I find it almost impossible to believe that I’ll be turning 50 next month! And if you’ve been following me for a while, then you know I have a strong tradition of self-gifting. Not only do I find it very empowering to buy myself jewelry, it’s also a very sentimental practice where I honor various moments in life. With this momentous occasion on the horizon, I’ve started putting some real thought into what I might love to own. I want to share some of the items that are currently at the top of my jewelry lust list. In no particular order, here goes:
I originally saw these last year at the Couture show in Las Vegas. They have haunted me ever since. Not only are they rock crystal (which you know I’m obsessed with), but the shape and the combination with gold and diamonds makes them a super luxe look for everyday.
This is another piece I’ve had on my mind for a very long time. To me, it has sort of a 70’s vibe — I can picture wearing it with a caftan poolside in Palm Springs. The little channels of white enamel are oh, so cool. And the diamond settings sing to my celestial heart. Don’t you think it’d be gorge in rose gold?
I saw these on Alice’s Instagram not too long ago, but they really made an impression! Again, the white enamel detail (I’m sensing a mini theme here) is awesome, along with the combination of metallic tones with the white topaz. I’d wear the heck out of these.
I’ve been coveting one of Daniela’s insect pieces for at least a couple years now. Though I’ve only seen two of her big rings in person, they make me swoon. In a dream world, I’d probably like one with green stones…
Bibi is one of my style icons. Not only do I adore her personal style, but her jewelry is seriously out of this world. These galaxy earrings look SO amazing; I may need to take a trip to Amsterdam to try them on!
I have a “thing” for Sara’s beachy line, and I own a couple of her pendants already — a shell and a fish. Don’t you think this hand carved rock crystal coconut with a polki diamond would complete the trio? And I have the wire wave choker to add it to. The other two pendants I have hang vertically, so I like that this would add a horizontal aspect to the grouping. True, a coconut isn’t exactly what one typically thinks of in fine jewelry, but I love its uniqueness. And as you know, I’m usually not one to have “the norm” in either clothes or jewelry!
Hopefully you read my last blog article, which was all about Brent. And I must say there’s something about her jewelry that really draws you in. Since my wardrobe is mostly black, wouldn’t this ring be a great way to add some color to my ensembles?!
As I write this list, I’m definitely picking up on a few common themes: celestial, enamel details, rock crystal, and color. Funny that these elements didn’t necessarily pop out when I was picking the pieces, yet now they are so obvious.
I’ve still got time to ponder, and I’ll be seeing LOTS of jewelry when I embark on a 10 day road trip to southern California next month. The best scenario is that I win the lottery between now and then and I buy it all! A girl can dream, right?!
Speaking of dreams, I’ve got a big one — a huge new project that I’m diving into this year. As a result, I’m going to be taking a hiatus on writing articles for this site. BUT…don’t panic. You can always get your jewelry fix on my Instagram page, which is definitely full of sparkle. If you’re not yet following me, then click here to keep up on the latest scoop. In fact, perhaps I’ll even reveal what I land on for my 50th gift. Hope to see you there! xo
I just adore visiting For Future Reference’s booth at the Couture show, as they represent some of the most amazing jewelry designers — creative, colorful, and lines that are often outside the proverbial box; no run of the mill designs seen here! Case in point was seeing Brent Neale’s line for the first time. The designer, Brent Winston, is a true ray of sunshine and she perfectly translates this joy and effervescence to her jewelry line.
Case in point — have you ever though about wearing a gemmy magic mushroom around your neck? Well I hadn’t either until I saw them in person and then fell in love with this bright green one she posted on Instagram recently.
Please enjoy this Q&A with Brent:
I know you worked in the jewelry world for many years before starting your own line in 2017. What prompted you to take the leap?
I left Kara Ross in 2015 because of a high risk pregnancy with twins, including a long stint on bed rest. It was a tough year for me. The girls were very early and they spent two months in the NiCU where I basically lived as well. A year after they were born my husband and friends urged me to start drawing and working again. I’m so glad they did, because I really needed to feel like myself again. I started sketching everything and it came pouring out of me. Jewelry is something I truly love and it’s part of my personal identity, so it was natural. That first collection was called “After the Rain”: a reminder that something good and beautiful always follows something bad.
Your line is so whimsical and colorful — it always makes me smile when I see your work. What’s your inspiration for your unique aesthetic?
