The Gemstone Art of Gary Nickel
Gary Nickel 2004
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Paradise Lost - The Angel Falling
The Falling Angel represents a fall from grace. One side the sculpture is of a sculpted winged boot with a broken wing, studded by the heavenly stars of five 3.5 mm white natural Zircons. The laces of the boot are made by eight - 8x6 mm silver Topaz. The angel is stepping off into the abyss but with a damaged wing is doomed to mortality.
On the other side we see the completion of the transformation from angel to Jezebel as the angel embraces the base pleasures of life. The new mortality is represented by a bare foot with an ankle bracelet of seven - 4 mm white Topaz and on the toe a nail painted with a 0.95 carat, 8x6 mm, very slightly orange-ish red, VS type 1 (AAA+), oval cut, true Mexican Fire Opal.
This piece started as a highly opalized chunk of petrified wood; over 200 million years old. The fine grain of the original wood structure is still clearly visible, especially on the angel's boot while the barefoot side shows a deep orange brown combination of opalized wood.
Petrified wood, at times, is formed or opalized by silica mineral fluids filling cavities of decayed wood; other times the mineral fluids slowly replace the organic material as it decays leaving replicas of the original wood. This piece is an example of both processes. The broken wing in particular shows an especially attractive band of translucent opal that picks up the light in a fascinating way. (Height 6")
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