Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Sterling Silver Pearl Ortzi Cobra Ring
The 16th century Torré de Belém, located in Lisbon, Portugal is a majestic tower designed by architect Francisco de Arruda in a Manueline, Gothic style. 

Ornamental elements of “maritime” symbols and even Moorish influences provide the tower with its commanding presence.  Portugal is also home to Maria José Fernandes Carvao.

In my opinion, the fluid-like gleam of sterling silver is like the beautiful yet somewhat low-key sister of gold. 

Where the energetic sizzle of gold is often counterbalanced with an assortment of vivid precious or semi-precious gemstones, it seems that many jewelers contain the refined, serene personality of silver within rather demure and minimalist presentations.

With the exception of the exemplary work of Balinese and Thai silversmiths, I don’t believe I have seen a jeweler really play up silver metal; that is until I viewed Carvao’s work.

She oxidizes the silver, cultivates it into thin, twisting vines or the intricate veins of leaves; she peppers the sleek metal surface with silver dots, deep ridges or mimics the surface of tree bark.  She captures the forms of bees, flowers, fish and snakes in great nuance and exquisite detail.

Sterling Silver Celestine Cuff Bracelet
with White Pearls

She alternates between sculptural, statement, and minimalist forms.  Though generally classically styled her collections of silver rings, silver cuff bracelets, and choker necklaces reflect great visual depth and variation.  Her designs are imaginative, eclectic and stylish.

Carvao’s advent into jewelry design and creation began at the age of 22 when she attended the Jewelry and Watch Manufacture Professional Center in Porto, Portugal.  By age 26, in 1993, she partnered with fellow jeweler, Bruno Da Rocha, and founded the jewelry brand Rocha Carvao.

By 2005, however, the duo would go separate ways with Carvao taking full responsibility of both creative and managerial duties.  Since taking full ownership, Carvao’s daring and innovative collection of handmade jewelry designs have been exhibited around the world including Spain, Germany, and the United States of America.

Inspired by nature, geometry and architecture Carvao brings a unique, fresh voice to her designs implementing not only white pearls, citrine and rock crystals to her striking silver jewelry but also lavender cubic zirconia.
Sterling Silver Realta Necklace
with Clear Crystals

“My brand, Rocha Carvao, presents organic and contemporary elements into creations of timeless beauty,” says the 44-year-old.

“My work represents a combination of restraint and strength that I believe compliments femininity.”

To view a selection of items from her collections, be sure to visit online store
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