Archive | May, 2008

Marraccini Jewelry

30 May

Lapidary and Metalsmith
In 1972, 25-year-old Lee Angelo Marraccini accompanied his wife Pam to the art studio in Washington, DC, where she was taking pottery classes. On a whim, he enrolled in a jewelry-making workshop. Within a year, he and Pam had left their jobs as high school teachers, outfitted their GMC van with a bed and camp stove, and set out on a road trip through the United States and Mexico, during which Lee met jewelers around the country and refined his technique.

From the Inlay Collection:
jewelry designer bracelet
18k Gold & Gemstone Link Bracelet
Rectangular links inlaid with all natural black Jade, Costa Rican yellow Jasper, Lapis, Maw Sit-Sit, Sugilite, and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise.

gemstone pendant and earrings
Moldavite Earrings & Pendant
18k rectangular inlay earrings with Moldavite inlay
18k rectangular inlay pendant with Moldavite inlay
Necklace: 20 strand 14k cable necklace with crocodile clasp 16 in.

gold and gemstone pendants
Gold & Gemstone Pendants
Clockwise left to right:
18k textured round pendant with flush set .03ct TW diamond
18k round pendant with natural Lapis and .03ct TW diamond
18k textured round pendant
18k round pendant with natural Maw Sit-Sit – a beautiful gemstone
18k dome pendant with .11 ct TW flush set diamonds
18k round pendant with natural garnet and .03ct TW diamond
Necklace: thin black, blue, or green silicon 16 in. necklace with 18k clasp

In the summer of 1973, Lee and Pam landed at the Belles Artes San Miguel de Allende School of Art, where for $32 a month, they enrolled in a bohemian course of study that included drawing, ballet, guitar, and jewelry design. What artistic little vagabonds they were!

By 1974, they were back on the East coast. In the Allegheny Mountains in Paw Paw, West Virginia, they eked out a living farming organic vegetables, while Lee put all his energy into making jewelry. He started Moondance Silver that year, and peddled rings and bracelets at craft shows around the country.

From the Gemstone Collection:
gold and gemstone rings
Diamond Surprise Rings
Left to right:
14k ring with squared off back and 10x8mm emerald cut Amethyst, and .015 ct flush set diamond on back side of shank
14k ring with squared off back and 10x8mm emerald cut Citrine and .015 ct flush set diamond on back side of shank

Commercial success proved elusive, but Lee honed his inlay technique, and became exceedingly skilled at shaping stones on the wheel. He sought out and studied under some of the country's top jewelers, including Heiki Seepe, Robert Ebendorf, Ivy Ross, James Meyer, and Ronald Hayes Pearson. His pieces became warmer, cleaner, and more linear – the foundation of a style that would eventually become synonymous with the Marraccini name. He was designing jewelry he loved, and that he believed people would buy.

Armed with new creations, Lee hit the craft shows more frequently over the next several years. Business grew. So did his relationships with other jewelers. Gabriel Ofiesh and a group from Charlottesville, Virginia, were especially encouraging. At the same time, Wild, Wonderful West Virginia was becoming a little too wild. When floods, isolation, and harsh weather sent Lee and Pam searching for a new place to settle, Pam suggested Charlottesville. They moved in 1984.

Lee continued to develop new designs. He studied intermediate and advanced stone setting at the Revere Academy in 1986. His pieces became stronger, yet retained a sense of playfulness. They reflected his theory that jewelry should be "serious fun" for the wearer.

In 1998, Lee opened Angelo, a jewelry store in the Old Michie Building off Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. Angelo is a show house for Lee's strong, geometric designs – like his signature series of stacking rings – as well as new pieces and jewelry from other top artists.

Lee's jewelry is meticulously handcrafted at his studio several blocks from the store. They incorporate platinum, yellow and white gold, colored stones, and diamonds in warm playful designs. Lee prides himself in working with customers to create unique pieces that reflect his clients' individual tastes.

This man knows how to make some jewelry!

Patty Bolz: Goldsmith

29 May

Patty Bolz began her career as a designer and goldsmith in 1980. Since that time, she has maintained a studio and a home in Camden, Maine, where she lives with her husband and three children. Over the years, Patty's work has won numerous awards, and has been exhibited in galleries and shows throughout the country, and has also been featured in books and publications on contemporary jewelry design.

designer gemstone rings
Gold & Gemstone Rings
Emerald-cut stones and trillion-cut stones.
Top: Rhodolite Garnet with Tanzanite.
Bottom: Green and Pink Tourmaline.

