Archive | April, 2008

Colorful Freshwater Pearls

18 Apr

Multicolor pearls are one of the hottest trends this year. Freshwater pearls come in various pastel shades of white, pink, peach, lavender, plum, purple, and tangerine, depending on the type of mussel. Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mussels. Nothing is more natural than a pearl. Unlike gemstones, that are cut and polished to unleash their beauty, pearls emerge from the creature that conceived them.

pearl jewelry
Fiona Lavender Freshwater Pearl Ring
Genuine 9 to 10mm lavender freshwater button pearl.
Sterling silver and white gold plate.

Natural Freshwater pearls are formed within a mussel. These mussels open their shells slightly and allow water to flow in, so that they can take nutrients from the microscopic particles and organisms in the water. Small irritants such as small animals can also float in. Parasites can drill right through the mussel's hard shell. To protect itself, the mussel encloses the irritant in a sac and then secretes layer upon layer of nacre around the irritant, that in time produces a lustrous pearl.

jewelry techniques
Freshwater Pearl Multicolor Drop Style Necklace
Natural multicolor pearls: white, pink, and lavender.
8mm pearls suspended from a 16" chain.
Sterling silver chain and setting.

Pearl Color
Freshwater pearl color is determined by the mussel itself and environmental factors that affect the nacre as it is layered. The most prevalent natural colors are whites, as well as pastel colors in both pinks and lavenders. White pearls are still by far the most popular, but pastels in pinks and lavenders have slowly edged their way into the fine jewelry marketplace. The two colors are very popular for second strands, mixed-color strands or when a less traditional look is desired. Light pink and lavender are naturally occurring colors in freshwater pearls, but their colors can be enhanced after processing.

designer jewelry
Golden and Dark Chocolate Freshwater Pearl Necklace
These 8-8.5mm, AA+ quality pearls have a great luster and inner shine. The necklace is 18" long and is strung on double silk thread, knotted between each pearl. The clasp is solid 14k gold.

Pearl Value
The value of Freshwater pearls can vary based on specific factors such as roundness, luster, size, surface quality, and color. As the pearls are nucleated with only tissue, they are 100% nacre. Pearl matching for finished jewelry pieces is also very important.

As cultured freshwater pearls are tissue nucleated only about two percent of any given harvest is round. As a result, roundness is one of the most important factors in the evaluation of freshwater pearls.

Pearls produce an intense, deep shine called luster. This effect is created when light reflects off the many layers of tiny calcium carbonate crystals that compose the pearl. This substance is called nacre. The more light reflected and the clearer the image, the better the pearl's luster. The luster of Freshwater pearls may be different than those of saltwater. Freshwater pearls tend to have a satin finish.

Pearls can range in size from 1mm seed pearls to huge 20mm South Sea pearls. cultured pearls of 6 – 7.5mm are the most common, above this size the price jumps upward rapidly with each half-millimeter from 7.5mm up. To date the largest pearl recorded is a 26.95mm baroque south sea pearl.

Surface Markings
As a mollusk creates a pearl, the layers of nacre do not always adhere smoothly. Sometimes spots and bubbles can appear in the layering process. Pearls with the smoothest surfaces are the highest-quality, most sought-after pearls.

Lori Bonn Jewelry Designer

17 Apr

Lori Bonn Alchemy Collection
The Alchemy jewelry collection will up the glam factor with shimmer, shine, a rainbow of metallic hues, and geometric silhouettes, reminiscent of Art Deco elegance. The Sterling Silver is a combination of stippled and polished techniques to enhance the drama of the metallic stones.

designer jewelry
Framed Square Gold Quartz Ring

Quartz Stones
These gold, rose gold, and platinum quartz stones are called doublets, meaning that they are made of a faceted dome of crystal quartz over a 24-carat coated quartz base. The coating completely protects the coated layer, keeping it safe from everyday wear.

