Darn those seven little guys and their diamond mine! I couldn't have been more than five years old, but I remember staring at that record album cover and wondering what it might be like perched atop of piles of diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
Then came the March 1968 edition of National Geographic that highlighted famous coronations around the world. More diamonds, emeralds and rubies!
So it was no surprise that flier from Kentucky Center for the Arts caught my eye when it arrived in my mailbox back in 1991. Just call me Martha Magpie. I've been on the hunt for lovely gem images ever since.
Then I met Laurie Watt, current President of the Ohio/Kentucky chapter of Women's Jewelry Association last October. She and her husband Simon are proprietors of Mayer & Watt, dealers of the most stunning colored gems you've ever seen. Their website (www.mayerandwatt.com) is filled with gorgeous images of stones currently in stock (beautifully photographed by Geoffrey Watt), as well as images of stones in their app entitled "Gemipedia - A to Z". It was from their current stones in stock that I found this spectacular peach Zoisite. (BTW, Laurie has given me permission to use any of the stones in their collection as inspiration...Thanks, Laurie!)
I immediately fell in love with the crisp facets, the ripple of light flowing through the middle of the stone, and the myriad of copper, lavender, peach, and pink emerging from its center. I knew that this could be a great candidate for my Bourbon Diamond series.
A quick note about this type of stone..... Zoisite is the same material that is commercially known as Tanzanite. When heated, Zoisite normally turns a deep bluish/purple color -- its signature hue. However, when unheated, Zoisite can be many different colors. In fact, one stone can include multiple colors (bi-coloring) with hues of brown, blue and violet most common. Look at this diva and see how different she is from the copper beauty above.
...and yet another amazing Zoisite...
All of these images are, in my opinion, great inspiration for designs. The facets are sharp, the contrast of light and dark is unique (not symmetrical), and the color is mesmerizing. In summary, the stone has a personality. (Here's a secret: I'm working the stones above into a custom design inspired by the grounds of Castle & Key Distillery, a new bourbon distillery opening up this year near Frankfort, KY. As Capitol Living so aptly put it, they're going to be next "crown jewel" of the bourbon industry! More in a future post....)
Back to the peach Zoisite I fell in love with.... I wanted to experiment a little with the image to see if I might be able to boost the color for more of a bourbon feel. I use Picassa, a free image editing app you can download. They actually have a function called "Boost"! Here's the result...
Perfect! I love how the app boosted the colors to red, brown, amber, coral, and yellow. Doesn't it look like the gem is on fire? I knew I had the material for my next bourbon diamond.. or two! After printing out the image, cutting it apart, and mashing the pieces together manually, here's the designs I've come up with for the next two diamonds on deck....
Next week I'll show you a little about the process of turning "Splash" from a concept into an actual work....but first, I might take a detour and tell you about a fun "Inspiration Tour" I took last month to a new local bourbon distillery right here in Louisville, Angel's Envy Distillery. Delicious bourbon (aged in rum barrels) in a fabulous location right on Main Street!