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Opal in wood: Designer spotlight

Opal and Peach Bangle by FreestonePeachYou may not know but I am addicted to Instagram. Recently a virtual friend Benjamin (@thirdcoastgems) showcased an extremely talented designer called Joel (@freestonepeach) He is working with opal in wood and a whole bunch of other gemstones. A North Carolina native, he came to work with gems and timber via hospital construction and an MBA.  As you do!Gemstone bangle Freestone Peach

Joel has spent quite a bit of time in Japan and feels much affinity with the nickname given to him there.  Shibui is what they called him. Loosely translated it means “cool”, but more accurately it is translated as ‘seeking beauty in a modest and simple way without being flashy’. Joel describes it best;

I am a firm follower of the Shibui aesthetic. Shibui consists of seven qualifiers: Simplicity, Implicitness, Modesty, Silence, Naturalness, Everydayness, and Imperfection. I use flawed pieces of wood, scraps that would be burned, and fruit trees that are abandoned to infestation. I am fortunate to restrain this rough into elegant spontaneity. The wood with its flaws provides a darkling elegance, which the gems highlight.

opal bangle 2 Freestone PeachOpal Bangle 3 Freestone PeachI love all his work but am especially intrigued by the opal pieces. It’s always great to see people experiment and the opal in wood are certainly original.

Although he is still in the the early stages of his designs, I think he is on to something special. You may notice that the opal used is predominantly Ethiopian – well I have a parcel sitting here ready to go and I’m hoping he can make something EXTRA special with it.


Currently Joel has a few pieces for sale on his Etsy shop but also makes to order. Please follow him on Instragram and make sure you tell him how cool his stuff is and if you are looking for a gift for the the person who has everything – Freestone Peach may just have it!

What do you think? Have you seen timber and opal used in this way?  

What other non traditional ways have you seen opal used?

Please let me know in the comments below.