One of the coolest things about attending Couture for the second time was running into some of the designers that I met and loved last year. Mary Esses is one such lady, and when I approached her booth this year, her smile just warmed my heart. (and that was before I even checked out her jewelry!)
Nominated for a coveted Couture Design Award this year (brava!), she really has some amazing new pieces. This bracelet, from her new feather collection, just yelled, “Amy…try me on!!” The spectacular creation of countless brass chains with a centerpiece of silver and grey diamonds felt like silk on my wrist.
I instantly fell in jewelry love. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
Last summer I was in charge of my 25th high school reunion. As you know, I’m a strong proponent of self-gifting, so to celebrate the occasion, I bought myself a little prezzie — in this case a wide gold band with diamonds by Megan Thorne. I wear it stacked with a thin gold ring by Armenta, and every time I look at my hand, I remember all the fun memories of the reunion.
I was so excited to meet Megan in person at the Couture show! She is just a delightful woman, and her smile lights up a room! From her first impression, you’d never believe that she actually got kicked out of an NBA game once for yelling at a ref! (Yep…it’s true!)
Megan originally started out in lingerie design, totally swept up in the beauty of lace and the various prints on fabrics. Though once this self-proclaimed klutz tried her hand with a jewelry torch, she knew she was a natural. Thus began her career in jewelry in 2007, tools in hand in her garage in Texas. She’s still based there, and everything is hand-crafted at her Texas studio.
This is called her “picture frame ring.” You can see that the center of the ring really does look like a picture frame with a diamond in it. It’s based on a ring that her grandmother had as a little girl. Years later, she still had the ring in its original box with her childhood handwriting on it. She gave it to Megan, who then fashioned this ring — love that back story!
While she didn’t originally set out to be a bridal jewelry designer, that’s where the path has taken her. But I really don’t think you have to be a bride to wear her beautiful pieces. (I’m proof right there!) I was drawn to this ring, which was one of her earlier pieces. I love that that it’s larger in scale, yet still extremely feminine.
Megan designs more than just rings. I just adore these diamond studs, which were inspired by a fabric print. The rose cut diamonds are gorgeous in the white gold setting.
If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you can meet Megan in person and see/try on her collection. She’ll be at Gallery of Jewels in Union Square on Saturday, June 29th from 11-7. This is part of their big Endless Love jewelry event, which you don’t want to miss! It runs June 28-July 14th at all three of their SF locations. (Click here for the full schedule.) And remember, you don’t have to be a bride to find something fabulous!!
One of the perks of living in Burlingame, CA, is that I can walk to a completely darling downtown, rife with cute shops and eateries. Margaret O’Leary is definitely one of my favorite boutiques, and I must say that I frequent their shop a few times a month. While known for their own knit line, I’ve got to tell you that they also have some stunning jewelry, and each location carries different treasures. Most recently, I’ve been drawn to a couple bracelets by Seattle-based designer Shannon Koszyk. Her pieces are a bit of history, yet with such a modern aesthetic.
This bracelet is simply divine. It’s made of three different widths of sterling silver chains, with a bronze Victory Angel Medal from WWI. I learned that this medal was commissioned by the French after the war — on one side is an angel, and on the other side are all the flags of the victorious countries from the war. Crazy cool!
The other stellar piece that I tried on was this bracelet, composed of British South African coins.
I’m so glad this designer is now on my radar! Upon research, I see that she was at the JCK show in Vegas. Bummed to have missed her (that show was beyond huge!!), but I will make it a point to visit her booth next year!
When I got to the JCK jewelry show, I knew that one of the first things I wanted to see was the “Rising Star” area — to see what was new and hot on the jewelry scene. Well map in hand, and a few directions required, I finally found it. One booth in particular just drew me in, and that’s the work by Naomi Blumenthal.
Naomi and her family are based in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. With a degree in sculpture and working as an estate garden designer, her jewelry truly is an extension of her and her passions. It’s clearly nature-inspired, right down to the cellular structures of plants. As she told me, “It’s like growing natural forms from biology, geology, cells under a microscope….plants, flowers, ocean creatures…..there is so much out there to be inspired by and that I want to make.” Her line is light and airy, yet substantial at the same time. Using materials from 18K recycled gold to pearls to porcelain (her sculpting background showing right there), she creates truly beautiful and original jewelry. Each and every piece I tried on felt so comfortable and easy to wear.
The first item that I had to try on is was this ring. The design can be interpreted as cells dividing, or even as some exotic fruit. Personally, I thought it was a fan-tab-ulous statement ring.
This bracelet was just delicious, and the “click” it made when closing on my wrist was certainly a well-thought-out design. She told me that the concept of this bracelet is rooted in the structure of bubbles. I am surely going to be inspecting my soap suds in a whole new light!
Staying with the theme of looking at the minute details of things, this necklace, called the cell pendant, “…is taken from the cross section of a plant stem. (She) made the chain to have repeating elements from the pendant, which is detachable.” Just brilliant! I love the matte finish, and I can imagine wearing it on its own or layered with other necklaces.
Not to ignore her wealth of botanical knowledge, I’m loving these “rue” earrings. I, being the uniformed plant gal, had to ask for clarification. Turns out that the rue plant is known as a medicinal herb. The earrings are jointed, creating a natural movement. They are also very light-weight, so perfect for those with more sensitive ears.
