By Jano Tantongco
A Cold Spring Harbor local is making waves in the world of gemology after creating the the centerpiece for Miss Denmark’s crown, which she will bring with her to the Miss Universe Pageant in January 2017.
Paul Vermylen III, jewelry artist and professional gemologist, created the focal point as a representation of Denmark’s Little Mermaid statue, derived from the local legend that also served as inspiration for the Disney film of the same name.
Instead of using a computer for his design, Vermylen employed the ancient method of wax casting for his shining creations.
“It’s for the ancient art of lost wax casting. It’s basically how jewelry and metal objects have been made for thousands of years. It’s kind of the old school manner of doing things,” Vermylen said.
Vermylen added that most pieces one might find in a jewelry catalog tend to be designed digitally, which makes wax casting that much more unique.
“With wax carving, there’s a lot more skill and craft going into producing the piece of jewelry,” Vermylen said.
He sent off the focal point to Park Avenue Jewelers in Tuscon, Arizona to have the focal point fitted with the rest of the crown. He also worked with Mary van der Aa, who designed the entire crown and reached out to Vermylen to have him create the crown’s focal point. Also, they collaborated with Tuscon Todd’s Gems to provide the 1,400 gemstones to be used, including a 4.5 carat umbalite garnet center stone to be used in the focal point.
Vermylen also emphasized that the entire crown itself is also made from sterling silver with natural gemstones, which no pageant in recent history has employed in their crowns’ designs.
Vermylen grew up in both Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor before he went to the University of New Hampshire. After that, he traveled around the country to find his passion.
“Eventually, I realized I’m a Long Islander, so I came home,” Vermylen said.
He came back to live in Huntington village in 2006, when he was 26 years old. One day, he found himself in a store that sold tumbled gemstones. He was admiring one gem in particular, a dark blue stone known as lapis lazuli.
“It was like the sky opened up and the light shone down and my path was before me. So, I started studying gemstones on my own,” Vermylen said.
His growing interest in gemstones naturally led him to jewelry design, as well. Eventually, Vermylen enrolled at the Gemological Institute of America in California and studied there for two years to formalize his education.
Vermylen will be hosting a jewelry show on Dec. 10 and Dec. 11, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., at Uncorked Upstairs, which is located above the Wine Shoppe in Cold Spring Harbor. There, his work will be on display, including a copy of the mermaid focal point.