Did you know that Opal is the birthstone of October?  To celebrate this month of opal, we would like to share with you a little information about this amazing gemstone, and why we are so passionate about it here at Giulians!

What is opal, and how is it formed?

Opal is a form of hydrated silicon dioxide (chemical formula SiO₂·nH₂O).  It is formed in dessert-like areas, where the geology is rich in silica deposits – sedimentary rocks like limestone or sandstone – and has strong seasonal rainfall followed by long hot and dry periods.  During heavy rain  the water carries the silica from the rocks creating a silica-rich solution which finds its way deep into the earth, below the water table.  During the dry months the sun dries out the earth causing the water table to evaporate and retreat, leaving microscopic spheres of silica behind.  This process, repeated over millions of years, slowly creates layers of the silica spheres, and this is what forms opal.

Not all the opal formed will show the spectral hues we all love. A lot of what forms is called common opal, which can be a non-descript bluish-black or milky white colour.  The opal that shows the brilliant play-of-colour (or what many people refer to as ‘fire’) is known as precious opal.  Most opals are cut into gems with a component of common opal or host rock still attached, as it plays an important role in the look and strength of the gemstone.

The colour variation found in potch. Both of these specimens are black opal.  Image: Giulians
This is a large specimen of mostly common opal – with a small section of precious opal showing blue-green play of colour. Image: Giulians

Why is it found in Australia?

The reason opal is found in Australia is due to the Great Artesian Basin.  An artesian basin is an area where a body of groundwater is confined under the earth and held under pressure by surrounding layers of rock.    The Great Artesian Basin is the largest and deepest artesian basin in the world, covering 23% of Australia and stretching 1,700,000 square kilometres below arid and semi-arid parts of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  It has a total volume of water of approximately 64,900 million megalitres.

The Great Artesian Basin was formed about 130 million years ago by a sheet of quartz over a shelf underground.  Rain ran off the mountains of the Great Dividing Range creating rivers.  The water on the eastern side ended up in the ocean while the water on the western side had no-where to go and just sat and sank into the earth. This process occurs every wet season and has been occurring ever since the Dividing Range was formed after heavy rains.  If you look at the opal fields in relation to the basin, it is little wonder why opal is mined in these locations.

Map of Australia, showing the Great Artesian Basin in light blue, in correlation the 3 major opal fields. Image: (TentotwoGreat Artesian Basin, added locations by ACoffey, CC BY-SA 3.0)

 

What causes the amazing colours seen in precious Australian Opal?

The rainbow colours seen in opal comes from the dispersion of white light through the layered spheres of silica.  For this to occur, however, the layering and stacking of the spheres of silica need to be both uniform in size and perfectly structured.  Without this structure, the result is common opal, or what we call ‘potch’ in Australia.

Scanning electron microscope imaging of the silica spheres of gem grade opal. Photo courtesy: www.adelaide.edu.au
Scanning electron microscope image of common opal. Notice the irregular and non-unified structure. Photo courtesy: Renac Christophe

The stacking and uniformity of the silica spheres is not the only factor involved. The size of the silica spheres determines the range of colour seen in the precious opal.  Smaller clusters of stacked spheres will show blue-greens, while the larger spheres will show the rarer colour; red.  The conditions under which opal is formed generally wouldn’t allow for a lot of space, so the smaller spheres (and therefore the blue-green colours) are more commonly found.  Rare and bright reds, combined with dark coloured potch is said to be the ultimate in opal. It is referred to in the industry as ‘black on red’ and will be considered very valuable.

The colour seen in opal is directional.  Some opals can display a blue-green flash in one direction and orange- red in another, while others may have shifting or rolling colour flashes.  It all depends on the angle of the stone and the way the light is hitting it.  A stone that has bright colour in all directions will be valued higher than an opal with colour in only one direction.

Full rotation of a 2.67ct Australian black opal showing the way the colour patches shift and change as I move the gem. Image: Giulians

The best thing about the colours found in opal is the diversity.  No other gemstone has such a variety of colour, pattern and combinations, so personal taste plays a major role in which opal appeals to you!

