Tuesday, November 30, 2010
The basis of Burkmar’s classic aesthetic lies within her use of both organic and universal design patterns.
The minutiae she implements are the bold iridescent color of anodized aluminum, and the creamy glow of white silver.
The gentle twists and folds of Burkmar’s designer jewelry is fluid. The anodized aluminum discs explode with bountiful, glossy colors of orange, fuchsia, red, and blue.
For some designs, like her Red Aluminum Button Cluster Pendant, she mixes different shades of one color. For others, such as her Blue Aluminum 18-Button Bracelet, she blends and mixes in variegated streaks of color.
The gorgeous, satiny white pendants and silver cufflinks from Burkmar’s Mini Chilli Collection are highlighted by soft, petal-like designs that provide an easy accent of sophistication and elegance.
“The silver used in my jewelry is Britannia Silver, which is 95.8% pure. I use this as its increased purity helps me maintain the “white” color that is very much a part of my designs.
The whiteness is achieved by annealing the metal which raises the fine silver to the surface. The process is called White Cooking,” says Burkmar. “For my aluminum jewelry, I pre-anodize it by treating it with an electrical current to break the surface enabling paints or dyes to be stained on the metal.
I paint the colors by hand, and I permanently seal the colors by placing the sheets in boiling water. I then prepare small sheets for cutting and forming by hand.”
The England-based Burkmar also works with her jeweler husband, Paul, in which they merge their talents to create designs in gold and platinum.
Burkmar’s solo works with anodized aluminum, platinum, and silver has garnered her prestigious awards including Taiwan’s Best Contemporary Jeweler, and the United Kingdom’s Best Emerging Designer in Platinum.
Photo 1 (top right): Blue/Purple Aluminum Flower Cluster Link Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Purple Aluminum Art Collection Bangle Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Mini Chilli Triple Silver Pendant
Monday, November 29, 2010
Ciputra’s nearly year old Etsy store, LittleSev, features feminine and romantic handmade jewelry designs bursting with multi-colored Czech beads, carved resin, and Crystallized Swarovski Elements that are suspended from antique brass, 14-karat gold-filled, and 24-karat gold-plated chains.
Each pendant necklace, gemstone earrings, or charm bracelet pays homage, in some way, to “anything vintage, old-modern and French.” This is readily evident in her “vintage-style” Oval Birdcage Pendant with its gorgeous 24-karat gold-plated cage and beautiful Czech beads of turquoise, opal, and pink that masquerade as tiny bird’s eggs.
Her hand-finished Alice Teapot Pendant, inspired by Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, is an adorable piece with whimsical flair that is fashioned from patinated, lead-free pewter and suspended from an antique brass chain.
The recurring theme in Ciputra’s lyrical fashion jewelry—at least in my eyes—is love. There are lots of carved roses, stars and hearts. There is even an oxidized silver Eiffel Tower charm, a lovely heart locket made of aged brass with a cute daisy cabochon placed at its center, as well as a selection of delicate wedding jewelry items.
Every design seems to permeate with this wonderful aura of sweetness, and innocence.
The Australia-based Ciputra approaches design with classic proportions that are punctuated with lots of understated but great minutiae and idiosyncrasy.
“My jewelry designs are whimsical with a vintage and minimalist modern touch. I strive to incorporate my professional knowledge by creating products using materials sourced from Turkey, Austria, and Japan.
My goal is to show people the world of jewelry through my viewfinder and make a little something for every taste.”
Photo 1 (top right): Oval Gold Birdcage Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Vintage Long Dangle Floral Garden Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): La Bella Swan Gold Locket Necklace
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Frankly speaking it took me some time to fully appreciate simplistic form in jewelry design.
Like a moth to a flame, for years I have been drawn to more complex and colorful design patterns.
The elegant lines of designer jewelry from Melissa Joy Manning (USA), Sadie Wang (Korea), and Shona Macaulay Fidgett (Scotland) highlight each jeweler’s love for the purity of simple forms.
It is this predilection that has helped to forward my thinking and I realized that cultivating a simplistic form is not as effortless as it seems.
For a stellar 35 years, Dinh Van’s design approach is acutely geared towards accentuating the wearer. His decidedly pared down aesthetic is somewhat mechanistic in its crisp, sharp geometric lines but the visual language is undoubtedly haute.
Harboring a one-time aspiration to become a mariner, the part French part Vietnamese designer found his father’s lacquer craft a powerful influence. He would later design and produce fine jewelry for renowned brand Cartier before branching out on his own.
