When it comes to gemstone cutting, the touch of a master cannot be taught. Stephen Avery’s work is an outstanding example of how that touch transforms a technical task into an art form. A marriage of rigorous training and intuition allows Avery to understand the potential of raw material. Imagination guides his exquisite cuts to reveal captivating forms.
Avery began his career as the protégé of old-world diamond-cutter Leonard Ludel. Ludel’s legacy of precision cutting served as a firm foundation for Avery’s creativity to later build upon. “I worked for 15 years learning all the rules of gem cutting and have spent the last 30 years rewriting them,” Avery explains. It’s rare that a professional can boast so many years of cutting experience, but like the old-world masters, Avery began his training at the young age of 15.

“When you hold an Avery cut stone in your hand, it dances with light.” – Adam Neeley

Through traditional and pioneered techniques, Avery came to best understand a cutter’s role as a “director of light”. For a colored stone, the light should take a path that showcases color while maintaining brilliance. When it comes to a diamond, color is a liability and so light should bounce quickly through a stone.
Where colorful gemstones are concerned, there is no one best approach. The unique qualities of each material including color, crystal structure, cracks and color direction must be taken into account. For Avery, challenges inherent to a stone inspire the investigation of new shapes and patterns. More than 100,000 stones into his career Avery says of his work, “After all these years I continue to learn and be inspired to innovate. Everyday I have the pleasure of waking up and being excited to go to work.”
Adam loves to design for Avery’s distinctive gemstones since each one brings a special character and energy to the resulting jewelry. “I consider Stephen Avery one of the greatest faceting lapidary artists in the world. His precision, the quality of the gemstone material he uses, and his unique ability to create scintillation and movement of light through cutting make Avery unlike any other lapidary.”
For Adam’s newest one-of-a-kind work featuring gemstones by Stephen Avery, visit the Couture page. Interested in exploring a custom project featuring these incredible gemstones? Please reach out! We’re in close communication with Avery and we’d love to help make your jewelry vision a reality.
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From his Laguna Beach studio, designer and goldsmith Adam Neeley pushes the boundaries of modern jewelry design. Born a gem-lover and educated at the prestigious Gemological Institute of America and Le Art Orafe, Adam has spent his life mastering the craft and art form of jewelry making and design. As a member of the American Jewelry Design Council, Adam is honored to share his expertise and passion with the world. His award-winning jewelry is celebrated by jewelry collectors, industry authorities, including MJSA and AGTA, and the Smithsonian Institution. We invite you to learn more by visiting our About Adam and Welcome pages.