Olive Bungalow Stacking Rings

One of the things I love about blogging is getting to know people, from the designers, to store owners and workers, to my readers. Everyone has such interesting stories that weave into an amazing tapestry of life!

I recently received an e-mail from one of my readers who has been going through a particularly difficult time in life, from the death of her father to relationship issues. While life is certainly throwing her some curve balls lately, she seems to be really coming into her own. First of all, she just came in first for her age group in her VERY first triathlon. (Brava!!) I admire the dedication and fortitude that the whole training and race took — way to focus energy into something positive! And next, she bought herself some amazing inspirational rings.

olive bungalow rings

These lovely rings are crafted by Olive Bungalow. This is my first introduction to this line, but I can say that just from perusing their website, I’m a big fan of this artisan, made in the USA line. My reader chose three rings, with opal, green tourmaline (both her birth stones) and a chocolate diamond. Inside each ring, she chose a meaningful inscription: hope, strength, and courage.

Hope
Hope

I know that each time she looks at these rings, she will feel that pulse of self-worth. Though jewelry can seem frivolous to some, this is case and point that it can have real meaning — she is more than worthy! I applaud this reader, and I have strong intention that her inscriptions of hope, strength and courage help carry her though whatever life has in store for her. Much love.

Victor Velyan: Designer

When I met Victor Velyan at the Couture show, I knew that I was meeting one interesting and talented guy. Full of stories of his “second” home in Africa, I know he could keep anyone entertained for hours! (In fact during the show, I heard a couple designers affectionately refer to him as “African Vic.”) But sooner or later, I had to get to exploring his incredible line, the likes of which I haven’t seen before.

Victor and Amy
Victor and Amy

Based in Los Angeles, Victor has been in the jewelry business for 30 years. But about 5 years ago, he really got the urge to create something extremely new and edgy that no one had seen before, so this particular line was born. It’s all completely hand made with NO electric tools! He only uses old-school tools such as chisels and hammers. The first thing that really struck me about his line was the amazing patina on some of his pieces, which he described to me as, “copper trying to come back to life.” Take a look at this exquisite cuff, and the detail of the carefully carved crocodile pattern. The patina process took him 5 years to develop, but I think the hard work was worth it!

stunning!

He also has a white patina on some pieces, which are made using a pure acid bath. The result is extremely unique! This white patina is beautiful on these drop earrings, accented with pink sapphires and sea blue onyx. And a fabulous feature about these earrings is that you can take off the drops, and add others. Great versatility!

victor velyan earrings

I also think these tourmaline and sapphire earrings are quite spectacular, with the color harmony of the stones — fab combo!

victor velyan earrings

Victor also loves pearls. This necklace of pink tourmaline, diamonds and South Sea white pearls is worthy of a princess! And the back of the pendant is just as beautiful as the front.

victor velyan necklace

While I was admiring his collection, I happened to meet Soraya Cayen, who has a fine jewelry store, Cayen Collection, in Carmel, CA. Small world! She carries his line, and is a collector of his work herself. Since Carmel is definitely one of my favorite places to visit, I’ll be sure to stop by next time I’m in town!

Sethi Couture

Sisters Pratima and Prerna Sethi have jewelry in their blood. With a father in the jewelry business, backgrounds in fashion, and both with a love of all things beautiful, it was natural that they founded their jewelry company, Sethi Couture, in 2009.

Prerna and Amy
Prerna and Amy

I’ve been a fan of this line for quite a while, yet I’d never met them in person, even though they are based here in the SF Bay Area! It took being all the way in Vegas at the Couture show for our first meeting. About a year ago I helped a client select a new wedding set. We came up with this stack of Sethi Couture rings. The unique color combination, the versatility of wearing one, two or all three rings at once, and the blackened metals really sung to my client’s heart.

Non-traditional wedding stack
Non-traditional wedding stack

In fact, I think their diamond stacking rings are genius. They come in such a range of beautiful colors, and they can add so much when combined with other rings. They were created for “women to easily wear and stack …for effortless elegance.” I’ve got a brown diamond one on my jewelry wish list…

sethi couture stacking rings

Here’s a ring from their enchanted garden collection — perfect on its own, or stacked with one of their diamond bands. It’s made of 18K white gold with black rhodium, white diamonds and burnt orange diamond accents.

sethi couture flower ring

While their line is only a few years old, it’s gaining a huge celebrity following, from Halle Berry to Reese Witherspoon. Here’s Jennifer Lawrence rocking a pair of their stunning earrings!

These are FAB earrings on Jennifer!
These are FAB earrings on Jennifer!

