Here’s the dilemma — how to still enjoy your rings you aren’t wearing? You can only have so many on at a time, right? But if I loved something enough to buy it, then I want to be able to gaze at its loveliness even if it’s not on my finger. The solution? Ring cones! For me, it started with a cute little dish I bought at The Gardener in Berkeley…but the bowl got too full…so I added a metallic ceramic ring cone from West Elm…and then added a shorter bronze one from Upper Metal Class.
Ring cones come in a wide range of materials, price points, and sizes. I think it’s fun to combine different materials and heights, creating a little vignette on your bureau. I could even envision putting a selection of ring cones on a small tray or dish. I wanted to share some of the stylish options I’ve found.
No joke, this is just the tip of the iceberg (or cone?!). There are endless possibilities out there. What about you? Are you a fan of this concept? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
My love of jewelry has no boundaries in terms of time. New, antique, vintage — there’s just so much darn jewelry goodness out there! Typically, I buy what speaks to my heart, whether I know much about it or not (from a reputable source, of course). This is how I wound up with a couple Victorian rings from Metier in the past year or so. But as time goes by, I’m thirsting for knowledge about the different time periods of antique and vintage jewelry: Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. If I’m wanting to know more, then I’m assuming I should take you all along for the historical ride, right? So let’s dig in to this new blog series, and answer the question, “What is Georgian Jewelry?”
Georgian jewelry comes from the time period 1714-1837, in which there were four consecutive King Georges reigning in England (the I-IV). It was truly a tumultuous time in history, including the American Revolution and the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette? Catherine the Great? Yep, also part of this time in history. Because this time period covers over 100 years, you can certainly see an evolution in styles. In the early 1700’s jewelry was more in the Baroque style, characterized by a heavier feeling. Things lightened up in the mid 1700’s.
Jewelry was all made by hand of 18K gold (or higher) or silver. Platinum was not yet discovered, and white gold was not used in jewelry. Gold had to be hand hammered into thin sheets before it could be cut up to make jewlery. This process got a bit easier in 1750 when the rolling mill was invented. Interestingly, Georgian jewlery usually doesn’t bear any hallmark stamps of either the maker or the metal content. It was just not done at this time.
There were many popular motifs during this era, including:
bows, ribbons and scrolls
nature: leaves, flowers, feathers, crescents
Greek, Roman and Egyptian motifs
Diamonds were especially popular, and they normally came in one of the following cuts:
rose cut: these have a faceted, domed top and a flat bottom (see example in first photo in this article)
table cut: a square shape with a flat top and bottom
old mine cut: a faceted rounded square, known as “the brilliant cut” of the time period
Colored stones became more en vogue as well around the mid 1700’s. All stones were set with a closed back, often with a foil backing. This foil made the diamonds sparkle brighter and enhanced the color in other gems. (Due to the foil, it’s very important to never wash your hands wearing a Georgian ring. It will wreck it!) Jewelry was worn mainly by the very wealthy and some of the upper middle class. “Paste” jewels (basically cut glass, often foil-backed) were also popular, and the elite sometimes had paste replicas of their good jewels to wear during travel. That way, if they were robbed, they still had the “good stuff” at home.
Now what about the types of jewelry that were popular? Here’s some key styles from the Georgian period:
Girandole earrings: style where there’s three pear-shaped drops hanging from a bow or some other central element (earrings via 1stdibs)
Pendeloque earrings: these have a top that’s round or elongated, then a bow, then a larger, complementary drop (earrings via Vignette)
There’s also a very interesting type of jewelry from 1804, known as “fer de Berlin” jewelry. At this time, many Germans donated their fine jewelry to support the war against Napoleon. In return, they received replicas of their jewelry made in iron with black lacquer. This is a difficult one for me to wrap my head around. I can’t imagine sacrificing my most precious jewelry — that shows true love of your country!! (Berlin iron bracelet via 1stdibs.com)
Unfortunately, there’s not an over-abundance of Georgian jewelry around today. It was often taken apart, melted down, and re-worked. Due to its rarity, you can imagine that quality pieces are an investment. Do you happen own any Georgian jewelry? Or do you know any other interesting facts about the period? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!
