On the right path.

I remember one day, that time I was Briefly in Grad School, being recommended a book that sounded excruciatingly dull. Seeing that my enthusiasm was… lacking, my advisor gave me a funny look, and said, “you should be EXCITED to read this.” (An early indicator that I and my thesis area were not a good fit.)

Castellani and Italian Archaeological JewelryIt’s been over ten years, but his comment comes back to me now and again. And now, I think I get it. The other night, I received my copy of Castellani and Italian Archaeological Jewelry, a massive tome of knowledge. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Outwardly, I was calmly turning pages, but inwardly, I was rabid-fangirl-screaming at almost every photograph. The GRANULATION! The FILIGREE! The insane micro-mosaic work! The scope of the information given, the microscopic details blown up for close examination..!! (Yep, it’s been a non-stop nerd-fest here in Danielle-land.)

It’s weird to think back ten years, to what I thought I wanted to focus on. I hadn’t yet discovered what a consuming passion both jewelry and gemstones would be! I’ve found the right path. I just need to keep walking.

The short, short version.

Revere Academy classroomI have about three posts I could write about the last week, but in the interest of time and actually POSTING something, I offer you some bullet points, to be embellished later on.

  • I held a mechanical watch in my hands, for the very first time ever. Now I know what watch experts mean, when they talk about the “heartbeat”. IT WAS SO COOL. I TOTALLY WANT ONE.
  • I went to Revere Academy last weekend for the Fabrication 3 course. Made a layered, sweat-soldered brooch, and a hollow “box” ring.
  • I “live-shared” my Fab3 experience via Instagram, reposted to Facebook and Twitter, so if you want to see the stages of construction on both pieces, click the link to see my photostream. I will repost those images here, later.

The Gemologist is IN.

The gemologist is IN.

Well, I survived my weekend of gemstone ID at the Gem, Jewelry & Mineral Show. Actually, I more than survived… I had a great time! I saw a variety of stones, and there were only one or two that I couldn’t firmly identify, both due to the stone’s setting not allowing me to get a good refractive index reading. (Definitely, loose stones are easier to work with.)

Among the many things I saw:

  • A gentleman with an amazing collection of raw diamonds, in every crystal form — octahedron, cubic, and even some macles (a flat triangular diamond; a twinned crystal. Extremely difficult to cut, as the planes of weakness change direction halfway through, due to the twinning.)
  • A trillion-cut synthetic alexandrite, BEAUTIFULLY cut.
  • A rock crystal quartz gem with one of the brightest, nicest bull’s-eye interference figures I’ve ever seen. The bull’s-eye only occurs in quartz; it positively identifies the species. (It was supposed to be a topaz. I bought it off the owner, for my own collection.)
  • A strand of “jade” beads, that were actually quench-crackled, dyed quartz. (Oops. Well, this wasn’t the AGTA show, was it…)
  • A lot of blue topaz. Got pretty quick with the topaz ID…
  • A really amazing cluster of phenakite crystals (which I managed to get onto the refractometer without breaking anything.)

It was a blast to talk to people about their stones and jewelry, and make new acquaintances — stone dealers, and even a fellow gemologist! I’ll definitely do it again next year.

Spring jewelry creations

Just a quickie post to show off my two newest pieces: a synthetic opal ring, and a coated drusy quartz pendant.

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Synthetic opal ring (in progress) by Danielle Signor, March 2014
Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014

Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014 Back of quartz drusy pendant by Danielle Signor, March 2014