What’s better than a gracious, handsome Italian gentleman with a twinkle in his eye? One that designs incredible jewelry! That exactly describes Sergio Antonini, the designer of the venerable Milan jewelry line, Antonini. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sergio at the Couture show, and he gave me a tour of his lovely line.
When Thanksgiving rolls around, a time for family and friends, I start to pull out some of my more sentimental pieces of jewelry. One day it might be my Nonie’s engagement ring, with its center stone of deep blue glass, weathered with her years of hard labor keeping up the house and garden. Or maybe it’s my mother’s childhood locket, layered with some other necklaces. Whatever the case may be, these pieces hold a very special place in my heart. Clearly Luika, who I’ve known my entire life, feels the same way, as her jewelry box is filled with meaningful treasures. In this third installment of “Into The Jewelry Box,” I had the opportunity to explore some of Luika’s wonderful memories. The first ring that jumped out was this stunning, large citrine cocktail ring with a delicate gold setting.
She also has a collection of many colorful rings, modeled by yours truly.
The top one in the photos is a vintage jade ring — the color is really exquisite. The next one is a beautiful blue star sapphire set in white gold. This was a birthday gift from her husband back in ’62 or ’63. I was really intrigued with the blue star-cut ring. While the blue star itself is a manufactured stone, it’s surrounded by 5 small diamonds in white gold. It belonged to her mother, so I would place the ring to be from somewhere in the 1930’s. It’s so fun! And finally, the double amethyst, which was designed by H.Stern and bought on vacation while in St. Thomas.
This next bracelet is just so cool, and it was a wonderful gift from her husband. He had it made for her, and it’s gold-dipped pennies from 1957, which is the year they first met and had their first date. How romantic is that?! It was one of their customs to always throw pennies in fountains for good wishes, even after they were married. I think my eyes may have gotten a bit misty hearing this story.
Her Benrus evening watch is a classic. This NYC-based watch company was hot, hot, hot in the 1900’s. I wish I could hear the watch tell stories of where it has been.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! xo, Amy:)
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re likely aware that searching for sea glass is one of my favorite pastimes. Sea glassing is a seasonal thing, and you really need some good storms to churn up the sand and reveal the real treasures. With California’s on-going drought, there’s been a corresponding drought in sea glass on our beaches. I think that’s what got me started on my new collection…small rocks (found along the beach, rivers, or lakes) that have a thin-lined complete circle on them.
When I met Ashley Berman, the talented designer of Ashley Morgan Designs, at her debut trunk show at Neiman Marcus, I have to say that she sparkled just as much as her jewelry!
“Growing up in Colorado, I fell in love with the majestic beauty that could only be found in nature. Learning from my creative family – especially my mother who would endlessly entertain me and my two sisters – a creative spark was ignited. While earning my degree at the University of Colorado at Boulder, I strung beads and sold them to local boutiques to pay for tuition, and that was the start. I earned a Masters Degree at the highly respected Revere Academy in San Francisco and simultaneously worked at a San Francisco jewelry store training as a bench jeweler and goldsmith. It was working behind the bench when I developed an appreciation for hands-on bespoke pieces. I learned the intricacies of metals and stones and fell in love with their ability play off one another. Behind that bench, my dream to design my own jewelry was born.”
It’s clear that Ashley has BIG dreams, as her collection is really quite stunning and diverse. I particularly liked some of her diamond slice pieces.
“While my designs incorporate many refined, unique stones such as diamond slices, emeralds, and rubies, they’re also infused with a playful whimsy that my children continually impress upon me: drawing outside of the lines, setting stones slightly askew, using pieces that include the beautiful, and often, imperfect details found in nature. All these signature characteristics represent who I am as an artist and the profound impact my children have on my designs. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my craft with them, nurture their creative spirits, and hopefully inspire them to also follow their individual, authentic dreams. It’s inspiring to watch their imaginations blossom as they play beside me in the studio – their eyes lighting up as they look through the many jewels, often times stacking as many pieces as their little hands can handle.”