jewelry 2008
Round with Square Drop Rose Gold Quartz Earrings

New Collections Every Year
Unlike other jewelry designers, Lori Bonn creates 10 new sterling silver collections each year reflecting the fashion trends and colors for that season. After the collection is sold it is then retired allowing each collection to be available on a limited basis. This exclusive release practice is appealing to collectors as well as individuals that enjoy knowing they own a limited production piece.

jewelry trends
Rectangle Double-Shank Platinum Quartz Cocktail Ring

The Lori Bonn Story
Traveling the world, Lori Bonn created her first collection in 1991 from eastern European designs in silver and amber. Soon thereafter, she expanded her line of contemporary jewelry, combining ancient designs with Balinese silversmithing and beautiful gemstones of every color.

The jewelry is handcrafted from the finest stones and silver, with great attention to detail. Every piece of jewelry is touched by countless hands from around the globe, fusing cultures with authentic gemstones, genuine metals, and true inspiration.

Lori credits her parents, who encouraged her creative efforts from an early age. "I grew up in an artistic and entrepreneurial family. We were always experimenting with different crafts. From early on, I knew I wanted to develop a business that would couple my love of world cultures and artistic expression."

Company Info
Lori Bonn Design, Inc. is a Northern California based designer, manufacturer, and distributor of silver jewelry. Founded in 1991 by Lori Bonn Gallagher, the company is managed today by Lori and her husband Bill, selling its designs through department stores, specialty retailers, and catalogs. Principal manufacturing is done by master craftspeople in Southeast Asia.

Julie Sandlau Jewelry Designer

16 Apr

Julie Sandlau's minimalist jewelry creations combine her Scandinavian roots with inspiration from all cultures. In 2002, designer Julie Sandlau and her husband Dennis Jacobsen founded the jewellery company Julie Sandlau ApS.

Julie Sandlau jewelry has been a tremendous success and today the design is represented in 25 countries all over the world and is found in high profile stores such as Saks 5th Avenue, calypso, 10 Corso Como, Neiman Marcus, Holt Renfrew, United Arrows, Selfridges, and Harvey Nichols.

jewelry designer
Diamond Flower Earrings
18k Gold-plated Sterling.
Champagne Cubic Zirconia centers and dewdrops.
About 2-1/4" long.

The 32-year-old designer left her law study and a career in modeling in order to pursue her true passion – designing jewelry. She is also the mother of a 3-year-old boy and a 6-month-old girl.

designer jewelry
Pink Coral Quartz, Ivory Quartz, and Cubic Zirconia Leaf Pendant
18k Gold Plated Sterling Silver.
Can be worn as a single or double strand.
Width: Leaf Pendant measures 1 1/4" by 3/4"
31" long.

Julie's designs are based on a romantic philosophy: "When I design jewellery I like to feel that the piece is something you might have found in your grandmother's treasure box in a wonderful old attic – those pieces that were once loved."

jewelry trends 2008
Clover Dangle Earrings
Four-Leaf Clovers.
Cubic Zirconia accents.
18k gold-plated.
About 2" long.

Julie's jewelry is very popular among celebrities and most recently stars like Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightly and Jessica Simpson have been spotted wearing Julie Sandlau jewelry.

Tori Spelling Jewelry

15 Apr

Tori Spelling's jewelry line debuted with twelve designs on Home Shopping Network in July 2007. She's added dozens of new designs to the collection since then. The collection includes necklaces, earrings, cuffs, and bracelets in gold-tone and silver-tone metal and semi-precious stones.

fashion jewelry
Honeycomb Textured 7" Cuff Bracelet
Random circle cutouts cover the surface of the cuff, creating a honeycomb effect. Textured, indented sections stretch across the bracelet's center to create contrast. Rounded ends make this cuff comfortable enough to wear all day.

designer jewelry
Hammered Silhouette Link 36" Necklace
Oval and circle silhouette links join along the necklace via polished double-oval links. Lending a dimensional appeal are large circle links that surround an encased smaller oval link within.

jewelry designer
Turquoise-Color Stone 30" Drop Necklace
This box-link necklace holds a pendant of four square simulated turquoise stones that are prong-set atop an angled setting with openwork borders. A metal bead in the center completes the design.

