On Wednesday August 21, 2013, Denise Nelson was insightful and informative in her sharing a topic close to her heart. She loves museums and never travels without visiting the local museums. The curiosity of man can easily be filled in a museum, there is something in every museum for the scientist, lover, jeweler, gemologist and geologist.
When it comes to symbols & messages, look at gems & jewelry for what it is telling you. There is much more than just what you see. There are hidden messages which can be seen when you look close enough.
Earth’s Treasures – GOLD, it glitters, it is malleable, and it tells a story about who has it. An indication of wealth and property of the owner, coins were often used in jewelry, since in Europe gold has always been held as a hedge against inflation, government and border changes.
Painters over the ages have also used gold leaf in paintings often to show hallows around saints. Gold is associated with the Gods in many cultures. In Christianity, it symbolizes God’s color and divinity. Gold is used in many celebrations and holy days. In Buddhism, the golden color has a prestigious association. The statues of Buddha are often painted in gold. In Egyptian culture, this color is extensively used in pyramids and hieroglyphs. In the Chinese new year celebrations, gold color is used for all decorations along with red, as red stands for luck and gold defines prosperity and wealth.
Colors and their Meaning – Many colors especially as seen on jewelry depict specific thoughts which are often regional, and so may be misinterpreted by people.
Red a strong color that conjures up a range of seemingly conflicting emotions from passionate love to violence and warfare. RED Life vibrancy love was first given as engagement rings as a token of engagement. In India, China and Nepal, brides wear red traditionally, as it brings good luck. A red ‘kimono’ in Japan defines good luck and happiness. It stands for sacrifice, love, and passion in Christianity. South Africans use red as the color for mourning. In Celtic culture, red stands for afterlife and death.
Orange color of earth worn by Buddhist monks purity & simplicity. It denotes energy, warmth, and the sun. Orange can be found in nature in the changing leaves of fall, the setting sun, and the skin and meat of citrus fruit. It represents the changing seasons.
Yellow color of jealousy. Few gemstones are found in yellow. On the one hand it denotes happiness and joy but on the other hand yellow is the color of cowardice and deceit. Yellow is for mourning in Egypt and actors of the Middle Ages wore yellow to signify the dead. Yet yellow has also represented courage (Japan), merchants (India), and peace.
Purple is warm and cool, fitting for kings, priests, and ladies. Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, it is associated with both nobility and spirituality. colors send a message during the suffrage movement used purple & green gemstones in jewelry to identify other members of the movement. Like school rings it provided immediate recognition and the linking of people during that time.
Blue conveys importance and confidence without being somber or sinister, hence the power suit of the corporate world and the uniforms of many police officers. Blue sapphires favorite of royalty and most sold gem in jewelry stores today. In many diverse cultures blue is significant in religious beliefs, brings peace, or is believed to keep the bad spirits away.
White not colorless but full of all colors. Distinctly unique brings the thought of Purity, virtue, cleanliness, innocence and birth. White goes well with almost any color as it is a combination of all colors that make up the spectrum. It balances other colors fairly, and portrays the sense of being complete. It represents openness, truth, kindness, healing, and positivity. White is considered to be a sad color in most Eastern cultures. In India and China, it is related to mourning and death. In most Western countries white is the color for brides. In Western countries, white color defines a virgin. Brides often wear a white wedding gown, for good luck. White color also represents angels. White represents the Madonna in Christianity. The bible describes white as the color of light and the divine. In Greece, white clothing was worn to bed during ancient times. It was believed that this color gave happy and pleasant dreams.
Magic and Superstitions – Early on people believed as the Egyptians that you could take everything in your grave with you to the other side. Thankfully this was the case as much of what we know is from artifacts found in graves.
Chinese believe in guardians so entrances were protected by dogs or dragons
Why are we drawn or repulsed by some gemstones? Get the story and Write it down because it adds value to any piece.
Historians point to the 1829 Sir Walter Scott novel, Anne of Geierstein, which created a Bad reputation for OPAL as it was linked to bad things that happened in the story. This alone caused Opal prices to drop 50% during this time. Even today there are people who are uncomfortable with opals.
Amulets – Astrological Symbols of Faith – Animal Fetishes – Lucky Charms Zodiac – Birthstones – Crosses – Infinite swirls or circles – Animal fetishes used as offerings & lucky charms – Lucky clover – the #13 is lucky in Europe
Denise provided insight into the following topics as well, too many to fully disclose here!
Politics – Borders & Technology – Centuries of Enchantment – Heirlooms – Inspiration from the past
The DCGIA Chapter wishes to thank Denise for sharing her knowledge with us and being our Chapter Ambassador to GIA.
Meeting Summary: Charlie Marts
Picture Slides provided by: Denise Nelson
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