A selection of Giulians black and boulder opal pieces showing the wonderful diversity of colours and patterns.  Image: Giulians

 

Black Opal – Lightning Ridge, New South Wales

The most valuable of Australia’s opal is Black opal.  Black opal is found in sandstone, mined approximately 20- 30 metres below the ground.

#1 Common Opal or Potch, #2 Precious Opal, #3 Sandstone. Image: Giulians

Because it forms in sandstone, a relatively soft rock, it allows for deeper deposits to form.  Some of these deposits are called nobbies.  A nobby is bulb shaped opal nodule found in clay which can be quite large or the size of a pea.  They are tumbled to remove the sandstone, then ‘rubbed’ to allow the miner to look at the colour and quality.  Nobbies are mostly mined in Lightning Ridge – which is why black opals are known for being cut into lovely high-domed cabochons.  Other deposits of opal, like seam opal, occur in veins and bands and sometimes yield thinner and more irregular shaped gems.

A nobby of black opal – which has been tumbled to remove the sandstone and rubbed to reveal the opal. Image: Giulians

I thought black opals were supposed to be… black!

Many people who come to view our black opals often make this observation.   The truth is quite the opposite!  The potch found in Lightning Ridge has a darker body colour than that of white opal – and that is where black opal got its name.  The darker the body colour, the better the contrast between the common and precious opal – resulting in more vivid and striking play-of-colour in the gemstone.  The black opal potch can vary from inky-black through to very light grey – the light grey tones resulting in softer colours.  The potch is almost always kept as part of the finished gemstone – to provide thickness, strength and colour depth.  In thicker colour bands, black opal can be cut without its potch – and this is sometimes referred to as black crystal or jelly opal.

A 4.85ct black opal with almost no common opal or potch left behind it. Image: Giulians
Full rotation of a 9.39ct black opal showing blue-green play-of-colour. Image: Giulians
The natural potch left on the base of a black precious opal. Image: Giulians

Boulder Opal – Quilpie, Queensland

First discovered on a station south of Quilpie in 1872, boulder opals are found in a belt stretching from Quilpie to Winton in Outback Queensland.  Natural boulder opal is very unique.  Unlike black opal, it is formed in an area where the geology is made up of ironstone.  Ironstone is a dense sedimentary rock that formed in the Cretaceous period.  Due to this density, the host rock is very unyielding, so the opal formed in cracks and fissures within the ironstone.  These are referred to as veins, and they can vary in thickness from fine through to thick.

An example of the dense ironstone, with veins of opal running through it. Image: Giulians

Because the majority of boulder opal veins are thin, the ironstone boulder is cut as part of the gemstone – giving the opal its name.  Miners split the boulders through the veins, leaving the thin opal on the surface with the ironstone behind.

A vein of opal through ironstone – and how it has been ‘split’ open. Image: Giulians

Due to the reddish brown to brown-black colour of the ironstone, the play-of-colour seen in boulder opal can be very similar to that of black opal.  The natural ironstone making up some of the carat weight also means they are generally cost a little less.  You will also get more free-form and undulating shapes in boulder opal, as the miners have to follow the natural directions of the opal vein.

A stunning piece of Australian Boulder opal showing an undulating surface where the miner has had to follow the natural vein. Image: Giulians
This piece of boulder has a beautifully polished ironstone base. Image Giulians

White Opal – Coober Pedy, South Australia

The name Coober Pedy is said to have evolved from a combination of two Aboriginal words meaning ”white man in hole”.  Kupaka – meaning white man and Piti – meaning hole.  White opal forms in limestone which, like sandstone, is a soft host rock allowing deeper seam deposits to form. The body tone of white opal is much paler, so the play-of-colour seen is more bright pastel hues.  It is not uncommon for white opal to be cut without its potch which means the opal play-of-colour will be seen from the front and the back.

Limestone with some white opal potch. Image Giulians
A rough piece of white opal – displaying a milky body colour with a little pastel fire. Image: Giulians
White crystal opal with very bright play-of-colour and with very little potch on the back of the gemstone. Image: Giulians

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the geology and origins of Australian opal in Part 1 of our Opal Discovery!  In part 2 I will be looking more in depth at the colours and patterns found in opal, and the differences between them.  If you have any questions about opal or would like to know more about our opals, please get in touch by using the form below or emailing us giulians@giulians.com.au.

