Tahitian Pearl Event at Manika in SF

If you’re into pearls and will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, February 4th, or Friday, February 5th, then you must visit Manika Jewelry for a very unique event. They are setting up a “Pearl Bar” in the store for their One Love, One Pearl event, where you can peruse thousands of Grade A Tahitian pearls from Black Market Pearls.

black market pearls
And THEN…the talented Paul Bartnik will help you design a custom piece! How cool is that? (Click here to read an interesting interview with him.)


Jewelry designer, Paul Bartnik
Jewelry designer, Paul Bartnik

The two-night event begins on Thursday, February 4th. This is “gentleman’s night” from 5-8 pm, complete with a cigar bar, island bites, and cocktails. This would be the perfect opportunity to design a meaningful gift for that special someone in your life.

Then the following evening, Friday, February 5th, it’s time for the ladies. From 5-8 pm you can sip a cocktail, receive a complimentary hand massage and design a one-of-a-kind piece for yourself or someone else. (You know what a big proponent I am of self-gifting!)

Manika Jewelry is located at 645 Market Street, near Montgomery. If this event sounds up your alley, then e-mail [email protected] to rsvp. Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see the incredible pieces to come.

black market tahitian pearls

What Gems Does Your Body Crave?

Call me crazy, but not a day goes without me wearing either labradorite, moonstone, quartz (rock crystal) or raw, organic colored diamonds (grey, cognac, black, etc.). Some days, I’m wearing all of them at once! But you currently can’t pay me to wear a ruby, lapis or emerald. Why is this? I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Here’s what I’ve concluded — if you really listen to your body, it will tell you what you need. These needs include nutrition, activity and yes, even the gems you wear.


There's a reason this Audrius Krulis grey diamond ring beckoned me from inside the case!
There’s a reason this Audrius Krulis grey diamond ring beckoned me from inside the case!

Some days my body will tell me to get out for a hike and eat salmon and veggies for lunch. Other days, my body wants to relax on the couch and have some comfort food. (I try to accommodate its wishes.) I know it’s often difficult to listen to what messages your body is giving in this fast-paced, somewhat chaotic world. It’s even harder to listen and not argue with the message. But in the long run, I think being in tune with oneself is a great gift, leading to a happier, healthier life.

I recall back in 2010 my hairdresser broke the news to me that I had lost about half my hair. (I was wondering why I was suddenly getting sunburns on my scalp!) This is just about the time when I HAD to wear rutilated quartz every day, and I had no idea why. And guess what…it turns out rutilated quartz promotes hair growth. I got chills when I discovered this fact.

Given what I’ve come to believe, I wanted to investigate what these four crystals could possibly mean for me. A great place to start is this poster I received from Jacquie Aiche at the Couture show. It shows different gems, and what chakra they are attuned to. On the back, it has some information about each gem, along with a list and description of others.

jacquie aiche chakra poster

This gem truly makes my heart sing, especially when I put it on. The mystical depths of blue-greens remind me of the sea, and I love how each stone has its own unique beauty. I started craving it on my body just a couple years ago.

This stone has a very high vibration and is instrumental in helping one open spiritual pathways and explore intuition and psychic abilities. It’s a gem of transformation. It’s also an excellent stone of protection, shielding oneself from negative energies. All of these things definitely resonate with me, and they are areas I have been putting attention toward. Interesting….


I started craving this stone about 5 years ago, just after my best friend was murdered. I found a moonstone ring in a consignment store, and as soon as I saw it, I knew I’d leave wearing it, no matter what it cost. Quite a visceral reaction, right? As I started researching moonstone, I was certainly not surprised to read, “It is a stone of calm and relief from emotional stress.” It was one of the most stressful periods in my life, and wearing that ring truly makes me feel better — more grounded.

Moonstone also is associated with “goddess energy,” bringing balance between masculine and feminine energy. It encourages love and passion. Yes, I can use more of that in my life, so I’ll continue to wear it! It’s said to be even more powerful when worn during the full moon. Noted.

Clear Quartz

clear quartz
My love of clear quartz, also known as rock crystal, has a long history in my life. One of the first purchases I made in 1987, when I moved to Los Angeles for college, was a crystal pendant, which I wore on a long silver chain around my neck for years. I felt naked without it. Now almost 30 years later, I’m as drawn to the stone as ever. What does it mean?

