A couple of weeks ago, I had dinner with a friend who was wearing a custom opal necklace made by Pamela Huizenga. As I admired it, she told me about the palpable energy it possessed, inviting me to touch it. For years I have read about stones and their sometimes-mysterious properties like energy and healing qualities, but I had never experienced any firsthand. And being a journalist (inherent skeptic), I just didn’t believe that palpable energy in a stone could be real or felt. So imagine my surprise when I actually did experience a warm, uplifting sensation—said energy—when I placed that smooth black opal between my fingers.
My friend and necklace owner Michelle Orman of Last Word Communications in New York City, however, has long been a believer in the energy of stones.
“Gemstones are something that nature created over millions of years, so there’s no way that these things don’t have energy!” she explained. And in her prized Huizenga piece, that energy is robust. “You can feel it,” she adds. “It’s calming, soothing, and has a lot of power that makes me confident.”
A custom gold, opal, peridot, and diamond necklace (top) commissioned by Elizabeth Bonanno and made by Pamela Huizenga for Michelle Orman. The opal has an energy you can feel when touched.
While the source of that energy will likely remain a mystery, Orman points out the obvious fact of her necklace’s origin: It was “a labor of love between one of my best friends in the world and a total rock hound who herself started cutting stones at age 17.” The piece was a birthday gift given to her about a month ago, but it was months’-long project initiated by dear friend Elizabeth Bonanno, an industry sales consultant. “Pamela made this with me in mind, so that energy and love definitely transferred to it, just like the love and energy that goes into making a meal for someone you love.”
Plus, it took time to choose the right opal and to gather the peridot (Orman’s birthstone) accents. Huizenga maintains that it is sometimes difficult to pair peridot with opal because of its limey green color, but she played with several different layouts of stones until the right one made itself apparent. The opal was from Huizenga’s private stash—“I tend to keep some stones off to the side for myself,” she said—and then built out (for Huizenga, everything starts with an inspiration stone). “I loved the way that opal had an organic shape, so I let the stone tell me how it wants to be cut,” she said. “I look at a stone and think, ‘How can I turn this into a pendant?’ and work backwards.”
Some of the opals Huizenga had to choose from
A layout of Orman’s necklace prior to completion
The mounting for Orman’s necklace as it was being made
Opals are Huizenga’s favorite stone to cut. “They have a different energy that’s celestial, not earthbound,” she said. “When I cut them, they have an inner light that defies reality. When you look inside, it’s looks like a section out of the universe whether it’s blues, greens, reds, or oranges…they are just so otherworldly to me.”
As for the energy, Huizenga isn’t exactly sure what to make of it. “It’s like this strange heat,” she recollects. “Certain stones are warm and some are cool, but I felt a physical and emotional warmth for the one I chose for her. I don’t know if it’s because I was making it for someone I care about or if it was the stone itself, but it has a calming, relaxing feel.”
Still for sale: ring in 18k gold with 14.16 ct. boulder opal, 1.42 cts. t.w. tsavorites, 1.37 cts. t.w. blue sapphires, and 1.8 cts. t.w. diamonds, $17,600
Also for sale: necklace in 18k gold with 14.76 ct. black opal, 3.16 cts. t.w. orange sapphires, and 0.44 ct. t.w. diamonds, $33,600
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