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Sources and Links:
http://mininglink.com.au/site/lightning-ridge
http://www.opalsinformation.com/index.php/articles/terminology/130-opal-terminology
https://www https://www.cooberpedy.sa.gov.au/page.aspx?u=368#.W7wjpXszapo.ritas-outback-guide.com/boulder-opal.html
http://www.expedition360.com/australia_lessons_science/2001/08/the_great_artesian_basin_forma.html

 


By Alice | Posted on October 9, 2018

Giulians 2nd Meet the Brewer and Putt for Cash evening was a great success! Congratulations to Allan Alvarez – the winning putt of the evening!

Thank you to all who attended and for those of you who couldn’t make it- here are some of the highlights.

 

 

The Brewer

So what happens when 2 American-born lacrosse players with a love of homebrew, meet halfway across the world?  They open a brewery in Sydney of course!  In 2013 Andrew Fineran and Chris Sidwa opened Batch Brewing Co, transforming an old panel-beaters workshop space in Marrickville into a brewery and tasting room – complete with polished concrete, black walls, mural art and an ethos of ‘we brew for you‘.  And brew is what they do.

Batch Brewing Company brews beer the traditional way, handcrafted and batch by batch.  Apart from a few regulars, the range changes every few weeks – so each batch is a limited release.  If you head to Batch Brewing Co’s website you can check out each their batches, past and present (all 169 of them!)

You can drop in to taste the latest batches and take home a growler (1.89L), a bomber (640ml) or a 4 pack (440ml cans) filled with the beer of your choice.   Batch also offer private brewery tours, where they will show you around, and share the science and art behind each Batch. Tours are on Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm and 2:30pm by booking only, so email howdy@batchbrewingco.com.au for more information and to book in.

The Beer

Tom Walker of Batch Brewing took us through some beers on the evening.  Four beers were for tasting – American Pale Ale, Trippy Hippie’s Voodoo Gold, Pash the Magic Dragon and Elsie the Milk Stout.  Scroll down for tasting notes and other information on each beer!

The evening’s beer selection.
Tom Walker from Batch Brewing introducing Adam Gittings to Batch beer.
Gary with a glass of Elsie and Phil with a glass of Voodoo Gold perhaps?

American Pale Ale, Trippy Hippie’s Voodoo Gold, Pash the Magic Dragon and Elsie the Milk Stout.

The Putting

Jorge, taking the first putt of the evening – and it was a close one!
Looking good!
Maybe next time Greg!
Is this the look of hope Lance?
Speed-racer Eugene.
Nice try Navodit!
Don’t worry Robin, no-one is watching!
No luck this time Phil!
Josh from the Four Seasons, channelling his inner Rambo? Unfortunately, it didn’t work!
Deep in concentration, little did Adam know Allan was about to wander on in!
Our serial late-comer has his 1st putt, within 2 minutes of stepping in the door.
Winner winner! Well done Allan.
Vini, trying to add a little tailwind to his putt…
…I’m thinking it didn’t work!
Action shot – better luck in November Nick!
No luck this time Mark!
Better luck next time Himalaya!
The closing putt of the evening – not even David could steal the prize from Allan.
Beer in one hand, a prize in the other!
What’s that old saying – winners are grinners?!

Thanks again to everyone who came along, and we look forward to seeing everyone at our next Meet the Brewer night (or maybe something different), which will be on Wednesday 14th November.  The pot will be reset to $500!

Please email gary@giulians.com.au if you would like to know more about our next event, or if you have any feedback, comments or questions.  We would love to hear from you.

                   


By Alice | Posted on September 28, 2018

We went on a road trip!

Last month, Gary, Trina, Joel and I took a day off work, and drove down to Canberra, to see Cartier’s exhibition of historical jewels on display at the National Gallery of Australia.  Established in 1847 in Paris, by Louis-François Cartier, Cartier is today an internationally recognised jewellery and watch manufacturer.

A beautiful day for a drive.

