THE FRANKLIN REPORT: The Insider's Guide to Home Services
"For those searching for a true master in the art of Byzantine and Florentine mosaic work, references say the search ends with Stewart Ritwo and his select staff of artisans at LODESTAR, Statements in Stone. What makes this firm unique, according to clients, is the incorporation of semi-precious stones such as onyx, malachite, sodalite and quartzite into their infamous tabletops, decorative floors, and murals. In addition to private clients, insiders say LODESTAR's commissions can be found in some of the world's most elegant hotels and restaurants, and that a visit to LODESTAR's showroom and gallery is worth the trip.

"Prices are based on three variables -- the stones used, intricacy of the design, and size of the panel. While LODESTAR's work is not within everyone's budget, clients who have seen this star have been known to stretch in its direction."

Specific Comments: "Not only is their work exquisite but Stewart has a great sense of humor." "Stewart works with the precision of a jeweler." "They are always timely, even on large-scale jobs."

"Stewart, I hope this finds you well. We are doing fine here! The installation of the panels was a success. I often find people chatting in front of these panels in amazement, and I at times will stop and tell them the story. They truly love the stone detail and the location could not be more perfect. On behalf of all of us, thanks for the beautiful contribution to Wynn Las Vegas."

Mosaics Revived. One presumes Donald Trump was as impressed by the colored-stone mosaics created by LODESTAR as designer Sam Botero, who recommends them, was. LODESTAR recently designed a floor medallion for the spa in Trump's New York apartment, and Botero has commissioned the company to do a tabletop for a client. LODESTAR president Stewart A. Ritwo got into the field as a natural progression from his interest in collecting old stained glass. On business trips to Brazil, he discovered Egyptian craftsmen who had revived and combined the ancient Byzantine and Florentine Renaissance pietre dure styles to come up with a technique that incorporates hand-cut and -set semi-precious and other stones in unique designs. They will do custom surfaces on anything imaginable, using such stones as malachite, sodalite, serpentinite, and onyx in a wide variety of color and styles, from Italianate to high-tech geometrics.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE: Specialty Designers Are Decorating in Duos. There's even a "Michelangelo of Granite."
"'He's the Only One.' In some cases, the specialists develop their own followings, as designers used to. When Nancy Gahles, a chiropractor in Belle Harbor, N.Y., wanted a floral mosaic in her entryway, she turned to a specialist referred to in one services guide as "The Michelangelo of Granite" -- Stewart Ritwo of New York. 'Somebody's got to be it,' says Mr. Ritwo, who created a floor medallion of marble, granite and semi-precious stones, along with a dining-room tabletop, an entryway tabletop and more, for $100,000. 'He's the only one' she would use, says Ms. Gahles. 'I love it. It's art.'"

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