Wendy Brandes Maneater Rings

Wendy Brandes is a force to be reckoned with, in the most positive of ways. I’ve followed her on social media for quite some time, and I’m inspired by both her unique jewelry and her strength of character. When I found out she would be showing at JCK in Las Vegas, I definitely made meeting her a “must do.” I’m so glad I did, as she and her collection were as impressive in person as I had envisioned. I now must share with you some of the most fantastical rings I’ve ever seen before, rife with detail and a story. Without further ado, enjoy this interview with Wendy about her Maneater collection.

wendy brandes maneater rings
I was SO taken with your Maneater rings at the show! Can you tell me a bit about what inspired this collection?

Since childhood, I have been fascinated by biographies of women, especially those of long-ago queens and other powerful female figures. In my first career as a journalist (at the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and People.com) I was, of course, dealing with current events. When I switched to jewelry design in 2006, I realized I had a way to keep telling stories, only now I could tell them about the historical women who had always intrigued me. I started my line with designs inspired by real people, ranging from the queens everyone knows about — Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Anne Boleyn, and Elizabeth I — to women Americans might not be familiar with, including Empress Matilda of England, Queen Min of Korea, and Empress Wu of China.

It was Empress Wu, the 7th-century ruler of China, who led to the Maneater collection. I always liked the fact that during her lifetime, Wu was known as “emperor” — the only female ruler of China to use the male title. Historians have treated her differently from her male peers, the same way they did with other powerful women. You can find supposedly serious history books that refer to Wu (and other women) as a “dragon lady” or “maneater.” (Equally murderous male rulers have no equivalent pejoratives.) I like to take the words used against us and turn them into symbols of power. Besides, who doesn’t love dragons? So I created an 18K yellow gold Empress Wu dragon ring that holds the whole world — represented by a spinning lapis lazuli globe — in its fangs.

wendy brandes empress wu dragon ring
That other common insult — “maneater”– still stuck in my mind though. Eventually, I decided that every jewelry design I did didn’t have to represent an actual woman, and that I could create pieces around the theme of female power in general. Thus, the Maneater collection was born.

I believe there are 8 in the series, and I tried on 3 of them at the show: the bull and bullfighter, the pink elephant and Jonah and the whale. Can you give us a little description of each of these?

I originally planned to do a series of eight one-of-a-kind rings — eight being a “power” number if you are into numerology — but then I found a very interesting and large labradorite carving, so now the series is seven rings and a showstopping necklace that uses the carving. The necklace is still in the works.

All of the Maneater rings have a triumphant figure on top of the ring and a small man inside the shank. The Bull and Bullfighter Maneater ring shows a winning bull standing tall over a stadium. If you peek inside the shank, you see the bullfighter standing with his back to us, his cape swirling around him. The rose-gold bull is paved with 350 black diamonds totaling 1.48 carats. I also used 79 white diamonds totaling 0.37 carats. All together, the ring uses 25 grams of 18K rose, yellow, and white gold.

wendy brandes bull and bullfighter maneater ring
underside of wendy brandes bull and bullfighter maneater ring
The Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer Maneater ring won an honorable mention in the Spectrum awards. “White Fang” author and journalist Jack London was the person who came up with the idea that folks who hit the bottle too hard might hallucinate pink elephants. The elephant is covered in 262 pink sapphires totaling 2 carats. She has diamond eyes and a ruby forehead ornament, and she stands on a bar that is set with 174 brown diamonds totaling 2.15 carats. Inside the shank, the writer slumps next to a wine glass, which is adorned with another diamond. I used 23.6 grams of 18K rose, yellow, and white gold in this ring.

wendy brandes pink elephant maneater ring
underside of wendy brandes pink elephant maneater ring
For the Jonah and the Whale Maneater ring, a diamond-pave whale with tsavorite eyes surges through a blue-sapphire sea. In the shank, Jonah is curled into the fetal position. I try to do each of the men in the Maneater rings a little differently, and I figured Jonah wasn’t going to be walking around upright in the whale.The yellow and white gold weighs 26.1 grams. I used 86 points of blue sapphires and about half a carat of white diamonds. All of the rings were made with the lost-wax casting process (carved by hand), all of them are one-of-a-kind, and all of them were made in New York City.

wendy brandes jonah and the whale maneater ring
underside of wendy brandes jonah and the whale maneater ring
I know that you, yourself, are a very powerful woman — from your artistic talent to your convictions. Which of the rings would suit you the best right now? And why?

