Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
According to the September 2009 CBI Market Survey, Spain’s jewelry industry is the fifth largest in Europe with precious and costume jewelry the preference among consumers.
Established shortly after World War I in 1920, the family-owned TOUS (pronounced tōs) company initially supplied jewelry to Spain’s royal family; however, in the years to follow the brand became synonymous with an aesthetic geared towards casual, every day wear.
In this light, you could say the TOUS brand is Spain’s answer to Tiffany & Co. (USA) Like Tiffany & Co., TOUS’ pared down design style is highlighted by gold rings, gold pendants, engraved jewelry, and charm jewelry.
Design styles alternate between very clear-cut and casual braided leather bracelets to exquisitely feminine arabesque sterling silver cuff bracelets. There are also colorful arrangements of gemstone beads in gemstone necklaces and earrings, as well as ladies’ and men’s’ watches highlighting leather watchbands.
While the color blue is commonly associated with the Tiffany brand, in 1990 TOUS’ Creative Director, matriarch Rosa Oriol de Tous, immortalized the brand’s fresh and sweet style when she created the company’s signature emblem, a tiny bear charm.
The TOUS bear is an integral part of the brand’s overall collections rendered in 18-karat yellow or white gold and stainless steel mesh rings; carved from black onyx; its precious metal outline filled in with pavé black diamonds or tsavorites; and the emblem is also featured in elegant pendant necklaces fashioned from Murano glass or millefiori beads.
Although since 2002 TOUS opened stores in several, major U.S. cities including New York, Atlanta, and San Antonio, the brand is best known in Spain and Latin American countries.
For this reason, in 2008 the company decided to increase their global visibility by enlisting the star power of Australian signer Kylie Minogue as the face of its advertising campaigns.
The pairing seemed destined as TOUS’ Creative Director believed that Minogue’s inner strength, warmth and “enchanting” personality complemented the company’s longstanding values, while Minogue loved TOUS’ impressive origins and ethics.
The brand’s classic fine jewelry collections (that has many affordable pieces) has been featured in such fashion publications as Elle, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Marie Claire, and Lucky.
For more on TOUS, be sure to check out London-based film production company Cherryduck Productions’ brief video on the brand’s launch at London’s Oxford Circus in June 2010.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Bubble Bear Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Camille Gemstone Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Ivy Ring with Diamonds
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Chopik’s daring yet simplistic aesthetic has a Scandinavian flair characterized by hammered mixed metals of hand-forged brass, sterling silver and bronze with accents of chunky gemstones that include labradorite, brown quartz, Montana agate, and Crystallized Swarovski Elements.
Her designer jewelry of striking multi-hoop sterling silver earrings, silver charm bracelets, and circle link necklaces possess an uninhibited, earthy sprit punctuated by an assortment of fairly malformed, irregular shapes and surface textures.
This somewhat incomplete design approach is Chopik’s signature; an exploration of imperfection that lends itself to the fashion jewelry’s unique beauty.
“The Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, the art of imperfection and the natural cycle of growth, strongly influences my design style,” says the University of Alberta alumna. “I love the unique combination of textures on the sterling silver and bronze wire link pieces that create a rich tonality.”
I like the classic essence of her pieces particularly her ear pieces the foundation of which are built on timeless, large hoop earrings that expand into stylish, boho chic renderings.
The earring designs highlight a variety of combined hoop sizes, metal colors and textures with inclusions of oblong clear crystals or lampwork glass beads as an attractive offset.
The tactile surfaces and pairing of different forms of white and brassy metals are just the right balance.
It is a fresh yet tribal turn on classicism that is a testament the slightest deviation of form can generate a lush visual language.
“I love playing with the dynamic of irregularity. I believe there is an intrinsic balance created through the movement of materials.
My fall 2010 Collection is all about unique combinations of textures. It speaks volumes to keeping it real.”
Photo 1 (top right): Cuff Bracelet from Moonlight Sonata Collection
Photo 2 (center): Model Wearing Necklace from Muse Collection
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver, Brass and Citrine Earring
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
While the process of creating jewelry involves a variety of other processes that are intellectual and technical ultimately a completed piece of designer jewelry will ignite a visceral response within a prospective buyer.
Although Mannheim follows an aesthetic geared towards classic outlines there is a palpable visual language within the subtleties. The rich, matte finish of 18-karat yellow gold and the play of surface textures, shapes and colors really emphasize an almost rustic, Old World feeling.
