Monday, June 1, 2015


2-Strand Lapis Lazuli Lariat Necklace
Italian museums, such as the Accademia Gallery, which holds art collections of renowned Italian artist Michelangelo, are among the intriguing places to visit in Florence, Italy.

A view of the city’s stunning architecture, including Pitti Palace, is like walking back in time.  Italy is also the ancestral home of featured jewelry designer Jill Montesanto.

An aura of the ancients illuminates Montesanto’s lush handmade jewelry of 18-karat gold and sterling silver. 

The rich hues of ruby or lapis in lariat and two-strand necklaces offset by slightly distressed gold tones evoke coliseums and marble statues. 

The New York-based jeweler’s twenty-year-old brand, Jill Alessandra Jewelry, boasts a signature style of demure yet rustic, Old World theatricality within classic arrangements. 

Metal is carved with motifs of waves (signifying the ocean), and outstretched branches or sculpted into a smooth, single silver dollop suspended from a delicate chain.

With an insatiable need to create as a youngster Montesanto made jewelry with everything from string to nuts and bolts.  “There was possibility in anything I found,” she says. 

“My grandmother gave me some wonderful embroidered flowers—she worked in a women’s underwear factory—and I sewed the flowers onto necklaces and bracelets.  I gave them out to all my friends.”
14K Gold Arch Ring
As years passed Montesanto’s style sense matured and she began including leather and gemstones in her creations.  

After experimenting with FIMO clay, in 1989 she enrolled with the University of Southern Connecticut to study metalsmithing and jewelry.  “I took my first silversmithing classes.  I was in love!  I knew from then on that my future was with creating jewelry and I didn’t look back,” she recalls.

What makes Montesanto’s brand stand apart from more high-profile brands is its unmistakable visual that hint of unearthed treasure.  Her proclivity for strong movement and sensuality instantly brings to mind great craftsmen of days long gone.

“I have been inspired by the rustic peasant and Eastern Europe trends in fashion.  They are so earthy and feminine that I wanted to create a line of bracelets, necklaces and earrings that evoke the same feeling with rich color and a handmade look.  All of my jewelry pieces can become a woman’s favorite jewelry to be worn a lifetime.”
14K Gold Large Drop Earrings
with Red Garnets
2015 Jewelry Trend Alert: Montesanto’s unique design approach is punctuated by her use of yellow gold; a strong trend for the New Year.

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