Patty's jewelry, which has been described as a stylistic blend of ancient and contemporary, is constructed in 22k and 18k gold using traditional goldsmithing techniques. These include fusing, soldering, forming, repousse, and engraving, among others. With these techniques, she strives to achieve form and balance within each piece.

gold and gemstone pendant
Gold & Black Onyx Pendant
Pendant with 12 x 6 x 8mm high dome stone.
Shown in Matte Black Onyx.
Lightweight snake chain.
Size ~5/8" across.

While Patty sees jewelry as wearable adornment, she also believes that a successful piece must be capable of standing alone as a work unto itself. As in sculpture, all of the elements in a form – both metal and non-metal (including gemstones and non-precious materials, such as steel or slate – must work together within a single vision.

gold brooch
Gold & Gemstone Bar Pin
5 x 3.5mm oval stone.
2.7mm round diamonds.
Blue & Orange Sapphire.
Size: 5/16" wide, 1" long.
4 x 3mm pear shape stones.

Along with the overall form, the application of surface texture is integral to Patty's work, and is achieved through a variety of methods – fusing, engraving, stamping, hammering, stippling, chiseling, sanding, etc. Texture often serves to connect the various elements in a piece stylistically, and adds visual dimension to her jewelry.

Artist Statement

I regard my jewelry not only as personal ornament but as sculpture. A successful piece must be able to stand on its own artistically while being comfortable and wearable. My inspiration comes from the textures found in nature, diverse architectural elements, and from the unique characteristics of the high-karat gold and the gemstones with which I work.

I am particularly drawn to ancient jewelry, and when designing my work I strive to achieve a classical sense of timelessness, while also maintaining a contemporary element. As a jeweler and a designer, I work to bring something of this presence into my work – to create pieces with a fullness of form and a richness of detail. My designs combine a classical sense of timelessness with a contemporary appeal.

Dominique Cohen Jewelry

28 May

Jewelry Designer
Although Dominique Cohen didn't study design in college, she has always been visually artistic and won awards in photography. She first started by making jewelry for herself, but soon began making pieces for others as well. Her first pieces were made from beads she purchased at a local store. Now she works with gem dealers from all over the world.

designer ring
Pink Tourmaline Cocktail Ring
Exquisite 18k rose gold design holds a 15ct pink tourmaline.
Made in USA.

Dominique started her business in late 1994 and by mid-1995, the business had taken off. She says that the sudden growth was unexpected and attributes it to having wonderful representatives in New York and Dallas. All of Dominique's jewelry is handcrafted. You can currently find her pieces at Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, and Neiman Marcus online, and select stores in Beverly Hills and Dallas.

gemstone necklace
Rose Gold & Mint Topaz Necklace
"NY" link chain of 18k rose gold is paired with cool mint topaz twists.
18" long, plus 3" adjustment.
Lobster clasp.
Made in USA.

Dominique gets her inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, because Ms. Hepburn had the elegance and taste that Dominique wants to portray. She also looks to artists and art from the late 1800s and early 1900s, such as Tiffany and Lalique, for inspiration. She is also inspired by nature and oriental motifs. Those influences are evident in her jewelry.

gold and gemstone ring
Rose Gold & London Blue Topaz Ring
A cocktail ring with a lot of bling: 15 carats of faceted topaz.
18k rose gold setting.
Made in USA.

All of Dominique's designs are made with precious metals, semi-precious gemstones, and Tahitian and cultured pearls. Her favorites are Burmese Ruby, Tourmaline, and Aquamarine. She does five collections of jewelry each year. And while she pays attention to the trends, she also lets the gems inspire her to create something different. She now uses 18k gold in many of her designs.

Extremely pricey, but SO gorgeous!

Stephen LeBlanc Art Jewelry

27 May

What exactly is art jewelry? Some jewelry is just too beautiful and too unique to be called anything but art jewelry. Some of it is too precious and/or fragile to wear. And, to me at least, it also means that the piece is designed and handmade by the artist. To me, anyone who can take a sheet of precious metal, and or wire, and create a piece of jewelry from scratch, is a jewelry artist.

