Friday, September 28, 2012


24K Gold Vermeil and Cinnabar Link Bracelet
In 2003 the co-founder of The Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, announced his plan to build the incredible Georgia Aquarium as a gift to the community of Atlanta, Georgia for their support of his Atlanta-based headquarters.  

The six-and-a-half year old tourist attraction has welcomed over 11 million visitors and houses over 60 exhibits.  Georgia is also home to Barbara Garwood.

 Whether it is the jewelry history of Russia, Italy or Indonesia jewelry making has always been about labor-intensive, time-consuming techniques and attention to detail.  

Present-day jewelers Giorgo Damaskos (Greece) and Gurhan Orhan (Turkey) were determined to implement centuries-old methods to handcraft their ravishing gold jewelry collections and have done so in glorious fashion.

Over twenty years ago, during a visit to Hong Kong, Garwood came upon stunning filigree jewelry unlike anything she had seen.  She eagerly tracked down the artisans in a tiny village in Mongolia with the intention to preserve a remarkable craft. 

With thousands of years of craftsmanship embodied in each piece the former home furnishings designer wanted to help streamline the designs in order to share with American patrons.
24K Gold Vermeil Rhodocrosite Post Earrings
“Asian craft dictates that jewelry should be in line with queens of the 17th and 18th century Chinese Qing Dynasty. Elaborate and large,” says Garwood.  “So it was a challenge to introduce different types of stones and streamlining the designs. 

Someone can only make changes when the person is a master artisan.  I explained through an interpreter that I was not interested in changing the creation process, I wanted to preserve it and just change shapes and colors.”

With the use of her interpreter Garwood and the highly skilled Mongolian craftsmen were able to align their visions to ultimately produce some of the most beautiful jewelry I have seen.  Lush semi-precious gemstones like iolite, amazonite, rhodocrosite and lapis are set against the finely threaded filigree wires of 24-karat gold vermeil.

Although designs for gemstone pendants, drop earrings and gemstone rings are breathtaking in their intricacy and glorious pops of color the overall proportions are minimalist.

The designs range from bold and regal to classic multi-strand necklaces made from glass Indonesian beads and gemstone beads.  These alternately majestic and classic items are also easy on the pocketbook with price points from $41 to $599.
24K Gold Vermeil Chyrsocolla Rectangular Ring

“The creation process is very intuitive,” Garwood says explains, “They use tweezers to fashion the filigree wires.  The wires are then fused together in a kiln.  

Many filigree pieces include beautiful fine ground enamel powder and the two processes are done by two separate artists.  It is an incredible handmade process handed down from generation to generation.”

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