Famous for their garland style designs from the early 1900’s, it is of little wonder Cartier became known as the ‘Jeweller to Kings’ –  creating tiaras and ornate adornments for aristocrats, socialites and royalty.

Cartier Paris Tiara – 1905, choker necklace & Lily stomacher brooch 1906. Platinum and diamonds.

Cartier was heralded as a pioneer in the Art Deco style – their early use of minimalist and geometric shapes in their jewellery predated the First World War, and continued well into the 1930s.

Cartier Paris Brooch – Rock crystal, diamond, enamel, mother of pearl and sapphire -1924

During the late 1940’s the panther motif was introduced to their collection and became a quintessential Cartier symbol across their entire range, known as the Panthère de Cartier.  From pave sections adorning handbag clasps – mimicking the spots of a panther, to the three-dimensional panther brooch owned by Wallis Simpson (The Duchess of Windsor), the Panthère de Cartier collection has had many famous advocates – and is still going strong today!

Cartier Paris Brooch Watch – the reverse side of the rectangular Panther motif section has a watch dial – 1928

Wandering through the exhibition, it was interesting to see how the motifs evolved over the decades, and to see where the designers drew their inspiration from.  The archaeological exploration of Egypt, travel of the Royal family to India, and the art of East and Southeast Asia opened up an exotic source of inspiration, which they applied to all sorts of creations – cigarette cases, jewellery, clocks and watches.

Cartier Paris Bangle – Coral, emerald and onyx – 1930

Over 300 pieces were on display – a combination of Cartier’s collection and loaned pieces from private collections worldwide.  The jewels of Grace Kelly (Later Princess Grace of Monaco), Elizabeth Taylor, Sir Elton John and the Royal family were part of the exhibition.

Cartier Halo tiara made in 1936, belongs to Queen Elizabeth II and was worn by Kate Middleton on her wedding day in 2011

Before heading back to Sydney, Joel and I stopped at Lerida Estate Winery opposite Lake George, for a late lunch and a glass of their pinot rose.  When a winemaker compares the colour of their wine to an Argyle pink diamond, you know they have taste!

Scroll down to see a few more images taken on our journey.

The entry into the National Art Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT
‘The Garland Style’ – Cartier Paris Devant de Corsage – Platinum, diamond and pearls – 1902
Guilloché enamel barometer – Silver, gold, silver gilt enamel – 1908
Watch necklace – 1910. Guilloché enamel is a technique involving engine turning a pattern on gold, then firing with a vitreous transparent enamel over the top.
Cartier Paris bracelet watch – c.1910
Cartier Paris Snake Necklace – Platinum and diamond – 1919
Cartier Vanity Case – c.1920
Cartier London sautoir – Diamonds and rubies – 1924. This piece was amazingly flat in profile.
Cartier Paris for Cartier New York Panther pattern evening bag – 1924
Trina and Alice looking through one of the double-sided displays. The craftsmanship is not limited to the front of pieces, with the other side showing as much detail as the front.
Cartier Paris Vanity case – this is actually a photo of the back – 1924
Cartier Paris vanity case – 1925
Cartier powder compact and lipstick holder – 1925
Cartier Paris necklace – special order for the Maharaja of Patiala – 1928.
Two coral bracelets – inspiration from the East – 1930
Cartier London Collier – Platinum, Emeralds and diamonds – 1932
Cartier Paris – Imperial Jadeite strand – 1934. Like Australian opal, magnificent jadeite commands some of the highest prices among gems in today’s international market.
Cartier Bib Necklace – Gold, Turquoise and diamonds – 1955
Cartier Bangle – Gold turquoise and diamond – 1953
Diamond setters are a different part of the jewellery trade. Jewellers create the mountings, then the setters place and secure the gemstones.
Many of the hand tools we use today are the same as the ones used by jewellers in the 1800s. Hammers, files, saw-frames, blocks and punches have not changed over the centuries.
The official book of the exhibition, with stunning close up photographs of the pieces viewed.
Lerida Estate, Lake George – the perfect spot for a late lunch.
Inside Lerida Cafe – with the winery next door.
Lerida Estate Pinot Rose – a good drop!
Taking in the lovely views of Lake George from the winery, before heading home.