A graduate of London’s Central School of Art, and Germany’s Werkkunstschule Dusseldorf, Mannheim started her workshop in London forty years ago. She incorporates geometric and architectural forms while skillfully combining modest appliqué-like patterns of white gold against yellow gold in stackable rings, brooches, and earrings.
Most of her gold ring designs are clean and simple highlighting the smooth, cabochon or carved facets of black moonstone, pink tourmaline, and aquamarine. In some cases, her rings resemble subtle light fixtures and in others the slightly recessed, gold metal setting paired with a gently protruding gemstone resemble a more sophisticated version of a Binky pacifier.
Based on her website’s photo gallery, Mannheim’s collection of gemstone necklaces is perhaps the most refined of her jewelry items as in one example she juxtaposes aquamarine gemstone beads with gold and platinum beads in a single strand.
Even so the gorgeous gemstone colors playing off the metal accents are fantastic. Overall, Mannheim’s jewelry collections are a great example of how understatement punctuates the beauty of the metals, and gemstones used.
“I make my jewelry with attention to detail,” says Mannheim. “Design, texture, color and craftsmanship is very important as the jewelry is always intended to accentuate and adorn the wearer.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Ring with Aquamarine
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Necklace with Tourmaline
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Large Disc Earrings
Monday, December 27, 2010
While the classic Akoya pearl necklace is perhaps most often associated with Japanese jewelry, the country of course has a rich jewelry history characterized by vivid items inspired by the Shinto faith, Haiku poetry, and the tsuba the round, small protective area on the handles of Samurai swords.
Japanese jewelry is also renowned for the use of centuries-old techniques. Maki-e is an 8th century method used by Japanese jewelry maker Yoshi that involves the application of gold, copper or silver lacquer on metal; and Mokume-gane is a 17th century lamination process of mixed metals that produces vivid, wood-like color patterns.
With over 25 years of experience, Fukushima cultivates her stunning, rustic designer jewelry with Japanese-created silver precious metal clay (PMC), washi paper, polymer clay and the Mokume-gane technique.
The wonderful complexity of surface textures, forms and colors makes for truly unique, wearable art. I love the malleability of PMC; the way the silver pendants resemble freshly unearthed ancient artifacts.
Pieces like her gingko leaf, crescent moon and wrapped bead pendant necklaces are a powerful blend of Old World know-how with beautifully organic yet timeless proportions. “Each piece is made individually by hand,” says Fukushima. “I create distinctive, Japanese-themed jewelry and they are each signed by me.”
In addition to the painstaking creation of her jewelry and handling administrative responsibilities, the California-based designer tirelessly participates in teaching the techniques behind her handmade jewelry designs through televised craft shows, including HGTV’s The Carol Duvall Show, and craft publications.
She is also a member of American Craft Council, Society of Craft Designers, Association of Crafts and Creative Industries, and the South Bay Polymer Guild.
Photo 1 (top right): Bamboo Kimono Pendant Necklace with Black Cord
Photo 2 (center): Coin and Washi Paper Fan Brooch
Photo 3 (bottom left): Polymer Clay Mokume-gane Pendant Necklace
Friday, December 24, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
The bold, unpredictable quality of contemporary jewelry appeals to a small but growing number of collectors, and the Netherlands has become the premier location to find the world’s largest number of galleries devoted to this highly unique designer jewelry.
Like her colleagues Sasja Saptenno and Iris Eichenberg, Sarneel creates jewelry with a powerful, and unusual visual language that completely wipes the slate clean of what one would expect from jewelry.
As with all contemporary jewelry artists, Sarneel’s aesthetic is steeped in an acute intellectualism that integrates unorthodox materials like zinc, rubber, nylon thread, and wall objects with gold, silver, ceramic and glass beads, and even diamonds.
The results are often shocking as the majority of items do not look like traditional jewelry but that is the whole point. The jewelry’s alternately drab and chunky outlines are ultimately an expression of Sarneel’s views about life, nature and jewelry.
Where classic jewelry styles express complex concepts of love or faith in clear-cut, straightforward designs like a gold heart locket or a diamond cross pendant, Sarneel’s Lovepower Necklace is like unraveling a riddle with its random, non-descript link of varied formations of grey zinc.
