If you’re into pearls and will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, February 4th, or Friday, February 5th, then you must visit Manika Jewelry for a very unique event. They are setting up a “Pearl Bar” in the store for their One Love, One Pearl event, where you can peruse thousands of Grade A Tahitian pearls from Black Market Pearls.
And THEN…the talented Paul Bartnik will help you design a custom piece! How cool is that? (Click here to read an interesting interview with him.)
The two-night event begins on Thursday, February 4th. This is “gentleman’s night” from 5-8 pm, complete with a cigar bar, island bites, and cocktails. This would be the perfect opportunity to design a meaningful gift for that special someone in your life.
Then the following evening, Friday, February 5th, it’s time for the ladies. From 5-8 pm you can sip a cocktail, receive a complimentary hand massage and design a one-of-a-kind piece for yourself or someone else. (You know what a big proponent I am of self-gifting!)
Manika Jewelry is located at 645 Market Street, near Montgomery. If this event sounds up your alley, then e-mail [email protected] to rsvp. Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see the incredible pieces to come.
A new month is upon us, and with it brings a new birthstone to explore. (Click here if you missed my article about peridot last month.) Though traditionally people think of sapphires being blue, the fact is that they come in every color but red. Why not red? I learned that a ruby is technically a blue sapphire. What?! They are both made of the corundum mineral, but when it’s true red, it’s a ruby. There seems to be a blurry line between sapphires that are pinkish-red or reddish-orange and a ruby, so be aware. I’m going to have to investigate this more.
But on to the meaning of sapphires. Known as a symbol of faith, goodness, wisdom and purity, sapphires also provide protection of loved ones and from evil. Here are some of the other qualities associated with sapphires:
-fulfillment of dreams
-aid in meditation
Given that sapphires come in so many colors, I’m including some non-blue pieces that really pique my interest.
On Saturday I popped into the city to meet Delphine Richagneux, the new CEO of Manika. Now as you may know, I’ve been a fan of Manika since they first opened on Maiden Lane back in 2006. Not only do they have a new CEO, but they have they moved to a chic space on Market St. in the Palace Hotel. Of course, while I was there I had to imagine that I once again had a bottomless wallet — what would I buy?? Here’s my five picks, in no particular order
Jenny Reeves Seafoam Cuff in oxidized silver, 18K gold, chrysocolla and diamonds
How great does it look paired with the two rings I was wearing? (by Zaiken and Arik Kastan)
Jamie Joseph grey moonstone necklace, because it’s perfect for layering
Kanwar Creations cabochon rings…couldn’t decide between the tanzanite or the spessartite garnet
Mary Ray Cactus Drop earrings of gold and diamonds — so fun!
Of course, I could have had 20+ items on my list, but I had a limited amount of time. Great meeting Delphine, Kira and Jenny! If you’d like to get to know the store, then definitely come out for a fun event they’re having on Thursday, July 16, from 5-8. Click here for more details. I’ll be there fore sure!
I believe one of life’s greatest gifts is when a person finds their true passion in life, and then can make a living pursuing it. This is exactly what happened to Toby Pomeroy. Gracefully allowing me to interview him during his lunch break at the JCK show in Las Vegas, Toby described how he discovered his love for jewelry design. He was in medical school, but signed up for a jewelry making class as an elective during his senior year. His professor, Max Nixon, could clearly see he had a talent, and gave him a key to the jewelry lab so that he could work any time he wanted. Toby was hooked (He said he practically lived in that lab!), and he never looked back.
Toby has a gentleness about him and a sparkle in his eye! He was so open and eager to tell me about his work. One of the things that he’s world-known for is his commitment to environmentally sustainable, socially responsible jewelry. He explained to me that his real focus is on the impact of the mining industry, and he says it’s up to jewelers to request ethically sourced materials. He, himself, goes down to the mines in Columbia and works directly with the miners, staying with families there. He told me how they’re so proud of what they do, and they never thought that they’d be recognized for their hard work. This is amazing to hear! Here are a few photos he shared with me, including the mine entrance at the Canada mine, and a couple images from La Llanada. What a gold nugget!
