Culture The Secret Legend of Aventurine
Somewhere between legend and hearsay, myth and reality, aventurine is a familiar material that is often misunderstood
This article is one for the ladies. Although aventurine — that mysterious dark material with sparkling inclusions — has been used in both masculine and feminine timepieces, there is nothing quite like the allure of a ladies’ watch with a dial of aventurine. Explore the origins of aventurine with us, and discover the surprisingly varied modern uses of this enchanting material.
The “Avventurina” Adventure
Although mineral aventurine exists as a form of quartz with shimmering inclusions we have to go back to 18th-century Venice to witness the synthesis of the material, also known as aventurine, that we see in modern watch dials. Venice is home to the famous Murano glass factory, where a craftsman two centuries ago accidentally dropped copper filings into a vat of molten glass, which then solidified into a transparent dark mass embedded with sparkling metallic flecks, creating aventurine, or "avventurina" in Italian — meaning "by chance".
Pure luck, or is there a thread of conspiracy? The Miotti glassmaking family of Murano allegedly wanted to conceal the recipe for this technical innovation. However, the true origins of aventurine glass are disputed. A Persian amulet dating back to the 12th century was found containing a material resembling aventurine glass. And that's not all! The Egyptians, specialists in glass since times of antiquity, are said to have been the true pioneers of this process, which is defined by its smooth surface and its inclusions with a metallic and glittering lustre, a visual phenomenon known as "adventurescence".
Aventurine glass is also known by the less-common term "goldstone”, and is the result of heating glass coloured with metal oxides to the point that the metallic ions are reduced to elemental metal, which then precipitate in metallic crystals without oxidising back into their original forms. Aventurine glass can come in many shades apart from the more commonly seen blue — for example in orange, which is referred to as “sunstone” (not to be confused with the naturally-occurring mineral sunstone).
For Women With Eyes On The Skies
Discover your lucky star among the new Tonda models of Parmigiani Fleurier, discreet and elegant with their blue aventurine dials evoking a starry sky. Offered in a pink-gold case, the Tonda Métropolitaine (hours, minutes, small seconds) is accompanied by the Tonda Sélène (hours, minutes, small seconds, moon phase, date). The bluish tint of this glass is created by the inclusion of cobalt. Featuring a sapphire-blue or white opal cabochon and coming with a blue leather strap, the glitter of the aventurine dial is enhanced by the diamond-set bezel. With this timepiece, it will be impossible to look away because, as Leonardo da Vinci so aptly put it, "he who looks to the star does not look back".
Tonda Métropolitaine Aventurine & Tonda Sélène Aventurine © Parmigiani Fleurier
For Women On The Fast Track
If you are a born sportswoman, used to being always on the move, then the Longines Conquest Chronograph — as seen on the wrist of ski champion Mikaela Shiffrin — is for you. Equipped with a quartz movement with a chronograph function, this watch is the ideal sports elegance accessory. Its blue aventurine dial and luminous hands shines by day or night in a 36mm stainless-steel case, allowing you to sparkle all the way from the boardroom to the yacht club.
Conquest Chronograph by Mikaela Shiffrin © Longines
For Women With Fire In Their Hearts
If you are a secret (or not-so-secret!) romantic, keep your evening open, because we propose a Celestial Rendez-Vous with Jaeger-LeCoultre. Much more than causing a simple attraction, this watch has been known to inspire love at first sight. It’s all thanks to a guilloché dial in purple-red aventurine, echoing the ambience of dreamy nights under the stars. The Rendez-Vous Celestial features an authentic star-map, marked with the constellations and zodiac signs, on a rotating sapphire crystal disc. Controlled by a separate crown, a star indicator on the dial periphery can be used to mark that one special and unforgettable appointment in your day.
Rendez-vous Celestial © Jaeger-LeCoultre
For Women Seeking Inner Balance
We said there was an aventurine watch for every woman out there, and Jaquet Droz provides another perfect example. The Jaquet Droz Lady 8 Sunstone emanates grounded, warm energy, with its red-gold case and orange-brown aventurine dial. Its figure-eight case design is characterised by symmetry and visually echoes the symbol for infinity. Above the dial, an aventurine marble rolls and glides smoothly within its setting, inviting a playful and tactile interaction with your timepiece.
Lady 8 Sunstone © Jaquet Droz
For Women At One With Nature
Do you love weekend walks in the forest, under a green canopy with soft glimpses of golden sunlight? The Bovet Amadeo Fleurier Rising Star conjures a woodland illusion with its leaf-green aventurine dial. Just like Mother Nature, this watch is beautifully complex, displaying the hours, minutes, small seconds, one-minute tourbillon, power reserve and an additional two time zones, each with day/night indication. With this timepiece attracting your eyes continually, you never need to worry about forgetting the time, as much as you might love to lose yourself in the great outdoors.
Amadeo Fleurier 46 Rising Star AIRS029 © Bovet
For Women With An Artistic Streak
Poetic souls will find themselves irresistibly called by the Bulgari “Giardino Notturno”. The dial combines the iridescence of mother-of-pearl with a dark violet aventurine, its specific deep shade thanks to the use of manganese compounds. Its blend of colours and textures in depicting a moonlit garden merits a place in the Musée d’Orsay, although perhaps it would be a shame to deprive anyone’s wrist of this creation in order to hang it upon a wall. The “Giardino Notturno” may be nominally defined by a 42-hour power reserve, but its self-winding movement effectively ensures that this horological reverie will last for as long as it is worn.
Giardino Notturno © Bulgari
Have you found your watch in any of the portraits above? If, like me, your mood changes day to day — or even minute to minute! — don’t forget that there are no earthly (or heavenly) reasons not to get every single watch that suits your taste.
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