Monday, August 4, 2014

Diamonds are running low but prices continue to grow..

So I happened upon an interesting read while on LinkedIn: Here's the article

Lately colored stones have been taking center stage in the jewelry field, particularly since the prices of diamonds and gold continue to rise, and perhaps because a certain British princess rocking a gorgeously huge natural sapphire. And let's face it, it's much more cost effective to purchase a gemstone wedding set versus the grotesquely priced diamond counter-part.

I've always defended the high price of diamonds being justified in that I understood how unique and rare each well cut stone was.  It's also an easy price to defend when you know that the retail price is typically marked up 3X, and you know you don't have to pay that price if you know where to look.  However, lately I'm having a harder and harder time explaining away the price, especially when I see the speckled gray monstrosities that the big name chain jewelers are dishing out for an outrageous price.

The big mines that were spewing out the big, brilliant, beauties are depleting and there's no new miracle mine in sight.  What I have come to love as a jeweler, is the vintage pieces that come through, because you just don't see that size, color, or quality anymore.

What's alarming about this read is that organizations, like De Beers, think that jacking up the price is really going to sell the rarity of the stones.  Yes, good quality diamonds are rare, but not diamonds themselves.  The rare stones are the natural Emeralds and Tanzanites out there that are in the same danger of depletion, but there are no companies out there interested in the longevity of those stones since the market has been built around the diamond.

I'm interested to see how this plays out in the next coming years. I've already seen a great decline in the purchase of gold jewelry, people are going for the tougher, cheaper metals. What I am seeing in people is that if they are going to spend that huge of a chunk of change, that want that piece to last.  De Beers has famously coined the idea that diamonds are forever, but gold unfortunately does not.  I've already been approached several times about setting stones in metals like steel and tungsten. So what kind of jewelry alternatives will a future with overpriced materials bring in?

Blog post on article by Vinod Kuriyan on Gem Connect: Here's the original article

Photo Cred:

Princess Kate: link
Princess Diana's Ring: tumblr
Loose Diamonds: De Beers

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Awesome Kickstarter for a Bangle from Beacon & Lively

So my fellow Tyler Alumni has been involved with developing a very chic way to wear modern technology.  The company she works for, Beacon & Lively, have been working on a kickstarter for a bangle that lights up when your receive messages, email, phone calls, etc.


 I love the design, it's very futuristic with an exaggerated curvature to accentuate the grooves that light up various colors via LED.  I love the concept of wearable technology, personally I always have my phone in hand so it would be nice to have a fashionable element that alerts me of messages versus carrying around my cellular.



However, I did show this bangle to a couple of my friends to see their reaction to the idea, and the consensus was the same. What else can it do?  That's where I get stuck with my excitement, I got so caught up in design that I didn't really consider functionality.  The every day jewelry wearer isn't going to be provoked into purchasing something that just lights up when their phone does the same thing.  Same goes for the tech nerd, with all the technology in Garmin watches, why would they buy something that just lights up?


For me this kickstarter is about where technology and style can go.  This is the start of something incredibly classy, sophisticated, and tech smart.  I'd love to see this company take on the ever so design savvy Apple, and create a bangle that displays messages, connects to the internet, GPS compatiable, the works.  I can see this concept going places and would love to see people support a small independent company interested in a bright convenient future.

If you feel so inclined to donate to their cause, I have provided their link below.  Graciously they are providing incentives to people that donate, so if your looking to get your hands on one of these bad boys, donate.

Beacon & Lively Kickstarter Information

Images provided by Beacon & Lively

Monday, June 9, 2014

Laser Cut Statement Necklace

In Philadelphia we have a tradition called First Friday in which the galleries downtown turnover to new exhibitions.  This draws in flocks of creative talents and observers to partake in sipping wine while listening to hipsters have a jam session on the crowded sidewalk that is lined with artists, elbow to elbow, hovering over makeshift displays of their works.  A wide variety of work is on display from paintings, prints, ceramics, jewelry; any sort of imaginable aesthetic is available to your service.

This particular month I wandered into a gallery I have never been in before.  I’m not particularly a fan of carpentry but my boyfriend wanted to take a walk through The Center for Art and Wood.  Here we were entranced by the fine craftsmanship on display, the ingenuity of taking and ancient craft, and spinning a modern twist on the art, creating conceptual sculptures relevant to our modern day queries.