Once he established his self-titled brand in 1965, he chose to set himself apart from the popular trend of “massive pieces” that were only worn on special occasions, and meant to “impress those who look at them.”
France’s student revolts of the late 60s, his father’s razor blades, the 70s, and the handcuff design of his Menottes Collection are among Dinh Van’s sources of inspiration in which sleek gold diamond earrings, white gold rings, and gold pendants emerge.
“My creations mirror the women who wear them. Necessity of appearance and discomfort is not a part of my ambition,” says Dinh Van. “The entire dimension of these sensual, essential pieces of jewelry is revealed as they become one with those who wear it.”
His smooth design style is immaculately fluid and the satiny black carbon pieces from his Pi Independent Collection add a striking yet understated contrast to the high gloss and hammered metals of sterling silver and 18-karat gold.
His collection of universal symbols that include a heart, key, star, cross, turtle, and clover are nonspecific in their rudimentary, child-like appearance.
It is an intriguing design choice as the oversimplification of these particular renderings are uniquely his.
“My designs offer pure, simple, and gentle shapes to women, men and children making my pieces less formal and more personal.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Sur-Impression Chain Pendant Necklace with Red Coral
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Seventies Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Double Sens Bracelet
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
At first glance Torkos’ streamlined designer jewelry is not what it appears to be.
Beneath the sleek, modern curvatures of her Swirls and Lines Collection for instance, belies the heart of contemporary jewelry. The long, clean lengths of the metal from this particular collection hide secret accents of color.
“My current and ongoing project of changeable/variable jewelry offers a huge playground. The possibility to change the look of a jewelry piece is, in some way, handing over the last step in the design process to the wearer.”
Torkos’ journey to becoming a jewelry designer is a long one taking her from Halle, Germany to Kautokein, Norway to London, England over a twelve-year period.
In this timeframe, she studied textile design, jewelry art, and goldsmithing. She also worked as a gallery assistant, and collaborated with British designer Theo Fennell with whom she still keeps in touch.
Each experience lends itself to Torkos’ inventive design approach. Enlisting plastic, stainless steel, 14-karat gold, aluminum, Velcro, and sterling and gold-plated silver, she explores such themes as kindergarten crafting while continually playing with contrasts of lengths, shapes and colors.
With fearless abandon, Torkos builds the playful and colorful Fool’s Gold Collection, a vivid interpretation of childhood crafting classes, as well as the incredibly malleable Garland Collection. These particular metal pieces appear to be hinged allowing for a bracelet to be literally unraveled, reconstructed into a necklace, and then back again.
The London-based designer largely credits her stint at London’s Royal College of Art with boldly implementing innovative elements of surprise. “As a jewelry designer I am interested in discovering the different and sometimes contrasting aspects of a concept, idea or collection.
The things I am doing are very wearable but they are not super-commercial; therefore I avoid seeing myself as just a commercial or just an artistic designer working in only one formal language.
The Royal College of Art showed me there are so many different ways of working. It allowed me to find my own way. All of a sudden I felt free to work the way I wanted.”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling and Gold-Plated Silver Dot Dot Dot Oval Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Plastic Fool’s Gold Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 14-Karat Gold Garland Bracelet
Monday, November 22, 2010
Such jewelry pieces as cross pendants, gold lockets, and circle necklaces are timeless, classic designs, and will undoubtedly remain popular trendy jewelry items for years to come.
While classic jewelry forms easily provide an understated, casual accent to any outfit I have to admit I feel a strong sense of playing it safe, and lack of daring in these designs.
In saying that, I am not suggesting that “daring" has to be elaborate or avant garde just any slight amount of differentiation. In my mind, the words timeless and conventional can be mutually exclusive.
Finnish brand Lapponia Jewelry is a great example of this type of deviation from the norm. For approximately fifty years, the company’s eclectic assortment of designers, which includes co-founder Bjorn Weckström, has produced the company’s signature understated, abstract forms.
Brereton’s aesthetic is also steeped in creating vague, simplistic yet interesting form. A graduate of London’s Camberwell College of Arts, and Scotland’s Edinburgh College of Art, Brereton calls upon the historic hand raising technique to build soft, oblong curves in sterling, oxidized, and fine silver, as well as 18-karat white and yellow gold.
“Hand raising is a traditional silversmithing technique where a flat sheet of metal is hammered into a hollow form,” says Brereton who also creates organic bowls, and vessels. “I draw inspiration from archaeological artifacts and interesting forms and textures in nature.”
Brereton’s quirky sterling and 18-karat gold jewelry resemble broken eggshells, and tiny, irregular cups. Instead of gemstones she implements found objects like a porcelain pipe or accents of briar wood, and stainless steel.
