When Paula Crevoshay  first received the 70.13 ct. carved Brazilian opal that would anchor Pali's Mist, she was perplexed, to put it mildly. "It wasn't a dragon, and it wasn't a fish—I kept turning it every way," she recalls. Eventually what emerged from her sketches was a sea dragon. The Albuquerque, N.M.–based designer dotted the golden wings with black diamonds, decorated the torso with Mexican opals, and christened her Pali. Now, Crevoshay has become "obsessed" with the Australian ocean dwellers. "Their evolution and their ability to protect themselves through camouflage is just exquisite." Not surprisingly, she's pondering plunging into another aquatic creation: "I have something that's been in my safe—this piece that's perplexed me forever. It may be another sea dragon!"
Getting the Hang of It
Anyone who spied Pali at the recent AGTA  Spectrum Awards may remember her hanging on a string of black spinel beads—392.16 cts. worth. "It became a necklace because it's more like a breastplate, because of its scale," says Crevoshay. The "pendant" portion here measures about 3.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches tall—excluding the detachable 38.11 ct. black spinel drop. "But it sits so beautifully. Those fins gently move, so it's not rigid." Though Crevoshay makes plenty of museum pieces, Pali was designed to be worn (price on request). Of course, "it's not for every occasion."
"I'm very much inspired by water," says the designer, ticking off a few of the marine-themed jewels she's made over the years. "Ocean's Consciousness, which is like an octopus out of chrysocolla. An Ocean's Wave necklace—the waves even have diamonds dripping from it. Aphrodite's Mirror." And she's already gone back under the sea: "I have a client that's wanting a green sea dragon after seeing Pali."
Stone of Destiny
The fiery Brazilian opal came to Crevoshay from her longtime collaborator and "kindred spirit" Glenn Lehrer, a Larkspur, Calif., gemstone artist . "He had stored it away and he decided he would finally let me see it," she says. "It's his visionary genius in the center. A lot of the carvers I work with really make me stretch into myself."