Tori says: "For the last 5 years I've had a high end boutique jewelry line called Maven that sells in LA and NYC. The Tori Spelling Collection for HSN came about because I decided that I wanted to be able to share my designs with everyone everywhere at affordable prices, so I went into business with HSN."

When asked about what inspires her designs, she says, "vintage pieces are a huge inspiration for me, and I love gold tone metals with semi precious stones. I love jewelry and believe that it's good for the soul. I design the line myself. It's very important to me to share pieces with people that I myself want to wear."

Tori really wants her jewelry to make women feel great. She says that "the right pieces can be a total confidence booster. I'm all about women feeling good about themselves. My pieces can either complement a look or make a look. I wanted women to be able to have that red carpet glam but at very affordable prices. You shouldn't have to break the bank to look amazing!"

Alexis Bittar Jewelry Designer

14 Apr

Spring Lucite Collection
Alexis Bittar started designing jewelry in his East Village apartment eleven years ago. Inspired by Bakelite and Lalique glass, he began to hand carve, hand paint, and gild Lucite. His technique creates luminescent jewelry that is brilliant.
While selling his work on the streets of New York City, Alexis was discovered by the buyers for the Guggenheim Museum and Henri Bendel.

designer jewelry
Necklace with Lucite Drops
19 inches

Stimulated by the intrinsic beauty of precious and semiprecious stones, Alexis designed a second line of distinctive gemstone jewelry. His innate ability to mix unusual colors into bold combinations is closely rivaled by an intuitive understanding of how to join distinct textures. As with other artists whose work is an expression of a singular and extraordinary vision, Bittar's pieces have become collectible.

jewelry designer
Sectional Lucite Bracelet

Women as diverse as barbara walters, Madeleine Albright, Oprah Winfrey, Eve, Annette Bening, Pink, Vanessa Redgrave, and Queen Latifah are avid patrons. Alexis Bittar jewelry has been featured in Italian Vogue, InStyle, New York Times Magazine, New York, German Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, W, Harper's, and Queen magazines, and has appeared on Sex in the City.

designer bracelets
Small Square Lucite Bangles

This is what Giving Tree Jewelry had to say about Alexis and his jewelry:

Hot! Hot! Hot! We need to coin a new term. Alexis Bittar is a tour de force in the jewelry world. Unparalleled in style or creativity, we've carried Alexis' work for years, have the best prices and selection and are so proud of this amazing, prolific and totally trend setting designer. What inspiration we derive from him, in the fact that the sweetest, most gentle man, also happens to make the coolest, hippest jewelry we've seen anywhere!

You can spot his classic Lucite collection on any number of A-list celebrities, and his semi-precious line is hands down the best value for the most beauty we have ever found. It's an honor (and a blast!) to carry the many, many gorgeous designs of this man!

Quite a recommendation, don't you think?

Bottega Veneta Jewelry

11 Apr

Spring/Summer 2008 Jewelry Collection
Now, fans of Bottega's clothes, bags, and shoes can accessorize one step further with the house's new jewelry line. The bangle bracelets, available in three widths and in a combination of leather, crocodile, or wood, are designed so that the smooth silver side is always against the skin.

Saks Fifth Avenue has named this bracelet as one of the five must-have items for this spring/summer. Bottega Veneta leather is superb, and this little knot bracelet is adorable.

designer jewelry
Leather Rope Bracelet
Woven nappa leather with knot and loop closure.
Medallion detail.
Made in Italy.

