The art of stone engraving has been recognized since ancient times. The Old Testament depicts the stones with engraved names of the Israelites on the seal-ring of the High Priest. In Babylon and the states of Mesopotamia stone cylindrical seals were engraved. Images and inscriptions were deep imprinted and provided relief impressions on earthenware plates.
Besides their practical application, these plates were of aesthetical value, and they brought scenes and events of the antiquity to our days. People also believed in the power of minerals and allotted them extra properties.
The antique sphere of knowledge existing till now is astrology. The stones were amulets, and engravings enforced the power of their impact. Some stones, such as nephrite, cornelian, agate, organic compounds, amber and nacre were known as possessing medicinal properties.
The stone energy, the power of their impact was interrelated with the Zodiac signs, the planets disposition in their Horoscope.
Deep imprinting of intaglio stones was widely spread in ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome. Miniature stone seals were masterpieces of art.
Multi-colored stones and organic minerals with convex relief served as decorations of privileged personalities, as ornaments in temples, and were honored as rewards.
Since stones are generally harder than metals, the antique engravers used rotating miniature wheels, drills and borers with abrasive powder. Due to their hardness, the engraved cameo and intaglio gems preserved their beauty and their tinges throughout thousands of years. One cannot but admire the talented and skilled masters who created the miniature masterpieces. The modern artist uses his own self-made instruments, which resemble those used by engravers of the past.
Leonid works with various minerals. He engraves on intaglio, precious and semi-precious stones. Each material has its demands in engraving, envisaging peculiar knowledge, experience, capabilities, sensations and artistic skills of the artist. He uses filigree technique when processing sea shells, multi-color organic materials known for their unusual properties. All tinges of the shell have been preserved in their initial state, imparting to the miniatures their charm.