 

 

 

 


By Alice | Posted on August 28, 2018

Visiting Sydney soon?  You may have already researched where to eat during your stay, but sometimes a brilliant wine list can help make the decision easier!

The Annual Wine List of the Year Awards, held last month, is the Oscars for restaurant owners and sommelier’s wine lists as they learn how their carefully constructed list stack up.  2018 was the 25th year of this award.

The most important part of the night is the all important “Glass” rating where restaurants find out if they have received 1, 2 or 3 Glasses, just as they do with “Chefs Hats” for their chefs creations in the kitchen.  Sydney is proud to boast 55 restaurants awarded with a 3 wine glass rating.

In addition there are dozens of other categories that cover individual states, city / country, by the glass, beer, sparkling, aperitif, digestive, wines from each state, to read the full 2018 list click here.  Scroll down to see the list of Sydney’s 3 Glass restaurants and the National Award Winners.

 

Aria Restaurant – Best Sparkling List 2018 – photo courtesy @jeymin.ny

 

SYDNEY 3 GLASS RESTAURANTS

Altitude, Aqua Dining, Aria Sydney, Ash Street Sydney, Balcon by Tapavino, Balla, Bambini Trust, Banksii Vermouth Bar, Bar H Dining, Bennelong, Bentley Restaurant, Bert’s Bar, Bibo Wine Bar, Cafe Sydney, Catalina, Century, Cirrus, Cut Bar and Dining, Dear Saint Eloise, Devine Food and Wine, Dolphin, Felix, Flying Fish, Fred’s, Fujisaki, Glass, Golden Century, Hubert, Icebergs, Love Tilly Devine, Manta, Momofuku Seiobo, Monopole, Mr Wong, Nomad Sydney, One Ford Street, Ormeggio, Oscillate Wildly, Pendolino, Pilu at Freshwater, Prime, Public Dining Room, Quay, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Rosetta Sydney, Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron, Sake The Rocks, Sokyo, Sixpenny, Spice Temple Sydney, Tetsuya’s, Uccello, Wine Library, Yellow

 

NATIONAL AWARD WINNERS 

BEST WINE LIST – Aria Brisbane

BEST NEW LIST – Dear Sainte Eloise

BEST SMALL WINE LIST (MAX 100 WINES) – Chiswick

BEST LIST BY THE GLASS – Bentley Restaurant

BEST SPARKLING LIST – Aria Sydney

BEST APERITIF – Devine Food and Wine

 

@devinefoodandwine – Best Aperitif Wine List 2018

 

Excerpts from original article by Alsaker.com.au

By Alice | Posted on August 14, 2018

Giulians inaugural Meet the Brewer and Putt for Cash evening.

Everyone’s heard of food and wine pairings  – even food and beer pairings, but beer and fine jewellery may not seem such an obvious match!

Most of you know what we do, and how well we do it, so Gary’s idea for this bi-monthly event is simply to create a fun experience – an introduction to a local Sydney brewer, while adding a competitive edge with a putting competition and a chance to have some laughs.

For those lucky enough to attend, you already know it was a bit of fun, but for the rest of you – here’s a glimpse of what you missed and what you can look forward to next month.  Keep scrolling for all the images taken on the night.

 

The Brewer

Wayward Brewing Co.’s ethos is ‘life is about finding out what’s around that corner, experiencing new things and enjoying great beer with good friends’.  When you find people passionate about what they do, it is easy to share in their enthusiasm, and Pete Philip, founder of Wayward Brewing Co is no exception.

Pete, combining his love of beer, business, travel and adventure founded Wayward brewing Co in 2012. Wayward by name, the company was a gypsy brewer until 2015, when Pete, along with head brewer Shaun Blissett opened Wayward’s 1st brewery and cellar bar at 1 Gehrig Lane, Camperdown.  This was originally the site of a winery, dating back almost a century.  The original wax-lined wine vats have been converted into rooms, and with a 24-tap bar featuring both Wayward’s core range of craft beers and some constantly changing single-batch seasonal releases, it is a beer lovers paradise.  (A small wine list for the non-beer drinkers). They also do brewery tours on Saturdays and have a rotating food truck schedule and pizza menu,  so it is totally worth a visit!  For more info check out http://www.waywardbrewing.com.au/

Pete generously lent his time on the night to talk about his beers and his brand.

