I’ve been a fan of Elie Top long before he launched his own collection in 2015. Before that, he designed the jewelry for Lanvin, under Alber Elbaz. Countless pieces from the runway shows made it onto my “I want it!” list. Elie designed for Lanvin for 15 years, after working with Loulou de la Falaise at Yves Saint Laurent. Talk about a pedigree! Though he originally thought he’d be a wardrobe designer, I couldn’t be more thrilled that his path led him down the road to jewelry.
Elie is a truly unique designer, seemingly with the mind of a mechanical engineer and architect with the soul of an artist. Only one with this combination of talents could produce a ring like this…
A still image doesn’t do the complexity of its design justice, so while at the Couture show in Vegas, I took this short video showing how the ring moves and changes, revealing as little or as much as the wearer chooses to show.
This is one of the clever aspects of Elie’s jewelry; things flip, turn, and morph. With one piece of jewelry, you can either be showing bling or toning it down with just metal. Elie has three different collections. The first one he launched is the Mecaniques Celestes, which draws inspiration from astronomical tools from centuries ago. One can see his love of Baroque as well as architectural elements in his work. I was completely mesmerized when I tried on this Aqualung Cuff, with distressed silver, gold, and diamonds.
I would wear the heck out of this necklace, also part of the same collection. I took a couple photos, so you can see it both open, revealing the inner workings of the pendant, and closed, which shows the distressed silver and gold. If you wore it this way, it would be like wearing a special secret around your neck. While speaking with Elie about his inspirations, he told me, with a grin and a glint in his eye, that the little sugar pots at the cafes in Paris helped with his design. I love that little nugget! It will give me all new appreciation when I’m in a cafe in Paris this summer.
The Cosmogonie Secrete is another of the three collections, otherwise known as Cosmo Element. One of my favorite things in this group are the rings, which flip to show two different stories. Here’s the two sides of two of these rings. On one side, you get your element (earth, water, etc.), and on the other side, your astrological symbol. This is most definitely not your average take on a signet ring!
I couldn’t help but snap a photo of the necklace that Elie’s sales and operations manager, Jehanne, was wearing. Talk about a statement necklace!
Another showstopper necklace is this one, from the Mecanique Celeste collection, crafted from ebony with amethyst, lapis, turquoise and diamonds. Once again, you can flip the components to show the jewels or keep it a little more discreet.
Elie’s Etoile Mysterious is his third collection, which has such a powerful vibe! It’s the ideal intersection of a futuristic look with nods to the past.
I could have stayed in Elie’s booth for hours, investigating the intricacies of each piece. Thanks to Elie and Jehanne for all your time and education!
As I sit down to write this article, I’m still recovering from the whirlwind weekend I just had in Beverly Hills. Did I really exchange words with Meryl Streep? Yep. And did I get a photo with Elizabeth Moss while she was holding her award? That happened. For a star-gazer like me, it’s all sort of a dream. So buckle in, my friends, this is going to be a long post, but hopefully an enjoyable one filled with lots of photos and tidbits.
It all started almost a year ago, when I became friends with some of the lovely employees at the Beverly Hilton while I was staying there during the Academy Awards. I found out that although the hotel is closed to the public during the Golden Globes, there are 100 packages which can be purchased to stay at the hotel and partake in some of of the festivities. After countless phone calls and months of waiting, I got the green light just after Thanksgiving. Woo hoo!
My mom and I flew down to LA on Friday, and already we were amazed to see the transformation taking place at the hotel. What was once a circular driveway was now a film set!
Here’s where a car typically drops you off to check into the hotel. But not today!
Take a gander at this short video I shot from the balcony of our hotel room. This is a major production, to say the least.
I couldn’t believe when a luggage cart of Golden Globe statues just rolled right on by…
We did take a little shopping break that day, so we headed to the parking garage to catch a ride in the hotel car. (Love that service!) And who did we encounter as we were sitting there? Oh, just Seth Meyers, the host of the show…no big-ee. I wished him good luck on the show, and received a winning smile, twinkling eyes and a heartfelt thank you in return. Yeah…that doesn’t happen every day.
My brother and sister-in-law flew down on Saturday to meet us. This was going to be a family affair! Finally it was Sunday, the big event. We had seats on the second row of the bleachers on the Red Carpet. It was an ideal place to sit, as not only could we see and interact with the stars on the carpet, but we were also the closet seats to the press photography area. Can you see what a fabulous view this will be of all the stars?
