Artist Feature: Jay Kalk, Minnestona

Jay Kalk is the owner of Minnestona: Minnesota  Jewelry. He is also co-owner of Minnesota Makers with his wife Christa. Jay has been creating the Minnesota shaped pendants for the past 3 years. With the help of Etsy and gift stores in the Metro and in northern Minnesota, Jay keeps himself busy grinding and polishing stones. He starts with the raw Lake Superior Agate rock. He chose the Lake Superior Agate as material to use to provide a trifecta of state pride: Minnesota made, Minnesota shaped, and the Minnesota State Stone.

The process of making his jewelry, from raw stone to finished product, is a long one and is completed in his studio. Jay’s process involves a lot of steps. First the stone is cut into “slabs,” which are flat cuts of stone about the size of a half dollar coin. Then a stencil of the shape of Minnesota is applied to each slab. The cutting and carving takes place on saw coated with diamonds and splattered with oil to keep the stone from overheating during cutting. Once the shape is cut, it is slightly domed on a grinding wheel which gives the stone a more pleasant appearance. Next the pendant is ready to start the polishing stages. After 4 days in a tumbler with varying stages of polishing materials, the stone comes out beautifully polished. Finally the pendant is drilled for the piece that connects to the chain.

Each and every one of these pendants tells the history of this land long before it was a state. Jay handles and creates these works of art with great care and reverence for the land that once held the stones in her care.

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