The selection of beers for tasting on the night – Bavarian Lager, Berliner Weisse, Pale Ale and Black IPA.

The Beer

Four of Wayward Brewing Co’s beers were for tasting – a Bavarian lager, a pale ale, a sour beer and a dark IPA.

KELLER INSTINCT – Bavarian Lager
Kellerbier is a German style of beer which literally translates to ‘Cellar Beer’ – referring to the cooler temperatures the beer is brewed and conditioned under.
Notes:  A pale-golden, Bavarian Lager which uses premium German, Wheat, Vienna and Munich malts, giving a sweet, biscuit flavor and an ultra-smooth finish. The Wheat specifically adds body while the hops give a touch of herbal notes. This beer is cold fermented, giving it that crisp, clean finish. 4.8% ABV

CAMPERDOWN 1 – Pale Ale
Notes: Named after Wayward’s neighbourhood, this is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. This smooth and easy drinking golden summer ale has just the right balance of biscuit malt and fresh hop aroma that melds the best of an American and English ale style. Pine on the nose gives way to passionfruit on the palate and a light, fruity finish.  It acts as an ideal food pairing and tastes good with just about any dish.  4.6% ABV

SOURPUSS – Raspberry Berliner Weisse
Considered the “champagne of beer”, this tart, fruity wheat beer is a traditional Berlin-style sour with fresh raspberry aroma and a light sweetness with a clean pilsner and wheat malt finish. Sourpuss is an ultra- refreshing beer that is perfect on a hot summer’s day or paired with food. A great choice for both cider lovers and beer lovers. First brewed by request of Pete’s wife and now a fan-favourite among Wayward punters. 3.8% ABV

SLAPSHOT – Dark IPA
The Slapshot Black IPA is a traditional hop forward American IPA brewed with dark roasted malts. These bold malt flavours of caramel and cacao balance perfectly with the citrus-fruit and pine hop character, to give a smooth and rounded finish. 6.5% ABV

 

Wayward Brewing Co’s Camperdown 1 pale ale, for tasting.
Pete, founder of Wayward Brewing Co.
The grazing table of sopressa, salami, proscuitto, olives, truffle brie, cheddar and blue cheese.
Camperdown 1, Sour Puss and Slap Shot.
From Left: Pete Philip and Phil de Merindol at ‘the bar’.

Signs of an enjoyable night.

The Putting

Despite some admirable attempts, no-one made the winning putt  – during the official part of the evening at least.  (Apparently if you remove the pressure of cash and add more beer, putting becomes easy!)  But this means the prize has doubled!  So with that incentive in mind – come and try your luck next month.

Guess the opal and pearl value competition – among a collection of Giulians jewellery.
One of Giulians amazing black opals – 9.22cts.
Ben’s guess was closest to the mark for the pearl value – while Mark’s was obviously not!
Jorge, 1st putt of the evening – and the closest!
Adam – reading the green. Will need to get much better at reading carpet!
No doubt Mark thought he had this in the hole… maybe next time!
We may need to work on Ben’s stance – but no improvement needed on his pearl knowledge!
Surely that ones gotta go in!!
In Phil’s own words – some mediocre putting, and no-one was going to argue!
Maybe stick to fishing Deano!
Pace better suited to Happy Valley Racecourse!
Late night drop in, better luck next time Allan!
Giulians dress code for the evening – ‘come as you are’.

Thank you to all who attended.  To sum up the night, I think Phil said it best –

Thank you for arranging such an enjoyable evening for us all- great beers, great conversation, some lovely opals & some mediocre putting.

We look forward to seeing even more faces at our next Meet the Brewer night, which will be on Wednesday 5th September (mark it in your calendar!) Please email gary@giulians.com.au if you want to know more about Giulians or our next event.

 

       

 


By Alice | Posted on August 7, 2018

Ever wondered what Gary gets up to on his days off?  Golf, gardening and… this!