Bottega Veneta, a premier Italian leather goods house steeped in the traditions of the master leather craftsman of the Veneto, was founded in 1966 and headquartered in Vicenza. The fashion house has earned a reputation for unsurpassed quality. Its timeless style is exemplified in soft handcrafted handbags and its renowned intrecciato, or interwoven leather style, and signature animal prints are instantly recognizable worldwide.

jewelry techniques
Lizard Bangle Bracelet
An elegant accent in intrecciato lizard silver.

The Gucci Group acquired Bottega Veneta in February 2001. Tomas Maier, who trained at the institutional Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, and spent nine years designing for another luxury brand, hermes, came on board as creative director of Bottega Veneta in June 2001. His first collection, Spring/Summer 2002, brought immediate critical acclaim.

designer ring
Gold Pearl Ring
A genuine gold pearl.
Set in oxidized silver.

Most of the jewelry is unisex. The solid sterling silver rings have notches on the sides that allow the ring to sit comfortably between the fingers. The jewelry line is available exclusively at Bottega Veneta boutiques and ranges from $420 for the sterling silver bangles to $3,000 for the sterling silver and Napa leather necklace.

Argento Vivo Jewelry

10 Apr

Argento Vivo Signature Collection
The Argento Vivo Signature collection is inspired by the high-fashion, exotic locations, classic architecture, and the ageless craftsmanship of artisans. Each Argento Vivo Signature piece is hand-cast and hand-polished to ensure the integrity and quality of the collection. To enhance the natural beauty of the silver, each piece is also coated with a high-tech anti-tarnish process to maintain a lustrous shine.

jewelry designer pendant
Onyx Disc Pendant Triple Chain Necklace
Clean lines and minimalist design give Argento Vivo's jewelry an undeniable, timeless appeal.
• Onyx / Sterling Silver.
• Delicate triple chain link.
• Smooth onyx disc pendant.
• Lobster clasp closure.
• 31½'' long chain.

Necklaces range from links made of flowing forms and geometric shapes to chains and sophisticated leather cords hung with sculptural pendants. Most pieces feature Argento Vivo Signature's clasp, artistically created to incorporate into every piece as part of the design.

jewelry necklace
Satin Heart Charm Necklace
• .925 Sterling Silver, 18k Gold Vermeil.
• Chain: 16" Off Center Circle Links.
• Dimensions: 7/8" x 15/16" Pendant.
• Closure: Toggle.

Sterling Silver, with its seductively smooth texture, glossy sheen and fluid lines, is considered sexy and stylish by women of all ages. Argento Vivo Signature, the collection of high-polished silver has re-defined the art, passion, and fashion of silver jewelry.

designer jewelry
Double Ornate Venetian Pendant
The ornate Venetian motif is accented with a hand-hammered gold drop, hanging free from the pendant.
• .925 Sterling Silver, 18k Vermeil.
• 32" Medium Bling Chain.
• Hand Hammered & Assembled.

The collection includes bangles and rings which range from sleekly defined to bold and chunky, and can be worn alone or layered with other Argento Vivo Signature pieces. Earrings and hoops feature linear chains hung with smooth silver nuggets, stiletto pendants in various widths and lengths, and tear-drop-shaped designs.

jewelry techniques
Filigree Fall Leaf Earrings
• .925 Sterling Silver.
• Lever Back.
• Oxidized.

Ed Levin Jewelry Designer

9 Apr

Ed Levin began designing jewelry while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he worked with a master Florentine jeweler. He brought what he learned back to the United States and founded Ed Levin Jewelry. He has passed his artistic vision and skills down to the next generation of master craftsmen who carry on his legacy. His jewelry is still handcrafted using age-old techniques and only the finest materials.

jewelry techniques
Saddle Bracelet
This engraved bracelet is truly a piece of art. The lightly hammered bangle splits at the front of the piece to hold a large engraved floral plaque, which also serves as the anchor for the tongue and groove clasp. Available in Sterling Silver, Two-tone Sterling and 14k Yellow Gold (pictured above ), and solid 14k Yellow Gold. The bracelet measures 1" at its widest point.