I think these white rose cut diamond inverted drop earrings are a beautiful design, with green diamonds set in 18K white gold. They were inspired by the rich colors of peacock feathers. As Prerna described to me, “Ours is a contemporary line with an old world aesthetic.” I think that’s the perfect description.

From their "plume" collection
From their “plume” collection

Each sister has different perspectives to contribute to the designs. Prerna loves the architectural details, while Pratima adores feminine, lacy designs. Prerna said that she enjoys “buliding the architecture around these amazing natural stones.” Case in point is this modern chandelier earring, with an exquisite ombre effect, created from cognac, champagne and orange diamonds.

sethi couture chandeliers

If you’d like to see them and their line in person, then head to Gallery Of Jewels in Union Square on Saturday, July 13. They have a personal appearance from 11-7 during their Endless Love event. You might just find the perfect piece to add some color to your jewelry box!

Brooch Magnets

I know that all of us have pieces in our jewelry box that go unworn. Each day when you open your box, they are yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” But as the days go by, they go unchosen. (sort of like being picked last for the kickball team in grade school!) Well Country Living magazine had a great idea for how to re-purpose your unused brooches. Turn them into stylish magnets for your fridge!

Brilliant idea!
Brilliant idea!

Basically, all you have to do is use needle-nose pliers to remove the hardware from the back of the pin, and then glue on a super strong magnet. Voila — you’ve got a chic new way to affix your “to do” list to your fridge! Plus, I’m sure that your brooches will love being center stage once again! šŸ˜‰

Mary Esses: My Favorite New Piece

One of the coolest things about attending Couture for the second time was running into some of the designers that I met and loved last year. Mary Esses is one such lady, and when I approached her booth this year, her smile just warmed my heart. (and that was before I even checked out her jewelry!)

So excited to see Mary!
So excited to see Mary!

Nominated for a coveted Couture Design Award this year (brava!), she really has some amazing new pieces. This bracelet, from her new feather collection, just yelled, “Amy…try me on!!” The spectacular creation of countless brass chains with a centerpiece of silver and grey diamonds felt like silk on my wrist.

mary esses feather bracelet

mary esses feather bracelet

I instantly fell in jewelry love. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

Megan Thorne: Designer

Last summer I was in charge of my 25th high school reunion. As you know, I’m a strong proponent of self-gifting, so to celebrate the occasion, I bought myself a little prezzie — in this case a wide gold band with diamonds by Megan Thorne. I wear it stacked with a thin gold ring by Armenta, and every time I look at my hand, I remember all the fun memories of the reunion.

megan thorne ring with armenta ring

I was so excited to meet Megan in person at the Couture show! She is just a delightful woman, and her smile lights up a room! From her first impression, you’d never believe that she actually got kicked out of an NBA game once for yelling at a ref! (Yep…it’s true!)

Megan and Amy
Megan and Amy

Megan originally started out in lingerie design, totally swept up in the beauty of lace and the various prints on fabrics. Though once this self-proclaimed klutz tried her hand with a jewelry torch, she knew she was a natural. Thus began her career in jewelry in 2007, tools in hand in her garage in Texas. She’s still based there, and everything is hand-crafted at her Texas studio.

This is called her “picture frame ring.” You can see that the center of the ring really does look like a picture frame with a diamond in it. It’s based on a ring that her grandmother had as a little girl. Years later, she still had the ring in its original box with her childhood handwriting on it. She gave it to Megan, who then fashioned this ring — love that back story!

megan thorne picture frame yellow gold emerald cut with ribbed princess step band

While she didn’t originally set out to be a bridal jewelry designer, that’s where the path has taken her. But I really don’t think you have to be a bride to wear her beautiful pieces. (I’m proof right there!) I was drawn to this ring, which was one of her earlier pieces. I love that that it’s larger in scale, yet still extremely feminine.

Damask ring
Damask ring

Megan designs more than just rings. I just adore these diamond studs, which were inspired by a fabric print. The rose cut diamonds are gorgeous in the white gold setting.

megan thorne imperial white gold studs

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you can meet Megan in person and see/try on her collection. She’ll be at Gallery of Jewels in Union Square on Saturday, June 29th from 11-7. This is part of their big Endless Love jewelry event, which you don’t want to miss! It runs June 28-July 14th at all three of their SF locations. (Click here for the full schedule.) And remember, you don’t have to be a bride to find something fabulous!!

