I’m definitely having a moment with all things celestial — stars, the moon, constellations, etc. I’ve clearly got my head in the clouds! And there are SO many great options out there to satisfy my celestial cravings. I wanted to share 11 items with you which I absolutely adore. In no particular order, here they are.
These “written in the stars” rings from Sofia Zakia are just amazing. You can pick two different constellations, and she’ll combine them on one band. How cool is that?! I can picture them as wedding rings, friendship rings, or even one combining one’s parent’s or children’s constellations. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.
I admit that while I covet this jacket from L’Agence, even the large doesn’t fit me. *drats* BUT…I was able to fulfill my fantasy through my client, who looked absolutely stellar in it. She’s pairing it with everything from a camouflage slip dress to a tee and jeans. Super versatile.
Rails has quite a few styles of shirts with stars on them, but I think this shirt jacket with star patches is my fave. When I’m not in black, grey or white, army green is my go-to color.
Sirciam has been a long-time favorite with their rose gold celestial pieces. This particular ring is a real winner in my book. Even though it’s a larger scale ring, it works perfectly for every day. And yes, I have yet another client who will attest to that fact.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I buy myself a “boyfriend gift” for various occasions. I mean really, why should I have no boyfriend AND no jewelry?! I can’t control the boyfriend part, but I can certainly buy myself jewelry! I await the arrival of my own Samantha Knight pendant with my lucky number 13 on it to celebrate the holidays.
Luckily, I did find the perfect pair of star jeans that actually came in a size 16. Score! Loving my new Mia star print jeans from Kut. I put them with a distressed over-sized light blue chambray shirt and felt awesome.
Honestly, this is just the tip of the starry iceberg. There are SO many options out there in clothing, jewelry and accessories, I could go quite crazy. What about you? Do you have any celestial cravings? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.
Last week I had the honor of attending the Project Glimmer luncheon, and I was so pleased to run into local jewelry designer, Ashley Berman, of Ashley Morgan Designs. (If you missed my previous article about her, then click here to catch up.) We were talking about business, and she told me how her custom work has really been taking off. With her creativity, I was not surprised to hear this.
I welcome Ashley as a guest writer this week, where she shares one of her latest custom creations. Enjoy the article!
It all began with a dress. The dress was an elegant one: designed by Carolina Herrera, it was whimsical in design, with detailed lace set in garden-inspired patterns. When I was approached to make a necklace and earring set for this outfit — which was destined for a wedding — I was immediately inspired. I found myself intrigued by the intricate lace patterns, and sketched an elaborate collar necklace composed of medallions that had four separate designs; each reflected an element of the design of the dress.
I chose my favorite for the matching drop earrings. After pulling different themes and motifs from the dress, I customized the neckline to fit the dress exactly. I talked with my client about what she hoped the necklace and earring set would represent; I learned that she was attending her eldest daughter’s wedding, and that she wanted these pieces to be a celebration of her, the event, and what it symbolized. We chose blush pink sapphires as the stone that would stud the necklace: these represented the little girl she had raised into a lovely young woman, now all grown up.
The next step was to finalize the details. For any custom project, a computerized CAD is required to cement the crucial elements. After my client had seen the sketch of her lovely necklace and earrings, a CAD was made. This was then shown to my client, who happily approved what she saw. With the CAD and details confirmed, the project was ready to begin!
Production of the necklace involved carving each tiny element of the necklace and earrings out of wax, and then casting the medallions individually. Every rose gold swirl, vine, star, and cross-hatch had to be formed expertly and exactly. Then the many sparkling sapphires were added, in their hues of blush-pink. We wanted the necklace to exude a warmth and a glow, to give the impression of a natural garden preserved in gold and precious gems. This feel was achieved through the combination of rose gold and blush-pink sapphires.
The final result was more enchanting then we could have dreamed. A symphony of pink and rose hues, the necklace lays elegantly against the collarbone. The earrings seem to twinkle as they dangle, a perfect match for the necklace. A true joy from start to finish, this necklace is without a doubt one of a kind. Contact me today to begin your own custom project–experience the joy and satisfaction of bespoke fine jewelry created specifically to suit you.
(This article originally appeared on Ashley’s website.)
So what do you get when you mix a lapidary artist, fourteen different jewelry designers and some absolutely gorgeous opals? You get Fire & Forge, a contemporary artisan jewelry show curated by the discerning eye of A Thousand Facets, at Vincents Fine Jewelry in Pelham, New York.
