By her who in this month is born,
No gems save Garnets should be worn;
They will insure her constancy,
True friendship and fidelity.
Who first comes to this world below
With drear November’s fog and snow
Should prize the Topaz’ amber hue—
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
In Notes and Queries, May 11, 1889. P. 371
Source: Hoyt’s New Cyclopedia of Practical Quotations (1922)
art, bamboo, beauty, creativity, Design, design philosophy, Diamond, eco-friendly, gems, gold, harmony, idea, japanese bamboo, jewellery, nature, precious metal, ruby, sculpture, silver, Stephanie Chloe Bila, swarovski
How unusual things may inspire creativity … a snippet of the interview with Stephanie Chloe Bila. Read the full interview here.
Perhaps the love of beauty is timeless; perhaps beauty yearns to be regarded; perhaps diamond only sparkles when embellished and coveted by a beauty; perhaps an artist like Stephanie is born to adorn beauty with her timeless creations. But to be fair to Stephanie, it is not so much diamonds or rubies that piqued her interest and inspired her creations. Instead, she was captivated by Japanese bamboo sculpture and created one of her most famous series inspired by that.
How did you consider giving Beech timber a new dimension and even promote it as an important element to highstreet fashion? How important the choice material is in overall scheme of the things?
I saw the sculptural qualities inherent in the material and decided to take it out of its original context (handrails, furniture, interior fixtures and fittings) and use it in an innovative way to create my jewellery. The material chosen is extremely important. My work is a constant dialogue between the wood and my envisioned design; the woods flexibility allows my designs to take a more spontaneous direction as I am able to change and adapt throughout the entire creative process.
Nature is an infinite source of inspiration and you seem to turn to it often to create your unique pieces. Talk us through your design philosophy and the procedure you follow to see your imaginations taking shape.
The natural surroundings in which we live influence us in more ways than we often realise. This concept has always fascinated me and as such has formed the basis for much of my design work. Though my newest collection may seem more structured than some of my older pieces this is merely due to the diverse sources of inspiration that exist in the natural world and whilst spontaneity and irregularity exist within nature so too do mathematical and architectural patterns. I believe the history of my work thus far has been drawn to this contrast. I begin each creative project with sketches of design ideas inspired through visual and literary research. Once an idea begins to take shape I experiment with creating three dimensional models in order to best find harmony between concept, material and process.
Stephanie’s collections are available for further viewing at her own site.
argyle, Diamond, Diamond color, Dutch East India Company, gem, Gemstone, Graff Pink, jasper, mine, morganite, New York Academy of Sciences, opal, pearl, pink, rhodochrosite, rhodonite, rose quartz, ruby, Sapphire, Sri Lanka, tourmaline
Romancing the pink may become an expensive hobby when it comes to pink gemstones. And as with all things natural these tiny droplets of earth’s rocky crust come in a variety of dazzling shades of pink making them incredibly difficult to ignore. There is no need to lose heart though. While the pink of rubies and diamonds could be unbelievably expensive, there are more affordable yet equally alluring options available befitting everyone’s budget. A rosette of pink gemstones is shared here for everyone to enjoy and posses.
Ruby – Though the variety of the mineral corundum, ruby owes its name to Latin ruber meaning red and authors around the world praise ruby red with their eloquence, yet ruby is also found in softer hue of pink. And in line with the esteemed beauty of this gemstone the pink shade of ruby is as adorable as its rosier counterpart. Such is the rarity of this pure and lustrous gemstone that a carat of ruby is priced many times higher than a carat of colourless diamond.
Gemstone market is flooded with heated, clarity enhanced, lead glass filled ruby that are cheaper. Synthetic rubies are also in production since early 20th century, a trend set first by Auguste Verneuil and then by Czochralski. These are extensively used in the making of ruby lasers and masers.
It is the natural rubies though that is honoured for its intrinsic beauty. Mogok region of Burma, Tanzania and Madagascar mine the bulk amount of natural gemstone quality ruby circulated worldwide. More recently, significant amount of ruby deposits are discovered in Greenland.
Alan Caplan Ruby, a 15.97–carat untreated Mogok stone was sold by Sotheby’s of New York in 18th October, 1988 for $3,630,000; $227,301 per carat. The Liberty Bell Ruby, originating in Africa and weighing a massive four pounds making it the biggest ever minded ruby, was carved in the form of Liberty Bell and was encrusted with fifty diamonds. It was stolen in a heist in 2011.
Ruby has always been a gemstone of royalty. It is associated with sun and consequently empowers the wearer and also helps in improving his or her mental capacity. It is considered as a magnifier of vitality, love and happiness in life.