Do the muted, gloomy colors and bulky forms suggest how love can sometimes feel heavy or burdensome; or does the color represent an element of confusion where love is often muddled with obsession? In my opinion, an observer’s reactions of mentally dissecting a piece and projecting their ideas onto it truly put contemporary jewelry in a class of its own.
While the design approach obviously makes the jewelry less aesthetically pleasing, I feel the tradeoff is an observer is taken on a visceral, visual journey as complex and nuanced as the jewelry.
“My jewelry pieces are translations of the competition between the 'natural' and the 'artificial'. A jewel can be a world of thoughts,” says the Gerrit Rietveld Academie graduate.
“In a world in which time limits, economic investment, and digital communication set the standard, I consider a jewel a few square centimeters of space to focus on and zoom in.”
Photo 1 (top right): Zinc and Wood Bundle II Brooch
Photo 2 (center): Ode to Marken Brooch with Zinc, Antique Glass Beads, and Antique Textile on Rubber
Photo 3 (bottom left): Lovepower Necklace with Zinc, Antique Venetian Glass, Pearls, and Nylon Thread
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
We leave Peru’s tropical locale to the frigid beauty of Switzerland making sure to hit the slopes in Parsenn, and Jakobshorn.
Featured jewelry design duo Tula Zimic Leo (Peru) and Greta de Hunger (Switzerland) base their jewelry brand in Peru.
Considering Switzerland’s eclectic jewelry history the trajectory of which touched upon the vivid artistry of the Art Nouveau period to the antithetical philosophy of Dadaism, de Hunger’s pairing with Leo is not entirely surprising.
With a 15-month age difference between them (at age 64 Leo is the elder of the two) the self-taught women are kindred spirits brought together by a love for Peru’s handicrafts, and the fulfillment gained through making jewelry.
“Being able to make something useful and seeing it worn by friends and clients fills me with joy,” says Leo. “My greatest challenge is when a piece does not come out well, or the way I had planned. I strive to transmit freedom, energy, happiness and audacity in our jewelry.”
“I would describe my art as a necessity for seeking something new,” says de Hunger. “Like Tula, I see my jewelry as an expression of feelings and I try to transmit the legacy of Peruvian culture with a modern touch.”
Pre-Incan art of concentric circles, spirals, and lunar interpretations serve as the basis for the teams’ primal yet elegant bijouterie.
Their sterling silver earrings and sterling silver necklaces are highlighted by dangling strands of gemstone beads including aventurine, reconstituted turquoise, and amethyst. The shiny, hammered discs of their Ancient Moon Choker Necklace are reminiscent of a Roman coin necklace.
The collections’ overall distinctive cultural visual is offset by the cultivation of universal semblances of doves and swans into pendant necklaces. The fresh blend of ancient somewhat feral overtones tempered with classic outlines is great.
“Tula and I enjoy creating jewelry that is different. We hope that when our clients wear it they gain a sense of the happiness and affection we feel,” says de Hunger.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Ancient Moon Choker Necklace with Amethyst
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Rain Chandelier Earrings with Fluorite
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Seashells Waterfall Necklace with Amethyst
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
There is no question that gold and sterling silver renderings of flowers or leaves are visually stunning but in my opinion they are no comparison to just how beautiful the real thing is.
Leosawathiphong’s implementation of real flowers preserved in resin, lacquer, and 24-karat gold is hands down some of the most beautiful designer jewelry I have seen.
Thirty-four years ago, after studying engineering at London’s University of Leeds, Leosawathiphong returned to Thailand intending to get into mining.
However, upon setting up his lab to study ores and minerals a colleague “suggested that we also use the lab to create something representative of the area. So we came up with the idea of covering natural products, like exotic flowers and plants, with gold.”
For two years, with the help of his wife, Ilkay, who studied polymer science, Leosawathiphong experimented with electrolytic solution and anodes attempting to find the right balance that would generate the effect he wanted.
“We tried and we tried until we had our first flower covered with metal but it actually looked like a shrimp. We eventually developed a process called electro-forming that provides a thicker layer of gold with a more leveled surface than electro-plating,” he explains.
The bulk of gorgeous items featured on his Novica page highlight fully bloomed roses, daisies, and the classic Thai flower orchid encased in clear, glossy resins allowing the flowers’ natural colors to shine through.
