Sourcing

How One Collaboration Is Trying to Bring More American Gems to Museums

SourcingJan 24, 2022

How One Collaboration Is Trying to Bring More American Gems to Museums

“American Gemstones” wants to raise appreciation of the stones, and those who mine and cut them, even more.

This group of stones came from the Sunstone Butte mine in Oregon.
New York—It’s a popular time for American gemstones, but there’s one project aiming to raise the appreciation of the stones, and those who mine and cut them, even more.

A member of the trade who has worked with miners and lapidaries for years got the ball rolling on the American Gemstones project, though he has opted to leave his name out of it so the work and artists involved can speak for themselves.

His goal is to bring the American miners, cutters, and designers who work with stones sourced stateside into the limelight by creating museum-worthy collections and getting them into permanent displays.

He has gathered material from mines including the Sunstone Butte mine in Oregon, the Reel Mine in North Carolina, the Hogg Mine in Georgia, and Hallelujah Junction, Nevada, to name a few.

Lapidaries involved include Darryl Alexander, Derek Katzenbach, Ryan Anderson, Dalan Hargrave, Aaron Sangenitto, and Naomi Sarna, among others.

Most of the pieces gathered for the collaboration feature unique cuts and styles, and are one-of-a-kind artistic creations crafted by American lapidaries just for the project.

But to allow for a fuller appreciation of all kinds of American stones, the collection also features some traditional cuts. They are typically round, concave-cut faceted stones not cut by American artists—an exception made to allow for a wider range of stones in the group.

Some, meanwhile, are surprising examples of commercially cut stones, such as faceted opaque opals, produced through the collaboration to experiment with and provide additional education on the versatility and visual impact of such faceted gems.

These cut and carved amethyst and smoky quartz stones came from Hallelujah Junction, Nevada.
These cut and carved amethyst and smoky quartz stones came from Hallelujah Junction, Nevada.

Playing a big part in the project now is the University of Arizona’s new Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum, connected through Somewhere in the Rainbow’s Shelly Sergent, who serves on the museum’s board and has placed several hundreds of pieces on display there.

The gem and mineral museum has a case specifically for the American Gemstones project, which the latter has dubbed the Legacy Collection. It currently focuses largely on American sunstone.

Importantly for the project, the case is a permanent and rotating display. So, while it’s filled with sunstone now through early 2023, it will then switch to showcase quartz, then opal in 2024, followed potentially by sapphire and tourmaline. 

The team behind the project is also building on jade, agate, and other North American gemstones, with a preference for representing gems with some form of commercial production, though they’re also considering series like fossilized materials, metallic gems, and antique glass.

And since education goes hand-in-hand with showing gemstones, it’s also a big focus for this project.

Take, for example, what they did with an 810-carat rough “sherry” topaz from the Rise Above Mine in Colorado to demonstrate a characteristic in some gemstones. 

They cut the rough into two pieces.

Darryl Alexander gave one piece a fantasy cut. It’s being called “Now You See Me…” 

The other piece was intentionally left out in the sun, and, after two days, the color had changed. Darryl’s son, Nick, then took that piece and also gave it a fantasy cut; it has been dubbed “… Now You Don’t.”

The pieces not only show beautiful craftsmanship but also provide a real example of what can happen to light-sensitive stones for those at the museum. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

American Gemstones has also donated stones to the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals just outside of Portland, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and the Smithsonian, the last of which helped kick off the concept originally in 2013.

There will also be a display at the upcoming Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show in Tucson.

To help raise even more awareness for the collaboration and to bring education about the stones to the fore, American Gemstones also launched an accompanying Instagram account and website. The latter features stunning shots of the stones in its collection as well as plenty of pertinent and fun information about each or their overall gem species or variety.

Each stone also has information on where it has been donated; those still looking for a permanent museum homes are listed as “unassigned.”

The hope, after all, is that the collaboration will grow to include even more mines, artists, and museums to better represent what American gemstones and those who work with them have to offer.

Anyone interested in collaborating is encouraged to reach out via the website or Instagram
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

The Latest

Recorded WebinarsMay 27, 2022
Watch: The 5 Things I Always Take to a Trade Show

Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff is joined by three industry veterans to talk about the items they never leave behind and why.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
92Y Has Selected its 2022 Artist in Residence

German jewelry artist Alexander Blank is the fourth designer to receive the honor.

CollectionsMay 27, 2022
Piece of the Week: Which Movie Inspired This Chopard Masterpiece?

