For some time now Melanie Georgacopoulos has been exploring ideas around the world’s perception of and fascination with rare gemstones, in particular large, coloured diamonds. She is curious about the extraordinary prices such stones fetch at auction as well as the complex environmental and social issues surrounding the mining industry. For her latest collection Melanie has created MOP ‘gemstones’ which mimic popular diamond cuts translated into two dimensional forms. The scale of the larger 6cm ‘gemstones’ match that of the largest ever cut diamond, the Cullinan I, or Great Star of Africa.
Often overlooked and technically a waste product of the pearl industry, MOP is a natural progression from Melanie’s ongoing examination of the pearl. Although widely used, it has never reached the pearl’s or diamond’s symbolic status. Its availability in natural colours as varied as pearl’s led Melanie to play with and combine the golds, peacocks, pinks and whites within each ‘jewel’. Made entirely by hand each ‘gemstone’ is crafted from up to 72 individual segments of MOP; every piece has to be precisely cut, filed and polished before being assembled. The ‘gemstones’ are then held in elegant 18ct yellow gold bezels to form pendants, earrings, rings and brooches that are designed to be worn centrally, like chain-less pendants.
The pieces pose the question; what is it that adds preciousness or value to a material? The collection aims to elevate MOP’s status to that of traditional gemstone’s, whilst highlighting and raising awareness about the waste of pearl oysters and issues surrounding both pearl and diamond production.