Sapphire – The other mineral corundum expression of aluminium oxide is sapphire. It is available in many colours from yellow, pink, white and blue of which blue is undoubtedly the most well known variety. Pink sapphire is popularly known as padparadscha, a name derived from Sanskrit padma raga. Pink sapphires are extremely rare and are only found in small quantities in Sri Lanka, Madagascar and Vietnam.
Pink sapphire is believed to make one resilient. It also aligns the mind with the heart and encourages compassion both for self and for others.
Pink Diamond – To say that the gem quality pink diamond is rare would be the height of understatement. The Argyle mine in Australia produces 1600kg of diamond annually. The bulk of this amount could be passed on as brown, cognac or red toned diamonds and only a few carats qualify for the category of ‘pink diamonds’.
Pink diamonds are also popularly known as argyle diamonds obtaining their name from the mine (and also the company) where they originate. A specialised team of craftsmen handle the argyle diamonds in Perth. Each year a small collection of best pink diamonds are offered to the collectors worldwide through exhibitions held in New York, Tokyo, Perth, Antwerp, Hong Kong, London, Geneva, Mumbai, Shanghai and Beijing (http://www.argylepinkdiamonds.com.au/). Prices soar from $100,000/ct to over US$1,000,000/ct for these rare beauties. The Graff Pink, a rare 24.78 carat fancy intense pink diamond, is the most famous pink diamond known to this date.
The mystical properties of diamonds include an enhancement of self–confidence, clarity of thought and endurance.
Pink Opal – A combination of silica and water trapped into earth’s dark chambers for millions of years turned itself into opal, a mineraloid. It does not show the crystallinity of minerals and so cannot be grouped with other crystalline mineral forms of silica. Precious opal shows a peculiar iridescence that is due to its internal structure that causes light to diffract. It appears in many hues starting from white, grey, blue, magenta, rose, pink, olive, red, yellow and black. The red on black variety are the rarest and consequently the most valuable ones. Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821) presented his empress Josephine de Beauharnais a blazing red opal named, ‘Burning of Troy.’
The name opal is a supposed variant of Sanskrit upala. Pliny the Elder was eloquent about opal’s beauty when he said, ‘Made up of the glories of the most precious gems, to describe them is a matter of inexpressible difficulty. For there is amongst them the gentler fire of the ruby, there is the rich purple of the amethyst, there is the sea–green of the emerald, and all shining together in an indescribable union. Others, by an excessive heightening of their hues equal all the colours of the painter, others the flame of burning brimstone, or of a fire quickened by oil.’
Australia produces 97% of world’s supply of opal and the gemstone has gained the national gemstone status in the country. Peru is another country with opal deposits under its rock bed.
The pink colour of opal soothes the heart and mind of the wearer and relieves them of painful memories. Opal is believed to be beneficial for poor eyesight, heart disease and poor lung conditions.
Tourmaline – Tourmaline has derived its name from Sinhalese word Thuramali and is found in every conceivable colour in the emerald isle of Sri Lanka. Dutch East India Company, attracted by its shimmering beauty, imported and popularised tourmaline in Europe. The rubellite variety or Elbaite species (named after Elba, Italy where these were chemically analysed in 1818) of tourmaline is found in a radiant pinkish hue. The presence of lithium in this silicate mineral gives tourmaline such splendid pink colour. California, US, Afghanistan and Africa are rich sources of gem quality tourmalines.
Pink tourmaline is having a potential of eliminating stress, worries and relieving oneself of emotional wounds. It is associated with a deep sense of nurturing.
Rhodonite – The name rhodonite itself is a reflection of its rosy pink hue (the name originated from Greek rhodos meaning rosy). It was found in 1819 for the first time. The iron and manganese mines in Sweden and Germany are rich sources of rhodonite. It is also the official gem of Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Named a rescue stone rhodonite is effective in warding off negative energies.
Rhodochrosite – Rhodochrosites are mineral manganese carbonate that is found in the silver mines. It was first spotted in Romania in 1813. Capillitas and Catamarca in Argentina are sources of very fine rhodochrosite. A cross–section of rhodochrosite would reveal bands of cerise, darker and lighter shades of brown and a more vivid red. The Incas believed that rhodochrosite is the blood of their former rulers turned into stone. So, rhodochrosite, which means rose tinted in Greek, gained its name, Rosa del Inca.
Due to its softness its usage as a faceted gemstone is limited. However, beaded necklace or bracelet or the stone set in a pendant is popular among the lovers of rhodochrosite. It is believed to have a strong effect on intuition and creativity.
