I got involved with parcels of chrysoprase from the remote regions of South Aust and Western Aust in the 80’s, and it was frustrating, it seemed that one was always at the end of the queue. Would I ever be able to bid for the elusive clean, evenly coloured rough?
Elements of that haven’t changed, but a good deal of high quality material has been mined away and exported overseas and many areas produce no more. From time to time now collections of lapidary rough make their way into the view of alert collectors and that is how I stumbled onto this array of variegated material presented here.
I have also changed my focus in the intervening years, now embracing elements of the iron oxide host, the sparkling crystallinity of drusy quartz and the variety of tone to evoke images of; the coast from the air, sun infused waves breaking or immersion in shallow coastal waters. I’m not from a coastal habitat at all but that is what I see as I work this remarkable and changeable material sourced from our most arid regions.
It was my friend Barry whose parents commenced the commercial mining of chrysoprase in Marlborough in the 1960’s. It has been through him and his brother Don that I have been able to purchase some fine quality gem rough put aside by the family sometime in the 70’s. The ability to create suites of matching gems is a feature of this material, that and the extraordinary clarity and freedom from oxide inclusions. Hard, very hard material to work on the grindstones but what a pleasure when that irrepressible super polish emerges from off the polishing buff.