Friday, July 31, 2009

MERCEDES SALAZAR

We are awed by the lush, green surroundings of the José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden in Bogotá, Colombia.

Named for the famed Spanish scientist and botanist, the garden houses over 18,000 acres of indigenous flora such as the country's largest aquatic Amazonian flower.

 Colombia is also the home of featured jewelry designer Mercedes Salazar.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

BARBARA HEINRICH

Today we are taking a long journey, over 625 miles to be exact, through Germany's Castle Road.

The name of the road says it all, as this extensive route highlights 70 of the most spectacular medieval architecture in the country, including baroque palaces,

Renaissance buildings, and Gothic fortifications. Germany is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Barbara Heinrich.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

KIWON WANG

14K Gold and Sterling Silver Piece
from Furniture for Pearls Collection
The Korea Botanical Garden has plenty for us to see and explore.

As we step inside the Indoor Exhibition Hall, the refreshing fragrance of wild chrysanthemums and chamomile is immediately evident.

Korea is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Kiwon Wang.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

HUMPHREY

Today we visit the stately Stubenberg Castle in Styria, Austria, which has gone through a series of transformations. A structure that would later become the castle was built in the 13th century and overlaid a fortress farm. Three centuries later, the building was refurbished into a castle, and took the name of one of the most renowned families in Styria, the Lords of Stubenberg. Austria is also the home base for Austrian jewelry brand Humphrey®.

An iconic American actor's name and diamond-in-the-rough screen persona served as the inspiration behind the Austrian jewelry company.

Humphrey® owner Roland Baldaulf believes that screen legend Humphrey Bogart's character in the film Casablanca embodied the company's product standards of timeless, classic designs.

Over 16 years ago, 46-year-old entrepreneur Baldauf contemplated starting a jewelry brand. Knowledgeable about architecture and the metal industry, Baldauf wanted to reinvent jewelry made with stainless steel by offsetting the alloy with precious and semi-precious stones.

In 1995, Baldauf set up a workshop in his cellar and several years later, he set up a factory--in a separate building--using state-of-the-art machinery.

Designer jewelry from the Humphrey® brand is composed primarily of stainless steel. The designs are sleek, minimalist and highlight geometric curves and angles. Though offset with gemstones such as diamonds and sapphires, in most cases the cool, slick polish of the stainless steel is the focal point of the items included in the brand's collections.

Baldauf includes traditional 18-karat, yellow gold designs one of which is composed of a single cable that suspends a magnificent, grey, Akoya pearl. There is a stainless steel necklace named PacMan, which features disc-like structures that resemble the videogame character.

There is also a multi-cable neckpiece featuring a beautiful amethyst stone set in a rectangular, stainless steel pendant necklace. The jewelry brand also includes wrist watches.

Wanting to broaden the company's design scope, in 2007, Baldauf enlisted the aid of German jewelry designer, Norbert Muerrle. Muerrle's expertise in "old-world craftsmanship" helped to further the company's reputation for high quality and excellence.

The Humphrey® brand is sold around the world including Spain, Italy, Austria, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway.
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Photo 1 (top right): Cable Strand Necklace with Amethyst Set in Stainless Steel Pendant
Photo 2 (bottom left): Angular Cut, Stainless Steel Tension Set Ring with Amethyst

Monday, July 27, 2009

LLYNDORAH DESIGN

We are going to do some globetrotting today visiting the Crathes Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Many say the castle is straight out of a fairytale with its protruding wall supports, painted ceilings, and spectacular Elizabethan fireplace. We leave the regal surroundings of Crathes Castle traveling to Vancouver, Canada.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

CAROLYN RAFAELIAN | ALEX AND ANI

Today we stand in Seiwa-en, a microcosmic Japanese Garden of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Missouri.

Seiwa-en means garden of pure, clear harmony, and peace, and its understated beauty creates a compelling serenity. Missouri is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Carolyn Rafaelian.

Friday, July 24, 2009

NIKOLAI BALABIN

Today we explore the international flora of St. Petersburg's Botanical Garden.

