There is nothing quite like dipping your toes in the sand and lounging out on the beach during a particularly nice day. Whether you let the tide lap up against your knees, drift out to greater depths with rocky waves, or simply admire the view from afar, we can all agree that the inherent beauty and wonder of the ocean can be derived as inspiration for any and every form of art.
With that being said, it is no surprise that the sea has transcended traditional adaptation and is now found throughout fine jewelry, marketed as symbolism and muse for design purposes.
Jewelry companies all over the world have been creating and selling ocean-themed jewelry for years for several reasons. Not only have the oceans been a source of magic and adventure, but they’ve also provided for humans throughout our timeline on this earth. It is only natural that the art we create reflects on the source of so many of our stories and studies.
If you’re looking for a gift to award a family member who spends more time on their boat than solid ground, or you simply appreciate the magnificence of what glistening water represents, ocean-themed jewelry pieces are an incredible investment.
Here are three of our favorite inventive creations that coincide with all that the sea has to offer.
What Are Fine Gems?
Before we delve into specific designs used throughout oceanic jewelry, we should first break down the types of gems that are found in fine pieces. Here at Mark Henry Jewelry, we are committed to the ethical mining, transparent production, and fair sale of precious and rare gems.
We pride ourselves on our acquisition and distribution of finds like Paraíba tourmalines and alexandrite and try our best to share the extensive knowledge that we have for these gems with our customers.
Alexandrite specifically is a highlight for our company. Exotic gems are typically hard to come by, but this one is far rarer than diamonds, emeralds, or sapphires. Alexandrite is marked by a unique color-changing property that allows for the gem to transition from a blue-green hue in daylight to a brilliant red hue in incandescent light at night. The more saturated the colors are, the more expensive and valuable the piece is.
Our alexandrite is the best of the best, and we offer it in a variety of collections and designs. Since the gem falls at an 8.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is incredibly durable and wearable. This makes it available for placement in sensitive pieces like rings, where bumps and scratches are likely.
It has quickly become our mission to modernize alexandrite use, and one of the ways to do this is to nail down innovative cuts and placements for our jewelry. It isn’t difficult to notice that when alexandrite is in the sun, it glows with the same deep blue of the ocean - a reflection that is simply too perfect to pass up.
Many of our ocean-inspired pieces work with alexandrite, like this Le Mer Stingray Pendant. Its colors mimic the intriguing and priceless property held within the sea. Fine jewelry is made to be worn with purpose and preserved for passing down to the next generation, just like the bountiful gifts and treasures from the sea.
Pearls, Pearls, Pearls
More so than alexandrite, pearls are incredibly intertwined with the ocean. They are also much more accessible than other exotic gems. Pearls are a classy addition to just about any outfit or next to any other stone in a design. They can be used throughout oceanic jewelry as a symbol of their place of origin but of their likeness and relatability to the flow of the tides.
Pearls have likely been around for as long as sea creatures have existed, but their first known recording came in 2,206 BCE by a Chinese historian. Pearls form in mollusks throughout freshwater and saltwater supplies.
Freshwater variations of the gem are found in mussels and can have unpredictable shapes, while saltwater pearls can be found in oysters and have a wonderful white luster in the classic ball shape.
While synthetic and modified pearls are not difficult to access, natural pearls are a rarity due to their longevity and popularity over millennia.
Symbolism and Meaning
Different cultures believe in a variety of meanings for pearls, but the core connection relates back to their association with water. Vedic teachings presented the pearl as a product of the ocean and the power of heaven, created when lightning struck.
Western tales believed the gem to be closely tied to Venus for numerous reasons, including its place as the birthstone of June. This is interesting because the Roman Goddess Venus is the same as Greek Goddess Aphrodite, who was born from the sea as well.
Other symbols come from the way that pearls look similar to the moon, which pulls the ocean’s waves each night. When paired with a blue gem-like alexandrite, it can give the effect that they are the moon pulling the waves.
Our Flora Ring plays around with this idea, featuring a mother-of-pearl flower surrounded by diamonds that hold a precious piece of alexandrite in its center. It is available in 18K white, yellow, or rose gold and is the perfect gift for a loved one who wants a silent way to showcase their admiration for the ocean.
Apart from clear alternatives to obvious ocean-themed jewelry, basic interpretations of sea-associated symbols, tools, and animals can be just as wonderful. Share your love of the sea with those around you by bringing subtle nods to your passion with unique jewelry.
Anchors As Accessories
An essential addition to any ocean lover’s jewelry box is some form of an anchor design. Anchors keep boats from leaving their location, regardless of how rocky the waves are or how strong the tide may be. They reflect a sense of calm, steadiness, and stability.
When you break down the design of an anchor, it is quite similar to that of a cross, the symbol for Christianity and often seen on religious necklaces.
The Anchor design is minimalistic and not overbearing. An anchor is perfect for a dainty chain or discreet inclusions in a ring.
Anchors can signal the importance of waiting for a storm to pass, waiting for life to ease up and for better days to come, just like better weather does for setting sail. It also represents a tenacity for adventure and moving out to sea new sights and places while still holding onto your values by being grounded.
These designs can work great for a gift to a partner or friend, a promise to stay committed and true to your relationship no matter how harshly you’re battered by life. It is also perfect as a graduation gift, signifying one’s determination and hard work in keeping themselves focused and structured.
Before a loved one sets off on their latest move or vacation, jewelry that includes an anchor may remind them of their roots and that you won’t leave their side before they return.
As we mentioned before, one of the closest companions to oceanic lore is the Greek Goddess Aphrodite. Synonymous with the Roman Goddess Venus, she hails from Cyprus and has come to be associated with blue (like the sea!) and copper, among many other things.
There are a few versions of her birth, one being that she is the daughter of Uranus and Gaia and grown from both heaven and the sea. Others think that she was born out of seafoam thanks to her real father, Zeus, and an ocean nymph named Dione.
In both stories, she is associated with oceanic settings. In the Clam Shell variation, she is directly created from a mix of blood and DNA from Uranus, which spawned a foam that traveled through the water to Cyprus from which she arose.
Aphros, the prefix of her name, means foam.
Our Aphrodite Ring plays on these tropes with dazzling alexandrite gems on display in the center of the piece with a heart-shaped, diamond-encrusted border. If you happen to wear it while sailing or swimming through the sea, daylight will capture a true blue-green hue that may even blend into its surroundings.
Aphrodite is known as being the goddess of love, and this ring is an incredible anniversary present, Valentine’s Day surprise, or an incredibly unique option for an engagement ring!
The Nautical Life
So many options for sea-inspired pieces can feel quite overwhelming, and that is why we created our La Mer Collection. With great attention to detail, each offering includes at least one piece of alexandrite, an homage to our own roots. Designs include stingrays, dolphins, steering wheels from ships, crabs, starfish, and, of course, anchors.
Combining exotic gems with traditional iconography can be difficult. However, at Mark Henry, we believe that we’ve mastered the balance between value and nature that brings the highest quality of gems to those who are truly passionate about them.