Stephen LeBlanc draws his inspiration from the natural world with his line of hand forged jewelry. By concentrating on the transitions within each form, edges become expanding planes and surfaces respond to one another. Each piece is created from one piece of material, which LeBlanc stretches and forms to its extreme limit of plasticity. All of his designs are offered in different metals, hence the different prices.

Ginkgo Necklace & Earrings
Hand forged from one piece of silver, this stunning anticlastic sterling neckpiece has a high-polished and matte finish, and lays gracefully around the neck and culminates into a perfect ginkgo leaf. Matching earrings have integrated ear wire.
$245 – $275

Stephen began working in metal in 1994, during his second semester at Skidmore College. After three semesters of metals classes, he left Skidmore after two years to move on to a more direct method of learning and studying with masters of the craft at Deer Isle and the Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Maine. He enrolled in a session of glassblowing, yet even in his glasswork he was incorporating metal. Following a month of glassblowing, he set up a metal shop – he needed to refine his work and understand why he was so drawn to metalwork.

Unfurling Silver Neckpiece & Earrings
A single hand-forged arc of silver gracefully unfurls through the artist's use of anticlastic raising. Contrasting matte and high-polished surfaces highlight this neckpiece and earring set's beautiful curves. Matching earrings have integrated ear wires.
$255 – $390

Anticlastic Raising is the process of forging a piece of metal so that it has opposite curvature at a given point. The metal is worked in a way that stretches the outside areas of the metal and creates a concave curve, while the center section of the metal is compressed and forced into a convex curve.

handcrafted earrings
Mokume Gane & Anticlastic Twist Earrings
Using the ancient Japanese mokume-gane technique, LeBlanc forges palladium and 18K gold together into these exquisitely patterned earrings. Each earring is given its subtle twist through anticlastic raising. Also available in sterling silver with matte or polished finish.
$180 – $1625

Mokume Gane is Japanese for wood-grained metal – an ancient technique originally used to forge katana blades. Soft metals like copper and silver are pressed together, heated, and rolled to create the distinctive wood grain like pattern.

Artist Statement

Following a series of commissions and working in mediums including metals and wood, I was ready to try another avenue to expand my skills. This quest brought me to southern Maine, where I commenced classes at the Maine College of Art. It was there that my metals instructor suggested an apprenticeship at the Ronald Hayes Pearson Studio, and insisted that I apply. Soon after, I was off again to Deer Isle.

During my two years of apprenticeship at the Pearson studio I continued to expand my learning experiences in a variety of media. I explored blacksmithing at Haystack once as a student and the following year as a teaching assistant for master blacksmith Doug Wilson. Haystack Mountain School of Craft has become a foundation for both my art and my life, drawing me back to expand my horizons year after year.

Following my work with Doug Wilson, I was requested as a teaching assistant for master metalsmith Heikki Seppa; the Finnish creator of synclastic and anticlastic raising techniques with metals. I have been blessed with opportunities during my lifetime to learn from true masters of craft who have assisted me in refining my skills, while nurturing my passion for metals and fanning my creative flame.

My work incorporates the forms and essences of the natural world. In observing the interplay of form and function, my goal is to create work that draws people to explore this dynamic interplay. I do not strive to duplicate, but to integrate elements of these organic forms into each one of my pieces.

The medium of metal lends itself to developing these naturalistic forms with the durability and integrity afforded by hand wrought metal. I intend to grab the viewers' interest, to intrigue and coax them into taking a closer look to understand and explore the form.

Caroline Ballou Jewelry

26 May

Jewelry Designer
Jewelry is in Caroline Ballou's blood. Since 1886, four generations of the Ballou family have made their company one of Rhode Island's most important manufacturers of fine jewelry. As a young designer, Caroline Ballou took a different course. After receiving her MFA, she opened her own studio, producing art jewelry for galleries, hosting private shows with limited edition pieces.

designer bracelet
ashanti Bracelet
The people of Ghana and the Cote d'Ivoire live close to the earth; their ceremonial body ornamentation evokes organic origins – leaf, vine, water, thatch. After working with Crossroads Africa, I came home and grabbed a hammer. All that's gold does not necessarily glitter.
18K Soft Hammered Finish Bracelet w/ 3.5mm
Amethyst, Blue Topaz, Peridot, and Citrine
8" Long

As the Design Director for the family company, Caroline's career took on a new dimension when she began to design her own line. She combined her contemporary visions with B. A. Ballou's history of high quality standards and infinite technical expertise. She gave life to the fifth generation of design innovation in the well respected jewelry manufacturing company, and has received several design awards.

gemstone pendant
Malaspina Glacier Pendant
Soft Hammered Finish Pendant with 3.5mm Peridot
Most of the world's fresh water is on ice, stored in glaciers. The largest piedmont glacier on earth is in Alaska. From space, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the swirly spirals I've been drawing since preschool. I can't wait to see if my tears freeze before they hit the ground.