In 1714, the garden was founded by order of Peter the Great and is presently one of the oldest botanical gardens in Russia.

Russia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Nikolai Balabin.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NYOMAN SUKARTINI

Today we stand within the Bali Botanic Gardens in Indonesia refreshed by the cool climate, and invigorating air.

The gardens have a spectacular orchid collection and house a botanical library, laboratory, nursery, herbarium, and five greenhouses.

Indonesia is also the home of featured jewelry designer Nyoman Sukartini.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

IRIS EICHENBERG

Today we are standing at the foot of the Euromast tower in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Sharing a resemblance to Seattle's Space Needle, the Euromast stands over 331 feet tall and we will take a quick ride straight up on its elevator to the Euroscoop platform at the top. The Netherlands is also the home of featured jewelry designer Iris Eichenberg.

The best word, I feel, to describe Eichenberg's approach to jewelry design is existential. Since I started reading up on jewelry designers, I have noticed what I believe to be a common thread.

Designers create items that are representations of something larger, such as Karen McClintock's (Canada) Ocean Blues Collection, or the spiritual significance of David Weitzman's (Israel) designer jewelry. I also feel that this `larger something' is life, in all its forms, and jewelry designers set out to speak to its scope through their creative expression.

Eichenberg takes her designs to a different level that draws you in to the lives of those who are no longer with us and their connection to those now living. She does not approach this in the way as say Ilias Lalaounis (Greece) does, or Gurhan Orhan (Turkey).

Her approach does not involve a beauty aesthetic, but rather a literal representation of a part of history or a literal take on a concept. Where Lalaounis and Orhan draw from the expertise of ancient metalworkers who designed for royalty and nobility, Eichenberg takes on the labor and idealism of 19th century immigrants working in the United States.

A graduate of Amsterdam's Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Eichenberg has worked as a curator, independent artist, and educator. In 2001, she accepted the position of department head for her alma mater's Jewelry Department.

Upon viewing a hodge podge of items stored in the vaults of New York's Tenement Museum, Eichenberg was moved to design pieces of jewelry that reflected the myriad of lives that came to the U.S.A with hopes and dreams.

She learned that many immigrants worked with their hands making clothes, knitting, or making leatherwork. An item that Eichenberg frequently came across in the museum's vaults is what is known as a chatelaine.

A chatelaine is "a cord worn by women at the waist to carry a purse or a bunch of keys," it was also used by artisans to carry tools. Eichenberg found the importance of this item to their livelihood intriguing. They had a need for these keys to literally open doors to new experiences, and they needed their hands to provide the way to those experiences through their work.

She began to visualize the symbolic connection between the hand and the key: the ability for both to open and close, and forge interaction. From this moment, Eichenberg explored the connection of the lives of early immigrants to the lives of today's immigrants; ultimately blending timelines in her jewelry representations.

Her designs, made with the materials of the period copper, silver, leather, wool, wood, tweed, Bakelite, porcelain, and brass, are unstructured and abstract leaving one to ponder the profound meaning in them.

Her pieces will definitely strike up conversations akin to those stirred up observing modern art. Eichenberg's aesthetic is unquestionably bold, original, and complex.

She is currently living in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan serving as Department Head of Cranbrook Academy of Art's Metalsmithing Department.

For 15 years, her work has been featured extensively in exhibitions around the world including Switzerland, Italy, Indonesia, Portugal, United Kingdom, New York, and Spain. She received the Gerrit Rietveld Academy Award in 1994 and the Herbert Hofmann Prize in 1999.

For more of Eichenberg's designs, click on one, or all, of the following:


Eichenberg's take on `warm hearts' made from wool

Tenement Chatelaine made from silver, brass, bamboo, coral, and leather

Weiss Brooch made from beads, porcelain, and silver
    __________
    Photo 1 (top right): Leather, Silver, and Branch Testament Necklace
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Wood, Leather, and Copper Chatelaine

    Tuesday, July 21, 2009

    LUCIANA CATAO

    Today we are in São Paulo, Brazil . . . yeah . . . it's all about the beaches, isn't it? Let's not waste another moment because we've got places to see. First, we will take a drive through the resort town of Maresias to the beach of Toque Toque Pequeno. We can then drive a few more miles to São Sebastiâo to Ilhabela, which has 40 beaches to explore. Brazil is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer Luciana Cätao.

