Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Kruger National Park, located north of Johannesburg in South Africa, is a great place to see indigenous wildlife up close.

Established over a century ago, the park has the distinction of being the oldest park of its kind in Africa. South Africa is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Catherine Mannheim.

While the process of creating jewelry involves a variety of other processes that are intellectual and technical ultimately a completed piece of designer jewelry will ignite a visceral response within a prospective buyer.

Although Mannheim follows an aesthetic geared towards classic outlines there is a palpable visual language within the subtleties. The rich, matte finish of 18-karat yellow gold and the play of surface textures, shapes and colors really emphasize an almost rustic, Old World feeling.

A graduate of London’s Central School of Art, and Germany’s Werkkunstschule Dusseldorf, Mannheim started her workshop in London forty years ago. She incorporates geometric and architectural forms while skillfully combining modest appliqué-like patterns of white gold against yellow gold in stackable rings, brooches, and earrings.

Most of her gold ring designs are clean and simple highlighting the smooth, cabochon or carved facets of black moonstone, pink tourmaline, and aquamarine. In some cases, her rings resemble subtle light fixtures and in others the slightly recessed, gold metal setting paired with a gently protruding gemstone resemble a more sophisticated version of a Binky pacifier.

Based on her website’s photo gallery, Mannheim’s collection of gemstone necklaces is perhaps the most refined of her jewelry items as in one example she juxtaposes aquamarine gemstone beads with gold and platinum beads in a single strand.

Even so the gorgeous gemstone colors playing off the metal accents are fantastic. Overall, Mannheim’s jewelry collections are a great example of how understatement punctuates the beauty of the metals, and gemstones used.

“I make my jewelry with attention to detail,” says Mannheim. “Design, texture, color and craftsmanship is very important as the jewelry is always intended to accentuate and adorn the wearer.”
Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Ring with Aquamarine
Photo 2 (center): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Necklace with Tourmaline
Photo 3 (bottom left): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Large Disc Earrings
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