Shannon Koszyk @ Margaret O’Leary

One of the perks of living in Burlingame, CA, is that I can walk to a completely darling downtown, rife with cute shops and eateries. Margaret O’Leary is definitely one of my favorite boutiques, and I must say that I frequent their shop a few times a month. While known for their own knit line, I’ve got to tell you that they also have some stunning jewelry, and each location carries different treasures. Most recently, I’ve been drawn to a couple bracelets by Seattle-based designer Shannon Koszyk. Her pieces are a bit of history, yet with such a modern aesthetic.

This bracelet is simply divine. It’s made of three different widths of sterling silver chains, with a bronze Victory Angel Medal from WWI. I learned that this medal was commissioned by the French after the war — on one side is an angel, and on the other side are all the flags of the victorious countries from the war. Crazy cool!

shannon koszyk victory angel bracelet

The other stellar piece that I tried on was this bracelet, composed of British South African coins.

shannon koszyk british south african bracelet

I’m so glad this designer is now on my radar! Upon research, I see that she was at the JCK show in Vegas. Bummed to have missed her (that show was beyond huge!!), but I will make it a point to visit her booth next year!

Naomi Blumenthal: Designer

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 Amy
Naomi and Amy

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.

naomi blumenthal 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!

naomi blumenthal Space Frame Bracelet

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.

naomi blumenthal Cell necklace

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.

naomi blumenthal rue earrings

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!

Pamela Froman’s To-Die-For Opal Ring

Back in 2011 I wrote about Pamela Froman’s stunning jewelry line. I still dream about that moonstone ring… Well how happy was I to meet the designer in person at the Couture jewelry show!

pamela froman and amy roseveare

I was anxious to see what she’s been up to, and she did NOT disappoint! This double-fingered ring features a stunning Australian yowah boulder opal surrounded by white diamonds and paraiba tourmalines, set in 18K gold. Holy cow!!

pamela froman opal ring

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, then you have your chance to meet this talented designer this Friday and Saturday! She will be having a trunk show at Earthworks in Los Altos, CA on 6/14 from 12-6 and 6/15 from 10-5:30. Don’t miss this opportunity, and let me know which pieces you’re in love with!!

Anne Sportun: Designer

A few years ago, I bought this ring by Anne Sportun at a local shop, and it quickly became one of my faves! (In fact my friend Karen liked it so much, that she bought one as well!)

l.o.v.e.
l.o.v.e.

Since then, I’ve been trying to meet her…but I always seemed to be out of town or busy when she had a local trunk show. But the stars were in alignment at Couture this year, when I got to spend a good amount of time chatting with her, finding out more about her line, and really getting to know her as a person. Let me tell you, she is just as lovely as her jewelry line!

anne sportun and amy roseveare

Anne had her first jewelry order at age 16, when she was making jewelry out of stained glass. (Clearly jewelry designing was in her blood!) She is based in Toronto, Canada, and is fortunate to have her home, her studio and her shop all within a mile radius. How cool is that?! While her original plan was to study archaeology, she decided to sign up for a gold smithing class on a break before university. One thing led to another, and her jewelry business grew.

Anne explained to me that she has three different parts in her line: fashion, bridal, and alternative bridal jewelry. Each piece is hand-crafted in her studio, and many pieces have her signature stardust finish. This ring is her all-time favorite, with diamonds and an organic edge.

Stardust Disc Ring
Stardust Disc Ring

Being that aqua is my favorite color, I was instantly drawn to this aquamarine ring. It reminds me of the sea with a strand of sparkling sand.

anne sportun ring

In that same collection, she has these amazing earrings, which can be worn three ways! The pendant can be worn on either side, and it can be totally removed so that you are just left with the studs.

First way to wear them
First way to wear them

Second way
Second way

Voila --chic studs!
Voila –chic studs!

Anne’s tagline is “Precious. Everyday.” and I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment. When you have a beautiful piece of jewelry that you love, then wear it — don’t leave it for “good” hidden away in your jewelry box. Case in point would be this ring, which I would rock every day if I owned it! The three main stones are sapphire slices, surrounded by white diamonds and set in white gold.

Yes, please!
Yes, please!

I couldn’t resist trying on a few of her bridal rings, either. They are all made for stacking, which is a great selling point. My favorite was this one — I love how the center stone is round, yet the outer setting is oval. It’s definitely a design I haven’t seen before!

anne sportun ring

Anne is really an outdoor girl, and she gets much of her inspiration from nature. She gets so much joy from spending time at her lake house with her husband and three children. She told me that she has a “calm, blessed, happy life” and I know that this is true. She just exudes a feeling of peace when you spend time with her. “Life is a series of synchronicity,” she told me, and I think that’s such a cool way to look at life. It was such a pleasure to meet her, and I will now picture her in my mind’s eye in this fantastic room at her lake house, dreaming up her next design.

anne sportun's house