Urban Boulder Jewelry — Australian Boulder Opals Infused With An Empire State Verve
Though it's most commonly found in ironstones in the outbacks of Australia, the boulder opal is a practically indestructible gemstone, one with such a low water content and such a high density that it almost never cracks with the passing of time. It's also a chameleon-like stone, since it features vibrant electric blue, green, and fiery orange and red tones that change in intensity depending on the lighting source on hand and the angle from which the opal is being regarded. Add to this the fact that the opal naturally forms as thin veins within the cracks of ironstone and that the boulder opal stones are hence often cut to retain some of the original host rock, and you'll see why this gem's characteristics echo those required of most urban dwellers.
Ask any veteran residents of a ruthless concrete jungle, and they're likely to school you on the need to learn when to blend into your surroundings, melting into the asphalt at your feet and diffusing into the dingy cement walls behind you, and when to stand out like the vibrant, spray-painted burners on those walls. City dwellers will talk of resilience and adaptability — both traits that can be used to describe the boulder opal stone. While it may seem unexpected initially, then, incorporating boulder opals into jewelry pieces with an urban flair — the mission of New York-based, Australia-owned brand Urban Boulder — is, in fact, a perfectly logical move.
Urban Boulder's offerings include earrings, necklaces, cuff links, and rings crafted using sterling silver and boulder opals bought directly from independent miners in Queensland, Australia. Necklaces, then, reference the construction of most architectural sites in New York City, with brick motifs abounding throughout. One of the most stunning pieces, for example, is the Large Brick Necklace (pictured at top), which features six brick-shaped, rectangular boulder opals framed within a sterling silver setting and stacked in a slanted, 1-2-2-1 pattern, with oval cable chains attached to this piece on either side. The brick motif also surfaces in the Brick Ring (pictured second from top), which features three boulder opals in brick shapes arranged in a diagonal manner. The ring sits on the middle finger, extending from the pointer finger to the ring finger, with the brick on the middle finger positioned slightly above the adjacent bricks due to a slight arch along the underside of the ring meant to follow the natural curve of the hand shape.
Arrows and chevron patterns are also prominent motifs in the line. The Chevron Necklace (pictured above, last), for example, consists of two halves, each featuring a diagonal sterling silver bar along the top and bottom and a boulder opal bar along the center. When the two halves come together, they form an arrowhead-like shape, resembling an ancient shield or coat of arms. The snake chain threaded through the halves, meanwhile, feature two clasps so that the necklace's length can be adjusted as desired.
Expect the boulder opal's popularity to increase brick necklace by brick necklace.
Urban Boulder Large Brick Necklace, $1200; Urban Boulder Ring, $700; Urban Boulder Chevron Earrings, $450; and Urban Boulder Chevron Necklace, $700. Available at UrbanBoulder.com