Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Renowned for its French, Russian, and Italian architecture, the Kukovo Estate, located in Moscow, Russia, is a feast for the eye both internally and externally.

The regal locale houses over 33,000 pieces of extraordinary glassware, and ceramics. Russia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Lana Fertelmeister-Bramlette.

Presently based in Chicago, Bramlette has been in the fashion industry for nearly twenty years. In 2000, before embarking on a career as jewelry designer, she designed a clothing line.

However, with a low-key yet sophisticated personal style, Bramlette searched for less robust fine jewelry to accentuate her couture pieces.

She in turn commissioned a jeweler to create a pair of streamlined, gold earrings according to her specifications.

"I simply was not attracted to fine jewelry. It was intimidating, expensive, and definitely not sexy," she says.

"When my first collection came out seven years ago, it resonated with women who understand that the elements of luxury do not have to be flashy but elegant and sexy."

Though her aesthetic is minimalist, with few gemstones, her jewelry possesses a distinctive flair reminiscent of Danish/Scandinavian designs. Lines are long, clean, and fluid with nuances of flat or diamond-cut 14-karat gold with price points from $190 to $10,000.

Her Bombshell Necklace is one of the most delicate, multi-chain necklaces I believe I have seen. Accented with ten, small diamonds it is exquisitely transient like slivers of golden thread, as are the ethereal outlines of her Three Tear Earrings, her signature items.

In this light Bramlette's style brings to mind the work of Dutch designer Marijke de Goey, and Korean-born Sadie Wang. Both designers create items to blend with, and accentuate the wearer.

"The great essence of a woman is her ability to exude style effortlessly," says Bramlette. "I learned very early about style from my mother, how to carry yourself, and what it means to buy a few jewelry pieces that are incredible quality. It is never about excess, but quality. My jewelry is made to become one with the wearer."

With luminous clientele like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, and Halle Berry, success is sweet for the former clothing designer.

It is particularly sweet considering at age six, Bramlette was forced to flee with her parents to the United States from Soviet Russia because they are Jewish.

As they settled in Chicago, Bramlette watched her parents slowly yet courageously rebuild their lives. It was an indelible lesson about perseverance.

"Lana Jewelry is carried in over 150 stores worldwide," beams the designer. "It has been an incredible journey and none of it has come easy. It is hard work, mixed in with determination and heart. Fear is the only thing that stops anyone from achieving anything."

Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Bombshell Necklace with Diamonds
Photo 2 (center): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Talitha Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Small Three-Tear Earrings
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