Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2015, Vol. 51, No. 1

Gemstones and Jewelry Inspired By Nature

Agate and leaf pendant
Figure 1. A carved agate and leaf pendant featuring diamond and tsavorite accents. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA; courtesy of Jeff Bilgore, LLC.

Jeff Bilgore has 18 AGTA Spectrum Awards to his credit in both the cutting and design categories. His booth in the AGTA GemFair featured two pieces that departed from the norm of colored stones: an exquisitely carved leaf brooch of moss agate, highlighted with diamonds (figure 1), and a platinum pendant panel and chain featuring natural-color fancy diamonds that appeared to float within the frame (figure 2). The cut-corner rectangular panel, reminiscent of a classic Cartier design, featured 11 natural colored diamonds (5.68 carats total, all with GIA reports confirming Fancy, Fancy Vivid, or Fancy Intense hue), paired with a chain featuring 36 additional oval fancy colored diamonds (4.23 carats total).

Diamond and platinum pendant
Figure 2. A platinum pendant featuring 13 natural colored diamonds (6.31 carats total) with an 18K yellow gold and platinum chain featuring 36 oval fancy color diamonds (4.23 carats total). Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA; courtesy of Jeff Bilgore, LLC.

After viewing the selection of carefully curated gemstones, one becomes aware of the entwined themes of art and nature. Bilgore espouses the principle of biophilia, the belief that humans intuitively respond positively to nature. Rather than viewing gemstones as inanimate objects, Bilgore sees them as part of nature, and he displays many of the gemstones and jewelry pieces with a tiny easel featuring an associated image (figure 3). A 5.69 ct Australian crystal opal, exhibiting play-of-color in all hues, was displayed with an image of the aurora borealis. Some of the other images are Bilgore’s own photos, taken in his garden or while hiking. In a further nod to nature, the design of the colored diamond panel pendant was inspired by the Golden Mean and the Fibonacci series, mathematical relationships often found in nature and incorporated into manmade creations as diverse as music and architecture.

Opal and image on easel
A 5.69 ct Australian crystal opal is accompanied by an image of the aurora borealis on a tiny easel. Photo by Towfiq Ahmed; courtesy of Jeff Bilgore, LLC.

Donna Beaton is colored stones technical advisor for content strategy at GIA.