Delicate pendant necklaces suspended from 24-karat gold-plated chains as well as accents of enamel, and gemstone beads complete the sweepingly natural aesthetic.
The exquisite forms of real orchid and oak leaves, cast in glistening sterling silver, make highly distinctive cuff bracelets showcasing the leaves' unique shapes and complex vein patterns. Leosawathiphong‘s fashion jewelry is a wonderful homage to nature’s expansive palette of colors, forms and textures.
“I think our creations have a lot of potential,” says Leosawathiphong, “We reprocess everything we use and do not throw away anything. I do not think our creations will go out of fashion because generally people love flowers.”
Photo 1 (top right): 24-Karat Gold Plated Natural Gardener Leaf Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): 24-Karat Gold Plated Natural Orchid Passion Stickpin
Photo 3 (bottom left): 24-Karat Gold Plated Natural Orchid Aqua Perfection Pendant Necklace
Monday, December 20, 2010
Starting a business is a daunting endeavor requiring careful research on market trends, building a solid brand, and honing in on your target clientele.
Award-winning designer Yilin wanted to build her business with the additional challenge of producing her product with ethically sourced materials.
A former political analyst, Yilin made jewelry in her downtime to decompress and eventually established a side-business that allowed her to sell her jewelry through “independent luxury boutiques in Singapore.”
Three years ago Yilin abruptly severed her full-time career after relocating with her husband to Thailand. Hungry to “reinvent” herself Yilin boldly set out to establish an ethically responsible jewelry business using recycled fine silver, 18-karat gold, and fair trade gemstones while also enlisting the expertise of Karen hill tribe artisans.
“My travels to Europe were a great influence in formulating my aesthetic. A variety of experiences including moving to Thailand, my exposure to the hill tribe culture, and the realization that consumption patterns had to be changed strongly influenced emphasizing sustainability in my label,” says Yilin.
“I decided to work with the Karen hill tribe to preserve their cultural art-form while also generating employment and income for them. The goal of creating a profitable company that makes a social impact, and is also ecologically sustainable is extremely challenging. I hope to demonstrate that luxury jewelry can co-exist with sustainability.”
Yilin’s classic aesthetic is punctuated by offsetting the ethereal femininity of pavé settings, and checkerboard facets of blue and green sapphires with the beautiful reddish aura of 18-karat rose gold vermeil.
The gemstones are pale and translucent like rock candy; pieces like her yellow and rose gold gild Calla Lily Pendant Necklace highlight such sculptural fluidity it looks like a natural leaf dipped in molten metal; and she provides a differentiated take on classic bangle bracelets and rings as they are created entirely from a pallid green jade.
“I am under no illusion whatsoever that my label will turn a person into someone who practices sustainability. The primary goal of the label is to elevate awareness.”
Affordable items from Yilin’s eco-friendly jewelry collections are available for sale at online jewelry store Cate.com.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Vermeil Berry Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Vermeil Apertifs Cocktail Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Hammered Jade Bangle Bracelets
Saturday, December 18, 2010
The progeny of an artist and author, Armenta enjoyed sketching elaborate jewelry designs as a youngster, and also dabbled in rudimentary jewelry making.
However, as a young adult she chose to embark on a career as a Morgan Stanley stock trader.
As with other creative types in left-brain careers like Tamra Gentry (USA) and Julie Liu (Taiwan) of Mia Pezzi, Armenta longed for getting back to her artsy roots.
“In 2002, I went for my MBA and I had to create a fictitious company so I came up with a jewelry business that I called Phoeben, after my nickname,” Armenta recalls.
“Phoeben of course featured the brand Emily Armenta Designs in which I made 50 samples and sold them to Houston retailer Tootsies that is still a client today.”
Of Spanish ancestry, Armenta fell in love with the soulful verses of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. His eloquent musings on the ascension to greatness through struggle, known as “duende,” served as the inspiration behind Armenta’s visually commanding aesthetic.
Her high-end fine jewelry highlights a blend of 18-and 22-karat yellow gold, oxidized sterling silver, and a variety of gemstones including white sapphires, black and white diamonds, and opals within powerful outlines of baroque-style designs.
She brings the elaborate artistry of Old World Spain into every item from statement-making cocktail rings to blackened sterling silver bracelets to long gold chain necklaces in jaw-dropping renderings.