I’ve been friends with Jo, the jewelry blogger behind A Thousand Facets for a few years now, and I can vouch that she has a very keen eye for killer jewels, so I know the show is going to be amazing. She has been working with Loren Gurche, who is a Paleontology and Geology student at the University of Kansas. Although he’s been busy at digs the past 8 years, he has spent the recent years teaching himself lapidary cutting and polishing, among other mineral and fossil pursuits.
Together, Jo, Loren, Vincent (the owner of the jewelry store), and these talented jewelry designers and have collaborated to bring a capsule collection of one-of-a-kind pieces to this show. Jo says, “Vincent and I were excited to partner and celebrate both artisan jewelers as well as Loren Gurches’ opals. Loren’s passion for opals is as deep as the designers’ is of their work. The result will be an incredibly special collection of jewelry that marries the artists’ signature styles with Loren’s stones to create works of wearable art.”
Let me give you a sneak peek at some of the pieces that’ll be available at the show, which opens on November 9th and runs through the end of the year.
Is your interest piqued? That’s what I thought! The event opening is coming up on November 9th from 6-9 pm. If you find yourself in the area the next couple of months, definitely stop by — I guarantee it’ll be worth your time.
These past few days, as the weather is finally turning to fall here in northern California, my mind has been focusing on neutral tones and feeling cozy. I think it’s a combination of all the craziness going on in the world and the cooler temps that has me wanting to hunker down and feel grounded. This starts by deciding what gems I want on my body, and what colors and fabrics give me this feeling. My current answer? Grey. It’s soothing, serene, and full of depth. I absolutely adore grey diamonds, and I long to have more of them in my life. Here are a few grey diamond rings that truly call to my soul.
Alexis Russell always wows me with their combination of bands and stones.
And what do I want to wear with these rings? Well given that it’s that seasonal transition time, I want to make some white J Brand crop flared jeans work with the cooler weather. Yes, us Californians DO wear white after Labor Day! To do this, I’d trade my summery tops for a chunky grey cashmere turtleneck (this one is Barney’s own line), some distressed Marsell boots (one of my go-to shoe brands) and top it off with a Faliero Sarti scarf. Yummy, right? And the boots don’t have to be the same exact tone of the sweater — just neutrals that blend.
So back to some more grey diamond rings. Communion by Joy has been on my jewelry lust list for quite some time. The design of the settings, the textures and the stones are so unique. Here’s their Royal Guardian Rustic Diamond Ring.
Oh, and a couple tips from the wardrobe stylist about the Golden Goose sneakers — I’m addicted to them. (I have three pair!) BUT, I hate the sole insert they come with. They have a very raised heel and are uncomfortable for me. So, I toss those and put in a pair of Superfeet insoles. And voila, they’re perfect. AND…since I don’t like going sockless and those little ballet flat peds never stay put, I swear by Hue’s hi cut peds. They work perfectly, and the high profile on the top works just right with sneakers.
So now you know what’s been on my mind. I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek inside my thoughts. Now, I’m going to spend the rest of the day getting my closet ready for the season — packing away my linens, sandals and summer items, and pulling out the boots and flannel. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the change!
I was enjoying the opening night party at the Couture show in Las Vegas — sipping my cocktail while sitting on a poolside tuffet, and I caught a glimpse of something quite fabulous out of the corner of my eye. Hopping up to inspect more closely, I met Sefik Kabas, the designer of Taru Jewelry, who was donning one of his own designs. I made a point to visit this Istanbul-based designer in the showroom the next day to see more of his work.
Sefik gave me a tour of his collection and answered some questions for me.
Your artistic background has included jewelry, glass blowing, interior design, and more. How did you end up launching your own jewelry line, Taru Jewelry, in 2015?
I studied fine arts majoring in sculpture and glass blowing. I designed and produced furniture with bronze sculptural details from ancient civilizations.
Jewelry was our family business from 1976 till 1990. I spent a lot of time in our jewelry workshop during those times. Going back to the roots, in 2015 I decided to get back to jewelry design and created the Taru brand.
Your line is full of brilliant animals — how do you select which ones to focus on?
I have an interest in archeology. I focus on the animals of power with mythical symbols.
I was just amazed by the Queen Bee necklace at Couture, and you told me that it took three and a half months to make. What was the driving force behind this piece?
I wanted to create a one of a kind queen bee showpiece — all handmade, everything made from scratch. Not starting with a drawing, but working freestyle. I also wanted to show the movements of the bees as in real life.
Can you share a recent creation with us, and tell us a bit about it?
My recent creation is the ceremonial horse bracelet for women. The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse dates back to approximately 3500 BC. The mythologies of many cultures include references to horses. Horses were used to preserve cultural traditions and for ceremonial purposes to convey royalty. I created this ceremonial horse with a gold chamfron decorated with precious stones.
