tonya gilbett― a unique gem

A stunning pendant handcrafted by jeweller Tonya Gilbett showcases an incredible gem for the very first time – an opal encased in a pearl.

It is almost impossible to conceive. An opal, beautifully cut and polished, is embedded in an oyster shell. Over the next couple of years as the pearl grows, its nacre envelopes the gemstone inside.

Tonya stumbled on this incredible gem via a friend – the daughter of an opal miner – and is the first to promote it to the world. As well as its beauty, Tonya is entranced with the story behind this gem. The opals are mined in outback South Australia at Coober Pedy then transported to an oyster farm in far northern Western Australia: “It is a beautiful coming together of land and sea,” Tonya explains.

Tonya has secured a handful of these precious gems, which she describes as “high-quality bright blue opals within high-quality beautiful white pearls.” A distinct silver pendant – featuring tiny scarab beetles representing transformation – has been fashioned out of one gem and is now on display at Handmark Gallery. She is already excitedly planning her next creation.

Tonya is known for a love of opals which have featured prominently in her handcrafted pieces for years, and this latest – as yet unnamed gem – opens up a world of possibility.