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A day in the life of a Jade Master

Here, we start with a piece that was only designed this month: a stunning Sugilite Kwan Yin with a most-unique Lotus base carved from Turkey Purple Jadeite. But that was far from this client’s original thought to work with us. On the contrary, you may be astounded to read her first request on 10 June, 2016.

Hi Tom,
I have this photo of a piece I love. I don’t have the dimensions of it.

jade_carvings on Biz-find directory

Jade ideas

I also have purchased this piece of Sugilite rough.

n biz-find Thailand Directory

n biz-find Thailand Directory

It’s dimensions are:
Old Stock from Kalahari, South Africa
Size: 4-1/2″ x 3-1/2″ x 1-1/4″ (approx)
Weight: 533 grams
I don’t know if they would work together. Please let me know your thoughts on this.
Thank You

She knew the model was ancient South American, but didn’t know the specific god. Google identified it as the AZTEC deity, Quetzalcoatl.

After her Sugilite arrived in our office, we realized her piece was too small to do justice to her design. So, we showed her a piece of Turkey Purple Jadeite big enough to make a 6” tall totem.

She LOVED the texture of the color. She said, My daughter would say it has guts. It has movement and swirls.
She asked if we had a piece of the same material big enough to carve a 9” Totem. We said, “Yes, we do!”

This piece weighed 25 kilos. But, sadly, after quoting her the price of material and labor for a 9” AZTEC totem, it was too far over her budget.

n biz-find Thailand Directory


Nevertheless, she loved our Turkey “Plum Jade” material so much that she wanted us to carve that 7 kilo piece in something she can afford. So, she decided to use her gorgeous chunk of Sugilite to carve a Kwan Yin, because she had experienced some exceptional luck with a family issue after praying to Kwan Yin. She asked whether or not there were some way to incorporate her Sugilite Kwan Yin with the ‘gutsy’ piece of Plum Jade to match?

We suggested to carve the Plum Jade into a fancy base, along the lines of a Blue-Topaz Kwan Yin with an Optical Quartz dragon base, like this. She fell in love with the idea: thought her vivid Sugilite treasure would match perfectly with the ‘gutsy’ color of the Plum Jade. But, she was adamant that she wanted a Chinese-style Kwan Yin, rather than that Thai version. She chose this quartz Kwan Yin’s Chinese face and clothing for her Sugilite meditating Goddess.

And she didn’t like the idea of a dragon base. Her first request for the Plum Jade base was to make lotuses with ‘flowing water’, which threw us for a loop. Our more Chinese-oriented master-carver was also baffled by lotus with flowing water. So, our next challenge was to conceive of a lotus-base model that would be exceptionally special for such an extraordinary quality of natural Sugilite.

With a stroke of luck, we were elated to stumble on to this unique version of a lotus base. The model is somehow interactive, and protective, as a Naga-Buddha sculpture would be.

And then, as we prepared to send both pieces of rough up to our master-carver, we studied that Sugilite gem more closely. Only to realize there was a lot of variation in its color. In fact, while the one face was such an electrifying magenta hue, there were layers of much darker…almost blackish-violet color.

Hence, yet another carving challenge was facing us. How to be sure at least our Kwan Yin’s face would enjoy the finest color. After carefully studying it again, we pulled out a white Jade Buddha about the same size as the Kwan Yin would be and placed it next to the Sugilite, to see the raw-material’s location of the best color.

jade_statues on Biz-find Thailand diectory

Jade statue

As you can see to the right here, it was not an easy call whether or not that best purple would be carved away before reaching Kwan Yin’s face. So, we sent both pieces up there for the carver to decide for himself.

After studying the rough, he asked whether we wanted the deity to be simply meditating, or have her traditional bottle in her lap. In fact, the client originally asked to sculpt a Kwan Yin with her let up like this model.
However, after studying it again, the carver said, in that position, the leg would be the purest vibrant color, but her face would more likely be too far back to maintain that color.

So, the customer’s final verdict was to have her Kwan Yin meditating, with her right hand in her lap and bottle in her left hand.

That was decided last week. So, we are looking forward to the final masterpiece to be finished within the next month.
Then, the final stage will be to transfer the hand-crafted carving to our master-polisher in Maesai to complete its mirror-polish: leaving the skin on her face and hands with a matt-finish.

The finished Kwan Yin: Sugilite and Turkish Plum Jadeite.

 Sugilite and Turkish Plum Jadeite on Biz-find

The finished piece


Tom is our resident Gems expert and more information about his services can be found here

Tom the gems expert on Biz-find Thailand

Tom the gems expert on Biz-find Thailand




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