Who do you see as the Taru customer?
My customer is looking for uniqueness — one who appreciates handwork and wants to wear bold statement jewelry with a story. The Taru customer is both men and women.
For an amazing look at Sefik’s work, take a minute to watch this beautiful video:
I’m so happy to have met Sefik at the show and see his line, full of extraordinary detail and archeological flavor.
My fascination with Brandon Holschuh began when I spied an incredibly unique bead he made on Instagram. I vividly remember I was sitting in my hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland, and my jaw about hit the floor. I was thrilled when I found out he was showing in San Francisco in August when I returned to California, and I got to meet him in person and check out a similar bead. I love everything about it, from the clearly hand-fabricated texture to the diamonds and variation in metal colors.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Brandon where you’ll find out more about this talented Ohio-based designer.
You told me that you’ve had a life long fascination with beads. Is this what got you going in jewelry design?
Yes, I began collecting ancient and ethnic beads as a teenager. Everything started as a collection. I began collecting beads, artifacts, coins, bones, parts, gemstones, rocks and any small object that had a story. I love learning about the history of the object, the provenance and I equally love the retelling the [object] story as well.
I learned to work with metal as a vehicle to help present the object or artifact. So making a metal armature or a mount to hold the objects began the evolution to jewelry. Copper turned to silver… silver turned to gold… and little by little diamonds creeped in. Our current work still pays homage to beads, but they are diamond beads. They are still strung on wire, but it’s now platinum. The forms are still present but they are also raised in platinum, gold and palladium. We have stayed consistent with the aesthetic throughout the evolution, but the materials are precious, the designs more complex and the whole feel is more refined.
Your pieces have such a raw, organic, yet luxe aesthetic. What’s your inspiration for your designs?
It seems to silly to even say this, but it’s the absolute truth — we honestly let the metal tell us what it wants to be. We process the material in such a way that we have a unique and intimate understanding of its properties, its working capacity and its ability to change shape. This working relationship is how we push the metal to its limits. We get asked a lot about our process and it’s sometimes shocking to hear that our forms, shapes and designs are entirely hand-fabricated. We do not carve wax or cast anything. Each piece incorporates so many processes and various techniques it’s entirely a product of process. We do a lot of fusing, reticulation, forming, raising and sinking. We experiment a lot and we welcome unexpected results. We integrate those into the designs. We make a lot of parts. With those parts we make small objects. With those objects, we decide if it’s going to be a brooch or a ring or a necklace. Once in a while we stumble upon two parts that are similar. Those usually become earrings or cufflinks. The whole design process is organic, as is the work.
What do you find are the most challenging and rewarding things about being a jewelry designer?
I’m an artist. My medium happens to be jewelry. I make small wearable sculptures. Even though I’m a jeweler, I’m still an artist who has a voice. I use jewelry to communicate an idea. Just like a painter makes you feel a certain way when you view their painting, I use jewelry to evoke a certain emotion. More importantly our work still has a conceptual component. Actually, it has three main components that must be met to consider a piece complete. Here they are, in order:
A finished piece must be immediately beautiful. It must be accepted by the general public as an object of beauty. It must exude luxury, refinement and sheer beauty in design and material. This is for the client, the customer and the collector.
Next, it must be well made. It must gain accolades and admiration from other makers, jewelers and craftspeople who appreciate the vast and dynamic processes that go into each piece. We must trigger the question of how it’s made, what processes were used and what the complexity of the design is. This is for those who make and our counterparts. It’s also for the critics, jurors, judges and masters of the craft.
The final component is conceptual. We make work that communicates an idea. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s expertly crafted. But it also has meaning. We excel here. We challenge the design to communicate a concept or to tell a story without words. Sometimes the viewer creates their own connection to the work. This interpretation is personal. Mostly it’s an emotion. Sometimes it’s literal. We have made pieces that are purely conceptual. This is for the sentimental, the heirloom seekers. This is also for academia and those who want a deeper connection with the objects in their lives. We love to tell the stories. Remember, it’s always about the story.
If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?
Nothing. I can’t imagine a life where jewelry isn’t in my thoughts and actions in every minute of every day. My time is spent equally between my loving and supportive family and my studio. I have two amazing daughters and between my duties as a husband and father, there isn’t any time for much else.
OK, and now I have something VERY special to share with you. This is the debut of Brandon’s off-the-charts gorgeous emerald and diamond ring.
Did your eyes just go wide with delight? I bet! Here are a few more images of this beauty, which features an 8+ carat emerald, over a carat in diamonds, and all hand fabricated in 18K gold. The emerald just glows from within. I’ve never seen anything like it, have you??
