How can it be that six days in Las Vegas for Jewelry Week flew by so quickly?!? Here I sit, back in my apartment, when just a 6 hours ago I was having lunch at the Wynn with some amazing jewelry industry peeps. I will admit I got a bit teary upon take-off, seeing the Wynn and Mandalay Bay shimmering in the distance, knowing I was leaving without doing and seeing all I wanted to, which is always the case when I attend the Couture Show and JCK. It will be strange not putting one of these badges around my neck tomorrow morning.
But on the upside, I have to say it was probably my most memorable trip to the shows ever. Part of this is that since it was my 5th year attending, I know an increasing number of designers, press, and show staff, so it’s just wonderful to see all of them. I also noticed what a difference social media made in my experience this year. I’ve become online friends with so many jewelry industry people, and I feel as if I’ve gotten to know them on a very personal level, from their grandkids to their vacations to special moments in their lives. More than once, when I saw one of these “virtual friends” in the flesh, we embraced with the biggest of hugs, bringing the online friendship live. It was truly awesome!
And then there’s the jewelry … and this year just blew me away. I cannot WAIT to share all the fresh content with you. I think you’ll be dazzled by what I saw and tried on. Big, bold and colorful to dainty, neutral and sparkly, I saw a l.o.t! So stay tuned for next week, when I’ll begin sharing all my bling-tactic discoveries. Is your interest piqued? I hope so! And if you want a little taste of what I saw, check out my Instagram feed for some teasers.
I definitely took note of the earrings Carey Mulligan was wearing on the cover of Vogue in May. They were so pretty, a bit vintage looking, and just the right complement to the dress. Little did I know that a just over a month later, I’d be meeting Marie-Juliette Bird, the designer of these beauties.
The line, Blackbird and the Snow, was showing at JCK and I was very excited to see it live. The pieces have a definite Victorian old-world aesthetic with a modern twist. These Celestial earrings were simply glowing, from the cabochon moonstones to the diamonds. And how unique is the display using an old picture frame?!
These mesmerizing cabochons were also divine in these Full Moon rings. The one with a blue hue is a rare ceylon moonstone, alongside a lighter colored moonstone set in gold. Equally dreamy, don’t you think?
Marie-Juliette spent 8 years apprenticing in London for David Courts, who is known for creating the original Keith Richards skull ring. During her years abroad, she began collecting antique Victorian charms. These precious purchases now serve as the inspiration for her line, which is completely hand fabricated in the USA. She was wearing her current favorite piece, which is the Flying Swallows necklace with diamonds.
I thought the Fancy Bird necklaces with a singular swallow were just darling — especially the turquoise one! I would totally layer that with other necklaces to create a nature-inspired mix.
Nature is a driving force behind the line, and “…is an ode to the natural world; the pieces express a connection to the wilderness and a desire to immortalize elements -birds, insects, wings, stars, moons – that serve as the living, elemental poetry of our world.” The heavens are represented in these necklaces. The rosecut gems really make them glisten, just like the stars in the night sky.
I couldn’t help but notice the sweet hoops she was wearing as well, with a turquoise bird gracing her lobe. It’s quite a clever design, as it would cover any elongated piercings you may have.
I was very curious about the name of this jewelry line. She explained that she sees her life as a tree, with different creative projects being different branches. Her band, Blackbird and the Storm is one branch, and her jewelry line is another. Creative to the core, this Boulder, CO-based artist is just beginning (2.5 in business now), and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Thank you so much for your time and letting me try everything on!
I cannot believe that three and a half years have passed since I first interviewed stellar jewelry designer Meredith Marks. (Click here to read that article.) I love how this line has grown and evolved since our last meeting, and I was pretty blown away by three different pieces I tried on at the JCK show in Las Vegas. Here they are, in no particular order.
Abalone and emerald “Lia” cuff, set in rhodium plated sterling silver
Pyrite “Graysen” necklace with diamonds
“Ivy” cuff — rhodium plated sterling silver with diamonds
While all three of these pieces are substantial in size, they were very comfortable to wear! If you’d like to see her work in person, then click here for a link (and scroll down a bit) for a list of stockists.
This year was the first time I visited the JCK jewelry show, which happens concurrently with the Couture jewelry show in Las Vegas. It boasts over 3000 booths, so it was a bit overwhelming to say the least. But I just knew that there were many treasures to be found, and find one I did! While passing by Anna Ruth Henriques‘ booth, my eye instantly gravitated to the MOST amazing stingray clutch. (Side note: stingray is also known as shagreen)
Now I must admit, that I have a bit of a “thing” for stingray. It’s one of the most durable natural materials in existence, and I love the texture and organic feel of it. (even my iphone case is made from it!)