Life is hard, and everyone has their stuff, you know? But jewelry should be fun and happy and that’s a goal of mine for the line. It should make you feel good! (btw — I totally agree, Brent!)
Tell me a little more about your cool door necklaces.
The doors came about through my travels — each door represents a different place. The Malachite door is Rome, the Lapis is Paris, Turquoise with the honeysuckle and hummingbird took inspiration from the Bahamas, and so forth. But more than just visually, the collection was called “Passageways” and it was about creating the path and choosing the doors you want in life.
What sort of woman do you envision wearing your jewelry?
I think the women that buy my jewelry want something a bit different and a bit out of the box. I particularly love that the women range in age and they are wearing it for all occasions, as everyday pieces and for black tie!
What do you find is the most rewarding thing about being a jewelry designer?
When I get an note or an email or a DM from a client saying how much they love a piece. If someone derives some joy out of something I’ve made, then I’m definitely doing something right.
Anything you can share about what you have in store for your line in 2019?
Loads of color, texture and fun ✨✨✨
I am SO not surprised to hear this, Brent. I’d expect nothing less, and I cannot wait to see what you have in store for us. If you’d like to see more of Brent’s work, click here for a list of retailers and definitely follow her on Instagram for an insider’s look at what she’s up to. It’s sure to bring a smile to your day.
I vividly recall when I was scrolling through my Instagram feed, and a carved rock crystal and gold bracelet stopped me in my tracks. Was it an antiquity from some museum collection? Was it a newly created piece? I honestly couldn’t tell, so I had to investigate…and that led me right to Loren Nicole Jewelry. Loren Teetelli, the designer behind the collection, was going to be making an appearance at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Meeting her and seeing her work was at the top of my list!
Not only is her jewelry simply stunning with it’s ancient feel, but Loren is a veritable font of information. With her extensive background in art history and anthropology, combined with her talent as a goldsmith, she has created a singular line rife with history. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the following interview with Nicole.
After seeing your work, I was SO not surprised to learn you have a background in archaeology. Can you please share how this prepared you for your career as a jewelry designer?
I have degrees in art history and anthropology, with a focus in archaeology, one of the 4 branches of anthropology. I have had a lot of practical experience as an archaeologist, having worked as a field archaeologist in Peru, Mexico and Vermont, and as a lab technician in the North American Archaeology Lab in the Anthropology Department of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City (it’s a mouthful). I later worked as a conservator in the Objects Conservation Lab at the American Museum of Natural History and Conservation Lab in Africa Oceana and the Americas department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Art history has provided me the advantage of an extensive depth of knowledge of civilizations throughout history focused on many mediums, while archaeology trained me to think about the material culture, both art and domestic objects, from a practical viewpoint. Studying both disciplines has allowed me to recognize pattern, to the point where I can look at a selection of mixed objects and at the very least divide them up geographically. Aside from my academic interests, I have always been drawn to craft. I have been painting and illustrating for as long as I can recall and have studied pottery, weaving, glass blowing, printmaking and so on. My natural inclination towards making tied into my archaeological interest because it’s all about the objects we made and left behind. Understanding how they were constructed, the technology used to make them, the sources for their materials (trade), and eventually how they were then used.
Now, working as a goldsmith, my interests in understanding the science of an object is the foundation of my design process. Studying and working in the original technologies used to make the pieces I am representing, allows the collection to “feel” ancient. When beginning a new collection, I am fortunate to have a large mental library of different civilizations to pull on. I typically begin with one or a few key visual elements (like the “heart” and oval shapes of the Silla collection), and recognize what technology was used to build those pieces. If the goal is to replicate the feeling of ancient jewelry, it is not possible to do so by only copying the patterns or symbols, it needs to be constructed using the same methods. Since I am currently working on an Egyptian collection, I will give this example; a lot of Egyptian revival jewelry is enamel usually depicting King Tut’s Scarab, the Eye of Horus, etc. While many of these pieces are fun and beautiful in their own right, we understand the reference, but they don’t have the feeling of something that emerged from an ancient Egyptian tomb. They haven’t gotten to the core of ancient Egyptian Jewelry. If instead of enamel, those colors were inlaid stone (cloisonné), then they would be doing something interesting, something more true to the history of the design and using a technique contemporary to the original source.
Is there a certain period in history that most influences your work?
