It was love at first sight when Barbara Tipple first saw a moonstone. She was just a teenager in her metal work class at school and like so many before her, she was captivated by the gem's iridescent beauty that seems to come from beneath the surface of the stone.
It's little wonder that she went on to become an award-winning jewellery designer and even less surprising that the moonstone should play a central role. Barbara started her collection of moonstones over 40 years ago and has gone on to acquire some of the highest-quality gems from the mines of India that continue to impress onlookers.
What are moonstones?
Moonstones are prized for their adularescence – an optical phenomenon that gives the impression of a blue lustre, or glow, coming from within the gem. This glow is often described as the reflection of moonlight on water and is the reason for the gemstone's evocative name.
"They have a subtle beauty, which I find magical"
The moonstone’s other-worldly feel has led many throughout history to see it as a kind of talisman for fertility, love, protection, and sleep. It is also June’s third birthstone, and today, this gem is popular with people looking for birthday gifts.
Natural moonstone is judged by its colour, sheen and clarity. The most valuable gems are those which are transparent with an obvious blue adularescence. Many of the world's most valuable moonstones came from Burma and India, but these mines are running out of larger pieces of material. Consequently moonstones are increasing in value. .
To get the best from the blue lustre of the moonstone, they are cut into domed cabochon (a polished convex oval) and work well contrasted with diamonds set in dark silver as seen in Barbara's newest Rock collection.
The jewellery collection
The Rock collection features moonstones set in solid sterling silver with an unusual rock-like texture to it. Against this backdrop is the moonstone and a scattering of diamonds, that gives you the impression of looking up into a starry night sky.
This collection boasts a striking set of moonstone earrings that have beautifully round moonstones below a silver crescent moon and a brilliant diamond.
Barbara's moonstone jewellery also includes pieces set with the distinctive rainbow moonstone. So called because of its multi-coloured appearance, these rare moonstones feature in the Kings and Queens collection.
In these regally-titled pieces, the moonstones are set in platinum on a solid 18ct yellow gold bracelet (also available as a necklace). Both can be adapted to include a variety of other striking gemstones, including ruby, peridot, and aquamarine.
If you're looking for something to make a family heirloom, then the moonstone diamond pendant is perfectly suited. This timeless piece has a blue, pear-shaped moonstone set in platinum and hanging below a brilliant white diamond.
No collection of moonstone jewellery would be complete without a gold moonstone ring. The Rhiannon 18ct yellow gold ring has an oval rainbow moonstone and two round diamonds either side of it. This piece is part of a set of contemporary rings that are also available in platinum and silver.
One of our most playful pieces is the lily pad frog moonstone bracelet. This sterling silver torque bracelet has an elegant 18ct yellow gold frog poised on a silver lily pad as if it were about to jump to the green moonstone opposite.
Most of the moonstone pieces in our collection of jewellery can be customised. Your favourite pieces can be transformed into something unique to reflect your story.
Bespoke commissions start with an initial consultation where you select the stones you'd like us to use. The Kings and Queens moonstone bracelet, for example, can be made in silver, gold and platinum, and set with either ruby, peridot or aquamarine.
Our moonstone rock ring in sterling silver is also available in platinum and gold, and you can choose to have the ring set with rubies, sapphires, or emeralds.
Master Goldsmith, David, is one of the country's most experienced jewellery makers and one of the few craftsmen who can execute Barbara's complex designs. David has an enviable knowledge of moonstones and other semi-precious gemstones, making him ideally placed to work on our customer's bespoke commissions.
All of Barbara's jewellery is handmade in Britain from beginning to end. Our gallery and boutique workshop in Hampshire are open for visitors, or you can take a virtual tour online from the comfort of your own home.
Dr Barbara Tipple is the only female jeweller in Britain to have won three De Beers Diamonds International Awards for her designs. She also has an honorary PHD and has been given the title, Freedom of the City of London.
All of her designs are inspired by nature and start life as sketches on her drawing pad, before being made in plaster or sometimes clay. Once Barbara is happy that the shapes work in three-dimension, she hands over to the goldsmith.
The Master Goldsmith is responsible for making the jewellery – a process overseen by Barbara. Their strong, creative partnership is based on a professional respect, that has earned them an enviable reputation world-wide.
Barbara's other collections include pieces inspired by the cosmos, the bumble bee and the Tudor rose. Our Tudor-inspired platinum engagement ring and matching wedding band can be made in white gold or a traditional yellow gold band.
Contact the team at Barbara Tipple
If you've fallen in love with the mesmerising beauty of the moonstone, then you're in good company. Deciding to invest in a piece of jewellery or commission a one-of-a-kind piece is the start of an exciting journey, that we look forward to taking with you.
You can email us, phone, or visit our gallery to start an initial discuss. We will arrange a time to talk to you in detail about your ideal design, budget and timeframe.