Caroline creates her fine jewelry collection with a cross-cultural edge, the sophisticated product of worldwide influences filtered through the sensibility of a thoroughly contemporary artist. Combining rich colors, textures, rhythms, symbols and patterns, she develops a broad mix of necklaces, cuffs, bracelets, rings and earrings. A bit of history is infused into each piece as it is Caroline's interpretation of decorative traditions brought forth from many different cultures.

designer ring
Highland Cobblestone Ring
18k Soft Finish w/ Polished Edge Ring with Diamond Accent

Jewelry Interpretation
Working in sterling silver and 18k gold, Caroline adds excitement with semi precious gemstones, some being exclusively designed and cut for fine quality and distinction. Diamonds and pearls add a strong yet feminine elegance. Textures in sterling silver are darkened to illuminate the richly incised forms. Gold becomes an art form, sleek and polished, hammered and matte, each piece with a warm glow. Intriguing surface treatments, combinations of precious metals, and contemporary stones and beads are used in illustrating a casual elegance that is Caroline Ballou.

The collections are for the woman seeking individuality; from modern classics with a twist to the refined adaptations of trends. Touchable and wearable, the entire collection moves easily from day to evening, adding pizzazz to business wear and a touch of exclusive luxury to weekend and dinner fashions. Wearing a Caroline Ballou feels like wearing confidence.

Artist Statement
As an artist, I'm observant by nature. And yet, there's something about setting foot on foreign soil that really sharpens the senses. My footprints vanish in a moment, but the textures and colors and shapes of a place take root in my soul.

Jewelry Bargains at Ross-Simons

25 May

Ross-Simons, a trusted jeweler by over 4 million customers since 1952, offers a fabulous collection of jewelry that sets the standard for exquisite design. Their jewelry experts work hand-in-hand with artisans from around the world to bring you the most extraordinary styles at exceptional prices.

designer ring
Multi-Gem Compass Ring In 14k Yellow Gold
Blue topaz, Peridot, Amethyst, and Citrine around a 3.2 carat Citrine cabochon.
North, south, east and west: all points are colorfully covered with .75 ct.
Set in embossed 14k gold.

gold and pearl earrings
Cultured Pearl Dangle Earrings In 14k Yellow Gold
Freshwater pearls are housed safely in 14k yellow gold cages.

yellow gold ring
14k Yellow Gold Graduated Wide Laser Cut Band
A wide band of 14k yellow gold with a contemporary edge.
Laser cuts create a modern hatch-work pattern.
Dimensions: 5/8"

gold locket pendant
14k Yellow Gold Engraved Heart Locket
A graceful floral motif frames a pretty engraved heart on this heart-shaped locket.
On a fine 1 mm rope chain with spring-ring clasp.
Set in polished 14k yellow gold.

gold and diamond ring
Diamond Braided Band In 14k Yellow Gold
Luxe brushed-finish plait of 14k yellow gold.
Edged top and bottom with .10 ct. diamonds.
Band measures 1/2" in width.

gold and gemstone bracelet
Multi-Gem Bangle Bracelet
4.10 ct Amethyst, Citrine, Peridot, Blue Topaz, and Garnet.
In multi-shaped bezels dot a textured vermeil bangle.
18k Gold-plated Sterling Silver.

gold earrings
Mother-Of-Pearl and Hammered Disc Earrings In 14k Yellow Gold
Plenty of glow with hammered 14k gold circles.
Mother-of-Pearl discs.
Hanging length: 5/8"
Clutch/posts backs.

gold pendant
Yellow Gold Textured & Smooth Geometric Pendant
Bark-textured diamond shape drops from its glossy, curved counterpart.
Rope 1mm chain with spring-ring clasp.
Bold and graphic in 14k gold.
Fits chains up to 7mm.
Hanging length: 2 5/8"