However what caught my eye in this wonderland of wood knots and wood grain was of course, a piece of jewelry.  I happened across a stack of laser cut balsa wood necklaces.  Ordinarily this would not catch my interest, but what did spark my inner child was that these pieces were interactive.  Each necklace was a different color scheme and shape, but all were completely comprised of gears riveted together.  When you spun one gear, all of them begin to spin.  It was a delightful work of modern art that is toy-like and playful.  And the burning of the wood from the laser gives the grain a nice shading to invoke a nice steam punk quality to the piece.

Overall this necklace was a delight to find in that it’s a piece of jewelry that is impressive artistically and conceptually but still just plain old fun.  Below I linked the website of the creators of the piece, Green Tree Jewelry. Enjoy!


Monday, May 5, 2014

LAGOS Mother's Day Contest

Hello All! I recently started a new job with the jewelry company LAGOS, and we are having our first ever Instagram contest in honor of Mother's Day.

It's super easy to enter, just upload a picture of your mother and give a quick blurb in how her style has influenced you. Make sure to hashtag #MyStyleIcon and shout out to us @lagos_jewelry for a chance to win a pair of our signature caviar bracelets for you and your mom

I'm excited to see all these entries come in!  I think all us ladies can relate to raiding our mother's closet as children.  I know for me personally, my mother loves calling me her "human barbie doll" and jumps at any opportunity to dress me up. She's hands down my favorite person to go shopping with for this reason haha

So please enter so I can hear your stories and see your fabulous stylish mothers!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lamina Production Show and Metals Exhibition

Headed out to Tyler School of Art tonight to purchase some jewelry from the Lamina Production Show held by the Metals department of the school.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that they extended their hours this evening so that their show coincided with the MFA Thesis Show.

I have done this show in the past back in my Tyler days, but I must say this group was very well put together and prepared to professionally display their work.  One of the most difficult things about jewelry is the display.  At craft shows I often see veteran artists make the mistake of cluttered or unflattering displays that take away from their work, but here, these students used see through acrylic.  It was crisp, clean, easy to see, and I was not distracted by the display at all. It actually fell out of notice when I engaged with the jewelry.

Another aspect of the exhibition I liked was the professionalism.  The artists were standing ready to show their work, answer questions, and assist in trying on the jewelry.  The even had alcoholic wipes to disinfect the earrings after their were worn, something you see in retail jewelry stores.  They were able to establish and ground their pop up show by using cleverly placed decal stickers.  It gave a more polished presentation and legitimized the temporary show as an exhibition.

The work on display was definitely on par with things I would see at a craft show.  Each piece was excellently executed and functioned flawlessly. There was also a wide range of work from powder coated copper, classic silver, and well rendered CAD pieces.  Being in a classroom, it's often you see that students influence each other, and you tend to see repeated techniques or similar designs. I did not see that here. Just well thought out, diverse designs.

My only criticism of the pop up show would be the lack of display and attention to the statement pieces.  Most were just laid out on the table next to the displayed production jewelry.  It gave the insinuation that those pieces were put there as an afterthought.  The pieces themselves were gorgeous and very well done, I just wish that the same attention that went into making them was evident in their display.

I have a slew of photos of the event to be enjoyed.  If in the Philadelphia area please make an effort to go support these up and coming artists during tomorrow's business hours! I believe they are there Saturday the 26th 9am to 5pm

                These silver ruffle like earrings were one of the pieces I purchased, very light

   This statement necklace I absolutely loved, the focal point was made up of silicon extensions that
                                                                flexed to the touch

                              Fabric material and pearls giving nice motion to the pieces

                         This was my second purchase, dyed nylon, CAD modeled earrings

                                I see a future in toy design here, more dyed CAD pieces

                                             Fun colored powder coated pieces

Nice contrast utilizing CAD

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Lamina Production Show at Tyler School of Art April 24th-27th

                                  Hello All! Just a quick plug to my Alma Mater!

Tyler School of Art is hosting it's annual production show, Lamina, in it's atrium April 24th through the 27th
9am to 5pm.

If you are in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend checking out this show held by the metals department. Perhaps even feel inclined to purchase some of the jewelry on sale.  I know I already have my eye on a resin ring that will be on display.

This is a great way to see fresh work in a field of tired recycled designs, and a chance to see up and coming artists in the area.

I will update on the exhibition with photos and a review when I attend this Saturday, so for now here is a link to their Facebook page for a sneak preview.

