As is often the case, I first came across the intriguing designs of New York-based jewelry designer, Page Sargisson, on Instagram. I was at once taken by the texture of the gold, and the wearability of this fine jewelry line. I could easily envision wearing it every day and then dressing it up for a special occasion. I was so thrilled to finally meet her in person at the Couture show in Las Vegas. I hope you enjoy learning more about the line from Page herself.
Can you tell me a bit about how you transitioned from a corporate job to jewelry making?
I grew up always making things – knitting my dolls clothes, wood carving with my grandfather and I’ve always made jewelry. After college I worked in corporate communications at a biotech company and at night I’d craft or make jewelry. People at my company started asking if they could buy the necklaces that I made, and before I knew it, I had a full-on side business. Sometimes I felt like a drug dealer when people would come into my office and I’d open my desk drawer full of necklaces. I ended up taking classes in wax carving and metalsmithing, and the wax carving brought me back to working in my grandfather’s basement studio carving ducks and dovetailed boxes.
The aesthetic of your line is so unique. How would you describe it to someone seeing your work for the first time?
I want the end customer to think of the person who created the piece. I think of my file marks as brushstrokes in a painting – it gives a connection to the process of making the piece that you’re wearing. It is raw and rough – it’s not everyone’s aesthetic but it makes the sapphires a little more casual, which I think allows people to wear it everyday. I wouldn’t wear a traditional round, brilliant cut sapphire ring set in gold prongs everyday, but I do wear my rose cut sapphire bands set in 18KT gold everyday with jeans or a dress.
I know being a jeweler with ethically sourced materials is important to you. Would you please you elaborate on this?
I make a lot of engagement rings using old Euro and old mine cut diamonds – my clientele seems to respond to the idea that it was mined ages ago rather than recently. I also re-do a lot of client’s inherited jewelry. It’s so sad how much jewelry just sits in a safe. Change it, melt the old gold and re-make for your style. It’s just another way of recycling.
Do you have a favorite piece or two in your collection?
I have been wearing this signet ring on my pinky for a year now – I get so many compliments on it. It’s basically a new take on a classic.
And then I’ve really been loving these opal and ruby earrings.
What do you like best about being a jeweler? And biggest challenge?
I love creating pieces, I love working at the bench – I could be there all night carving (and sometimes I am!). The longer I’m in business, the more I realize that I’m more of an artist than a business person. I’m more excited about creating a piece that I love than hitting a sales target. And that would also be my challenge; it’s really hard to run a small business. I have to deal with accounting, inventory management and everything else while also creating pieces that I love but will also sell. It’s really hard!
Page, thank you so much for your time and insight into your luxe jewelry collection. I cannot wait to see what you’re up to next!
My fascination with Brandon Holschuh began when I spied an incredibly unique bead he made on Instagram. I vividly remember I was sitting in my hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland, and my jaw about hit the floor. I was thrilled when I found out he was showing in San Francisco in August when I returned to California, and I got to meet him in person and check out a similar bead. I love everything about it, from the clearly hand-fabricated texture to the diamonds and variation in metal colors.
I hope you enjoy my interview with Brandon where you’ll find out more about this talented Ohio-based designer.
You told me that you’ve had a life long fascination with beads. Is this what got you going in jewelry design?
Yes, I began collecting ancient and ethnic beads as a teenager. Everything started as a collection. I began collecting beads, artifacts, coins, bones, parts, gemstones, rocks and any small object that had a story. I love learning about the history of the object, the provenance and I equally love the retelling the [object] story as well.
I learned to work with metal as a vehicle to help present the object or artifact. So making a metal armature or a mount to hold the objects began the evolution to jewelry. Copper turned to silver… silver turned to gold… and little by little diamonds creeped in. Our current work still pays homage to beads, but they are diamond beads. They are still strung on wire, but it’s now platinum. The forms are still present but they are also raised in platinum, gold and palladium. We have stayed consistent with the aesthetic throughout the evolution, but the materials are precious, the designs more complex and the whole feel is more refined.
Your pieces have such a raw, organic, yet luxe aesthetic. What’s your inspiration for your designs?