I don’t like to have to choose a favorite from among my children, but I admit that I always favor the most recently completed design. In the Maneater series, that would be the Dragon and the Knight Maneater ring. (I really do love dragons!) In addition to being the newest Maneater, it’s the most complex Maneater design. In addition to 18K yellow, rose, and white gold, I added platinum to the mix, in the form of a sword clenched in the dragon’s jaws and a skull at her feet. The rose-gold treasure chest opens to reveal the dragon’s hoard of gems, and the wings and the skull also have a little movement to them.

wendy brandes dragon and knight maneater ring
underside of wendy brandes dragon and knight maneater ring
The gold weighs 29.78 grams, and there are 2.8 grams of platinum. There are 400 tsavorites totaling 4.5 carats on the dragon, 52 brown diamonds weighing 52 points on her wings, and white diamonds, rubies, and keshi pearls in the treasure chest. I think it would be rather pretentious to announce to someone in real life, “I am a complex personality!” In fact, I’m positive that most people who know me would say that I’m a very straightforward person. But when it comes to jewelry, the more complicated it is, the more I like it … so analyze that as you wish!

Can you believe this work? Jaw-dropping, to be sure. Wendy has a wide array in her collection, and you can see more at her online shop. I have no doubt that there’s a story behind each and every piece.

Wendy, thank you so much for your time and talent! I truly appreciate you.

amy roseveare and wendy brandes

Dana Bronfman: Designer

I really like how Dana Bronfman describes her line on her website, “… (it) is for the woman who delights in adorning herself in the precious ore of the earth but whose feet are planted firmly in the city.” This creates a great visual, doesn’t it? I had the pleasure of meeting Dana and trying on her jewelry at the JCK show in Las Vegas.

amy roseveare and dana bronfman
Her description is right on target, as I saw the architecture in the first necklace I picked up, which is inspired by the Brooklyn Bridge.

Dana is over 1.5 years into her business. Though she lives in New York (she moved there for further jewelry studies after attending The Revere Academy), she and I bonded over both being Bay Area natives. Every piece in her collection is made by hand in New York City. She’s passionate about being ethical in her work, using reclaimed metals and ethically-sourced stones. In addition, she donates part of her sales to non-profit organizations which align with her values. Gotta love all that!

As I explored the goodies in her case, I noticed how many of her pieces had an element of movement to them. Take, for example her flip rings.

dana bronfman holly flip ring
They are fun to flip around while wearing them.

Another key element in her designs is her use of negative space. Her Oculus collection, which basically translates to any round shape that lets light shine through, is pretty darn cool. Here’s a couple of her “Holly” pendants, which can be worn horizontally or vertically.

dana bronfman holly pendants
These two rings, in gold and silver, feature double rows of diamonds. Nice, right?

Her newest collection is inspired by clock gears melting…very Dali-esque; she always feels as if she’s running out of time. Here’s a necklace and a brooch in this group.

dana bronfman necklace
dana bronfman melting time brooch
Dana’s “Climbing Persistence” earrings can be worn on their own, or with a pendulum extender. Which way would you choose to wear them?

dana bronfman climbing persistence earrings
dana bronfman climbing persistence earrings with pendulum extenders
The day I visited Dana at the show, she was wearing her “Flying Lilly” necklace — beautiful combination of shapes and metal colors, highlighted with diamonds.

dana bronfman flying lilly necklace
Dana’s “Still Lilly” rings felt very easy on the hand, and gave a real punch in appearance.

dana bronfman still lilly rings
If you’d like to see her line in person, you can click here for a list of retailers. You may also enjoy Dana’s Instagram feed for an inside look. I love what she posted yesterday, which shows her daily #jewelryuniform!

dana bronfman #jewelryuniform

Maiyet Jewelry

You may be familiar with Maiyet’s luxurious clothing line, but did you know they also have both fashion and fine jewelry lines? Though I had seen their signature skinny bangle on one of my clients a couple years back, I had no idea what range they have in their collection until I encountered their booth at the Couture show.

First I’d like to show you some very stylish pieces from their fashion line. Here’s a pair of natural horn earrings. You will find quite a bit of horn across their collection. But have no fear, their materials are very ethically sourced.

maiyet natural horn earrings
In fact, that’s one of the things I love most about this company. They are very devoted to partnering with artisans around the globe, preserving their techniques and promoting “self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in developing economies.” They strive to protect our planet and its resources. Even with their cashmere used in their clothing line, they have partnered with the Gobi Revival Fund and goat herders in outer Mongolia to create “the world’s first ethically sourced and environmentally sustainable cashmere yarn in the world.” How wonderful is that?

