Bygone lore and naturalistic beauty come together in Hannah Blount Jewelry’s latest collection. Featuring ancient opals and fossils handpicked and sourced by Loren Gurch of @ancients17, geology and paleontology researcher and author- the Ancients collection combines natural curiosities with mythical elegance and unusual design.
Gurch’s passion for the natural and ancient world pair perfectly with the studio’s love of the bazaar and whimsical, alongside Mother Nature’s organic artistry. The Ancients necklaces, earrings and rings evoke the beauty and power of seminal women found in folklore: from the myths of ancient Greece to the plays of Shakespeare.
Beloved since ancient times, from the Aztecs to the Greeks and Romans, the lore of opals has been molded and changed by those in power—similar to many of the beloved female stories centered in this latest collection. The mystical beauty of opals is defined by their kaleidoscopic colors and oceanic hues, and these enticing qualities are undeniable in Lightning Ridge opals specifically.
For Gurch and HBJ, the formation of Lightning Ridge opals is spellbinding: found in Australia, many of these opals started forming approximately 110 million years ago, and some of the plants and animals that lived during that time were fossilized in the opals. While opals are considered some of the softer gemstones, Lightning Ridge opals are some of the hardest and most durable. On the Mohs scale, Lightning Ridge opals range from 5.5 to 6.6- similar to turquoise. Gurch recommends avoiding extended periods of exposure to cold temperatures when wearing these singular pieces.
Due to the rarity of the specimens, Gurch chose to keep most of his fossils uncut or rough for this collaboration. Gurch also sourced opalized wood for the Ancients collection. These unusual specimens feature organisms that were alive during the Cretaceous period: "they are not only gemstones but an incredible little piece of earth's history."
Photography by Somerby Jones