Destinations

Live from Inhorgenta in Munich: Aurelie Dellasanta’s Urban Animal Jewelry Is Wild

Munich. Feb. 14, 2020. The creatures highlighted in Aurelie Dellasanta’s Urban Animal jewelry collection will appear familiar while still serving up a bit of shock value. That’s because the foxes, roosters, cats, rabbits, and pigeons (all animals found in the designer’s adopted hometown of London) that are rendered in sterling silver, gold vermeil, and black rhodium are all executed in a glorious scaled-down manner with the addition of punk effects. Think mohawks, spikes, chains, and collars in addition to one undeniably quirky (and necessary?) element: a tiny piece of metal poo. It’s too small to be instantly recognized, though, so don’t worry about judgmental eyes. Why is it there? It’s an equalizer, according to the artist.

“At the end of the day, we are all the same, so this is a reminder,” giggles Dellasanta.

The animals also feature fancy sapphire or diamond eyes as well as polished and matte effects. One whitish finish in sterling silver has a “depleted” look about it to give it a powerfully pale appearance. The jewels are carved in wax first and then cast and finished in London, while the actual animal silhouettes are modeled after tiny toy inspirations. Retail prices start at £200. This show marks the artist’s first exhibit at Inhorgenta (it’s also my first time covering it) and her third trade show to date. A fourth fair is on her wish list.

“I applied to Loot at the Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) in New York City, so I’m hopeful,” she says.

Punk Black Pigeon earrings in 18k gold vermeil with black-rhodium-plated silver and purple sapphire eyes, £295; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk Black Pigeon earrings in 18k gold vermeil with black-rhodium-plated silver and purple sapphire eyes, £295; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Punk White Cock ring in whitened silver and black-rhodium-plated silver with pink sapphire eyes, £345; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk White Cock ring in whitened silver and black-rhodium-plated silver with pink sapphire eyes, £345; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Punk Gold Doe necklace in 18k gold vermeil with pink sapphire eyes, £450; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery.

Punk Gold Doe necklace in 18k gold vermeil with pink sapphire eyes, £450; available online at Aurelie Dellasanta Jewellery

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Mini Mabé Sea of Cortez Pearls Are the Cutest Gems You’ll See Today

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 9, 2020. Iridescent purple, green, blue, gold, and peachy-pink overtone pearls from the Sea of Cortez already stand out in the sea of gems at the Gem & Jewellery Exchange (GJX) show for their unique colors and shapes, but the newer mini mabé pieces are next-level cuteness for making tiny treasures.

Douglas McLaurin is a co-owner at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez, at booth 508, and is from Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico, where Sea of Cortez pearls grow in the rainbow-lipped Pteria sterna mollusk. The pearls from this variety differ from other black-lipped-oyster pearls in that they consistently have silvery-pink colors and are often grown as mabé pearls, though rarer drops, semi-round, and baroque pearls are also available. Most of McLaurin’s mabé pearls range in size from a nickel to a half dollar, though last year he introduced a mini mabé at the request of a client.

“She wanted a tiny gem to set into jewelry with less metal, to let the pearls speak,” he explains.

He responded by custom cutting tiny mabé pearls from his regular inventory (he didn’t culture smaller sizes). He scalped mabé with flawless domes but defects around their base, a resourceful move that created a new size category. Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and super limited in quantity.

“We only have about 10 percent of everything we brought left,” says McLaurin.

Prices per mini mabé are $75 triple keystone. These pearls are not treated and are the only pearls that officially bear the coveted Fair Trade label.

The GJX show closes today at 4 pm.

Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and cost $75 apiece triple keystone; find them today at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez at booth 508 in GJX or email doug.mclaurin@outlook.com.

