About Steve

A gem and mineral enthusiast, Stephen Taney has over 15 years of stonecutting experience.

Steve creates cabochons by hand, starting with the rough material. First he cuts the rough into slabs, finding the unique patterns in each slice. Bringing out the natural beauty of the stones is one of the things he loves most about his work.

"I could saw all day long," says Steve. "I just love to cut the rough material to see what new pattern will be revealed. Sometimes you cut it open and you just go, 'Wow!'"

Once the rough is slabbed, the slices are inspected for interesting designs, then cut into pleasing shapes. Then the stone is shaped into a cabochon and polished to a fine luster.

Steve works with all kinds of material, and provides cabochons to custom jewelers large and small. He accepts commissions from individuals, and enjoys a challenge, such as the unusual bright yellow mineral he was recently asked to cut as an experiment.

Steve accepts commissions of all types, ranging from valuable gemstones for use in fine jewelry to more sentimental projects. For example, he once shaped and polished a piece of granite found at the completion of an Appalachian Trail hike to be made into a pin to commemorate the client's 60th birthday.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He first began sculpting in wood and metal, specializing for a time in carving birds (it was this specialty that inspired his business name, Blue Heron Designs). After developing an allergy to wood dust, Steve turned to stone as a medium, and has been happy in the stonecutting field ever since.