In the absence of gemstones many designers showcase the metal with arabesque or intricate cutout details; Brereton allows the satiny glow of the silver, its restrained textures, and unkempt, irregular curves to visually arrest an observer. The overall effect is a buoyant and distinctive visual language.
While I do not necessarily feel that every jewelry designer intentionally approaches their aesthetic to stand apart from the pack, I do believe they make a conscious effort to bring something personal to their designs.
Consequently, it is their design choices, selection of materials, and their personal interpretations that ultimately set their jewelry apart.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Fine and Sterling Silver Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver and Wood Form Rings
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold, Sterling Silver and Wood Cup Earrings
Saturday, November 20, 2010
A curious youth, Haskie built his first jewelry piece at the age of nine after watching his parents, Leonard and Lillie, make “water bird designs” with inlay work.
“I took some of my father’s scrap silver and did a water bird design on it. I did some practice runs with the torch to learn soldering and I eventually soldered the silver with the water bird design onto another piece,” recalls the designer.
“I couldn’t wait to show my parents, but they did not believe I did it. So I had to go and get all of the scrap to show where I cut it out, and explain how I made it.”
Since then the self-taught Navajo silversmith has built an illustrious reputation, punctuated by multiple awards, as a highly skilled craftsman.
Haskie specializes in creating multi-dimensional designer jewelry fashioned from sterling silver, 14- and 22-karat gold, and large brightly colored inlaid gemstones.
Such items as his sterling silver cuff bracelets and gemstone pendants are imbued with character through bold outlines, engraved surfaces and a dose of spirituality.
“From a spiritual point of view, as an artist, I take materials form Mother Earth and build a jewelry item. I do become attached to the finished piece.
There is an intimacy with creating jewelry. I recall memories of setting certain stones and how I was feeling or thinking at that time,” says Haskie.
“The creation process is important as a jewelry item literally comes to life. A jewelry item is alive; it is made of materials from Mother Earth. It ultimately becomes a piece of the mind and spirit of the artist who made it.”
His work with sterling silver and gold beautifully display the inherent traits of both metals: sterling silver provides a subtle yet rustic setting for gemstones of coral, lapis, and opals while the gold adds a backlit glow to Lone Mountain Turquoise. It is like watching gemstones float in the alternate palms of the Moon and the Sun.
Of utmost importance to Haskie is that his art reflects a diversified image of Navajos, “I would like to give a positive image of the Navajo in my work. I want to create something with strong enough imagery where people take a positive message with them.
Positive art breaks down stereotypes, instills pride in our younger generation and encourages them to see they have a blessing in them.”
I could not find a personal website for Haskie, but a number of his items can be viewed at online store Southwestern Jewelry Collection.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Mediterranean Coral Navajo Earrings
Photo 2 (center): 14-Karat Gold Cuff Bracelet with Red Coral Stone and Coral Inlay
Photo 3 (bottom left): 22-Karat Gold Turquoise Butterfly Pendant
Friday, November 19, 2010
Most jewelry consumers routinely veer towards quickly produced, machine made baubles due to their affordability.
The jewelry is unquestionably stylish and fashionable; however, the inevitable wear and tear can come at a hefty price.
According to what I have read, in many cases machine-made jewelry designs cannot be adequately repaired without leaving behind unsightly scars rendering the pieces worthless.
While artisan cultivated jewelry is usually more expensive it is considered a long-term investment and repairs are often easily made without reducing the jewelry’s worth.
Though I do not own a handmade piece of designer jewelry (not yet anyway) I do love the intimate quality of hand cultivated pieces. I think the irregularity that is customary to handmade jewelry infuses the trinkets with unmistakable character.
Prado’s rustic yet clean collections of 14-karat gold rings, gemstone pendants, and gold cuff bracelets have that idiosyncratic beauty. The uneven textures of coiled, woven, hammered and twisted gold metal are tactual evoking the image of ancient jewelry makers with primitive tools.
I particularly like the twined rope look of several of his ring and bracelet designs. They remind me of the golden brown color and twisted shapes of breadsticks.
“When weaving the Woven Bracelet piece, I found myself thinking about ancient weavers using reeds, straw, or papyrus. I love conjuring up the same feeling in gold,” says Prado.
“The individual strands of the gold in this piece are symbolic; each strand influences the other just as we do as humans.”
Based in California, Prado’s slogan “amor y luz” (love and light) is a philosophy central to the design and creation process of his ready-made jewelry as well as his custom jewelry pieces. Nonetheless, imparting spirituality to his custom jewelry designs requires a close partnership with his clients.
