Artistic Necklace: Jewelry Judge

So I was out and about in Palo Alto today, and spied this glorious necklace. Granted, I am currently having a little “neon” moment, so her scarf was what initially caught my eye. (Yes, I have done the neon thing in high school in the 80’s…but I’m still drawn…)

At any rate, I think this woman nailed the neon trend in combination with a neutral (black) and a killer necklace. In talking with her (Irene), I learned that she found this treasure in her native locale, Vancouver, Canada. The signature on the back said “Tania Gleave,” but I couldn’t find a website for her.

The carved wood emblem with the dangling citron stone paired perfectly with the lime scarf, and were center stage on the black outfit. Kudos for a killer pairing!

tania gleave jewelry
I think this combination is lovely!

Katherine Jetter: Designer

It must have been back when I was about 8 years old or so…my grandmother went on a cruise to Austraila, and she brought me back (what I thought was) THE most amazing necklace. It’s pendant was a kangaroo with some opal chips in it. I had never seen an opal before, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! Well let me tell you, Australian-born jewelry designer Katherine Jetter takes opals and other Australian themes to a whole new level!

I was drawn to Katherine’s booth at the Couture show because I had seen one of her rings in a glossy publication in my hotel room. It’s called the Madame Butterfly ring, and it’s made of hand-carved white opals, accented with diamonds and a Mandarin garnet in the center. Mesmerizing, right?!

katherine jetter madam butterfly ring
Now THIS is a floral ring!

Katherine is just as lovely as her jewelry, and she generously spent her time showing me her line and educating me about it.

katherine jetter and amy roseveare
Wearing one of her amazing bracelets

Here’s a close-up of the stunning cuff I was wearing. It’s made of 18K yellow gold with diamonds. The detail is amazing! Look at the turtle and the coral — it’s just like you were under the sea! Speaking of turtles, this is Katherine’s signature on all her pieces. Whether it’s prominent, as in this cuff, or hidden in the back of a smaller earring, there is a turtle on each and every piece of her jewelry. According to Egyptian mythology, the turtle symbolizes good luck and protection. I love this sentiment and detail in her collection.

katherine jetter cuff
Great Barrier Reef cuff

The main inspirations for her line come from her home country — the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Though she spent time in the corporate world, she was drawn to jewelry design over 6 years ago. I’m so glad she followed her heart, as her designs are truly unique! (And trust me, I’ve seen a lot of jewelry lines!)

Much of her collection features opals, sourced from Austaila, Peru, and Mexico. I’m not quite sure how she comes up with her exquisite designs, but here’s a prime example. This is the Whitsunday Island pendant, which showcases a lightening ridge black opal that’s over 34 carats! Combined with 18K white gold, diamonds and a moonstone chain, the result is fantastic!

katherine jetter necklace
Whitsunday Island Pendant

Here is how she used white opal splinters entwined in sterling silver with pink mist tourmaline, to create a pair of earrings unlike any I’ve ever seen.

katherine jetter earrings
Hanging vine earrings

I’m clearly not the only one intrigued by her designs. She’s definitely getting a celebrity following. Both Renee Bargh and Naomi Watts will be adorned in her jewels while walking the red carpet at the Australian Film Insitute Awards this Wednesday, June 27th. I think I’ll have to tune in and check it out!

Social Media and the Weight Issue

OK, so I know this a jewelry blog, but once in a while I get a bee in my bonnet about general image issues. Being in the image industry, I’m constantly bombarded with the “perfect” body and how we’re supposed to attain its unrealistic goals. Trust me, this has been a personal struggle for me my entire life, and I’m god-damned sick of it!

I think that we’re all beautiful, no matter what shape, size, color, whatever. We need to feel confident, and present our best selves to the world. Express who you are, what you stand for, and don’t hide in the shadows. I encourage my clients to dress for the body they have TODAY…I don’t want to hear about waiting to buy something until they lose the next 10 pounds. And yes, jewelry is a FAB way to express yourself and really show the world that you’re making an effort. What’s your jewelry signature?? Make that effort! Jewelry knows no size, and it’s the perfect way to get your personal message across. I think this photo by “A taste of social media” really sums it up. It hit home with me. Hope it gives you some food for thought.

shed your weight problem here
Easy to read, hard to embrace….

