Thursday, July 29, 2010


Built during the early 16th century, the San Jose Church, located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is touted as the country's first "significant work of" Spanish Gothic architecture. Puerto Rico is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Felicita Woods.

I love the razzle-dazzle, high glamour quality of gold jewelry and the way its warm glow looks against different skin tones.
Handmade, gemstone jewelry, however, resonates with me in a different way.

I love that the arrangements can be easy and casual or daring and statement making. The design can be a single stone, a string of like stones, or a combination of several different ones.

No matter what the design, there is no question how beautiful these minerals are on their own, without a setting of gold or silver.

Woods' rustic, earthy gemstone jewelry highlights the rich hues of such semi-precious stones as magnesite, red jasper, blue agate, and freshwater green-bronze pearls in arrangements that are understated and tribal.

The pieces from her What's New Collection seem highly influenced by bijouterie of the American Southwest (Woods has a separate collection called Native American devoted to New Mexico's Santo Domingo Pueblo).

The What's New Collection features what I initially thought to be a variation of turquoise, but it is actually a stone called cuprite.

The gem's beautiful blue-green and red shading really stands out, and brings to mind something the female protagonist in an old John Wayne western would wear.

"I am constantly discovering unique minerals and shells to make new designs. Cuprite is a natural stone mined in a variety of locations around the world," says Woods. "Its ruby copper color with green and blue makes each piece totally unlike another."

The one-time actor and model has always loved fashion by creating new ensembles for her Barbie doll as a child.

Eventually she formally studied fashion design after moving to Baltimore, but after relocating to the beautifully scenic Colorado Springs, she returned to her creative roots of jewelry making.

"I began designing and making jewelry at the age of 14 in my native Puerto Rico. I have always been intrigued with colors, patterns, and textures of the raw minerals and stones I design with.

I have a lot of design ideas that I jot down every morning. Hand selecting and personally examining each of the glass beads, crystals, semi-precious stones, and pearls is one of my favorite steps in my creative process."

To create her jewelry, Wood occasionally enlists the assistance of a silversmith, as well as help with bead stringing provided by The Bead Corner. The lovely, vividly colored renderings certainly highlights each stones' captivating qualities.

"With rare exceptions, I personally handcraft all of my jewelry, adhering to a superior quality of craftsmanship to guarantee a truly one-of-a-kind creation.

My hope is that the wearer feels an inner confidence and pride while wearing them and that my pieces make a statement of their individuality."
Photo 1 (top right): Blue Agate Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Three Oval Stone Sterling Silver Bracelet with Cuprite

Photo 3 (bottom left): Spiny Oyster, Pearl and Carnelian Necklace
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