Mini mabé pearls are about the size of a pinky nail and cost $75 apiece triple keystone; find them today at Perlas Del Mar De Cortez at booth 508 in GJX or email doug.mclaurin@outlook.com

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Azurz’s 50-Year-Old Jelly Sugalite Finally Sees the Light

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 8, 2020. Besides being one of the cutest couples at all the gem shows happening now, Azur (I’m obsessed with her stunning Sideshow Bobesque mop of hair) and Jesse McHugh of Azurz gems and minerals (AGTA GemFair Tucson booth no. 101) out of Rhode Island also happen to have one cool backstory on some sweet jelly (top quality) sugalite.

Azur’s onetime importer dad had the opportunity to bring some sugalite from the Wessels mine in South Africa to the States. This was in the 1980s, and the material was mined in the 1970s. But the story is that there was some drama surrounding imports at the time, so Azur’s dad officially imported some old cars—think Jaguars and BMWs—and filled the wheel wells with the stones. He brought in as much as he could, and then, as some dealers tend to do, squirreled away the top 20 percent of the rocks in buckets and sea freight containers for later investment. It’s this old inventory that Azur and her gem-cutting hubs, a U.S. Navy veteran and former journalist, are now sculpting and offering for sale.

Sugalite is a byproduct of titanium and manganese ore mining. When workers hit the vein, they spray painted it white and tried to extract as much as they could. The result of this hit was a large amount of jelly material—“Clean and glowing,” says Azur—as well as bustamite and richterite, which has peach and blue colors, respectively. Prices per carat for their inventory start at $30 triple keystone. Direct message Azur on Instagram account @azurz for purchase.

Fifty-year-old sugalite is top quality and available per carat starting at $30 triple keystone; direct message Azur on Instagram account @azurz for purchase.

Fifty-year-old sugalite is top quality and available per carat starting at $30 triple keystone; direct message Azur on Instagram account @azurz for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Destinations

Live from Tucson, Ariz.: Petrified Wood Is a Hit at The Clam Shell

Tucson, Ariz. Feb. 7, 2020. When shopping the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) GemFair Tucson, many know to hit up The Clam Shell for unusual finds. From water-included quartz to cloud-shape blue lace agate and more, this Oro Valley, Ariz.–based cutting house and stone dealer is known for funky finds. Yesterday on the fair floor, co-owner Gavin Lasater showed me a threesome of popular petrified wood varieties that are selling well.

The first type is called blue opal native copper. It’s found in Indonesia, sometimes needs to be stabilized with resin prior to resale, and is available in freeform cabochon shapes.

“It is the oddest petrified wood we’ve ever seen because of the geometric patterns in the matrix,” says Lasater. “It also has drusy pockets with high concentrations of silica and little pockets of copper.”

Prices per piece start at $195 triple keystone.

Colla wood is the next type of petrified wood that sold well for The Clam Shell. Colla wood is also found in Indonesia, stabilized with resin (“How much depends on the porosity of the material,” says Lasater), and features azurite, malachite, and chrysocolla in it. “It’s unusual to have all three in one, especially in petrified wood,” he adds. “It comes in these big logs that you slice like bread. It looks delicate on the outside and when you start cutting, the inside is often just brown. We got lucky with all of these colors.”

Prices per pair start at $195 triple keystone.

Finally, petrified red oak from Oregon is another big hit. This material also comes in logs (or chunks) that is slabbed for sale. “You cut thicker slabs for pairs and thinner ones for single pieces,” says Lasater. Some of the material is stabilized.

What’s cool about petrified red oak is its herringbone pattern and colors. “It’s difficult to find red and blue and white, but we have these honeybee-type golden tones and fantastic lines running all the way through,” notes Lasater. Individual pieces start at $150 triple keystone.

Blue opal native copper is a type of petrified wood, and prices per piece start at $195 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Blue opal native copper is a type of petrified wood, and prices per piece start at $195 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Colla wood is a type of petrified wood, and prices per pair start at $195 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Colla wood is a type of petrified wood, and prices per pair start at $195 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Petrified red oak is a type of petrified wood, and prices per piece start at $150 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Petrified red oak is a type of petrified wood, and prices per piece start at $150 triple keystone; email glasater@gmail.com for purchase.

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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