Let's talk about stones!

As an artist who works closely with stones on a very regular basis I’d like to share some of the knowledge that I have with the hope that maybe some of you will also get to experience this very special connection I have with these beauties of the world. 

Lapis Lazuli

You know a bit about my love for lapis lazuli, as I have used the stone in quite a few of my works over the years. The incredible blue has always intrigued me, I have had a love for these stones for a long time now and now also have a small collection of them. I’m certainly not alone in my adoration for lapis lazuli, this beauty is known to have been used throughout most of recorded human history. Mining for lapis may have begun as early as 7000 BC in the Badakhshan Province, modern day Afghanistan. Lapis beads, jewellery and small sculptures have been found in Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan dating to circa 3000 B.C.E. Lapis also appears in Egyptian burial sites also dating back to before 3000 B.C.E, we also know that Egyptian women used powdered lapis as eyeshadow, the Assyrians and Babylonieans used lapis for cylinder seals. Lapis lazuli is used in jewellery, carvings, mosaics, ornaments, vases and has been used for cladding the walls and columns of churches and palaces.  

Lapis lazuli, is a rock composed of the blue silicate mineral Lazurite, and the word itself stems from the Persian word Lashward meaning blue. In mediaeval times, the name was translated to Latin and became Lapis lazuli. You can find this relatively rare stone in Italy, Russia, Afghanistan, Chili, Albania, Birma, Pakistan, Canada, Angola and in the U.S.A. It can also be found in marble. An intense and dense blue lazier blue or dark blue colour, can be found with traces of pyrite -a brassy colour-, which make this stone shimmer. Oftentimes one will be able to find this stone with more grey or white traces, which creates interesting 'drawings', made by its crystalline traces. Augite, Calcite, Diopside, Glimmer, Hauyn and Hornblende can also be found by the experts, even though there are minimal traces of it.

Find the gorgeous lapis lazuli in:

Ring Shea, a totally amazing and perfect blue Lapis lazuli, almost midnight blue, in a Navette shape, which has facets to the side.

Ring Shylo, a bright blue lapis lazuli, round and polished, the colour reminds me of a deep blue sea.


Rock Crystal

I love rock crystal! I have searched for it in the Swiss and French Alps for years, where it often can be found opaque, with inclusions or transparent, the latter when you're lucky. However this type of stone can be found all over the world, only hardly in my village or surroundings in walking distance! So, even though I live in the Alps, I have to travel to nearby mountains. The good thing is that driving along mountain roads is always a joy. Of course I buy this stone from tradespeople too, because finding the best transparent qualities is a job in itself! In Europe, one can find the clearest or best pieces for example in Switzerland, near the Aar region or the Gotthard massif, in Italy around Bavena, on the island of Elba, in France, near Dauphine, in Strzegom in Poland, in the Czech republic in Vela Kras, and places around Germany and Austria. In the beginning, people found stones by pure luck but they were very valuable in Mediaeval times, where rock crystal balls were used to predict the future. Some of the most unique finds of rock crystal were found on the Zingen Stock in Switzerland which weighed between 400 and 800 kilo's and were found in 1719. On the Eiskögel in Austria, one weighing 618 kilo's was found and much later in 1965, a cave was found on the Grossglockner, Granatsitze, one of the crystals weighed almost a ton. Of course you can find these stones worldwide and you should know that Brazil has some amazing sources too. The word crystal stems from Greek, which means ice or krustallos, like frozen water, ice formed by the Gods. Colourless, transparent rock crystal is the purest form of quartz.

Find rock crystal in:

Ring Starlet, this super clear rock crystal comes in an isometric shape, which is round with large facets. I created this ring by forming an organic shape where the stone adds character. Starlet is the star of the scene. Her golden structure holds a delicate looking transparent stone, in this ring the yellow gold of her setting is emphasised more than her crystal but she plays an important role nonetheless.

Ring Emilia, here the crystal plays the most important role, the intricate structure is her base, and almost a pedestal for the stone. Inside the stone one can find a slight inclusion, which gives each stone its personality. She is pointed in shape, which is actually based on her natural shape. The polisher kept the style of her natural shape as pure as possible. 

Baroque Pearl 

I have a deep love for pearls, especially the baroque pearl. The pearl's name comes from the Portuguese word barocco, meaning imperfect, coarse or uneven. These pearls with an elaborate shape were first used in jewellery during the Baroque Era, so the name is also a reference to a time of luxuriant art and architecture. Most baroque pearls are freshwater pearls and over 90% of freshwater pearls are actually baroque pearls. Freshwater baroque pearls are very common due to the fact that freshwater muscles are tissue-nucleated, not bead-nucleated. As there is no bead it is very hard for the mussel to produce a round or near round pearl shape. 

Ring Faye, baroque pearl in my new ring Faye! This gorgeous pearl is in my stunning conscious setting in yellow gold. A wonderfully different pearl ring. 

Xx Sheila 

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