Saturday, October 30, 2010


Located in New Mexico, United States a number of well-preserved 12th century Pueblo structures, known as the Aztec Ruins National Monument, were constructed by the ancient Puebloans, the Anasazi people. New Mexico is also home to featured jewelry designer Maria Samora.

Friday, October 29, 2010


According to legend lurking beneath the waters along the Ha Long Bay in Vietnam is a giant yet affable dragon. The stretch of limestone islands located here is a popular area for tourists to explore. Vietnam is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Chan Luu.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The spirit of long gone Mayan civilizations is alive and well in the Mexican state of Yucatan. Ancient and complex Mayan structures, such as the Governor’s Palace and the Pyramid of the Dwarf, still stand in the city of Uxmal. Mexico is also home to featured jewelry designer Juan Carlos Ceballos.

I have commented before that I am partial to gold jewelry and have found myself seeking out its soft, fiery glow while perusing affordable pieces of costume jewelry at the local mall.

However, as I have viewed the incredible designer jewelry from Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia and the American Southwest, I have found myself succumbing to the cool, sleek tones of sterling silver jewelry.

Even Danish designer Georg Jensen had fallen prey to silver jewelry’s seductive appeal comparing its white luster to the glow of the moon. Though there is only a small sampling of Ceballos’ jewelry pieces featured on his Novica page, I really like the alternately modern, chic and dainty outlines he sculpts.

Having developed computer systems for companies like IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Citibank, Ceballos is someone who understands the complex mechanics of creating. This propensity for cultivating layered patterns and formulas lent itself to his budding interest in jewelry design.

“In 2002, I ventured into the field of jewelry, and the Tec de Monterrey University offered a course in Spain on the internationalization of business,” says Ceballos. “I also took a course in fashion and design taught by Richard Domingo. He was a great help and a huge influence in defining the company’s image.”

While I cannot speak to the scope of Ceballos’ aesthetic, his Novica page highlights his deftness at creating minimalist sterling silver necklaces, cuff bracelets, and silver pendants.

A clear homage to centuries-old Mexican architecture, his Cathedral Window Pendant subtly mixes the colors of green peridot, amber and amethyst while his Enchanted Cuff Bracelet is a chic, modern jewelry item highlighting the contrast of high polished and oxidized silver. In his necklaces, he juxtaposes the delicate forms of silver flowers with edgy, twined black leather cords.

Like the moon, understated yet striking seems to be the definitive quality of silver metal. It can take on any jewelry style regardless of how intricate without seeming garish or overdone.

Silver can exude casual and laid-back or fluid sophistication, and from what I have seen Ceballos more than adequately covers those bases.
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Cathedral Window Pendant with Amber, Peridot and Amethyst
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Enchanted Cuff Bracelet with Rose Quartz

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


You have your choice of swimming, rollerblading, cycling, surfing or tanning when visiting the gorgeous Ipanema Beach of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Brazil is also home to featured jewelry designer Carla Amorim.

For many years Brazil’s jewelry industry has been on a continual trajectory of growing its international market.

The Brazilian Gems and Jewelry Trade Association (IBGM) has tirelessly provided its local jewelry artisans, such as Manoel Bernardes, a platform of fashion runways, press releases, and showrooms from which to display stunning fashion jewelry.

However, despite the IBGM’s efforts not all markets warm to the bold and vivid aesthetic of Brazilian jewelry designs.

According to the IBGM, Brazil’s jewelry industry is focusing on sending international exports of gold and fashion jewelry to Italy, Spain, Argentina, France, Germany, and the U.S.A. among others.

Nonetheless, the jewelry artisans of Brazil are eager to grow in their craft, implement cost-effective production methods, and learn about as well as implement the sometimes conservative tastes of other markets.

Like other Brazilian designer jewelry, Amorim remains true to her roots drawing inspiration from nature, architecture and religious symbols. She cultivates an aesthetic that boasts minimalist outlines of 18-karat gold punctuated by lavish details.

Luscious gemstones that include turquoise, pink opal, white agate, topaz, white and black diamonds, aventurine and black onyx are central to every design. The collections radiate with gorgeous little details from the selection of gemstones to their smooth facets to the subtle intermingling of varied gemstones.

In general, precious and semi-precious stones are used to accentuate the overall design but Amorim takes it a step further--particularly in her gold earring and gold ring designs--by using smaller, faceted gemstones to offset larger ones.

