Monday, October 3, 2011

Back To School With My Sister in Washington, DC

Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History
My sister (Queen Doll) and I recently attended a lecture in Washington, DC sponsored by the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History: "Shaping Raw Stones Into Radiant Gems." Inside this museum, the Harry Winston Gallery houses the Hope Diamond and many other incredible pieces of jewelry so that we peons can see what real jewelry used to look like.

Our speaker, Martin D. Fuller, GG (GIA), CSM, ASA, told us about talented stone artists who are creating art using ancient carving methods, as well as those who are developing new and innovative techniques shaping and cutting gems like aquamarines, pearls, and tourmalines.

My sister and I sat patiently waiting for the Hope Diamond-Marie Antoinette-Marjorie Merriweather Post-Janet Annenberg Hooker "jewelry hall of fame" part of the presentation to begin, but we soon realized this wasn't a jewelry lecture at all as we looked around and saw the number of fanny packs and Birkenstock's in the room. We were at a modern day prospectors convention: very passionate people, like trekkies, only they wear rocks on their fingers and ears.

Actually, we learned a lot. In particular: two amazing stone carving artists who use gemstones as their medium. Check out Michael Dyber, who carves aquamarines, ametrines, citrines and more, on the front as well as the back of the stones, and creates extra terrestrial design elements that are unusual and unique. He turns these stones into jewelry, or sometimes, with large stones, he creates "Palm  Sculptures" like the two seen here:
287.68 carat Bolivian ametrine
"Free Form", 208.45 carat Brazilian golden beryl.

And don't miss Helen Serras-Herman, who is helping to revive the ancient art of glyptography, the art or process of carving stones, including cameos and intaglios. Her faces, like "Venus" and "Leonardo Da Vinci," can take months of preparation and work to complete. The results are unbelievable.

"Venus", a 256 carat rutillated quartz.

"Portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci", a 328 carat smoky quartz.

"Portrait of Queen Sikirit of Thailand", a 574.7 carat aquamarine.

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