Ok, now back to the jewlery… Here are a couple rings and a cuff from their Empire collection, made of 18K gold-plated brass. I’m sure you can see how New York City architecture was an inspiration for this group.

maiyet empire rings
maiyet cuff
Now let’s move on to some fine jewlery. First up are these two long diamond bar rings. The diamonds were sourced in Jaipur, where they were made in a manner which honors the Indian techniques of jewlery making.

maiyet diamond bar rings
There were also various single-finger rings. If one is good, then three are better, right?!

maiyet diamond rings
Next, I explored the Dagger collection. I tried on this black horn and diamond cuff while admiring the coordinating pendant necklaces.

maiyet black horn bracelet
maiyet black horn necklaces
One of my absolute favorite pieces I tried on, also in the Dagger line, is this moonstone and diamond ring. It’s as cool from the top view as it is from the side.

maiyet moonstone dagger ring
maiyet moonstone ring
Their Moon & Stars group had a very dreamy necklace and heavenly bracelet (Sorry..couldn’t resist).

maiyet moon and stars necklace
maiyet moon and stars bracelet
And finally…the pièce de résistance…their gold and diamond cage bracelet. The designer actually went to Jaipur and brought a stone-setter from NYC to train in how to set the diamonds to her specifications. I would say her efforts certainly paid off, wouldn’t you?

maiyet gold and diamond cage bracelet
If you’re in NYC, you can visit their store on Crosby Street. For the rest of us, they do have an online shop, as well as representation at the following stockists.

Marli: An NYC Gem!

Do you recall seeing Jennifer Hudson in this fabulous necklace at the Grammy’s? It was one of my favorite looks of the evening, and this year at Couture, I was able to meet Maral Artinian, the co-founder and curator of Marli, the name behind the diamonds.

jennifer hudson in marli necklace grammys 2015
Marli elegantly combines minimalism with architectural and pop-culture inspiration in 18K gold and diamonds. Though Maral studied psychology in Montreal, she has found her passion in jewelry. It must be in the blood, as both her father and brother are jewelers as well. The first thing I tried on were these two bracelets, the Cleo and Dahlia. So comfy, yet blingy at the same time!

cleo and dahlia bracelets by marli
Here’s a better view of the Dahlia bracelet.

marli dahlia bracelet
This bracelet features the” Y” shape, which is a signature in her designs. Not only is it a very strong, powerful shape, but its use of positive and negative space reflects the shadow and reflection of the Chrysler building. Constantly being inspired by the streets of NYC, Marli definitely has her pulse on the beat of the modern woman.


Dahlia ring
Dahlia ring

When I first looked at her pyramid bracelets, I didn’t realize they had moving parts. Take a peek at this 9 second video that shows how they move.

She recently posted this bracelet stack on Instagram, which showcases other variations of the design.

marli bracelets
Speaking of Instagram, I reposted her diamond Vine cuff on my feed, and it’s among my most popular posts ever.

marli vines white gold and diamondslip-on cuff
I wish I had tried on her Ipsilo white gold and diamond collar. The Ipsilo collection is, “..characterized by distinctive “Y” shaped motifs and triangular cut-outs; the collection is inspired by the work of Rudi Gernreich and highlights our interest in the juxtaposition of positive and negative space, and the resulting shapes that are consequently formed.” Simply fantastic.


Ipsilo collar
Ipsilo collar

I also have to share a couple avant garde ear cuffs with you. The first is from the Avventura (meaning adventure in Italian) collection. I can only imagine how the diamonds sway when you walk.

marli avventura ear cuff
And how about the Iris cuff, which wraps your ear in diamonds in such a unique way. I would SO wear this!

iris ear cuff by marli
Actually, I’d pretty much wear every single item in her cases! It was a pleasure meeting Maral and getting an up-close look at the line. And next time I’m in NYC, I’m going to check out her favorite restaurant, Felix, down in Soho. (She said it’s great food, and she met her boyfriend there — gotta love that!)

maral artinian and amy roseveare

Elizabeth Garvin Fine Jewelry

Being a self-taught cook, I can wrap my brain around. Perhaps even teaching yourself how to dance. But being a self-taught fine jeweler? That’s on a whole other level! Self-taught Elizabeth Garvin, based in the Village in NYC, has been designing jewelry for over 20 years, and she launched her fine jewelry line a couple years ago. It’s very modern, full of geometric design, and extremely wearable. Her signature is the “Cyclone Ring,” and I’m sure you can see why.

eliazbeth garvin cyclone ring
Hand-fabriating each piece with 18K gold, 950 palladium, oxidized silver and diamonds, Elizabeth truly comes up with original pieces, the likes of which I haven’t seen before. It would be worth creating an entire outfit around these earrings.

elizabeth garvin earrings
In the same “gust” series as these earrings, is this complex ring. I can envision the gusts of wind that the shape of the metal represents. (At least that’s how I’m interpreting the design…)

elizabeth garvin ring
In keeping with sinuous curves, is this “Eye of the Storm” pendant. That’s a storm I’d be willing to brave!