Lamina Facebook link:  Lamina

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The New York Times Recognizes Five Up and Coming Jewelry Designers

Great article I found recently with The New York Times (Young Designers Re-imagine Jewelry featuring five young women chosen as the latest up and coming jewelers.  Most people in this industry know that the large name jewelry designers are in New York, iconic store fronts that have resided there for half a century pushing their latest fashions into the greedy willing hands of the trend-setting masses.

However in this new era we have more people than ever diligently learning this archaic craft, pushing themselves to compete with classic timeless designs.  How do they do that? Contemporary jewelry.   They take the ancient art of jewelry making and push it further, branching out and giving a new and exciting twist to the designs that we already know.  Contemporary jewelry tends to find itself on display in small trendy art galleries or available in chic boutiques, ready to be snatched up by the careful eye of those who blog and Instagram because they have a piece of fashion that is handmade and one of a kind that needs to be shared with the world as the “hottest thing”.  Many small boutiques and budding designers have gained tremendous momentum from this phenomenon allowing them to break through to be seen and share their ideas.

This article in the New York Times acknowledges this societal change and embraces it by showcasing these four young women and their contribution to fine jewelry. For more information on the artists and where to see and purchase there work, see the article linked above and below. 

                                                                Anna Khouri

                                                                Anita Ko

                                                             Gaia Repossi

                                                         Delfina Delettrez
                                                           Jennifer Fisher

Photos by Agaton Storm for New York Times Article

Monday, March 10, 2014

Flower Show 2014

Having been a Philadelphian for several years now I find it surprising I had actually never been to the Philadelphia Flower Show, a showcase of bursting colorful flora in contemporary design.  This year I finally made the time to take in this exhibition of living medium.  I have always worked with painting, drawing, and metalsmithing, but I have never dappled in the botanical arts.

                So I ventured into the dimly lit convention center with an open mind to be met with a floor to ceiling floral sculpture.  Reminiscent of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, these structures were saturated in color and made up of several types of plant life that blended together effortlessly to give the illusion of soft pillow-like structures.   It was a wonderland of a garden that we could walk through and interact with,  a 360 degree installation that keep me in awe no matter which way I turned my head.

                Moving away from the show-stopping structure that stood immediately in the doorway, you were able to mill about different exhibitions that all focused on the floral medium.  To the right of the entrance we were able to look at black and white project concepts jump from the flat, untelling, restraint of the sketchbook into the tangible universe where all the facets of its design could be fully appreciated. 

                What I really enjoyed of the show were the installations based off of famous artists, such as Van Gogh, Mondrian, and Kandinsky.  Artists for centuries have drawn inspiration from nature so it was delightful to see the role reversal and have nature channel these artists.  In a similar realm of creativity I was thrilled to see student work at such a large public show.  We always see the polished professionalism of veteran art works but rarely get to see the humble beginnings of an artist’s portfolio unless it is sought out at student shows.  The student work that particularly drew my attention was of course the jewelry made out of items found in nature.  These works were based off of designers such as Valentino, Chanel, and Tiffany and Co.  It was incredible to see a vibrant red brooch give the illusion of lace with the use of a colored skeletal leaf.  As well as the use of painted poppy seeds used to create intricate beaded work in the series based off of Faberge Eggs.


                Another aspect of the show I appreciated was that they brought it back to gardening basics of the ostentatious displays in the showroom.  In the “PHS Hamilton Horticourt”, there was just a focus on the beauty of growing healthy happy plants.  It was segregated by plant, with information of how each of the plant was judged.  This was a simple and clean display of the nurturing of nature for those that enjoy the hobby of gardening and were not there for the avant-garde world of design. 

                Overall I was truly impressed by how much was squeezed into the showroom.  There was a little bit for everyone, and the show keep switching gears to keep it fresh and new.  I constantly felt like I was switching rooms when going from display to display because of how different each exhibit was.  One moment I was looking at a desert themed Subaru display then I turn around and see a Zen inspired bonsai showcase.  I can honestly say that I didn’t get tired like I do at craft shows because there was no repetition.    However, my criticism of the show was there were a lot of elements that did not fit with the theme of the show.  Such as the indoor market, I felt was really tasteless to have people selling clothes and bags at a flower show.  It cheapened my experienced to be corralled right into a pop up market after seeing such incredible, beautiful, well thought out things.  With that said I did thoroughly enjoy myself and very much do look forward to next year. 

For more pictures feel free to browse my g+ gallery: