“Yes!” I cried, as I practically pounced on a string of green tourmaline slices.
I suddenly felt a twinge of guilt. Had I knocked anyone over in my race to grab the elusive green stones? Would there soon be warning signs posted around the Tucson Gem Show preparing merchants for some overzealous customer: “Beware: Woman, 5’8”, auburn hair, crazed look in her eyes, salivates at sight of green tourmaline”
In my defence, I’ve been hunting for months for more of these tiny green sticks, in the hope that I could continue making one of my most popular designs: the Suffragette earrings.
Those are white baroque pearls topped with a tutu of green tourmaline and amethyst.
Last year, I happened to read about Suffragette jewellery. In the Edwardian era, the lobbyists wove their campaign colours – purple for dignity, white for purity, and green for hope – into everything. These women were flying their colours in the jewellery and ribbons they wore, as well as on the signs and pamphlets they carried.
I thought it was a wonderful idea – subtly subversive — and it immediately inspired my own Suffragette pieces. There’s also a pendant.
I was delighted when they turned out to be a hit, too. That is until I ran out of green tourmaline slices.
Here’s the hazard of working with natural gemstones. I travel to trade shows and buy the pearls and semi-precious stones that inspire me. The stones themselves suggest the designs, so sometimes I don’t know exactly what I’m going to make with them until I start playing around at my workbench.
But when that vein of a mine is tapped out, a stone is gone. So it’s not always possible to find high quality gems cut just the way you want for a particular design. I kicked myself for not buying more green tourmaline when I saw it. But how was I to anticipate that I was going to go all Emmeline Pankhurst this year?
So I made some variations on the earrings. I think they’re lovely too.
It’s a similar look with iridescent peacock pearls. The baroque pearls are crowned with sticks of amethyst, cubic zirconia, and iolite, which reflect the shades of purple and lavender in the iridescent pearls.
But for clients who wanted Suffragette colours, it’s just not the same.
So now you see why I’m gleeful at the sight of those tourmaline slices I found in Tucson. It’s pure luck that I found them too. There are literally acres of merchants selling gems in Tucson.
All of which is to say, if you wanted Suffragette earrings, or a pendant, and were disappointed when I couldn’t supply them, I’m back in the subversive earrings business.