Here’s a little video from my seat showing you the lay of the land.
It was actually very warm when we first got to our seats — a sunny 75 degrees, but the stage lights made it even hotter. Fortunately, we didn’t have to be too dressed up for this part — that’ll come later.
Here’s the family, ready to see the celebs!
As the Red Carpet began filling up, many of the stars would come to the area right where we were seated to sign a huge board celebrating the 75th anniversary of the event. While they were in this area, you could exchange some words and snap some close-up photos. When Allison Janney was in front of me, I said, “Yay for tall girls!” She got a huge smile and this was her response. I have to say, she is truly luminescent in person — glowing from the inside.
Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel were just darling. They looked SO happy and loved the crowd cheering them on.
One thing I noticed was that you really catch different views of things when you’re there, versus seeing it on TV. For instance, when Debra Messing stopped to touch up her make-up before a photo op, I couldn’t help but notice how the sun gleamed through the giant emerald ring she was wearing on her right hand. Can you see it in the picture below?
When I heard that everyone was going to be wearing black to the Globes, I was definitely all for what it stands for, but I thought I might be disappointed not seeing the typical array of colored gowns. Although some have referred to it as looking like a funeral, I must disagree. First of all, people were very excited, and there was a palpable energy in the air. Also, I’ve never seen so many variations of black dresses in my life, and people really made it their own with their interpretations and accessories. I’m not sure if Nicole Kidman has been getting many kudos on her dress, but I have to say that she was so ethereal, floating down the carpet with her darling husband, Keith Urban. The diaphanous fabric right next her face really suited her delicate bone structure.
I couldn’t help but be wowed when Merly Streep went by.
When Mandy Moore came through, her Irene Neuwirth earrings simply gleamed in the sunlight.
Any fans of The Crown out there? Well Claire Foy and Matt Smith were awesome. They kept giggling, and it was clear they were enjoying the moment.
I was also thrilled to see the recently engaged Catriona Balfe, one of the stars of Outlander.
Two of the stars from Black-ish, Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne, definitely hammed it up for us.
Sterling K. Brown (and his gorgeous wife Ryan) was smiling SO huge, I bet his cheeks hurt by the end of the night.
It was hysterical watching Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson waiting to get their photos taken. Tom kept pointing at his wife and making faces — totally in line with the personality you think he has after watching him on screen for so many years.
Loved how William Macy was showcasing his “TimesUp” pin during his photo session. A good portion of the attendees were wearing this powerful accessory.
As the carpet was winding down around 4:30-ish, Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw made an appearance, both seeming to enjoy the audience.
By the time everyone was inside, the signature board was completely full. I wonder where it’s going to reside??
So, after three hours on the carpet, and 100’s of photos taken, it was time to head inside. The show started promptly at 5. While they did have a viewing party with screens in the lobby, we opted to skip this and headed up to watch the show in our room, order room service dinner, and get all glammed up. I wanted to be outside the ballroom doors right when they opened and all the stars started flooding out!
We got there in time to have a family photo before the doors opened.
In no time at all, this is what the lobby looked like!
One of the cool things about this awards show is that all the after parties (in this case there were 8!) are held at the hotel. So for the rest of the night, the celebs just party hop, and you can interact with many of them as they cruise around. Granted, some had major security surrounding them, but others you could definitely approach.
Given that my word for 2018 is “fearless,” I really put that into action. I had a slightly teary conversation with the fabulous Chrissy Metz about her being such a wonderful role model to us curvy girls. She had been walking with a very handsome guy, and I asked if him if he could take our picture. She said, “You do know that he’s a movie star, right?” Well, actually I didn’t, and I asked him again. They both giggled and he happily took the photo. I wonder who it was…
Some Kind of Wonderful was one of my favorite movies back in the day, and I couldn’t believe one of the stars, Lea Thompson, (you may also know her from Back to the Future) was next to me in the bathroom line! Turns out she introduced me to her husband, who happened to produce that film — we had a conversation about how innovative it was to have a female drummer as one of the leads.
Another of my all-time favorite shows is Gilmore Girls. What a treat to meet Amy Sherman-Palladino, who won for the new show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. (I binged and loved the whole season before heading to LA. I highly recommend it!)