14k gold earrings
14k Yellow Gold Fanned Oval Loop Earrings
Three loops of lustrous 14k yellow gold with a triple-ribbed clasp.
Hanging length 3/4"
Post closure.

gold and gemstone bracelet
Tiger's Eye & 14k Yellow Gold Bar Bracelet
Polished bars of tiger's eye.
14k gold geometric links.
Box clasp.

gold designer ring
14k Gold Scroll Motif Dome Ring
Swirling scrolls sweep over this shimmering dome ring.
Ring measures just over 1/2" in width.

gold hoop earrings
14k Dot Detail Hoop Earrings
Velvety satin-finished hoops.
Bright polished dots.
3" long.

Have a great week!

Michele Watches

23 May

Maurice Barouh taught his son Jack the essentials of watch making – patience and a dedication to quality. It was an education in both the business and the craft of the industry, a lesson that Jack combined with his own interest in design. Jack's knowledge of the mechanics involved in watch production gave him the tools to focus on both construction and style.

Garden Party Collection
Inspired by the beauty and simplicity of nature, a unique series of three different enamel dials capture the scenes of an enchanted garden. This whimsical interpretation is further adorned with diamonds amongst the brightly colored enamel, as well as larger diamonds around the case.
designer watch
Bumble Bee Royal Blue Alligator
Stainless Steel.
White lacquer dial.
White diamonds.
Sapphire crystal.

Jack and his wife Rita, who grew up in Geneva, Switzerland, moved to Panama in the 1970s to help run the family business as well as to begin their own family. While there, Jack's watches garnered great attention from the Latin American market because of their innovative designs.

After several years in Panama, Jack and Rita moved their two young children, Jeremy and Michele, to Miami, where they started Michele Watches, named for their daughter. The very first Michele Watch, the CSX Diamond, was just the beginning of many more collections to come.

CSX Collection
Michele succeeded in revolutionizing the industry with its first designer timepiece known as the CSX. A globe-shaped case illustrates its universal appeal. Pioneering a trend of luxury without limitation, CSX performance timepieces are specially designed for those devoted to living increasingly stylish lives.
handcrafted watch
Stainless Steel Gold Patent Leather
White Mother-of-Pearl dial.
Sapphire crystal.

The lessons of the past have not been lost on the third generation of watchmakers in the Barouh family. Both Michele and Jeremy credit the brand's success to their parents' enthusiasm and perseverance. Michele believes that the company must stay up-to-date in terms of fashion, so they can maintain the competitive edge that sets them apart from other brands in the industry.

Deco Collection
A brilliant celebration of the history of Art Deco design. Modern mechanics and aesthetics are brilliantly fused together to capture the magnetism and wonderment of an unforgotten era. The distinguished rectangular case reflects the geometric shapes identified with Art Deco architecture.
watches spring 2008
Deco Dark Purple Alligator
White Diamonds.
Mother-of-Pearl dial.

Michele's eye for trends has been one of the assets that differentiates Michele Watches. She is largely responsible for moving the brand's design aesthetic forward, and also for capitalizing on the trends of the moment with the interchangeable watch bands she designs that are made in several skins, from crocodile to stingray, lizard to leather.

One of the Barouh Family's biggest sources of inspiration comes from their yearly travels to exotic locales. "We were always fortunate enough to travel to see different cultures," said Jeremy, who, like the rest of his family, speaks French, Spanish, and English.

According to Jack Barouh, the best part about working with his children is seeing how each brings a different experience to the table. "After watching them grow up, go through college, declare their independence, and travel, they've returned as complete individuals who have a great deal to offer the company," he said.

Michele Watches' third generation has mixed a love of fashion with a love of travel and design to create a truly unique product. Michele and Jeremy understand that, unlike a great shoe or bag, a watch is a living device, one that encompasses both a history of craftsmanship and the potential for becoming a family heirloom.

Today, Michele Watches is a $50 million business that has become part of Fossil, a global leader in the fashion watch market with a proven track record of attracting and expanding brands. Jack Barouh made the decision in 2004 to merge his company with Fossil in order to give Michele Watches an even greater position of strength in the global watch industry. But Michele Watches still operates as a family business, with the design and business decisions made by the Barouh family in partnership with Fossil.