Brandon — you have a true gift.
If you’d like to contact Brandon about his work, you can reach him at [email protected] or 216-577-6365. There are also links to his website and Instagram at the beginning of this article. I have a feeling there are more than a few future Brandon Holschuh collectors reading this article…
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Lucie Gledhill at the New York Now show. Her work has really stuck in my head, and I wanted to share some of her pieces with you. Lucie is a UK based jewelry designer who’s about 7 years into her line. What really made an impression on me is how she literally weaves with metal — take a look.
This is her Rope Chain necklace, which takes about 4 days to make. One link always has 2 other links to create the woven look.
She also has a really chic interpretation of the traditional gold chain; this is the Jumbled Curb Chain in 18K gold. I think it’s perfectly imperfect in effect, don’t you?
She has another group of necklaces that she described to me as both “ancient and feminine.” She creates this look by fusing white and yellow gold and accenting with diamond beads.
When I was planning my trip to Scotland, I was under the impression that I’d stumble across countless antique stores — I mean the country is SO old compared to the USA. Alas, my desires didn’t quite materialize. But you know how they say quality over quantity? That, I did find to be true. I’ve already shared Joseph Bonnar in Edinburgh with you, and now I want to share my discovery in Inverness, William Morrison Jeweller.
I actually came across this this shop, founded in 1902 by a Jewish immigrant named Isaac Finkelstein, completely by accident. I had just gotten some cash out of the ATM, and the rain started up. So, I dashed into the nearest door, which was the entrance to the Inverness Victorian Market, a small arcade of shops and eateries.
Not only was this a nice respite from the rain, but when I spied the trays of antique jewelry in the window, I knew I had to investigate further. The shop is not large, yet very well organized and brimming with merchandise. I love how in Scotland the antique jewelry is called “second hand.”
Time flew by as I tried on different pieces and chatted with William, the owner. His father was friends with Isaac, which is how he ended up now owning the store. He delighted me with tales of the store being haunted — and how feathers often appear overnight in the shop, even though there are no openings to the outside. (Yes, I ate these stories up!) He showed me a photo of Isaac and even a receipt dating back over 100 years.
The shop basically hasn’t changed at all since its founding, and the original grandfather clock still marks the time.
While I spent quite a bit of time pouring over all the jewelry…
…I couldn’t resist leaving without this rose gold snake ring from 1914. William was kind enough to look up its hallmark, which hails from Chester. I wonder who it originally belonged to?
I’m so glad that fate (and the rain) brought me to this store, and I really enjoyed speaking with William.
I spent a few nights in Inverness, and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit was so I could see the Culloden battlefield and the standing stones at Clava Cairns. (Any other Outlander fans reading this??) Since I was traveling by train, I decided to hire a private guide for the first time in my life. Man, did I luck out. I found David Laidlaw, the owner of Scenic Routes, online. He was extremely responsive over e-mail before my trip (I had actually hired him for more than one day), and as soon as I met him in person, I knew I had made the perfect choice.
Not only did David take me to these places on my list, but being born and bred in Inverness, he had many other special places to show me as well. Oh, and when you get hungry, two restaurants I really enjoyed are Hootananny and Black Isle Bar, which has quite amazing pizza in addition to their beer selection.
There was a lot of buzz on the show floor about Adam Foster this year. It was the first time this St. Louis jewelry designer was showing at the Couture Show, and as soon as I saw the jewelry in his cases, I knew what the buzz was all about! As a graduate in metalsmithing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Adam started his business from scratch about 15 years ago. He began by making bespoke pieces for private clients. This bespoke collection is one of this three aesthetics in his line. (We’ll get to the other two in a bit.)
I was honestly blown away by the craftsmanship, the attention to detail, and the use of stones in his work. The first ring I want to show you is this one, featuring reverse carved mother of pearl. Have you ever seen anything like it? It’s simply mesmerizing.
The comment in my notebook about this 32 carat sugarloaf moonstone ring is, “Holy shit!” I think that about sums it up.
I felt like royalty when I put on this one…
Surely the person who dons this panther brooch crafted from hand carved obsidian and bedecked with white and black diamonds will be making a personal style statement!
Take note of the feather headdress the panther is wearing. Feathers are in fact the inspiration for “Plume,” another of Adam’s three aesthetics. Spending time in the country on weekends and going pheasant hunting in the winter inspired Adam to create very unique pieces with this motif. He was wearing a fab feather brooch when I met him at the show.
The feather detail on this ring, all hand crafted, takes the piece to a whole new level.
