The São Paulo Zoological Gardens Foundation in São Paulo, Brazil is a remarkable place. It is filled with information on animals as diverse as Spix' macaw to white rhinoceros.
It is the first Brazilian institution to participate in programs designed to protect the country's endangered wildlife. Brazil is also home to jewelry designer Adriana Carador.
As with all the jewelry creations featured here, Carador's designer jewelry captures your attention and refuses to let go. Prominent within Brazilian's high-powered social circles, Carador admired the fanciful baubles and stylish clothing she saw.
She traveled to Rome, Italy to study both accessories and fashion design. Young and driven she returned to her hometown opening two women's apparel boutiques. Her shops provided her with financial rewards as well as allowed her to display the wares of high-end European designers like Prada and Roberto Cavalli.
On a trip to Milan, while viewing the latest fashion collections, Carador envisioned cuff bracelets and gemstone earrings to complement the stylish outfits. Unable to get the images out of her mind, she began to sketch her ideas. The powerful imagery created an internal stir leading her to study the history of gemstones and jewelry. Enlisting the assistance of Brazilian goldsmiths, Carador established her company. In time, she sold her boutiques to focus on jewelry making permanently.
There was one other aspect Carador envisioned for her jewelry, a U.S. market. For this, she called on Victoria Flores, a business school graduate with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science, and a MBA in International Management. It did not hurt that Flores, a Texas native of Mexican descent, loved jewelry.
"I was sent home from class because I would wear my grandmother's expensive necklaces to Catholic school," Flores says. The two women then formed a business plan that involved giving private trunk shows in upper crust areas like Beverly Hills, Dallas, New York City, Aspen, and the Hamptons.
Carador's creations definitely do not require a hard sell. She gathers up semi-precious and precious stones such as sapphires, tourmaline, and diamonds creating astonishing, opulent jewelry cast in 18-karat yellow and rose gold. The pieces are elegant with an extravagant, bold style like the cocktail rings that feature large, faceted gemstones (they are not for the timid).
There are many gorgeous gemstone combinations, such as a beautiful, hybrid blend of coral and tiger's eye fashioned into earrings. There are two carved, flower rings inspired by the Vatican; one carved from white calcedonia, the other from black onyx. They possess life-like, voluminous detailing of blooming flora.
An exquisite elephant pendant necklace made with brilliant pink tourmaline and offset with gold accents hangs delicately from a gold chain. This is statement jewelry.
"What makes our jewelry so special is that each design is an original," Carador explains, "Women love that they are wearing something no one else has."
Photo 1 (top right) 18-Karat Yellow Gold Snake Ring with Diamonds and Pink Tourmaline
Photo 2 (center): Yellow Gold Medieval Bracelet with Diamonds
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Tiger's Eye Pendant Necklace with Diamonds and Coral