I wanted to focus on Australian Turquoise this month, not only because it happens to be December’s birthstone, but because the particular stones I work with are rare, beautiful and interesting, with a very special provenance. I have really come to love working with them.
There are many things to admire about Australian Turquoise, the size of the stones, the vibrant colours, the details, and the texture. Australian turquoise has a distinctive and unusual appearance. To me, each turquoise stone appears to hold its own little world, its own unique landscape. I classify them by appearance, with different names, referring to some as “water” stones (the solid blue stones with slightly mottled patterns throughout), “coast” stones (the stones with the coffee-coloured host rock or spider web veins running throughout) or “sky” stones (the rarer stones that are a flat colour with little to no inclusions).
Australian-sourced Turquoise is incredibly rare; the rough that I source was mined in the Northern Territory during the 1970s. Today, there is no more mining of Turquoise in Australia.
A lot of turquoise on the market isn’t solid stone, but rather a powdered version of turquoise mixed and set with epoxy resin. A lot of turquoises are dyed too. The turquoise I work with is solid, natural, untreated and pure. AND from Australia. It’s very hard to come by, but it’s worth it.
Another reason I enjoy working with Turquoise is that it reminds me of the exquisite, ornamental jewellery of Ancient Greece, which has always captivated me. My family is from Cyprus, which has a strong connection to Greek history and culture. A few years ago, I visited the Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in Athens, and the pieces that I saw there continue to inspire me.
In the jewellery I make, I love pairing Australian Turquoise with yellow gold to achieve a rich, ancient look and feel. Set alone in gold, they make a strong statement, and when paired with other luminous stones, they have a kaleidoscopic appeal.
Right now, I’m working on a body of work that celebrates these special stones. It will be released next year, but in the meantime, I wanted to share a sneak peek (below) of what I’m calling the Seagrass Earrings, a new design highlighting the bright, oceanic scheme of natural Australian Turquoise, Australian Diamonds and Australian Sapphires…