Google+ The Daily Jewel: 7/20/08 - 7/27/08


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Robert Bentley Company

At the Tucson Gem Show each year when the AGTA Show opens my first stop – ALWAYS...The Robert Bentley Company Booth. He has all the cut stones and druzys that other booths have BUT his are in innovative stones and great, bold shapes!
But I think what I look for from this company is “new trends”, especially in beads. Two years ago Bentley introduced some of the most fabulous rough finished Aquamarine – last year the trend was picked up by other “gem bead” companies. Unfortunately they aren’t done in the same way, with the same attention to detail and don’t make the statement that the Bentley beads do!

This is Robert Bentley...

The Man

Robert Bentley began his love affair with gemstones while accompanying his grandfather to rock hound meetings in the 1950’s. He graduated from Pratt Institute in 1972 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. While he continued to paint and sculpt (he still does today), his fascination with gemstones took precedence and The Robert Bentley Company showroom was opened in New York City in 1994.

Within the environment of The Robert Bentley Company’s extensive inventory of the best quality, best cut colored stones available today, Robert functions as a collaborator, instigator, and cohort within the jeweler’s design process, integrating his extensive knowledge and experience in gemology with an artist’s sensibility.

The Company

For nearly twenty years, The Robert Bentley Company has been working with an international community of talented stone cutters to provide the fine art jeweler with better, gem-quality colored stones. The extensive inventory spans a broad spectrum, from fine facets and uniquely crafted cabochons to natural crystal structures, distinctive crystal surface pieces, fine beads, druseys, and an array of phenomenal inclusions. The Robert Bentley Company is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.

Plate Cut Beads
From the more formal shaped plate cut (above) beads to the frenzy of the thinner plates.

Hammered Beads
Huge gemmy chunks of gemstone with a rough hammered finish – yet still clear, clean and polished!

Faceted Beads
These are some of the most dynamic beads – big beads with large free-form facets that, when used in a necklace would send light to the face.

These – especially in Tourmaline and Aquamarine – are my favorites. They look like raw tourmaline and aquamarine crystals that are shaped, faceted (in long facets following the tube shape) and polished. They also offer this shape with hexagonal facets.

Crystal clear round lentil shaped beads of some of the gemmiest (is that a word?) material. This is the grade of gem that usually gets sent to the faceters for use in indiviual cut stones.

RARE – this isn't just rare stones, but rare stones cut in beads! ...strands of watermelon tourmaline...

mixed beryl, lapis (polished and hammered)... apatite...

...and hammered Chalcopyrite!

Some Things To Keep In Mind While Viewing Website Photos...from Robert Bentley:

These images do not reflect our entire inventory. Aside from the selection of strands pictured we also carry various cabochons and faceted single stones, surface pieces and many other rarities.Our inventory is constantly changing. While we will add new and exciting stones as we receive them, it is always possible that we have stock which is not represented on-line. These images are intended as a guide, not a complete catalogue. If you are looking for something in particular please

e-mail or call us and we will be happy to assist you.While the images are kept as true to the original as possible, it is almost impossible to create perfect representations of these stones. Please keep in mind when viewing the images that most colors are less pronounced on-line then they are in person.

Contact Info:

Robert Bentley Company - Unusual Stones


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wendy Culpepper

Wendy Culpepper
Designer Jewelry

Wendy’s introduction to the arts and metals came at the University of Florida as an Engineering and Fine Arts Student. Originally focusing on her strong drawing skills, she traveled to Florence, Italy to immerse herself in a study of diverse mediums. This search for her artistic Muse had her exploring metalsmithing and jewelry design...the perfect blend, engineering, fabrication and the creativity she craved.

Following her heart, Wendy furthered her jewelry education by completing the Fashion Institute of Technology's vigorous bench jewelry and design program, graduating with the coveted honor of top design student. With her jewelry designs and beaded work selling right from her neck, Wendy began to explore an online business for her well-received pieces.

Culpepper’s first experience in the Jewelry Industry came when she joined the product development team at Me & Ro Jewelry (famous for their numerous celebrity clients). Her success in this position encouraged Wendy to look into launching her own line...and in 2005, W. Culpepper was born!

Wendy’s work is best known for her strong, simple carvings, bold statements, wear-ability and classic elegance. Her feminine and balanced pieces have led to a strong clientele and followers ranging from editors, stylists, celebrities and popular personalities. Her pieces have been featured in Lucky, InStyle, Redbook, People, and the Rachel Ray Show to name just a few!

