Here I am, once again, sliding into the blog with an ultra-last-minute Jewel of the Month featuring a birthstone — in this case, garnet for January. But, as you’ll see, I have a second garnet option that ties into Valentine’s Day, so my timing isn’t all that bad!
First, check out the earrings I created with garnets sourced by my friend Monica Stephenson of ANZA Gems and cut by Peter Torraca. I combined the garnets with citrines that had been pulled from a long-ago project of mine, and accented the look with diamonds.
If you love these earrings as much as I do, I’m sorry to disappoint — I posted them on Instagram in December and they immediately sold! That was gratifying, especially because I’d had the garnets in my possession for years. Monica had been in no particular rush, and I was occupied with other projects. The classic deep red of these garnets also posed a little bit of a challenge for earrings: I wanted to be sure the design would pop against darker hair. Plus, my previous ANZA collaborations have all been very colorful, either because the gems themselves are practically neon or because I got to combine multiple ANZA gems in one piece.
The garnets were a little somber, comparatively, but I have never considered buying additional colored gemstones for an ANZA project. ANZA specializes in ethically sourced colored gemstones and I don’t want to take away from that story by adding random gems. But, last summer, when I took the garnets out of my big box of loose gems to give them another look, it struck me that upcycling gems I already owned complemented the ANZA mission, because they were also gems with a story. So I went through every stone in the box and came up with two possibilities: citrines that had been freed from a 2006/2007 project that Saks canceled after I’d already started production (don’t ask!) and turquoise beads left over from my Xenobia ring.
I shared the possible combinations on Instagram and took a vote, which, if I recall correctly, came out pretty even. Monica also liked both options, and left it up to me. I was torn. If I were making earrings for my personal use, I’d definitely go with the turquoise because I find the combination of turquoise and red to be electric and rather unexpected. I used it before in a big skull ring.
But not everyone wants to be jolted by a color clash, and I really wanted these earrings to irresistible, especially after all the time the garnets had spent in hibernation. So I went with the warmer, more inviting look of the citrines, but still gave the design a little twist by placing the four main gems asymmetrically. And, just as I hoped, the earrings went off to a new home immediately.
But don’t despair, garnet lovers! As promised, I do have a garnet option that’s perfect for Valentine’s Day — plus you can have it made to order. Ring? Necklace? Single earring? You can decide. This beautiful six-carat spessartite garnet heart has been living in my loose gem box for even longer than the ANZA garnets!
Yes, that garnet is a rich orange color. Garnets come in a range of colors besides the “garnet red” you most often see. In addition to orange, you can find green (my favorite!), pink, purple, brown, blue, and there are even garnets that change colors depending on what kind of light they are under. If you want to explore a special design for this gem, DM me on the ‘Gram or email me at info at wendybrandes dot com. But do it soon, because I’ve suddenly got a lot of ideas of my own!