Q & A - Dayle Daines
Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to start creating science jewelry?
I have always been interested in science – my two favorite hobbies as a child were collecting interesting rocks and learning about various plants and animals. I was also captivated by the arts and learned to play instruments (the violin and the piano) and also to dance – at one point I owned and operated a dance studio. However, I never forgot my fascination with the wonders of the natural world and ended up deciding to go back to school to study science.
I fell in love with microbiology during my undergraduate degree, and went on to receive a Master’s and Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology. I then did research in both nonprofit and government organizations before I entered into academia as a faculty member. Making jewelry was initially a hobby that I indulged in after work to relax. However, as I started to make science-related items, I realized that I needed to learn how to manipulate metals to fabricate my designs, so I took a course on smithing. The ability to work with precious metals greatly expanded my repertoire, and the positive feedback I received from my customers convinced me to start my business and take it online.
At a basic technical level, please share your jewelry making process. How could this be seen as both an art and science?
My inspiration mainly comes from the beauty of nature. I know that many people are inspired by what they see in the natural world, but the ability to translate an idea into a physical object is key.
There is an amazing amount of physics, chemistry and biology involved in making jewelry. In my view, you absolutely need some background in these areas to effectively design and safely execute the many processes that are needed to culminate in the genesis of a beautiful piece, whether it’s sciencerelated or not. The biggest frustration I’ve found is that sometimes the image in your head is remarkable but bringing it into the physical world can be challenging (or impossible, if it violates the laws of physics).
When I’m faced with such a situation, I relax and think about how to approach it for a few days and nearly always the answer (or viable options) will occur to me that allows its translation into 3D reality.
“There is an amazing amount of physics, chemistry and biology involved in making jewelry.”
In addition to chemistry, in what way is geology a key influence for your jewelry and the gems you choose?
Gemstones are an integral part of most of my pieces, and therefore are chosen with the greatest care. I absolutely adore cabochons cut from natural stone, and each cab I use is special in its own way, including the colors, patterns and shapes. I am particularly drawn to fossil cabs, as they are a unique blend of biology and geology. The Web is a rich resource to discover beautiful stones cut and polished by talented lapidarists from all over the world, and I would say that I expend a significant amount of time and energy choosing the perfect ones for my pieces. Each stone has its own history and geology and brings with it a wealth of folklore and beliefs about its uses and effects. My intention is always to meld the beauty of the stone with the setting such that it brings the greatest positive effects as well as joy to the wearer.
I also like working with faceted stones and will incorporate them into designs that call for their sparkling presence and colors. These too have a number of effects associated with them, and even small ones can really make a statement. Finally, the choice of the metal used in a design (sterling silver, fine silver, argentium silver, copper, bronze, brass, etc.) is also based upon the stone and each metal has its own history and set of beliefs associated with it. So, I would say that geology has a huge impact on nearly all of my pieces.
What motivated you to create your Covid-19 survivor necklace in response to the pandemic?
This pandemic has impacted the lives of all of us in myriad ways. At this writing, there is no effective vaccine available against SARS-CoV-2 and unfortunately, many have lost family members, friends and colleagues to this virus.
Recent research has shown encouraging results using convalescent plasma (plasma taken from people who have recovered from Covid-19 that contains neutralizing antibodies against the virus, also known as serotherapy) on the duration and severity of the infection in some patients.
This suggests that the practice could provide at least a stopgap measure to help protect vulnerable populations until a vaccine becomes available. Serotherapy is not a new concept, as it has been used many times in the past to treat different viral infections prior to the production of a vaccine.
I envisioned that the Covid-19 survivor necklace or lapel pin would honor those who have weathered the storm of this infection and recovered, and if needed would donate their antibodies to help ones who were less fortunate than themselves.