CHARMED CHAMELEON An elusive gemstone brought to light. Named after the Greek word for ‘sparkling’, spinels are rare and coveted gemstones commonly used in high jewellery collections. Many royal artefacts featured spinels, such as Black Prince’s Ruby a bead shaped 170-carat stone set in the Imperial State Crown of England. Over centuries, the appeal of spinels had dwindled for various reasons. However, three years ago, the discovery of jumbo-size pinkish-red spinel crystals in Mahenge, Tanzania has revived interest and demand.
Spinels come in red, metallic gray, cobalt blue, purple, orange, hot pink and most colours except green and yellow. Mostly made up in iron, chromium, zinc and magnesium, spinels are almost as hard as sapphires and rubies. They neither require nor accept treatment, and are ideal candidates for setting in a ring. A man who has dedicated two decades of discovering the most extraordinary spinels is jeweler Vladyslav Yavorskyy, one of the world’s leading authorities on coloured gemstones.
Yavorskyy’s fascination with mineral collecting started at young age. He was intrigued by the grace of natural forms found in crystals and was attracted to the “fragile interaction between light, air and matter”. He was studying geology at the University of Odessa when he decided to travel to significant mining locations through Europe and Asia. Within a few years, his collection of rough and cut stones had filled his apartment. “There was a hidden life contained within the stones, whose beauty could only be brought out by a discerning cutter”, says Yavorskyy, who mastered the art of faceting under the tutelage of a muscovite lapidary and consequently improved on the techniques.
In the late 1980’s, the jeweler founded his company, IVY NEW YORK LLC, which headquarters now sit in New York. It also has offices in Los Angeles and Moscow. Since 1991, Yavorskyy began exhibiting his jewellery pieces in Western Europe and the US. He continued travelling frequently to Burma, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, top mining areas for coloured gemstones. His expeditions have given life to a line of high jewellery called the IVY (Inspiration Vladyslav Yavorskyy) collection, which showcases coloured gemstones all in their natural, untreated and unheated form.
Large sapphires, emeralds, mandarin garnets, tsavorites, rubies and tourmalines featured in the IVY collection are classically set in gold to emphasise the beauty of the spinels. “Important jewellery requires important stones, a very fine touch and creative balance. What we love so much about spinel is that it has a very high dispersion, and the crystal itself is so pure. It looks amazing in jewellery”, says Jonas Hjornered, an associate of Yavorskyy.
IVY has created many impressive jewellery pieces, using old world cuts and stones of up to 110 carats in weight. He designs jewellery in his atelier, armed with a pen, his imagination, and always with a stone as a focus. “When I look for the stones, I try to focus on the deepest nuances of colour, brilliance and shape”, he says. The most difficult part of the design process is choosing the stone. “We need to imagine how the stone will look like when it’s cut. Each crystal needs to be analysed and that takes many years and hundreds of trips to learn,” the jeweler explains.
The IVY collection is available exclusively in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Geneva, Manila and most recently in Singapore through La Putri’s flagship store at Mandarin Gallery. It is also successfully selling at Sotheby’s auctions, making it one of the most prestigious brands today. With a brilliant future ahead, the jeweler says: “To maintain the creative spirit, inspiration is necessary. Therefore I continue to travel....attempting to highlight that which is worthy. My quest is to be faithful and relentless in my search for beauty.”