Paula Crevoshay has always designed around stones, and she’s never been one to shy away from a bold interplay of hues – in fact, that’s pretty much what turns her on. “As a designer and a painter, color is close to my heart,” she says. “When I look at anything, I register color before shape and form.”
You can find a stunning collection of her jewelry now through August in “Garden of Light: Works by Paula Crevoshay” at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA.
Blue is certainly not the only part of the color spectrum she swims around in – her combinations of reds and golds are pretty spectacular – but I find her variations on the blues most potent. “Blue stones speak like music,” says Crevoshay. “They have certain notes and pitches.”
“There are connoisseurs of blue just as there are connoisseurs of wine,” the French writer Colette once wrote. Being a connoisseur of blue herself (and pretty flamboyant overall), I think she would have appreciated the jewelry on this page and counted Paula Crevoshay as a fellow blue connoisseur.
There is probably no color in the spectrum better represented in gems and jewelry than blue. Unlike Colette who, I imagine, saw blues largely in terms of her own passion, flowers, jewelry designers see blues in the form of glass, enamel or gemstone – iolite, opal, azurite, aquamarine, lapis, turquoise, topaz, tourmaline, tanzanite, sodalite, sapphire, spinel, fluorite, chrysocolla … Could there be a headier palette? Most jewelers use only a fraction of those stones, having, like their customers, marked preferences for certain shades. Paula Crevoshay likes to explore the entire field.
Combining a passion for color with a sophisticated knowledge of gemology (and some good connections), Crevoshay works with one of richest, most varied palettes of blue in the gem world – iolite, tanzanite, aquamarine, boulder opal, smithsonite, and hemimorphite, to name a few. But it’s all about color for her and the memories it evokes.
She recalls a childhood dress of a pastel blue that still delights her. “When I see a certain color it will throw me into a memory or mood. Blue is what you see when you wake up and look out the window on a sunny day. Your mood heightens.”
I suspect blue became associated with spirituality because it appears in the natural world in the most exotic and ephemeral places: not in trees but in flowers, not grounded mammals but soaring birds, not solid earth but amorphous sky and water.
As D.H. Lawrence once wrote: “Let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of a flower, down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on blueness, even where Persephone goes.”
“The blue in a moonstone is so ethereal, when I want a dreamy effect, I use that,” Crevoshay says. “Certain blues remind us of spring. Pastel blues and dreamy skies drenched with sun, flowers, and conversion; Persephone returns.”
“Blue sapphire is more like velvet, where iolites are a wonderful, inky blue. Blue opal has an oceanic quality – which makes sense since it’s predominantly water. ”
“With opal and chrysocolla, I often put ocean wave patterns in the metalwork as a gemological clue. Sometimes a certain blue makes me think of the sky or water or a robin’s egg, other times cloth or silk.”
I like to think those of us who resonate most with blue are more highly evolved, but maybe we just like to swim! Or fly? In the Indian chakra system, blues and violets correspond with the top most chakras, those associated with wisdom and the highest levels of spiritual development. Blue gemstones used to stimulate these chakras include lapis, sodalite, blue and purple fluorite, azurite, and amethyst.
Wearing sparkly blue jewels to achieve enlightenment? I’m sure Paula Crevoshay would get behind that.
You can find these and many other luscious jewels designed by Paula on her website.
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