer wholesale discount to designers ordering multiples of 4 or more.

I see similar gems for less than $20 called Venetian Glass, why are your prices more?

All of the items in my shop are made on natural gemstone. Glass is a much softer, more fragile and volatile material. It chips and cracks very easily, especially when in a ring setting. And putting one in a setting is risky all to itself.
Another huge difference is that most of the glass gems you see are cast, they are reproductions produced in bulk, from a mold. Each of these carvings, like the stone itself, are one of a kind, and completely done by hand without reproduction machinery. So a glass or resin version is abundantly cheap, but nothing like the real thing.

Are these reproductions?

Each of my designs is intentionally divergent from known historical examples in some way. Under a microscope or checked against catalogs they can be confirmed to be modern, so these are not suitable as fake antiquities any more than a photocopy of a dollar bill would be. As far as the ethics, everything I present in the shop I consider to be part of my own path, so it’s personal. My only goal is to produce nourishing, inspiring, educational objects.

It is hard to authenticate an ancient gem however, so to designers and retailers let my shop be a warning that point of sale assessment is really tough. While the average price of a decent ancient gem at auction can fetch $5k, let my incredible bargain prices, for I am just an engraver, help you realize the risks and recommend you use a certification service and professional appraisers when considering a gem claiming to be ancient. I am always willing to help authenticate with what knowledge I have about historical gems.

What is your specialty?

I am always trying to focus on new imagery as well, but my main scope of study has been 5th Century BC to 5th CE subjects. I think that the material culture of ancient gems from this time period offers vital, tangible context for the roles that Africa, Asia, as well as a range of nomadic and maritime trading networks, played in the creation of Western culture. This role that has historically been downplayed, not only through biases, but also by scarcity of literature and research on many of the themes until very recently. These gems are like a lost chapter to some legendary epic has just washed up from the sea. They are also an early chapter in the history of modern medicine and a neglected field in the history of magic.

* * *

For visual browsing, my Pinterest boards contain a more global range of intaglio examples, from Minoan to post-Antique, visit here: https://pin.it/6IFLGO9

Other sources: The Cornell collection is a good starting place, and the Getty Museum has a display room of them, as well as an online catalog - just search for Engraved Gem.

I’d also search out Ancient Coins in general, for more studied examples of intaglio, because they were also the work of glyptographers in those days, who carved intaglio coin impressions directly into the metal dies.

I can buy a signet ring with my own design online for $10, why do you charge what you do?

Sure, it's never been cheaper to order a wax seal or signet ring overseas, one that is completely made by computer and robot. But those are like items you buy at the gift shop from an amusement park... if you don't mind your piece being made by the same factory that creates key chains and mugs with logos, the prices automation has brought can't be beat.

My work is the real thing, and the character of a human hand can be felt in every piece. It's true, it takes me a day or more to do what a robot can replicate in minutes. And a laser can do things no human hand (at least not my own) can do.

Why don’t you discuss magical properties for the gemstones and symbols?

I do it out of respect for the different traditions out there, many of whom tend to overlap in the symbol arena. So my baseline is to just not comment on it, so that you may truly create the gem of your intention, from scratch.

I'm a supporter of Natural Sciences and Human Rights. No claim is made regarding efficacy of subject, symbol or gemstone. Still, reliant upon the earth-bound character of hand carved gems, each jewel is made to deliver a magical experience. My pieces are in museums, and the collections of writers, archaeologists, scholars, psychologists, magicians (of both the stage and the strange), performers, and other artists of considerable variety. My ethic is designed to serve the imagination and let you work out your own meaning, I am humbly just your engraver.

Visit this listing for more details about requesting a gem carving:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/465696399/custom-gem-intaglio-engraving-any-size

Did you seriously read that whole thing? Wow, you have beautiful eyes.
Thanks again, R.


"There was a gem in the brain of the dragon, Philostratus told us, and 'by the exhibition of golden letters and a scarlet robe' the monster could be thrown into a magical sleep and slain." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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R Seitz

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R Seitz

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Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(279)
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More information

Last updated on Sep 10, 2018
Frequently asked questions
Gift wrapping and packaging

Gift wrapping is always available. The current offering is red foil with red ribbon.

Wholesale availability

I have very generous wholesale rates for gemstone engraving. Any request for samples will be offered at retail rates.