“Every piece we create tells a story,” says Armenta, “There are not many people who push the design envelope by mixing metals within this ornate Spanish style.”
Armenta’s bijouterie has also been featured on a hit television show. Her gorgeous Lacy Marquis Sapphire Ring in yellow gold was worn by Courteney Cox on Cougar Town.
With her team, the Armenta brand is hand fabricated with the use of time-honored craftsmanship including the “Etruscan method of granulation.” Her striking, inky black patinated silver bracelets with beautiful accents of diamonds and 18-karat yellow gold evoke images of magnificent Spanish colonial architecture.
“My ideal day is getting up early in the morning with my husband, Art, and spending some hours at my studio creating new jewelry designs. My success is directly correlated to the wonderful, supportive people I have met.
My head of production operation is Lida Giraldo, and I met her when I worked for Morgan Stanley. She was emptying trash cans while singing these amazing songs. I would think to myself 'If given the opportunity, what could this woman do?'
I didn’t care about prior work experience in the field, and I didn’t care about what type of education she had. Like Giraldo, my staff consists of women who have heart, soul and passion.
We function as a team and we all know we could not make it without each other. Ultimately, I get to do what I love and provide people an opportunity.”
Her jewelry is available for sale at online jewelry stores including Ylang23, Neiman Marcus, and Judith Ann Jewels.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Diamond Shield Ring
Photo 2 (center): Oxidized Sterling Silver Scalloped Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold and Oxidized Sterling Silver Gypsy Pendant
Friday, December 17, 2010
Like most every country, Scotland’s jewelry history is characterized by the discovery of gold.
Sutherlandshire and Argyllshire were among a number of locations where the precious metal was first mined, and its subsequent use in such finery as crowns, goblets, and armor became prevalent.
Jewelry making, however, was perhaps the country’s most expressive use of metalsmithing wherein chasing along with metal and gemstone engraving were highly revered skills.
Today, contemporary designers utilize Scotland’s Trade Fair as a launching pad to present their unpretentious wares to local retailers.
Surprisingly, according to independent jewelry agent Gareth Cholerton, the economic downturn has proved to help increase the sale of jewelry in the country as patrons are not looking to shell out money for new wardrobes but are instead choosing to seek out jewelry designs to spruce up what they have.
Lamb’s classic yet distinctive designer jewelry could easily be a great accent to the patron who loves something a bit rustic and capricious. A graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, and Scotland’s Glasgow School of Art, Lamb’s laid-back, unglamorous aesthetic is pure in its clear-cut outlines, and understated accents of felt, silk, and an array of semi-precious gemstones.
However, within the subtleties is an unmistakable quirkiness that is tempered by the jewelry’s overall quaint essence. The visual is homey and heartwarming that for me evokes classic children’s storybooks.
Her sterling silver necklaces and sterling silver earrings highlight cutout silhouettes of birds, trees, flowers, dogs, rabbits, and cats with the open design backed by a colorful piece of felt.
For her Interiors Collection Lamb’s cutout earring designs, called “mismatch,” feature an inventive, unexpected twist as she takes the cutout portion to cultivate one earring, and uses the larger, open design as the second earring
“I use intricate hand piercing techniques to build my designs. I am inspired by decorative motifs and colors from wallpaper, as well as simple iconic imagery from inside the home like the containers of household cleaners, to create unique, wearable pieces.”
I really like the deceptive simplicity of the pieces; the way elegant links of gemstones like black onyx, amethyst, chalcedony, rock crystal, and pearl strands are paired with cutout metal pendants. It is a gentle play of color and texture.
I also love the molten, double-texture of her 18-karat gold Coast Rings inspired by the Scottish coastline that beautifully interprets the grainy earth meeting the smooth gloss of ocean waters.
Her stripped down GSA Collection delves a bit into avant-garde pieces with items comprised of driftwood, twigs, and heavily oxidized copper and titanium.
Like fellow Scottish designers June Allison, Susan Kerr, and Julie Hannay Lamb takes a classic design approach and crosses it with enough careful idiosyncrasies that it is neither conventional nor clichéd.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Coast Ring with Diamonds
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Intricate Pattern Mismatch Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Flower Charm Necklace
Thursday, December 16, 2010
In Western society, Israeli bijouterie is most often characterized by Hamsa jewelry, evil eye pendants, or a Star of David necklace.