    An advertising graduate, Cätao takes a decidedly different approach to her designs. There is still the distinctive Latin flair characterized bythe love of textures like faux snakeskin, wood, and beads; however Cätao opts for a more understated aesthetic overall.

    Cätao began her company six years ago, and her design approach stems from the belief that everything related with fashion and beauty possesses inherent grace. She also believes beauty exists in the minute details of everything that surrounds us, most of which, she feels, we do not initially take notice.

    With this approach, Cätao creates quiet, elegant designer jewelry that "comes in small or large details" and engages the observer through the polish of its metals, the shimmering hues of gemstones, the beauty of wood and the whimsy of charm bracelets.

    Her elegant gold bracelets, for instance, were designed with kings and queens in mind. The sculptural and geometric details highlight the alloys used, while the clean designs of some of her pendants highlight the beauty of carved, Brazilian gemstones.

    Cätao keeps busy in her atelier by adding new items to her collection each week. She also designs hair accessories, belts, handbags, and key chains.
    ______________
    Photo 1 (top right): Gold Finished Drop Earrings with Resin Beads
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Seed Cord Bracelet with Crystals

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    KAREN McCLINTOCK

    14K Gold Bead and Labradorite Chunk Bracelet
    from Zelda Collection
    Today we are taking somewhat of a wild ride through the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery.
    Canada.

    By wild, I mean unusual but I would recommend holding on to your hats.  We will walk back through time, approximately 50 million years, to the

    Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Karen McClintock.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    TARINA TARANTINO

    Today we will explore the beautiful sights of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden in California.

    As we walk through this natural setting, we see a large number of indigenous plants such as the ficus tree, gooseberry shrubs, coral-bells, and purple needle grass.

    California is also home to featured jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino.

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    SARINA SURIANO

    Winged Angels Ear Cuff and Stud Earring
    with Vintage Swarovski Crystals
    Today we are in Sydney, Australia's largest botanical garden, The Royal Botanic Gardens.

    Not only is there spectacular flora to behold, but some areas of the gardens hold fantastic views of Sydney's harbor and opera house.

    We are bound to see some native wildlife as well including cockatiels, galahs, and sulphur crested cockatoos.

    Australia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Sarina Suriano.

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    BRIGITTE SALOMON

    Today we are overwhelmed by the unmistakable majesty of Raton Castle in the Loire Valley of France. The landscape surrounding it is equally breathtaking with the ground's blooming array of perennial flowers and gardens; but once we step inside the castle our knees buckle somewhat. The finely furnished citadel houses paintings and antiques, sitting rooms, more than one kitchen, and resplendent bedrooms. France is also home to featured jewelry designer Brigitte Salomon.

    Salomon's energetic personality reminds me of Wendy Culpepper (USA), and Salomon shares an equally focused, definitive approach to designing. What is of utmost importance to Salomon? "Refinement and elegance," she says, "but certainly never, ever anything flashy."

    A graduate of France's National Institute of Gemology (NIG), Salomon loved the recreational aspect of her studies and did not initially consider jewelry design as a career.

    However, her creative energies became acute by the time she graduated, and her appreciation for gemstones had grown deeper particularly for diamonds, "They represent eternity. They are so symbolic. They really do provide the most magnificent backgrounds with which to show off a beautiful ruby or sapphire," she says.

    Salomon spent several years working for some of France's most prestigious jewelry companies, but she later chose to pave her own road. In 2004, Salomon opened her workshop in the ninth arrondissement (administrative division) of Paris, which is home to the 10-story department store Galeries Lafayette.

    She was also 8 months pregnant at the time with son, Max. "my 5-year-old son is undoubtedly my most magnificent creation. He was born into the world of stones and jewelry."