I’m sure you can now see how unique this line is. I’m thrilled that I got to meet her, and I look forward to seeing what this “rising star” is up to next!
Back in 2011 I wrote about Pamela Froman’s stunning jewelry line. I still dream about that moonstone ring… Well how happy was I to meet the designer in person at the Couture jewelry show!
I was anxious to see what she’s been up to, and she did NOT disappoint! This double-fingered ring features a stunning Australian yowah boulder opal surrounded by white diamonds and paraiba tourmalines, set in 18K gold. Holy cow!!
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you have your chance to meet this talented designer this Friday and Saturday! She will be having a trunk show at Earthworks in Los Altos, CA on 6/14 from 12-6 and 6/15 from 10-5:30. Don’t miss this opportunity, and let me know which pieces you’re in love with!!
A few years ago, I bought this ring by Anne Sportun at a local shop, and it quickly became one of my faves! (In fact my friend Karen liked it so much, that she bought one as well!)
Since then, I’ve been trying to meet her…but I always seemed to be out of town or busy when she had a local trunk show. But the stars were in alignment at Couture this year, when I got to spend a good amount of time chatting with her, finding out more about her line, and really getting to know her as a person. Let me tell you, she is just as lovely as her jewelry line!
Anne had her first jewelry order at age 16, when she was making jewelry out of stained glass. (Clearly jewelry designing was in her blood!) She is based in Toronto, Canada, and is fortunate to have her home, her studio and her shop all within a mile radius. How cool is that?! While her original plan was to study archaeology, she decided to sign up for a gold smithing class on a break before university. One thing led to another, and her jewelry business grew.
Anne explained to me that she has three different parts in her line: fashion, bridal, and alternative bridal jewelry. Each piece is hand-crafted in her studio, and many pieces have her signature stardust finish. This ring is her all-time favorite, with diamonds and an organic edge.
Being that aqua is my favorite color, I was instantly drawn to this aquamarine ring. It reminds me of the sea with a strand of sparkling sand.
In that same collection, she has these amazing earrings, which can be worn three ways! The pendant can be worn on either side, and it can be totally removed so that you are just left with the studs.
Anne’s tagline is “Precious. Everyday.” and I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment. When you have a beautiful piece of jewelry that you love, then wear it — don’t leave it for “good” hidden away in your jewelry box. Case in point would be this ring, which I would rock every day if I owned it! The three main stones are sapphire slices, surrounded by white diamonds and set in white gold.
I couldn’t resist trying on a few of her bridal rings, either. They are all made for stacking, which is a great selling point. My favorite was this one — I love how the center stone is round, yet the outer setting is oval. It’s definitely a design I haven’t seen before!
Anne is really an outdoor girl, and she gets much of her inspiration from nature. She gets so much joy from spending time at her lake house with her husband and three children. She told me that she has a “calm, blessed, happy life” and I know that this is true. She just exudes a feeling of peace when you spend time with her. “Life is a series of synchronicity,” she told me, and I think that’s such a cool way to look at life. It was such a pleasure to meet her, and I will now picture her in my mind’s eye in this fantastic room at her lake house, dreaming up her next design.
You know that I’m a big fan of layering necklaces, and I have a blast with my clients “playing” in their jewelry boxes, coming up with new combinations. Well sometimes you might just get stuck trying to figure out what would work for you, so I think you’ll really enjoy this video that I came across on Youtube. It’s only about 2 minutes long, so give it a whirl. It might just inspire you to come up with some new layers. Enjoy!
(p.s. If you’re reading this on an RSS feed and it’s just a black box, just click on the video link, bolded in blue, or go directly to jewelryfashiontips.com to view it.)
Well yesterday I returned home from one of my favorite places in the world, Las Vegas. When I combine that with two amazing jewelry shows, saying that I was in heaven is putting it mildly! There are two major jewelry shows that occur at the same time each year in Vegas. Couture is held at the Wynn, and JCK is held at Mandalay Bay, at the opposite end of the strip. (love that they have a shuttle between the two shows!)
As editor of this blog, I was just thrilled to attend the shows. My dear friend and colleague, Jennifer Bressie, joined me again this year, and I have to say that we met and interviewed some amazing designers. I will be writing up articles about them in the months to come, so be prepared for a visual vacation.
Here’s Jen and me at the entrance to Couture, ready to explore all the glittering baubles that time would allow!
The shows are more than just jewelry, too. There are social events and parties, which are the perfect opportunity to get to know the designers and other people in the jewelry business better.
I was also so excited to see Efva Attling, one of the designers I met last year who truly made a lasting impression on me.
Beth Bernstein, author of My Charmed Life, has a new coffee table book coming out soon, and I was honored to be at her book launch. Clearly, Todd Reed (designer extraordinaire) is a fan as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!
This year was my first time attending JCK, which I believe had over 3000 exhibitors. (Can you believe it?!) I cannot wait to tell you about some of the cool, talented designers I met there as well.
My last night was topped off by attending the Couture design awards — basically the Academy Awards of jewelry design. Here I am with Mary Esses (who was nominated) and Lisa Evans, awaiting the big announcement.
So buckle your seat belts, and get ready for the glittery ride. You’re going to love what’s to come!