designer jewelry
Shadow Box Necklace
This unique, three dimensional slide style pendant features a triangular "frame" above a pool of Sterling Silver or 14k Yellow Gold, where a 6mm bead appears to be floating. The pendant measures 3/4" long by 3/4" wide at the widest point, and includes an 18" Sterling Silver snake chain with a handmade hook and eye clasp. Choose from all Sterling Silver, Sterling with a 14k Gold bead, or Sterling Silver with a 14k Gold pool and bead (pictured).

jewelry designer
Water's Edge Ring
This eclectic puzzle style ring, available in 5mm and 7mm widths, has a wonderful organic feel. Choose Sterling Silver, 14k Yellow Gold, 14k White Gold, and Two-tone Sterling and 14k Yellow Gold.

Company Statement
Ed Levin Jewelry offers designer jewelry in gold, sterling silver, and platinum. All of our jewelry designs are loving handcrafted at our workshop in Cambridge, New York, by our staff of skilled craftspeople. Our handcrafted jewelry comes with a lifetime guarantee. Other handmade designer jewelers cannot make that same guarantee. Our designer jewelry is of heirloom quality. Ed Levin collectors have been adding our designs to their jewelry box for decades. You haven't experienced handcrafted designer jewelry, until you have experienced Ed Levin jewelry.

About Ed Levin
Levin was born February 4, 1921, in New York City and grew up in Long Beach on Long Island. He studied fine arts at Columbia University, and later at Alfred University, the New School, and the Barnes Foundation. He successfully obtained conscientious objector status during World War II.

In 1948, Levin lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and studied with a Florentine master jeweler. In 1949, Levin married Ruth Perlmutter, and lived on the Upper West Side in New York City.

In 1950, he and his founded Ed Levin Jewelry, and made jewelry on the stove top in their New York apartment. He traveled by bus throughout New England to sell his jewelry to college students. In 1953, the couple moved to Shaftsbury, Vermont, where Levin sold his artwork and jewelry from Ed Levin Arts Workshop, established in a building on their property. In 1964, he moved his workshop to Bennington where he opened a retail shop.

In 1968, Levin married Ruth Pearl Bluestone Dale, bought a house in Cambridge, NY, and moved his wholesale business there. While Levin continued to design jewelry, he also spent time in his studio painting, sculpting, throwing pots, and inventing tools.

Ed Levin Jewelry, Inc., considered the oldest and largest hand-crafted jewelry manufacturer in the United States, is owned by the family and currently sells to hundreds of retail shops throughout the country.

Levin was adamant in his beliefs and followed his own path. Life, for him, was a continuing exploration of ideas, the senses, and challenging the status quo. He actively supported peace, human rights, civil liberties, and environmental protection.

Levin said, "The diversity and richness of the natural world and all of the peoples who have inhabited it will always inspire both art and jewelry. The connections are not necessarily direct or obvious, but our present is still connected to the earth forms and ancestor creations that abound and still touch us."

Edward Levin, of Cambridge, New York, and Cedar Key, Florida, died February 23, 2008, at his home in Cedar Key. He was 87. He was an artist, craftsperson, jeweler, painter, sculptor, ceramist, and inventor of machines, tools, and processes to enhance creativity in jewelry making.

Stack Rings for Spring

8 Apr

A stack ring designed to be worn with a number of other rings. Although each ring is separate, the overall appearance is of a larger, highly textured ring. Stack rings are a fantastic choice for people who want to vary their jewelry on a regular basis. They can be worn separately or in any order, giving you several different looks.

jewelry rings
Blue Topaz and Pearl Ring Trio
Radiant cultured pearls and shimmering topaz.
Or each ring stands on its own.
Sterling bands. Handmade.
Very affordable.
About Topaz
Topaz, symbol of love and affection, is one of nature's most wonderful gems. Topaz occurs not only in the transparent yellow, yellow brown, orange brown, and pinky brown colors most popularly associated with it, but it is also found in light to medium red, very light to light blue, very light green, light greenish yellow, violet, and colorless.