Yay to Elisabeth Moss on her win! Loved that she was holding her statue during our photo.
I know that Connie Britton stirred up a lot of controversy with her sweater, but I enjoyed talking with her about it.
I, uh,…just maaaaaybe may have said a swear word when I saw Tracee Ellis Ross. (“Tracee, you are fu**ing awesome!”) But she didn’t seem to mind; in fact, she stopped and got a big smile on her face!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve become completely obsessed with This is Us. How gorgeous is Susan Kelechi Watson, who plays Sterling K. Brown’s wife on the show?!
Last, and certainly not least, I cannot tell you the power that emanated from the incomparable Viola Davis. Wow!! And side note, I thought her layers of diamond necklaces were out of this world — fave jewelry look of the night, for sure.
I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning and had a tough time sleeping after such an exciting day and night. The next morning, as I got ready to leave the hotel, it was a bit sad to see the show set being dismantled…
Now, it’s back to reality. But I know this is an experience that I will never forget!!
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!
I got my first in person look at Sydney Lynch jewelry at De Novo in Palo Alto. I was immediately a fan. The color combinations in this contemporary line are simply gorgeous. You can imagine how excited I was to meet Sydney in person at the JCK show in Las Vegas! I didn’t know what to try on first! Can you believe the statement this boulder opal cuff makes? I couldn’t stop taking photos of it.
Or what about the luminescence in this rainbow moonstone ring?
Sydney began her career in jewelry 1981. She spent time during college working at a Navajo reservation, where she met her first silversmiths. Although she had been a jewelry girl since childhood, this seemed to be the impetus that got her going on her own line. (And I’m so glad it did!) She now resides in Lincoln, Nebraska, where each and every piece is hand-crafted in her studio by her and her assistants — two of which have been with her for over 20 years!
Sydney was born with an acute sense of color, and you can see the result of this talent in her work. Here’s a shot from her website showing her and Tammy working on the layout for some bracelets.
You can see how carefully each gem and hue is placed in order to create a stunning result. Here’s an example of a bracelet from her archives in a parade of blush tones.
In this bracelet, she extends the palette from pinks to browns. Isn’t the result just breathtaking?
If you take a look at Sydney Lynch’s Instagram feed, you can see that nature is a definite influence in her work. It’s not only the colors that inspire her, but the shapes as well. She does, in fact, have a wide array of mixed metal pieces in her collection that would be perfect neutral additions to any jewelry box. Here’s a couple pair of earrings, one with Baroque Tahitian pearls, which would easily complement any color palette.
This bold cuff would add punch to an outfit, don’t you think?
While at the show, this necklace really caught my eye. It would definitely function as a neutral in my own wardrobe.
If you’d like a little inside look at Sydney and her process, take a minute to watch this video.
What you’ve seen here is just the tip of the iceberg, let me tell you! Click here to see a list of retailers. In addition, you may enjoy her journal/blog — I signed up for it, and I love receiving it in my e-mail inbox. Thanks, Sydney, for your time — loved meeting you and seeing your luscious line!
In a world where everything seems increasingly digital and fleeting, there’s something to be said for holding an actual book in your hands. I love the weight of it, the smell of “new book” as you turn the pages, and being able to linger over the images for as long as I want, knowing that they’ll still be there for years to come. I saved Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design for my annual family beach trip to Pajaro Dunes in Northern California. I must say that this book is a delight, and reading it while hearing the waves crash outside was pretty much a perfect afternoon.
In the introduction, Stellene writes, “A piece of jewelry, whether I am wearing it, buying it, or writing about it, always means infinitely more when I know who made it and, more importantly, why.” With this sentiment in mind, she highlights 17 different jewelry designers, “…a group of jewelers working today on what I believe are the collectibles of tomorrow.”
While I was familiar with some of these designers (and I feel privileged to have met a few of them), there were also names that were new to me. With each turn of the page, I got a glimpse behind the jewelry, and feasted on the delicious images accompanying each profile.
