Friday, July 1, 2005

Young filmmaker debuts gem

Documentary traces transformation of ore into fine jewelry

Express Staff Writer

Filmmaker, editor and narrator Bob Peterson, center, completed a documentary film to trace the journey of Brazilian gemstones. His father Barry Peterson, left, and Uncle Steve Peterson assisted in the filmmaking process. Bob Peterson captures the makings of this exquisite necklace comprised of spessartite garnet and electric-blue tourmaline. In his film, Petertson follows the journey of the stones from Brazil to Barry Peterson Jewelers in Ketchum. Photo by Willy Cook

A senior project continues to demand attention of a 2005 Community School graduate.

"I wanted to make a movie, whatever it was," said Bob Peterson, 18, of Ketchum.

Peterson made a documentary film this spring as his senior project at The Community School, a private Sun Valley-based school. The project produced an engaging documentary film that shows daily from July 1 to Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. on KSVT Channel 13.

The documentary film, called "From Mine to Masterpiece," traces the transformation of rough rock into fine jewelry. The crew travels to Brazil to follow the mining, cutting and faceting processes that produce exquisite jewelry. The finishing work returns the film and the Ketchum-based crew to the Wood River Valley.

"Basically, (the film explores) turning a piece from rock into gemstone," Peterson said.

The assignment evolved into a family venture. Peterson along with his father and uncle embarked to Brazil to document the mining process.

Bob's father, Barry Peterson, jeweler and owner of Barry Peterson Jewelers in Ketchum, brought a seasoned understanding of fine gemstones. He also served as executive producer for the film.

"I thought it would be fun to do something with the subject matter," Barry said.

Steve Peterson, Bob's uncle, offered his vision as the second cameraman for the project. Steve is an artist completing a master's degree in film at the University of Utah.

Armed with intention, the three ventured to Brazil to explain the evolution of rock to gemstone and to establish Bob's talent as a young filmmaker.

Bob filmed, edited, wrote and narrated the piece. With the professionalism of an experienced filmmaker, he produced an entertaining and informative explanation of the process necessary to create fine jewelry.

Bob's multiple talents infuse the film with a wealth of information and character. He wrote an articulate script that he successfully supports with lively Brazilian music and a voice natural to that of a narrator. The informative account is laced with Brazilian culture, humor and insight into an Old World art form.

In the midst of editing the film, Bob's computer crashed and he lost all of his edited material. With only days before the assignment's due date, he scrambled to find a computer that could support his high-definition film. Two days before his school presentation, he edited 15 hours of footage into a 20-minute film.

The quality of the film defies the last minute hurdles.

Viewers travel to a rustic Brazilian mine in the state of Paraiba. The crew and Brian C. Cook, geologist and partial owner of the mine, venture to a deep earthen hole where they discover the fragments of spessartite garnet. The garnets, mandarin in color, become the focal point of the jewelry later produced.

The crew transports the garnets to the Brazilian city of Salvador. The rough rocks are cut and faceted at the Lasbonfin jewelry store, transforming the rock into fine gemstones. After a stop in Rio de Janeiro to buy electric-blue tourmaline to compliment the garnets, the crew returns to the Barry Peterson store in Ketchum. Barry then creates an exquisite necklace from the stones collected along the way.

"I designed the jewelry after we had the stones in hand," Barry said.

Now on display in the Ketchum store, the garnets and tourmaline originating from the rustic mines sparkle as a fine necklace.

As for the film, Bob hopes to expand the present footage and possibly sell versions of his work to another television network.

The film has been endorsed by the Gemological Institute of America.

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