Morganite – Like its more celebrated cousin, diamond, beryl in its purest form is colourless. But often impurities tint it with colours as brilliant as red, pink, yellow, green and blue. One such blessed ‘adulteration’ of Manganese gives beryl a unique rose pink colour. In December, 1910, pink beryls were named as morganite after J P Morgan, the famous banker and collector, by New York Academy of Sciences.
One of the largest morganite specimen was found in 1987, Bennett Quarry in Buckfield, Maine, US and was named The Rose of Maine. The gemstone is mainly obtained from Brazil, Madagascar, Afghanistan and California, US.
Morganite is used by alternative therapists to address stress related issues. It helps maintaining the inner calmness and increases joy in life. The unique pink hue of this gemstone is sure to bring a twinkle in the eyes of your admirer.
Rose Quartz & Pink Jasper – Unlike some of the more glamorous gemstones of this article quartz is abundantly found in earth’s crust. Citrine, amethyst, rose quartz, smoky quartz, prasiolite, aventurine, carnelian, agate, onyx, tiger’s eye, rutilated quartz, jasper are varieties of transparent, semi–transparent or translucent quartz and are available in widely different colours. Each of these quartzes are considered semi–precious gemstone and used both for jewelleries and sculptures. The name quartz has been derived from German word quarz which in turn originated from Polish twardy meaning ‘hard substance.’
Rose quartz is available from pale to rose pink hues owing to trace amounts of phosphate or aluminium in quartz. It is a stone of universal love. For this reason heart shaped rose quartz pendants are popular among those who believe in its ability of infusing love and affection in relationships. It also promotes a sense of self–worth and is believed to keep one’s look youthful and fresh. Minas Gerais in Brazil is the highest producer of rose quartz.
Jasper on the other hand, is found in an array of hues one of them being pink. The name implies ‘spotted or speckled stone’ and has its origin rooted in Old French jaspre and Latin iaspidem. In fact the pink of jasper is also not flawless and interrupted with bands of white, purple and grey colour. It is these ‘flaws’ though that accentuate the beauty of pink jasper and lend its uniqueness. Early Persian and Arabic scripts are eloquent about the beauty of jaspers.
Metaphysically, it is believed to provide relief from neurological disorders. It is even used in the treatment of arthritis and dental fixtures.
Pink Pearl – Celebrated film director Federico Fellini said, ‘The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.’ Girl with a Pearl Earring is one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s greatest creations. It is a calcium carbonate produce of shelled mussels in a very minute crystalline form deposited in a concentric layer. The beauty of pearl is admired and coveted since ages. Pearl is cultivated for not only using in jewelleries but also to accentuate fashionable dresses, in production of cosmetics and paint formulations. It is however the natural pearls that fetch more accolades and are consequently more expensive. Sea bed around Australia and Bahrain are sources of natural pearl findings. Due to water pollution naturally formulated pearls are becoming rarer by the day.
Out of every hundred thousand pearls only one show a flaming pink shade. Caribbean pink pearls are generally most sought after by collectors and jewellery designers around the world. Divers wear pearls for shark protection. Pliny’s Natural History has mention of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, drinking pearl melted in vinegar, possibly as an aphrodisiac or more likely to obtain a lustrous sheen on her soft skin. Pearl helps in alleviating stress related issues and strengthening immunological system in body.
Not for nothing did Audrey Hepburn say, ‘I believe in pink.’
- Pink Diamond’s $45.6 Million Tops Prices Before HK Sale – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Bright and Beautiful Pieces at Christie’s Fall Magnificent Jewels Auction (extravaganzi.com)
Charles Dickens, chrysolite, coral, Diamond, emerald, Francis Bacon, Gemstone, George Eliot, George Frederick Kunz, jewellery, Kahlil Gibran, Literature, Mark Twain, pearl, Pliny, ruby, Sapphire, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake
Gemstone jewellery has its intrinsic charm. The flashes of ruby, sparkles of diamond, depth of sapphire and lushness of emeralds evoke strong emotions in sensitive minds. Poets and litterateurs are no exception. They often draw similes of gems to elements of nature or even lover’s eyes. Here are some ‘gems’ of such poetic expression.
These gems have life in them: their colours speak, say what words fail of.
~ George Eliot
Win her with gifts, if she respect not words:
Dumb jewels often in their silent kind
More than quick words do move a woman’s mind.
~ Shakespeare, As You Like It
Let us not be too particular. It is better to have old second-hand diamonds than none at all.
~ Mark Twain
If heaven would make me such another world
Of one entire and perfect chrysolite.
~ Shakespeare, Othello
My thoughts arise and fade in solitude;
The verse that would invest them melts away
Like moonlight in the heaven of spreading day.
