As I explored the floor of the JCK show in Las Vegas, there was quite a buzz about Little H jewelry. “Amy, you just MUST stop by her booth! You’ve really never seen anything like it,” exclaimed more than one friend of mine. My curiosity was most certainly piqued, as I couldn’t imagine what could be done with pearls that was so revolutionary.
Ok — everyone was correct — my eyes opened wide in amazement when I saw what Hisano Shepherd was doing with pearls. She has created pearl geodes!! Look at these rings I tried on! They are filled with black and white diamonds.
How did she come up with this idea? Well last year she was at the Tucson Gem Show and was quite taken by all the geodes, such as these amethyst ones.
Having a history in the pearl business, she came up with the idea of cutting a pearl in half, polishing the inside, and then lining them with gems and seed pearls. How cool is that?! Here’s some of the pearls, both whole and cut open, to show you what they look like.
Hisano uses mainly three types of pearls in these collections: Tahitian, South Sea, and Souffle (which I had never heard of before.). Souffle pearls are grown in such a manner that they are hollow inside. She goes to Hong Kong three times a year to source all the pearls and gems. She cuts each pearl herself, and each stone is handset in her Los Angeles studio, with the assistance of her one assistant. Very labor intensive, to be sure.
I couldn’t help but admire the ombre effect she created in this pendant.
Hisano doesn’t want pearls to be thought of as dowdy, and she has really come up with a way to make them relevant for today’s woman. Here are a couple more pieces from her Pearl Geode Collection, including a bracelet and earrings with jackets.
I think her Finestrino Collection (meaning little window in Italian) is so special. You can see how she has created windows into the pearls, and then filled them with gems.
There’s alto the Grotto Collection, where you can see through the whole pearl on the earrings and pendants, and the opening is then gem-encrusted.
I must say, I had such fun trying on all her designs!
And she has not forgotten about the men out there. How about these Tahitian pearl and black diamond cufflinks?
Although I think if my significant other owned these, I’d be “borrowing” them and pairing them with an untucked white tuxedo shirt and frayed-hem jeans. Luxe casual!
If you’d like to see more of Hisano and hear about her process, you’ll enjoy this video.
The first time Syna appeared on my radar was when I saw Monica of iDazzle wearing one of their Mogul drop necklaces. I couldn’t help but want to reach out and touch this glorious moonstone pendant with yellow gold and black diamonds on the cap; with its clean lines and elegance I was just mesmerized. Lucky me, as I got to see the line in person at the Couture show and spend some time with Dharmesh and Namrata Kothari, the husband-wife team behind the brand.
Syna, which means “together,” is clearly a life’s passion for this creative duo. They took an enormous leap of faith when they began their line and moved to the United Stated about thirteen years ago. Believing that “the possibilities of design, and life, are limitless when people work together,” they have come to create a truly beautiful and meaningful collection.
After drooling over the Mogul drops (Which stone would I want for myself??) I moved on to this outstanding peacock pendant surrounded by blue diamonds and tsavorites. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It’s so serene, yet powerful, at the same time.
There was also a bevy of bracelets from their Baubles Collection waiting to be tried on. Well OK, I don’t mind if I do!
I enjoyed mixing and matching until I came up with this combination in garnet, diamonds, opal and peach moonstone. Pretty dreamy, right? And so comfortable on the wrist!
Definitely known for their use of color, I was blown away by this pendant of hand-carved and hand-painted bone. Wow!
Incorporating aspects from their rich heritage are extremely important to Dharmesh and Namrata. They aim to take such ideas, and show them in the most simple and refined way. When I saw various horses in the line, they explained to me that horses stand for bravery and royalty in their culture. In fact they told me at weddings the groom comes in on a horse! I tried on a horse head ring and admired a pair of cufflinks in 18k yellow gold with hand-carved blue sapphires with black diamonds.
I could have stayed and chatted with them all afternoon. Their warmth and knowledge was so inviting. And I don’t know about you, but when I find a connection with designers, it makes me love their work even more. Thank you, Dharmesh and Namrata for your time and kindness. I hope to see you soon!
With the Thanksgiving holiday almost upon us, I know that many of you are in that whirlwind of “busy” — preparing the food, your home, or perhaps traveling. Knowing that reading a long, wordy blog post would probably not fit into your schedule his week, I thought instead I’d give you some eye candy to scroll through.
