Ashley Morgan: Custom Design

Last week I had the honor of attending the Project Glimmer luncheon, and I was so pleased to run into local jewelry designer, Ashley Berman, of Ashley Morgan Designs. (If you missed my previous article about her, then click here to catch up.) We were talking about business, and she told me how her custom work has really been taking off. With her creativity, I was not surprised to hear this.

I welcome Ashley as a guest writer this week, where she shares one of her latest custom creations. Enjoy the article!

It all began with a dress. The dress was an elegant one: designed by Carolina Herrera, it was whimsical in design, with detailed lace set in garden-inspired patterns. When I was approached to make a necklace and earring set for this outfit — which was destined for a wedding — I was immediately inspired. I found myself intrigued by the intricate lace patterns, and sketched an elaborate collar necklace composed of medallions that had four separate designs; each reflected an element of the design of the dress.

I chose my favorite for the matching drop earrings. After pulling different themes and motifs from the dress, I customized the neckline to fit the dress exactly. I talked with my client about what she hoped the necklace and earring set would represent; I learned that she was attending her eldest daughter’s wedding, and that she wanted these pieces to be a celebration of her, the event, and what it symbolized. We chose blush pink sapphires as the stone that would stud the necklace: these represented the little girl she had raised into a lovely young woman, now all grown up.

The next step was to finalize the details. For any custom project, a computerized CAD is required to cement the crucial elements. After my client had seen the sketch of her lovely necklace and earrings, a CAD was made. This was then shown to my client, who happily approved what she saw. With the CAD and details confirmed, the project was ready to begin!

Production of the necklace involved carving each tiny element of the necklace and earrings out of wax, and then casting the medallions individually. Every rose gold swirl, vine, star, and cross-hatch had to be formed expertly and exactly. Then the many sparkling sapphires were added, in their hues of blush-pink. We wanted the necklace to exude a warmth and a glow, to give the impression of a natural garden preserved in gold and precious gems. This feel was achieved through the combination of rose gold and blush-pink sapphires.

The final result was more enchanting then we could have dreamed. A symphony of pink and rose hues, the necklace lays elegantly against the collarbone. The earrings seem to twinkle as they dangle, a perfect match for the necklace. A true joy from start to finish, this necklace is without a doubt one of a kind. Contact me today to begin your own custom project–experience the joy and satisfaction of bespoke fine jewelry created specifically to suit you.

(This article originally appeared on Ashley’s website.)


Corey Egan’s New Video

Have you ever looked at a ring on your finger and wondered how it was actually made? Heck, even the process of sizing a ring seems quite mysterious to me! Well this week, San Francisco jewelry designer Corey Egan released a killer video of what exactly goes into handcrafting jewelry. Her husband, Ryan Leggett, was the man behind the camera, and I think they did a fabulous job!

corey egan at the bench
Corey told me, “He filmed me in my element, my downtown San Francisco studio, for three days to capture the footage…you get to see scenes of carving wax for casting, soldering, stone setting, and a look at my manufacturing space.” So without further ado, here’s the video. Sit back, and enjoy this 3 minute journey into the world of jewelry.

Corey Egan Jewelry from coreyegan on Vimeo.


Wasn’t that so cool?! (And did you watch it more than once, like I did??) It’s amazing to me how many tools and machines are used in the process. It’s a real science.

Here’s a look at some of the finished pieces which were shown in the video.

corey egan ring
corey egan necklace
corey egan diamond ring
If you’d like to see more of her collection, you can browse and shop on her website, or click here for a list of stockists.

Sam Woehrmann: Jewelry Designer

I’m truly amazed how many talented jewelry designers there are here in the San Francisco Bay Area! Sam Woehrmann is definitely one of them, and he recently shared some of his new pieces with me. Because my eyes got wide as saucers when I saw them, I knew I had to share them with you. You can thank me later.


aquaprase, padparadscha sapphires, and brown diamonds in 22k gold and sterling silver
aquaprase, padparadscha sapphires, and brown diamonds in 22k gold and sterling silver

Have you always been a jewelry designer? What led you to your passion in jewelry design?

I have always been designing and making jewelry. I have always been intrigued by gemstones and crystals, ever since I was a little kid. Learning to incorporate these into metal working is what brought me into this line of work.


aquamarine and diamonds in 22/18k gold and sterling silver
aquamarine and diamonds in 22/18k gold and sterling silver

With your most current pieces, what was your inspiration?

My current work is inspired by the stones, both in composition of shapes and color. When I am designing and combining different stones based on a color palette, I think of the color the metal is going to add to the design. I love mixing metals to get more variety in the overall appearance of the piece.


tourmaline, aquamarine, blue topaz, hematite crystal, and black diamond in 22k gold and sterling silver
tourmaline, aquamarine, blue topaz, hematite crystal, and black diamond in 22k gold and sterling silver

How would you describe your aesthetic? What type of woman do you see wearing your jewlery?

