Larimar & Opal
Our Newest Materials: Larimar & Opal
The first signs of spring are inspiring me to create new pieces that reflect the beauty and freshness of the season! The return of warmer weather, longer days, and blooming flowers is a reminder that it's time to embrace lighter, brighter designs that evoke the joy and energy of nature. To celebrate the impending explosion of greenery and color outside, I wanted to introduce two new materials that I am infusing into my upcoming jewelry designs: Larimar and opal. In this article, I explain a bit more about these materials and why I have selected them for my newest line of sterling silver creations.
My First Designs: Sand Birdie
Both Larimar and opal gemstones are versatile and can be incorporated into a wide variety of jewelry designs, from delicate and minimalist to bold and statement-making. Since the Sand Birdie has been such an iconic design for Chadds Ford Jewelry, I knew it would be perfect for debuting both of these stones within my broader collection. While I have many products still in the works, I am excited to introduce to you my sterling silver Sand Birdie studs in both Larimar and opal. In each of these sets of studs, the stones act as a focal point, adding visual interest and contrast to each piece.
Experimenting with these gemstones within the Sand Birdie setting has also pushed me to explore new techniques and methods for incorporating them into future jewelry designs. I've learned to appreciate the nuances of these stones and how they interact with different metals, textures, and finishes, which has opened up new creative possibilities for my work. Overall, incorporating Larimar and opal into my existing Sand Birdie jewelry design has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience, allowing me to push the boundaries of my creativity and explore the endless possibilities that these stones offer.
Larimar is a rare gemstone that is found only in the Dominican Republic. The stone is a beautiful shade of blue and is often compared to the color of the Caribbean Sea. The name "Larimar" is a combination of the name of the daughter of the man who discovered the stone (her name was Larissa) and the Spanish word for sea (mar). It seemed like the perfect addition to the rustic and natural collection of materials I am already using to create my nature-inspired jewelry!
In addition to its spiritual properties, Larimar is also highly valued for its rarity and beauty. It is a relatively soft stone, which makes it easy to carve into intricate shapes and designs. I have really enjoyed working with this unique material so far, and I can't wait to incorporate it into future designs here at Chadds Ford.
The light, airy quality of this material is augmented by its surrounding sterling silver design.
Every piece of Larimar jewelry is completely unique due to variations in coloration.
This stone channels the peace and tranquility of water.
Larimar is believed to have healing properties that can help alleviate stress and anxiety.
This stone pairs well with many different looks and offers a soft, delicate accent for any occasion.
Opal is a unique and mesmerizing gemstone that is highly prized for its iridescent and multi-colored appearance. Opal forms in nature when silica gel seeps into crevices in rock formations and hardens, forming colors and patterns that create a beautiful appearance when light is diffracted through the silica spheres. Opal can also be created in a laboratory setting, and this synthetic form is virtually indistinguishable from opal found in the wild. I use synthetic opal here at Chadds Ford.
While opal comes in many different colors, blue opal is definitely my favorite hue. It shimmers and shines just like the rushing currents of the Brandywine River, which is why I knew I wanted to include it in my next collection. The stone is often cut into cabochons, which highlight its mesmerizing play of color and make it an ideal centerpiece for rings, necklaces, and earrings.
Opal can be cut into many different pieces, making it perfect for all types of jewelry.
This gemstone features a characteristic known as "play of color," which describes its unique iridescent glow.
Popular colors of opal include blue, red, and white, all of which may make an appearance in future collections.
Opal is believed to be a symbol of hope, creativity, and love.
Opals here at Chadds Ford will be combined with a sterling silver base to enhance the beauty of each design.
Care & Cleaning
Caring for and cleaning Larimar and opal jewelry requires special attention due to the delicate nature of the stones. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
Avoid exposing Larimar to high temperatures, sunlight, or harsh chemicals, as this can damage the stone.
Clean Larimar jewelry using a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and avoid using ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
Store Larimar jewelry in a separate pouch or box to prevent scratches and damage from other pieces.
Avoid wearing Larimar jewelry while swimming or participating in water activities, as exposure to chlorine and salt water can damage the stone.
Consider having Larimar jewelry professionally cleaned and re-polished every few years to maintain its luster and shine.
Avoid exposing opals to extreme temperature changes, as this can cause the stone to crack.
Clean opal jewelry using a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and avoid using harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners.
Store opal jewelry in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and other pieces of jewelry to prevent damage.
Avoid wearing opal jewelry while participating in physical activities or sports, as this can lead to damage or chipping of the stone.
Consider having opal jewelry checked by a professional jeweler every few years to ensure that the setting is secure and the stone is in good condition.
Find Your Inspiration
Overall, the glowing iridescence of opal and the serene, blue color of Larimar have really helped me capture the essence of nature in my work. As a jewelry maker, I'm excited to continue exploring the endless possibilities that opal and Larimar offer and to create pieces that not only showcase their beauty but also carry the spiritual and emotional benefits that these stones are known for. Whether it's a delicate pendant, a statement ring, or a pair of elegant earrings like the Sand Birdie studs, opal and Larimar jewelry has the power to captivate and inspire. If you have fallen in love with these gemstones like I have, don't forget to check the shop often for new designs featuring these unique and beautiful materials.