The third aesthetic in Adam’s line is “Constellation,” and it’s in this group that I found something I’d love to have in my personal jewelry collection. Inspired by the ceilings in Italy, Adam translates the celestial heavens into wearable art. I’m pretty obsessed with these Constellation bracelets.
This behind the scenes look at the making of a piece in this collection really gives you an appreciation of the meticulous work that goes into each piece. I think it’s awesome that everything from design to manufacturing all takes place at the same address.
This Constellation band would certainly add some pizazz to one’s jewelry collection. Would you wear it on its own or perhaps stack another band or two with it?
I’m so excited to have met Adam and gotten a first-hand look at his unique line. Take note, readers, as this is a name that you’re going to be hearing more of — I just know it!
There’s something so exciting about the birth of a brand new jewelry line! stôn launched just this past June, and it’s making a splash in the world of jewelry. I was fortunate to connect with Latondra (Ton), the designer of this line, and explore some of the pieces in person.
Tell me a bit about the Pulley necklace. I just love the kinetic movement!
The pulleys were inspired by my three sisters. They’re busy mothers and career women who are always on the go but are rarely frazzled. I wanted to honor them with a design that moves freely but has discipline at the same time (and I have to admit that it also appeals to my engineering background). The four of us have these pulleys in sterling, and I used gemstones from some of our late mother’s fine jewelry. I guess we get that energy from her!
What is your background — have you always been in jewelry?
Jewelry is a relatively new passion for me; I’ve always played around with textiles, small household fixtures, painting and photography, but nothing captured me like jewelry has. I grew up in a large family of artisans — quilt-makers, furniture makers, home builders — so making things is in my blood!
How did you end up creating this line?
We officially launched stôn in June. Before that I made custom pieces for friends’ special occasions, like his and his wedding bands. That experience gave me the confidence to do more.
One of the pieces I had the pleasure of trying on is the Shield ring made from bronze and rose cut grey diamonds. Latondra said, “The Shield ring evolved from an idea, to a sketch, and is brought to life in a powerful, finished piece. Cast in bronze and set with rose cut, natural colored diamonds. You never know when inspiration will hit you. I was heading into a difficult meeting one day, and the idea of armor came to mind. I jotted this design on a scrap of paper. This ultimately became our Shield ring. I hope it empowers women to charge though difficult times with strength, grace and integrity.”
You have four women on your stôn team — what roles do you each play?
Evelyn is a highly talented jeweler. When I knew the demand would exceed my personal capacity, I wanted to find someone who could not only make beautiful things but help me develop my craft as well. Sarah manages our story telling platforms. She introduced me to Evelyn, and she also encouraged me to pursue this work when I had doubts about it. Melissa and Stacey keep the wheels on the operation. They are terrific planners and operations managers who allow me to focus on what I love — creating! All of us are sales ambassadors for stôn, and we have a shared value for quality and sustainability.
I love the way women work together. We uplift each other, juggle so many obligations, and still manage to have a great time.
How would you describe the aesthetic of your line?
My designs are inspired by women and nature — both are resilient. I want the patina, textures and heft of the pieces to provoke images of unearthing treasures. Antiquity meets modern.
I think this is perfect description of this line. Here is a diamond bracelet, called the ball+chain III. It’s crafted from oxidized silver and rose cut diamonds, cast in place. It definitely has the feel of something from long ago, yet modern in approach. I could easily see myself wearing this stacked with other bracelets in my jewelry box. (Take a look at yesterday’s Instagram post to see this in action!)
What sort of woman do you envision wearing your jewelry?
I fantasize about a tribe of women out there wearing stôn who are confident, kind and making a difference in their own ways. They don’t need to wear something shiny to know they’re wearing something special.
Do you have a “jewelry uniform” and wear the same pieces every day? Or do you mix it up? Do you ever mix your pieces with other designers?
I mix it up each day. Often, I’ll wear prototypes of new designs so that I can see how they wear over a period of time before fully committing to them. stôn mixes so well with different styles, and I especially enjoy wearing it with my vintage pieces. Layering is such a great way to transform an outfit.
What are your dreams in how the line will evolve and grow?
I’d love to evolve and grow over time, keeping it a bespoke line. Success for me is having the freedom to create when I want, meeting amazing people along the way, while appealing to that growing tribe of women who see the potential this world has. I’m not in a hurry — there’s so much to learn along the way.
Of course, as a stylist, when I see a jewelry collection I immediately start envisioning how I would style it, wondering what clothing lines I could see it effortlessly meshing with. In this case, I pictured an edgy look from Rick Owens.
How would you style the line to suit your own personal style? I want to thank Ton for her time and for letting me explore these pieces in person. I truly appreciate it, and I wish you and your team a very sparkly future!