How beautiful they were, how firm they stood,
Flecking the starry sky like woven pearl.
~ P B Shelley
There is in them a softer fire than the ruby, there is the brilliant purple of the amethyst, and the sea green of the emerald – all shining together in incredible union. Some by their splendour rival the colours of the painters, others the flame of burning sulphur or of fire quickened by oil.
The countless gold of a merry heart,
The rubies and pearls of a loving eye,
The indolent never can bring to the mart,
Nor the secret hoard up in his treasury.
~ William Blake
On the motionless branches of some trees, autumn berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels.
~ Charles Dickens
Whence we see spiders, flies, or ants entombed and preserved forever in amber, a more than royal tomb.
~ Francis Bacon Sr
Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.
~ Kahlil Gibran
Inspired by the theme of Shakespeare and Precious Stones by George Frederick Kunz.
Art Nouveau, artdeco, bracelet, brooch, cartier, Diamond, dress clip, emerald, gemstones, industrialisation, International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts, Jean Dunand, Jean Fouquet, jewellery, jewelry, Naum Slutzky, Paris, ring, ruby, Sapphire, Scarlett Johansson, watch
Celebrated actress Scarlett Johansson’s ‘Art Deco ring’ made headlines in newspapers, tabloid and web based media during later part of last week. The news of the engagement itself was perhaps out-shined by the glitterati of the ring.
But what is art deco and how a ring being ‘Art Deco’ is extra special?
In early part of 20th century Art Nouveau, the art movement roughly between 1895 and 1915, culminated into Art Deco. If Art Nouveau was more about sensuous curvature, undulating line with a syncopated rhythm (‘whiplash’ as Pan Magazine described, 1894), Art Deco was about form, order and geometry. While jewelleries of Art Nouveau period drew inspirations from nature and the craftsmen were enthusiastic about Japanese art, Art Deco introduced same stringency of geometric shapes that pervaded painting, sculpture, architecture and interior decoration.
The term Art Deco is believed to have been first coined by architect Le Corbusier. While penning a series of article in his journal L’Esprit nouveau, he used the heading as 1925 Expo: Arts Déco. He was referring to the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts), 1925. But the term became widely popular and had its followers among artists, sculptors, architects and craftsmen of the time. Art Deco (1915 – 1935) was influenced by the rapid industrialisation of the era post World War I. However, no movement can be based on a singular ideal. And, as more and more artists embraced the philosophy they also continued adding their own expressions finding inspirations in neo-classicism, modernism, cubism, dadaism and even the pre-modern era of Egyptian and Mesopotamian art. With German Bauhaus movement and the belief that the artists and craftsmen should not have any barriers between them, Art Deco let itself permeate into the world of fashion and jewellery making.
Art Deco period saw introduction of plastic and aluminium into the world of jewellery for the first time. Naum Slutzky’s designs did set the tone in this regard. Technical wizardry became more important than the material. The straight-line bracelets with square cut diamonds became fashionable in Paris and such cushion cut diamonds were named ‘French cut’ diamonds.
Sautoir or long necklaces with tassels had their ropes replaced with diamond or pearls. With sleeveless and backless dresses in vogue, long strings of pearls became a fashion statement for women. Ruby, sapphire, emeralds were used to accentuate the jewelleries. Those who could not afford the real ones depended on faux gemstones or coloured glasses. Cultured pearl became a rage among the middle class due to its affordability. Cropped hair style paved the revival of earrings. Hair accessories and clips were also glamorised with precious stones.
Brooches had their image and styles both redefined and were worn on hat, lapel, belts, jacket, purses and even shoes! The metal of choice of the period was platinum followed by white gold and silver. The white colour complimented the diamond encrusts and was thus preferred. Cocktail watches, diamond encrusted dial and diamond setting in strap or bracelet, became fashion items to splurge on.
In Europe designers such as Cartier, Mauboussin, Lalique, Jean Fouquet, Frederic Boucheron, Jean Desprès, Jean Dunand and in US jewellery houses like Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, Marcus & Co., Black, Starr & Frost, and Spaulding & Co produced some of the finest art deco pieces of the day.
But faltering economy with looming war cloud on the horizon meant that the grandeur of Art Deco was short lived. For some the pomp of Art Deco jewellery was too much to bear and they felt the display to be inappropriately luxurious bordering on gaudiness. In US Great Depression of 30s exposed the humbling reality and the craze of Art Deco jewellery eventually fizzled out. But the aura around the craftsmanship of this period remained. Such designs continue to be recreated to this date and authentic Art Deco jewellery fetch highest prices in auctions around the world.