THANKFUL  HAND GEMS

ORCHID

GENUS POLYSTACHA 

(SOMETIMES SPELLED POLYSTACHIA)

Orchid


Carved jadeite (Myanmar, formerly Burma, probably near Hpakant town), 20.94 cts., in hand-constructed Argentium™ Sterling Silver pendant setting, with factory-made Argentium™ bail.

Some years ago the artist drew a sketch from a photo image of an orchid,  one of many varieties of Polystacha.   The orchid was interesting because the three top "petals" appeared to be yellowish, translucent and stiff, while the lower ones were white and flowing, like a senior prom corsage.  Rough was still on hand from the mid-1980's liquidation of the Mings Jewelry factory on Honolulu, not a precious, translucent material for a ring, but devoid of cracks and of a uniform texture.   Close  examination using a 10X loupe revealed a splash of very light lavendar jadeite over the area which became the "cup" at the center of the flower carving.   The undersides of the "petals" which protrude were gently relieved from below before carving them from the top, to minimize chances of breakage.   Jadeite is an ideal substance for such relief, because it is hard, but also "tough"  (it portrays intergrown and interpenetrated crystal growths under microscopic magnification).