Due to Toby’s efforts in refining re-claimed metals in cooperation with Hoover & Strong refiners, he launched EcoGold and EcoSilver in 2006, which has started a new revolution in sustainability in the world of jewelry. Toby sets the standard with True Gold, which is described as, “…TRUE GOLD™ jewelry uses completely traceable gold, platinum, diamonds and gemstones, showing complete authenticity from mine to market. When you purchase source certified TRUE GOLD™, you are supporting Fair Trade and Fair Mining efforts, conflict-free diamonds, and environmental responsibility.”
Now that you’re surely excited about the materials, let’s take a look at Toby’s beautiful designs. He’s most famous for his Eclipse hoops, which I first saw at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco. Toby described them to me as, “..an elegant marriage of form and function.” This photo shows a style with a shiny finish and diamonds.
I loved this Orchid cuff I tried on at the show. Its blackened EcoSilver with a dash of diamonds is just lovely!
Another shape, which is a modification of his classic Eclipse, is the Oval Eclipse collection.
The texture on his pieces are all hand-forged, with the help of his wonderful crew, Hank Hermansen and Rachel Richardson.
Imagine the work that goes into pieces like these, from the Oasis collection.
Or in these delicate Ginko earrings..
Toby also incorporates colored gem stones into some of his creations, such as in these earrings from the Comet Collection.
While every piece is produced at his studio in Oregon, you can find his line around the globe. Click here for a store locater guide. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Toby and learn about the positive impact he’s making in the world!
It’s pretty amazing how many times I’ve crossed paths with Vicente Agor the past 10 years, and I don’t think it’s an accident. It all started when I purchased these gold Moroccan window earrings from Manika Jewelry in celebration of my high school reunion about seven or eight years ago. (If you don’t know it yet, I’m ALL in favor of self-gifting for anything from one’s birthday to it simply being a gorgeous Saturday afternoon!) They felt exotic to me, and I imagined peering out a window of that shape to a glorious sea-filled vista.
Since then, I’ve seen him at various trunk shows in San Francisco, and it truly amazes me how he always remembers me and those earrings I purchased so many years ago. Much to my delight, I finally was able to spend some quality time with Vicente, and his “silent-ish” partner, Michael Pfeffer, at the Couture show in Las Vegas. (Oh, and let’s not forget the “interesting” dinner at Tacos el Gordo!! That menu is etched in my mind.)
Not only is this San Francisco-based duo supremely creative, but they had me laughing so hard a few times, that it was hard to take a steady photo of the jewelry! Now in business for ten years, the line has just exploded, and the pieces I saw and tried on really just blew my socks off. Here’s my colleague, Jen, trying on a large labradorite and diamond ring, which was inspired by Film Noir and the foggy waters off San Francisco.
Vicente survived a kidney and pancreas transplant, and since then it’s changed how he looks at life. Vicente and Michael are both adventurers, and they have vowed to each other to visit at least one new place each year, be it Thailand, Arkansas, or wherever. They translate their travels and personal experiences into each piece, exposing their clients to something new with each creation.
The first ring I tried on is this rock crystal stunner from the Antarctica collection. The enormous rock crystal within a rock crystal does in fact resemble an iceberg, doesn’t it? Vicente saw a photo of his father, who was one of the first Filipino officers in the US Coast Guard (how cool is that?!), and this inspired his design. In fact, his father helped select the colors of the stones in this ring. Vicente chuckled as he told me that of course his dad chose Paraiba tourmalines, which only are found in one mine in Brazil that is now closed. Why am I not surprised that exquisite taste runs in the family?!
This Ice Crystal Bracelet is also part of the Antarctica collection, and its hand-set diamonds certainly make it sparkle!
This next ring is from the Volcanico collection, inspired by his time living in Hawaii. The center stone, a fantabulous (yes, that’s a word in the “Amy” dictionary) fire opal, is the molten lava, and you can see the waves on the side. The diamonds between the two represent the new land that is created when the lava hits the sea. It’s a visual delight!
I couldn’t help but notice these necklaces as well, with their mesmerizing diamonds, aquamarines, and chrysophrase. The fluidity of the design can be described as “sensual, not sexy.” I love that!
