It was July 2021 - my second cross country road trip. I was still living in Philadelphia, PA and my yearning for the western US was growing strong. This trip, my partner and I were going to be taking a more northern route. Chicago, the Badlands, Tetons, Yellowstone and then onto Portland, the final destination!
I think at this point, I was most excited about the Badlands. My mom had been there on a similar cross country road trip in her 20's, and this was one stop she talked about often, with awe in her voice.
And yes, the Badlands were breathtaking, but the scenery that inspired me to create a collection based on the landscape, after over two years of being there - was the Tetons National Park.
The Tetons are nothing short of majestic. I was recording a Reel earlier, for Instagram, and the word that came to mind as I was talking on the fly was "daunting". The ancient granite that these mountains are made out of give them a snow-capped appearance all year long. Jenny Lake, which sits at the base of these behemoths, is a deep blue pool of serenity. Between the lake and the mountain tops, is a gradually sloping alpine forest with clusters of brightly colored wildflowers throughout. These wildflowers draw an obscene number of butterflies. Milky blue ones, with fuzzy antennae. Brightly patterned ones, with eye motifs on their wings to keep away predators. When you closer to see them, you notice other brightly adorned insects.
That day, my partner and I bought a book on identifying wildflowers, and we spent the day hiking around the lake, observing, identifying, and trying so hard to memorize them all! I've never hiked so slowly, as there seemed to be a new patch of colorful, sweet clusters between every towering pine tree.
The following year, I bought a strand of tiny multicolored sapphires (did you know sapphires come in many colors?! That's a topic for a later blog post...)
They sat around my studio for a while, but every time I looked at them, they filled me with a joy and a warmth. I realized, recently, they reminded me of the colors from the Tetons trip, and the fact that they were little tiny tear-drop shaped, reminded me of the buds and flowers, as well as the details on the butterflies' wings.
I added in a little labradorite - that gorgeous blue flash with the depth behind it, reminded me of the lake - as well as some tourmaline and moss aquamarine. When I designed, I thought about the shapes I saw in the fields, as well as the trailing vines and ripples on the water.
So, please enjoy this translation of the Tetons wilderness, distilled from the beauty of earth I saw, rendered in the earth's own gemstone creations. Wearing these pieces makes you part of the journey, part of the story. You can feel the charm of the landscape, the sun on your face, the cool water on your skin.