Though it’s one of the most common stones in the world, that doesn’t diminish its high vibration. It helps open one’s mind and heart to higher guidance. It also amplifies the powers of other stones. I take this to mean that it would strengthen the powers in the stones in other pieces of jewelry worn at the same time. It is also a very healing stone, which is always a good thing in my book!

It’s a crystal that provides clarity and protection from negative energy. Interesting, as that’s the second stone to have that property on my short list! I know that I’m a very sensitive person, and I often absorb the energy from people around me. Though that can sometimes be a good thing, it can also be a not-so-good thing. I guess my labradorite and rock crystal help shield me from the not-so-good.


I’m not talking about traditional white diamonds, but rather those that are in the more earthy tones, from brown to grey to even black. I’m drawn to those with an organic feel, not overly polished, but more of a raw or rose-cut variety. According to Jacquie’s chart, ” A diamond is one of the most powerful crystals in the universe. Diamond is a protector, an enhancer and amplifies the strength of all other crystals.” Wow–another similar meaning. It seems all my gems are empowering each other and protecting me!

Diamonds also help relieve stress, anxiety and nightmares. This is interesting, as I suffer from horrible nightmares. I’m going to try and wear some to bed! This gem also encourages abundance and love, another overlap with moonstone.

I’m going to continue researching this topic, as I am very intrigued. What about you? What gems MUST you wear or have around you? Which ones can you do without? And has this changed over time? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Lesh Handwoven Jewelry

I admit I’m going through a weaving phase right now. Not that I’m weaving myself, mind you, but I’m drawn to all things woven, from wall hangings to rugs and jewelry. I’m a magpie to the crafty, and I couldn’t help but immerse myself in the website of Lesh Handwoven Jewelry. The necklace I’m obsessed with is the Yaz necklace.

lesh designs yaz necklace
So unique, right? I thought so too! And the fiber artist, Summer Moore, can create this in a wide variety of colors.

yaz necklace color palettes
Summer was on a trip to Peru, where she became fascinated with Andean textiles. It turns out it was in her blood, as she found out her grandmother, Helen “Lesh” Jane, had been a weaver as well. (I love when genetic pre-dispositions appear like that!) Summer got some real hands-on experience when she attended an artist residency in the small Turkish village of Ibrahimpaşa in the Cappadocia region. On her website, you can read all about her experience in her travelogue. (You’ve got to check it out — even just for the stunning photographs!) I so enjoyed reading about her experience in such a foreign land as a woman traveling alone.

Now back stateside, Summer’s business is based in Brooklyn. Here are some more of her necklace designs, which also come in a variety of hues.


Yilan necklace
Yilan necklace


Pruva necklace
Pruva necklace

She also has some captivating bracelets, such as these two.


Large Evi bracelet
Large Evi bracelet


Puerta bracelet
Puerta bracelet

I can only imagine the amount of time that goes into each item, and I think they are very fairly priced from $175-$270. Each piece is made to order using cotton fibers from Brazil and 100% recycled thread from Germany. She has a very generous exchange policy as well, allowing someone to exchange an unworn piece for another of equal value if they’re not completely satisfied. I can appreciate when an artist really stands behind their work! Love it!

January Birthstone: Garnet

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always thought of a garnet as a red stone. Well who knew, but they come in a wide range of colors, from clear to (even) black. Green is apparently the rarest color, and red and orange hues are more common. The name garnet comes from the word “granatum” (seed), as it resembles pomegranate seeds.

Garnets also have a stellar repertoire of benefits to the wearer, including:

-strengthening the bloodstream
-symbolizing friendship and trust
-uplifts the attitude/ brings a light heart
-stimulates metabolism
-if you put it under your pillow, will aid with bad dreams and depression
-balances energies
-inspires love
-stimulates success in business

Sign me up! For this installment of birthstone jewelry, I thought I’d take a different focus and just look at rings. In no particular order, here’s some truly beautiful garnet rings.