Last year Gary was tasked with making a commemorative plaque for a friend’s retirement.  Using some specimen grade ‘boulders’, Gary got on the power tools in his front yard.  His youngest son Liam, who is a keen photographer, captured some fantastic photos during the process.

We hope you enjoy this gallery of images showing the transformation of a lump of boulder opal rock into a gorgeous retirement gift, presented to Mr Ron Greedy, a longtime member of Les Clefs d’Or Australia.  Celebrating 22 years of ‘Service Through Friendship’ – Congratulations Ron!

A natural boulder of iron stone and opal.
The reddish-brown dust is from the ironstone, which is the host rock of Boulder opal.
Slicing through the large Boulder opal specimen.
Such work requires the use of a proper dust mask, eye and ear protection.
Using hammer and axe head to chisel the required section, causing it to ‘split’.
More hammer, less chisel!
Sitting back to check progress.
Wetting the stone helps to show colour, mimicking the look of a polished finish.
The finished piece of boulder, ready for varnish and the name plaque.
Affixing the Les Clefs d’Or Keys and a brass engraved plaque.
The engraved brass plaque.
From left: Gary Coffey, honorary Les Clef’s d’Or member of  11 years, and the recipient of the opal plaque, Mr Ron Greedy.

By Alice | Posted on July 31, 2018

Handmaking a Pink Diamond Pendant.

When we aren’t busy making beautiful pieces for clients, we are creating new pieces for our boutique.  Recently inspired by a lovely pink diamond and geometric shapes, Gary designed this 18ct white gold pendant.  I hope you enjoy this gallery of images, capturing the evolution of this one-off piece.

 

Gary’s bench sketch providing details for Joel to work from.
Using a scribe to mark out detail before saw piercing.
Saw piercing to remove sections of gold, creating the decorative pattern on the top plate.
Positioning the diamond settings.
When the piece was completed, Gary felt like something was missing…
Adding 2 rows of diamonds around the frame was the finishing touch!

Thanks for viewing!  If you are interested in this piece or wish to learn more about Australian pink diamonds, please get in touch with us via email giulians@giulians.com.au or by filling out the form below.

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By Alice | Posted on July 26, 2018

What colour is a sapphire?

It is a simple enough question.  The mere mention of the word sapphire brings to mind the colours royal or cornflower blue – like Princess Diana’s famous sapphire ring, now worn by Kate Middleton – The Duchess of Cambridge.  What many people don’t realise is that sapphires come in almost every colour imaginable – blue, green, yellow, purple and pink.

Gary recently received a bespoke order from a client for a pink sapphire ring, with the view to also create a pair of matching earrings and pendant.  We always start these enquiries by finding the perfect gem.  Even after 40 years of experience, Gary was surprised by how challenging finding the ‘perfect matched set’ would prove to be.

Peach, apricot, salmon, coral, purplish pink, cerise, amaranth, fuchsia, watermelon, hot, lolly, dusty, mushroom or baby pink?  Even the names are a challenge! The colour ‘peach’, for example.  Does this refer to the skin colour of the stone fruit, which varies from dark pink to orange, or the inside flesh which is more on the orange side?  And what makes a pink sapphire a ‘Padparadscha’.

See the gallery below for a small insight into the wonderful world of pink sapphires and the sometimes challenging (but always fun) creative process!

The gorgeous orange-pink sapphire selected for a bespoke design.
Gary’s initial sketch presented to the client.
The beautiful diversity of pink sapphire – and this is just a small selection!

Padparascha Sapphires

Gaining popularity at the moment is a very rare and special colour in pink sapphires called Padparadscha.  This is the name given to sapphires that have both pink and orange tones present.  The original Padparadscha sapphires were found in Sri Lanka, however other deposits have been found in Madagascar, Vietnam and Tanzania.  The word Padparadscha  is derived from the Sinhalese word meaning lotus blossom, and the colour of these sapphires has been described as somewhere between a lotus blossom and a sunset.

Somewhere between a lotus and a sunset leaves plenty of room for a panoply of variation.

If you would like to find out more about Padparadscha sapphire or any other sapphires, please feel free to contact us on giulians@giulians.com.au or by using the form below.

 

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By Alice | Posted on July 6, 2018