I learned that Elena Votsi sees her work as small sculptures. She even has some pieces on display on her coffee table! I read about the Bakelite creations form Mark Davis, who relishes that the material is indestructible. (Who knew?) Since it hasn’t been made since World War 2, he’s always on the hunt for Bakelite so he can fashion them into his luxe, yet not-too-serious jewlery. (photo from p.49)
I especially enjoyed the segment on Judy Geib; her jewelry has been on my “jewelry lust list” for quite some time. I’ve always admired that her work is perfectly imperfect. I was pleased to read, “I love the awkwardness and intimacy that each piece has because of how we make it, but I don’t ever want it to be ‘gallery jewelry.’ I want people to wear it.” This completely jives with my own view of her work. (photo from p.119)
Seven Bicakci is one of the designers who has achieved legendary status in my mind. In fact, I recall once at the Couture show I found myself in an elevator with him. I was so star struck, I couldn’t get a word out! (#epicfail) In his profile I was surprised to learn that he left school at only 11 years old and began to work for a goldsmith in his home town of Istanbul. I can see how the local architecture, such as the Blue Mosque, serve as endless inspiration for his intricate work. He has mastered the technique of inversely engraved instagios, as seen in the Stella Maris Ring. (photo from p. 155)
The index at the end of the the book is an added treat; each designer has a page showing their work featured in their profiles.
Have you ever looked at a ring on your finger and wondered how it was actually made? Heck, even the process of sizing a ring seems quite mysterious to me! Well this week, San Francisco jewelry designer Corey Egan released a killer video of what exactly goes into handcrafting jewelry. Her husband, Ryan Leggett, was the man behind the camera, and I think they did a fabulous job!
Corey told me, “He filmed me in my element, my downtown San Francisco studio, for three days to capture the footage…you get to see scenes of carving wax for casting, soldering, stone setting, and a look at my manufacturing space.” So without further ado, here’s the video. Sit back, and enjoy this 3 minute journey into the world of jewelry.
Gumuchian had me at jewelry that is “designed by women for women.” I wanted to find out more, so I was pleased to have the opportunity at the Couture show in Las Vegas. Founded over 30 years ago by Anita Gumuchian and her daughters, Myriam and Patricia, this line has both range and personality. I tried on everything from ornate diamonds to whimsical rings. I want to share three parts of their line that really struck a chord with me.
The first is The Ring Cycle (part of their G boutique), which is a lovely ring that converts into a bracelet. Say what? Yep — really! Here’s the ring on my finger…
And here it is on my wrist in bracelet form…
Do you want to know how the transformation happened? Then take a peek at this 20 second video I filmed.
This piece was designed by Patricia based on something her mother had seen as a little girl while at a Turkish bazaar. It took a couple years to get the design just right, but she nailed it! The bracelet is “a daisy chain of concentric gold rings to remind you that however far family members may travel, they remain closely connected at the center.” Love that.
As I was trying on the jewels, I learned that Anita, now in her 8th decade, still walks to work every day! She is known as the “colored stones acquisiton-ist” and selects all the colored stones for their designs. Their collection is hand made in their Manhattan workshop.
I was also eager to learn about their B collection, in which a portion of proceeds to go Honeylove.org to support the struggling bee population. I first tried on a few of the rings from this group.
No need to explain where the design came from! It’s even more clear in this awesome cuff, with diamonds of honey enmeshed in the gold honeycomb.
Are charm bracelets your style? Then Gumuchian has you covered there as well. Each charm has a bail, so you can change them around, use them as a pendant, etc.
A final part I wanted to share with you is their ice cream collection. Yes, you read that correctly! They have a group of rings in the shape of waffle cones topped with gem ice-cream, which pays homage to their Belgian heritage. It turns out that Belgium is the home of the waffle, (Who knew?!) and eating ice-cream from these special cones is a true delight. I have on the strawberry ice-cream cone, which features a rhodochrosite center and pink sapphire accents.
Isn’t it just so much fun? I thought you’d like that. And I completely understand if it inspires you to visit your local ice-cream shop today for a scoop or two. (I recommend two.) I so enjoyed learning about this company and exploring their designs, and I hope you did as well.
I’ve always written Jewelry Judge about someone I’ve spotted live, but when I came across this video by Maggie Rose, I felt it was a perfect candidate for the series. Now granted, I’m not condoning the song, its message, the gun in the video, or anything like that. I’m just commenting on the jewlery.