However, the work of such Israeli jewelry designers as Dori Csengeri, Michal Negrin, and Ayala Bar highlight the complex color patterns of tapestries with the use of vividly colored gemstone and crystal beads.
Their vivid aesthetic is sharply contrasted by the minimalist creations of Israeli jewelers Maya Offer and Tamir Zuman. Nonetheless each designer brings his or her own unique approach to their work exploring texture, form and color in varying ways.
Noritamy Jewelry's mother-daughter team of Tammar Edelman and Elinor Avni bring respective backgrounds in art and sculpture, and interior design to their highly modern jewelry.
Though gold, sterling silver and brass comprise many of their designs the monochromatic hues of black silicon, polymer and graphite play sizeable roles making the designer jewelry more chic sophistication than razzle-dazzle.
With a design approach firmly based in clean lineation irregular geometric forms and architectural lines are central.
Cuff bracelets are futuristic and contemporary in their smooth yet fragmented cube-like structures; the brand’s signature black polymer rings are almost like furnishings in their thick, chunky outlines; and their necklace designs of sterling silver and gold seem inspired by origami in their sharp twists and folds.
Though not ultra-glam, this is a very haute take on classic jewelry that definitely evokes images of the solemn, stern faces of runway models.
"I am influenced by graphic design and architecture and I see jewelry pieces as a collection of lines,” says Avni.
“I think about the space around the piece or between the elements that comprise it. The fastest selling items are actually the larger, unique ones but the essence of our jewelry is clean and geometric; simple on the one hand yet sophisticated on the other.”
Photo 1 (top right): Bangle Bracelets from Nail Collection
Photo 2 (center): Black Polymer Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Earrings from Nails Collection
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Born and raised in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Gomez is directly connected to the longstanding tradition of jewelry making in this region.
While the city of Taxco is often mentioned in the reserach material I have read on Mexican silver jewelry, Oaxaca was also a prominent location for jewelry making.
At the time of Spain’s conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards passed on their expertise in manipulating gold and sterling silver into jewelry through metalsmithing. One such technique passed on to Mexican artisans was the painstaking yet beautiful openwork renderings of filigree.
Based on the items featured on his Novica page, Gomez’ stunning jewelry is composed of sterling silver with minimal gemstones.
The grand legacy of Oaxaca’s jewelry history is not something Gomez takes lightly. “I specialize in filigree jewelry and I started making it when I was 12 years old since my family has been dedicated to this craft for generations.
Practically everybody in my family is dedicated to jewelry making. Our aim is to preserve and promote the jewelry tradition of Oaxaca.”
The designs featured on his Novica page, primarily chandelier earrings and sterling silver necklaces, are intricate and complex yet buoyant. They are a great style option for offsetting a casual ensemble of trousers, and a simple white blouse.
Gomez' designer jewelry is stylish, fashionable and of course have the added distinction of also being a type of modern antiquity. I think it is great that he strives to keep this incredible, ancient art form thriving.
"My family and I work with techniques developed centuries ago. Every detail is important so we start by making the silver threads ourselves.
The type of jewelry I create is but a small sample of my family’s legacy. We are proud of our Oaxaca heritage.”
Photo 1 (top right): Pearl Morning Sky Chandelier Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Hearts Pendant Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Iridescent Light Earrings
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Lyrical romanticism is a quality inherent in the work of many contemporary Irish jewelry designers from Slim Barrett’s provocative style to John Christopher Condron’s exquisitely feminine designer jewelry.
Lenz’ classic, elegant style implements delicate sterling silver and gold charms with old Gaelic equivalents for 'love' (gra) and 'forever' (go deo) engraved on the metal surfaces.
Charm necklaces featuring keys, hearts, lattice patterns, leaves and freshwater pearls signify change, love, secrets, life and dreams.
Inspired by ancient Celtic manuscripts such as the Book of Durrow, and the Book of Deer, Lenz incorporates surface textures of brushed finishes, etched lines, and engravings. These delicate minutiae complete the rich yet understated visual language of Lenz’ 18-and 22-karat gold and sterling silver jewelry.
Coupled with her ethereal charm jewelry, Lenz creates understated, modern jewelry that highlights clean lines, geometric forms and timeless staples like her pearl strands composed of undyed freshwater pearls.
