WJA Designers by the Bay

This is the second year I’ve attended the Women’s Jewelry Association’s big event, Designers by the Bay. This event is truly a visual feast, held in the Shreve’s building near Union Square; it’s where Bay Area fine jewelry designers showcase their latest work. There was unfortunately no way to have an intimate look at every case during the time I was there, but there were four designers that really got my attention, and I was able to take a closer look at their lines.

Tura Sugden was a new kid on the block (It was her first show!), but she is going places..quickly. She is based in Noe Valley in San Francisco, where she designs and makes each piece herself. I was taken by the unique settings and stone shapes — look at this spectacular pair of diamond earrings!

tura sugden jewelry
The same amazing detail, created with a German blow-torch, is shown in her studs as well. (I’m especially paying attention to these now that I have my new piercings!)

tura sugden earrings
And what’s not to love about this diamond cuff?

tura sugden diamond cuff
In contrast to the complexity of Tura’s designs, I was also very drawn to the sleek lines of Coleoptere (which means beetle in French). I tried on this shiny gold disc ring (called the wabi sabi ring), with diamonds around the edges. So interesting how the light reflects off the surface of it, making it almost look like a stone of some sort.

coleoptere wabi sabi ring
Here’s a clear photo of it from their website.

coleoptere ring
This Oakland-based company has all female goldsmiths — very unique! They use 18K royal yellow gold, which I learned is a rare buttery color with a touch of green. I thought the design of these asterisk earrings was awesome.

coleoptere earrings
The woman I was standing next to wanted to go home with these stunning gold hair pins…and they’d look fab on her with her long hair!

coleoptere hair pins
Jennifer Dawes is an artist that I’ve wanted to meet for years, and I finally had the pleasure at this event. Based in Santa Rosa, Jennifer’s collection was bursting with color. There were stacks of rings in all hues.

jennifer dawes rings
jennifer dawes rings
With a strong focus on responsible, sustainable jewelry, all of Jennifer’s jewelry is hand fabricated and finished at her studio. I was in love with this necklace, comprised of a very pale emerald above an emerald crystal. The combination of color and texture is sublime.

jennifer dawes necklace
Taking a stroll through her website, this Etruscan double diamond ring spoke to me.

jennifer dawes etruscan double diamond ring
My final showcase for the evening (before the Giant’s won the World Series and I had to get the heck out of SF before the mayhem) was that of Thalia Jewelry. Designer Rachel Clinnick just glowed with delight when showing me her amazing work. I could instantly feel her passion for design. This stack of diamond and opal rings was amazing–especially the one with the diamond teardrop pendant. Yum!

thalia jewelry rings
Most of the pieces are one-of-a-kind. I couldn’t believe how this large Ethiopian opal ring was on fire on my finger!

thalia jewelry opal ring
And this one she dubbed “The King’s ring.” Wowza–very heavy and worthy of royalty indeed!

thalia jewelry ring
Finally, this necklace with it’s diamond pave double snake clasp was beautiful! The clasp is completely interchangeable, allowing you to create different necklace or bracelet looks. Brilliant design!

thalia jewelry double snake clasp
I wish I had been able to stay longer at the event, as there were many more cases beckoning me. So many jewels, so little time…