I recently came across Artemest, an absolutely incredible website co-founded by the well-known jewelry designer Ippolita Rostagno. Ippolita and her team have scoured Italy from north to south, east to west, to bring us the most amazing collection of home decor, jewelry and fine art, all handcrafted in Italy by immensely talented artisans. I will admit that I’ve gone through every single product they offer more than once. (And there’s over 1,600 pieces featured on the site!)
In the jewelry category they have all price points, including both fashion and fine jewlery. The styles also cover a wide array of personal styles. I truly believe there’s something for everyone among their offerings. Without further ado, here’s a selection of pieces that caught my eye.
Do any of these pieces have your heart singing? If you need a break from the holiday stress, I highly encourage you to head over to the Artemest site and enjoy the view. And if you’re so inclined, you may get a head start on your holiday shopping.
A new month is upon us, and with it brings a new birthstone to explore. (Click here if you missed my article about peridot last month.) Though traditionally people think of sapphires being blue, the fact is that they come in every color but red. Why not red? I learned that a ruby is technically a blue sapphire. What?! They are both made of the corundum mineral, but when it’s true red, it’s a ruby. There seems to be a blurry line between sapphires that are pinkish-red or reddish-orange and a ruby, so be aware. I’m going to have to investigate this more.
But on to the meaning of sapphires. Known as a symbol of faith, goodness, wisdom and purity, sapphires also provide protection of loved ones and from evil. Here are some of the other qualities associated with sapphires:
-fulfillment of dreams
-aid in meditation
Given that sapphires come in so many colors, I’m including some non-blue pieces that really pique my interest.
I recently returned from a girl’s weekend in Seattle with my cousin Rachel and my “cousin-to-be” Megan. We had a blast, despite the rainy weather, exploring this beautiful and friendly city. Since they were hanging with me, a professional shopper, I know that they weren’t surprised when I pulled out my page of hand-written notes on all the shops I wanted to visit. And bonus, Megan had a rental car! So off to the Fremont neighborhood we went, which is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle.
One of the shops on my “must see” list was Essenza, which is a unique combination of jewelry, bath/skincare products, sleepwear, and some kid’s items. I knew I liked the store before I entered, which was painted in a pale aqua-blue (my favorite color).
And my thoughts were confirmed as I entered this charming store, with a central fountain surrounded by beautiful cases of jewelry.
I was excited to find a new men’s jewelry line, The Blue Hound. It’s so rare that I see a men’s line represented at a store like this, and I loved it! It was very industrial, and had a great price point. Here’s some bad-ass skull cufflinks and a couple edgy bracelets.
If you’re in the Seattle area this coming week, then it’s the perfect time to stop by the store. They will be hosting an Anne Sportun (oh, how I love her and her line!) trunk show. Here’s the details on the show.
I hope that the next time you’re in Seattle, you’ll make the effort to visit Essenza. I met Wendy, the owner’s sister, and she was just charming. And in a typical small world style, it turns out that she used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and knew tons of people in common with my cousin. Go figure! I love how the universe keeps connecting us all in that special way.
Though you may not want to admit it, the holidays are right around the corner. (Eek!) I do quite a bit of gift shopping for my clients, and I just love the silhouette jewelry I came across by San Francisco designer, Vicente Agor. He uses a photo (which you provide) and transforms it into a stunning piece of jewelry.
Available in 18K gold or sterling silver, he has a variety of designs, including cufflinks. This would be such a cool gift for a dad or grandfather!
Even your pet can be immortalized and cherished for generations to come.
So if you want to get a head start on your shopping and are in need of a unique, memorable gift, then contact Vicente!
Katie Decker was a young, beautiful designer that I met at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Only a few years into her business (she started as a sophomore in college!), her line is beautifully designed well beyond her years.
She began doodling jewelry designs in the margins of her textbooks, and the first piece she actually made was a pearl pendant for her mother. Now, her collection includes 18K gold (yellow, white and rose), as well as sterling silver.
Here’s a prime example of her intricate design, in her Lotus Cuff.
Her designs really have an “open” feel to them. I adore this Monaco Stack Ring, which could be easily worn in combination with other rings, or just on its own.
I do have a personal affection for tassels, and apparently she does as well. Here’s a lovely version of a tassel earring, done with seed pearls.
Katie also has some great designs for men. I love these sterling Troubadour cufflinks. The mixed metals really add a lot of visual interest.
And for those of you ladies who prefer sterling, look at the organic design of this Branch Cuff.
I think Katie does an exquisite job of combining delicate, feminine design to create statement pieces. I can’t wait to see what she’s up to next!