My love for art history lies with anything pre-dating the Northern Baroque period, with a particular interest in civilizations that we refer to as “ancient”, for example, Greek, Egyptian, Scythian (Eurasian Nomadic Peoples), Moche, Chimu, etc. I also love a few outliers, such as Agnes Martin, Axel Vervoordt (not necessarily an artist) and Mark Rothko. I would say that my designs are a combination of these two interests, as is my favorite ancient period. Cycladic art, while having been made as far back as 5000 years ago, is so contemporary in its design. Civilizations of archaeology are in my heart. There is so much mystery still surrounding them and there is always a scavenger hunt when discovering a new piece. These civilizations worked in 22k yellow gold, my preferred medium, and the technologies I have studied from them, such as granulation and chasing and repousse, are my favorite to work in. I love jewelry where you can see the hand of its creator — it is more warm for me than something that has been machined using electric steel tools. That being said, there is a power in minimalism and being able to convey an emotion with as few elements as possible. Agnes Martin has been my greatest teacher of this. Applying what I have learned from studying her work to my jewelry design by taking the time to edit out what is unnecessary, while still retaining the core feeling of the civilization I am representing, has been the greatest challenge and most rewarding. While I am replicating the past, I am not creating replicas.
I am a huge fan of the pieces I saw from your new Silla Collection. Can you please tell me a bit about this collection?
I first discovered the Silla while working at the MET. They hosted a temporary exhibit of their work primarily showing pottery and jewelry. I have always been fascinated by trade in the ancient world, because in the structure that we are taught, we usually don’t think of these ancient civilizations trading, learning and adopting practices from each other. What originally struck me was the quality and large scale of their granulation, a technique that originated with the Etruscans in present day Sicily and made its way across the Silk Road with the Greeks stationed in Bactria and then spreading to India and further east, where it is still practiced. When approaching this lesser known civilization to develop a collection, I resisted the instinct to include granulation because that is something that was learned, I needed to identify what was unique to them and their history.
There were two elements that stood out; the application of gold discs and key shapes, such as the oval, “heart” and trapezoid. There were two key jewelry styles that needed to be represented to honor their history as nomadic peoples, the belt and the crown. Several belts in a style similar to our Nomad Belt were discovered in burials, adorned with charms representing both domestic and spiritual purposes. For example, the cut-out piece is a scissor and the fish may have been an amulet to avert evil. The belt is also a nod to this civilization’s history as nomadic peoples, where wealth needed to be portable and rank needed to be easily identifiable. Since there has has been so much interest in the fish, it is actually a personal joke, my version of uniting the ends of the Silk Road. I took the Silla design for a fish and married it with the idea of Rock Crystal fish that the Ancient Greeks occasionally made and then suspended them all from a modified Ancient Greek woven chain (present-day). I still can’t believe this is the most popular piece from June, it was the only design I was super unsure of. Both this necklace and the belt are available at Stanley Korshak.
I’m completely obsessed with all the charms you make. How do you envision clients styling them?
It is a joyful part of our collection that encourages interaction. People love color! Few people don’t love rummaging through a pile of candy-like gems and arranging their favorites to carry with them everyday. We can change them with our mood, layer them up, put them on different chains. They are so versatile. There is something for everyone. It is all about wearing layers of color stories that are meaningful to the wearer. I personally like to wear 5 on long leather cord and change the color story with the seasons.
They were designed to be a fun way to incorporate color and offer a more accessible entry point into my collection. What I had hoped and what my clients are doing is starting with one or two pieces and slowly adding more to their set, typically wearing them all together. They fit on all of our necklaces, most of our bracelets and new leather cords that will be released soon. All of our charms are either cabochons or carved stones that have been ethically sourced and are set in our signature 22k yellow gold brushed finish (We use recycled and Fairmined gold), so they inherently have that ancient look to it, but I choose more playful colors to make it modern. They have also been a really fun education point between me and my clients. It is opportunity to share a deeper story about the history of a gem, its origin, what gives it is color, who cut it and the amazing history of Idar Oberstein represented in our carved gems.
What sort of woman do you see wearing your jewelry?
Be it young or more mature, the woman that purchases my jewelry is a collector. She loves art and history. She is not interested in trends. She is confident in her own style and has her own criteria for recognizing quality of craftsmanship.
What do you find is the most rewarding aspect(s) of being a jewelry designer?