Rosa Maria garnet Heyonn ring (surrounded in black diamonds)

rosa maria garnet heyonn ring
Marco Bicego amethyst, rhodolite garnet & 18K gold ring

marco bicego amethyst, rhodolite garnet and 18K gold cocktail ring
Luna Skye double band champagne garnet trillion ring

luna skye double band champagne garnet trillion ring
Arik Kastan turquoise and garnet compass ring

arik kastan turquoise and garnet compass ring
Gabriella Kiss 18K spessartite garnet cabochon ring

gabriella kiss 18k spessartite garnet cabochon ring
Mary Esses garnet ring

mary esses garnet ring
Contemporary rhodolite garnet ring

contemporary rhodolite garnet ring
Scosha wildfire garnet ring

scosha wiidfire ring
Ananda Khalsa garnet Illuminations ring

ananda khalsa garnet illuminations ring
If you’ve got a birthday this month, I hope all your birthday wishes come true!!

Variance Objects

#RoughBeauty is the hashtag you’ll find on Variance Objects’ Instagram feed. (Click here to see their images.) It’s the perfect description of this line from Santa Cruz, California, with its semi-raw stones set in oxidized silver and various shades of gold. The juxtaposition of rough and beauty suddenly makes perfect sense when you see the jewelry in person; it’s raw, yet sophisticated. It’s wonderful.

variance objects rings
I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole Rimedio, the designer, and her partner, Scott Zankman, who runs the business side of things and takes the stunning photographs of each piece, during their trunk show at Metier in San Francisco.


Nicole, Amy and Scott
Nicole, Amy and Scott

I’m pleased to share some Q & A I had with Nicole:

I know you have a background in landscape architecture. How and why did you make the career switch to jewelry designer in 2013?

Well, there are at least two ways of looking at it. One is that I realized through being in graduate school and working some in landscape architecture offices that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. The people working there didn’t seem happy or inspired. The other way to see it is that I always wanted to make jewelry, and being involved in what I didn’t want, made me realize what I have always loved doing. How did I make the switch? I just started…

variance objects earrings
Are you a self-taught jeweler?

Yes, mostly. I’ve taken some courses in metalsmithing but my way of doing metal work is self-taught. I used the skills I learned in these classes, but I sort of deconstructed them. Jewelry making is about order of operations. I just took some of the steps out and added others. I did the same thing with priorities. The teachers taught what was most important in the process; I changed it up some.

I am completely self-taught as a stone cutter. I did watch some youtube videos and talk to people working in rock shops but never took a class. By the time I started cutting stones, I knew how I wanted them to look and how I wanted to do it. I knew my way of cutting would be an alternative.

variance objects rings
Has jewelry always been a passion for you?

Yes. Many of my earliest memories involve jewels or stones in some way. As a child, I used to carry stones in my pockets. I really cannot remember a time when jewelry wasn’t of great interest to me. As I already mentioned, I tried to take a more traditional road, but I was miserable. Now I’m not. Ha.

variance objects studs
What do you find the biggest challenges and rewards are as a jewelry designer?

The rewards and challenges are really the same thing. As a jeweler and business owner, I feel like Scott and me are on a great adventure together. It’s a wonderful and exciting endeavor. At the same time, there’s so many aspects of it all we don’t have control over. The things we do have the ability to impact, have so many details to them. Variance is our baby; we want to do it right.

variance objects ring
You and Scott live in Santa Cruz, CA, which is an area I adore! What’s your favorite:

Restaurant? Probably Bantam but if I really want amazing food, I go to SF. If I want love in my food, then Scott cooks it.

Retail Store? Cameron Marks – easy but sophisticated clothes, great objects and paper goods too. Also, there’s Judi Wyant Antiques. They have a great selection of antique jewelry with a focus on Victorian jewelry and unusual stuff.

Place for a great view (maybe with a cocktail?) I’m a big fan of just sitting on West Cliff Drive and looking out at the ocean.

variance objects rings
So are you intrigued now? I bet you are! You can find out more about Variance Objects on their website. Oh, and while I took the photos in this article while at the trunk show, I have to share one of Scott’s professional pictures he recently shared on Instagram–over 5 carats of rose cut diamonds. Deeeee-lish!

variance objects rose cut diamond earrings, over 5ct
Nicole and Scott, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you both and learn about the line!!