Saturday, April 15, 2017

Tucson 2017 - Peruvian Opal and Parrot Wing

Most years, my Tucson hauls include a lot of Peruvian opal. This year, I only purchased a few, as I have a good bit on hand and late last year I bought a lot of earring pairs directly from the vendor in New Mexico. So I limited my Peruvian opals to just a few:

The four stones around the center stone are the Peruvian opals. That centerpiece is a chrysocolla...which I'll get to in a minute. ;)

Though I wasn't really looking for opals this year, Those four were all lovely enough to make the cut and come home to the studio. Here are a few examples of opal designs I've made in the past:

They sell regularly for  me, and I look forward to incorporating these new finds into some delicious designs!

The chrysocolla...I had told myself "no more chrysocolla" because I have a ridiculous amount of stock. But....but. There is always room in my studio (if not always the wallet!) for some really stunning gems. And this was one of them. That lovely blue swath across the top of the dark brown host? Like a windswept sky burnishing the rocks and wood on the land? There simply was no question. ;)

And this was another exceptional chrysocolla:

*This* bad boy is from the Ray Mine, in Arizona. The mining operation has been open for over a hundred years, and produces some of THE most exceptional chrysocolla you'll ever see (or at least, that I have ever seen). Look at the complexity of the color shift and the patterns...this one is definitely in "hoarding" status. :)

Chrysocolla is similar to turquoise, but it has a more brittle structure and is prone to chipping or flaking (as I well know; I've chipped / cracked a few during the setting process). Turquoise is softer in general and does not chip as easily. Chrysocolla is a bit more fragile, but its colors and depth are so rewarding that I just can't resist adding a bit here and there to my collection.

On to the parrot wing!

Parrot wing chrysocolla / jasper (as I understand it, it's chrysocolla material that has jasper-ized, so it's harder and less brittle than regular ol' chrysocolla) and it's from Mexico. And it's not easy to get your hands on some. What draws me in, of course, is the vivid blue-green coloring, and the contrasting brown patches. I buy a few (or sometimes just one) at a time, as I can find them.

Here are a few that I purchased last year:

As you can see from the many reflective spots in the photos, they take a very high polish, and are threaded with marvelous color combinations. The best of them remind me of tropical scenes, waters flowing through a jungle, mountainous peaks and deep crevasses. Like a little adventure in every gem. :)

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