While I could quickly ascertain this was not a high-budget video, I was drawn to the sound of Maggie’s voice (yes, there’s definitely a bit of a country girl inside me) and her five RINGS. Her ears and neck are naked, and her face has very minimal makeup. The two tops she dons are black and basically a non-color. This brilliantly draws your attention to her voice and her fingers.
Why don’t you take a look at the video and see what you think. (If you’re getting this on an RSS feed, and the video is just a blank or black box, please click through to the blog post and you’ll be able to see it without issue.)
She has a cool combination of gold rings, including midi rings and a ring that seems to cover her right pinkly nail. A bit edgy, right? I’m liking it.
I think the midi ring on her right finger may be from the Balenciaga set I wrote about in ’13, but that’s just a guess. So what’s your opinion? Do you like the look?
I’m so glad I had time to pop into the Rock Vault at Couture before I had to jump on my flight home, as I was blown away by the architectural designs of Jo Hayes Ward. The Rock Vault, run by the British Fashion Council, is a talented group of British fine jewelry designers exceptionally curated by Stephen Webster. I can certainly see why Jo’s line is part of this impressive line-up!
This set of six hexagon stacking rings is made of “little bits,” as Jo described to me. I adore the different shades of gold (particularly the intriguing shade of warm white gold) mixed with diamonds. Jo dreams up these incredible designs, and is then able to use CAD to assist in making 3D models, which she then prints in wax and casts. It’s a perfect intersection of technology and jewelry, don’t you think?
This sphere ring really give you an idea of the dimension to her designs.
Growing up in London, the spaces and architecture in her urban environment clearly were a huge inspiration. She was a classmate with (the fantastic) Polly Wales at the Royal College of Arts, where she received her masters in goldsmithing, silversmithing, metalwork and jewelry in 2006. Upon graduation, she launched her line from a little workbench right in her own bedroom.
I recently received some images from Jo of her latest and greatest, so I want to share those with you. First up is this shimmering pair of earrings.
To demonstrate how her earrings catch, reflect and refract the light when they move, take a look at this video.
She has also started incorporating colored gemstones in her designs, as seen in these rings, which include aquamarine, sapphire and tourmaline. You can see how they easily stack, or can be worn individually.
Of course, one can never have enough diamonds, right? So the multi-sided stratus rings edged in diamonds are clearly a girl’s best friend. Again, I’m swooning with the unique color this warm white gold, as seen on the ring on the right.
Just in this past (almost) year, since I originally met her, I’m in awe of how her designs have evolved and her line has grown. I hope to see her soon, so I can try on some of these beauties in person!
I was at a poolside party in Las Vegas when a beautiful girl walked up to me.
“Is that dress by Figue?”
“Why yes it is — how do you even know it?” (Figue is a tremendous line, but it’s sold only online, at its boutique in NYC, and at two seasonal pop-up shops.)
“Well that’s the dress I used on my cover model for my latest jewelry campaign!”
Clearly we have similar tastes, and I was so excited to find out that she, Jessica Hendricks, also founded a jewelry line that is really making a difference in our world. After spending time in South East Asia, she was just devastated by the way so many Cambodian women are being victimized by human trafficking. In addition, the Cambodian culture is still recovering from the country’s genocide in the 1970’s. So in 2012 she decided to take action, and created The Brave Collection, where all the jewelry is 100% hand-crafted by Cambodian women who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Jessica has used, ” ..her passion to use fashion as an avenue for activism, empowering women with job opportunities, spreading awareness, and donating 10% of profits to the fight.” Bravo!!
These hand-woven bracelets and necklaces are lovely on their own, or easy to layer with other pieces.
Here’s a shot of one of the artisans carving the metal piece for a bracelet.
And the finished product.
The latest collection, called the Limitless Collection “..reminds us to draw strength from the bravery within to explore our dreams, without limits. The motif on this bracelet is inspired by the Buddhist flag, representing wisdom and compassion.”
Worn and supported by celebrities such as Olivia Wilde and Sara Bareillis, and featured in press from Lucky Magazine to Vogue to The Huffington Post, I’m really excited to discover this line. For more information on this amazing endeavor, please take 3 minutes to watch the video below. (If it’s just a black box, then click here to watch it online.)
And to just think, that if I hadn’t been wearing that particular dress at that particular party, I would have missed the opportunity to meet Jessica and learn about how she’s making a difference in the world through jewelry… In addition to having an online shop, you can also click here to find other retail locations.