In a similar fashion, her Sacred Collection incorporates spiritual symbols such as diamond cross pendants, dove pendants, and gold heart pendants in differentiated forms.

For example one 18-karat gold dove pendant resembles a starburst with a dove form set in its center; while another features a buttery gold dove with outstretched wings set upon a beautiful, creamy white onyx stone.

The high-end jewelry brand is a display of effortless beauty marked by classic, timeless forms with surface details of cutout patterns and the vivid, almost pulsating color of fabulous gemstones.

Amorim’s collections have attracted an international following including Emily Blunt, Regina King, Jennifer Lopez, Naomi Campbell, Lea Michele, Jewel, Sandra Bullock and Sofia Vergara.

Her stunning gemstone and gold jewelry is available for purchase at online jewelry store
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Viennese Ring with Aquamarine and Green Amethyst
Photo 2 (center): 18-Yellow Gold Aquamarine Angelica Cabochon Drop Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Rose Gold Cuba Libre with Green Quartz and White Diamonds

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Running along the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China is the gorgeous skyline of the Bund Riverfront. The area consists of tall bank and commerce buildings, and at night the skyline becomes a stunning display of electric lights. China is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Fei Liu.

A microcosm of form, texture, and color jewelry becomes an expression of different kinds of beauty.

It can embody ornate and excessive outlines like Justin Giunta’s (USA) brand Subversive Jewelry or adhere to sleek and minimalist forms like those of Scottish designer Shona Fidgett. Liu’s visual expression though streamlined is an exercise of complex and lavish details.

Though platinum metal is Liu’s signature he also implements 18-karat yellow, white and black gold, as well as rhodium plated sterling silver to build his collection of luxury designer jewelry.

“Platinum is the best metal for creating intricate versatile jewelry that is both outstanding and easy to wear,” says Liu. “It’s very pure with a luster that never fades and it holds gemstones and diamonds securely.”

With nature serving as his muse he cultivates pieces into ethereal motifs of roses, orchids, and milkweeds; the metal curves and contours of which take a backseat to the spectacular colored gemstones that fill in the designs.

The fluid, classic outlines of diamond pendants, gemstone earrings, and pearl necklaces exude femininity and panache, and are a stunning visual of undulating citrines, South Sea pearls, garnets, blue sapphires, and rose quartz.

“The natural world is a great source of inspiration,” says Liu, “I love implementing the romantic rose motif in the Rose Collection, or the coral designs of the Dawn Collection and build texture and shape.”

Liu’s Drops Collection takes a cleaner, sleeker approach that is punctuated by perforated 18-karat gold and/or sterling silver discs with tiny, dangling diamonds within the perforated areas.

“Movement is the fundamental inspiration for this collection. The little gemstones suspended in mid-air are like delicate drops of rain.”

Here again, his lovely collections are a perfect marriage of intricacy and simplicity and the more affordable jewelry pieces are available to buy online at Wave Jewellery’s website.
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Gold Ring Set with Pearl and Diamonds
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat White Gold Whispering Diamond Cage Pendant
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Rose Gold Whispering Earring Set with Rose Quartz, Pink Sapphire, and Diamonds

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Turkish city of Bodrum is a great place to visit ancient architectural wonders including the “open-air” Amphitheatre museum, the Castle of St. Peter, and the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Turkey is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Fatma Oya Borahan.

In my mind handmade jewelry designs seem to hold a great sense of artistic integrity. The organic, free flowing design quality triggers feelings in me akin to whenever I smell the aroma of a homemade apple pie.

There is something homey and comforting about knowing that materials are carefully selected by hand and then cultivated by hand.

The Canada-based designer’s stunning links of crystal beads, gemstone necklaces, gemstone pendants, and 18-karat gold pieces possess warmth that goes beyond the myriad of gemstone and bead colors.

The 70-year-old artisan began her design career as a painter; painting fluid, colorful designs on silk. This outlet would then evolve into the designer painting scenery on silk scarves that ultimately led to a corresponding interest in jewelry.

“When I became interested in jewelry making and jewelry design, I began creating scarf clips for the silk scarves I was painting,” says Borahan. “I enjoyed making unique designs for the scarves so much that my art transposed into fabricating unique jewelry based on the designs and patterns of my scarves.”

While Borahan hand fabricated sterling silver and 18-karat gold into fashionable jewelry she took note of a missing element, gemstones.