The answer is “Hair,” and the necklace is from Chopard’s 2022 Red Carpet Collection, rolled out at the Cannes Film Festival.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

Supplier BulletinMay 26, 2022
Extraordinary Italian Jewelry at JCK and COUTURE

Sponsored by Italian Trade Agency

Weekly QuizMay 26, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
AuctionsMay 26, 2022
Bonhams New York Jewels Auction Is a White Glove Sale

Jewelry and objects belonging to Bette Midler, heiress Hélène Irwin Crocker Fagan, and Lady Sylvia Ashley were among the highlights.

FinancialsMay 26, 2022
Movado Posts Record Q1 Sales Despite ‘Challenging’ US Market

The company opted not to raise its fiscal guidance, citing a slowdown in the U.S. market as a key reason.

Brought to you by
Dive into GIA’s Pearl Expertise

When it comes to knowing the identity and quality of your pearls, count on GIA as your independent pearl experts.

TechnologyMay 26, 2022
State of Retail: The Pros and Cons of 4 Jewelry-Selling Platforms

From “old-school” eBay to new kid on the block 1stDibs, we asked jewelers about their experiences selling jewelry in non-traditional places.

Policies & IssuesMay 26, 2022
Barbara Wheat Named Executive Director of Ethical Metalsmiths

She has nearly 30 years’ experience in the gem and jewelry industry and a background in nonprofit management.

EditorsMay 25, 2022
7 Standout Tiaras in Sotheby’s Platinum Jubilee Exhibition

Senior Editor Brecken Branstrator chooses the pieces she’d most want to see in person.

MajorsMay 25, 2022
Anne Hathaway Is Bulgari’s Newest Ambassador

The actress joins Zendaya and others in a new advertising campaign.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
The Mexican Shack to Close After 47 Years

Owner Steve Delzio shares his thoughts on retirement after nearly five decades in the jewelry industry.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
Designer Theo Fennell Has Written a Memoir

“I Fear for This Boy” takes readers through the ups and downs of his business and is available for pre-order now.

IndependentsMay 25, 2022
MVEye, Wedding Report Partner on New Jewelry Research Platform

“Today’s Wedding Jewelry Consumer” shares data about engagement ring market size, lab-grown and natural diamonds, and more.

ColumnistsMay 24, 2022
The PR Adviser: 10 Questions to Contemplate

Columnist Lilian Raji wants to walk you through the customer journey. But first, she’d like you to answer a few questions.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
8 Gold Jewelry Designers Unveil New Platinum Designs

Several Couture brands have partnered with Platinum Guild International ahead of the jewelry trade show.

Lab-GrownMay 24, 2022
Kendra Scott Unveils Lab-Grown Engagement Ring Collection

The jewelry company is moving into bridal just a month after branching out into the watch world.

Events & AwardsMay 24, 2022
WJA to Host Diversity Keynote at New Las Vegas Breakfast Event

The Generating Community Impact fundraiser on June 11 will feature Karine Bah Tahé of Blue Level Training.

WatchesMay 23, 2022
Steven Kaiser, Watch Industry Veteran and Beloved Mentor, Dies at 68

Kaiser, whose illustrious career spanned decades, died suddenly on Friday.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Long’s Jewelers to Open New Location

The family-owned jeweler is relocating its Braintree, Massachusetts, store to a new space.

IndependentsMay 23, 2022
Luxury Goods Veteran Olivier Stip Joins Chicago Jeweler CD Peacock

He will step into the retailer’s newly created role of chief development officer.

GradingMay 23, 2022
Gem-A Launches Digital Entry-Level Gemology Course

GemIntro is meant to give a broad introduction to gems and gemology.

Recorded WebinarsMay 20, 2022
Watch: Responsible Sourcing and the Gold Supply Chain

Three industry experts discuss “recycled” gold vs. mined, their challenges and benefits, and how jewelers can navigate the area.

FinancialsMay 20, 2022
Richemont’s 2022 Jewelry Sales in the Americas Nearly Double

Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Buccellati put on stellar performances.

AuctionsMay 20, 2022
Piece of the Week: ‘Birds in Flight’ by Oscar Heyman

The New York jeweler made this incredible, colorful Art Deco bracelet featuring tropical birds in 1927.

SurveysMay 19, 2022
5 Predictions for Jewelry Retail in the Second Half of 2022

From a slowdown in sales growth to rising costs, Fruchtman Marketing outlines its expectations for the second half of the year.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy