As preparations are being made for JCK Tucson, I’ve been busying myself getting acquainted with its exhibitors, both new and returning (if you want to read the things I’m learning and sharing about Tucson, visit JCK Insider). It shouldn’t come as a surprise that where Tucson is concerned, there’s a ton of amazing gemstone jewelry to discover.
But this year, it seems like there’s more than ever. I’ve been treated to a generous amount of insanely cool pictures of gemstone jewelry, and I envy those who will travel to the show to see them in person. Of all of the brands and designers that made me go “oh my goodness!” with their images (and it’s happened a lot), the one really blowing my mind is London-based The Rock Hound.
Chromanteq earrings in 18k white gold and purple nano ceramic with geode and amethyst, £8,400 ($11,392)
Chromanteq ring in 18k white gold and purple nano ceramic with 1.28 ct. golden heliodor, £4,200
Not only do the women behind the brand—founder Susi Smither and head of special projects Anita Shenoi—select the most enticing gems to work with, but also they’re set in ways that are so modern, so, for lack of a more specific word, cool. Cutting edge. Rockin’?
“It all starts with the gems,” says Smither. “I only work with exceptional and unique examples of color, cut, and saturation, so when it comes to the design I want to make jewelry that shows them off to their best advantage. Sometimes, it can take up to two years for the right suite of stones to come together.
“Suddenly I’ll spot the missing piece and the design will all slot into place in my mind. I searched for a way of coloring metal, and once I’d found nano ceramic coating, I was hooked. When applying to highly polished gold, it creates a luminosity unrivaled with other finishes, which is perfect to juxtapose the colored gemstones. It is all about making them pop!”
Chromanteq earrings in 18k white gold and blue and orange nano ceramic with 2.12 ct. Namibian tourmaline and 2.82 ct. Nigerian mandarin garnet, £7,800
Chromanteq pendant in 18k white gold and blue nano ceramic with 6.48 ct. golden heliodor, £5,250
Responsibility is a key word for The Rock Hound’s team, an important and vital effort that means using fairly traded gold, ethically sourced gemstones, and environmentally responsible techniques. “This is at the foundation of what we do at The Rock Hound,” responds Smither when I ask her what it means to be considered a responsible jeweler.
“It all started with my passion for gemstones, which led me to study gemology at Gem-A. Not only did I want to learn all about the science and aesthetics, I wanted to see firsthand where they are mined. Since graduating, I’ve been fortunate to travel on field trips to both Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Once you’ve seen how miners’ and their families’ lives are intrinsically linked to ours, it is clear we have a responsibility to make buying decisions which have a positive impact.”
Chromanteq earrings in 18k white gold and blue rhodium with Australian opal doublets, 1.85 ct. peridot, and 1.46 ct. aquamarine, £4,800
Chromanteq ring in 9k rose gold and hot pink nano ceramic with 2.74 ct. lilac Myanmar spinel, £5,100
In today’s feature you’re seeing jewelry from The Rock Hound’s extraordinary Chromanteq collection, but other lines are available as well. Visit therockhound.com for more, and don’t miss The Rock Hound at JCK Tucson 2018.
(Top image: Chromanteq earrings in 18k white gold and green nano ceramic with geode, hessonite, and andradite garnets, and copper-plated drusy, £8,400)