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!
I never knew monkeys and jewelry could blend so effortlessly, but Marc Alary demonstrated how it’s a perfect fit. Though he doesn’t have an explanation for exactly why he loves monkeys so much, Marc definitely has made them come to life in fine jewlery!
And what’s even cooler? Check out how it moves!! (Enjoy this 17 second video I shot.)
I throughly enjoyed chatting with the charming Marc Alary at the Couture show in Las Vegas. With his French accent (born in Toulouse) and passion for his craft, I was completely intrigued by his line. Have you ever seen two monkeys fighting over a banana in a necklace? I certainly haven’t.
And then there’s a diamond-encrusted monkey, and monkey earrings, dangling with bunches of bananas.
Marc started as a print designer in NYC, working for DKNY, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. While at Marc Jacobs, he discovered he wanted to focus on jewelry design. In 2009 he was given an opportunity to sketch for 2 hours and show them to Marc Jacobs. The feedback was definitely positive, and he headed back to the studio to work. The result was three animal charms — a jaguar, a zebra and an elephant. When they overlay, it creates a more abstract piece. In 2011 he left Marc Jacobs to pursue his jewelry career full time.
As Marc explained to me, “The tangible object of jewelry is what my passion is; it’s better than print.” I’m with you, Marc! His collection of charms continues to grow, and he talked about how you can create different stories by stacking the different charms.
While speaking with him, I couldn’t help but notice his bracelet, which is part of his Caravan collection.
As a runner-up for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award in 2013, there’s no doubt that Marc is on the rise. This is why it was no surprise when I saw his rings featured in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine. Way to go, Marc!
I’m also very excited about Marc’s latest collaboration with Spinelli Kilcollin, a long-time favorite of mine. It’s truly a perfect alignment of designers, and the result is tres chic. Here are a couple photos they shared on Instagram.
I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet Marc and explore his line. I look forward to seeing what he has in store next!!
Today I found myself in my local bookstore searching for sports magazines for my soon-to-be 16 year-old nephew. (The wedding is just around the corner!!) I know you will SO not be surprised that the jewelry on the sales associate is what really caught my eye…nothing against Sports Illustrated, of course. He was a very tall (maybe 6’3″?) super-masculine man with flowing grey hair that reached well beyond his shoulders. And on his wrist, were these two mesmerizing cuffs.
He didn’t seem to mind at all that I asked to photograph them. In fact he immediately took off his favorite, the weightiest sterling bracelet I’ve ever held, by the famous (and sadly deceased) Navajo artist Darin Bill.
The inside was just as beautiful as the outside!
The other bracelet was Canadian and had the eagle head that I’ve seen on some totem poles. The two paired together are just perfect!
Not only did I truly enjoy this pairing, but it was so well suited to his Levi’s charcoal shirt and dark washed jeans. The overall impression was so pleasing, with the bracelets being the focal point.
I could tell this man appreciates both beauty and simplicity. Amazing how your attire can speak without you having to open your mouth, isn’t it?
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.
What?! Don’t you live/work in SF? Well, yes…I do. I am a Bay Area native. I work in San Francisco many days a week, and I lived in Pacific Heights for a few years as well. (I currently live 15 miles south of the city.) But don’t you find that when you live somewhere, you often don’t take the time to visit all the cool, local places as opposed to when you’re visiting somewhere new? Heck, I know SF born and bred people who have never been to Alcatraz or walked the Golden Gate Bridge, but I know all my friends who’ve visited from abroad have done these things!
This was the impetus for Friday’s field trip, with my fabulous co-hort, Jennifer Bressie. There were a few jewelry stores in areas of SF we don’t often frequent which have been on our “must see” list. So we both cleared our schedule for the day to check them out. Jen was the driver, and I was the the direction girl…(Jen probably should have been worried when I had my directions scrawled on a piece of paper, instead of using Google maps on my phone!)
