Designer Profile: HERVE VAN DER STRAETEN

The designer’s aesthetic from interiors to jewels, is simply stunning: Sculptural, modern, and completely original…  At any scale, his work is both revolutionary and inspirational.

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The Semi-Secret World of: STEAMPUNK JEWELRY DESIGN

A few things about Steampunk…

It’s described as literary genre (science fiction or fantasy) that includes social or technological aspects of the 19th century.

It has an influence of the Victorian era, with an adventurous-industrial twist.

You may recognize the style in graphic novels such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and movies like Sherlock Holmes.

“To me, it’s essentially the intersection of technology and romance.” – Jake von Slatt

Those drawn to this style have handcrafted everything from jewelry to cars and much more following the same design aesthetic characteristics:  Using materials like Brass, copper, glass and polished wood; and engraving, etching, and adding details over more detail. Sometimes it features anachronistic innovations; like the use of antique, or obsolete artifacts.  Such pieces bring to mind the worlds of authors such as H.G. Wells and Jules Verne.

“Steampunk simply embodies a time and a place. The time… the late 19th century. The place… a steam powered world, where air travel by fantastical dirigibles is as common as traveling by train or boat (or submarine). A place where national interests are vastly different than our own version of history. A place where the elegant and refined are as likely to get pulled into a grand adventure, as the workers, ruffians, and lower classes. A place where the idea of space travel is not so far fetched. A place where lost civilizations are found and lost again. A place where anything is possible, and science can be twisted to meet ones own ends.”

Joshua A. Pfeiffer 

Diamonds, Sapphires, Rubies, & Emeralds: THE CARDINAL GEMS

Quick Reference Guide:

All four cardinal gems share two traits:

1. They are translucent
2. They have a very high score on the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness

The value of a particular gem is usually determined by evaluating its: color, cut, clarity, and carat weight (otherwise known as the “4 C’s).”  The color category (which is comprised of hue, saturation, and tone) is a very important factor when determining the value of rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.  When evaluating the color of a diamond, the highest rating is given to those that are completely colorless.

Rubies and Sapphires are both varieties of the mineral corundum, or aluminum oxide.
A ruby is essentially a red sapphire, its red color is a product of adding chromium.  The deeper the red is, the rarer and more expensive the gem.  The sapphire’s variety of colors have to do with the level of iron or titanium in the mineral. The most well-known color of sapphire is deep blue; however, other colors include yellow, pink, and orange.  The pink and orange sapphire is called a Padparadscha.

Emeralds are a variety of the mineral beryl. They score slightly lower on the Moh’s scale of mineral hardness than the other three stones, but they are still very strong. Much like the ruby, the Emerald’s gorgeous green color comes from chromium as well.

Diamonds are a colorless variety of the mineral carbon. They score the highest of all minerals on the Mohs scale.  The diamond’s name derives from the ancient Greek word for “unbreakable.”