Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Sterling Silver Twig Stacking Ring Set
from Ember and Frost Collection
The Virginia V (Roman numeral five) steamship was the fifth of steamships built to carry passengers and ship goods within the Puget Sound region of Washington State. 

Constructed of “old-growth fir” the steamship once served as a transport for young girls traveling to summer camp. 

Presently, the Virginia V takes visitors to festivals and is also available for private charters.  Washington State is also home to Shirlee Grund.

While discussing one of the artisans who hand crafts his rings, Indian jewelry designer Waris Ahluwalia commented that the subsequent imperfections gave the pieces “soul.” 

As I have perused the handmade jewelry designs of Isaac Prado (Spain), Canadian jeweler Stephen Brow, and Melissa Joy Manning (USA), I have come to see that special essence as well. 

There is a wonderful, organic beauty to hand fabricated jewelry that stands apart, in my opinion, from the sometimes homogenous and stodgy aesthetic of some jewelry brands.   

A graduate of Massachusetts-based Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Grund’s brand, Lichen and Lychee is a showcase of the jeweler’s skillful and eclectic craftsmanship.  She hand crafts alternately whimsical, classic and modern designs through the use of rolling mills, hand saws, anodizing and fusing.

Each collection is a play of texture, color, and form complete with accents of smoky quartz, freshwater pearls, rose quartz, and snowflake obsidian. 

Alongside time-honored standards such as stud earrings, initial necklaces, and hammered silver rings there are capricious cutout designs including her Scandinavian Folk Bird Stud Earrings, Love Birds Necklace, and her lithe, delicate Forget Me Knot Ribbon Bow Ring.

Sterling Silver and Anodized Titanium Hot Pink
Hexagon Hoop Earrings from Under Distress Collection

The raw elegance of her silver and freshwater pearl stackable rings, Sea Anemone Charm Necklace, and gently twisted cuff bracelets from her ethereal Ember and Frost Collection is stunning. 

The somewhat futuristic overtones of her vibrantly hued, etched anodized titanium jewelry collection, Under Distress, are simply a reflection of Grund’s love for experimentation.

“I make everything from scratch starting with sheet silver and wire.  Each piece is individually handmade with top quality, recycled and sustainable materials.  The majority of silver is recycled, and gemstones and beads are purchased from reputable dealers,” explains the Seattle-based jeweler.

“I find inspiration for my designs literally everywhere: plants, antique botanical prints, vintage textile design, architecture and contemporary combinations of materials.
Sterling Silver Extra Long Birch Leaf

I take pride in the quality of my work. I don’t buy cheap components, alter them and pass them off as handmade. I guarantee satisfaction with each ready-made or custom jewelry piece.”
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