Thursday, May 31, 2012

What a Little Drill Can Do

Love emeralds? Me too. Stand in the love line, though because the throngs of verdant beryl devotees are legion --and ancient. We are most used to seeing emeralds fashioned into, what else? The Emerald Cut--  an elongated square to rectangular step-cut faceted stone; all the better to admire the refreshing tint which is emerald's strong point.

Clarity in all precious gemstones is desired, but due to the way in which emeralds grow, and their brutal recovery process, few emeralds are extracted without inclusions. When emeralds are transparent and clean--with minimal eye-visible inclusions, collectors scramble and pay any price to have them.

The head turning bracelet pictured above is one of the more elegant and unexpected interpretations for this gemstone. Notice that the stones are polished into long tube shaped beads, forgoing any faceting whatsoever. The sumptuous use of these fabulous stones fashioned into one hefty multi-strand is exciting.

These is not the first time artisans have polished emeralds into tube shaped beads though. There is a precedence of a couple thousand years ago, give or take. Ancient Meso-American indigenous natives found  this stone and likewise bore holes through the center of a hand polished tube bead, then strung them onto ceremonial apparatus or adorned priests with the sparklers.
This is how they pulled it off. Securing a bead on its end, they used a long very sharp pokey stick and twirled it  forever until it created a deep cavern into the bead. When it bore through to the middle, they turned the bead on the other side and repeated until a hole was created that met in the middle of the stone's other side. Now you know. Just like being there, but much more convenient.

Check out the Emerald Man probably dating to the Olmec period by looking at the shape of his face. This was carved from a single piece of non-transparent-translucent emerald. Emerald fans should understand they join the ranks of collectors that span thousands of years across the entire earth. Some things never change.

Image of Emerald Man: Hudson Museum, University of Maine
Multi-strand Emerald Bracelet: Eclat Jewelers

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