I have been given the opportunity to share my love of ancient history with people that may not necessarily have been exposed to it or haven’t previously shown an interest in it. I absolutely love when I have opportunity to speak with men, whether they are shopping for themselves or their significant other, because I have found that they are typically interested in the science/more geeky specifics of my jewelry, which gets them excited and offers a connection to jewelry that they don’t always have available. The women tend to be more perceptive to the aesthetics and art history of the piece. If they connect with that aesthetic, they get it immediately. What is universal, is when people discover my chains and once they learn that many of them have been made for over 3000 years and then can find them on display at world renowned museums, they are immediately hooked. Then they feel the weight of a solid gold chain, usually for the first time, and they see how it moves and suddenly they discover a new relationship towards jewelry. It is so much fun to watch that moment in a person’s face transform from a slight interest into complete wonder. I also really love when my jewelry is mistaken for an antique. I feel like I have done my job as a designer and a goldsmith when that occurs.
Can you share one of your most recent pieces?
I am currently working on our new collection, Nebu, which will launch at Couture next summer. Nebu is the the ancient Egyptian word for gold. They are the only civilization I am aware of that believed gold had divine power. They had over 30 types of gold, which is amazing considering how rudimentary their tools were. I am finally going to be showing off my skills as a goldsmith with this collection. There will be a lot of granulation and chasing and repousse.
Here is a photo of a chaising and repousse crocodile cuff bracelet that is currently on my bench.
And here’s an oversized hoop that was completed last week. The hoop has a small granulation halo around the Mandarin Garnet with Cats Eye Pink Tourmaline and Morganite (one from Brazil and the other from Mozambique) decorating the bottom edge. The design originated from an Egyptian wall painting. I have yet to discover a jewelry example of this design; however, that doesn’t mean that it was not used. With some of the earliest styles, there aren’t always actual objects discovered representing what was depicted. I have another one-of-a-kind version of this hoop on the bench next week!
On that note, I want to thank Loren for all the incredible information. I cannot WAIT to see the Nebu collection in Las Vegas next year!! You can check out more of Loren’s work on her website and Instagram.
WHITE bIRD was on my must-visit list when I was in Paris. I’d heard it mentioned for quite a few years by several jewelry designers I know here in the States, so I was excited to finally visit in person! They opened in 2010, and represent 50 different designers. Needless to say, I knew I’d have to spend some quality time here.
Located just a block off the famous shopping street Rue Saint Honore in the 1st Arrondissement, this charming store is on Rue Du Mont Thabor. Though it’s near the hustle and bustle of many of the big design houses, this street has a much more intimate feel. When you walk in the shop, it has a very light, airy feel. There are three main areas. Here’s the middle part of the store, where you enter.
Here’s a view from the far left of the store. The painted exposed beams really add to the ambience of the shop.
And off to the right, there’s a section with an inviting couch where you can really get serious about your jewelry selections.
The store houses many of my favorite designers, as well as quite a few that were new to me. Showcased in the window were various pieces from Dorette. I was drawn to the designer’s use of color, as well as that “eye” in earring on the right. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the designer, Catherine Levy, was inspired by her extensive travel in India. That “feel” definitely comes through in her designs.
I’ve been a big fan of Pascale Monvoisin for quite some time, but this was my first time getting to try on her work. Out of the big tray of pieces, I decided this black ring was my favorite.
I was also unfamiliar with the work of Orit Elhanati. How fabulous are these opal rings?!
Having spent weeks traveling and seeing exquisite jewelry in museums (and wanting to wear a lot of what I saw in the glass cases!), I saw these Karen Liberman necklaces, with their ancient coins and thought voila! — how to get the historical look in a modern way.
I want to thank Isabelle and Jennifer for all their time and expertise while I explored the store. It was a real treat! And for my readers, should you find yourself in Paris, definitely make a point to stop in. I dare you to leave empty-handed. I know I couldn’t!
Enjoy this article from guest blogger, Jennifer Bressie. I certainly see a theme among her picks, do you?
Every May/June, when I attend the Couture show with Amy, after drooling over all of the jewels, I come up with my lust list, which is the list of pieces that would actually fit into my lifestyle and wardrobe. I have determined there are five main reasons to buy me jewelry throughout the year. First comes my birthday in February. (This year I’ll be turning fifty which means I think I deserve a pretty exceptional piece!) This is quickly followed by Valentine’s Day, then Mother’s Day, our anniversary is in August, and finally Christmas. Here’s what I can’t stop dreaming about from this past show.
These earrings from Dana Bromfman were one of the first things we stumbled upon this year. Made of 18k gold, rutilated quartz and diamonds, these earrings can easily be worn with jeans and a t-shirt or a ball gown!