Stack rings are usually quite thin, so five or six rings can be worn together. They are typically set with gemstones, and the settings are either flush with the ring shank, so the stones don't knock against the other rings, or they are set slightly higher to allow the stone to overlap the other rings.

jewelry designer rings
Lori Bonn Alchemy Stack Rings
Platinum Quartz, Rose Gold Quartz, Gold Quartz, Sterling Silver.
These are doublet gemstones, which means they are made in two layers that are permanently bonded together either for a special look or for durability. These Gold, Rose Gold, and Platinum Quartz stones are made of a faceted dome of crystal quartz over a quartz base that has been coated with 22k gold, rose gold leaf, or platinum. The coating is completely protected, keeping it safe from everyday wear.

Whether you're looking for stackable gemstone rings or just thin elegant gold or silver bands, stackable rings offer many beautiful combinations for wearing multiple rings together. Stack rings are a lovely way to build a collection, and each ring can be highly personal. Wear a set of stack rings with the birthstones of your children, other family members, or friends.

jewelry techniques
Sterling Silver Multigemstone Stack Rings
Eye-catching texture, captivating color, and creative form – this piece of art boasts a clever combination of lush gems set in polished sterling silver.
Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, White Topaz.
Four stackable rings with bezel-set gemstones.

Margaret Regan Jewelry Designer

7 Apr

Polymer Clay Art Jewelry
Margaret Regan lives in Helena, Montana with husband Chris and sons, Sam and Max. As a child in Billings, Montana, she played near the sandstone bluffs that encircle the city, turning over rocks to search for bugs and stringing yucca seed necklaces.

Margaret always loved making small-scale things, and spent long summer afternoons constructing fairy stone-and-stick houses. These childhood interests resurface in her polymer clay work, which is playful, detailed, and occasionally insect-inspired.

Here are some examples of Margaret's work:

jewelry techniques

designer jewelry

jewelry techniques

About Polymer Clay
The term polymer clay is used to describe synthetic clays manufactured by several companies under their individual trade names. Each manufacturer's formula varies in durability, texture, and color, but all are similar in one aspect: They are clays formulated to cure at temperatures far lower than typical kiln-baked clays.

Because of their relatively low firing temperatures, these clays have seen a broadening application in arts and crafts. Their plastic-based composition yields a final product that is much less susceptible to breakage than ordinary clays. Still, it takes a seasoned artist to construct long-lasting sculpture when intricate design and several media are combined.

Margaret says:
"To work in a colored, sculptural medium is a joy. Imagine, saturated color so thick and luscious you can roll it into a ball. The material gives me so much – instant texture, infinite color, all the detail I desire, and the opportunity to write my own text.

"Polymer is very recent in the history of craft media. Its relative newness on the art scene means that there is not an ancient tradition of use. The basic properties and possibilities of polymer are still being discovered. What a thrill to be an explorer!"

Artist Statement

I love the float and drift of dreams, where familiar objects appear in new settings, and our lives are revealed in visual metaphor. The ability to alter context is a gift: known with novel, commonplace with improbable. Scale and weight and location are all up for grabs. In my work, I revel in these open-ended possibilities.

The medium I use for my explorations is polymer clay, a man-made modeling material. After "tuning" the clays for color, strength, and consistency, I puzzle-piece together patterned blocks of clay. My process is similar to the centuries-old Millefiori techniques of glass makers. Stretching the clays lengthwise reduces the pattern, and piece by piece I create intricate designs of brilliant clay.

I additionally use sterling silver and pure gold leaf. My designs are not painted but are a combination of colored polymer clay and precious metal leaf. I am an innovator in this medium and have pioneered techniques that I now teach nationally. I am engaged in all aspects of the work, from initial design to final sanding. Using the sculptural properties of polymer clay allows me to create jewelry rich in color, texture and visual dimension.