Friday, December 19, 2014

Get to know: Elyria Jewels

I met Elisa, the designer of Elyria Jewels, through my dear friend and former Todd Reed Jeweler. Immediately I was drawn to her jewelry and then after we met, we became friends. Elisa is hilarious and weird and awkward and so fun to hang out with, so I am glad to finally feature her here.

Elisa started making jewelry when she was a junior in high school. First she did beadwork and then started taking metals classes and working with metal as well as semi-precious stones. By her senior year she was selling through local stores and kept jewelry as a side business during college. She set her first diamond at the age of 25, but sees herself as a terrible metal smith so no longer does bench work.


The process: "Usually a design starts with laying out stones, then sketching. Sometimes I take photos of loose gems and work with them in Photoshop creating mash-ups with images of past pieces I've made, or images of stone-setting styles I want."

The inspiration: Elisa gets inspiration from all types of visual art. "I think after consuming a lot of visual information my designs come through as an assimilation of what moves me, but I don't think about it consciously, ever."

She also is very influenced by historical trends due to her degree in anthropology. "I like the stories of culture, history, and social movements that contextualize art."

Her favorite piece in her collection is also my favorite - the Tabitha earrings (below). These earrings feature a rough diamond and kite shaped moonstones. In person these are stunning - the moonstones are the prettiest share of blue when the light hits them.

Elisa has an amazing taste in jewelry, here are some of her favorite contemporary artists:







When Elisa isn't designing she loves walking her dog along the foothills, going on road trips, photography and practicing Aikido (a Japanese martial art).

Current favorite songs: Crystalised by The xx and Cosmic Dancer by T. Rex.

See more from Elyria Jewels here. And if you're near Berkley, CA, stop into Zaver & Mor - they have an amazing collection of designers, including Elyria Jewels.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Designer love: Adel Chefridi

It's interesting how quickly your opinion can change about a collection of jewelry after meeting the designer.
Last weekend I went to a trunk show event with a friend to meet Adel Chefridi and see his latest designs. Honestly, these jewels aren't my taste. Although beautiful, I didn't fall in love with them at first sight. However, I did spend some time chatting with Adel, and because of that, I became a fan of his work.
Adel is soft spoken and calm. His vision for his designs comes from many things, but much of the influence is from coins he used to collect as a child. He spoke so lovingly about his past - everything he said was so genuine and sincere. His designs reflect that - although detailed and often whimsical, the designs feel natural, they aren't forced.
These pendants remind me of a warm, handmade holiday sweater. Or a vintage embroidery. Looking at them brings me the feeling of home. I may have gone too far with my free association here, but isn't that the point of design? To make someone feel something?

The more I explored the collection, the more I realized that maybe this is my style. Bright yellow gold with sapphires or rubies and white diamonds? A few of my favorite things! And all things that Adel does really well.

"A beautiful design does not add to the Gem anything that it doesn’t already have, but rather reveals the beauty it already possesses.  In turn, a beautiful piece of jewelry does not add to the wearer, but unveils a truer identity, one that we immediately recognize in the mirror.  Falling in love with a special piece of jewelry is no different than any other love story.  The object of love a mirror, reflecting one’s own face."

See more designs by Adel Chefridi here! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Rose Gold + Blue Sapphires.

So many beautiful sapphire and rose gold pieces have been catching my eye as of late. I've been collecting photos and wanted to share. It is such a rich color combination. Add some white diamonds and you've got perfection. 

(custom piece designed for No.3)





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Get to know: Estate Jewelry Mama

I've been really enjoying getting to know jewelry designers and have some great features in queue. To mix things up a bit though, I am going to start featuring amazing antique collectors and sellers I've met. Everyone has a story, as does every piece of jewelry - I love hearing and then sharing those stories.

First up, a very cool lady - Kim of Estate Jewelry Mama. We became fast friends when she sent me a thank you message for sharing one of her Instagram photo - the message featured a photo of her cat. Also, I am always drawn to tattooed, punk rockers who also love antique jewels.

Kim started collecting vintage jewels long before she can remember. Her dad has been in the jewelry industry since she was born so she grew up loving the shiny and old. The start, as she recalls, was inheriting her choice of her Great Grandma's rings. Kim chose her 1913 class ring - probably the least valuable in her collection, but Kim was drawn to the antiquity and simplicity. Around that same time she was getting into thrift stores and punk rock - she has a large collection of gaudy vintage costume jewelry from thrift stores, antique malls and garage sales.

