Richard Horan came to Big Sur on the wave of the 60’s. Eager to start his career as a multi media artist, he found organic materials all around him such as clay, redwood and jade. He has worked with all these materials, making musical instruments, art objects and jewelry. His path as a lapidary artist truly began when he found his first gem quality jade pebble while sweeping the floor of a local lodge. His vision then became presenting the natural beauty of the jade in a clean yet artful way.
Horan’s first love of jade was the natural way that God presented the stones on the beach. He feels that some shapes invite the carver by their very nature. His bench work is very clean and simple. Horan learned his foundation from watching friends who became professionals and helped him along his road as a lapidary artist.
In 1973, Horan was fortunate enough to find a large boulder of gem quality jade. After acquiring more sophisticated tools, he began to cut, shape and polish the “hard as steel” Nephrite jade. Horan moved to the South Coast of Big Sur, in 1981, bringing him closer to the jade deposits. He then set up shop and developed a line of jewelry featuring not only Big Sur jade but jade from around the world.
Horan uses the natural shapes of beach tumbled Big Sur jade with which he crafts stones into rings, earrings, pendants and belt buckles. He also uses the finest quality jade from across the globe to sculpt original carvings inspired by ancient designs. His work is influenced by native cultures using esoteric symbols stylized into modern forms. In particular, Horan’s fine jade earrings are known for the thin cut of the jade that allow light to shine through and bring out their essential color. Though Horan uses other gemstones, he has become a legend in the Big Sur area for his skill and craftsmanship.