    When she is away from her workshop Salomon says that design ideas constantly fill her mind; however, she happily admits that she never completely turns off.

    "I am my work. I can't cut off. I will always be looking at what people are wearing so everything, everything is connected in some way to my work."

    In the last five years, Salomon's drive has paid off as Middle Eastern and Asian markets eagerly snatch up her designer jewelry, and her staff is four times the size it was when she started. One of Salomon's creations, called Necklace Rivière (River), won the 1998 Diamond International Award.

    It is a beautiful, diamond embellished piece set in platinum, and worn as a brooch, belt, and necklace. Unfortunately, I have yet to locate Salomon's website. I was, however, able to find a photo of her Necklace Rivière shown above.
    __________
    Photo: Necklace Rivière with 58.51 carats of diamonds

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    TETOU GOLOGO | TAMACALI

    Today we are in Bamako, the decidedly modern and lively capital of Mali in West Africa. There are looming skyscrapers, museums, music clubs, a zoo, and botanical garden; however, the city maintains a rich sense of the country's heritage as we pass outdoor markets to observe beautiful, traditional African crafts. Africa is also the hometown of featured jewelry designer Tetou Gologo.

    There is a grand tradition of jewelry making in Mali that rest in the capable hands of the Dogon, Tuareg, and Togolese tribes. Widely known for their finesse, patience, wisdom, and honesty, these tribes have preserved their longstanding knowledge of handmade beaded jewelry with the help of Gologo.

    Gologo wholeheartedly embraces the supreme artisanship of these tribes, which are renowned for their masks, sculptures, and sliver and gold jewelry. Their artistry inspires her creativity.

    In 2005, she founded her company, Tamacali, where she serves as Creative Director, and employs artisans from all three tribes. She makes certain to provide them with high wages, training, medical services, and daily meals.

    Her ambition is to blend traditional and modern aesthetics fashioning gemstones and beads of all colors, sterling silver, bronze, leather, and ebony into vibrant designer jewelry that embellishes the glow of assorted skin tones.

    With her team of artisans, Gologo created seven collections that are a feast for the eye. Exploding with vivid colors and sleek, geometric shapes, her flowing strands of beads possess a regal type of elegance and beauty. Her company also submits its time-honored designs to The Hunger Site.
    _______________
    Photo 1 (top right): Red and Yellow Lucky 7 Handbeaded Necklaces
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Model is wearing Multi-Strand Bead Necklace

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    CARLA RICCOBONI

    Today we are stunned by the historic antiquities and natural scenery of Rome, Italy's Borghese Gallery.

    Also known for its lovely gardens, many of the paintings and sculptures of the Borghese Gallery were collected by Cardinal Scipione Borghese, a nephew of Pope John V.

    Italy is also the home of featured jewelry designer Carla Riccoboni.

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    DIY PROJECT | MAKING SIMPLE EARRINGS

    Are you still ready to explore your creativity and have some fun doing it? Why not try your hand at making simple earrings. Check out Tammy Powley's article at About.com for simple earring projects, or look at Ehow.com's how-to video.

    If you'd like some information about making jewelry with wire, then take a look-see at About.com's numerous articles on the subject.


    Maybe you have been tossing around the idea of starting a handmade jewelry business. In that case, you would be interested in Rena Klingenberg's blog about getting one started at Home-Jewelry-Business-Success-Tips.com.

    For those of you who would prefer to peruse affordable jewelry instead, you can buy jewlry online fromTwistonline.com's Cheap Chic selection or ShopStyle.com.

    If you're interested in vintage jewelry be sure to visit RubyLane.com to view its sprawling collection. RubyLane.com was established in 1998 by Tom Johnson and Jim Wilcoxson in order to cater to antiques and collectibles. For additional information, click here.


    Well, that is the scoop for this month's Splendor Sidebar.

    AMALOA BONVECCHIO

    We are taking in the sights along the spectacular three-mile stretch of white sands of Venezuela’s Playa El Agua (The Water Beach).

    Touted as Venezuela's most famous beach, the Playa El Agua boasts shady palm trees, and plenty of fun things to do including parasailing and bungee jumping.