Determined to carve and cut the raw gemstones she sourced over a twelve-year period, starting in 1992, the designer enrolled and completed a correspondence course with the Gemological Institute of America (GIA); and she received gemology diplomas from the German Gemmological Association (DGemA) and the Gemmological Institute of Great Britain (GemA).

Borahan says this of her time studying in Idar-Oberstein, Germany “I learned gem carving from Hans Ulrich Pauly, and stone cutting from Hans G. Gordner. I hoped that some of their artistic talent rubbed off onto me.

In my opinion, Hans Ulrich Pauly is one of the most talented artists around. I was the happiest person in the world when he accepted to teach me.”

Borahan’s aesthetic is not limited to one style as she alternates between minimalist and sophisticated to chunky and bold to organic and abstract. Some metal pieces are regal and powerful while other designs are interspersed with twined cord, wire wrap and crocheted metal wire providing a gorgeous array of looks.

Maintaining a settled, peaceful temperament and utilizing “green” sensibilities is central to her creation process. “My bedroom is right next to my workshop; so in the middle of the night, whenever I had an idea, I would get up and draw it or write notes,” she says.

“One time while doing some metalwork, there was a piece of gold left over that I did not know what to do with so I melted it down, pushed in the middle and set a garnet in it. I don’t throw away what I don’t use.

I also believe that a sound knowledge of one’s merchandise and gemology is paramount in order to effectively serve customers. Over the years, it has become my belief that some jewelers misinform their customers not as an act of deception but rather as a result of ignorance about their materials.”

Presently, the semi-retired Borahan conducts seminars for members of the Montreal Gem and Mineral Club.

Though her website includes a great photo gallery of jewelry pieces, it appears the website serves more as a place for the designer to share her culmination of knowledge and not necessarily as a conduit to sell her jewelry.
Photo 1 (top right): Rose Quartz Briolette Pendant with Quartz Beads
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Gold Black Onyx Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Necklace with Transparent and Pink Beads

Saturday, October 23, 2010


The Egyptian Building, built during the mid-19th century, is a historic landmark located in Richmond, Virginia and serves as Hampden-Sydney College’s first medical department. The interior design of “battered walls” and spiritually based color schemes is believed to act as a striking homage to Egyptian physician Imhotep. Virginia is also home to featured jewelry designer Jerry “Jay” Sharpe.

In a world catering to instant gratification with fast-food and online banking, 20-year veteran Sharpe veers away from hurrying his creation process opting to spend months cultivating his sleek, classic designer jewelry.

A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, Sharpe wasted no time to launch his official brand, the Jay Sharpe Collection, selling his fluid men’s cufflinks, and textured sterling silver earrings through respective local retailers Cavalier Men’s Shop, and Nordstrom’s. Sharpe also added jewelry repair to his repertoire providing such services to a myriad of local retailers.

In the years following his official launch, Sharpe made sure to keep visible appearing in both local and national publications including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Richmond News Leader, Style Weekly, and Essence Magazine.

By 1994 prestigious retail store Henri Bendel added Sharpe’s timeless jewelry to its list of must-have products; three years later the Richmond Ballet commissioned him to design bijouterie for its production of The Nut Cracker; and finally by 1999 Sharpe opened his first flagship store in Richmond, VA.

Most recently in 2007, during the Bush Administration, Sharpe designed the Christmas tree ornaments for the White House.

Renowned for his exquisitely cut custom jewelry, Sharpe’s collections of diamond pendants, wedding ring designs, and silver pendants is subtle yet striking in their curvaceous, voluptuous outlines, pavé sets, and moderately complex geometric structures.

“Because designs are carved by hand the process of each design can take several months. We believe that something that is going to be with you forever should be special. You will see definite attention to detail, fluent cuts, smooth transitional depths and uniqueness.”

The jewelry isunquestionably beautiful with soft satin finishes, tiny splatters of diamonds, as well as beautifully carved West African Adinkra symbols.

Each design is a testament to Sharpe’s sublime artisanship and reaffirms to me that hands-on jewelry making imparts intangible yet palpable soul to every creation.
Photo 1 (top right): Gold Pendant with Diamonds and Pink Sapphires
Photo 2 (center): 14-Karat Yellow Gold Wedding Bands
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Earrings with Surface Textures

Friday, October 22, 2010


What better way to view some of Australia’s gorgeous scenery than while driving along The Great Ocean Road located in the state of Victoria. Built to honor soldiers who lost their lives in World War I, the 78-year-old road offers such sights as Apollo Bay, and the Otway National Park. Australia is also home to featured jewelry designer Julia Denes.

