Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Though spring, summer, and autumn are the best seasons to visit China’s Baishui Terrace, inclimate conditions do not detract from the marble terraces’ stunning beauty. China is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Hovey Lee.

There are many sources of inspiration for Lee’s eponymous designer jewelry: various cultures; her mother’s exquisite fashion sense; and the airy, easygoing style of her current home, Los Angeles, California.

Nonetheless, what truly sets Lee’s jewelry collections apart is they are cultivated with reclaimed metals and fair trade gemstones. It is a distinction the designer has worked hard to build and maintain.

“When I launched my line in 2005, I found it was not easy to switch to green practices. In the beginning one of the most challenging things to do was to resist the temptation to buy gemstones from any supplier at a gem trade show,” she acknowledges.

“Developing a green jewelry collection requires a lot of research and due diligence to ensure that suppliers are compliant to fair trade sourcing standards. When I attended the Gemological Institute of America (G.I.A) I learned a lot about the harmful effects of mining so it was important to me to use reclaimed materials as well as incorporating vintage jewelry pieces to create my collections.”

While maintaining classic proportions Lee definitely has fun exploring design ideas for gemstone earrings, cuff bracelets, and gemstone necklaces. With such materials at her disposal as silver coins, kuikui and wooden beads, vintage denim, resin, Venetian glass, and ceramic beads, Lee creates designs that are fun and fresh.

Though Lee’s 18-karat gold plate over brass jewelry pieces that include charm bracelets, and hoop earrings is lovely, I really like the pieces featuring reclaimed vintage or estate jewelry.

I like the mixing of complementary or contrasting elements to build unique, original pieces. For an added bonus, Lee’s eco-friendly jewelry is also affordable with prices starting as low as $36 upwards to $168.

“I strive to reflect my customers’ interest in designs by offering thoughtful, inspired pieces that are personal and timeless.

Jewelry has a language of its own. I do not confine my aesthetic to one signature look as each woman is unique and her mood and style changes day-to-day.”
Photo 1 (top right): Reclaimed Brass and Enamel Bangle Bracelets
Photo 2 (center): Vintage Wood Marquise Cut Cocktail Rings with Gold Plated Vine Charm
Photo 3 (bottom left): Reclaimed Smoky Quartz Glass Beads and Copper Plated Brass Crescent II Earrings
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