    Venezuela is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Amaloa Bonvecchio.

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    CAMILLE PEACE

    Today we stand underneath the towering, glistening Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. The monument stands yards away from the Mississippi River.

    The stainless steel, self-supporting structure stands 630 feet high, and was the brainchild of American-Finnish architect Eero Saarinen. Missouri is also the current hometown of featured jewelry designer Camille Peace.

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    ILIAS LALAOUNIS

    Kokkino Limanaki Beach in Greece is a quiet, clean area located in a creek near the town of Rafina.

    Literally translated the beach's name means `Little Red Harbour,' referencing the red color of the surrounding cliffs. Greece is also the home of featured jewelry designer Ilias Lalaounis.

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    TANIA PATTERSON

    Today we will take a guided tour of the 90-Mile Beach in New Zealand. Along the way, we will see the "uncovered" 1,100-year-old trees of the Kauri Forest, observe the wild horses of the Aupouri Pine Forest, and ride across the Te Paki "quick sand" stream. New Zealand is also home to featured jewelry designer Tania Patterson.

    Patterson's nature-inspired jewelry is remarkable. Her sterling silver renderings of leaf brooch pins, and butterfly pendant necklaces are pure and unfiltered.

    A graduate of Unitech, with a Diploma in Craft Design Jewelry, Patterson's detailed designs are so life-like you will think you are looking at the real thing.

    She works with numerous materials including resin, Perspex, wood, enamel and silver, and she also loves incorporating an element of surprise in her designs. "I work mainly in sterling silver with moving parts and mechanisms often a feature of my work. I enjoy making work that the wearer can interact with."

    The intricacy and detail she captures is extraordinary. Composed of sterling silver and enamel, her feather broochpins look so realistic it is as though they could float delicately to the ground when released. Likewise, she gives her sterling silver and enamel leaf brooch pins the transitional colors that signal the fall season, as well as signs of decay, and insect holes.

    Patterson takes it even further with her Specimens Collection featuring bird, and insect brooch pins. "This group of work continues my interest in New Zealand natural history and the overlap between science and art.

    At the Auckland Museum I came across some drawers filled with dead birds, I was struck by how little they told me about birds. I am interested in what the static museum display does and doesn't teach us."

    I don't believe Patterson has a personal website at this time; however, many galleries exhibit her incredible pieces including Quoil, Fingers, Masterworks Gallery, Statements Gallery, and Form.
    _______________
    Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Pod Necklace
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver and Enamel Feather Brooch Pins


    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    SUE GREGOR

    Get ready to explore because today we stand within the Museum and Art Gallery in Bristol, England. The museum is housed inside an Edwardian Baroque building and there is plenty to learn throughout its floors. England is also home to featured jewelry designer Sue Gregor.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    YOSSI HARARI FINE JEWELRY

    There are over 3,000 species of trees and plants in Tel Aviv University Botanic Gardens in Israel, and there is some interesting trivia to learn as we stroll along its paths.

    Amidst 750 species of eucalyptus, we learn that the cinnamon tree is not only closely related to the avocado tree, but the outer bark lacks a cinnamon aroma. Israel is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Yossi Harari.

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    EMA TAKAHASHI

    The Emerald Beach in Okinawa, Japan derives its name from the astonishing emerald colored waters bordering the white sands of the beach.

    Considered one of Japan's best beaches, it is a supervised beach with picnic areas, float rentals, and the incredible Churaumi Aquarium.

    Japan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Ema Takahashi.

    GEMSTONE OF THE MONTH - RUBY

    For centuries, the magnificent sanguine color of the ruby gemstone has captivated all who see it. Rubies are a red variety of the corundum mineral, and are considered red sapphires as they share the same mineral properties of sapphire except for color.

    Rubies are the most valuable, and durable of the precious stones giving them a slight edge over diamonds. They are also rare and are found in Madagascar, Vietnam, Kenya, and Sri Lanka; however, rubies of the highest value are mined in Myanmar due to their uniform red color.

