Our lapidary shop has been humming with activity as more and more players are requesting our custom inlaid finger buttons. Between requests on new horn deliveries plus orders to retrofit existing Monette instruments, we've had a great time making new, special order, one-of-a-kind inlays. Here are some of the latest creations.
We recently located some exceptionally bright raw opal to cut and polish, and have made several sets of complex mosaic black opal finger buttons. This opal is so bright it practically glows in the dark! This material is by far the most expensive stone we use, and as a result these are the most expensive inlays we make. They must be seen in person to be fully appreciated! We also have a limited amount of matrix opal, with the multi-hued brown matrix that is not reflective contrasting beautifully with the classic green and blue reflective portions of the stone. This matrix opal is a less expensive material than the black opal above, but still quite striking to see in person.
This summer we made our first set of carved, inlaid finger buttons. These feature a mountain scene in three seasons depicting a landscape in Wyoming where a long-time client grew up. The "mountains" are made from solid sterling silver, laid out from a picture in the computer and then milled to size on our CNC mill. The sunset sky is then hand-carved around the mountain from a select piece of Mookalite. The winter afternoon inlay has the foreground cut from Coober Pedy white opal, with a carved sleeping beauty
turquoise sky. The night scene has a carved lapis sky with gold pyrite specs to simulate stars, and a picture jasper foreground. This inlay set took us over 60 hours to make, with many of the first attempts making it only as far as the recycling bin! Perserverance eventually paid off, and the client was thrilled to have the reminder of his childhood home under his fingers every time he plays.
We made our first set of Ellensburg blue agate inlays, with the matrix included for contrast. This agate, was only available in Ellensburg WA., is completely mined and no longer available. Finding a chunk to use was sheer luck! The client had this stone set in their wedding ring, so having matching finger buttons brings even more sentimental value to their performances.
Another long-time client recently asked us for inlaid bottom caps to go with the inlaid finger buttons he had ordered, so we said we would give it a try. Again, the first several attempts didn't make it, but we finally made some custom tooling for grinding the inlay outer circumfrence so that it could be cut perfectly concentric to the inner diameter. We made matched sets for his new FLUMPET and also for his 10 year old AJNA Bb. The carnelian, white opal and black tourmaline inlays we call "Tony the Tiger," which matches his personality remarkably well!
For a new instrument to be delivered this November, the client asked us if we could incorporate his favorite diamond shape in tiger eye into a solid black background. With the unique reflective qualities of the tigereye, this set must be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
A big band leader from the Midwest who owns both a Monette trumpet and a FLUMPET recently ordered two sets of inlaid buttons for his existing Monette instruments, and we had a great time making these two sets. Green is his favorite color, and we found some green black opal to use as highlights in the set made for his FLUMPET. The trumpet, being a brighter instrument, as lighter color tones and seems to fit his lead and solo trumpet playing perfectly.
If you have any comments or feedback on any of this work we would love to hear from you at: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any special requests we are happy to try new techniques or new inlay material in order to make your Monette trumpet even more personalized!