Pretty pricey, but we girls have to have something to dream about.

Smersh Designer Jewelry

22 May

Smersh Design was founded in 1994 and is powered by Frances and John Smersh. Their focus is on clean design, and they utilize alternative materials to create jewelry with contemporary lines. Frances designs the work, and each piece is made by hand in the couple's jewelry studio. Located less than a mile from their home in Seattle, the studio is not far from the waters of Elliott Bay. The proximity to home and beach keeps them in touch with gardening, kayaking, roller blading, and yoga.

designer earrings
Bowtie Pearl Earrings in Grape
Luscious freshwater pearls make this pair of earrings turn heads. You may want to line up a special occasion for the first time you wear them out. After that, go ahead and wear them every day. The posts are sterling silver.

The unexpected beauty and color of concrete caught Frances Smersh's attention in 1998. The uniqueness of the material in the context of jewelry provides both technical intellectual challenges. Concrete jewelry is lightweight, durable, and textural. Currently, Frances offers her concrete in several different colors – black, natural, denim, grape, olive, espresso, pumpkin, brick, and sky.

earring trends
Kite Drop Pendant in Olive
Simply elegant. Hung on a sleek 1mm 16" length sterling silver omega chain, this pendant flatters you and any ensemble you are stepping out in.

Each of Smersh's designs begins with sterling silver bezels. Pigment is added to a special polymer-based concrete, which is then poured into each bezel. The concrete cures and dries, and is then ground down and sealed with lacquer. Her pieces are as sophisticated as they are unconventional.

concrete jewelry bracelet
Kate Pearl & Concrete Bracelet
Bracelet made from denim and gray colored concrete that is poured into sterling silver bezels. Double-strung on durable elastic cord and decorated with 4mm freshwater pearls.

Frances calls her jewelry clean, contemporary, alternative pieces in silver and colored concrete. Her award-winning designs have captured the imagination of women who want to spice up their wardrobes with a splash of color. The tag line she created – Real Girls Wear Concrete and Pearls – sums it up. It's fun and funky, cool and classy – something unique that can be worn every day or on any occasion.

Gorgeous Gold Rings at HSN

21 May

Yellow has been a favorite color since this past winter, and what better embodiment of that trend in jewelry than gold.
Though it's ever so pricey, yellow gold has made a comeback in a big way this year, and rings continue to be bold and chunky. So I set out to find some beautiful gold rings that won't put a gigantic dent in your bank account. Surprisingly, I found a wonderful selection at HSN.

gold jewelry
14k Gold Heart Dangle Ring
Midas-touched in polished yellow gold, this ring showcases a puffed yellow gold heart dangle. The heart features a textured, rhodium-plated heart design in the center with a prong-set, round diamond accent, for a splash of sparkle. Polished finish, tapered shank, so cute!

Pure gold is too soft to withstand the stresses of every-day wear, so it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, nickel, and zinc to give it strength and durability. Caratage, indicated by a number followed by k, indicates purity, or how much of the metal in a piece of jewelry is gold. Caratage is expressed in 24ths, 24k gold being 100% gold.

designer jewelry
14k Gold Polished and Satin Bypass Ring
This stunning yellow gold bypass ring showcases a thick, overlapping design. The ring's sleek polished side overlaps atop a sugary satin-finish side, for a sinfully asymmetrical appearance. Measures approx. 13/16"L x 13/16"W x 1/8"H with 3/16"W shank. Tapered shank. Made in Italy.

Of all metals, gold is the softest and most malleable, yet has exercised the strongest hold on the human imagination. It appears naturally in its metallic form, and can be fashioned into complex shapes with the simplest bronze, bone, or wooden tools, meaning that gold could be worked into tokens, personal adornments, and talismans by the earliest craftspeople.

jewelry techniques
14k Gold Hand-finished Floral Motif Ring
Fashioned from polished yellow gold, this picturesque ring features a wide silhouette with an openwork floral motif on a satin-finish backdrop. Creating a bold, yet feminine look upon your finger, this golden garden radiates elegance. Polished finish, tapered shank, made in Italy.

