For the award-winning New York–based gem dealer and designer Jeffrey Bilgore, the answer to this question was specific, if not immediately obvious.
A store director contacted Bilgore in pursuit of a custom design featuring the magnificent Mozambican tourmaline pictured above after seeing it featured in another trade magazine.
“He told me he had a client who often traveled to Africa and loved Mozambique—the animals, the landscape, and the colors,” says Bilgore. “If I could get the gem, we would collaborate on a design.”
The idea for the project, and later, the finished jewel, was named Magic in Mozambique.
Bilgore and the retail partner decided to make a dramatic pendant to accentuate the magnificent tourmaline’s flashes of pink, green, and violet. But for a gem this rare and unusual, no ordinary setting would be suitable.
“Magic in Mozambique needed animals,” says Bilgore.
A meticulously sculpted giraffe and crouching lioness were added to the sides of the setting. Meanwhile, the more they studied the gem, the more they saw the image of a sunset spreading out over the Mozambican landscape. So Bilgore placed a round raspberry-color diamond at the top of the jewel to capture the idea of a vibrant pink sun descending behind a golden tree’s textured branches and leaves.
As the finishing touch, the jewel was presented on a necklace made with multicolor tourmaline beads, all hand-selected to accentuate the individual hues displayed in the gemstone.
Top: Jeffrey Bilgore deals in rare and exotic gemstones and sourced this magnificent tourmaline and oversaw its transformation into a piece of jewelry. Measuring 33.27 mm x 19.77 mm x 11.37 mm, it’s a sizable crystal with a fancy cut.
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