“I believe in a naturalist approach to jewelry making, and a finished piece should have significant meaning. I think of gemstones as seeds. I cultivate them and nurture them until they are like blossoms.
As I get to know my clients we decide what spiritual elements to accentuate the finished piece. I feel like my main role is to help the client and the piece find each other.”
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Woven Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Intertwined Ring with Diamond
Photo 3 (bottom left): 14-Karat Yellow and White Gold Moonstone Pendant Necklace
Thursday, November 18, 2010
At one time or another someone has probably said to you “be yourself.” In a society where conformity is often rewarded and lauded it is always refreshing to see someone be true to oneself.
Hassan’s stunning designer fashion jewelry, MINU Jewels, with its distinctive colors and Mediterranean flair is like a ray of sunlight in the often stodgy, uniform world of machine made, mass produced jewelry.
There is a strong sense of cultural pride in Hassan’s aesthetic; Arabic inscriptions, embossed textures, oxidation, and bold design patterns bring her otherwise understated jewelry to life. Her collections mix grandiose sterling silver cuff bracelets with delicate yet striking gemstone earrings.
“Why wear something everyone else has,” asks the New Mexico-based designer, “MINU Jewels is eclectic and unique. We like to make timeless pieces that you can wear anytime or season. Being different is what we believe.”
After settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico 17 years ago, Hassan began converting her longtime hobby of jewelry making into a full-blown company.
Enlisting the assistance of her mother, Mimi, and sister, Sherine, Hassan draws from her various artistic aptitudes to bring the beauty of Egypt, as well as cultures like India, into designs that are colorful, spiritual and of course beautiful.
I love the bold elegance of Hassan’s designer jewelry; there are metal contrasts of brass, copper, sterling silver, and 14-karat gold fill. An assortment of gemstones that include smoky quartz, blue agate, carnelian, rose quartz, lemon topaz, and red jade are presented in ridged, flat and organic facet styles.
MINU Jewels is distributed around the world including Canada, South America, Greece, Scotland, and the United States of America. In 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chose Hassan’s vibrant jewelry as a consolation prize.
Selected items from MINU Jewels inventory were put into gift bags for all 2007 Oscar nominees who did not win the coveted statue. Not a bad tradeoff if you ask me.
Hassan’s unique jewelry is also available for sale through online jewelry store Max & Chloe.
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Gold-Filled Ruby Hoop Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Nubian Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Pendant Necklace with Arabic inscription
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Though currently feeling the effects of the economic downturn according to the 2009 industry overview of the U.S. Commercial Service, the estimated value of the Canadian jewelry market in 2008 was expected to be $1.7 billion.
Even though overall jewelry sales are down costume jewelry continues to thrive, and Canada has remained one of the world’s leading diamond suppliers providing high-quality, conflict-free diamonds.
Despite the gloom-and-doom of of the global economy, Canadian jewelry designers push onward cultivating an eclectic assortment of jewelry styles from the high-spirited charm jewelry of Laura Goldstein’s mashu mashu brand to the innovative stainless steel work of Karen Konzuk to the imaginative steampunk designs of Daniel Proulx.
A master goldsmith for 32 years, Brow definitely brings a high level of expertise to his craft. The low-key, straightforward look of his website has an almost earnest quality. There is no level of pretense or showiness just a channel to show great work.
Looking through Brow’s image gallery caused me to feel as though I was in his workshop. The jewelry is photographed simply under a soft light and against what appears to be impromptu backgrounds. In my mind, the naturalness of the collection pieces look like they would if you were being given a personal tour of his studio.
His Clown Pendant is a great display of textures punctuated by the rough-hewn details of a “funny face” with wild hair offset with the insinuation of garish clown make-up. His beautifully carved Elephant Pendant looks like it was rendered from buttery, creamy gold custard.
His collections are a wonderful example of old-school craftsmanship possessing that great hand fabricated look: a little imperfect yet very tactile and sensual.
Photo 1 (top right): Emerald and Diamond Pendant
Photo 2 (center): Jade and Flower Brooch
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Tri-Color Bracelet
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Goel turned a voracious love of jewelry into a jewelry making hobby and business. Growing up in Kolkata, India she spent many years collecting gemstones and jewelry.
Her grandmother challenged her to “look into each and every detail from the techniques used to make the jewelry to the materials used to make the jewelry,” she says.
She draws from a rich palette taking a no holds barred design approach. Her sophisticated and elegant gemstone earrings, silver cross pendants, and gemstone necklaces serve as a beautiful guide through ancient East Indian jewelry styles and techniques.
