Thursday, December 31, 2009


Situated along the outskirts of China's Songshan Mountains is the five centuries plus Shaolin Temple.

The temple not only played a pivotal role in Chinese Buddhism but it is believed the origin of martial arts began with the early monks who worshiped here.

China is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Alex Woo.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Overlooking carefully groomed lawns and beautiful gardens stands the remains of England's Belsay Castle.

Built during the late 14th century, as a residence for the Middleton family, it is presently open to the public serving as a location for garden parties.

England is also the home of jewelry prop maker Martin Adams.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


It is said that the view of Turkey's Anatolia Fortress at sunset is like peeking into a parallel universe filled with romance and adventure. Turkey is also the home of featured jewelry designer Ceren Keyman.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Even within the ruins of Germany's Heidelberg Castle, you can still get a sense of the structure's majesty and power.

Built a little over six centuries ago, the fortress has been used as a regal residence and a quarry. Germany is also the ancestral home of jewelry designer Ursula Woerner.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


We move through the Visitors Center of Virginia's Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden towards the grounds' stunning conservatory.

Underneath the structure's spectacular dome is a surplus of flora from around the world. Virginia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Liz Law.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


The picturesque Château de Chenonceau in France sits along the shoreline of the River Cher, and its serene facade betrays a complex past.

The century-plus structure's turbulent history includes sedition, unpaid debts, and expulsion. France is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Laurent Rivaud.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


It is summertime right now in Australia; a welcome transition from the frigid air, and snowy weather that looms over a large portion of the United States.

We visit the country's third largest island, Kangaroo Island, mystified by its natural, untouched beauty. Australia is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Melissa McArthur.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Every aspect of Japan's Rinnoji Temple from the flowers to the swimming koi fish emits an aura of tranquility. Japan is also the home of featured jewelry designer Momoko Kumai.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Eight greenhouses populate the Botanic Garden of the Georg-August-University in Göttingen, Germany.

We will also find an arboretum with an array of flora that brings the collective number of plant species to 10,000. Germany is also the home base for jewelry brand GELLNER.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


The Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden is one of the many highlights of Texas' Zilker Botanical Garden.

The tranquil garden features ponds fashioned into ideograms, which spell out the city name of Austin. Texas is also the home of featured jewelry designer Christy Klug.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Genius is in the details of a castle's architectural design. Aside from their foreboding beauty, the nearly 3,000 castles of Spain were strategically built to withstand military assaults from Moors and early Christian marauders.

However, it is believed that the Segovia Alcázar Castle is the model from which the Disneyland Magic Kingdom castle is patterned. Spain is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Guillermo Arregui.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Situated along the border between Ontario, Canada and the state of New York in the U.S., Niagra Falls is a virtual natural wonder to behold.

Composed of Canada's Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the American Falls, the wall of water has a massive expanse of six million cubic feet that falls every minute. Canada is also the home of featured jewelry designer Claire Vessot.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


A carved idol of Ganesha, flanked by stone images of goddesses Siddhi and Riddhi are focal points of the Siddhivinayak Temple in India. India is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Riddhika Jesrani.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


The chill of winter is beginning to settle over Tel Aviv, Israel, but we still want to stroll along beautiful Gordon Beach as we overlook the rough surf. Israel is also the home of featured jewelry designer Maya Offer.

Monday, December 7, 2009


From the days of the Aztecs to the present day, the turquoise gemstone has been around for millennia adorning everyone from Egyptians to Native Americans.

Mined around the world, including China, Israel, and Mexico, the copper aluminum phosphate is found in copper-rich soil and is best known for its pure blue color.

Of course, like many gemstones depending on its composition its color can range from mint green to neon yellow to white. The variation in color is caused by the amount of copper, iron, or aluminum present in the soil.

Widely known as a "sensitive" stone, turquoise nuggets are often treated with clear wax in order to preserve its color as well as increase hardness and durability.

It is also important to handle turquoise items with great care to promote longevity as body oils, heat, and extreme light pose a detrimental effect on the stones.

Believed to be a stone of good fortune, turquoise was worn by ancient Persians to protect against the evil eye, a sudden violent death, and dark forces.

Turquoise is used in gemstone therapy to alleviate depression, and increase confidence. The most valuable turquoise is a pure blue tone without veins or a matrix--as veins are also called--most turquoise of this quality are mined in Nevada.

One of the world's largest known turquoise nuggets was found in Sante Fe, New Mexico and is prominently featured in one of the local stores.
Photo (top left): Blue Turquoise Nugget


At over four centuries old, Italy's Botanical Gardens of the University of Bologna remains a fantastic location of the country's indigenous plant life that includes aromatic and ornamental plants. Italy is also the home of featured jewelry designer Carlo Palmiero.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


We visit Massachusetts' Smith College Botanic Garden, which has a long, layered history that played out over the course of 115 years. The study of horticulture was already a fixture at Smith College many years prior to the addition of a botanic garden. Massachusetts is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designers Nina Brandin Jones.

As I touched on in my post for Taiwanese designer Sadie Wang, the impact of subtle, understated jewelry items can get lost, and not seem as exciting as their more eye-catching counterparts.

However, where metalsmithing is concerned  the techniques and skill required to produce an elaborate piece are the same techniques and skill needed to create a less elaborate one.

Like Wang, Jones' range includes classic, elegant forms fashioned from sterling silver to more intricate, one-of-a-kind items in gold, silver, moonstone and carved coral.

In one degree or another, the North Bennet Street School (NBSS) alumna implemented tools like hammers, files, soldering irons, and buffing wheels in creating both types of designs.

Presently living in Colorado, Jones began creating precious metal jewelry during her early teen years, and while attending NBSS she learned everything from "cabochon and faceted stone settings" to "metal forming techniques." Once she developed her repertoire of jewelry making skills, Jones established her company Nina's Jewelry.

Aside from creating designs inspired by her surroundings, Jones also creates custom ordered pieces including wedding and engagement rings.

She also gives a lot of her time and energy to developing the talent of others by generously providing aspiring jewelry artists with customized, jewelry-making lessons that address different skill levels from beginner to advanced.

For more on Jones' classic designs, check out her page at
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Gold and Sterling Silver Triangular Fossilized Coral Pendant
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Swirl Earrings

Friday, December 4, 2009


Today we visit the Botanical Garden of the National Museum of National Science located in Taichung, Taiwan. The grounds' focal point is the Rain Forest Greenhouse replete with simulated rain, and a waterfall.

Taiwan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Sadie Wang.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


We visit Indonesia today gearing up for a journey to view several of the many, centuries-old temples. Our first stop will be the lake of Bratan where the Ulun Danu temple sets.

Next is the sea temple Tanah Lot, and finally we visit the 1,000-year-old Besakih Temple, which is often referred to as the "Mother Temple of Bali". Indonesia is also the home of featured jewelry designer Zayd Makarim.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


One of the most astounding natural wonders is Peru's Amazon River. It is a literal wall of water pouring twenty percent of the total volume of freshwater into the world's oceans.

Peru is also the home of featured jewelry designer Maricarmen Morales-Macedo.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The architecture of India is some of the most spectacular in the world particularly the Buddhist and Jaina temples.

In many cases, the designs of these temples blend Indian and Greek aesthetics. India is also home to featured jewelry designer Pavan Anand.


Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...