Her Suncurve items blend contrasts of sterling silver with small, square accents of 22-karat gold while her Oleander pieces feature a lovely 22-karat gold leaf petal design set within a sterling silver frame.
Lenz’ Cascade Ring, however, is a great example of a more grand romantic style with its bold, cut-out band and Tahitian black pearl perched in a bowl setting that is surrounded by dainty aquamarine gemstone beads.
“I like to think of my jewelry as an expression of existence; of having been somewhere with someone and shared a moment,” says Lenz. “There is a great joy in creating something that appeals to so many different people.
I believe each piece of jewelry carries a message and that there is a personal connection with the wearer. Jewelry has always been and still is a magical companion.”
Lenz showcases her work through Enibas.com; a company she co-founded with her husband, Len Lipitch, in 1993 that also features designer jewelry from other Irish and European jewelry artists.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and 22-Karat Gold Oleander Triple Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Amulet – My Secret Pendant II
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver and 22-Karat Gold Cascade Ring with Tahitian Pearl and Aquamarine
Monday, December 13, 2010
For centuries, the painstaking art of silversmithing has been passed down through generations in Indonesia helping to establish the country as one of the world’s premier locations for exceptional silversmiths. Their uncanny skill with arabesque, cut-out and granulation details is phenomenal.
Pribadi’s minimalist jewelry is a mix of traditional Balinese designs that include rope twine and granule textures with fresh, modern outlines. A native of East Java, Pribadi worked as an interior designer creating “masks, silk batik, and even stationary items.”
Once he began his “own journey in art and spirituality,” he became interested in silversmith work. “I bought a bracelet from a boutique as a birthday present for my wife. After three months, however, the bracelet broke.
I never like to see my wife disappointed so I tried to make her a bracelet of my own design, and she loved it! Since that day I have made more designs as presents for friends and family.”
For the last 12 years, Pribadi has continued to refine and perfect his techniques making “balance and simplicity” the core of every design. While he incorporates universal designs such as dragonfly jewelry, heart pendant necklaces, and Ohm choker necklaces Pribadi brings a distinctive flair of beautiful surface minutiae and openwork.
His lovely Sterling Silver Your Heart and Mine Choker Necklace, for example, is a nice reimagining to the oft executed heart design. His creation features two cut-out heart designs that slightly overlap within an octagonal frame.
His gorgeous Sterling Silver Distinction Pendant Necklace combines two silhouettes of cut-out motifs, and tiny silver granules for a striking contemporary creation; while his Mystic Cobra Wrap Ring is a sleek interpretation of the coiling, deadly snake.
Pribadi also enlists gemstones like rose quartz, peridot, blue topaz, carnelian, pearls, and green agate into classic gemstone pendants, pearl chokers, and drop earrings.
He has a remarkable capacity to take magnificent traditional Balinese aesthetics and paring it down into timeless, modern jewelry.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Distinction Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Floral Twist Earrings with Amethyst
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Bubbles Cocktail Ring
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Who says that in order to become great at something you have to go through traditional channels?
Collins’ stunning designer jewelry is a sheer testament that ambition, dedication and trusting your instincts is more than enough to move one along a path to great accomplishments.
The offspring of non-traditional, “hippy parents,” who was named for “those perfectly crisp, clear days in October” and her mother’s favorite constellation, Collins’ unconventional upbringing would ultimately inform her decision to leave a “soul-sucking job” as a pharmaceutical sales manager to pursue a career in jewelry making.
“Growing up in a very non-traditional environment I wanted nothing more than to grow up and be 'normal'. My goals were to have a normal job in a normal town where I would live in a normal house with my normal husband and my 2.5 normal kids,” says Collins.
“After I worked my butt off for 10 long years in pharmaceuticals to achieve that normalcy, I discovered that I was patently miserable with my pantyhose and high-heels 'career', and wanted nothing more than to live an unfettered life that I could rightfully call my own.”
In the summer of 2009, Collins was laid off allowing her the opportunity to follow a path that truly fed her soul. By the fall of 2009 she would bravely take on teaching herself silversmithing learning the craft from the seasoned metalsmiths she met at Etsy.com.
With her living room serving as her studio, Collins utilized the generous input of her Etsy colleagues developing her skills through “trial-and-error with a liberal smattering of profanity to smooth the learning curve.”
