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11 May 2016

Jurassic materials

Jewelers are crazy about organic materials from the dinosaur era.

Their creations depict the petrified remains of bones, shells, teeth and rocks all bearing the imprint of an animal. “These materials connect you directly to our origins, and so it’s as though you’re holding the history of the Earth in your hands”, states Pamela Huizenga who favors unusual specimens such as fossilized ammonite or bamboo. She refines them with gold settings and just a few rows of diamonds. Bibi van der Velden and Ted Muehling sculpt perfectly-white mammoth ivory more than 40 000 years old into rings featuring an animal or a hand, and into sublime drop-shaped pendant earrings.

Jet, the black fossil gem coming from petrified wood millions of years old, has never had so much success since Victorian times, when, in England, it was shaping into mourning jewelry. Pomellato has dedicated a collection to it, while the designer Jacqueline Cullen has made it her specialty. The black’s natural depth intensified by the use of matt and shiny contrasts, and the diamonds together emphasize the geometry of the triangular-shaped earrings and of the hinged cuffs encrusted with diamonds.

Monique Péan considers all these materials as ethical because their extraction does not cause any environmental damage. They therefore correspond perfectly to her philosophy of favoring recycled diamonds and gold. “Their graphic qualities and their diversity of color evoke abstract art”, she also explains. Walrus ivory and dinosaur bones have streaks and circles that echo those of agate or azurite.

With these talented designers, prehistoric fossils find their place in contemporary jewelry.

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