The distinguishing hallmark of many 19th century Australian jewelry designs was not a stamp but an emblem; a carved out semblance of indigenous fauna or flora.

Designs of the times were made with gold and usually offset with agates, quartz, blue and yellow sapphires, and of course Australian opals.

Today, Australian designer jewelry is stamped with the respective artist’s personal hallmark, but styles and aesthetics are eclectic encompassing the streamlined, classic pearl and diamond items of Nina’s Jewellery to the sensual, provocative jewelry couture of Sarina Suriano.

Denes’ streamlined design approach gives a nod to the subtle beauty of Asian aesthetics with likenesses of lotus blossoms, fans, and butterflies each fashioned from 18-karat rose, yellow and white gold, and sterling silver.

A certified jeweler, gemologist and diamond grader, after graduating from Sydney’s College of Fine Arts Denes spent two years traveling the world. The close-up viewings of multi-cultural handicrafts kept alive through generations left an indelible mark.

By 2005, Denes was ready to establish her brand utilizing her education, time abroad, and valuable hands-on experience obtained while working for Australian brand Rox Jewellery to bring her fine jewelry collections to life.

The hand-sawed, cutout designs of her gold necklaces and sterling silver earrings provide delicacy and lightness, while the bright red and blue hues of two gemstone necklaces, one featuring red coral, and the other Arizona turquoise beads, exude a tangible primal tone indicative of the rustic Australian spirit.

Overall, she maintains clean lines within classic yet ornamental structures accenting forms with the deep, rich colors of orange and blue sapphires, red spinels, and diamonds.

“I draw inspiration from my surroundings whether it is a lily pad or beautiful symbol,” says Denes.

“I like to keep forms organic with pierced details and a clean finish. I want to create a special piece of jewelry that anyone can enjoy.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat White Gold Plated Lotus Pendant
Photo 2 (center): Six-Strand Arizona Turquoise Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat White Gold Ring with Blue Star Sapphire

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The Kasuga Grand Shrine, an ancient Japanese temple built over 1,000 years ago by the influential Fujiwara clan, is among the most frequently visited structrues in Japan. The shrine’s interior design is punctuated by stunning stone and bronze lanterns. Japan is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Yayoi Inada.

There is a fanciful quality to Inada’s sublte jewelry; the classic forms of which do not share the often stagnant, homogenous look of mass produced brands.

The slightly imperfect mien of her pieces, which are keenly influenced by natural surroundings, highlight granulated and faceted metals along with forms patterned after spiky twigs, and the lacy surfaces of sea coral.

Even the name of Inada’s seven-year-old, New York-based brand, Yayoi Forest Jewelry, is derived from her personal connection to nature.

“I was born near a small forest in Japan, and I like to put the feelings of my childhood in the forest into my jewelry; the smell of the rain, the warm touch of tree bark on your skin or sitting on a beautiful old tree stump.”

Working with platinum, sterling silver, 14-karat gold, and conflict-free black and white diamonds, the graduate of New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) combines timeless aesthetics with quirky minutiae that bring an unpretentious beauty to her feminine, handmade jewelry designs.

Alongside such classic items as star and gold heart pendants, wedding jewelry, and hand stamped, personalized jewelry, she incorporates differentiated concepts such as the see-through glass lockets made to hold tiny samples of personal memories; the alternate “melting” love rings, and heart earrings; and beautifully cast rings, pendants, and bracelets respectively made with silver East Indian tea spoons, and vintage sterling butter knives. The renderings are at once organic, minimalist and idiosyncratic.

“Creating is a lengthy and time-consuming process. It can sometimes become overwhelming but I try to take it one step at a time” says Inada.

“I think being a woman works well with being a jewelry designer. I like the scene when a woman bends down to pick something up and a pendant top slips out from her V-neck sweater. It just makes me want to know everything about the story behind the necklace.”

In this light, one of the designer’s jewelry pieces was selected by a Hollywood stylist for placement within the retelling of a 57-year-old story: the 2008 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still as worn by actor Jennifer Connelly’s character Helen Benson.

“One of the movie’s stylists bought one of my favorite pieces, the Owl in the Forest Necklace, for herself and then contacted me to get one for Jennifer Connelly to wear. I was jumping for joy because Jennifer Connelly wore the necklace from the beginning of the movie to the end just like the stylist told me.”

