Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Experimental Autumns With Sportun

If there is such a thing as a universal language, Anne Sportun must be fluent. The Toronto-based designer has an undeniable talent for finding beauty in nature and then communicating it within shapes, symbols, and arrangements.

"With my designs, I hope to encourage an intimate exchange between each piece of jewelry and its wearer," she writes. "This kind of communication is not bound by words, geography, or ethnicity, but is nurtured by a universal language of shape, symbols, and form."

One of her newest creations captures her meaning perfectly. Sportun blended Peruvian chalcedony, prehnite, turquoise, amazonite, and cultured pearls to create an assemble that is both spontaneously natural and impeccably organized.

Strung together by hand on 16-inch, 14-karat gold wire, the necklace is a remarkable original work that captures the timelessness of sea glass in several precious gems.

Other remarkable designs that augment the autumn experiment. 

Along with the necklace Sportun named Betwixt & Between, she has hand crafted a collection that complements the look. Using a single Peruvian chalcedony stone, shaped and polished into a teardrop and fastened with matching gold loops, the Chalcedony Kiss design is understated and striking.

The allure is easily attributed to the stone. Taking advantage of the gemstone's transparency and pale aqua color, the chalcedony helps draw the eye into its natural depth.

The same holds true with the necklace, which helps the work stand out against more opaque stones from the chalcedony family. It's the fogginess that makes it so incredibly easy to find yourself lost inside.

However, Sportun doesn't really rely on the stone effect alone. Some of the pieces from her current collection capture the same sensation of tranquility by the shape and transparency of other stones as well. For example, her Double Moonstone earrings deliver more than two stones threaded on gold.

In shaping the semi-translucent moonstones, she is able to recreate additional depth while taking advantage of the gemstone's natural ability to shimmer in the light. In the trade, this unique quality is known as "adularescence," which defines its ability to look different when the stone is moved and not by the cut as diamonds and other gemstones rely on to create their brilliance.

Moonstones are among the most notable stones to have this quality, but it does appear in opals, rose quartz, and some agates. It is sometimes described as the impression of lunar light floating on the water.

Interestingly enough, there is more about the moonstone than meets the eye. Legend has it that it can help lovers foretell the future. And if you purchase a moonstone for a loved one, you will love them forever. At least that is what people believed in the 1930s, the last time moonstones were popular.

The precious everyday made by Anne Sportun.

Like many jewelry designers, Anne Sportun started simply. She began experimenting in the basement of her childhood home with nothing more than her father's tools. Sportun was only 16 when she received her first wholesale order.

Sportun, who was originally interested in archaeology, decided to follow her passion and enrolled in a three-year jewelry arts program instead. But even after seven years, she didn't find success in her artistic trade. She held odd jobs and part-time employment until meeting Barbara Kelly in 1987.

With the help of her new business partner, a bookkeeper willing to attend international trade shows, Sportun eventually opened her first Toronto retail location in 1992. She opened her second store in 2004.

Betwixt & Between by Sportun Shines At 9.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

There isn't any mystery here. Sportun continues to emerge at the forefront of design. Even some of her more recent creations featuring gemstones and pearls secured by worn and weathered gold loops are stunning enough to stop someone mid sentence. The same can be said for these free-spirited designs.

Sundance Catalog initially added more than 150 pieces of jewelry to its fall fashion lineup, including a selection from Sportun. You could find Betwixt & Between (about $690), Chalcedony Kiss (about $165) and Double Moonstone (about $350) earrings, but now your best bet is to visit her direct. For something more suited to every day, take a look at the Forestry Necklace (about $90) While it is not part of the Sportun collection, it does offer some of the charm, just with a little less brilliance.
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