It seems to silly to even say this, but it’s the absolute truth — we honestly let the metal tell us what it wants to be. We process the material in such a way that we have a unique and intimate understanding of its properties, its working capacity and its ability to change shape. This working relationship is how we push the metal to its limits. We get asked a lot about our process and it’s sometimes shocking to hear that our forms, shapes and designs are entirely hand-fabricated. We do not carve wax or cast anything. Each piece incorporates so many processes and various techniques it’s entirely a product of process. We do a lot of fusing, reticulation, forming, raising and sinking. We experiment a lot and we welcome unexpected results. We integrate those into the designs. We make a lot of parts. With those parts we make small objects. With those objects, we decide if it’s going to be a brooch or a ring or a necklace. Once in a while we stumble upon two parts that are similar. Those usually become earrings or cufflinks. The whole design process is organic, as is the work.
What do you find are the most challenging and rewarding things about being a jewelry designer?
I’m an artist. My medium happens to be jewelry. I make small wearable sculptures. Even though I’m a jeweler, I’m still an artist who has a voice. I use jewelry to communicate an idea. Just like a painter makes you feel a certain way when you view their painting, I use jewelry to evoke a certain emotion. More importantly our work still has a conceptual component. Actually, it has three main components that must be met to consider a piece complete. Here they are, in order:
A finished piece must be immediately beautiful. It must be accepted by the general public as an object of beauty. It must exude luxury, refinement and sheer beauty in design and material. This is for the client, the customer and the collector.
Next, it must be well made. It must gain accolades and admiration from other makers, jewelers and craftspeople who appreciate the vast and dynamic processes that go into each piece. We must trigger the question of how it’s made, what processes were used and what the complexity of the design is. This is for those who make and our counterparts. It’s also for the critics, jurors, judges and masters of the craft.
The final component is conceptual. We make work that communicates an idea. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, it’s expertly crafted. But it also has meaning. We excel here. We challenge the design to communicate a concept or to tell a story without words. Sometimes the viewer creates their own connection to the work. This interpretation is personal. Mostly it’s an emotion. Sometimes it’s literal. We have made pieces that are purely conceptual. This is for the sentimental, the heirloom seekers. This is also for academia and those who want a deeper connection with the objects in their lives. We love to tell the stories. Remember, it’s always about the story.
If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?
Nothing. I can’t imagine a life where jewelry isn’t in my thoughts and actions in every minute of every day. My time is spent equally between my loving and supportive family and my studio. I have two amazing daughters and between my duties as a husband and father, there isn’t any time for much else.
OK, and now I have something VERY special to share with you. This is the debut of Brandon’s off-the-charts gorgeous emerald and diamond ring.
Did your eyes just go wide with delight? I bet! Here are a few more images of this beauty, which features an 8+ carat emerald, over a carat in diamonds, and all hand fabricated in 18K gold. The emerald just glows from within. I’ve never seen anything like it, have you??
Brandon — you have a true gift.
If you’d like to contact Brandon about his work, you can reach him at [email protected] or 216-577-6365. There are also links to his website and Instagram at the beginning of this article. I have a feeling there are more than a few future Brandon Holschuh collectors reading this article…
About a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Lucie Gledhill at the New York Now show. Her work has really stuck in my head, and I wanted to share some of her pieces with you. Lucie is a UK based jewelry designer who’s about 7 years into her line. What really made an impression on me is how she literally weaves with metal — take a look.
This is her Rope Chain necklace, which takes about 4 days to make. One link always has 2 other links to create the woven look.
She also has a really chic interpretation of the traditional gold chain; this is the Jumbled Curb Chain in 18K gold. I think it’s perfectly imperfect in effect, don’t you?
She has another group of necklaces that she described to me as both “ancient and feminine.” She creates this look by fusing white and yellow gold and accenting with diamond beads.
I spent my birthday this past February down in southern California with my bestie — my mom. We pile all our things in her light green mini van and take a road trip about once a year, hitting all our favorite towns and shops up and down the state. This year, I added a very special jewlery store to my birthday agenda, and boy am I glad I did!