Like everything in Inada’s affordable jewelry collections the 14-karat gold Owl in the Forest Necklace, which features the engraved images of stars, and perched owl offset with a tiny, bead-set diamond, embodies delicacy, and elegance with a touch of whimsy.

“When I was in school (FIT), an invited guest speaker, who owned a store in New York, told us there needed to be a story or theme running throughout the collections.

I wanted to create a sense of a calm night in a forest with the Owl in the Forest Necklace. Sometimes creating a story within the jewelry is the hardest thing to do, but I think that it was the best advice I have received.”
Photo 1 (top right): 14-Karat Gold Three-Diamond Pendant Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Platinum-Sterling Silver Lacy Hoop Earrings
Photo 3 (bottom left): 14-Karat Gold Owl in the Forest Necklace

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Situated along the Eastern portion of Quebec, Canada, flanked by the Bay of Chaleur and the St. Laurence River, is a small island known as the Gaspe Peninsula. The area is peppered with gorgeous mountain ranges, beaches, and seascapes. Canada is also home to featured jewelry brand Catherinette Rings – Steampunk Jewelry.

Imaginary machines, and fantastical technology steeped in Victorian sensibilities are focal elements of the steampunk genre; an outgrowth of science fiction that became popular during the 1980s.

The genre has since developed into its own “culture” that has become an ongoing fixture at the San Diego international convention Comic-Con.

The fanciful “culture” encompasses music, clothing, and fashion accessories namely fashion jewelry.

Montreal-based designer Daniel Proulx always had a deep-set interest in the imaginary worlds of Dungeons & Dragons, and The Lord of the Rings; however, cultivating his own world would come through the use of a simple brass wire.

“It was April of 2008 when I stared to make rings just for fun,” says Proulx, “My wife, Catherine, learned how to make simple wire rings during a two-hour lesson and after I watched her make them I tried it.

I then spent several hours each day perfecting and developing my own technique to create original designs, and I quickly started making very retro-futurist models of rings. I did not know at the time I was making steampunk jewelry until a friend of mine told me. When I researched it, I fell in love with the culture.” And with that, his brand Catherinette Rings came into existence.

What I love about doing this blog is learning about so many unique aesthetics and artistic visions. I have seen so many variations from the classic, timeless jewels of Cartier (France) and the House of Harry Winston (USA) to the extraordinary contemporary jewelry of Alidra Alić (Denmark).

Steampunk is something completely new to me—actually I have seen it before without knowing what it was. I like its strange mix of conventional and traditional. Proulx’ jewelry ultimately pays homage to vintage jewelry styles cloaking it with a stunning futuristic vibe.

The undulating wires and coils of brass and copper provide a rustic and gritty mechanical quality that adds a sense of weightiness. The dead-on jewelry sculptures in the likenesses of praying mantes, dragonflies, spiders and scorpions are beautifully executed with striking clockwork minutiae and possess a creepy aura of self-realization.

The brand’s finger adornments of coiled brass include Swarovski Crystal rings, amber rings, and varied taxidermy glass eye rings that overall blend futuristic with classic and the macabre.

The assortment of gemstone pendants and coiled rings featuring pink agate, ametrine, blue chalcedony, and boulder matrix opal easily soften the mechanistic grit of the jewelry; however, the heart of Proulx’ collections is the dark, moody almost Gothic overtones.

This jewelry is a vivid and complex representation of edgy modernism. They are easy conversation pieces with wonderful visual character that maintain a high level of stylishness.
Photo 1 (top right): Copper, Brass and Czech Glass Cranberry Spiral Button Bracelet
Photo 2 (center): Volcano Cherry Quartz Victorian Pendant Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Orange Reptile Taxidermy Eye Ring

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The 354-year old mosque Jama Masjid, located in Delhi, India, was ordered for construction by the same emperor who commissioned the making of the Taj Mahal, and the temple is touted as one of Asia’s largest mosques. India is also home to featured jewelry design team Tarang Gupta and Manas Arora.

I am most familiar with India’s gloriously colorful, gold and enamel meenakari jewelry.

By `familiar’ I mean that I know what this style of jewelry looks like but for years I never knew the actual name for it until I started this blog.

While I can not say the exact date I first saw this exquisite jewelry, I no doubt believe it occurred during my childhood while flipping through the pages of National Geographic.

