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the beauty of natural crystal specimens

 

As incredible as the cut gemstone is, the natural mineral crystal specimen can be equally, if not more, breathtaking. The featured image is an emerald from Columbia. They are famous for their distinct hue: green with a light touch of blue and they are easily distinguishable from most other emeralds.

This ruby specimen comes from Afghanistan and is nestled in calcite.

Photo courtesy of Edwards Minerals
Photo courtesy of Edwards Minerals

Below, you will see an incredible aquamarine from Pakistan. Look at how clean the faces are and how sharp the termination of each side is! Can you believe they come out of the ground this way?

Photo courtesy of irock.com
Photo courtesy of irock.com

Lastly, an intriguing smithsonite(name for James Smithson, also the founding donor of the Smithsonian Museum) from Mexico seems to bubble-up from anglesite. Small datolite crystals are also present.

Photo courtesy of mcdougallminerls.com
Photo courtesy of mcdougallminerls.com

Here is another smithsonite, this time from New Mexico:

Photo courtesy of Chip Clark.
Photo courtesy of Chip Clark.

Ode to Zinnias (and a precious cat)

The zinnia is an old fashioned flower that is a symbol of summer to me. No garden is complete without these vivid, heat-tolerant blooms that are plentiful and easy to grow. Growing them is a source of deep satisfaction and I cut them, along with cosmos and marigolds, for small flower arrangements all season long. It is not unusual for me to have five or six vases-full at a time.

flowers flowers2 flowers in mirror

Paintings of Kurt Pio

A painted image of the brilliant facets of a diamond is almost just as lovely as the real thing. These large-scale representations of diamonds by artist Kurt Pio please me to no end. He has truely captured the scintillation(the flash of light and darkness) of a fashioned diamond. Fascinated by the splendor of a cut diamond, I tried this a few years back but lacked the patience and skill to pull it off! Darn…I will just need to get my hands on one of these…

diaphotodiapainting6diapainting2diapainting4diapainting7

Check out artist Kurt Pio’s website for more.

LITO Brooch

Photo courtesy of Crest & Co.
Photo courtesy of Crest & Co.

I love the shape and pose of  LITO’s Enoplotrupes Sharpi Brooch in 18kt rose gold. Beautiful Greek craftsmanship highlights the ancient beetle motif with a modern edged design. The delicate and precise line of diamonds adds brightness. It would be lovely positioned up near the shoulder or even pinned onto a grosgrain or velvet ribbon to be worn as a belt or headband.

The Jewelry of Emily Miranda

Inspired by nature and whimsically executed, Emily Miranda’s jewelry is show-stopping. She was working as a creative cake-maker when she transitioned into jewelry. (Many designers have other areas of expertise, creative and not, that led them to jewelry through unconventional paths.) From baking custom creative cakes to icing the ears and wrists and necks of women, Emily’s work is  an INSPIRATION to me.

seaweed-collar

folded-ring tangled-earrings tangled-brooch barnacle-cuff  seaweed-bib6 encrusted

All photos courtesy of Emily Miranda.

Trigons

Photocourtesy of Charles Merguerien.
Photocourtesy of Charles Merguerien.

Art? A primitive map showing a mountain range? High-precision laser inscribing? Nope! Just one of the many natural beauty marks of rough diamonds. These close-ups are as beautiful as the pictures in my “Opals in October” post. I would fill my walls with large-scale reproductions of these, they are so fabulous!

Diamond_face_trigons_scale

Trigons are triangular growth patterns that appear on diamond rough. Oriented in the opposite direction of the gemstone’s octahedral face, these marks were etched into the diamonds as they formed by extremely hot fluids, far below the earth’s surface.

diam-as-rough-trigon-facet-direct-t

RoughPic copy

The Sugarloaf

 

 

The sugarloaf manages to be both humble and bombastic, understated but magnificent, paying true homage to nature’s vivid palate. 

In light of two friends’ recent engagement, which came with a gorgeous sugarloaf ruby ring, I’m inspired to post about this special cut.

The sugarloaf, named for the form in which sugar was sold before the advent of the sugar cube, is a variation of the more common cabochon-cut. This cut was made to highlight a gemstone’s magnificent color. It does not try to disguise the natural inclusions within the stone but acts as a window into their unique beauty. (See the above picture, courtesy of 1stdibs.com, for a stunning example of a ruby.) A rough gemstone is cut into an elipse shape with a diamond-edged saw and then ground-down with diamond grit and polished to a high shine. 

The sugarloaf manages to be both humble and bombastic, understated but magnificent, paying true homage to the incredible vividness of nature’s palate. The cut is used heavily, though not exclusively, to fashion sapphires, rubies and emeralds in fine jewelry. Polished in smooth domes, words like “juicy” and “sumptuous” come to mind when I see these candy-like gems.  I always have the urge to pop them in my mouth!

See a comparison of  the cabochon and sugarloaf cuts in these two spectacular JAR, Paris rings. Though very similar, you will see that though emerald dome is high, the ruby has a slightly more squared effect and comes to a soft point at its peak.

Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of JAR.
Photo courtesy of Farone.
Photo courtesy of Farone.

 

Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.com
Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.com

 

Photo courtesy of Fred, Paris.
Photo courtesy of Fred, Paris.

 

Photo courtesy of Kara Ross.
Photo courtesy of Kara Ross.

 

 

Malachite

The banded mineral called Malachite has enjoyed a resurgence.  Used as a pigment in paint from antiquity until the 1800’s, the vibrant colors  of this semi-precious gemstone exhibit many shades, from bright and light  to blackish-green.  The irregular bands of color form  mesmerizing amorphous shapes. Its attractive qualities are not limited to jewelry but  work beautifully in interior design and fashion as well.

This first bracelet blows my mind. Boucheron…crazy gorgeous.

18 KARAT GOLD, MALACHITE, PURPURINE AND IVORY BRACELET, BOUCHERON, PARISPhoto courtesy of Sotheby's.
18 KARAT GOLD, MALACHITE, PURPURINE AND IVORY BRACELET, BOUCHERON, PARISPhoto courtesy of Sotheby’s.
Photo courtesy of AZALEA
Photo courtesy of AZALEA
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of Kendra Scott
Michael Kors
Michael Kors
Courtesy of www.sueathome.com
Courtesy of www.sueathome.com

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Photo courtesy of Cleo Walker
Photo courtesy of Cleo Walker

The Bezel Setting

I was working with an engagement client the other day and as we discussed bezel-set diamonds, I was inspired to post on the subject.

The bezel setting is a protective rim or border of metal that encases the entirety of the gemstone. There is usually a groove in which the outer edge of the gemstone is seated and then a lip of metal that is then pushed down, or burnished, carefully over top of that edge, holding the gemstone in place. This was the first method of gemstone setting. Bezels can be thick or thin, smooth or textured, with a modern or ancient design. Either way, it is a beautiful and exceptionally safe way to wear your favorite jewel (even soft or brittle ones like emerald and opal).  I hope you enjoy this selection of gorgeous bezel-set pieces!

Diagram of bezel setting.
Diagram of bezel setting.

 

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