Monday, March 8, 2010


At nearly two centuries old, the Bogor Botanic Garden in Indonesia has a complex history. German botanist Cooper Georg Carl Reinwardt founded the grounds in 1817, and the director position changed many hands over the centuries.

Among others, the gardens presently house many species of fruit including orange, langsat, rambutan, guava, mangosteen, avocado, mango, and durian. Indonesia is also home to featured jewelry designer Elizabeth Wahyu.

With a degree in marketing from California's Loyola Marymount University, Wahyu served as a high-ranking administrator of a company owned by her family.

After getting married and giving birth to a daughter Wayhu returned to work only to feel that the long office commutes, and long office hours were taking a toll on her sense of joy, and spending quality time with her family.

"The office was far away and I was very tired when I returned home," she explains. "I did not have time for my family and I didn't feel like I was able to develop to my fullest potential."

Experimenting with artistic outlets was a cherished way for Wahyu to explore her creative inclinations, and she boldly decided to cut back her office hours. In 2001, she set up Blueberry, a craft store where Wahyu also taught various arts and craft courses including crochet, patchwork, and embroidery.

The extra time replenished Wahyu's energy allowing her to expand her creative knowledge by learning to make jewelry items with metal wires, opulent beads, semi-precious gemstones, and carved wood.

She decided to set out her new creations beside the store's cash register in the hope of attracting prospective students. The strategy, however, proved to be a distraction; instead of enrolling in Wahyu's classes, the student prospects bought the jewelry instead.

To resolve this enviable problem, Wahyu officially launched her jewelry company, Elizabeth Wahyu Accessories, the following year in 2002.

In time, her beautifully elaborate baubles attracted the affluent following of Jakarta socialites. By 2004, Wahyu's spectacular pieces also caught the attention of leading bead and rhinestone supplier Swarovski, who made the designer a partner of its Crystallized™ Components.

"To me the partnership meant that my company was being backed by the guaranteed quality of Swarovski," she says. For the last five years, Wahyu implements Crystallized™ Swarovski Elements into her lavish creations.

Wahyu's gorgeous collections alternates between streamlined subtleties, and daring and bold.  Both styles highlight colorful, chunky semi-precious stones like turquoise, malachite, and peridot, distinctive carved or faceted plastic or wood, and intricate wirework.

Her cuffs feature splendid wirework evoking an image of golden and blackened webs holding luminous gemstones.  Her distinctive, wire ring bands are open designs carrying stones that seem to grow out of them.

The jewelry is unquestionably not for the faint of heart with brilliant colored, large stones reminiscent of blooming flowers, as well as vividly fashioned floral motifs. It is vibrant and energizing jewelry perfect for making a statement.

With the help of her team of 70 workers, Wahyu creates over 2,000 designs a year. She credits her productivity to discipline and building an environment conducive to creative instincts.

"When I work, I like to listen to soft, instrumental music," she says. "That feeling of calm fuels my concentration that is until my daughter comes in and puts on Changcuters."
Photo 1 (top right): Gold Wire Cuff made With Green Age, Dyed Nephrite, Glass Beads, and Swarovski Elements
Photo 2 (bottom left): Necklace with Synthetic Fur, Plastic Beads, and Metal Chain
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