How Are Gemstone Paintings Made?
Dante Gems™ Crystal Art Hand Painted Process


The art of making crystal portraits or crushed gemstone paintings has only been professionally developed since the early 2000.

As simple and beautiful the end product might appear, the making of mosaic gems art is extremely painstaking and demands years of experience and talented artist skills, especially for realistic looking people or pet portraits.

Dante Gems™ is the first website to offer custom portrait paintings made from crushed crystals or cut gem stones from your photo, be it a lovely wedding portrait for anniversary celebration, an important family picture for your lovely house or cat and dog portrait of your favorite companion.

And here is how we make them - a step by step process explanation with example illustrations.

1. Crystal Mica Canvas Preparation

Crystal Mica Sheet as Gem Painting Canvas

Before anything is done, the final artwork dimension is determined and this will set foundation for every technical aspect of making a gem stone painting.

Technical, because unlike oil painting, watercolor or any other traditional fine art media, the gem artist has to take into consideration the amount of gemstone crystals he/she will need to make the painting, as well as an accurate estimate for each specific color, right from the beginning. Whereas classic painters will simply need to pour out paints from the tubes or mix some more from raw pigments as the painting process continues, without planning ahead.

At Dante Gems™ we use only the finest museum quality clear mica as the canvas for your crystal paintings.

As you can see in this oil painting vs. crystal art comparison, a mica sheet is far superior to stretched canvas or wood panels when it comes to durability and resistance to cracking due to temperature or humidity changes.

2. Gemstone Crystals: Selection, Sorting, Cleaning & Processing

Crushed & Cut Gemstone Crystals Sorted by Colors

From precious gems such as sapphire, emerald and ruby to semiprecious crystals like garnet, jade, tourmaline, lapis lazuli, color or clear quartz, peridot, black onyx, agate and many others - all has to be washed, dried completely and sorted into different light/dark color groups.

This is a time consuming task that requires extensive experience to make accurate judgments. Preparing too much is a waste of time, while not having enough just before completion is a really frustrating situation most artists want to avoid.

Most of the crushing and gems cutting is manually done by hand using hammers, saws and other jewelry tool kits, because stones have to be selected manually for best color and texture match, sometimes individually - one at a time.

3. Gemstone Painting Sketch & Crystal Arrangement

Artist arranging gems on mica with sketches underneath

The gemstone hand painting starts with the artist making rough line sketches of the artwork on a piece of white paper, which is securely positioned underneath the mica canvas.

The gem artist uses the initial sketch as a guide for positioning gem crystals on the mica sheet.

Since Dante Gems™ only uses natural precious and semi-precious gemstones, the final outcome is a crystal painting with permanent vibrant colors that are fade-proof. Unlike oil paintings, your artwork will look beautiful and retain rich color depth even for centuries to come, because it does not use paint pigments at all.

This can be a priceless family heirloom or a sought after collectible piece of art for your future generations to inherit.

4. Permanently Setting Gem Stones on Mica

Mounting Crystals on Mica Using Our Special Adhesive

After gems are perfectly placed, our artists mount them permanently using a special in-house developed adhesive.

This process is usually repeated several times as the artist continues to add more layers of gem stones on top of each other, until the desired density is reached.

Powdered Gems are used for most works of art that require high level of details or to achieve realism, such as depicting human face in gemstone portrait paintings. This technique is best used for making artworks that resemble soft acrylic, pastel or watercolor paintings with very fine texture and feel.

Crushed Gems are mid size stones split from large clusters of crystals or grounded from bigger tumble stones. They have unusual and interesting textures that are impossible to replicate and are used in most gem painting styles. Best for making interior deco crystal art look like oil paintings done with dry paint brush strokes.

Whole Gems can be cut and polished or used as raw natural stones, depending on the effect the artist wants to achieve. These mid to large size stones can make your gemstone painting look like ancient Roman mosaic art or more modern Italian mosaics as seen in history museums and churches, like St. Peters basilica in the Vatican City.

Combination of all three techniques above results in a contemporary gemstone art style that looks like nothing you have seen before we like to call it:

The 21st Century Luxury Fine Art

^Background: powdered gems      ^Tree Trunk: crushed gems      ^Flowers: whole gems

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