While I don’t have a tattoo, I can certainly appreciate some of the amazing ink I’ve seen on my friends (Leslee’s whole back is covered!) and on random people on the street. Jewelry designer Catherine Angiel takes it a step further. Her tattoo-inspired jewelry line is the epitome of rocker chic.
Catherine was born and raised in New York City. Music (drumming in particular) is in her soul, she loves the “grit” of the city, and she loved being part of the underground music scene. Graffiti, rock n’ roll and tattoos are what inspired her in creating her line, which is famous for its use of black diamonds and precious metals. She opened her Greenich Village store in 1993, the same year that she also appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine. (An interesting side note: Catherine is the one who coined the term “commitment rings!” How cool is that?!)
As she states, “My vibe is all about breaking the rules; whether it’s in my music, my jewelry, or my life. I’ve always been a renegade.” No doubt! And her cool jewelry line lives true to that vibe. This bracelet was the first piece I tried on. I could envision it as a tattoo around someone’s upper arm, but for me, this was the perfect way to sport the look.
I took this image from her website. Being deathly afraid of spiders, it’s probably good I didn’t see it in person. But again, I can appreciate her use of white diamonds and black spinel beads.
Every piece in the line is hand-crafted right in her NYC workshop. Catherine talked about how she loves the relationship between stones and metal. She feels that stones actually “choose” the metal that they’ll be in harmony with. I like that thought process, and I think the stones in these rings made great choices!
She has a men’s line as well. These cufflinks would be perfect on the right guy!
Here’s an image from her website that really captures the whole look and feel of the line. It’s artistic, edgy, rocker chic, fashion-forward, and likely much cooler than I am.
While she describes herself as a “bad ass jewelry designer,” Catherine is also a big animal activist, and loves to garden and cook. I know I’ll never forget that sparkle she had in her eyes when talking to me about her life story and her jewelry line. If you’re inspired to see more of her collection, you can find it at her store in NYC, Neiman Marcus in SF, Fragments in NYC and Montaigne Market in Paris.
Heather Moore was one of the first designers I had the privilege of meeting at the Couture show last spring. I thought this was the perfect time to write about her, as she’s having a trunk show here in the Bay Area this coming Thursday, November 8th, at Kicks in Menlo Park. (But no worries if you’re not local. Heather has an active trunk show schedule across the country — just check out her website!)
What I think really make’s Heather’s jewelry unique is that it’s made to celebrate the moments in your life. Her tag line is, “Cherish who you are,” and she really makes all her jewelry to tell your story. Here, for example is an amazing necklace that reveals so much about the owner. While I don’t know the backstory of each pendant on this necklace, I know that they all have special significance to the lucky woman who wears this. What a conversation starter!
And look at these cuffs, which are literally like a book of memories for your wrist.
Heather and her team use vintage tools to hand-press (NOT engrave) letters, words, and pictures onto her jewelry. All the work is done right here in the good ‘ole USA in Cleveland, Ohio. (snap!) She can imprint everything from your wedding vows to your child’s art to your astrological constellation.
I just adore this key chain which actually uses the writing of the owner’s child. Wouldn’t this be an amazing gift for a loved one? (Note to self: the holidays are just around the corner…) And she does have a quick turnaround time, typically about 2-3 weeks.
Or how about these simple and elegant, yet sentimental cufflinks that commemorate a wedding?
I also really appreciate the fact that Heather uses 100% reclaimed metals (sterling and all colors of gold) in her designs. So not only are her pieces priceless due to what they say and mean, but they are helping protect the earth. Of course, she isn’t working on jewelry all the time. She loves to ride BMX bikes with her kids in her free time. Love that!
So if this line rocks your boat, then I highly encourage you to check it out. I know you won’t be disappointed!
Ok, I know I’m not the only one out there who just loves the beach. You’ve already seen my post on sea glass jewelry, so I was really excited to see this new jewelry product in a recent catalog I received.
Uncommon Goods will create a custom piece of jewelry for you using sand you send in from your favorite beach. How cool is that? Jewelry artist Holly Daniels Christensen will put your sand (or provide sand from their stock from other beaches around the world) into two styles of necklaces or cufflinks. Prices range from $130-$175, depending on the product, and everything is hand made right here in the good ‘ole USA. (Massachusetts, to be exact)
They are so streamlined, creating a truly modern take on “beach jewelry.” The sand is set in sterling silver bezels sealed with resin, creating a long-lasting treasure to be worn with love. You can truly wear your happy, sunny beach memories!