Spring Sphene

 

 

Spring has begrudgingly made its way to my little corner of the world!

 

Central Ontario, where I’m currently living, has experienced a prolonged winter. In fact, it’s sleeting outside right now and it’s pretty darn cold for his time of year.

 

Yet despite this unusual and unsavoury weather, the trees are now in full leaf, and the hills are glowing with that fresh and vibrant, almost electric Spring Green. It’s lovely, but typically short lived as warmer days and fuller sun will soon deepen the colours and make way for summer.

 

There have been some days as of this past week that would have been great to do a little bit of work in my sunroom studio!

But some big changes are on the horizon for me: I’ll be moving in the next few weeks to my new home and studio!

The vast majority of my equipment as well as collections have been packed up and ready to go to my new location. All of my things that have been in storage for so so long will finally see the light of day again and be a part of my life. It’s very exciting! My life is definitely turning over a new leaf and so many of my plans are starting to blossom!

 

Even though I haven’t been working in my studio, I’ve still been coming up with some great jewellery concepts as well as buying a few gemstones. My latest acquisitions include this beautiful pair of electric green Titanite Sphene stones, for which I have a fabulous pair of earrings planned. This particular pair is beautifully matched and are reminiscent of those first few days of spring, when the world suddenly becomes green.

This gorgeous pair of Titanite Sphene are the most amazing green! With a combined weight of 3.71cts, they are perfect for a pair of earrings that I recently envisioned! These earrings are going o be one of the first jewellery projects that I'll complete in my new studio and home, followed by many of the other fantastic design ideas I've been mulling about since November!

This gorgeous pair of Titanite Sphene are the most amazing green! With a combined weight of 3.71cts, they are perfect for a pair of earrings that I recently envisioned! These earrings are going o be one of the first jewellery projects that I’ll complete in my new studio and home, followed by many of the other fantastic design ideas I’ve been mulling about since November!

 

Titanite Sphene is an interesting gemstone. It’s pretty much considered a collector’s stone as it is relatively soft at 5.5 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, with a cleavage plane. This makes it challenging to fashion and unsuitable for a lot of jewellery purposes–an unfortunate impact could break the stone if it were set into a ring or bracelet and it an easily become scratched. It occurs commercially in a small range of colours ranging from yellow, golden brown, bright green to a brownish red and fashioned stones often show two colours. Black and white crystals are also found in nature but tend not to be used for jewellery purposes.

You can see the amazing dispersion in this high quality facetted Titanite Sphene! I don't have it in my possession, but I'd love to!

You can see the amazing dispersion in this high quality facetted Titanite Sphene! I don’t have it in my possession, but I’d love to!

While some of the purer greens are absolutely breathtaking in their intensity, the most appealing feature of Titanite Sphene is it’s amazing dispersion. That is the ability to separate white light into spectral colours. In essence, when a good quality, well-cut Titanite Sphene is moved in the light, it produces flashes of rainbow colours. Interestingly, Titanite Sphene has a higher dispersion than that king of gemstones, much loved for it’s high dispersion, the Diamond.

 

I first came across Titanite Sphene at one of my earlier jewellery related jobs working for a large jewellery manufacturer where I would prepare auction listings for loose stones. The name of these stones, Sphene, seemed at first to be the most memorable thing about them–to me it sounded like a strange medieval pond creature! These facetted stones were relatively small and seemed at first to be a rather uninspiring golden red. However, a quick inspection of these stones under light revealed their true beauty and immense personality!

Although the colouring of this pair of Titanite Sphene may be unexciting to some, the wonderful dispersion and playful nature of this pair makes it very appealing in my little opinion. The first Titanite Sphene I encountered had a similar body colour.

Although the colouring of this pair of Titanite Sphene may be unexciting to some, the wonderful dispersion and playful nature of this pair makes it very appealing in my little opinion. The first Titanite Sphene I encountered had a similar body colour.

The name of Sphene was officially changed to the more auspicious sounding Titanite (for the high titanium content of the stones) in 1982, but the term Sphene is still a bit clingy and still very much in use three decades later, especially within the jewellery and gem industries. Admittedly, I like the name of Sphene, not only as it is what I came to know the stone as (probably due to the older age of Gemologists that I worked with paired with the fact that it is pretty unmistakable and much less of a mouthful to speak than Titanite!).sphene4

The memorable name of Sphene sounds like some sort of medieval aquatic life, but the name is derived from the Greek word for "wedge" which relates to the typical habit Sphene forms in nature.

The memorable name of Sphene sounds like some sort of medieval aquatic life, but the name is derived from the Greek word for “wedge” which relates to the typical habit Sphene forms in nature.

 

Whatever you choose to call it, Titanite Sphene is said to resonate with the Solar Plexus Chakra, the Heart Chakra, the Third Eye Chakra and the Crown Chakra. It’s supposed to be a great stone for boosting creativity, intuitive thought and prosperity–growth on all levels. It’s even said that Titanite Sphene crystals simulate plant growth and health. Fostering a balance between inward and outward energies, this gem is governed by Sagittarius, and enhances many traits typically associated with this astrological sign: a pursuit of and interest in knowledge and ideas, optimism, sociability, playful grace, and action and adventure. Ruled by Jupiter, there’s a strong element of luck associated with both Sagittarians¬† and Titanite Sphene.

 

When I’m designing jewellery, I will get a clear mental image of the finished piece before setting down to sketching or problem solving. I had such a strong image of a pair of long geometrical earrings recently with an almost florescent green pair of stones showcased in the design. I was of course thrilled to stumble upon this pair of electric green Sphene and knew that they would be perfect for my design–they’re the exact stones I envisioned!

This is a pretty amazing Titanite Sphene specimen, but in many cases, it takes the skill of a good cutter to bring out the beauty of Titanite Sphene.

This is a pretty amazing Titanite Sphene specimen, but in many cases, it takes the skill of a good cutter to bring out the beauty of Titanite Sphene.

 

I’m so looking forward to making these earrings as soon as I get settled in to my new space. I’ll post photos as soon as they’re created in silver!

I’m also excited about ordering my new gemological microscope this month! If ¬†I’m not totally consumed with moving, you can be sure I’ll have a bit to say about that, as well as another instalment of my adventures in England!

 

About admin

I make stuff. I collect stuff. I study stuff. I'm a bit of a technophobe, but I kinda have always enjoyed writing, so here I am, walking contradiction that I am. That's it in a nutshell. For those of you who are interested in the brains behind the operation, I studied Sculpture and Installation at the Ontario College of Art and Design, which lead to an interest (and some might say a career choice) in jewellery and jewellery design, ergo the pursuit of my GG from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). I'm about half way completed my studies and it's amazing! I also paint, draw and do free-lance illustration--check out my stuff at www.flikr.com/photo/carolinebacher. While I'm a big supporter of holistic healing and sustainable and organic farming, I also adore high-end design, fashion, dining out, and even the occasional meat-fest and bottle of vino accompanied by *gasp* a ciggie. See, I told you that I'm a walking contradiction! But in my humble opinion, the most interesting people are! Follow my creative process and inspiration on Pinterest http://pinterest.com/carolinebacher/ Caroline Goldsmith

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