I must admit that I never did very well in my history classes, but if Coomi Bhasin had been my teacher I would have rocked it, no doubt! During the course of our interview at the Couture show, everything from the Mesopotamian Era to Alexander the Great was thrown into the mix. This beautiful, highly intelligent and evervescent woman really wowed me, as did her jewelry line.
Coomi, a Mumbai native who has spent her whole life designing, studied construction management (I can SO not picture her in a hard hat!) as well as being a textile designer and landscape architect. She made the official switch to full-time jewelry designer in 2002, at the age of 52. The fact that she followed her dream is a true inspiration to me.
Now let’s take a closer look at some of her work, which she describes as “important, yet wearable.” Here’s her Lucy necklace. Lucy was one of the oldest skeletons every found, and Coomi designed her skeleton in gold, just as it was found, backed by an arrowhead, over 10,000 years old. (See what I’m saying about the history lesson?!) Have you ever seen anything quite like it? I sure haven’t!
I adore how she used another arrowhead in this fantastic cuff.
I was quite taken with this 15th century bronze buddah ring. I tried it on was amazed to see that it had a backside covered in diamonds. She told me with a glint in her eye, “They’re just for you!! No one else knows they are there!” Coomi told me that diamonds have the purest energy of any stone, and they must touch your skin to release the energy. She has one on every single piece she makes.
This diamond cuff is honestly a work of art. Each diamond takes two hours to set by hand, if you can believe it. That’s one labor-intensive bracelet!
One project she has worked long and hard on is how to create a diamond piece without any metal showing. Two years in development, she finally worked it out (I guess this is where her architectural training really comes in handy!). Here’s a diamond and ruby necklace in which the gems just seem to be floating. This was her first attempt with white gold, and I say she nailed it!
Another necklace she showed me was this one from her Serenity collection. It depicts the desert rose from the Kalahara desert in Africa, which blooms only once every 100 years. The diamonds represent the water droplets that get trapped in the bottom, center of the flower, and the texture of the gold represents the dryness of the desert sand.
Coomi has also recently launched a silver line, which is currently available at Neiman Marcus and Wilke’s Bashford. You can find her line at numerous states across the country, so if this collection intrigues you, then I urge you to go see it in person!
I must admit that I’ve had a fascination with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen ever since they shared the role of the youngest Tanner daughter on Full House. Fast forward about 25 years, and these twins are a fashion force to be reckoned with! They even won the coveted CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award in 2012 for their line, The Row! I, of course, was thrilled when they launched a fashion jewelry line under their Elizabeth and James label. I was extremely please to meet with Jocelyn Helm, the head designer for the line (and a twin herself!) for the second year in a row at the Couture jewelry show.
Jocelyn has been designing the line for about 4 years now, and I must say that I’ve been a huge fan since its inception. I have a couple pieces from when she launched the line (which are still among my fave items in my jewelry box), and I seem to keep adding to my collection. I appreciate the price points and how you really get big looks that are affordable. This line does an excellent job at melding “uptown sophistication and feminine detail” with “laid-back, downtown edge.” One of the collections shown this year is called Berlin. It’s comprised of pieces with bold, linear lines, and it’s inspired by old-world ironwork and European windowpanes. Metals include black ruthenium and yellow gold plate with white topaz, black spinel, lapis, carnelian and black onyx. Here’s a pair of earrings from this group.
I fell in love with this cuff from the same collection when I saw it locally, at Wilke’s Bashford in San Francisco. Yes, it went home with me, and I love how I feel so modern and a bit edgy when I wear it.
I was also very intrigued by another new collection, called Northern Star. The cohesive note here was the “delicate compass stars (which are) evocative of vintage Vicotrian era.” The pieces are comprised of all-natural white topaz, carnelian, lapis, and green onyx with yellow gold plated designs. I love these two rings from this group! (both available at Shopbop.com) They show the range in style within the collection, yet with a unifying theme of the star points.
Finally, I got a sneak peek at their resort line called Metropolis, clearly named for the amazing skyline of New York City. With an art deco feel, the pieces are bold and colorful. These earrings are crafted from amazonite, lapis, and created rubies and sapphires.
While at the show, I was lusting after this chunky chain plated brass bracelet with an amazonite clasp. Love it!! Perhaps I’ll see it in a store soon…
If this line interests you, then I encourage you to try on some of the pieces at a retailer near you!
I had the Sylva & Cietrunk show at Wilke’s Bashford on my calendar for quite some time, and trust me, it did not disappoint. The first lovely that grabbed my attention was a diamond ring beyond imagination. (btw, she only uses reclaimed diamonds in her designs) Turns out Sylva calls this design the “ten table ring” as you can see it from ten tables away. No doubt!! (one more item for my lust list) When creating one of these rings, she lays out the diamonds just like she was creating a painting.
There was also an incredible necklace, crafted from a bronze Russian icon (estimated to be from the late 1700’s to early 1800’s) surrounded by diamonds, then strung on a necklace of reclaimed antler. I was in awe. It’s like something you’d see in a royal museum!
And the “chain…”
Sylva Yepremian has been designing for 23 years now, and her exuberance hasn’t faded in the least. She told me that she’s ecstatic every morning as she wakes up, so thankful that she’s a designer and not a doctor. Cheers to following your passion!!
She “sees each woman as a goddess, worthy of being adorned with beautiful pieces of jewelry.” And her repertoire includes some very edgy work! There were numerous necklaces with skulls made from reclaimed moose antler. Each one has a story, from Romeo and Juliet to other notable historical figures.
All of her treasures are one-of-a-kind and handcrafted in Los Angeles. Even her chains are made in house, using techniques from 100 years ago. Her line is definitely “not luxury for the masses” (her words), which is one of it’s star qualities. Sylva truly is invested in each of her pieces, and feels that they are meaningful and full of soul. I agree — fabulous!