Have you ever looked at a ring on your finger and wondered how it was actually made? Heck, even the process of sizing a ring seems quite mysterious to me! Well this week, San Francisco jewelry designer Corey Egan released a killer video of what exactly goes into handcrafting jewelry. Her husband, Ryan Leggett, was the man behind the camera, and I think they did a fabulous job!
Corey told me, “He filmed me in my element, my downtown San Francisco studio, for three days to capture the footage…you get to see scenes of carving wax for casting, soldering, stone setting, and a look at my manufacturing space.” So without further ado, here’s the video. Sit back, and enjoy this 3 minute journey into the world of jewelry.
I’m a big fan of chainlink bracelets, especially those which have an interesting texture, perhaps some mixed metals, and if you throw in some diamonds, I’m IN! So when I started seeing bracelets from Nancy Newberg on Instagram, I knew I had to meet her at the Couture show!
I may have been hyperventilating a little bit when I tried on this stack. Can you believe how good it is?! (I want them all!) Interspersing some of her bangles really made the combo “pop.” Take a look at the stack of bangles she was wearing…
Nancy is a Los Angeles-based designer, about 5 years into her business. With a background in fashion (her fine fashion line was carried in many stores), Nancy found herself with grown children and ready for a new chapter in her life. I’m so glad she chose jewlery as her new avenue of creativity!
Nancy sketches each piece, and they are all hand-crafted and hand-set in Los Angeles. She uses 14k gold and oxidized silver, accented with diamonds and pearls. She doesn’t use any colored stones, but rather sticks to a neutral color palette. (Like my closet!) I enjoyed trying on her diamond ball rings, which come in three colors.
I’m truly amazed how many talented jewelry designers there are here in the San Francisco Bay Area! Sam Woehrmann is definitely one of them, and he recently shared some of his new pieces with me. Because my eyes got wide as saucers when I saw them, I knew I had to share them with you. You can thank me later.
Have you always been a jewelry designer? What led you to your passion in jewelry design?
I have always been designing and making jewelry. I have always been intrigued by gemstones and crystals, ever since I was a little kid. Learning to incorporate these into metal working is what brought me into this line of work.
With your most current pieces, what was your inspiration?
My current work is inspired by the stones, both in composition of shapes and color. When I am designing and combining different stones based on a color palette, I think of the color the metal is going to add to the design. I love mixing metals to get more variety in the overall appearance of the piece.
How would you describe your aesthetic? What type of woman do you see wearing your jewlery?
I would describe my aesthetic as both modern industrial and whimsical. Many of my pieces are hard-lined but also have a touchable softness to them. I picture a modern woman wearing my pieces, someone that wants to make a statement with an edgy style and that takes chances in life. Someone who thinks outside the box and lets that reflect in her style.
Just for fun…what you’re fave SF:
Hard to pick favorites in SF since there are so many great options!
Restaurant– anything Asian. Warakubune is my favorite sushi boat place.
Place to unwind– a few of my favorite happy hour spots are gay bars in the Castro with a chill neighborhood feeling that have outdoor patios like the Pilsner Inn and The Mix.
Gallery or store– Modern Eden Gallery in North Beach — they exhibit amazing whimsical, fantasy, and sci-fi painting and sculpture. A super talented artist couple own this gallery and are the nicest people!
Julie Romanenko, the designer of Just Jules, is another talented artist I only knew via e-mail and social media. Meeting her in person at the Couture show was long overdue. (And how perfect that we fortuitously met the night before the show was to start — stars aligning!) Before I even started looking at the treasures in her jewlery cases, I couldn’t help but stare at the stunning opal pendant around her neck, which is one of her signature pieces. The combination of tones in the stone, the unique setting and the layered look is just spot on.
