life in the facet lane Natural Beauties by Diana Jarrett GG RMV

What draws people to the Gulf Coast—besides the year-round sun, is our profusion of nature. Home grown beauty on the Gulf is a breathtaking smorgasbord of rarity and wonder. It’s the stuff that inspires artists working in every medium.

Gemstone Flamingo brooch; Courtesy

Celebrated jewelry artist Ricardo Basta’s work is often both whimsical and amusing. But the ultimate allure lies with his expert craftsmanship. Basta uses precious gems in the same way an artist splashes bold hues across a canvas. But Basta’s paints are wildly colorful gemstones.

His imaginative jewelry also pays homage to the wildlife we enjoy here. His flamingo brooch perfectly captures a sense of “calm being”—while plant life underfoot sways in the breeze. “The wind moves the blades of the plant by the flamingo,” Basta points out. “This detail, while not the focal point, has its own presence in the picture.”

Basta’s color pallet for one flamingo is a hand-carved pink opal while its mate is depicted in exquisite deep pink sapphires. Its beak and eye are crafted in black diamonds, while platinum legs shimmer in white diamonds. The sapphire flamingo studies a quivering leaf plant set with demantoid garnets, which, when worn, articulates with movement from its base. “Pink Sapphire flamingo also articulates near the base of its neck, allowing it to turn and look at the pink opal flamingo,” Basta explains. “This forms a heart shape with the two necks of the flamingos, as if they’re sharing a kiss.”

Gemstone Seahorse brooch – pendant; Courtesy

And who isn’t mesmerized by seahorses? The delicate sea life moves as gracefully as a ballerina. “It is the resting seahorse that breaks free of the bed of coral,” he explains. “What a uniquely beautiful and odd creature. It can move about with these small wing-like fins. To recreate it as a piece of jewelry I had better understand its incredible mobility.

The seahorse is a true wonder.” Basta exhibits his color pallet again with his seahorse brooch which ingeniously converts into a pendant. The seahorse is fully finished in a 360⁰ view, leaving no detail unfinished when worn as a pendant. The creature comes alive with vibrant orange spessartine garnets, and a head of white diamonds with black diamond eyes and hand-carved rock crystal fins. “Playfully, the seahorse anchors its tail around the bed of coral on the brooch. Freeing the seahorse from its coral bed occurs when opening the pink tourmaline collar– releasing it and simultaneously unwinding the tail from its base of coral,” he reveals. Thanks to his imagination with colored stones, we can look with fresh eyes at the magnificent nature surrounding us.

Facing everything we see like an awestruck child keeps us in a state of wonder.

Contact Diana Jarrett at

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