I am totally obsessed with these earrings from TAP by Todd Pownell. I think they are such cool and fresh take on the standard diamond hoop. These stunners consist of over 11 carats of marquis cut diamonds set on 14k white gold and sheet backed with 18k yellow gold. They sparkle like crazy!
The next piece, the Devi Ring from ARK Fine Jewelry, is so special. Made of 18k yellow gold, white mother of pearl, moonstone and diamonds, the ring is inspired by ancient Tantric Goddess temples. Each piece in this line, with the initials of designer Ann Korman and a reference to protection, safety and constant forward movement, has thoughtful meaning. The moonstones in the Devi Ring run north and south and symbolize intelligence, energy and inertia; the mother of pearl helps the wearer feel centered. If you are not familiar with this line, I highly recommend taking a trip over to her website where you will not only be tempted by the beauty of the pieces, but you will be inspired by the beautiful meaning and energy infused within.
I went crazy for this pearl necklace from Lene Vibe! The South Sea pearls, combined with the 18k gold and the intricate details make for a spectacular piece! I would also dress this necklace up or down.
The last piece is a small obsession of mine. Full disclosure, I encouraged my husband to purchase this for me for our recent anniversary! It’s a gorgeous Grandfather Compass from Retrouvai made of rose gold, pink opal, pink lotus garnet and diamond. In a note from designer Kirsty Stone she wrote, “Wear this pendant as a reminder to let your intuition guide you as your inner compass.” I absolutely adore this necklace and wear it all the time.
One of my favorite things about attending the show is meeting the amazingly talented designers and hearing their stories — how their life and experience influences their designs makes each piece so unique, and I feel a real connection to them when I eventually do make a purchase!
Have I told you before how much I love being a jewelry blogger and a wardrobe stylist?? It makes it all the more fun when I travel, as I get to scour new cities for the best stores and unique merchandise. Case in point was when I was in Paris this summer, and I visited Galerie Elsa Vanier on the recommendation of a couple friends. This contemporary jewelry gallery features over twenty artists, and I lucked out by visiting during the Esther Assouline exhibition. My jaw pretty much hit the floor when I saw her work. Was it ancient? New? It looked like it could be in a museum, yet it was so modern at the same time!
This necklace is perfectly imperfect, with its ancient Etruscan metal from the 6-8th Century BC, combined with woven gold and rubies. Spectacular.
And take a look at this one — a true work of art, combining old and new. The way Esther can create a perfect balance of materials so that it hangs effortlessly demonstrates that she has some mechanical engineering talents as well.
These two smaller necklaces utilize earthenware pendants with gold and gems. I can see them easily worn on their own or layered with other necklaces.
Esther doesn’t limit herself to just neck adornments. This bold 18K ring with diamonds and pearls is a showstopper.
This pair of 22k and pink tourmaline earrings are a bit more refined, yet they’re still true to her style with the texture of the gold, the irregular edges and the differing lengths. I’d wear them in a heartbeat. How about you?
Although this exhibition only ran through the end of July, I highly encourage you to stop by the gallery if you find yourself wandering the delightful streets of the 6th. (one of my favorite areas to shop in Paris for unique boutiques)
I have had a “thing” for tiaras as far back as I can remember. Why did I want to be a princess the Halloween of 1974? To wear a tiara, of course. (And the magic wand didn’t hurt either.) I recall my talented mom making my tiara and wand out of tin foil — she even made my gown out of an old sheet and felt shapes.
I vividly recall the first tiara I made myself in 2nd grade. I carefully cut out the front of it in a thin, flexible cardboard. After I cut it out, I patiently picked out all the silver sequins from my sequin box and glued them to the cardboard in just the right pattern. I then pilfered a piece of elastic from my mom’s sewing room, stapled it to the front, and voila, I was a princess. I wore that thing until it basically crumbled.
Flash foward to 1999, and I met a well known aura reader/psychic. One of the first things she told me was that I was royalty in a past life. Ahhh….this is suddenly making so much sense!
About 4 years ago, I went with my mom, brother, and his two kids to Disneyland. My niece, Estella, around 9 at the time, told me she wanted a tiara, not Mickey ears. I think I may have done a little happy dance. (Gotta love genetics!) “Of course!” I told her, “OK, now listen. We’re not going to get some cruddy little plastic tiara. We’re going to hold out and find the good ones, OK?” She was IN! Damn, I love that girl. Finally, we found it. A Swarovski crystal store, busting with tiaras well into the 1000’s of dollars. We both selected our perfect tiara, and I don’t think we took them off the rest of the trip, aside from when we were in the pool or on a big rollercoaster. And truth be told, we still wear them.
