Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Complex Beauty of Iolite

This collage showcases some of my jewelry highlighting one of my favorite gemstones, iolite.

Iolite is the gem variety of the mineral cordierite. The name "iolite" comes from the Greek word "los" meaning violet. Another old name is dichroite, a Greek word meaning "two-colored rock", a reference to cordierite's strong pleochroism. It has also been called "water-sapphire," because its color is akin to blue sapphires, and "Vikings' Compass." When Viking mariners sailed the ocean, they used thin pieces of iolite as a polarizing filter. Looking through an iolite lens, they could determine the exact position of the sun on overcast days and navigate safely.

Pleochroism is very pronounced in iolite and is seen as different color shades in the same stone. In the viewing an iolite stone, the colors violet blue, yellow gray, a light blue, and even a green brown can be seen, all a result of pleochroism.

Pleochroism is caused by the absorption of different wavelengths of light traveling through different directions in the crystal. If in one direction, all wavelengths but yellow and blue are absorbed, then the crystal will be green (yellow and blue make green). If in another direction, all wavelengths are absorbed but blue, then the crystal will appear blue. If the crystal is turned from the first direction to the other, then it will change its color from blue to green.

The major sources of gem grade iolite are Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar and Burma. Iolite's beauty is complex, and yet the stone remains very affordable.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hello and Welcome!

Welcome to Lumina Jewelry! A little about myself and about Lumina handmade jewelry....

I learned about elegance from my mother, and that is what I strive for in my surroundings and all my endeavors. My mother had a beautiful collection of jewels from classic George Jensen to pearls by Cartier, and she shared her love of precious objects with my daughter. It was through my daughter that I began to design and craft jewelry. As she learned ancient techniques of metalsmithing, she taught me how to wire-wrap. I discovered a talent and strong affinity for the finely detailed work.

Design, workmanship, and value - these are the qualities that I measure when I shop for myself and when I make jewelry for others. I have little tolerance for shoddy workmanship and over-priced goods. My favorite designs are simple, classic, and elegant. Those who most appreciate my work are those who want understated jewels in luscious colors that look extravagant but are modest in cost.

I currently sell my jewelry on Etsy. Here are my shop link:

You may contact me at LuminaJewelry (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Blogs are new for me, but I can see how easy it would be to spend a lot of time in the blogging world. I plan to write a bit about the elements of jewelry- materials, design, care, and will probably move farther afield.... we'll see what evolves!