Gem Blast: Garnets

In honor of my best friend growing up, whose birthday is tomorrow, I’m posting a whole bunch of gemstone pictures of her birthstone: Garnet.

Merelani Mint

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Almost Colorless Grossular Garnet

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Tsavorites:

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Imperial Garnet

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Imperial Garnet:

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Loliondo Spessartite

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Loliondo Spessartite

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Hah! I just realized that I don’t have any pink or red garnet pictures on this computer. I guess I need to take some more pictures!

But check out the variety of colors. I wish (sort of!) that the general public knew that these stones were as varied and interesting as they are. Of course, I don’t wish that the general public knew about them because then the prices would go up even more.

This is for all you January babies out there!

Gem Blast: Merelani Mint

Since things are starting to get a bit crazy around these parts, I’m going to take it easy for a post! This little stone is a Merelani Mint Garnet, so named for the Merelani Hills area of Tanzania, where some of the most awesome green garnets come from.

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The trade ideal dictates that the more saturated, the better, and the more blue in the green, the better. This one is not deep enough in tone, or saturated enough to be considered the trade ideal, but it a beautiful little gem that’s internally flawless.

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You can see in this picture how much more blue the center stone has in it next to it’s two companions, also green garnets. The center stone was a birthday present from my husband, the sides were an anniversary gift.

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A lot of people like the set these garnets in rose gold, because of where they sit on the colorwheel, but it just reads as busy to me for most of the pale greens out there.

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I plan to eventually set this stone with white diamonds, I just haven’t figured out how I want to do it – especially because I have the two other green garnets to set as well.

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This stone was cut by Barry Bridgestock at Artistic Colored Stones. Should you ever see something you like on his website, I highly recommend snapping it up right then and there, his stones tend to fly off the shelves as soon as they are put on them!

Jewelry Design

While I have taken many art classes, some centered around edible mediums, I would never consider myself to be a trained artist. I have a dear friend who is an artist, and she makes amazing pieces, typically paintings, that I only wish I could do. I am not a natural 2D artist, and I am constantly working on improving on that aspect of my work. Now, having said that, I have other strengths that play in my favor.

Once upon a time I took an IQ test, and when given the results, I was informed that I had a very high proficiency in spatial reasoning. Typically this manifests in how to best arrange the freezer to manage to fit all of the frozen food from the grocery store into it, but sometimes I use my powers for more fun stuff.

Which is where jewelry design comes in. I tend to thrive on fitting pieces together, arranging different sizes/shapes of stones together to creating something visually interesting, something that flows and catches the eye. When I design for someone else, I try to keep that same aesthetic theory, while incorporating what the person wants and needs in a design. I often exercise a fair amount of restraint; I don’t want to produce an item that is covered in detail to the extent that the design obscures the beauty of the materials used.

Some “in progress” sketch ideas for a dear friend of mine, who obviously has a fondness for halos, playing with proportions and seeing if anything moves me. Mostly playing with proportions and stone layouts. Interesting ideas, but nothing has come to fruition yet.

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A more in depth sketch I was considering, this one is actually to scale. This is for a red cushion cut spinel with baguettes, rounds and a knife edge shank.

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Messing around with a sketch for a larger blue spinel, based on an antique setting from a zircon ring I saw – very difficult to try to get on paper, as the shapes are not easily replicated from one side of the stone to another. These are pretty typical for a sketch I’ll throw together on a whim just to get a visual on how it looks and proportions. The antique version was beautiful, while this sketch looks vaguely like a Sesame Street character.

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This sketch was an idea I was working on with a mint garnet for the center. The stone is small, and the owner wanted plenty of impact from the piece as a whole, even though it is a smaller center. The layout of the larger halo stones is inspired by antique cluster rings.

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The sketch below was a jumping point for the red spinel above. The side stones would be baguette cut diamonds, inspired by the Art Deco period, an era I’m particularly influenced by.

 

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All of the above sketches are pretty old, and are far from being my best work, but I like some of these projects and ideas that stemmed from them quite a bit. It always helps when I like a stone that I’m designing for!

I am currently in the process of honing my drawing skills, and getting to a point where an item has the appearance of 3D on the paper. Unfortunately that takes a lot of time when you are learning, especially wen you are teaching yourself, and I don’t ever seem to have enough time at the moment. I am hoping that soon things will calm down enough so that I can actually sit down with a sketch book instead of a laptop!