I have always had a box of gemstones. It is an ever-changing assortment of colorful stones, comprised of acquisitions I purchased, with only a vague idea of how I might use them, or a design I’ll create. Most of the time, I buy what I like and know the rest will work itself out later… sometimes much later.
Who knew gray could be so colorful? Yes, gray. Boring? Neutral? Depressing as a heavy autumn sky? The uniform of dystopian conformity? None of the above! Those using gray as a symbol of everything dull have obviously never seen the confounding beauty of a gray spinel.
The custom design process usually provides plenty of inspiration, constraint and collaborative exchange for me to produce thoughtful designs that delight my clients. There are times, however, when this magical combination is lacking and the clarity to move a design-forward is absent. When realistic ivy vines compete with hammered scrollwork or domed minimalism, I take a break and do some “creative cross-training.”
When shopping for gold, you’ll always see it spoken of in terms of karats: 24k, 18k, 12k, and so on. But what exactly is a karat? What does it measure, and how does it compare to the confusingly similar “carat”?
In my last blog, I talked a little about tsavorite, one of the rarest gemstones on Earth, mined in only a small corner of Kenya and Tanzania. Tanzanite is another rare beauty from East Africa, perhaps even rarer than tsavorite. If you’re looking for tanzanite, you’ll find it only in an eight-square-kilometer region that lies in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Few gems match the pure, rich green of emerald, but the tsavorite variety of garnet comes close. When we think of garnet, we probably think of a gemstone ranging in color from caramel brown to pomegranate red, but garnet appears in just about every color of the rainbow. Tsavorite, which ranges in color from olive to evergreen (the latter being the most valuable), is one of the rarest shades of all—and one of the rarest gemstones in the world.
As the snow melts and the trees sprout leaves in May, we start to see the soothing, rich green of emerald all around us. If you feel the same sense of relaxation looking at an emerald that you do sitting in a green field in the springtime, it’s not just your imagination. Emeralds are said to relieve exhaustion and bring a sense of tranquility to the wearer, and like many of the properties often attributed to gemstones, this idea has some scientific basis.
A rough diamond looks cold to the touch, like a tiny shard of ice. To a 5th century BCE alluvial miner sifting through the sand and gravel of the Krishna River in India, a sparkling diamond crystal must have seemed like something that fell all the way from the icy reaches of the Himalayas. But as we now know, they’re actually produced in the most fiery of conditions, deep in the churning mantle, where extreme pressure turns solid rock into very hot jelly.
Even if you’ve never heard of beryllium aluminum cyclosilicate (Be3Al2Si6O18), you’ve definitely seen it before. It is the mineral form of emerald, aquamarine, and many other colorful gemstones.
It’s only the beginning of March and summer still seems a long way away, but this month’s birthstone, aquamarine, will transport you to the deck of a ship on some tropical sea, surrounded by clear skies and clear waters, embraced by the warm sun and a gentle breeze.
The regal amethyst has been associated with royalty for centuries, and as one of my favorite gemstones, it has been a part of my company identity for decades. Many gems lay claim to the title Queen of Gemstones—emerald, opal, pearl—but amethyst is the undisputed Queen of Quartz. Let me share my love of February’s birthstone.
It’s that time again: time to talk about the Pantone Color of the Year. The announcement of the new Color of the Year is always a fun time for artists and designers of all kinds as we begin thinking about and looking for inspiration for new projects for a new year.
Traditionally, each of the twelve months was assigned one birthstone, but some months have multiples. December babies have the fortune of three separate birthstones - Turquoise, Tanzanite, and Blue Zircon - all of which take on a unique shade of blue.
I love September in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Every year I point my car West and head to Wyoming and Montana.
Rubies and red spinel are some of the most scrumptious reds in the jewelry box. You may think they are the same (they can look really similar), but they're not. They have different properties that make them unique.
This article was originally published in "Explore Big Sky," on April 13, 2017.
This article was originally published in "INSTORE Magazine," on August 31, 2021.
Since the Bronze Age, garnets have adorned the wealthy, from the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs to the markets of Rome to the streets of Victorian London.
Many readers may be familiar with tourmaline from hair dryer ads that talk about “negative ionization” and “infra-red heat.”
A favorite of generations of British monarchs and beloved by Queen Elizabeth II, no other gemstone is as synonymous with royalty as the sapphire.
Pearls. Idealized as perfectly round white orbs shimmering with a faint pink light, or black ones glistening with iridescent purple.
Peridot has been found on Earth for millions of years, making it one of the oldest known minerals.
Ellie Thompson + Co. celebrates LOVE all Pride Month long with special pricing on custom, made-to-order, engagement rings, and wedding bands for men and women. Enjoy the experience of expressing your love in a unique way with specially crafted rings.
After opening my new shop in Chicago’s Roscoe Village in the fall of 2019, I have received many requests and lots of enthusiasm for lab-grown diamonds, especially for engagement rings and stud style earrings.
In my early 20s, when I first started out in the jewelry industry, I joined the Chicago Chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association.
A New Collection: Designing the First Piece, PART V And then the pandemic struck….
I think often about the sentiment we attach to the jewelry we wear.
I am lucky to live on one of Chicago's most beautiful beaches. It sits quietly just north of the hustle and bustle of the Lakefront Trail. It is a hidden gem.
I am often asked how I come up with my ideas.
So now, I am feeling the urgency to get The First Piece to Done!!!
This article was originally published in Park Bench on February 13, 2020
After I decided to feature the beautiful oval spessartite garnet in the First Piece, I moved on to procuring gemstones for the first three pairs of earrings.
The "First Piece" is to be a large pendant, with a floral design in an architectural style made in 18K yellow gold, inlaid American walnut, with a spessartite garnet center, rubellite tourmalines radiating out to the perimeter, and a drop component comprised of peridot and diamonds.
Creating a new collection is not something I do on a timeline.
While Sapphires are available in a wide range of colors from yellow to pink, green to purple, violet to orange, the Blue Sapphire is the most popular. I am often called upon to design engagement rings using a blue sapphire instead of a diamond as the centerpiece.
Blue Zircon has a lively, natural light to medium slightly greenish-blue color with brilliance that rivals a diamond. I love designing with blue zircon, look for blue zircons in my upcoming collections!
I find myself returning east to Chicago by mid-October. I would hate to miss a Chicago winter!
This article was originally published in "CBS Chicago," on August 7, 2012.
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