Lisbet Thoresen is a designer, primarily, but her assignments usually draw upon a wide range of skills such as writing, editing, curating content, art direction and project management for both print media and web-based projects. Her clients are typically small companies and non profit organizations.
An alumnus of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Lisbet majored in communication arts and painting. She learned discipline, well, because it was Art Center. She learned process and craft from Joel Bass, Harry Carmean, Laurence Dreiband, and Laddie Dill. She was made to understand color because of Judy Crook. She fell in love with typography because of Ardith Truhan. And she learned to think critically thanks to Laurie Fendrich and Stephen Nowlin.
After graduating from Art Center, she landed her first job in the department of Antiquities Conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Over the next 17 years, Lisbet worked in all aspects of the preservation and conservation of classical art, including scientific analysis, authentication and exhibition planning. As Associate Conservator, she also performed research and lectured on topics related to art conservation and archaeometry, with an emphasis on environmental studies, authenticity studies and ancient gems.
Ancient Glyptic. Since 2000, Lisbet Thoresen has been an independent scholar specializing in engraved gems. Her primary interest is to examine critically ancient texts and archaeological literature in the light of gemological characterization of extant intaglios, cameos and beads. Specific topics of interest include ancient gemstone treatments and analytical provenance studies on the origins of peridot, garnets and the rare emerald green-colored quartz known as chromian chalcedony.
Ars longa, vita brevis. On Gemstones: Gemological and Analytical Studies of Ancient Intaglios and Cameos is a reference book based on Thoresen's long-term research. Begun during her tenure at the Getty Museum, this copiously illustrated, comprehensive volume is as yet unpublished.
Recent Work. At the 2014 Sinkankas Symposium, Thoresen made a presentation on chromium-bearing chalcedony, its sources, earliest periods of use in antiquity and its re-discovery in the 20th century. She wrote an article with Dr. James A. Harrell on the "Archaeogemology of peridot," which appears in the symposium proceedings (2014: 31–51). The article includes a collection survey of extant ancient carved peridots. Prospective sources of the raw gem materials are considered in relation to ancient trade and travel. The authors look forward to preparing a successor article based on an ongoing analytical provenance study of peridots from numerous localities. This study is being performed in collaboration with GIA and the Natural History Museum, London.
A study comparing analytical and gemological data on classical and post-Antique (early Middle Ages) garnets was co-authored with Dr. Karl Schmetzer and published in 2013 (Journal of Gemmology 33.7–8). Data from several previously published studies are discussed in relation to a detailed characterization performed on the Greek and Roman garnets in the Getty Museum. Relationships are seen between some groups, and in some cases, an association with specific garnet-producing regions appears possible. A follow-on article in preparation will discuss the data in relation to cultural context and ancient texts on the subject of gem sources.