With the exception of gold jewelry, Goel deftly creates stunning pieces characterized by understated proportions, unique design patterns and bold color.
There are plenty of gemstones to ogle including black and green onyx, peridot, carnelian, amethyst, malachite, lapis lazuli, garnet, yellow chalcedony, moonstone and rose quartz.
She incorporates lovely openwork minutiae called jali in cuff bracelets, pendant necklaces and her Peaceful Pearl Dangle Earrings.
She then tackles complex, engraved jewelry designs such as her Elephant Secrets Sterling Silver Cuff Bracelets, as well as gorgeous meenakari enamel art with her exquisite sterling silver Florli Shield Cufflinks.
Again, her collections are striking microcosms of India’s jewelry history that are modern, chic, and stylish.
Even within her trendier pieces, like the leaf and heart earrings, she manages to streamline and maintain the stunning grandeur and visual power of traditional aesthetics. It is a sheer tour de force.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Chalcedony Yellow Petals Choker Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Amethyst and Garnet Sparkle Tennis Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver and Lapis Lazuli Royal Moon Earrings
Monday, November 15, 2010
Marty Reynard (USA), who creates stunning anodized titanium jewelry, compared his studio with a laboratory “where I run aesthetic experiments on a daily basis. These experiments provide an ongoing impetus to keep my work constantly changing.”
Corvaja’s soulful and philosophical commentary about the craft of jewelry making echoes Reynard’s in that he speaks on the evolutionary aspect of building a design. Also like Reynard I see very little demarcation between jewelry maker, chemist, and scientist.
Nonetheless, it is also very clear the creation process, however cerebral, is a visceral exercise for Corvaja. It is an exercise that ultimately cultivates a spiritual bond between the jewelry maker and his creations.
A former student of Padua, Italy’s Pietro Sevatico High School of Art and graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, Corvaja began studying goldsmithing at the age of 14.
His love for gold metal was instantaneous—comparable to Gurhan Orhan (Turkey). He sees its beauty no matter its state raw or polished, and he strives to present his handmade jewelry designs in unique and ambitious ways.
“Gold is beautiful to me. It is a sublime material; a symbol of evolution and perfection of nature. Gold and beauty are synonymous for me. Jewelry is just the best solution I have found to allow me to be constantly in contact with this magical element.”
Corvaja’s aesthetic is reminiscent of French designer Cathy Chotard who also enlists painstaking, breakthrough techniques to build her idiosyncratic collections.
His ethereal cuff bracelets, earrings, and brooches, fashioned from wires of 18-and 22-karat gold, palladium, or silver, resemble the foam and fiberglass web of furnace filters. They look soft, pliable, and bendable.
For some designs, he implements small granules of gold along the surface creating what looks like small, undulating fields of wheat. A black alloy substance, called niello, is often interjected within the metal fibers adding subtle color contrasts.
Corvaja’s work requires great precision, and time yet he approaches his art with incredible dedication; allowing himself to take a journey.
“I regard my craft as a journey, not a destination: reaching the end is not as important as the way itself. If one seeks only the result of the job, one will certainly miss all the beauty of the process.
For me, all the stages of making a piece, even those that one might consider tedious have equal dignity. Whether I am melting gold, drawing down wire, or inscribing my signature I consider every job to be a meditation.”
Another example of Corvaja’s unhurried design approach is his most recent collection, The Golden Fleece. The designer embarked on a 10 year journey to build designs inspired by the mythic symbolism of the fleece’s legend.
After hours of experimentation and research Corvaja developed a way to draw down the gold wires to the size of a silk fiber. With that accomplished, he then cultivated a tapestry-like method to collect and pull the tiny wires together ultimately rendering a remarkable semblance of fur.
The collection of pieces that include a pendant necklace, ring, brooch, bracelet, and headpiece respectively symbolize fertility, prosperity, commitment, fidelity and power. Along with his other pieces, this collection magnificently displays his supreme artisanship and love for what he does.
“There is something fascinating about the process of making. Something grows under your hands, takes a desired shape and finally becomes more accomplished and perfect.”
Each of the pieces for the Golden Fleece Collection requires thousands of hours of precise labor and hundreds of kilometers of gold wire.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-and 22-Karat Gold and Niello Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): The Golden Fleece Pendant
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold Brooch with White, Red, and Yellow Shaded Alloys
Saturday, November 13, 2010
For those in the know uncovering an authentic piece of estate or vintage jewelry from the local flea market is a significant find.