Layered History: Jewelry Judge

I stopped in my tracks when I spied this woman in downtown San Francisco. Attired in a simple, yet chic black dress and neutral layer (which you always need in the city!), this outfit just came to life with the jewelry!! The longest necklace is an acrylic pendant. The buddah, which you know I’m obsessed with, actually had some sanskrit on the backside. The bezel-set coin was an 1888 US silver dollar, from the year her grandmother was born. Combined with the double-wraped chunky silver chain, it was an unexpected, yet cool combination. It sort of had a bit of a zen meets rock-n-roll vibe. Kudos from the jewelry judge!

layered necklaces
This makes me want to go dig in my jewelry box!

Vibe’s by Lene Vibe Dahlgren

One of the coolest parts of attending the Couture jewelry show was meeting designers from all over the globe. Case and point…meeting Lene from Copenhagen, Denmark, and learning about her “magical” line, Vibe’s, the likes of which I’d truly never seen before!

vibe's jewelry denmark
Learning about Lene's line

The Vibe’s studio and shop are located in a quaint two-story terra-cotta colored building built back in 1750. One of the key selling points to Lene was the antique safe from 1820. No, this safe is not used for securing jewelry. In fact, it would be useless considering it has a huge hole in the back of it from a robbery back in the “olden days.” No…Lene uses the safe to store her port wine, which she enjoys sharing with special customers. Love that!

So back to the jewelry…the Vibe’s line is inspired by the fairy tales of Hans Christen Andersen. When you think of these tales, you envision fairies dancing, mystical animals moving through the enchanted forest, and other whimsical creatures. This is exactly what you’ll find in her designs. Check out the exquisite detail in this ring, from the little insect to the tiny sea shell!

vibe's ring
Amazing detail!

And here are some more examples of her rings. Notice the raw, yet carefully curated beauty in each creation.

vibe's rings
Fit for a wood-nymph princess!

You’ll notice a variety of pearls in her line, from baroque South Sea to Keshi to freshwater. Combined with other gems and brushed 18K gold, the result is quite stunning. Each time you look at her pieces, you’ll notice more and more detail.

vibe's necklaces
I love the snails!

I think part of the reason Lene has such a vivid, fantastical imagination is that she treasures children and appreciates how they see the world. In fact, she always travels with drawings by her 4 1/2 and 7 1/2 year old children.

lene vibe dahlgren
Showing me the art in her "portfolio"

Personally, I would love to visit her shop in Copenhagen one day. But luckily, I can still see her work in person at one my FAVE jewelry stores in the USA, Fragments in New York City. This store is definitely a must-see on your next trip to the Big Apple!

Bling Love Starts Early!

People are always amazed to hear that I was honestly obsessed with jewelry from my earliest memories. I guess it’s just wired in my DNA! Well I’m clearly not the only one. I was visiting my cousin at her fab home store, Abode, in Half Moon Bay the other day. Tucked in the corner of the shop, behind the register, was her four year-old daughter and a friend having snack time and some girl-talk. At one point, I caught wind of what they were talking about, yet tried to listen in without being obvious. It went something like this:

“Oooo, I love your necklace!”

“Thank you! I love it too, and I wear it all the time!”

“Even to bed?”

“Yup, even to bed….”

Loved that she had to get out of her chair to inspect this special treasure more closely. Guess both of these little girls have got the jewelry gene as well!

children's necklace
Two cutie pies!

Vanessa Leu: Designer

Vanessa Leu is another uber-talented designer I had the privilege of meeting at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Born in Taiwan, Vanessa spent years as a journalist in Vietnam…not your typical background for going into jewelry! She came to the states in the 80’s and enrolled in the Gemological Institute of America. Well let me tell you, I’m thrilled she made this career change, as her designs are quite fabulous!

vanessa leu jewelry
Meeting Vanessa

Here’s one of the first pieces that caught my eye. It’s a sculptural cuff made from re-claimed metal and conflict-free stones, as is her entire collection. In fact, she is so adamant about fair-trade working conditions, that she actually visits where the jewelry is being made to make sure everything is up to par.

vanessa leu cuff
Simple, yet striking

Vanessa has a strong spiritual side to her, with a life-long Zen practice and following the teachings of the philosopher Lao Tzu. She truly strives to show a meeting of east and west in her designs, which “marries the beauties of two cultures and transcends the soul.” With minimalist lines, she really gets this feeling across in her line. Here is an outstanding pair of earrings, which I’ve spied on more than one celebrity recently!

vanessa leu earrings
I love the elongated marquis shape!

