Starry Gems and Starfish

boivin_starfish_broochAmethyst is February’s traditional birthstone, so despite Valentine’s Day swooping in with its pinks and reds, it’s always purple that comes to mind for me this time of year. (Of course, I’m a purple fan, so it’s an all year ‘round color for me!)

Amethyst is no longer considered a precious stone-it was for centuries, but since the Brazilian deposits were discovered it has been considered a semi-precious stone. Which is rather nice really, more brilliant colors for the rest of us! For some seriously stunning amethyst pieces of all styles check out Jewels du Jour’s A is for Amethyst selection.

I ran across references to a non-fiction book coming out shortly with amethysts (okay, and rubies!) at its heart that I can’t wait to read. It’s by Cherie Burns and is called Diving for Starfish. (It has a good review in Kirkus) When she was researching her biography of heiress and socialite Millicent Rogers, Burns became fascinated by an unusual piece of jewelry listed in Rogers’ collection-a articulated ruby and amethyst starfish broach. (You can see one of them on the Christies’ website and zoom in on the picture to see the delicate joints.)
boivin_tourmaline_and_emerald_foxglove_broochIt was created by the French jewelry firm Boivin, known for its immaculate attention to detail and preference for naturalistic styles as well as an interesting habit of mixing extremely valuable materials with more common ones for striking effect. The founder died fairly young, and his widow took over the business. They considered their style recognizable enough that they generally didn’t bother to sign their pieces, unless a client requested it.
Boivin hired designer Juliette Moutarde in the 1930s. They continued to create more naturalistic pieces than the prevalent deco style, including floral designs and the iconic starfish that so captured Millicent Rogers, actress Claudette Colbert, and much later the author Burns.
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