Anna’s bag is made from sustainable materials, made in the USA, and she uses recycled metals and diamonds. The gorgeous clasp was crafted from sterling with bezel-set diamonds. But the even cooler thing is that she created a cicada clasp that can be attached over the silver one to create a whole new look! If you notice the details of the cicada’s wings, you can see that she painted a very detailed pattern on the mother-of-pearl wings that sparkles under faceted quartz. It’s truly a work of art. And it can be used as an alternate clasp, as a pin, or on a necklace.
Here’s a close-up view of the cicada. Can you see the amazing detail?!?
She also had some beautiful stingray cuffs. One of which features a spider, which is her signature. Granted, I’m not a big fan of spiders in the flesh. But when I found out that she uses them as a symbol of independence and self-sufficiency, I must admit that I will start to look at these 8-legged creatures in a whole new light.
When I got to the JCK jewelry show, I knew that one of the first things I wanted to see was the “Rising Star” area — to see what was new and hot on the jewelry scene. Well map in hand, and a few directions required, I finally found it. One booth in particular just drew me in, and that’s the work by Naomi Blumenthal.
Naomi and her family are based in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. With a degree in sculpture and working as an estate garden designer, her jewelry truly is an extension of her and her passions. It’s clearly nature-inspired, right down to the cellular structures of plants. As she told me, “It’s like growing natural forms from biology, geology, cells under a microscope….plants, flowers, ocean creatures…..there is so much out there to be inspired by and that I want to make.” Her line is light and airy, yet substantial at the same time. Using materials from 18K recycled gold to pearls to porcelain (her sculpting background showing right there), she creates truly beautiful and original jewelry. Each and every piece I tried on felt so comfortable and easy to wear.
The first item that I had to try on is was this ring. The design can be interpreted as cells dividing, or even as some exotic fruit. Personally, I thought it was a fan-tab-ulous statement ring.
This bracelet was just delicious, and the “click” it made when closing on my wrist was certainly a well-thought-out design. She told me that the concept of this bracelet is rooted in the structure of bubbles. I am surely going to be inspecting my soap suds in a whole new light!
Staying with the theme of looking at the minute details of things, this necklace, called the cell pendant, “…is taken from the cross section of a plant stem. (She) made the chain to have repeating elements from the pendant, which is detachable.” Just brilliant! I love the matte finish, and I can imagine wearing it on its own or layered with other necklaces.
Not to ignore her wealth of botanical knowledge, I’m loving these “rue” earrings. I, being the uniformed plant gal, had to ask for clarification. Turns out that the rue plant is known as a medicinal herb. The earrings are jointed, creating a natural movement. They are also very light-weight, so perfect for those with more sensitive ears.
I’m sure you can now see how unique this line is. I’m thrilled that I got to meet her, and I look forward to seeing what this “rising star” is up to next!
Well yesterday I returned home from one of my favorite places in the world, Las Vegas. When I combine that with two amazing jewelry shows, saying that I was in heaven is putting it mildly! There are two major jewelry shows that occur at the same time each year in Vegas. Couture is held at the Wynn, and JCK is held at Mandalay Bay, at the opposite end of the strip. (love that they have a shuttle between the two shows!)
As editor of this blog, I was just thrilled to attend the shows. My dear friend and colleague, Jennifer Bressie, joined me again this year, and I have to say that we met and interviewed some amazing designers. I will be writing up articles about them in the months to come, so be prepared for a visual vacation.
Here’s Jen and me at the entrance to Couture, ready to explore all the glittering baubles that time would allow!
The shows are more than just jewelry, too. There are social events and parties, which are the perfect opportunity to get to know the designers and other people in the jewelry business better.
I was also so excited to see Efva Attling, one of the designers I met last year who truly made a lasting impression on me.
Beth Bernstein, author of My Charmed Life, has a new coffee table book coming out soon, and I was honored to be at her book launch. Clearly, Todd Reed (designer extraordinaire) is a fan as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!!
This year was my first time attending JCK, which I believe had over 3000 exhibitors. (Can you believe it?!) I cannot wait to tell you about some of the cool, talented designers I met there as well.
My last night was topped off by attending the Couture design awards — basically the Academy Awards of jewelry design. Here I am with Mary Esses (who was nominated) and Lisa Evans, awaiting the big announcement.
So buckle your seat belts, and get ready for the glittery ride. You’re going to love what’s to come!