Tiaras just make the world a better place in my mind. Cleaning my house in one makes the process SO much more enjoyable — even though my boyfriend thought I was a nut when he saw me doing it. You should try it if you haven’t done so before. Even doing accounting in a tiara makes it almost bearable.
Within the past couple months, I’ve added two new tiaras to my collection. The first one came to my attention when my friend Becky, who writes Diamonds in the Library, wrote about it. (btw, you should definitely follow her, if you don’t already.) It’s from Australia, and it’s a collaboration between JY Jewels and Lady of Leisure Millinery. I think it’s such a cool, modern take on a classic. I got mine in the rose gold tone.
When I returned from Europe this month, I was perusing C Magazine, and came across Erica Elizabeth Designs. Her website is chockfull of dreamy headpieces, and I had to order this one…the Stargazer. (Remember how I’m completely crazy for all things celestial?!) And I was even able to select the color ribbon it is wrapped in so it would blend in with my hair.
Speaking of Europe, when I was visiting Kensington Palace in July, I was in awe of the tiaras in Queen Victoria’s exhibit. When the jewel room was quiet, the security guard told me about an amazing optical illusion. He pointed out exactly where to stand, and my brother took this shot of me, where it looks like I’m actually wearing the Fife Tiara. This just MAY be my new Facebook profile…perhaps.
So there it is — my confession. I love tiaras. I have always loved wearing them, and I think I always will. I wish I could wear them on a daily basis out and about. Now, I think I’ll decide which one to wear while I go prepare dinner.
Hello!! I know it’s been quite some time since you’ve heard from me, but if you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know I’ve spent most of the summer in Europe. Now it’s home and back to reality, which includes going through the hundreds and hundreds of photos from my adventures. No surprise, one of my favorite things about travel is discovering new boutiques and designers that have never crossed my path before.
Case and point happened the second day of my trip, as I was very jet-lagged and ambling along the quaint streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. I walked by a window filled with jewelry, walked a few more steps, and then had to backtrack to really take a good look. Holy moly — there was a necklace that absolutely took my breath away! I had to investigate.
The designer is Marlene Juhl Jorgensen, a veteran jewelry designer from the city. As I entered her cozy boutique, my jet-lag suddenly seemed to disappear. There was a whole case of signet rings, with a wide range of vibes, from contemporary to more vintage.
Interspersed were pieces with coral (which floats my boat!), including this huge object d’arts hanging on the wall.
But let’s get back to the necklace… it’s part of her Nairobi Punk collection, which she launched in 2013. The collection, “encapsulates the underground atmosphere and the contrasts that prevail in Nairobi….(it) balances between the classic and the modern — cool elegance with an edge.” It’s hand made in her shop, as is all the jewelry. It’s made of gold-plated silver with champagne rose cut diamonds. I completely resonate with the feel of it. It’s almost like you can’t put a date stamp on it, and its style is so singular.
Speaking of style, I couldn’t help but admire what she herself was donning around her neck.
Even on a super creative day, I don’t think I’d have ever put this combination together. And on her, it’s completely awesome and in harmony with her personal style; eclectic in all ways — color, texture, old and new. Style notes taken!
I’m thrilled that my wandering took me by the shop. I guarantee I’ll be back one day. And if you find yourself in Copenhagen, you must stop by. So many of her pieces are one of a kind, so you really have to visit in person to get a full perspective of her work.
Yesterday my mom and I jumped on a plane in San Francsico. After a ten hour flight, we landed in the gorgeous city of Copenhagen, Denmark. It was only 1:00 in the afternoon, and we knew we’d have to stay awake until bedtime, or we’d never be able to get on the correct time zone.
Luck would have it that Lene Vibe, the uber-talented designer I wrote about back in 2012, was in town! (Click here if you’d like to see that article.) So just a couple hours later, we found her ourselves in her studio.
Granted, I may have felt like the walking dead after being up for over 24 hours, but nothing like a friendly face and stunning jewelry to perk a girl up, right?! While I had visions of Lene’s studio after getting to know her over the years, it completely exceeded my expectations.