A pair of genuine antique bracelets or antique cufflinks not only exemplifies superlative, bygone craftsmanship but according to Jill Burgum, Director of Jewelry for Heritage Auction, such items can be had at a fraction of the cost of modern jewelry. “The savings can be amazing,” says Burgum, “up to 75 percent.”
However, such brands as Fred Leighton Jewelry (USA) and Tracy Smith’s House of Lavande (USA) specialize in collecting and selling rare, high-end vintage jewelry pieces from Van Cleef & Arpels, Tiffany & Co., Coco Chanel, and Elsa Schiaparelli.
In the same tradition, for over 10 years, former finance broker Camilla Dietz Bergeron and business partner Gus Davis eagerly search out luminous, expertly crafted, one-of-a-kind jewelry items from the late 19th and 20th centuries “with an emphasis on the Edwardian, Art Deco and Retro periods.”
While Bergeron and Davis offer various price points for their exquisite range of items, such antique pieces like a 1935 Art Deco diamond and platinum brooch, and a fabulous pair of 19th century 14-karat yellow gold Snake Bracelets—one of which is signed by Bailey Banks & Biddle—do cost a pretty penny.
In fact, Davis’ specialty in colored gemstones has resulted in such acquisitions that include a Bird of Paradise brooch from France (circa 1960s) accented with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds; unique pieces from renowned Tiffany & Co. designer Jean Schlumberger; and an emerald and diamond Bulgari ring once owned by Elizabeth Taylor.
As seen at online jewelry store 1stdibs.com within CDB’s expansive collections are signed items from Bulgari and Cartier as well as unsigned pieces from the 1930s up to the mid-to-late 90s. Their inventory includes gold pendants, diamond earrings, gold rings, cuff bracelets, and unique luxury watches.
Heritage Auction’s Burgum says that authentic, unsigned vintage pieces do not reflect low quality. “There are far more unsigned pieces in the market than signed and that should not be a negative factor. Beautiful construction combined with fine materials will always be saleable and in demand.”
Without question, these are some great pieces from great eras. They are chic and timeless with beautiful arrangements; they are statement-making without being too bold.
“I love to search for that one-of-a-kind piece—the pearl in the oyster,” says Bergeron. “Chic is not some kind of formula; chic just is.”
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Tiger’s Eye Dome Ring (Circa 1960s)
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Bird of Paradise (Circa 1960s France)
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Tiffany Schlumberger Enamel and Gold Bangle Bracelet (Circa 1980s)
Friday, November 12, 2010
During the course of this jewelry journey I have embarked upon, I have seen all kinds of styles encompassing the sublime and transient to timeless elegance to the out-and-out bizarre.
I thoroughly enjoy it all as it is always a pleasure to come across designers who impart unique individuality to their creations as opposed to following the latest trends.
It is always interesting to learn how a designer internalizes their travels, education and other influences bringing striking idiosyncrasies to their work. Amenábar’s visual language is fresh and contemporary chock full of whimsy and humor.
The Spain-based designer’s need to create has lived within her since childhood, and surprisingly did not diminish through her teenage or adult life stages. The ambiance of her surroundings informs designs that are bold in form and color.
The name Pepa means “God shall add” and the meaning suggests her tendency to build her vibrant creations with the inclusion of an array of materials.
The designer’s “daily life” inspires creations fashioned from a blend of sterling silver beads, felt, thread, stainless steel, pearl beads, sequins, ceramic beads, vintage buttons, crystal beads, and polymer clay.
Crystal beads are particularly central to her brooch designs. She piles on a variety of small, colorful crystal beads on such items as her Sushi Delight Brooch that looks good enough to eat! These designs beg to be touched as they are very tactile with lots of grainy textures reminiscent of cupcake sprinkles.
For necklaces such as her Turquoise Horn and Chimichurri pieces she implements larger beads of different styles, colors and sizes building designs that are chunky and tribal. I also like the whimsical Singles, and Couples felt jewelry items fashioned into the likenesses of male and female faces.
I love the high-spirited quality of her collections; the sense of fun and imaginative exploration intermingled with her personality.
“Ideas for my collections come from my daily life and the creations ultimately represent my mood, moments in time, dreams, troubles, and humor.
I have extracted the contrasts of South American and European life and placed them within the context of my jewelry.
I include everything from the cultural differences in clothing to nature, and flea markets. All of these things conspire to make my hands move to make accessories that add something special to dress you up.”