I have been following August on Instagram for quite some time, drooling over their well-curated collection of designers. Their cohesiveness in style, yet breadth of designers has quite literally left me breathless on more than one occasion. I was thrilled when Bill Hermsen, the owner of August, let me know about a new collection they picked up, Rallou Mindfulness. August is, in fact, the first place in the United States to carry the Greek-based line from designer Rallou Katsari. Needless to say, I knew if this line was going into August, there was no doubt that I’d love it as well.
I asked Bill what drew him to this line and he replied, “Rallou’s work is deceptively simple and executed in luxurious materials. There’s something very compelling about that combination.” I couldn’t agree more. As I scrolled through Rallou’s Instagram feed, a feeling of calm came over me, and it really make me think about how powerful her clean designs are.
Each of the designs has a carefully selected name and meaning. Take, for example, the drop rings, in which the drop is a “physical representation of present moment.” Throughout Rallou’s “Seemingly Solid” collection, “The drop is used as a physical representation of the present moment and works as a mindful reminder to live, to flow, to simply be here and now.”
Rallou’s whole concept is that of mindfulness — being present in the here and now. This ethos is very evident on the quotes on her Instagram page.
As I looked through this line, I was particularly drawn to some of the earring designs. Here is the minimal and elegant “Now” stud, which creatively sits on the ear unlike any I’ve seen before. Its meaning is, “right Now life unfolds, notice.”
There are also various permutations of the earring, including this one which I love, the “Connection,” which reminds us of our connection to nature.
The “Will” earring (which also doubles as a brooch) encourages “the Will to bring peace inside and outside yourself.”
There’s even an earring which doesn’t require any piercings — the “Joy.”
This article wouldn’t be complete without also showing you the “Moment” ring, with its fluidity coming to life in gold and diamonds. It reminds us to “bring attention to this moment.”
Isn’t it just dreamy on the hand?!
As Bill told me, “Rallou is for the woman that appreciates subtlety and restraint, but it can also be layered beautifully with other collections.” Personally, I’m just dying to visit August again to try on this line in person and see how it effortlessly combines with other lines they carry. In the meantime, I’ll continue to gaze longingly at August’s Instagram feed and enjoy exploring their online store. With Bill’s background in textiles, jewelry, and interior design, I’m always assured a beautiful treat for the senses.
Do you believe in fate? I most definitely do. As I was flying to Las Vegas to attend the Couture jewelry show, I made a short list of those designers I really wanted to meet while I was there. After ogling Pat Flynn‘s nail bracelets online for quite some time now, and seeing his name on the list of first time attendees, I knew he was definitely on my list. As luck (or fate) would have it, he happened to walk in the hotel room one evening where I was hanging out with a few friends. Really? Really. Lucky me, as I got to chat with him a bit before visiting his booth at the show.
When I met with Pat at his booth, I couldn’t help but pile on a few of his nail bracelets— an iconic mainstay of his line. They are surprisingly light on the wrist, and they stack effortlessly. Pat explained that he himself hand forges each and every one of the iron nails. The juxtaposition of the hand-forged steel and the sparkle of diamonds and gold is just fantastic.
Pat grew up in rural Pennsylvania, and he began making jewelry in high school. He bought an old Craft jewelry toolkit and went to work. (He said he still has some of the original tools from this kit!) He went to art school, and then began working in factories in NYC as a young father, commuting hours a day, and then coming home to work in his own studio at night. I couldn’t write fast enough to capture all the work experience he’s had, including making the model for the first twist bracelet at David Yurman! How cool is that?!
Pat is clearly passionate about his work, and he enjoys teaching as well. I find it fascinating that he combines old-school forging with fire and hammer with the art of goldsmithing and stone-setting. He is a one-stop shop! This photo is from his website, and it really gives a feel for his process.
I couldn’t help but admire this necklace, with a detachable freshwater Chinese pearl dangling from the center.
Since feathers are one of my talismans, I was certainly drawn to this dramatic feather brooch.
And what about these earrings? I would describe them as contemporary, elegant, and yet a little bad ass all at the same time!
Pat has made an indelible mark on the world of jewelry. You can find his work in permanent collections at The Met in NYC and the Chicago Arts Institute, just to name a couple. It was a real honor to meet you, Pat. Thank you so much for your time and all your travel tips about your beloved Scotland. I can’t wait to see it myself!!