Designing Eye
Reflecting on our Crescent Earrings featuring Opalized Wood and White Pearls

In my life, 2019 has been all about creating anew.

Even the gems used in my creations.

I went into geology to drawn by the riddles of the earth.  I learned to read rocks.  And, what stories they tell.
I have created a design series based on rocks – their patterns, colors and associations starting with gems cut from the block of opalized wood shown to the right.

Close-up of raw opalized wood
Close-up of nearly completed opalized wood earrings topped with white round pearls

You’ve probably heard of petrified wood, but have you heard of Opalized Wood? I’d never seen any that captured my attention as these I found with a cutter friend.

I bought the best of the pairs (some are seen to the left)  and decided to make it into jewelry.

Luxe.  Casual.  Detailed.  Gentle on the ear.  

They flow like the waves that inspired them.

As I turned the Opalized Wood pieces over in my hand, my mind’s eye flashed to the wondrous evenings I watched the full moon rise above the Pacific Ocean. Pearls remind me of the full moon – they are luminous, rounded and bright. In my Crescent design, I hugged the pearl with a half-moon form.

Still, once I got back to my studio, I played around with a variety of designs, shown below. My heart stayed with the Crescent design.

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See the details below.

To get the details I wanted to bring to life, we had to cast the design in several pieces, then solder to assemble them (see photos to the right). Created in 18 karat white gold, each post has one of my 10-mm parabolic friction nuts for comfort and to prevent tipping.

Close-up of opalized wood earrings
Close-up of opalized wood earrings
The curved triangular form securing the gem’s top and the bottom is shaped like a wave. All the details tell work together to tell the story.
Stock photo of island nation Indonesia
How did this Opalized Wood Form?  

Twenty million years ago, this gem was once a living teak tree that was turned to stone after the being covered with layers of ash and rock from an ashy (not lava) volcanic explosion.
The cataclysmic explosion uprooted the trees carrying them downstream in a torrential river filled with other rock, ash, and organic debris, eventually coming to rest in lowlands and lagoons. Submerged underwater and covered with a mélange of sediment, over eons opal silica began to crystallize in the wood’s hollow cells eventually forming a rock that takes on the form of the tree. Petrified wood is wood that has been turned into stone by this process.

 Each piece is unique – the color variations are a result of varying chemical components leached through the water, such as copper, iron, and manganese. The blue color is a result of copper, the reds from iron.
The natural Opalized Wood multi-colored landscapes result from the changing chemical concentrations present as the gem was solidifying. Some see a shoreline, tropical island, sky or glacial lake.  What do you see?

Wear with chocolate brown, burgundy red, purple… all sorts of colors and of course, white linen, turquoise, and corals of summer.

Opalized earrings in deep ocean blue, tan, aqua marine, and bits of amber topped with a round white pearl
Close-up of model wearing opalized earrings in deep ocean green and aqua green topped with a round white pearl

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See Cynthia Renée's custom jewelry design portfolio here.


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