Tuesday 18 November 2014

Transplanting Griffin Eyes

One of the reasons I took on a castle restoration was in order to do things that I would have never imagined doing myself. Increasingly, I am finding that the reality of castle restoration goes yet one better: I am doing things that I could not have even have imagined in the first place. This evening I transplanted griffin eyes. Who would have known in an advance, and I suspect not even J.K.Rowling,  that such an activity existed? How did this come to pass?

An antique connoisseur friend visited and commented that the two griffins that adorned my Art Deco inkstand would originally have had gemstone eyes. I had thought this myself, but somehow someone else mentioning it was a spur to inevitable action.

The 3 mm diameter dull eye sockets somehow demanded brilliant cut rubies. My budget said synthetic, and eBay obliged for £1.99. :-) The following photos show how you transplant griffin eyes!

inkstand before: offendingly eyeless griffins
dull unseeing eye-socket
polishing eye-socket using wire-wool on screwdriver
polished eye socket (to help gem sparkle)
7 gems bought off eBay for £1.99
inserted and glued gem

inkstand after : flame-eyed griffins

The only technical complexity was 7 gems and only 4 sockets. In fact, the sockets were quite deep and looked best with two gems inserted. One of my griffins has one sunken eye, but do you know I am getting a warm glow of griffin gratitude and aesthetic completion. 


  1. Looks good David ... I am a photographer staying in the area this week indeed down the road from you and I have fallen in love with the place . Would it be too much to ask to take some images inside of which you would have copies. It's fine if it's a no just thought I'd ask . I have no emial for you or I would have sent you a message.
    Regards Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew, you are more than welcome to take photographs. Just come along - please don't expect anything other than a building site. :-)

      You can connect up with me as "MrBalintore" on Facebook to make any arrangements. Regards, David

  2. Between laying slabs and propping up ceiling and suddenly polishing eye sockets and buying rubies !! you are so funny !! good job !!