    Rubies come in numerous red variations including pink, burgundy, and reddish-brown. Rubies of this nature are heated at high temperatures to enhance the red hues and improve clarity.

    In order to charge a price for rubies, jewelers are required to obtain a laboratory report certifying that the stone's red color is natural and transparent. One of the most beautiful types of rubies contain slender, tiny, Rutile needles that create a star-type formation known as asterism. These types of rubies are aptly named Star Rubies.

    Owners of this spectacular gemstone are said to be assured of peace, physical and mental protection, and prosperity. One of the world's most famous rubies is The Star of Bharny, which is a Star Ruby. It is 28 carats and was owned by the Indian dynasty, House of Bharny, which set the ruby in an 18-karat gold ring setting, surrounded by diamonds.

    One of the world's largest rubies is the 125 West Ruby, a crystal found in Myanmar weighing 8 pounds with a remarkable 18,696 carats.

    For more information on Star Rubies, check out Star Ruby: The Eternal Gemstone, a website pertaining to everything Star Ruby.
    _________
    Photo: The Star of Bharny

    Saturday, July 4, 2009

    DEVON LEIGH JEWELRY

    Today we are in sunny Los Angeles, California taking in the sights of The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. It is an astonishing place with plants, trees, and shrubs from around the world filling up its 127 acres.

    We may catch glimpses of turtles catching some rays on the rocks of the Baldwin Lake, or notice splendid, free roaming peacocks. California is also home to featured jewelry designer Devon Leigh Sedlacek.

    Friday, July 3, 2009

    CARLOS MUÑOZ

    The Toluca Botanical Garden in Mexico includes the deep purple leaves of the Santiaguito plant, beautiful Azucenas, Mexican orchids, and an array of plants from Brazil and Africa. Mexico is also the home of jewelry designer, Carlos Muñoz.

    Mexican jewelry has a history of great artistry such as the silver jewelry made by early Aztecs who created personal ornaments for nobles as well as intricate ceremonial masques.

    Presently, Mexico still has a thriving jewelry industry in both small towns and large cities. Muñoz brings a modern take on Mexico's traditional jewelry. "Celestial elements were venerated by our ancestors, and have fascinated me all my life."

    He studied English in the United States before attending Mexico University's School of Fine Arts. During his tenure there, he "began to take private lessons in areas that interested me--drawing, painting, and jewelry making," he says.

    Muñoz' skills are masterful; "My jewelry making process begins by sculpting the design in wax and casting a mold around it. When the molten silver is passed into the mold, the wax melts and runs out. I add details by hand covering special enamel on areas I don't want gold."

    Muñoz also uses 22-karat gold plating over sterling silver, black onyx, and papier-mâchè to create his lovely "celestial" Shadows of the Sun Ring; Golden Eclipse Pendant; and his Blue Moon Pendant, among others.

    Muñoz doesn't currently have a website but his lovely celestial-themed jewelry is featured at Novica.com, and Foreign Jewelry Accents.com.
    _____________________
    Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and Papier-mâchè Passion's Fantasy Pendant Necklace
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver and Papier-mâchè Sun Moon Kiss Pendant Necklace

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    ELLE JULE

    We are gonna have a fun-filled day today as we explore Alberta, Canada's Calaway Park, the city’s largest amusement park. We have got plenty to choose from like the dizzying mechanical arm of the Air Gliders, the splashy vertical drops of the water ride Shoot the Chutes, and the gut wrenching twists and turns of the Vortex rollercoaster. Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Danielle Stirling.

    What I find so great about jewelry designers and creative people in general, is that their passion to create is innate.

    It begins early, while they are young. Stirling is no exception. Her eye for beauty, fascination with nature and color began in her youth. Her interest peaked after her mother bought her a bead loom.

    In fact, she and a friend established a jewelry business in the 6th grade. "We created friendship bracelets from embroidery thread along with friendship pins. We'd set up shop at lunch and sell our bracelets for 15-20 cents a piece." While in the 7th grade, she began creating beads and working with Polymer clay.

