Chanel's Fall 2011 collection Illusions d'Ombres includes three nail shades, Graphite: a highly metallic and sparkly blackened silver, Quartz: a shimmery, smoky beige/taupe, and Peridot: an antique bronze-gold with a green patina (duochrome).
The chemists at Chanel did a great job creating these colors to closely resemble their namesake minerals:
Graphite: Graphite is a black-silver mineral commonly referred to as lead, although it should not be confused with the toxic metallic element of the same name. Graphite shares the same chemistry as carbon (as diamonds do), but with a very different structure and properties. It is used in the steel-making and auto industries, among others. You and I are perhaps most familiar with graphite through our use of pencils.
Quartz: "Quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's crust, after feldspar...Varieties of quartz have been since antiquity the most commonly used minerals in the making of jewelry and hard stone carvings." (Source: Wikipedia ) A few commonly available varieties of quartz are: Citrine, Rose Quartz, Amethyst (a personal favorite), Aventurine, Onyx, Tiger's Eye, and Carnelian.
Peridot: According to Wikipedia, Peridot is "one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an olive green. The intensity and tint of the green, however, depends on how much iron is contained in the crystal structure, so the color of individual peridot gems can vary from yellow- to olive- to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green." It is the official birthstone for the month of August and is thought by some to have powers of healing, and may bring the wearer prosperity and balance.
Wow, look at the edges of Peridot! You can really see the duochrome here.
Graphite really does resemble graphite! Here is the real thing below in this sculpture made entirely of natural graphite. (This was a gift from a client to my boss years ago but I have it at my desk You can even write with it on paper, just like a pencil. A friend of mine thinks it's creepy, but I think it's pretty cool!)
The tone of Quartz is almost a perfect match for the natural smoky quartz below:
Well...I don't have any real Peridot to show here...but it does remind me a lot of these cut crystal beads on a bracelet of mine -- they have a similar bronze/green duochrome effect.
Shown above in flash lighting
You can see by the photos below that the appearance of Peridot really changes in different lighting conditions. It comes across generally as a bronze-gold with a green tinge that is most notable along the edges. In flash lighting it has a pretty, lit-from-within quality. It's an interesting color and is perhaps the most unique among the three but may not be the most universally wearable, depending on your skin tone and personal taste.
In shade above, and flash below
In low indoor lighting above
In full sunlight
So, any favorites? I haven't decided which one I like best yet! Below are some links to additional posts with more information, photos, and comparisons:
Have a great week everyone - and thanks for visiting!