Variance Objects

#RoughBeauty is the hashtag you’ll find on Variance Objects’ Instagram feed. (Click here to see their images.) It’s the perfect description of this line from Santa Cruz, California, with its semi-raw stones set in oxidized silver and various shades of gold. The juxtaposition of rough and beauty suddenly makes perfect sense when you see the jewelry in person; it’s raw, yet sophisticated. It’s wonderful.

variance objects rings
I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole Rimedio, the designer, and her partner, Scott Zankman, who runs the business side of things and takes the stunning photographs of each piece, during their trunk show at Metier in San Francisco.


Nicole, Amy and Scott
Nicole, Amy and Scott

I’m pleased to share some Q & A I had with Nicole:

I know you have a background in landscape architecture. How and why did you make the career switch to jewelry designer in 2013?

Well, there are at least two ways of looking at it. One is that I realized through being in graduate school and working some in landscape architecture offices that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life. The people working there didn’t seem happy or inspired. The other way to see it is that I always wanted to make jewelry, and being involved in what I didn’t want, made me realize what I have always loved doing. How did I make the switch? I just started…

variance objects earrings
Are you a self-taught jeweler?

Yes, mostly. I’ve taken some courses in metalsmithing but my way of doing metal work is self-taught. I used the skills I learned in these classes, but I sort of deconstructed them. Jewelry making is about order of operations. I just took some of the steps out and added others. I did the same thing with priorities. The teachers taught what was most important in the process; I changed it up some.

I am completely self-taught as a stone cutter. I did watch some youtube videos and talk to people working in rock shops but never took a class. By the time I started cutting stones, I knew how I wanted them to look and how I wanted to do it. I knew my way of cutting would be an alternative.

variance objects rings
Has jewelry always been a passion for you?

Yes. Many of my earliest memories involve jewels or stones in some way. As a child, I used to carry stones in my pockets. I really cannot remember a time when jewelry wasn’t of great interest to me. As I already mentioned, I tried to take a more traditional road, but I was miserable. Now I’m not. Ha.

variance objects studs
What do you find the biggest challenges and rewards are as a jewelry designer?

The rewards and challenges are really the same thing. As a jeweler and business owner, I feel like Scott and me are on a great adventure together. It’s a wonderful and exciting endeavor. At the same time, there’s so many aspects of it all we don’t have control over. The things we do have the ability to impact, have so many details to them. Variance is our baby; we want to do it right.

variance objects ring
You and Scott live in Santa Cruz, CA, which is an area I adore! What’s your favorite:

Restaurant? Probably Bantam but if I really want amazing food, I go to SF. If I want love in my food, then Scott cooks it.

Retail Store? Cameron Marks – easy but sophisticated clothes, great objects and paper goods too. Also, there’s Judi Wyant Antiques. They have a great selection of antique jewelry with a focus on Victorian jewelry and unusual stuff.

Place for a great view (maybe with a cocktail?) I’m a big fan of just sitting on West Cliff Drive and looking out at the ocean.

variance objects rings
So are you intrigued now? I bet you are! You can find out more about Variance Objects on their website. Oh, and while I took the photos in this article while at the trunk show, I have to share one of Scott’s professional pictures he recently shared on Instagram–over 5 carats of rose cut diamonds. Deeeee-lish!

variance objects rose cut diamond earrings, over 5ct
Nicole and Scott, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you both and learn about the line!!

October Birthstone: Opal

I apologize for the delay in my monthly birthstone report, but I just returned from a family vacation at the beach where the Internet was spotty, to say the least. (Did you see any of my beach pix on Instagram?) I was just forced to take some time off the computer. 😉 But I’ve just returned, and the writing resumes.

Now I must say that opals have been and continue to be one of my favorites stones. The only downside I’ve discovered over the years is that they are quite fragile, so the opal eternity band I once purchased quickly had two stones break. I find them better suited to rings with the opal featured on the top, as well as in earrings, necklaces and bracelets, of course.

Opals come in a wide range of colors, from white to orange to green and more. There are also many different varieties. Some you may have heard of are Peruvian, Black, Boulder and Fire. (If you’d like to read more about the different types, you’ll enjoy this detailed article I found on The name opal comes from the Sanskrit word “upala” which translates to precious stone. Sometimes referred to as the “eye stone,” opals are known for inspiration, hope and optimism. They are purported to aid with:

-inspiring love and passion
-centering the mind
-protection from negative energy

I like it! And I also like so many of the stunning pieces of opal jewelry I found this month. Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorites.

Katherine Jetter Opal Corner Ring

Katherine Jetter Opal Corner Ring
Jane Taylor Boulder Opal and Diamond Bracelet

jane taylor boulder opal and diamond bracelet
Pippa Small Fire Opal Eleven Stone Pendant

pippa small fire opal eleven stone pendant
Communion by Joy Warrior of Life Opal Ring

communion by joy warrior of life ring
Variance Australian Opal earrings

variance austrailian opal earrings
Nan Fusco Australian Boulder Opal and Diamond Necklace

nan fusco australian boulder opal with diamonds
Brooke Gregson Diamond Band Boulder Opal Cuff Bracelet

brooke gregson diamond band boulder opal cuff bracelet

Peppina Fire Opal Ring

peppina fire opal ring
Misa Jewelry Compass Earrings (They come in 4 different stones)

misa jewelry compass earrings
Irene Neuwirth Opal Necklace

irene neuwirth opal necklace
Elizabeth Bell Jewelry Ammonite and Opal Cuff

elizabeth bell jewelry ammonite and opal cuff
I actually had to call “time” and stop searching, or this list would be endless. And…in case you didn’t know, October has TWO birthstones. While opal is the one traditionally associated with the month, tourmaline is also an October birthstone. Who knew?!