elizabeth garvin eye of the storm pendant
This “Spiral” necklace would add interest when worn with any outfit, even on the most casual of days.

elizabeth garvin necklace

I am seeing this “Twist” ring as the perfect option for a bold middle finger ring.

elizabeth garvin twist ring
Elizabeth says, “When a woman designs jewelry for another woman, there’s a sensitivity…carefully honed to suit a woman’s body, to flow with her lifestyle, and to become part of her own personal expression.” Well said. I can certainly see these earrings being part of my personal expression, with their mixed metals and diamond accents. So pretty!

elizabeth garvin triple gem link earrings
It was wonderful spending time with Elizabeth at the Couture show. Click here for a list of retailers near you.

amy roseveare and elizabeth garvin

Linhardt Jewelry Gallery in NYC

I did my best to explore as much of New York City as I could during my week working there. The last neighborhood I visited was Nolita, and I’m so glad that my biker boots wandered in that direction! I came upon Linhardt Designs, an amazing jewelry gallery tucked among the shops and eateries on Mott Street.

Such an inviting space!
Such an inviting space!

I was so fortunate that Lisa Linhardt, the artist herself, was in the store that afternoon!

Amy and Lisa
Amy and Lisa

As I wandered about the gallery, she explained that she has two different lines — “basics” and “signature.” I first tried on some of the “basics” line, and I was happy to purchase my first knuckle ring, complete with a micro-diamond. (This is a trend I saw ALL over the streets of NYC!)

My new purchase
My new purchase

But I have to say that her “signature” line really grabbed me. With a background in sculpture, I could readily see the translation to jewelry in her Tempest Ring, which utilizes two fingers.


And here is a simpler, yet still architectural Gold Arca cuff.

Fits perfectly on the wrist!
Fits perfectly on the wrist!

Dubbed “the green jeweler of NYC” by New York Magazine, Lisa uses all recycled metals and goes beyond when ethically sourcing her stones from Canada and Namibia. Every piece is locally made, which scores very high marks in my book!

I’m not the only fan of the line. Take a look at the cover of Alicia Keys’ album which features one of Lisa’s rings.

Love the ring!!
Love the ring!!

And how pretty is this Tempest necklace?! It can be dressed up or down, and it certainly makes an artistic statement!

lisa linhardt tempest necklace

I’m thrilled to have met Lisa and discovered her line. And if you find yourself in Paris in December, you can catch her at a four-person show at the Ibu Gallery in the Palais Royal. Tres chic!

Image of store: Yoon Kim
Custom cases: Stephane Hubert Design
Custom infinity mirror: Wary Meyers Decorative Arts
Architecture: Diego Garay and the team at Point Design
Curation and creative direction: Lisa Linhardt

UrbanSpace, Meatpacking District

While working in New York City this past week (oh my fabulous!), I had the opportunity to do some exploring. Hopping off the E subway line at 14th, I started wandering the increasingly retail-oriented streets. Though there was on and off rain, it didn’t stop the vendors in UrbanSpace from showcasing their wares. It’s located on Washington, between Little W 12th and 14th.

urbanspace meatpacking
I loved stumbling across this market!

Basically, this is a semi-permanent market, packed full of stalls selling jewelry, t-shirts, and other assorted items. There were also food vendors, but I didn’t check them out. (Priorities, right?!) Many of the vendors will show through the holidays, braving the sleet and snow when they come. While I was intrigued by so many of the jewelry booths, here’s a snapshot of some of my favorites.

First is Bora ([email protected]), a brooklyn-based designer. His work is inspired by the Ottoman empire, and I was just loving his ornate rings! And yes…one just may have gone home with me.

bora rings
These look MUCH more expensive than they cost.

Then there was Edward Owl (named after the designer’s grandfather’s name and her grandmother, who loved owls).

edward owl necklaces
Simple and organic — lovely

The brightly colored necklaces at Wink and Flip are totally on-trend. This spring trend has no signs of dying down and has transitioned right into fall style.

wink and flip necklaces
This table was just happy!

I also appreciated the clean lines at We See Stars, also made locally.

we see stars necklaces
Minimal and chic

They also had these cool cast brass rings.

we see stars rings
A little bit edgy, and easy to mix with other rings

This is just a glimpse of the array of jewelry available at this market. If you’re in the area, I definitely suggest you stop by. And if you find yourself there around lunchtime, as I did, I highly recommend eating at The Standard Grill at the nearby Standard Hotel. (It’s on the same side of Washington, just across the street from the market) The potato/leek frittata was absolutely delicious!

The Standard NYC
Yummy lunch place!