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So, this week’s blog has been inspired by some conversations I’ve been having lately regarding the materials I use in our jewellery. It seems not everybody is aware we only use genuine gemstones, or they aren’t sure why this is such a big deal. Like many jewellery brands (particularly in recent years), it’s often expected we use glass or plastic beads to add colour and sparkle to our designs. When asked, I love to explain that we use only genuine gemstones and more often than not, people are fascinated and want to learn more. But why do I only use gemstones? In previous blogs I’ve explained it’s due to wanting to provide a high quality product, but there are other reasons. So, let me explain why I use only genuine gemstones, why I choose the ones I do and why I think we really need to start looking more for these beautiful creations given to us by Mother Earth, in the jewellery we buy.
Gemstones are a piece of earth’s history
The reason I choose genuine gemstones over other materials is that they provide us with a piece of natural history in the most beautiful of forms. I really believe the beauty of a genuine gemstone is far greater than any similar imitation material. Yes, a glass crystal can be flawless but where is the beauty in perfection? Genuine gemstones have been formed over millions of years from the hot magma escaping from the earth’s core, mixing with other materials and cooling to create a beautiful solid ‘rock’. The history of the formation of each one is forever etched into that stone. And it’s this history that gives each one its beauty that simply cannot be replicated in anything man made. The colour of every gemstone, the marks on each one – all a result of how it was formed, so not only are they exquisitely beautiful, but we get a chance to wear a piece of natural history. Now who wouldn’t like that?
There is a gem for everyone
Mankind likes to think it can replicate or surpass anything created by nature. In some cases, this is true, but I’ve yet to see anything manmade that can replicate the beauty and sheer diversity of gemstones available to us. As a jewellery designer I’m still learning about new gemstones, the sheer abundance is never ending. Because of this, there really is a gem to suit everybody’s taste, style and personality. The nuances in colour, sparkle, clarity – decide what you’re looking for in a gem and I can guarantee there will be a gemstone you’ll love. You simply don’t get this with manmade materials, which tend to be a single block of colour, overly bright in colour, too clear to be real….the list goes on.
Each gemstone is unique
When we wear a gemstone we can be sure of one thing – each one is unique. Even within a single gemstone type e.g. Turquoise or Lapis Lazuli, no one cut gemstone bead will be the same as another. Each one will have a slightly different colour and its own markings. When we wear gems, we can be sure we’ll be the only person wearing that particular one, and who doesn’t want their own gemstone?
As you can see, I’m totally passionate about why we should wear gemstones in our jewellery. So, now you know the why, let’s look at the what – what types I use and, again, why?
The vibrancy and diversity of gemstone colours is simply stunning. Yes, many expensive solitaire gemstones are treated to enhance their colours (which is regarded in the industry as an acceptable practice), but the abundance of colour in ‘natural’ gemstones is outstanding. I’m particularly fond of the vibrant colours of Rainbow Fluorite, which, with just some exquisite cutting and polishing, gives the most brilliant of colours. Believe it or not, the abundance of colour in the bracelet below comes from just one stone.
As I explained, gemstones demonstrate the history of their formation, and there is no better stone doing this than Agate, in particular, Botswana Agate. The beautiful bands swirling across its surface are simply stunning, making each stone completely different.
Size and shape
Finished gemstones come in a variety of shapes and cuts, which can be used to create completely different styles of jewellery. At Liri, I often use the same gemstone but create completely different designs. Compare the Lapis Lazuli used in our Sprite collection and that used in our Sweet Dreams collection. One showcases striking boulders of smooth, round lapis, whilst the other, the sparkle and twinkle of a micro facetted cut.
However, not all gemstones are as versatile as each other and sometimes only a certain cut can bring out the brilliance of some stones e.g. Rose Quartz is at its best when cut into larger round beads, whilst when cut it into smaller facetted beads it tends to lose all of its colour; you need to choose wisely to ensure you’re bringing out the best of the gemstone in your jewellery designs.
The emotions they create
I don’t know about you, but I’m always drawn to certain gemstones because of the emotions they make me feel. Apart from the initial ‘ohhh isn’t that beautiful’, certain gems create a whole host of emotions for me. Let’s begin with Turquoise. For me, its colour is unrivalled and when I see turquoise jewellery I instantly feel energised and alive. I get the same feeling from Fluorite. When I use Rose Quartz, I feel soothed and calm. When I see Lapis Lazuli, for some reason I feel formal and regal, like I mean business. I feel each gemstone has its own personality, to which I want to do justice, and reflect in my jewellery designs.
Wear gemstones, slow down your fashion consumption
The final reason has a different tone. We’ve all heard of ‘fast fashion’, whereby some companies churn out cheap clothing at regular intervals so we’re continuously buying and discarding clothes to ensure we keep up to date with fashion. I believe this is a result of companies using substandard materials and producing cheaply, which we ultimately do not respect. When you buy a piece of gemstone jewellery, you’re not buying into this culture, rather you’re searching for quality, for items you will wear for a long time. I know from my own experience that when I buy quality, I appreciate it more and I buy far less. It’s the same when we buy a leather jacket over a plastic one – it lasts longer and we don’t buy as often. I could go on about this, but maybe it’s a topic for a lengthier discussion in another blog….
So, there you have it, gemstones simply offer us so much more than anything created by man. In comparison, manmade materials are generally either lifeless, dull, uniform or all of these, whereas gems ooze character, passion, fire and individuality. So next time you’re shopping for a gorgeous piece of jewellery, search for that beautiful gemstone, the one that is truly unique and speaks to you in a way only a natural material borne from the earth could.
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