Smacking my lips at this issue from Australia Post. Rare Beauties, they’re calling them. They’re all gemstones from the collection of the Australian Museum in Sydney, and what a stunning tribute to the lapidary’s art they are.
The golden sapphire and pink diamond are used in jewellery. The fluorite and rhodonite aren’t, but that’s OK, you can still buy them for me. I simply adore that rich red in the rhodonite.
The photography of the stones is stunning to start with, but the ‘shadow’ across the geometric background adds a 3-D feel that really makes them pop right out of the stamp.
Y’know what I like about this set the most? The simplicity. When stamp issuers start eyeing off gemstones, for some reason there’s a compulsion to show them in the context of the geological environment in which they are found, or in fugly uncut form (everything is fugly when uncut, amiright ladies), or in the context of an end product like jewellery or industrial product. But there’s no messing about with this issue. You want gemstones? Fine. Here are some big bloody gemstones. Straya!
AP’s Collectables blog has a interesting interview with gemologist Gayle Sutherland, who describes how difficult it is to photograph big bloody gemstones. That page also displays these same photographs in ginormous size. It’s almost enough to make me overlook the site being called ‘Collectables’ with an ‘a’ instead of ‘Collectibles’ with an ‘i’. It’s not technically wrong, I’m just saying SOME THINGS JUST LOOK MORE RIGHT OK?
In news that I’m sure you will find as exciting as I do, this set is being issued to coincide with the Melbourne 2017 FIAP International Stamp Exhibition this week, an event at which I shall be getting my nerd on. A bunch of related limited-edition collectibles will be available at the show if you go in for that kind of malarkey. If the idea of a weekend spent browsing for unsung heroes of decimal commercial usage or wandering exhibition aisles admiring an old person’s collection of Cochin postal stationery sounds like the seven levels of hell, then you have clearly never attended a philatelic exhibition while drunk.
Also coinciding with the exhibition is the release of these two stamps honouring Australian artistic giants Arthur Streeton and Sidney Nolan. Always love seeing capital-A Art on stamps, especially big juicy oversized stamps. If you’re a local and you’re not the Stamp Exhibition type, at least do the world a favour and consider hunting these down to attach to that one letter you mail this year.
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