    Over the subsequent years, she continued to expand her jewelry-making knowledge. In her adult years the size of her family also expanded, "After I had my third child, it was important for me to be able to stay at home with them," she says. In 2006, she launched her company Elle Jule, "It gives me a creative outlet while allowing me to be with my children whenever they need me. Who could ask for a better job?"

    Stirling's attraction to fairy lore, art, colors in nature, as well as her own moods inspire her wonderfully ethereal, custom jewelry creations. She admits that inspiration can come randomly and unexpectedly such as the Forbidden Love Bracelet part of a limited edition jewelry line inspired by Stephanie Meyer's Twilight book series.

    Stirling carefully selects the materials she uses--freshwater pearls, Bali and Argentium silver, topaz--to produce her delicate jewelry. "I am a self-representing jewelry artist, which means that I create all of my jewelry myself from materials that have been hand picked from responsible suppliers that practice fair trade and provide good working conditions and fair pay to their employees."

    The joy Stirling brings to her incredibly beautiful designs is matched by her clientele's response to the designs. "The thing I have come to love the most about my business is the feedback I have received from customers. It warms me to be able to share a part of myself that way."

    Stirling's collections include the fairy-inspired, Bower of Bliss; the vintage-inspired Nostalgia Collection; and the Afterglow Collection featuring items inspired by the Twilight book series. She also designs custom bridal and men's jewelry, and her Salvation Bracelets tell the story of Jesus in colorful gemstones.

    For more on Stirling's gorgeous custom jewelry check out her Flickr photostream or her blog.
    __________________
    Photo 1 (top right): Gold Vermeil On Golden Pod Earrings with Keshi Pearls, and Moonstone from her Bridal Jewelry Collection
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Moonstone, Blue Kyanite and Topaz Celeste Bracelet

    Wednesday, July 1, 2009

    QUOTABLE GEMS | TOBEY MAGUIRE


    I have no illusions at all about being a sex symbol. None of my former girlfriends ever thought of me that way, and I don't have any packs of women chasing me down the street like a Brad Pitt or someone like that.

    TANISHQ

    Today we travel along Apollo Bunder's waterfront in Mumbai, India to pass through the arch known as the Gateway of India. With architecture influenced by Hinduism and Islam, the arch is made of reinforced concrete, and yellow basalt. It stands 85 feet high, and the central dome is 49 feet in diameter. India is also the home base for featured jewelry brand Tanishq.

    Jamseti Tata founded the TATA Group, one of India's most highly regarded conglomerates, at a critical time in India's history; the country had just gained independence from England. Tata's objective was to build his country through business opportunities.

    In 1995, the TATA Group added a jewelry brand, Tanishq, to its list of companies. An acronym formed by combining the first two letters of `Tata' and the word `Nishkh,' which means gold necklace, Tanishq has become India's most popular brand of fine jewelry.

    Originating from the fertile minds of the design team, the grand designs are passed on to the artisans for Tanishq, called karigars. The karigars are highly skilled, diligent, and knowledgeable of jewelry making techniques. Their remarkable expertise sets in motion the creation of thousands of designs included in over 10 collections.

    The seemingly endless design range includes vibrant gemstones interlaced with 18- and 22-karat gold, or platinum and imbued with the regal ambience of the Victorian era. A bezel, channel, pavé, or ballerina set magnifies the brilliant luster of diamonds.

    There is also the opulence of the Mughal era; the lively beauty of floral motifs; and intricacies inspired by constellations. It is no wonder these magnificent pieces are so desirable. The designs are ornate, feminine, elegant, romantic, and timeless. There is something for every mood or occasion.

    The Tanishq brand also answered the call of Bollywood in the 2008 feature film Jodhaa Akbar.

    The beauty of the actor who wore them, Aishwarya, matched the beauty of the jewels. This spectacular jewelry is sold worldwide in Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the United States.
    _______________
    Photo 1 (top right): Kundan Cuff Bracelet in Gold and Uncut Diamonds from Kundan and Polki Collection
    Photo 2 (bottom left): Lace Pattern Diamond Necklace with Vivid Red Gemstones from Diamond Collection
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