Award-winning gem sculptor and gemologist Helen Sellas-Herman, wearing one of her own creations, described her inspirations and discussed the skills needed for gem carving during her session on Thursday. Sellas-Herman, one of the most respected fine artists working in hard gems in North America, revealed the influences and sources of her one-of-a-kind artworks. “They all whisper to me, and I try to portray them with grace and elegance,” she said. She then offered practical advice on the skills needed for gem carving. They include education; developing a concept of design, including theme, type of carving, gem material, and model-making; carving procedures, of which sanding takes 60 percent of the four-part process; and having the essential equipment. She capped that with lists of suggested tools, reference sources and books. For more information, visit www.gemcenter.com.