In time, her artistic vision would emerge in designs that encompass streamlined and classic to organic and one-of-a-kind to whimsical and fanciful. In the midst of hardwork her company Scrollwork Designs was born.
“I have always been good at making things and I have a lifelong love of stones. I feel an almost transcendent joy when I sit down at the bench; a feeling I am doing something I am meant to do and all will be well. It is the best feeling I have ever felt in my entire life.”
Collins’ imaginative and unique creations of sterling silver feature a variety of textures, gentle curves, and gemstones that include blue calsilica, carnelian agate, and turquoise. Collins’ kinetic and vibrant personality effortlessly finds its way into her work.
In many ways, her jewelry is like taking a journey through mysterious worlds as pieces are inspired by mythical sea sirens; and Swiss sculptor H.R. Giger’s spiny creature from the 1979 film Alien. In fact, her modern take on the Evil Eye Pendant Necklace is inspired by the one-eyed character, Leela, from Futurama.
Her incredibly expansive collections include items as sleek and classic as her Circles Hoop Earrings to items as free form as her Night Sky Pendant Necklace. Though her aesthetic has an amazing Scandinavian quality this is an entirely unintentional byproduct.
“Sometimes it feels like what I do is more 'outsider art' than anything else because I have not been exposed to any art theory or art history and I had never heard of 'art jewelry' before attempting to make jewelry,” she acknowledges.
“I know I love curves most of all, the way light slides down a perfectly arched gleam of silver is beauty to me. I love curves and color and gemstones of all shapes and sizes, and of course I will always love the unexpected, the little surprise you didn’t see coming that takes it over the top.
I love pieces that tell a story, that whisper of long gone days filled with ruthless dragons and maidens fair. Making jewelry lets me express all the things I find beautiful and I firmly believe that beauty is a huge part of what keeps us all alive.”
As her company grows, Collins actively seeks to implement eco-friendly materials into her collections. In fact, her custom jewelry line, Make It Mine, which she launched in November, features recycled metals and fair trade gemstones.
“I am enrolled in an entrepreneurship program at my local community college and I chose ethical sourcing of precious and semi-precious gemstones as the subject of a research paper. I knew full well that after I educated myself I would find it necessary to change my business practices.
Learning about the use of child labor in the cutting and polishing of gemstones ruined their beauty in my mind, and I made a change. I am actively transitioning to using only fair trade gemstones and 100% recycled sterling silver in all my work.
Slowly but surely I am mastering the skills that will get me where I want to go. I am still very much a beginner at the craft and consider myself an emerging artist. The best of Scrollwork Designs is absolutely yet to come!”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver and Chrome Diopside Siren Song Necklace with Peridot and Freshwater Pearl
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver and Smoky Quartz Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling and Fine Silver Night Sky Pendant with Moonstone and Sapphire
Friday, December 10, 2010
A seasoned goldsmith and graduate of New York’s Parsons The New School of Design, de Navacelle’s streamlined, minimalist aesthetic of gemstone pendants is nicely contrasted with a sly sense for fun and spontaneity in her Five Senses Collection.
The collection is an intriguing exercise of sublimation in which 18-karat white and yellow gold semblances of bells, pomegranate, and mink are linked to “sound, smell, and touch.”
Among the items featured in de Navacelle’s Exhilarating Pomegranate sub-collection is a lovely 18-karat gold ring holding a setting of what resembles a diminutive bouquet of white and red gemstone beads.
The earrings and pendants from this sub-collection feature a golden cross-section of a pomegranate fruit stuffed with a raw, red gemstone with flowing accents of white and red gemstone beads gently dangling from beneath the cross-section.
Here, as in her Five Senses Collection, de Navacelle blends refined and whimsical elements cultivating jewelry that is sleek and elegant. One of my favorite pieces is her coffee bean lariat necklace. It is a really great blend of chic and quirkiness as the length of the gold chains reveal dainty gold drops in the form of a coffee bean.
In addition to her classically designed collections, de Navacelle also creates custom and wedding jewelry.
“I take advantage of a personalized dialogue in order to design an original creation to match each person’s particular wishes and sensitivity.
Custom jewelry, engagement rings, cufflinks, and wedding rings should always be an extension of the wearer; it should be the true reflection of a personality.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Coffee Bean Lariat Necklace
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Gold Mink Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Gold Pomegranate Earrings