There is no mistaking the elegant yet powerful beauty of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.
Architect Robert Mills, in honor of the first U.S. President George Washington, designed the century plus obelisk in 1836.
Construction began on the 550-foot tall structure 12 years later--161 years ago--on July 4. Washington, D.C. is also the current home of featured jewelry designer Sandra Mardini.
Of Palestinian descent, Mardini's beautiful jewelry holds a sumptuous Mediterranean flair. The luminous, semi-precious gemstones she uses take center stage; and although her unique, handcrafted designs are understated, the stones explode with vibrant, succulent colors.
There is a spectacular necklace made from lemon-yellow chalcedony; and her 2009 Winter Collection features a necklace made with coral stones that look exactly like pomegranate seeds!
By instilling her interest in the arts, Mardini's parents helped to set the foundation for their daughter's jewelry designing career. Travels abroad to Europe and her ancestral home in the Middle East opened her up to unique crafts, architecture and color combinations.
The exposure left an indelible mark inspiring Mardini as it shaped her design philosophy. "Jewelry says more about a woman's inner spirit than one can imagine," she says. "A woman can project her emotions, her mood without saying a word." In 2003, Mardini set up her workshop and company Sandra Mardini Jewelry Design.
Mardini's instinctive gift for jewelry making is extraordinary. She takes an eclectic approach to each design, wrapping a luscious, pale blue agate stone in gold wire; setting lavender quartz side-by-side with accents of gold vermeil in between them; or suspending a pastel amethyst from a chain of gold vermeil.
The intensity of the colors, how the stones are arranged and cut is so rich and electric. The cut of the stones range from dewdrops to chunky to smooth, flat rectangles.
Mardini created a special pink jewelry collection to commemorate her mother, Siham Mansour, who died in 1997 from breast cancer. One hundred percent of sale proceeds go to the Libby Ross Foundation to raise funds for cancer research.
Mardini's designs have been featured in Lucky and Brides magazines as well as various online fashion websites including DailyCandy.com, and Stylehive.com.
Photo 1 (top center): Coral and Chalk Turquoise Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): Yellow Chalcedony and Moss Green Swarovski Crystal Necklace