This post is a little thank you to the inspired and insightfulJeweler Chris Bril, of Corky Saint Clair who created the ultimate token of my love (A 1.81ct Herkimer Diamond Solitaire Engagement ring. set in sterling silver) for the lass, to whom I proposed to on Saturday, while on a bike, in a subway, of all places.
Since making my decision to ask the most charming and beautiful friend I have in this world to marry me, I’d spent many months searching and agonising in Melbourne and beyond over exactly what engagement ring I was going to buy for the lass, not to mention a lot of stress over the cost.. and most of the options fit the bill- nice and sparkly and shiny.. but they were a little.. generic, and not quite me, or her, or us somehow.
While wandering Melbourne’s little niche and custom shops, I was in the old, and slightly dank Art Deco section of Flinders street subway, below Degraves street where there is a ratty collection of tiny, artisan shops, ensconced in wood and sensually curved glass… or.. well.. graffiti covered old skool galv B&D roller doors, when something really, really special sparkled alluringly in the depths of one of the shops.
What really caught my eye was a silver set engagement ring with quite a twist on it, that really made me look twice.
The stone was cut in a wonky, shonky looking way that suggested it was the apprentice jewel cutter’s first attempt at cutting a diamond, and he had royally ballsed it up.
But. it sure was different. I just could not look away. Looking more closely, it had a wild kind of ordered beauty that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but the clarity of the stone was exceptional, and it was impressive, but not obnoxious in size. It was as if the unusual cut had been actually made on purpose, and was not a product of incompetence, or an unfortunate accident… it… worked…
Next to it was a write up about the Diamond that was in the solitaire ring, which described it as a “Herkimer Diamond”.
Pffttt. I thought. so, it’s a fake diamond, just a lousy cubic zirconia, or CZ. I kept reading though, and discovered that it was anything but fake, it was the genuine article, alright, and genuine and unique in many more ways than the average carbon based diamond ever could be.
Herkimer diamonds come from upstate New York. They display unusually high brightness, clarity and hardness, and are formed over 400 million years in bubble pockets, or “vugs” in dolostone. The most authentic feature of them is that their shape, which looks like man made “cut” facets, but, amazingly, they are actually formed naturally, by the miracle of the mechanics of the earth and nature.
Every Herkimer has 18 individual and unique facets, and are actually are a naturally occurring, highly rare double terminated crystal. No two are exactly alike, or, for that matter, vaguely the same. That’s the way I feel about the lass, and our relationship- nothing compares, and I don’t doubt for a moment that I’ll ever in my lifetime meet another girl quite like her.
In the cabinet next to the display of the ring, was an excised cross section of a piece of dolomite stone, exposing a little cavity or bubble in the rock mass. Inside, was a the crystalline shining diamond of a Herkimer, nestled in the little pocket, as perfect and untouched as could be.
In the Subway, which can be entered off Flinders and Degraves street, many of the little establishments
eking out an existence seem to sell something just a little bit different, hand crafted, or rare second hand items of style, and at pretty reasonable prices.
Technically, the 1950’s pink tiled subway is called the “Campbell Arcade”, though few Melbourne residents might refer to it as such, and 2/3 of residents surveyed at one point had no idea the place even exists, despite being a very distinctive, and major part of the Flinders street station complex. The shopping strip has an interesting history, which is brought to life by a post by the blogger “danno”, which is worth a read if you are intrigued by history like me.
One of these quirky little shops is the esteemed Jeweler named “Corky Saint Clair“, whose unlikely insignia is denoted by a funny little power monster thingy. Apparently, it’s called the “Carrymonster”, though I have no darn idea why.
The owner and head jeweler is the aforementioned Chris Bril, who is a pleasant guy who quietly beavers away in the workshop part of the shop, while customers explore the surreal layout of his wares.
Broadsheet did an interview with Chris a while ago, which gives one some insight into the smiling man behind the soldering iron, pliers and files.
If you want your own ring, for that special person in your ife you want to commit to, take a look at Herkimer solitaire rings at corky st clair melbourne