Our first stop was going to be D & H Sustainable Jewelers in the Castro. Now I know that directions aren’t my strong suit, but the streets in the area where Noe and Market (and others?) meet are so catywompus, that we found ourselves stuck behind this trolley, at a dead stop. (Please note the “Dead End” sign to the right. It’s true, signs don’t lie.) Oops! Let’s do a “creative” U-turn. Perfect. Did I mention I’m not the best navigator?!
But it was all worth it, and Jen’s superb driving skills got us to our destination. In a matter of about 10 minutes, I knew that I wanted Shawn Higgins, half of the duo behind D & H Sustainable Jewelers, as a new best friend. His humor, expertise, and openness are infectious.
This store is among the first that will be SCS certified, meaning that 100% of their products are ethically sourced and sustainable. What a fabulous feat! They sell their own designs, as well as representing many other jewelry designers. It’s clear that bridal is a huge category for them. Being the magpie that I am, I went straight for the bling-iest ring in the case, featuring a flawless yellow canary diamond. (This is one of their own designs.)
Another one of their amazing pieces is this cage pendant, which took over a year to make, to get it just right. It’s made of sterling silver and 14K gold, and housed an incredible Alexander the Great coin, dating back 2500 years. Adore.
You can open it up, and really put whatever sort of talisman you’d like inside.
I also thought this necklace, made from a re-purposed 1910 Edwardian lingerie pin was quite fantastic.
If you’re looking for a supremely unique wedding ring for your guy, then check out this Gibeon meteorite set in rose gold by Lashbrooke!
After briefly meeting Lindsay (the other partner), we had to run. Lunch was most definitely next on the agenda, and you can’t go wrong with the croque monsieur (for me) or the burger sans bun (for Jen–she’s so good!) at Absinthe in Hayes Valley.
With our appetites sufficiently satisfied, were were off to Metier. You may be familiar with this store. They spent 5 years on Maiden Lane (Union Square), 16 years on Sutter (where they were a large clothing and jewelry boutique), and then a year in the Shreve building, before moving to this new location on Laguna. This jewel-box of a boutique offers both vintage/antique jewelry as well as merchandise from current designers. The more carefully you look, the more you see. The owners, Sheri Evans and Trina Papini, have an impeccable eye, so the collection is curated to perfection. During our visit, the place was hopping with customers!
I couldn’t resist trying on these Georgian rings, which are from the late 1700’s-early 1800’s. Amazeballs.
Or what about one of these silver bracelets, from Victorian to Arts & Crafts? So easy to mix with current outfits!
One of the current designers they carry is Arielle de Pinto, who weaves magic with metal. The ombre finish on this necklace is just perfect.
Loved seeing Sheri and Trina, and I’ll certainly be back soon.
Our last stop of the day was in the Mission. Love & Luxe is an amazing jewelry gallery and atelier owned by artist-in-residence, Betsy Barron. She shows her own work and also showcases 40+ other hand-crafted lines in her spacious store. As luck would have it, she came to the store during our visit. Yay!
First checking out Betsy’s line, I couldn’t help but try on a few rings.
Jen was in love with this rose gold locket from 1870. She is a total rose gold girl!
I definitely have always had a thing for turquoise, and this vintage-inspired design with Sleeping Beauty turquoise by Chris Neff made me smile.
Definitely one of the most unique lines I’ve ever seen is James Banks, which is a collaboration between Adam Schulman and Heidi Nahser-Fink. Here is their necklace called “Lightkeeper.” On one necklace, there is a glass bulb filled with black diamonds and one ruby. Then on the other necklace are the “tools” you can use to open the bulb to add/change whatever you want inside. Have you ever seen something like this?!
Even the box it comes in is exquisite.
There was also a lovely selection of work by Johnny Ninos. His current collection is inspired by barnacles, as shown in these rings. Organic beauty, no doubt.
