Wednesday, March 7, 2012

THE RING LIAISON Guest Blogger Molly Clarke

Citrine Quartz, Chalcedony, Labradorite Feldspar, and Fluorite

It was only when Stitch Therapy’s Maxcine asked me to write a guest blog post that I realized how much my love of knitting is related to my love of gemstones. As a gemologist, I have been working with gemstones and diamonds for the past ten years, and as a further outlet for my creativity, I have been working with yarn for the past fifteen. My mother taught me to knit and purl, in what I now know is a variation on the Continental style, but back then I just thought it was the only way to knit.

 My first skein of yarn was purchased from a farmer at the Union Square Greenmarket here in NYC. It was a gorgeous muted purple wool, derived from the farmer’s beloved sheep back home. It is rare to have such a short distance between knitter and original yarn source. The hands that accepted my crumpled dollars were the same ones that had shorn the sheep whose wool I was using. It is just as rare to purchase a gemstone direct from the source. There are so many people involved in the process of getting a stone from the mine and into a piece of jewelry, and you usually only meet the last person in that chain of work, if at all.

Describing the color of that first skein of yarn as a muted purple doesn’t do it justice. It was the enchanting color of an amethyst, rich in hue with a slight blue undertone. Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of both knitting and gemstones is the vast selection of delectable colors – buttery yellows of citrine, soft greens resembling emerald, the deep intense reds of a ruby, the regal dark blues that bring to mind a sapphire. I think about colorful yarns the same way I would  a gemstone before it is made into jewelry. What would this raw material be showcased best as - earrings? A scarf? Who will it? Is it for everyday wear, or for special occasions? The thought process is all about creating an end product that will shine and bring joy and happiness through its beauty.

Perhaps most importantly, I think it is my appreciation of fine detail that attracts me to yarn and drew me to my profession. My eyes have been trained to look for and see the minutest clarity characteristics in a stone. Similarly, at home I can find myself scrutinizing every yarn stitch. Perhaps that is why I have been known as a tight knitter? I try to make sure every stitch is done correctly, because otherwise I will be sure to see that rogue loop in the finished product.

Even if no one else does! It’s amazing to me how much of your knitting style – the looseness of your stitches, the colors you choose, the method of your knits and purls – has everything to do with the rest of your life.


If anything, I think knitting mirrors your ingrained behaviors, emotional state, and best or worst traits. Maxcine has been teaching me a whole new way to knit, and while it is hard to retrain my brain-finger patterns, I think it will make me a quicker and more productive knitter. Who knows what else about my knitting (or my life) might change!

Molly Clarke is a gemologist and owns her own business as an engagement ring consultant.

Check out her website at

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