Completed nearly half a century ago, Canada's Skylon Tower looms over the falls that compose the powerful Niagara Falls.
Towering at a height of 520 feet, its observation deck provides a breathtaking view of the borders of Canada and the United States. Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Laura Goldstein.
Taking the time to go for a walk through a park or along a quiet beach is a welcome transition from the hectic morning commute.
Nature's calming effect does wonders for an overloaded mind and heavy spirit. It quietly serves as a daily backdrop of clear, blue skies and lush trees, or fluffy mounds of white snow.
Forms in nature, from the petals of flowers to rolling sand dunes, have provided an endless source of inspiration to jewelry designers, Goldstein's area of interest: the sea.
"When I was 5, my parents bought me a goldfish. I would stare at the bottom of the fish bowl at the stones and shells," she says. "When I was a kid, I strung together the shells of escargot my parents brought back from a restaurant even though the shells smelled like garlic."
Though Goldstein always loved the sensuality of jewelry, she pursued a career as a performing arts publicist. After two decades in the field, she was ready for a change of pace; a new career in jewelry design was the light at the end of the tunnel.
"Five years ago I took some jewelry courses, including a course in mold casting, and from there it took off." Goldstein's company name, Mashu Mashu, came as a result of visiting her Israeli husband's family.
"I’d always hear them saying “mashu mashu” when they really liked something. It is a Hebrew word that means “wow, that’s something!” I thought it would be a really fun and a catchy name to my jewelry company."
Goldstein implements stones like vividly hued agate, rose quartz, citrine, freshwater pearls, and turquoise quartz into designs that are colorful and fun. I like the color selections, and the arrangement of the materials, which feature chains of antique brass with turtle, seahorse, and starfish charms.
"I just love brass," she says "It has so many color variables. It could pass for gold but I think brass is more intriguing. I love the sea. At least half of my collection is shells and mother of pearl. Gillette saw my pieces in Elle magazine and got in touch with me to use them in double-page ads for their Venus razor."
The designer takes pride in her work, which fuses her love of jewelry with elements of haute couture fashion. She particularly loves the smaller details she implements in her designs.
"I incorporate many detailed elements in my charm bracelets. For instance, flower designs are inlaid with multi-colored pearls to create petals.
I use double-sided, 19th century illustrations as pendants in my Bathing Beauty collection, and there is a pearl on the mouth of a fish charm," she explains. "Jewelry should not be massive and overpowering but should reflect a woman's sensuality."
Photo 1 (top right): Bathing Beauty Double Charm Bracelet with Orange Coral
Photo 2 (bottom left): Turquoise Quartz Gone Fishing Lariat Necklace