Maine Jewelers & Engagement Rings
The flash of diamond on the third finger, left hand is only the beginning. Maine jewelers indeed offer superbly crafted wedding sets made with diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious gems. Creative talents throughout the state also use beach glass, seashells and other natural materials to give wedding jewelry a decidedly local twist. Sometimes being “made in Maine’ really does begin with a gift from Mother Nature.
Tourmaline – Maine’s Signature Gem
Most of the world’s tourmaline deposits are in South America and Africa. In 1972, a discovery in Newry, at the Dunton Mine, put Maine on the tourmaline map. The deposits, some of the largest on Earth, contain a special bi-color tourmaline that when cut and polished mimics the pinks and greens of a ripe watermelon. Maine tourmaline offers more pastel shades than deposits elsewhere. The gemstone is crystalline in form and found in varying degrees of blue, green, pink-red, nearly clear and black. Tourmaline was adopted as Maine’s official state gem in the early 1970s.
Other Maine Jewelry Making Materials
Much of Maine’s handcrafted jewelry is influenced by what washes up on local beaches. Sea glass or beach glass is made by Mother Nature recycling the tons of bottles, glasses, marbles and other man-made glass objects that end up in her oceans. The constant pounding of the waves breaks the glass into smaller pieces and eventually creates a natural frosted glass with fairly rounded edges.
Think of the ocean as a giant rock tumbler. In go pieces of sharp edged glass, out come pieces that can easily be handled. The jewelry maker may or may not give the sea glass a high polish in his own rock tumbler. Sea glass is used not only in jewelry making, but for creating stained glass windows, mosaics and other decorative works of art. Mussel, oyster, clam, sea snail and even lobster shells show up on Maine’s beaches. Jewelry makers craft one-of-a-kind pieces, sometimes combining a shell with precious gems, bits of driftwood or sea glass.
Maine Jewelry with a Nautical Touch
In a state blessed with more than 5,500 feet of coastline and countless lakes and ponds, it is not surprising to find jewelry in the shape of sailboats, starfish, lobsters, fish, dolphins and whales. Imagine your wedding party gathered on a sandy beach, adorned with whale’s tail gold or silver necklaces. Lighthouses make interesting and classy earrings and cufflinks, not to mention suitable mementos of your special day. Harbor seals, Atlantic salmon, the famed Brook Trout, eagles, herons and the Common Loon have all been immortalized in precious metals. Some designs include diamonds and/or other precious or semi-precious stones.
Maine Specialty Jewelry Makers
Stonewood Jewelry in Portland is one outlet that offers custom designed jewelry out of all natural materials for special occasions. This is one place that will color match specific shells or bits of beach glass to match bridesmaid dresses, or create special necklaces, bracelets and/or gifts for the bridal party.
Cross Jewelers in Portland and Shaw Jewelers in Northeast Harbor also offer custom made jewelry in both traditional and locally influenced designs. Cross Jewelers offers an extensive collection of Maine tourmaline including the prized watermelon, Eureka blue and the newly discovered Sparhawk variety. The latter is a rare mint green color that when polished is almost translucent. Shaw is known for its filigree metal work, sometimes combined with faceted or cabochon tourmalines or pearls.
A.G.A Correa & Son, in Edgecomb, specializes in sculptured gold jewelry enhanced by set stones. This firm offers special orders on everything from money clips to hand crafted pendants and pins. Correa specializes in nautical and animal themed designs. One special necklace, called the Deck Prism Crystal Pendant, uses a single quartz crystal. It is cut to resemble the deck prisms used on old ships before they were able to use electricity. The deck prisms would be built into the ship’s deck, sitting flush with the surrounding wood. Sunlight would be captured by the prism and directed to the areas below deck, providing light. This is a true Maine original and a memorable wedding souvenir with a tale to tell.