For years I was unaware that the stunning, elaborate gold and crystal Kundan jewelry was also a traditional Indian jewelry style. I was most surprised to learn that sterling silver jewelry is very popular in many states of India including Kashmir, West Bengal and Kanpur.

Intricately carved forms, granulation, and embossed textures are just a few of the superlative details you will find in the powerful designs of Tarang and Manas.

In 2003, after completing a course in jewelry design and manufacturing, the two joined forces to create beautiful designer jewelry influenced by majestic Indian architecture, and the ethereal floral structures of nature.

“We are recognized for our fine, handcrafted sterling silver and gemstone jewelry,” says Gupta, “Our designs emphasize traditional Indian styles, including floral motifs. We melt silver alloy and draw the metal into sheets. We engrave, chisel, and hammer the sheet into a beautiful piece.”

The gorgeously cultivated iconography of elephants, peacocks, and dragons is spectacular and regal evoking ancient cities and maharajahs. The sterling silver cuff bracelets, called Dragon Majesty, that depict three-dimensional semblances of dragons are standouts. The painstaking detail and sense of weightiness is breathtaking.

The delicacy of pieces such as their sterling silver Light Drums Drop Earrings, and the engraved imagery of a singing bluebird featured on the aptly titled Bluebird Pendant Necklace again reflect the designers’ unquestionable skill at varied and complex jewelry making techniques, as well as their ability to create specific tones and moods through a piece of metal.

“We have developed a large collection and we are extremely happy to share our art with the rest of the world as part of the Novica family.

We hope customers feel the same joy wearing our jewelry that we feel creating it.”
Photo 1 (top right): Sterling Silver Dancing Moon Dangle Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Sterling Silver Dragon Majesty Cuff Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Bluebird Pendant Necklace

Monday, October 18, 2010


With the Mediterranean Sea serving as a picturesque backdrop, the Italian city of Agrigento is a locale filled with ancient museums, Roman ruins, and “the world’s best strawberries.” Italy is also home to featured jewelry designer Stefano Marchetti.

An artist of contemporary jewelry, Marchetti’s design aesthetic focuses on the exploration of form through the building blocks of tiny, individual components.

A former student and instructor at Italy’s Istituto Statale d'Arte, since 1992 the designer enlists ancient Turkish and Italian jewelry making techniques to produce gold rings and gold brooches with a distinct, abstract twist.

Working with 24-karat white, yellow and red gold, copper, and sterling silver, Marchetti cultivates organic, sculptural designer jewelry that seems to grow into poetic forms. For instance, many of his 24-karat white and yellow gold brooches alternately resemble delicate rolls of textured paper, and hollowed out tree bark.

The buoyancy of the metal structures--the surfaces of which are composed of fluidly welded pieces of various sized metals--bring an inherent lyricism to the jewelry pieces. “Materials, metals in particular with their potential to hold and transmit meaning, occupy the center of my research,” says Marchetti.

“I want to load objects with the greatest amount of information so technique and the study of technological procedures are important to me.”

The items are unquestionably beautiful and I wish there was more to see online. Unless I overlooked it, I do not believe Marchetti has a personal website at this time. However, I was able to view some of his work at Charon Kransen Arts’ website.

For the last 18 years, the designer has participated in international exhbitions located in Germany, Austria, Holland, Spain, Scotland, Switzerland and the U.S.A.
Photo 1 (top right): Gold and Sterling Silver Brooch
Photo 2 (center): 24-Karat Gold Ring
Photo 3 (bottom left): Yellow and Red Gold, and Sterling Silver Brooch

Saturday, October 2, 2010


At 103-years old the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, California is one of the state’s oldest remaining amusement parks. With rides like the Hurricane rollercoaster, and Haunted House attraction, it still entices tourists and locals. California is also home to featured jewelry designer Molly McGrath.

McGrath’s streamlined yet visually differentiated modern jewelry brings together innovative design techniques with eco-friendly materials.

She enlists the understated sensibilities of an architecture (she is professionally trained as one) creating sketches first that are then drafted in CAD (Computer Aided Design) with the final step of creating the jewelry pieces implementing a laser cutter machine she used to create architectural models.

Of more importance to the designer is producing sustainable jewelry constructed with “responsibly farmed birch, bamboo, felt and wool salvaged from surplus army clothing, and suede reclaimed from second-hand jackets and warehouse surplus.”

