Every piece of jewelry that I make is inspired by the gems that I use.
I am a certified gemologist who has been trained to identify and grade diamonds, colored gemstones, and pearls. Each gemstone is hand-selected by me.
I find my gemstones at trade shows where I dig through endless trays of gems in search of gemstones that inspire new design ideas and can be recut into pairs. I love gems that have curious and interesting shapes, patterns, and inclusions.
I just returned from the Tucson Gem Show, one of the world's largest trade shows for colored gemstones, and I am feeling particularly inspired to create new pieces and share the reasons I choose the gems I choose for my collections.
While studying gemology, I fell in love with the stories. Sure, gemstones are beautiful and I, like anyone else, love to look at beautiful things, but the stories captivated me.
There is so much lore and history to each and every gemstone. It was fascinating to learn about the Hope Diamond being cursed and pirates sinking ships full of Emeralds heading to Spain from Colombia. I love the story about wildfires in Tanzania burning the ground so hot that the brown zoisite pebbles on the earth turned a majestic purplish-blue once the fires had gone out, birthing Tanzanite. And, I absolutely love images of early pearl divers and the antiquated (and heavy!) systems they used for jumping off of the sides of ships in search of oysters that contained naturally formed pearls.
I revel in the magic and the marvel of centuries of people, from pharaohs to farmers, finding and loving gemstones.
I see new stories in every gem that I select. I am attracted to gems for my collections that show a bit of the history of their own formation. Wild inclusions of tourmaline and rutile that streak a quartz crystal in a laser show of detail; crystals caught within crystals showing phases of formation and an interruption of growth; blocks of color, like miniature Rothko paintings, that tell me about the presence of chemicals and minerals in the environment that came and went while the gemstone was coming to life.
When we see these details in a gemstone, I like to think that I am looking at Mother Nature's underpainting. In oil paintings you can often x-ray a masterpiece and see layers of decisions that were made and altered by the artist's hand--A change of expression from a smile to a frown; a tree that appeared or disappeared in future layers. The gemstones I love are the ones that show multiple phases of gemstone formation and Mother Nature's indecision as she worked towards the final gem.
One of my favorite things is that gemstones can tell you where they have been based on the inclusions present or the actual form of the finished piece. For example, Tahitians Pearls take 7-10 years to form. Over the course of their development, many things can happen around them: The water can change temperature, nutrients for the oyster growing the pearl can come or go, a large storm can create a surge and alter other elements and creatures present in the area, etc. All of these things will affect the appearance of the growing pearl. I choose Tahitian Pearls that show these stories in circled ridges, shifting colors, and asymmetrical forms.
I love the unique nature of every gemstone found in my collection and appreciate the thought they inspire through their individual colors, forms, and characteristics.
I am constantly learning and discovering new aspects of the world of gemology through my work and I am forever grateful for the opportunity to treasure hunt and transform gemstones into wearable pieces of art.