In fact, here’s Nicole Scherzinger at a London movie premier wearing these dramatic dangles in another color.

Nicole Scherzinger in Vanessa Leu earrings
This really shows you the scale of the earrings

Not only is Vanessa a very eco-conscious designer, she’s also got a big heart. She donates a portion of her profits to charity, really paying it forward. What a cool lady!

Miriam Haskell: Jewelry Judge

Shopping amidst a major downpour isn’t my favorite way to shop, but when I spotted this fabulous necklace it brightened the Seattle Day! Very happy with her smashing Miriam Haskell necklace, this gal just had it going on. Despite her petite stature, her presence definitely carried the scale of this necklace. I also like how her crocheted sweater vest compliments the design of the necklace. Two thumbs up!

Miriam Haskell necklace
Rockin' the statement necklace!

Efva Attling: Designer

I arrived at the Couture jewelry show a couple days before it started, as I wanted some time to relax in Vegas. (OK…actually time to shop, who am I trying to kid?!) While lounging by the pool one morning, I saw a very stylish woman in an aqua bikini gracefully walking into the pool. The next night, at Couture’s poolside opening party (Taio Cruz!), I found myself sitting next to that same glamorous woman. Coincidence? I think not. I’m confident that we were supposed to meet.

Come to find out that she is Efva Attling, an amazing jeweler from Stockholm, Sweden.

Efva Attling
Efva and Amy

We sat for quite some time in her salon, as she told me a bit about her life and how she came to be the woman and designer she is today. Her history includes being an uber-famous model (she was even on the cover of Elle at age 50!), headlining a gold-record band back in the 80’s, and hosting a talk show, just to touch the tip of the iceberg. Regardless of her fame, she is extremely open and down to earth. She exudes a positive energy that just draws you to her. I think this energy translates to the jewelry she designs.

Known for her silver work, her tag line is “beauty with a thought,” as she desires to connect with people with “short songs,” as she calls them. While she can’t put an entire song’s lyrics on her pieces, she instead carefully selects words to get to the heart of the matter and connect with wearer. I love the words embedded in this necklace, don’t you?! It’s a rod of rock crystal with silver.

efva attling necklace
This necklace says it all!

Here’s a very clever necklace, that has a heart tucked inside. When she gave one as a gift to Angelina Jolie, she had the names of her children inscribed on the heart. Precious.

efva attling necklace
The inscription says "think of me" in 14th century French

And this unique cuff bracelet has a fingerprint on it — do you see it? Believe it or not, it’s the fingerprint of her mother, which she captured before she passed away. Truly, all her jewelry has a heart.

efva attling bracelet
A cuff with meaning

Her fine jewelry is also quite amazing. Here she is wearing one of her signature necklaces. All I can say is, “Wow!”

efva attling necklace

While we were talking, she told me the story of a very good friend of hers. She had tried for years to have a child, and was finally blessed with a son. This precious gift was then taken from her in the tsunami in 2004. In her grief for her friend’s loss, she designed a special angel necklace. This “Angels” necklace, in cooperation with the Red Cross, has now raised over a million dollars for the tsunami victims. I think this story clearly demonstrates the type of woman Efva is.

For those of you stateside who can’t quite swing jewelry shopping in Sweden, don’t despair! In addition to her online shop, she also recently opened a boutique in the fabulous meatpacking district in New York City. Personally, I can’t wait to check it out on my next trip to the Big Apple!

Couture Jewelry Show in Las Vegas!

I have had the privilege of attending the Couture Jewelry show the past few days in Las Vegas. Known as THE show to attend, you can only imagine that I was giddy with delight from my first step into the ballroom. No matter which way you turned, there were salons filled with the most gorgeous jewelry you can imagine. There were multitudes of talented designers that were new to me, some designers that I’ve only read about (and dying to meet) were there in person, and of course some of my long-time favorite lines as well. The diamonds, the pearls, the brightly colored gemstones…it was quite overwhelming.

couture jewelry show
Here I go!!

I interviewed my little heart out, and in the months to come, I’ll be sharing what I discovered with all of you. I met people from around the globe, and I learned so much about design, the industry and how many jewelers are really becoming eco-conscious. Have you ever heard of the “No Dirty Gold” campaign? Well neither had I until I spoke with Monique Pean while drooling over her designs. No worries — I’ll fill you in on all the scoop.

So get ready, first up this week will be a treasure from Stockholm Sweden….