Jen had to take one more look at that locket before we had to leave and get back on the road…
I can’t think of a better way to spend the day–with a life-long friend (We actually went to kindergarten together!) looking at gorgeous jewelry! Thanks to all of you for your time, knowledge and kindness!
So does this photo get your mind going to sparkly places? I should imagine so, and this is the type of work that has made me a fan of Rebecca Overmann’s jewelry for years now. The uniquely shaped diamonds, the organic feel, and the warmth emanating from Rebecca herself on the handful of times I’ve met her in person just draw me in. Well lucky me, because I recently had the pleasure of taking a field trip to her studio in San Francisco.
Never having visited an actual jewelry studio before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I finagled a great parking spot in her east Mission neighborhood, and I was ushered up quite a few flights of stairs to an expansive, well-lit space. I was in heaven!
Rebecca has a solid reputation in the alternative bridal realm for both men and women.
Wanting to know more about the whole jewelry making process, she took me through her education and procedures. She was going to school in Savannah and decided to take a jewelry making class as an elective. While I was there, she pulled out an old hat box filled with her school projects, showing me her early attempts in silver. One of which is this highly complicated Celtic necklace, which was her first carved piece ever. “I don’t know how I actually did this in such detail!” Well clearly she has an innate talent!!
Though she did have a successful career in graphic design for an ad agency, the day after she was laid off she went out and bought her workbench, the same one shown in the photo above. She’s never looked back, and she’s been going full-time for 12 years now. (I just LOVE when people find their true calling!)
So back to her self-described “old school” process–she first carves her pieces in wax.
She can manipulate the wax perfectly to accommodate the stones she chooses, which she also carves to the exact shape she envisions. And BOY were there a lot of stones around!
When the pieces are then cast in metal, she uses burs for setting the stones, and grinders and polishers for the final touches.
With her talent, vision, and creativity, the finished product is always something so special. She designs for a total range of clients, but she told me they all want something with a hand-crafted look. During my visit, she was getting ready for the NY Now show, which runs August 16-20. While she traditionally has used diamonds in her designs, she’s now branching out a bit into the world of color. This came about when she met a sapphire dealer from Sri Lanka who had some stunning gems. There were some woven pieces being made while I was at the studio as well, and here’s a glimpse of some of her colored sapphire rings. Given the rising popularity of colored gemstones, I’m confident that these will be a big hit at the show.
While I certainly appreciate the color, I had a few favorites from her various shades of neutral diamonds. She makes the most interesting and diverse collection of studs I’ve seen from one designer. (The photo below is a small snapshot.) I think the oval grey diamonds would make an outstanding addition to my jewelry collection, melding beautifully with many of my oxidized silver pieces…just sayin’.
I was also in love with her bangles, which were surprisingly comfortable on my wrist. You know how so many bangles are too heavy, or they slip down and catch uncomfortably on your wrist bones? These SO do not do that!
My mind was whirling after our hour together, and I can’t wait to go visit again! Before leaving, she gifted me an autographed copy of Beth Bernstein’s Jewelry’s Shining Stars, which is a visual feast of a book featuring 38 jewelry designers who are really changing the face of jewelry today. No surprise that Rebecca is one of the featured designers.
I can’t thank Rebecca enough for opening her studio to me and letting me pick her brain about it all. It was an amazing field trip! xo
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!
So earlier this month, I wrote an article about Swedish Sami bracelets. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks these are the coolest, as I’ve gotten lots of comments and e-mails about them. (Thanks for that — I love hearing from my readers!)
Well one reader even went a step further. She realized that her darling fiancee, Russ, wore one of these every day!
He purchased his at the Hostfest Scandinavian Festival in Minot, North Dakota. (looks like a pretty, darn fun festival!) He combined them with two Mexican silver bracelets, for an uber-cool look. He wears them daily, and I’m sure it adds a lot to his outfits — really expressing his personality via the accessories.
Thanks for sending in the photos and demonstrating how these bracelets rock for both women and men!