I would describe my aesthetic as both modern industrial and whimsical. Many of my pieces are hard-lined but also have a touchable softness to them. I picture a modern woman wearing my pieces, someone that wants to make a statement with an edgy style and that takes chances in life. Someone who thinks outside the box and lets that reflect in her style.


aquaprase, padparadscha sapphires, and brown diamonds in 22/18k gold and sterling silver
aquaprase, padparadscha sapphires, and brown diamonds in 22/18k gold and sterling silver

Just for fun…what you’re fave SF:

Hard to pick favorites in SF since there are so many great options!

Restaurant– anything Asian. Warakubune is my favorite sushi boat place.

Place to unwind– a few of my favorite happy hour spots are gay bars in the Castro with a chill neighborhood feeling that have outdoor patios like the Pilsner Inn and The Mix.

Gallery or storeModern Eden Gallery in North Beach — they exhibit amazing whimsical, fantasy, and sci-fi painting and sculpture. A super talented artist couple own this gallery and are the nicest people!


aquamarine, rose cut grey diamond, and tourmaline crystal in 22k gold and sterling silver
aquamarine, rose cut grey diamond, and tourmaline crystal in 22k gold and sterling silver

Sam — thanks for sharing your work with us all!!

Photo credit: Ralph Gabriner

April Birthstone: Diamond

Oh, you lucky April babies…you get the diamond as your birthstone! This gem, made of pure carbon, is known as the “stone of invincibility” because it’s the hardest known naturally occurring substance. It comes in most colors of the rainbow and can range from clear to opaque. Not only are diamonds beautiful, but they bring many wonderful qualities to those who wear them:

-enhances your inner vision, opening one to new possibilities
-brings balance to your brain and life
-builds strength and fortitude
-is a symbol of faithfulness and love
-helps release fear and anxiety, and builds courage and hope
-associated with success and abundance

One interesting thing I read while researching diamonds is that they are purported to amplify both the positive and the negative. So, for example, if you’re in a terrible mood, it will apparently magnify this feeling. It is suggested that one take off ones diamonds if feeling negative. Interesting, hm?

I was a bit overwhelmed when I began pondering how I could narrow down my examples of diamond jewelry to just a handful. There’s SO many pieces I love out there! Therefore, I decided to narrow the field and show you some of the fantastic designs from my local peeps — talented designers from the San Francisco Bay Area. I asked 11 different designers to share one of their current favorite pieces from their collections. So here they are in no particular order for your viewing pleasure…

Adeline Jewelry Quintet Ring — hand-carved 14K yellow gold beveled-edge band with five rosecut hexagon salt and pepper diamonds

adeline jewelry quintet ring
Rebecca Overmann Signet Diamond Waterfall Ring — 14K yellow gold with rosecut and brilliant diamonds (photo by Jay Perez)

rebecca overmann signet diamond waterfall ring
Vicent Agor Hokule’a Sailboat Earrings — 18K yellow gold and diamonds

vicente agor hokule'a sailboat earrings
Jennifer Dawes Blockette Pear Diamond Ring — features a 1.97 ct white diamond (cut by Lewis “Lazer” Wolf) in a hand-engraved milgrain platinum bezel

jennifer dawes diamond pear ring in platinum
Ashley Morgan Diamond Slice Necklaces — These come in a variety of shapes with diamond accents on the 18K white gold chains.

ashley morgan diamond slice necklaces
Sakura Haru Halo Diamond Cluster Ring — 14K rose gold ring featuring and old euro-cut diamond from the early 1800’s (diamond from Perpetuum Jewels); the smaller side diamonds are from the client’s father, who had recently passed away.

sakura haru halo diamond cluster ring
Sethi Couture Silhouette Marquis Diamond Earrings — white diamond baguette earrings accented with Marquis diamonds in 18K yellow gold.

sethi couture silhourette marquis earrings
Sarah Swell Galaxy Diamond Band — inspired by a cluster of stars, this ring is 18K yellow gold (also available in white) and features .10 ct of conflict-free diamonds.

sarah swell galaxy diamond band
Tura Sugden Marquis and Diamond Slice Drop Earrings — 18k and 22k yellow gold with gray marquis diamonds and naturally marbled champagne diamond slices

tura sugden marquis and diamond slice drop earrings
Thalia Jewelry Diamond Rings — includes a platinum and diamond eternity band, a 14K rose gold diamond eternity band, and a larger platinum and diamond band, and a 2ct 18K yellow gold band.