Opals are, in fact, one of her favorite stones — as they are mine. Take a gander at these opal necklaces.
Here’s an array of her rings, featuring all different stones, including opal.
And what about these opal earrings? The Art Deco details are inspired by the bails on some of the vintage lockets she owns.
Speaking of lockets…Julie takes vintage lockets and re-works them, combining them with new chains, gems and pearls. They are one of the most popular collections in her line, and I can see why. SO easy to wear, and they have so much character.
Being a master of re-working vintage pieces, can you spot the bracelet in her stack that’s made from an antique pin converted into a bracelet? I think the overall effect of her mix is sensational.
Just Jules, launched in 1991, is based in Scottsdale. Julie told me she fought making rings for some time, but now she’s obsessed with it. Who wouldn’t be?! Here’s a sampling of diamond rings from her Commitments Collection. Which one is your favorite? I just can’t decide…
Not only is Julie an outstanding jewlery designer, but this gal can bake! She had a big glass cookie jar of homemade sugar cookies on her counter. (Why did I not take a photo of this?!) I may have had one every day…and taken some for the plane ride home. Boy were they yummy!
Julie, so wonderful to finally meet you and try on your jewels. I’m a big fan!! xo
I’ve come full circle with my year of birthstone articles, ending with July’s stone, the ruby. (Just for you, mom — happy birthday!) Through my research, I found the ruby to be quite fascinating. It turns out that throughout history, the ruby was considered the most valuable of all stones, even more than a diamond. In the metaphysical world, it has the highest vibration of all stones, so high in fact, that it’s not a stone commonly used in mediation because it’s too darn energetic. Rubies represent love, passion and prosperity. Though I always think of rubies as red, they can actually range from a paler rose to a deep, crimson red (the most valuable). There can be a cast of orange, blue or purple to them, depending on where they are mined.
When you wear a ruby, here’s some of the qualities it will help you with:
-a clear mind
-brings a sense of adventure
-motivation & high energy
-gets rid of nightmares
-stone of manifestation/following your bliss
Interesting, right?! And to whet your ruby appetite, here’s some stellar pieces of jewelry…
I was just reading my original post about Erica Molinari from 2012, and so much has changed! First of all, I now personally know and adore Erica. I had the pleasure of sitting at her table at the Couture awards show in 2013, and she couldn’t have been more welcoming and entertaining. She is one cool lady. Seeing her at the show each year since then has been such a treat. Then…there’s her jewelry. Her line has exploded with new designs, and I have to share some of my favorites with you.
So first up, you have to see her work in enamel. I couldn’t get enough of the rings, which come in both white and black.
Some have patterns and others have sayings on them. (Did I mention she has bangles as well?) My personal favorite is this black one, which in Italian says, “A beautiful thing is never perfect.” Honestly, I got tears in my eyes when I read it. And not bad with my Polly Wales diamond band, right?
And take a peek at the details inside the ring as well.
Here are some more of her new rings, showing how intricate her designs are. Are they vintage? New? This is one of the awesome things about Erica’s line — they are modern interpretations of some very old themes, really adding character and depth to your jewelry collection.
This is a perfect segue to her Momento Mori pieces, featuring skulls, skeletons and such.
I have to say I’m a bit obsessed with this one, which features a skull behind a custom cut white topaz with black enameling on the sides.
Here’s a side view so you can get a better perspective of the stone.
Oh, right…the skeletons. Hello!!!! Have you ever seen anything like it?
Erica has also gone bananas with her stud collection. She told me she wants to have 50 different designs, and right now she’s at 47. I have an inkling she’ll be surpassing her goal in the not-too-distant future.
And of course, if adding a little bling is on your agenda, then enjoy these pave diamond rings.
Erica and Felecia, you’re both amazing women, and I appreciate the tour of the new work!! If you’d like to keep current with the latest, then follow Erica Molinari on Instagram.