Each of her collections--that are primarily composed of earrings and pendant necklaces--adhere to timeless and classic geometric outlines; at the same time the varied, intricate surface details are inspired by botanicals, textiles, and metallics.

The contrast of dark bamboo against light bamboo, or the color of sea foam felt or navy blue suede peeking out from behind the cut-out patterns of wood veneer cattails, rosehips or vines is striking in its subtle beauty.

However, her Geometrics Collection introduces more abstract, complex renderings of spinning vortexes, webs, open facets, meshed spirals, as well as the optical illusion details of items like her Extrude Earrings.

In my opinion, the eco-friendly designer jewelry is a particularly unique presentation of wood.

Where the majority of wood carved jewelry I have seen is more earthy and rustic in bold, chunky designs McGrath puts a distinctive, ultra-modern take on it with her material selections, design patterns, and creation process.
Photo 1 (top right): Charcoal and Natural Birch Figure Ground Earrings
Photo 2 (center): Gold and Gunmetal Stained Birch Nest 2 Pendant Necklace
Photo 3 (bottom left): Birch Veneer and Black Suede Polygon 2 Earrings

Friday, October 1, 2010


It always amazes me to think that every house on every street is full of so many stories; so many triumphs and tragedies, and all we see are yards and driveways.


The Palace of Nations, located in Geneva, Switzerland’s Ariana Park, was designed by an international group of architects, and is the headquarters for the League of Nations. Switzerland is also home to featured jewelry designer Karin Wagner.

Although felt is considered one of the world’s oldest fabrics it is unclear just when or how the material was first produced.

However, the mummified remains of an 11th century male, discovered during the 70s in China’s Tarim Basin, reveal a pair of well-preserved, multi-colored felt socks.

An instructor of textile handicrafts at the Pedagogical Institute in Russia, the production of felt through matting, and condensing “active” wool fibers in warm, soapy water did not interest Wagner.

In fact, she did not like the idea of felt jewelry and had no intention of teaching her students the process of producing felt much less creating jewelry from it.

Her feelings would change ultimately brought about through a casual act of twirling and untwirling a piece of wool yarn around her finger while conversing with a student.

In that relaxed moment, she began to evaluate how to produce wool as something other than clothing that was decorative as well as wearable.

Choosing to start small Wagner believed that none other than a finger would provide a good focal point. The substantial yet flexible property of felt would provide the necessary foundation to construct a ring.

Wagner would select the soothing, omnipresent form of a flower to bloom from the ring setting. Once completed the billowy, life-like trinket won rave reviews from a friend who promptly put in a request for her own.

The challenging and painstaking creation process motivated Wagner to forge ahead with lariat necklaces, bracelets, and choker necklaces in the hopes to preserve the tradition of cultivating products by hand.

As she sourced wool from Australia and New Zealand, Wagner quickly discovered that she would have to develop ideas for new techniques on her own as there was no one else producing felt designer jewelry.

Though faced with outside skepticism, along with her own doubts, Wagner chose to move ahead as planned letting trial-and-error, and the spirit of creativity guide her.

In 1998, after several years of perfecting her techniques, she established her workshop in Basle, Switzerland gathering a handful of employees to whom she taught techniques so that they could help craft the jewelry pieces.

Organic, flower designs once again serve as the basis for the aesthetic of Wagner’s sustainable jewelry. “The craft is a very important aspect of the creative workday. Getting from the wool to the finished product requires a great deal of patience and dedication,” says Wagner.

“The finished product is soft and flexible due to the wool’s fresh, natural and `live’ character. We pay loving attention to detail striving for subtle color combinations. I believe the work is timeless inspired by the colors of current fashion, and flowers.”

The renderings are so well crafted and gorgeous they look like real flowers. The colors are rich and velvety. I am at a loss for words. What struck me most about Wagner’s journey is its origin. She did not want to use felt, and then she ends up producing some of the most beautiful jewelry with it.

I am always intrigued by these kinds of life trajectories where one bypasses or overlooks a particular road only to end up traveling down it and discovering that the place it leads to is somewhere he or she cannot imagine not being.

Wagner’s floral-inspired, eco-friendly jewelry is available to buy online at
Photo 1 (top right): Wool Felt Lariat Flower Necklace
Photo 2 (center): Wool Felt Flower Bracelet
Photo 3 (bottom left): Wool Felt Red Rose Necklace

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