The Cost
The price of gold jewelry is dependent upon the purity of the gold used or karat weight, as well as the design and construction of the piece of jewelry. The color of the gold is determined by the type of metal alloys included in it, and the percentage of each alloy. 18k gold contains 75% gold, which is alloyed with other metals to make it strong enough to withstand everyday wear.

Now, these are all 14k gold rings – 18k is not in my budget. Because 14k gold is composed of only 58.3% gold and 41.7% other metals, its gold color isn't as rich as 18k gold. 14k gold is most commonly used where strength is most important, like in earring backs and bracelet clasps, but if I can have a nice 14k ring – or none at all – I'm going for it.

jewelry trends 2008
14k Gold Polished 'Snakeskin' Concave Ring
This impressive yellow gold ring boasts a sizable, eye-catching square table with a concave silhouette. The table showcases a snakeskin design, while open geometric cutouts on gallery let light pass through the hand-polished piece. Split tapered shank, polished finish, made in Italy.

Pure gold doesn't react with other elements to create tarnish – the residue that accumulates on some metals before transferring to your skin as a stain. Sometimes people have allergy or staining problems with metals that are combined with gold, but the gold itself is rarely a problem.

gold jewelry trends
14k Gold Brocade Ring
Enhance your style with a touch of opulence when you wear this elegant ring. Polished yellow gold is crafted into a bold, slightly domed square with an intriguing openwork design. Cutouts in the top of the square form a swirling, brocade-like pattern that reveals a layer of translucent blue enamel, while filigree scrolls form an open gallery along the sides. This allows light to reflect through the sapphire-colored enamel, simulating the rich look of stained glass. The raised, dimensional-looking square appears to float atop a polished band, which feels smooth and comfortable on the finger. Made in Italy. A customer favorite!

To clean gold jewelry, use a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap and wash gold gently with a soft-bristled brush – an old toothbrush works well. Store gold pieces separately in soft cloth bags or in their original boxes to protect them from the exposure to harsh daily elements.

gold rings
14k Gold Bold Concave Square Ring
Smooth, silky and irresistibly seductive, this ring is a striking testament to your sophisticated taste. Sculpted from yellow gold, this highly polished ring has a modified cigar band silhouette with a concave center. Flattened edges and tapered shoulders produce a square shape in front, lending a geometric flair to the dramatic design. Tapered shank. Made in USA.


Christine MacKellar Jewelry

20 May

Christine MacKellar creates jewelry with layers of rich textures and an unusual twist to the two-tone idea made popular by jewelry designers like David Yurman and Steven Lagos. Her signature look combines gold and sterling silver in seamlessly fused jewelry. The gold flows through the sterling silver like a stream of hot lava.

jewelry techniques
Blossom Pendant
Small pendant hand-fabricated from 22k gold and sterling silver bimetals, freshwater pearls, and 18k gold, and suspended on an 18" sterling silver mesh chain.

Christine's key technique is fusing high karat gold to sterling silver. The pieces in her collection are totally hand-fabricated with no casting, says the designer, who describes herself as a metalsmith. The metals that make up the majority of her pieces are chosen primarily for the artistic effect of their colors. Polished silver is contrasted with matte and semi-matte surfaces that are highlighted by hand burnishing.

handcrafted jewelry pendant
Leaf Drop Pendant
Dramatic bimetal leaf on 18" snake chain, accented with 24k gold and a gray freshwater pearl. Available with sterling or oxidized silver.

Intricate patterns of high carat golds are created for each piece of jewelry. Aptly describing her work as a kaleidoscope, she aims to capture color, texture, and movement in each design. She textures the metal surfaces using hammers, punches, engraving tools, and a rolling mill. She describes her inspiration as often coming from nature and the effect of sunlight reflected on water.

precious metal jewelry
Long Leaf Pendant
Dramatic bimetal leaf on 18" cable made from strands of silver and 18k gold. Available with sterling or oxidized silver.

Her sculptural pieces are bold and contemporary. Gemstones and bimetal elements are used for contrast, adding to the infinite design possibilities. Bimetal is double-sided sheet metal, composed of two different types of metal that have been rolled and fused together. Among her favorite gems are those that offer movement and iridescence, such as cat's eye, moonstone, and boulder opals.

"I grew up on a large dairy farm in the midlands of England," she says. "A perfect preparation for working long hours without immediate gratification. I could never imagine working a 9-5 kind of job. I enjoy working for myself by myself."