Friday, April 13, 2012


14-Karat Gold Vermeil Byzantine
Petite Dangle Earrings with Ruby Rondelles
The Pacific Science Center, located in Seattle, Washington, was an integral part of Seattle’s 1962 World Fair. 

Designed by Japanese architect Minoru Yamasaki, the center has been the location for numerous traveling exhibitions and is one of several places in the world that houses two IMAX theatres.  Washington State is also home to Alexa Allamano.

Considering that I write about jewelry designers their lovely wares' visual impact comes with the territory. In this light it is a given that I will have the gushing reaction of it’s sooo pretty now and again. 

That is precisely the response I had viewing the delicate yet lush wire-wrap jewelry designs from Allamano’s Etsy store Foamy Wader. 

Her collection of gemstone bangle bracelets, gemstone earrings, and pendant necklaces are a grand display of lucid color whether in the form of glowing 14- and 22-karat gold vermeil or luminous precious and semi-precious gemstones. 

Her classically styled handmade jewelry designs highlight sublime combinations of briolette cut gemstones such as the pairing of blue topaz, green sapphire and moonstone in her gorgeous necklace Stillness of a Snowy Mid-winter’s Day. 

Not only does Allamano produce sinewy, organic textures of her beautiful 14-karat gold vermeil Topography Necklace that features “uneven circles which dangle from the end of a 14-karat gold-fill chain”; but she also has a fresh take on the perennial nameplate necklace.  She incorporates “up-cycled” brass banners and brass shields that have been “drilled and ready to hand stamp with a nickname, initials, numbers or a name.”
22-Karat Gold Vermeil Siren Cluster
Necklace with Pink Amethyst, Tourmaline
and Freshwater Pearls
Surprisingly, although Allamano’s mother “created everything from clothing and jewelry to soap and truffles throughout my childhood” Allamano did not believe she possessed the same aptitudes.  The catalyst that motivated Allamano to leave her job as a bank teller to become jewelry maven came in the form of a stranger; a customer to be exact.

“Four years ago a customer complimented a ring I was wearing and asked if I had made it.  When I responded that “I wish I knew how to make jewelry” she said something that really resonated with me. 

She told me “You can.  The world may want you to believe that you can’t but you absolutely can,” recalls the self-taught jeweler.  “I started making jewelry in 2007 and in late 2008 I l left my bank job to launch my jewelry brand.”

Though nature is a primary source of inspiration for Allamano, she also takes cues from The Wizard of Oz (Emerald City Gemstone Necklace); Death Becomes Her (Gold Teardrop Hoop Bottoms-up Earrings); and The Odyssey (Penelope Pink Ruby Gemstone Necklace).

Wine tasting, mojitos and the seaside (hence the brand name) each play a role in the designer’s timeless, striking aesthetic.  Her pieces possess the kind of celestial beauty that would be perfect for bridal or bridesmaid’s jewelry; we are talking classic femininity and refinement.

Allamano divides her time creating fabulous gemstone jewelry with making quirky wool cozies called Knit Beards inspired by none other than ZZ Top!  “I started knitting beards in 2009.  I originally created them as a gift for my friend, Dane.  I think they are a great blend of humor and function because you can use them as a disguise or costume but also as a way to warm the lower half of the face and neck,” she explains.

As for her jewelry line, the designer says “My jewelry designs are for women with varying eclectic tastes; a little something for everyone or for every mood.  After four years I still love what I do.  I think I was destined to be a part of the DIY movement.  I have always loved working with my hands, which makes sense as my last name translates to 'by hand'”.
Sterling Silver Orchid Bangle Bracelet
with Pink Tourmaline and Rock Crystals
Foamy Wader is sold in museums, galleries and boutiques in Maryland, California, Illinois and Oregon.
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