The collections from this artist, range from the strong yet fluid movement of the Paradise Collection to the fun and feminine florals in the Flower of Life Collection and everything between... culminating in the funky organic feel of the Alligator Collection. There is a collection that will suit the mood and style of every woman.

While it is her Jewelry that drew me in, I think it was Wendy’s Artists Statement that spoke to me...below is just a small part of that statement:
“When working on a piece, I tend to have personal battles. I put my heart into my ideas, and I put a piece of myself in everything I do. I tend to be in my work, but as each piece progresses, it’s unusual for the audience to actually see all that I intended. I find that I mask so many of the ideas I begin with. Something in me tends to hold me back from fully exposing the ideas that I want to share. This obstacle is what I am working toward overcoming.”

Infinitely wearable - W. Culpepper can be purchased through their website and in various retail outlets

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It’s good to be “Included”…

…if you’re quartz, that is!

The “hottest” trend among jewelry designers today is the use of these lesser known gemstones of the quartz family. If we were looking at almost any other gem an inclusion of anything would devalue the gem. This however is not the case with certain quartz varieties. Due to the soft, porous nature of this gem other minerals are able to grow into it.

QUARTZ From the Slavic word for “hard”

Color: Clear, Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Golden, Brown
Moh’s Scale: 7 (hearty, good for everyday wear)
Crystal System: Trigonal, Hexagonal Prisms
Chemical Composition: Silicon Dioxide

Macrocrystalline Quartz – crystals identifiable with the naked eye. This group is represented by most of the stones gemologists classify as varieties of quartz: Amethyst, Rose-de-France or “Pink” Amethyst, Citrine, Rock Crystal, Prasiolite or “Green Amethyst, Smoky Quartz (and the various browns – whisky, beer, champagne and cognac), Rose Quartz, Aventurine, Tiger’s-Eye, etc.

Quartz is the most common gem on earth…literally found in almost every corner of the world. Important deposits are found in Bolivia, Brazil, the Swiss Alps, Madagascar, Russia, the Ukraine, Mexico, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Zambia, Uruguay and the United States.

Rock Crystal Quartz is a transparent variety valued for their clarity while some are valued chiefly for their inclusion. Rock Crystal it is the perfect showcase for Mother Nature’s surprises, due to the amazing clarity of a gem quality stone.

Rutilated Quartz - the most popular of the “stuff in quartz” this variety, golden needles of rutile are arrayed in bundles, sprays and various patterns inside the clear quartz. Sometimes called “Angel Hair”, each pattern is different, and some are breathtakingly beautiful.

Tourmalinated Quartz - this variety shows black or dark green tourmaline crystals in a thicker, rod-type inclusion. This can be in heavy patterns and sprays or random spikes. One of the favorites of faceters is to facet a round with a single rod of tourmaline running from the culet to the table – the optical illusion is quite spectacular.

“Stuff in Quartz” - has become a collecting category - today some of the more popular varieties include (pun intended)...Pyrite (gold), manganese oxide, form crystal "dendrites" (small branch-like), Chlorite (mossy, green), black Hematite (often seen at the “hub” of a wagon wheel spray of rutile needles), red Hematite platelets or Lepidocrosite (can give an overall pink or red color), green Edenite, golden Goethite needles, Epidote (thick green crystals), Actinolite...

...and my current favorite – Medusa Quartz, a clear crystal quartz with small Gillilite inclusions...named for their resemblance to the Medusa Jellyfish!

Asterism - the star effect that appears as rays of a star on the domed surface of a cabochon gem. This occurs when a strong, single light source reflects off layers of thread-like inclusions that inhabit these unique gems.

Chatoyant Quartz – if those threads align themselves in a single direction, much like the strands in a spool of thread, the reflection will appear as a single ray of light called a Cat’s-Eye. Other examples of chatoyancy in quartz are the Hawk’s-Eye, Ox-Eye and Tiger’s-Eye varieties. These are finely fibrous, opaque aggregate that are formed when quartz replaces the mineral crocidolite (a type of asbestos).

Throughout history quartz has been a jeweler’s chameleon, standing in for more expensive gemstones ranging from diamond to jade. Now, finally, quartz is coming into its own, allowing the average consumer the “luxury” of beautiful jewelry...with less common varieties beginning to show their appeal. Designers are using included quartz today for “high-end” pieces due to it’s “one-of-a-kind” nature.

I want to say a special thank you to Barbara Smigel for the use of the photos from her website:


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