Hallowe’en, Jack O’Lanterns and Shooting Stars

Beyond the Autumn Equinox; the festival of Hallowe’en is traditionally associated with the colours of the Season – the vivid oranges of the pumpkin harvest; russet and amber tones reflect the turning foliage and smoky bonfires and; as we move inevitably towards Winter; the dark black starry ever lengthening skies.

Jack O’Lanterns – now usually carved from pumpkins – were originally Turnips!  In Irish folklore: Jack was tricked by the Devil and his soul was forced to wander in Purgatory with only a turnip and a hot coal thrown to him by the Devil to light his way.  Following the Potato Famine; Irish settlers moved to America where the folk tale flourished and the tradition continued but with the more plentiful pumpkin.

Orange gems include the Mexican Fire Opal – completely unlike the opaque precious light Opal from Australia – this variety is translucent, usually faceted and vivid orange.  Orange is also represented in the Garnet group – the Spessartine variety with the most desirable Mandarin hue found solely in Namibia.

Russet browns are picked out by another Garnet member – Hessonite – a Sepia or Tobacco tone with rich warmth and Ambers -ranging from Butterscotch to dark honey colours. Smoky Quartz conjures up the Autumnal season with woody earthy tones.  Tiger’s Eye – a golden brown form of Quartz has iridescent stripes which display a remarkable Cat’s Eye effect, reminiscent of the superstitions and beliefs surrounding black cats as well as the low angle of sunlight we encounter at this time of year.

The Pagans believed that the colour black represented the end or Death of Summer.  Black cats, bats, and spiders are all linked with the festival.  Superstition held that Crones (often depicted dressed in black garb) collected the souls of the departed in their large black cauldrons.  Dark black skies were brightened by Pagan bonfires. Like sparks; Fire – the coloured dispersion of light – can be seen in Diamonds – especially those with high clarity grading – their sparkle – like shooting stars might be said to light up the dark!  Other black gems include Sapphires, Melanite Garnets, Onyx, Jade and organic gems such as Coral and Jet.