thalia jewelry diamond rings
Lauren Wolf Diamond Prism Ring — features three kite cut diamonds set in 18k yellow gold (It also comes in a smaller version in rose gold.)

lauren wolf prism diamond ring
I don’t know about you, but I’m blown away by the range in beauty coming out of the Bay Area. Thank you so much to the wonderful designers for sharing your work! May all of you with a birthday this month have a wonderful celebration and some fun shopping for diamonds. xo

Custom Wedding Bands by Sethi Couture

When my client BB got engaged, she received a VERY special ring — a family heirloom sapphire and diamond ring dating back a couple generations. How cool is that?! As soon as she showed it to me, I knew just the designer to make her wedding rings… San Francisco’s own Sethi Couture.

vintage wedding ring

I knew this would be the right fit, as Sethi Couture has this ingenious way of designing jewelry that is utterly modern, yet with an heirloom feel.  This is precisely what was needed to complement her engagement ring.

The first step was for BB and I to meet with Prerna Sethi (one of the two sisters behind the brand) for a design session. She had oodles of diamonds to work with, and she quickly visualized two bands with graduated diamonds that would fit snugly with the engagement ring. My client loves the bling (a girl after my own heart), and we wanted to get the diamonds as big as we could, yet not overpower the delicateness of the ring. Prerna was up for the challenge!


How big of diamonds should we use?
How big of diamonds should we use?


Prerna sketching out design ideas
Prerna sketching out design ideas

Once Perna had all the measurements taken and a firm idea of what BB was looking for, she was off to the design board. She presented us with a CAD design to see what it would look like. This is fantastic, as it’s not always easy for everyone to visualize what it’s going to look like.

sethi couture cad design
sethi couture cad design
sethi couture cad design
Prerna explained the CAD renderings show a bit more metal than how it will look in real life. Needless to say, BB and I were both very excited to see the finished product. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!

A close up of the same image, taken by an excited BB on her cell phone!

vintage ring with sethi couture bands
Pretty spectacular, don’t you think? When I met BB for a shopping appointment this past Thursday, she said, “I honestly could not be any happier with the rings!” I know it must be challenging to not wear them every day, knowing that they’re right in your own house. But only a few more weeks, and they’ll be worn and enjoyed every day.

Thank you so much for your amazing work, Sethi Couture, and I’m sending the happiest of wedding wishes to you and your fiancee, BB!! xoxo

Thalia Jewelry: A San Francisco Gem

I first met Rachel Clinnick, the amazing designer behind San Francisco-based Thalia Jewelry, last fall. I was already a fan long before meeting her, as I had admired some of her work in various stores. I was so honored to have lunch with her this week, where I got to know more about both her and her passion. I asked if she’d be willing to share some of her favorite pieces, and she was happy to oblige. (Grazie!) So here is what she had to share, along with her own descriptions of the work. Enjoy the visual delight!

“The spider brooch was a custom piece made for our client from her grandmother’s rings. I sketched the design and we created it in hand-carved wax first, then hand-set, hand-filed and shaped the rest of the piece. It is just stunning in person.”

thalia jewelry spider brooch
“This gold Spanish shipwreck coin from the 1700’s is a special piece. Worn on our handmade 22k chain, it really brings out the old world feel.”

thalia jewelry 1700's spanish shipwreck coin necklace
“A collection of my most cherished stackable rings in diamonds and opals offer organic opulence with a classic touch — easy to start with one and stack over time!”

thalia jewelry rings
“This was a piece I finished and sold the very next day. It’s topaz and opal in 18k, all hand-carved as well as hand-fabricated; it sold as a gift for one of my favorite clients and I’m so happy she has it!”

thalia jewelry topaz and opal necklace
“Our Zodiac Collection rings are just so fun and sentimental. You can choose one-sided or double-sided. I wear my own with my sign on one side and my husband’s on the other!”

thalia jewelry zodiac rings
I have a feeling you may now be as mesmerized by her collection as I am! I thank Rachel for being my “guest contributor” today! If you’d like to explore the line some more, you can see her work at various boutiques, and she also takes special appointments. Click here for that info.

Vicente Agor’s Silhouette Jewelry

Though you may not want to admit it, the holidays are right around the corner. (Eek!) I do quite a bit of gift shopping for my clients, and I just love the silhouette jewelry I came across by San Francisco designer, Vicente Agor. He uses a photo (which you provide) and transforms it into a stunning piece of jewelry.

vicente agor silhouette jewelry

vicente agor jewlery

Available in 18K gold or sterling silver, he has a variety of designs, including cufflinks. This would be such a cool gift for a dad or grandfather!

vicente agor cufflinks

Even your pet can be immortalized and cherished for generations to come.

vicente agor pet pendant

So if you want to get a head start on your shopping and are in need of a unique, memorable gift, then contact Vicente!