 Estate Mama Jewelry came about because Kim and her parents have a large collection of vintage jewels and, similar to most parents, hers are not computer savvy. Her dad is a gemologist and her mom has a good eye for antique jewels. The three of them work together and Kim thought getting the collection online would be the best way to get the items to the ideal owner. Their goal is to get the pieces they love so much to people who will cherish them.

Kim's favorite era of antique jewelry? Victorian, more specifically Victorian Mourning jewelry. "I just can't seem to get enough of it, and in due time I will add more of these items to my personal collection."

Her favorite ring from the shop is also my favorite. Kim says. "I love our Victorian Mourning Ring with a weaved hair shank, diamonds and seed pearls. I actually put it on hold for a little while so it wouldn't sell. I probably shouldn't be writing this! But I grew attached and I would just keep it on my desk in my favorite box and periodically look at it."

There are as few ways that jewels are chosen for the Etsy shop. Kim shops estate sales and auctions. She pulls scrap gold items from her dad's wholesale business as well as a local pre-refinery that lets them pull and sort pieces. They see themselves as modern day treasure hunters!

Tips for starting your own collection: "There are so many beautiful items and great sellers on Instagram, I would really start there. The internet is great and wonderful, but as far as antique jewelry goes you can't find everything. It is an exclusive market because so much has been refined and melted down the past few years. The best advice I can give is, if you find an item you love grab it quick, because once its gone you may never see it again!"

Check out all of the items Estate Jewelry Mama has in stock here and follow her on Instagram to keep up with her finds!

Interested in sharing your story? Email me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Get to know: Monica Squitieri California

Today, get to know a gal with a true heart of gold - Monica of Monica Squitieri California.


"I grew up on a farm and was constantly encouraged by my parents to make things. My parents are makers as well. They had a shop back in the 70s where they crafted their goods and carried local artists as well. As a kid I can remember picking jewel weed pods near our cherry grove, meticulously scraping their thin, skin away to reveal the turquoise seeds inside. I would string them and hang them to dry. That was just the start of finding my connection with nature."

With the encouragement of her parents, Monica was selling at craft shows by the age of 12. Once she discovered the torch she felt like she could really develop her skill. Her line of jewelry launched last September.

The Process: "My process is never the same, but music is always involved. It all depends on my mood too! Mostly I just hang out at my Bench, carve and melt wax forms and sketch over and over again until my arm cramps up."

When she feels stuck, she goes biking or practices yoga. She tries to stay physically and mentally active.

Monica's medium is metal, but she has recently started dabbling with stones and is really liking it. Her favorite stone is copper quartz. With some designs, like the Mojave Earrings, the stones are the starting point.

The inspiration: Traveling the state of California. Especially Big Sur. "You can't go there and leave empty. It's impossible."

On her adventures she takes photos and then extracts silhouette's and forms that stand out to her, she then starts to carve the shape our of wax or forges it using metal.

Her other inspiration hits close to home for me - music. She is completely inspired by singers and songwriters of the 60s and early 70s. Songs like Cowgirl in the Sand by Neil Young and California by Joni Mitchell inspire her to create.

"A huge part of my inspiration also comes from people that I imagine to wear the jewelry, sometimes I have muses in mind."

Monica's favorite design? The Catalina Cuff. She's a statement piece kind of girl, so this cuff suites her style.

When not at her bench creating, Monica craves nature. Her husband, pup and her camp often - her favorite spots are the redwoods and the hot springs. She is also into yoga, running and biking. "Staying active allows me to create, it's a huge part of my process."

Favorite artists / designers? First, a clothing company called Made of Dreams. They have beautiful, hand embroidered pieces that are easy to wear. The pieces remind Monica of her parents shop, these are the types of clothing they would have carried.

Second, filmmaker / photographer Luis Pena. To her his work hits home and is incredibly inspiring.

Monica's always listening to Neil Young and recently started listening to a favorite band of mine, First Aid Kit. These Swedish sisters are indeed very awesome. "They can hang with Neil in my book."

See more designs here and follow Monica on Instagram! She has a giveaway running now that you must check out.