Photo 1 (top right): Bloom Necklace with Vintage Plastic Leaves and Chinese Ribbon Flowers
Photo 2 (center): Coco Buttons Brooch with Felt, Pearl Beads, and Vintage Gold Button
Photo 3 (bottom left): Polymer Clay and Stainless Steel Octopus Brooch
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Though the California-based Halebian cultivates stunning fashion and one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces his timeless yet distinctive engagement, bridal, and wedding jewelry are what have solidified his reputation as a high quality craftsman for roughly 20 of his over 30-year career.
A painter, sculptor, and furniture designer, Halebian brings subtle grandeur to all of his bridal jewelry collections. He is known for building his ring creations from several separate components that are then expertly welded together.
Some of the idiosyncratic ring designs of his Gothic Collection feature platinum components overlaid with cutout patterns of 18-karat yellow or rose gold or complex pavé settings. The metal contrasts, overlay patterns and sparkling gemstones are exquisite.
His Edge Collection, characterized by patinated and high-gloss metal, as well as his Limited Edition Collection, fabulously display Halebian’s novel approach to fine jewelry.
Trinkets of twisted, brushed, folded, and crinkled gold accented with black Tahitian pearls and/or creamy South Sea pearls are gorgeous derivatives of modern sculptures and African art. These designs are unmistakably elegant yet effortlessly explode with a stunning visual language.
His work is extraordinary especially considering that Halebian is a self-taught goldsmith who honed his craft while reading only one book, Jewelry Concept and Technology by Oppi Untracht.
An award-winning designer, and member of the American Jewelry Design Council, Halebian has graced such trade publications as Jewelry Connoisseur Magazine, and AJM Magazine. As with other jewelry artists his designer jewelry is a reflection of inherent talent and passion for his craft.
“My jewelry is an eclectic mix derived from a variety of artistic expressions, from African art to contemporary sculptures.
My techniques and cultural references ultimately come together to create a collection of special interest.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow South Sea Pearl Pendant with Diamonds Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow and White Gold Foliage Ring with Diamonds
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow and White Gold Moonshadow Pendant Necklace
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Like her contemporaries Claudia Gill (Dominican Republic), and Ema Takahashi (Japan), Miranda’s creative aptitudes are not confined to jewelry design and jewelry making.
An accomplished musician the designer divides time between creating her stunning modern jewelry items of tarnish-free Argentium sterling silver, and “practicing orchestra.”
The award-winning designer’s love of the arts is no surprise considering both of her parents were also artistically inclined.
“My father, Gil, trained and worked as a lawyer; however, at the same time he pursued his love of music and studied for three years in Paris”, says Miranda.
“My mother, Sharon, is a classically-trained pianist; she and my father met while they were both enrolled at Fontainebleau in Paris. My father’s hobby was jewelry making so I was used to seeing soldering equipment and hearing hammering sounds.
I looked forward to finding the teeniest boxes under the tree at Christmas because I knew he had made some new jewelry especially for me,” she recalls.
Miranda’s who’s who of designer crushes that include Alexis Bittar (USA), Ananda Khalsa (USA), Sevan Bicakci (Turkey), Christo Kiffer (Brazil) and Todd Reed (USA) each provide differentiated levels of inspiration to her elegant aesthetic.
Her clean, sculptural jewelry contains a striking visual language of crisp lines, elegant silhouettes, inlaid resins, and two-tone metal. The monochromatic color schemes of black patinated and high-polished Argentium reinforce the designs’ overall modernistic visual.
Her implementation of subtle minutiae like black rubber rings, carved Lucite, and flirty “confetti” patterns again reiterates to me that minimalist and boring are not interchangeable.
All of her jewelry is hand fabricated meaning “all parts are built from scratch without any casting techniques.” She is exceptionally gifted as the fluidity of line is exquisite.
I particularly love the delicate flow of the Argentium Sterling Silver Twist Pendant Necklace, and the sensual, tactile quality of every design. You want to touch the textures running your finger along the curves, bubbled metal, and recessed areas.
“I am always working to refine my design imagination. My years of training have instilled a deep sense of discipline and dedication to honing my craft.
Maybe one of the most important things I learned while training with master goldsmith Charles Lewton-Brain is setting aside at least one hour per week for “play time” at the bench. This “play time” should not be time spent with the goal of meeting a deadline; it is just about doing what I love.”
More of Miranda’s jewelry can be viewed at her online Etsy store.
Photo 1 (top right): Argentium Sterling Silver Nightscape Pillow Pendant Necklace with Onyx
Photo 2 (center): Argentium Sterling Silver Confetti Circle Pearl Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): Frosted Lucite Leaf Lariat with Argentium Sterling Silver Rain Drop Dangle
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
To say that the beautiful variations of amber resin hold the building blocks of life is not quoting science fiction.
