Shibumi Studio & Gallery in Berkeley, CA

Sometimes I get so annoyed with myself, when I find out that there has been this amazing studio and gallery under an hour from where I live (since 1993!), and I didn’t visit until now. (Doh!) Thank goodness I finally had the good sense to visit Shibumi Studio & Gallery in Berkeley. What finally got my butt in gear was I saw that they were having a Ruth Tomlinson show. If you’ve been following me, then you know I’m a big fan of hers. In fact, when Ruth posted a particular white gold and diamond ring on her Instagram feed about 4 weeks ago, it was love at first sight. It was with mixed emotions that I got to actually try on said ring at the gallery (even better on my finger!) but then found out it had already sold (drat!). Doesn’t it look quite fetching paired with two of Ruth’s stacking bands? Oh, so “Amy!”

ruth tomlinson rings at shibumi gallery
Regardless of the fact that this ring would not be going home with me, I must have spent an hour exploring this space and all the beautiful work it features. The other designer featured for the current show is Heather Palmer, an Oakland-based artist with phenomenal hand-blown glass objects de arte. Here’s a few of her vases accented by driftwood.

heather palmer glass
Shibumi is owned by April Higashi, an extremely talented jewelry designer. Her collection of rings is out of this world, and I spent some quality time trying them on.

april higashi rings
I couldn’t quite take my eyes of the sunset hues of this sapphire ring by April.

april higashi sapphire ring
If you’re looking for a ring, whether it be for general wear or an engagement ring, then this is a must-stop shop. Take a gander at this case, just brimming with sparkly delight.

rings at shibumi gallery
There were many artists showing whose work I was familiar with, such as Sam Woehrmann, Tura Sugden, and Polly Wales. But there were also numerous designers that were brand new to me. Can I tell you what a thrill this is? I admired this glass bracelet from Karen Gilbert.

karen gilbert glass bracelet
There was a case full of color by Julia Turner.

julia turner jewelry
Woven beauty from Nina Bukvic.

nina bukvic rings
And a rock bracelet by Deborah Boskin that spoke to my nature-loving soul.

deborah boskin river rock bracelet
Even the gallery itself is beautiful, from the Eric Powell doors as you enter, to the sleek space inside.

eric powell doors at shibumi gallery
shibumi studio & gallery
And do you see all the drawers in these two banks? Yep..each and every one is filled with jewelry. A veritable treasure trove!

shibumi studio & gallery
Next time you find yourself in the east bay, I highly encourage you to spend some quality time at Shibumi. And yes, mom, I promise we’ll take a field trip there. You’ll go crazy!!

Ruth Tomlinson: Designer

It never ceases to amaze me that after 5+ years of jewelry blogging and into my 18th year of personal styling (where I pretty much am in the stores constantly), I can STILL come across such unique jewelry designs…those that stop me in my tracks and speak to me. This is exactly what happened as I walked down the first row of the NY Now Handmade show in New York City. I have a new jewelry crush on Ruth Tomlinson. Once I started chatting with Ruth, I was even more hooked. She is soft-spoken, yet passionate about her work. She is incredibly talented with detail, and when you see the intricacies of her pieces, you are truly drawn into a miniature world of gold and gems.

ruth tomlinson rings
Ruth led me on a tour of her four collections. The first up was Lustre, which features lots of diamonds. You can see both raw diamonds, just as they come out of the ground, right next to faceted stones in this collection. She told me how she really appreciates the inner glow of the stones and how they add a bit of mystery to the piece. I completely agree! This particular ring includes grey, champagne and white diamonds in 14K gold. She selects what carat of gold to use based on what will best complement the colors of the stones.

ruth tomlinson diamond cluster ring with faceted pear
Ruth graduated with an MA from the Royal College of Art, and still resides in London, where her line is all made in studio. (Note to self: visit studio on next trip to London!) Though she does sketch designs, she is also very led by the process itself, seeing where the materials take her. She is constantly drawn into a miniature world. Boy, do I like this world!

Midas is the next collection I explored. Inspired by her travels in India, it’s full of color and reminiscent of treasures from long ago.

ruth tomlinson rings from the midas collection
The stacking bands in this group are quite swoon-worthy as well. Perhaps I need one?!

ruth tomlinson stacking bands
Next up was the Hoard collection, based on found treasures such as Victorian and Georgian diamonds. I could see many of these rings as alternative bridal options, couldn’t you?

ruth tomlinson diamond rings
How about stacking a bunch together? Fine by me! These four rings include all old hand-cut diamonds.

ruth tomlinson diamond rings
Ruth was wearing a couple bracelets from the Hoard collection as well — SO lovely!

ruth tomlinson bracelets
Last, but certainly not least, is the Encrustations collection, inspired by the sea. Aqueous colors, pearls and shades of aqua, coral, tourmaline and more all in textured gold. Delicious!

ruth tomlinson rings
Looking through this collection on her website, I’m quite enamored with this tourmaline and diamond ring. The subtlety and combination of hues is fabulous.

ruth tomlinson tourmaline and diamond ring
If you are as entranced by this line as I am, then take a couple minutes to watch this video which takes a closer look at her inspiration and process.

Inspirations from Ruth Tomlinson on Vimeo.

Such an absolute pleasure to meet you, Ruth! I appreciate all your time and creativity.

ruth tomlinson and amy roseveare