You’ll find her studio housed in a two story terra-cotta colored building built back in the 1700’s.
The lighting is a bit magical, and you feel as if you’ve been transported through time when you walk through the door. You don’t quite know where to look first — at her workbench, strewn with tools of the trade, the array of antique odds and ends carefully displayed throughout the space, or, of course, on her jewelry. As I walked around in awe, I couldn’t believe that I was actually there in person. (When I just re-read my first article about her, I ended it saying how much I wanted to visit her studio one day, and here I was!)
I was delighted to see her work benches.
I recall the first time I met Lene, she described this old safe from the early 1800’s that she used to store port wine for her customers. And gosh darn, there it was in person, complete with the hole in the back where someone tried to break in back in the day!
Lene recently enlisted the help of a talented friend to convert her second story to a wine bar. Never let it be said that this woman doesn’t like to enjoy life and treat her clients like family!
Alas, we had to call our visit to and end, but I couldn’t have imagined a better way to start of our trip. Thanks to Lene for having us. And I can’t wait to start exploring the grand list you gave me of shops, restaurants, and other sites to visit.
On that note, the rain has just cleared, and we’re out the door to explore Copenhagen!
They say that when you own five or more pieces by a particular designer, then you’re officially a “collector” of that line. If that is indeed the definition, then I certainly qualify as a collector of Alberian & Aulde, the unique line created by creative duo, Warren Alberian and Mary Aulde. While I’ve spent many years getting to know their jewelry in stores such as Gallery of Jewels and Fragments, I finally had the pleasure of meeting them in person. I had to feed my parking meter twice, as I was so enthralled hearing about their work and trying on all the pieces they brought for the trunk show. In this interview, they’re sharing their latest collection, Moments. Read on for a glimpse inside the designers’ minds.
What was the inspiration for the Moments collection?
We wanted to envision a modern aesthetic that was in the rhythm of today. The baguette and square shaped gemstones spoke to that with a myriad of parallel step facets and hard angles. Our intention was to integrate and control the flow of light leading from stone to stone enabling us to capture an urban, cosmopolitan, architectural spirit…the experience you may have with constructivist cubist artwork but through the interplay of light — a fresh take on the spirit of modernity. The idea is to excite the present moment. In fact to create moments with unexpected engaging flashes of light reminiscent of shafts of light piercing the corridors of buildings in a cityscape…
As you begin creating pieces for a collection, what’s the driving force? Are you driven by the shapes? The materials?
There are certain principles of light excitation on the eye that underpin any design…that is what drives all of our designs. It is the shapes and it is the materials, but it’s something more than that, the relationship of the parts to the whole which creates a special subtle effect.
We want to make pieces that make people feel something…by the shapes, the way the light from the gem reflects, flashes and then goes dark; by the spontaneity of movement.
So, our intent is to make shapes of light that move with you….ones that are different enough for everyone to self style with in their own way, shape-wise and that compliments your vibration/aura.
The Deja Vu earrings are just gorgeous. Please tell me a bit about how they developed.
As the Deja Vu piece was in process, we called it the Mondrian. It felt like art… Warren sculpts the original pieces from wax using sketches that Mary makes…as he was sculpting, rather than making it a flat piece, he worked the stones into angles to make it dimensional on the piece so that the light reflects from many directions. A friend who saw the earring calls it holographic, which we think fits the idea for us.
The “nugget”, a cube shaped dangle that hangs from the top, is an element we made to hang from several of the pieces. The sculpture also works as a stud earring. We have made the Deja Vu earring both with and without the nugget dangle, we like it best with but some do not like a dangle.
Is there any particular symbolism in the Castle earrings?
The beauty of a piece like the Castle earring is that everyone can put their own story on it! It is designed to be open to interpretation.
We started to see the resemblance of the Moments collection to one of the first collections we ever made — one that was all one-of-a-kind pieces using baguettes, squares, triangles and other fancy shaped gemstones…that collection included our first ever Hoopla piece (interlocking rings of gemstones) and some pieces very similar to the Castle earring and Tower earrings and pendants; little sculptures of shapes, color and light attached together to create evocative jewels. We went with it …and we copied ourselves but make everything producible!
Here’s a peek into the archives — the original versions of the Tower and Castle earrings.
I don’t know about you, but hearing such detailed insights into this jewelry makes me appreciate it all the more. I want to thank Mary and Warren for their time and talent. It was a delight meeting you both, and I can’t wait to see what you create next!