According to AmberJewelry.com, to my surprise the resin is not the accumulation of sap from trees but rather the trees’ vascular tissue that carries the sap.
Millions of years ago, in what is presently central and northern Europe, the tissue oozed down the length of trees in the “amber forest” due to increasing temperatures. Thus, for millennia the DNA of the trees, as well as encapsulated small animals and insects caught in the flow of vascular tissue, remained in pristine safeguarding.
The various colors of amber resin, including butterscotch, cognac, cherry and green amber is believed to be caused by the species of tree that are collectively known as Pinus Succinifera.
Over the centuries, amber jewelry became a popular commodity adorning Roman dignitaries, and was a central component of Christian rosaries in Gdansk, Poland. Today such Polish jewelry artists as Beata Dziegielewski of AmberBeata, and Zaranski both bring a fresh, contemporary visual language to this truly unique gemstone.
Zaranski’s company, New Age Amber Design, aptly describes his stylish, modern jewelry items consisting of amber rings, amber bracelets, and amber earrings.
A seasoned artist, Zaranski has exhibited his elegant amber and silver jewelry in galleries and museums around the world. His aesthetic highlights clean, metallic outlines accented with distinctive colors of amber resin.
His rings and pendant necklaces feature the smooth facets of what appears to be a hybrid amber mixture of black and yellow with flecks of red.
There are two brooches that appear to hold a really beautiful mixture of cognac and butterscotch amber with black flecks and lines. One of his jewelry sets features oblong facets of yellow amber with black, horizontal lines that resemble a bumble bee.
“I have been designing and producing unique amber and silver jewelry for more than thirty years.
The cornerstones of my work are simplicity of shape, great care for detail, and clarity of forms.”
Photo 1 (top right): Amber Jewelry Items
Photo 2 (bottom left): Amber Pendant Necklaces
Monday, November 8, 2010
Though there is no denying the classic beauty of a pearl choker or diamond bracelet, I must say that I thoroughly enjoy seeing a designer do something completely unexpected and innovative.
Maierhofer’s illustrious career spans 55 years and is punctuated by his willingness to explore and combine varied materials that include tin, acrylic, gold, aluminum, and steel.
The contemporary jewelry artist began his career at 14-years old working as an apprentice to Vienna-based goldsmith Anton Heldwein.
Even at such a tender age, it was evident Maierhofer possessed the soul of an innovator and by age 24 he seceded Heldwein as the workshop’s adminsistrator.
In the years to follow, which included building a watch collection for London watch brand Omega in 1967, Maierhofer began experimenting with brass and acrylic, aluminum and acrylic, as well as steel and acrylic.
His goal was to stretch his imagination in order to impart something personal to his jewelry collections that would ultimately touch upon the emotional connection a wearer has for a piece.
“Jewelry is a medium that can send messages,” says the designer, “I succeeded in emancipating myself from the prevailing attitudes about jewelry to implement my own ideas and themes.
The relationship between an item of jewelry and the wearer is intense which means the wearer’s emotions passes on another set of signals and messages to the jewelry.”
Though his aesthetic leans heavily towards geometric lines, and architectural components like girders, Maierhofer’s design approach is not conventional. He incorporates surface etchings, mechanistic structures, abstract forms and a surprising array of color to build his highly distinctive jewelry pieces.
The Metal Drawing Collection features engraved jewelry items of gold and silver; the linear surface designs of which resemble the markings on aviation maps. Due to their clean, crisp outlines there is a somewat cold feel to these designs, as well as his other metal pieces. However, there is no lacking of strong visuals.
Where the solely metallic collections are a bit mechanistic, Maierhofer’s Corian and Acrylics collections enlist an array of bright colors, and free forms that exude a lively playfulness. In this light, the brooches, plastic bracelets, and necklaces from the Acrylic Collection resemble tiny toys.
The DuPont-produced material Corian is the central component for the collection of the same name. The brooch and ring designs favor strong abstract, sculptural forms that resemble coral, sea sponges, crystals and even candy.
What you notice about Maierhofer’s jewelry is how unlike jewelry it is. You see objects or semblances completely unrelated to jewelry, and as is the tendency of ultra modern jewelry his designs challenge your perceptions.
“What is relevant and important to me is the inner, really true value of the material I am using.
It should show its true characteristics: a clear, provocative statement without compromises.”
Photo 1 (top right): Corian, Gold and Acrylic Ring from Corian Collection
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver and Gold Brooch form Metal Drawing Collection
Photo 3 (bottom left): Gold and Acrylic Bracelet from Acrylics Collection