I have to say that there is an astonishing attention to detail in this line as well. One of the most clever things I noticed was how the hook is designed on some of their earrings. It’s created in such a way that if your piercing has stretched out a bit over the years, their earrings will totally camouflage this. The front of the earring extends a bit above the hook, thereby hiding the hole. Genius! Here’s an example in a pair of labradorite earrings from their Swell collection.
Vicente Agor jewelry is available at stores across the United States (click here for a list), as well as online at Accessory Artists. What a treat it was to spend time with Vicente, Michael, and their stupendous line. I can’t wait to see what comes off the bench next.
I try not to discriminate in the world of gemstones, but I must admit that emeralds have never been one of my favorite stones. (I guess it’s lucky I wasn’t born in May.) So I thought I’d give myself a challenge this St. Patrick’s Day and delve into the world of green stones, from emeralds to green diamonds to tourmalines and beyond. I decided to send myself on a virtual shopping spree, with no budget constraints and see what gorgeous green gems I could come up with. Folks, I was definitely NOT disappointed, and I now have a completely new appreciation for lovely baubles in all shades of green. So here goes, my top 20 picks.
First up is this amaze-balls pair of earrings by Sutra.
Next I started drooling over these oval cravellit earrings by Armenta.
With the bar necklace trend still fresh in my mind, I expanded further by adoring these bar earrings by Jennifer Meyer. Though they are made of opals, they definitely read “green,” don’t you think?
For a classic tear-drop with a twist, take a look at these chrysoprase earrings by Irene Neuwirth.
And taking a more yellow-green approach, I think Anne Sportun has a lovely design in green garnets and diamonds!
Moving down the body, I started looking for green ways to adorn my neck. And oh, what lovelies did I find! First, I fell in lust with this tourmaline and diamond necklace by LFrank.
For a truly dramatic look, Irene Neuwirth nailed it with this emerald necklace.
I also explored the world of vintage jewelry, and I fell in love with this antique “Mogul” emerald and diamond pendant. The emerald was carved 1695 — so pretty!
Back to a simpler design, I think this green diamond paisley by Sethi Couture is beautiful.
And finally, this pendant necklace by Emily Amey would be great in creative layers.
Taking us to the wrist, I was loving the array of choices in which you can adorn yourself in green gemstones. This ombre look in chrysoprase and green quartz by Mary Esses is phenomenal.
Since I am a fan of stacking bracelets, I thought this bangle by Nak Armstrong would be a fab addition to my jewelry box. I love how the emeralds are such an unusual hue — veering more toward the aqua-green side.
I am often seen wearing my Hermes click-clack bracelet, and perhaps one in green would be just the right way to add a punch of color to my oft-neutral ensembles.
This delicate cuff by Jemma Wynne made of Zambian emeralds, gold and diamonds is perfection.
And given that this exercise gave me an unlimited budget, why not go for this tourmaline and diamond bracelet via Sotheby’s?
Lest we forget our fingers, I kept on the search. The first ring to catch my eye was this emerald slice and diamond stunner by Monique Pean. The stone has such a smoky quality to it — love it!
For a much more organic, boho look, I’d opt for something like this adventurine and sterling silver ring from Circle & Square.
Given my penchant for stacking rings, I know that I could incorporate some of these skinnies by Suzy Landa into my collection.
I think this opaque green diamond ring by Sethi Couture would look amazing with my skin tone.
And to end with another vintage piece, I think this emerald and diamond ring from the late 1800’s/early 1900’s via Bonhams is exquisite. I’m actually shocked that it sold for under $3K.
So what do you think of my virtual shopping spree? Do you see some pieces that you’d like as well? Wishing you a fabulous St. Patrick’s Day!
It’s certainly trunk show season, and I have been having lots of fun making new discoveries in the world of jewelry! One I particularly enjoyed was meeting Rebecca Longenecker and Meghan Zimmerman, the dynamic duo behind Metal Earth Studios, at a recent trunk show at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco.