I can only imagine what it must feel like for her girls, seeing the sparkle and magic happen right in front of them. It’s a dream come true! Here are a couple of the rings that they may have stacked on their fingers! Lucky girls…
“While it is difficult to pinpoint one particular piece, as each is a labor of love, I always really enjoy the look of stackable pieces, and they’ve maintained a prominent mainstay in my collection over the years. The stackable tourmaline rings, in particular, are a personal favorite, given their array of colors and textures. The stones are versatile and beautiful, making them true lifetime pieces. Whether worn together to form a variegated modern ‘cocktail ring’ or separately for a singular look, they are beautiful. Jewelry should be fun, and impart a sense of wonderment, not limit or confine your style. Stackables do just that.”
Many thanks to Ashely, and her husband, Morgan, for the tour of the line. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
I’m not exactly sure how I stumbled upon the website Mr. Larkin, but I’m so glad I did! It’s a well-curated site that sells women’s ready-to-wear and accessories. Turns out that it started right here in San Francisco in 2008. Their own clothing line was made locally for three years. The founder, Casey Larkin Blond, then took a little family hiatus, and re-opened the business in Copenhagen in 2013 (where she still focuses on local production).
Mr. Larkin now has a brick-and-mortar store in Copenhagen as well, which opened in August 2014. The site sells a variety of indie brands, and they all definitely have a clean, Scandinavian aesthetic. I love the distinct voice in their merchandise, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite pieces of fashion jewelry they are offering.
This is the second year I’ve attended the Women’s Jewelry Association’s big event, Designers by the Bay. This event is truly a visual feast, held in the Shreve’s building near Union Square; it’s where Bay Area fine jewelry designers showcase their latest work. There was unfortunately no way to have an intimate look at every case during the time I was there, but there were four designers that really got my attention, and I was able to take a closer look at their lines.
Tura Sugden was a new kid on the block (It was her first show!), but she is going places..quickly. She is based in Noe Valley in San Francisco, where she designs and makes each piece herself. I was taken by the unique settings and stone shapes — look at this spectacular pair of diamond earrings!
One of the things I loved about spending a week staying in the Meatpacking district in New York City was that there were tons of great shops just a stone’s throw from my hotel. Many, of course, are national chains, but others are quaint shops that I was so pleased to discover. One of my favorites was Anna Inspiring Jewellry, which my client and I were’t familiar with. Now, we’re both big fans. Here’s a photo from their website which will give you a feel for the line.
I thought the line was exceptionally well-priced, especially given the cost of gold these days. I’m so glad that we discovered this store, and we’ll be sure to come back next trip.
Perhaps it’s Pinterest’s fault…months ago I started coming across photos of women with lovely, delicate ear piercings. Some had numerous, some just a few, but it got me thinking that this would be a fabulous way to get to wear more jewelry…petite raw diamond studs, perhaps a little diamond bar or hoop? Certainly nothing over-the-top — just tasteful with an urban bohemian flair. And then I noticed many of my friends (especially those in the jewelry business) had such creative combinations in their ears. But then, I also know that I’m the girl who faints during a routine blood test. Could I really do this? Then came last Wednesday night. There I was at the Women’s Jewelry Association Designers by the Bay event, and I got into a conversation about it with Laura Forst, from Aesthetic Movement, and a couple other jewelry designers who are also considering making the piercing leap. (side note: Laura’s ears full of diamonds are a beauty to behold.)
“What about this Saturday?” says Laura.
“What are you talking about?” I reply skeptically.
“I know the perfect place,” she says with a grin, “It’s Rose Gold’s Tattoo and Piercing in the Haight.”
I knew full well that I was available on Saturday.
I have never been to the Haight.
I’ve never been to a tattoo parlor.
Fast forward to Saturday.
I’m in the Haight, and I’m in a tattoo place.
Outside. My. Comfort. Zone. Oh my.
And certainly there were some options that I was going to stay clear of.
Knowing that I’m a fainter (this cannot be emphasized enough!), I was thrilled to know that I would be laying down for this process. Still, my hands were clammy and my stomach was in knots.
Since Laura was so amazing with me during this whole process, she treated herself to a new tattoo that she’s been wanting.