Gem illustration journey

Let’s start from the very beginning…

From as early as I can remember I was surrounded by creativity and jewels. From mixing colours at kindergarten to afternoon craft projects in the backyard with my mum. 

I remember fairytale storybooks that talked of gems in far away magical lands. From Emerald city in the Wizard of Oz to the dwarfs in Snow White going off to work each day to mine gems. 

Fast forward to my early 20’s and I found myself traveling the world in search of my own treasures. From adventures to Lightning Ridge with my dad to find our own opals to the depths of South America discovering amethyst geodes the size of cars. 

Each gem has a story, and jewellery is a great way of sharing this with the world. 

After high school, I studied design at the University of New South Wales. Here we learnt conceptual art and how to apply this in the form jewellery, using materials of all sorts. Whilst this helped me shape my understanding of design, I had a yearning to learn more. 

After completing an exchange semester in Nova Scotia, over a decade later I studied gemmology. Something that made my inner child captivated. Learning all the many cuts, colours, and origins of these precious specimens allowed me to incorporate them more into my collections. I traveled to Geneva and saw the largest selection of gems on display at the Natural History Museum of Geneva (Muséum d'histoire naturelle de Genève). Again, I was in awe. 

Combining my love of travel, gems, and design, the next natural step was to illustrate these beautiful specimens. January this year, I began researching online how to paint gems using an opaque like watercolour - gouache. And after returning to Halifax and being in lockdown, I took it upon myself to paint a gem a day whilst in isolation. 

Coincidently through the internet, I was then introduced to a jewellery designer, who has been practicing the art of gem illustration for years, including designing for Van Cleef and Arpels. 

For the past month, I have been taking classes on the traditional art of gem illustration. Here you can find a series of images of the pieces I created in class.

We hope you enjoyed this journey, thank you for following. Your gem enthusiast jeweller, Tori xo


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