Meghan and Rebecca became friends when Rebecca moved in across the street from Meghan about nine years ago. Both having small children at the time, it was a natural connection. Fast forward about seven years, and their Oakland-based jewelry line was born. Rebecca had more of of the jewelry background, and Meghan has talents in art and photography. Combining all of their strengths, they started hand-crafting beautiful, organic, and bohemian jewelry.
They use green gold, ethically mined diamonds and sterling silver. “Each piece is created to help women feel connected to the earth, its elements, and the feminine creature,” Meghan told me. They do all the forging and finishing work themselves in their home studio. Wow!
I love the mixed metals in this necklace.
And this necklace is beautiful on its own, or layered with other pieces.
Since I have tiny wrists, I was very happy to see that they make bangles in small sizes too!
The designers are so inspired by the metals they design with, and they clearly have a talent for working with them. Take a look at these beautifully crafted rings.
If this line appeals to your sense of personal style, I definitely recommend you check it out!
I’ve written about layering necklaces and bracelets, but I’ve yet to talk about stacking rings. I think this goes beyond being a trend — it’s more of a personal style. Mixing metals, styles and scale, one can really let your personality shine through with this technique. And the bonus is that there are no set rules…you just need to experiment until you get the vibe you’re going for.
On a recent shopping trip with a client, she was excited to show me her new (beautiful) David Yurman ring which she had purchased on a girl’s weekend in Las Vegas. She and her long-time friend bought matching rings to commemorate the trip. She smartly paired this with a diamond band she already owned. On our shopping expedition, she found the perfect thin black diamond eternity band at Gallery of Jewels to complete the trifecta. Loving it!
Here’s another stack that was created over a few years’ time. The bottom ring is by Armenta, the middle ring was purchased at an estate sale, and the top ring is a beauty by Nina Bashrova from Manika Jewelry. Though they are all different, they still appeal to the same sensibility with the delicate gold/diamond story. In addition, the scale of each ring works harmoniously together.
Let your creativity run wild when experimenting with combinations. This group by Sylva & Cie rocks!
I’d love to see what stacks you come up with. Feel free to send me photos!
Who needs a store front? Marcy Roth certainly doesn’t, and about a year ago she founded one of the coolest jewelry boutiques around, Accessory Artists,…online! I had the pleasure of meeting Marcy at her trunk show at Manika Jewelry. (I know I seem to mention them quite a bit, but honestly, it’s an amazing store. If you live here in the Bay Area and haven’t visited before, get on it!)
Marcy brought a sampling of various designers she carries, and the range was amazing — fine jewelry to costume, large scale to delicate, bohemian to urban edge. I have no doubt that ANY jewelry aficionado will surely find something right up their alley on this site!
She carries over thirty artists, the majority of which are based here in the United States. Her research background really helped lay the groundwork for her “jewelry sleuthing” where she tracks down up and coming artists. This is not the place to find mass-produced lines. It’s where you’ll find unique pieces that you won’t see coming and going.
So just because you may be stuck at work right now, sneaking a peek at this blog post while the boss isn’t looking, it doesn’t mean you can’t go jewelry shopping. Indulge and treat yourself to something sparkly!
When you get all your money stolen while in South America, you’d never think that it would lead to an amazing career in jewelry design, but that’s just what happened to Sara Freedenfeld. Finding herself without funds, she learned to macrame wearable art and sold her goods on the street each day. Clearly…she had talent! Soon thereafter she met a metal artist in Venezuela who taught her the basics in metalwork, and hence her life in jewelry was launched.
With many of her pieces dripping in delicate chain, it’s clear that it’s her signature look. Rings, necklaces and earrings are all hand made in Astoria, New York of solid 18K gold, precious and semi-precious stones. This necklace, made of grey quartz and silver diamonds, woven in 18K gold is so special! It is very feminine, yet sexy at the same time.
Here are a couple pair of earrings that showcase black diamonds woven with the same 18K chain. And you know…you can never have enough hoop earrings!
I think Sara herself sums it up quite nicely in describing her jewelry as, “a line of jewelry that delicately unites the natural simplicity of handcrafted artistry with the sophistication and glamour of high fashion.”