the lopacki collection DANIEL LOPACKI MOSAIC SHELLS
DANIEL LOPACKI MOSAIC SHELLS


WELCOME TO MOSAIC SHELLS
1978 - 1985

While studying art at Orange Cost College in the mid seventies my interest in stone work started to blossom. I clearly remember seeing a pin with a rose carved of Red Coral set in sterling silver and thinking to my self how cool this was and amazed at the job someone did.

During this same time period I met two different people that were doing inlay/overlay Southwest style stone mosaic on spiny oyster shells. One was Billy Jones of whom I lost track of almost instantly. The other was Lee Louden of Crescent Valley, NV. Lee became a good friend a major influence and cohort for the next twenty or so years.

Anyway we can all blame Lee and Billy for starting what you see below..

Early Mosaic Shells 1978-1981

WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY DEFINES MOSAIC:
1. The process of making pictures or designs by inlaying small bits of colored stone, glass, tile. etc. in mortar.
2. Inlaid work made by this process.
3. A picture or design so made.
All of my early work was an stone overlay but I still considered them Mosaic Work

Stone Mosaic Over Very Small Clam Shell This is the first shell in a series that I started in 1978.

One thing to note, I started using curved stone cuts very early.

All shells when done were signed and dated.

The early shells were signed on the back inside the actual shell.

The later shells were also signed on the stonework up around the top of the shell.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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Signed and dated #1 1978

Indian Mountian Turquoise, Orange Spiny Oyster, Gold Lip MOP and Jet

Set in Sterling Silver with gallery wire bezel.

SUZI'S SHELL

Signed and dated #2 1978

If you enlarge the image you will notice gaps between some of the stones.

As my talents improved I would offer a potential buyer a 10 power eye loupe so they could

see there were few if any gaps in my work.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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THREE EARLY SHELLS

1978-1979

Left Azurite, Red Coral and Australian Opal set in Sterling Silver.

Center "First Mimbres Inspired Lizard" repeated many times over the years.

Nevada Turquoise, Jet, Red Coral and Gold Lip Mother of Pearl

Right B.C. Jade, Aventurine and Red Coral set in Sterling Silver..

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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MOMS SHELL

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1979

Mom's Shell

First Butterfly and one of the largest shells I ever overlaid. 70mm X 70mm 2 3/4 X 2 3/4 inch

Nevada Turquoise, Arizona Turquoise, Sodalite, Opal Signed and dated #9 79

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

1979-1980

By this time the gaps in my work had all but disappeared.

Left Chrysoprase, Chrysocolla, Lapis, Red Coral, Jet and Australian Opal set in Sterling Silver.

Center Two colors Nevada Turquoise, Jet, Red Coral, Lapis, White and Gold Lip Mother of Pearl set in Sterling Silver.

Right Turquoise and Jet set in Sterling Silver.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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1979-1980

Design Based On The Old Time Tobacco Canteen

Two Separate Mosaic Shells glued together then drilled for top stopper in silver work.

I had two shells I could not market, so I glued them together for this very small canteen.

Silver work produced from half round wire and sheet.

Materials used Orange and Red Spiny Oyster Shell, two types Turquoise, Jet and Chrysophrase.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry
Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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1979-1980

Unfortunatley I only have a clear image of this Adventurine side, the oposite side was kind of drab B. C. Jade.

The silverwork is made with gallery wire and sheet. I made a channel on the outer edge that was then

inlaid with Red Coral the stopper was also capped with Red Coral

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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1980

Of only four canteens I was to make this is the largest and most interesting late 1980.

Silver work produced from half round wire and sheet. Stopper set with Sodalite cabochon.

Materials used Sodalite, Orange and Red Spiny Oyster Shell, three types Turquoise, Gold Lip MOP, Tortoise Shell and Lepidolite

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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1980 or 1981

Early on a very strong and long lasting influence in my art work was the simple

yet elegant designs of the ancient Mimbres Indians of Southwestern New Mexico.

In my early work and thru most of the nineties, I would just have to do another Mimbres inspired piece.

Below is an example of an early complicated design.

With the use of only five colors, this fish almost comes alive.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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CHARLOTTE'S BIRTHDAY PRESENT

I had known Scotty and Charlotte Bennett of Castle Gap Jewelry Co. Dallas for about four years when

I received a call from Scotty asking me to make Charlotte a "RED CORAL" shell for her birthday.

Charlotte being a good friend and knowing that she truly loved red coral.

I knew that I better do the best statement I could in Red Coral, below you will see the results.

Red coral, fox turquoise, lapis, chalcosiderite

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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BEST FISH OF ALL

A striking design using few colors.

Nevada "Fox" Turquoise, Red Coral, White Coral and Lapis with an Opal eye set in 14K Gold.

If you take the time to count the separate pieces of stone in the fish there are more than 100.

This shell was produced in late 1984 and one goal in it's production was making truly round beads 100% freehand on the grinder.

I managed to do this and then had people think that I had purchased and not handmade the beads because they were so perfect.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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KEITH'S SHELL

After Charlotte's shell I had the desire to make another Coral shell.

I made some minor design changes working toward what would end up being the last shell in the sreies I made a few months later in the year.

Red Coral, Chalcosiderite, Domallie Varasite, Lapis and 14K Gold beads.

This shell was finished off in this way at the request of my customer. It is the only shell I did that I then drilled for stringing.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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1984

My second of only two Butterflies

Nice use of muted colors.

Black Jade, Kingman Turquoise, Sugilite, Orange and Red Coral set in Silver. Hand cut Orange Coral beads.

This shell was produced in mid 1984. The stone count in just the butterfly excceded 110.

I was very happy with the mosaic shell but I always thought the beads I made to string it on were a little small.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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LAST SHELL 1984

The lizard is composed of two colors of Damele Turquoise from Nevada, brown for the tail and a light to dark green for the body.

The lines in the tail and neck are best Lapis and extremely hard high blue Turquoise from Morenci AZ.

For the arrow shapes I surrounded gel Sugilite with the Morenci Turquoise. I finished the eyes in Gem Opal inserted into 14K gold tubing.

To finish the shell into a necklace I made a silver setting that had a separator between the top and bottom pieces of plate silver sheet,

this gave me a channel that I then inlaid orange coral, the small strip of coral in the image is not part of the actual shell, it is the channel.

I hand made 3/8" in diameter silver beads and also made similar three piece beads with a channel so I could inlay the beads with the various colors of stone I'd used.

Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry
Daniel Lopacki mosaic shells, Daniel Lopacki jewelry

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