Entries in best designer jewelry (7)
A simple half eternity band in all sapphires is sometimes all you need! Arik Kastan makes all bands by hand using genuine gemstones and every detail is priority. The comfort of this band is something you need to see for yourself!
Love these drop earrings done in 14k rose gold and sapphires because they combine a few of my favorite aspects of jewelry. One, they have a vintage style--the filigree speaks for itself. Two, they are bold which is what we're wanting for Fall. And lastly, they are easy to style and will stun with any outfit.
The newest baby within the Arik Kastan collection, the Flower Mandala ring, really calms and soothes both in design and gemstone choice. With sapphires being said to relieve stress and help clear the mind, this bold ring will be your guiding light. Sapphire petals and diamond details, all set in our signature 14k rose gold.
In love with the aquamarine and sapphire color combo of these Nouveau Oval drop earrings. It is a juxtaposition between the soft, romantic aquamarine and the edgy, dark sapphires that has us swooning.
The Framed Flower ring mixes some bohemian vibes with what every girl wants in a ring: stunning sparkle. I can't think of a better gemstone than sapphire to pull this off. Simple yet powerful; love this ring!!
While a majority of my Seattle #JewelryRoadTrip was spent in the downtown area of Seattle, I was able to change the scene up a bit with my next visit. Shamila Fine Jewelry has called Seattle home for several years, with a private design studio tucked away in Fremont--an artsy district, where the views are captivating and the inspiration is flowing. For Shamlia, her extensive travels and worldwide thinking have shaped her collections and it is no surprise that she has clients that live all over the globe. Her customers end up being collectors and obsessed with her pieces, with the first purchase never being the last! I've met Shamila at tradeshows in the past but had only seen a couple pieces of her work at a time – she always wears her gold stacking rings or a cocktail rutilated quartz ring. I was so excited to not only get the chance to see her collection in its entirety, but to also catch up for more than just a few minutes with this warm-hearted soul. She is one of those types of people that you want to be around, with a contagious positive spirit!
Shamila's background is quite interesting, she was born and raised in Tanzania, then moved to Canada as a teenager where she had the opportunity to live in both Toronto and in Vancouver, and has since called Seattle home. This however, was not before spending an exciting year living in the West Indies, where a work assignment with the UN and the WHO sent her to the Island where wonders never cease – St.Lucia! She has lived in many parts of the world, as she describes herself as "comfortable out of her comfort zone." Her studies brought her to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver BC, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs. In 2009 she apprenticed for many weeks in Instanbul where she learned from the best. Seattle has been a great place to call home for Shamila, as an easy gateway for her jetset life, ideal food destination for her foodie habit, and the weather pairs perfectly with her obsession with shirt dresses!
For Shamila, designing jewelry began as a hobby about 14 years ago when she first moved to Seattle. It started off with beads from a local bead store and when that didn’t satisfy her, she began looking for bigger and better. Shamila’s drive lead her to seek out rare stones, like specially Labradorite from Madagascar. Her hobby continually grew and brought her more and more happiness than she ever thought. Keyword here is hobby, so still this wasn’t a full-time thing for her. Alas, she was at a crossroads where many passionate people find themselves—choosing what you love vs. being realistic and sticking with her day job, she vividly remembers what made her decide to put everything on the line with jewelry. She says that choosing jewelry would be, “A career that would allow me to travel the world, to find beauty in the often overlooked, to make deep and lasting connections with those I worked with, while being able to give back on many different levels.” That was it—she was choosing jewelry, and yes, this decision came right at the brink of the recession. But she was ready for the challenge and it was the best decision she has ever made.
Inspiration abounds for Shamila when designing jewelry. She says, “When I am designing pieces I am thinking about who is going to wear them, sometimes the clients are such muses, especially when they are collectors, you get to know what they love and like. Quality is of utmost importance. I like to offer luxury in the details. The weight of the piece, the curvature of the shank, the subtle polish of the metal, the way the stones are cut, and how the light reflects off of them.” Design ideas pop into her head frequently, without warning. Travel is a huge inspiration, although there is a time and a place for these ideas. There is an art to holding onto inspirations and releasing them when they are ready. I think Shamila has mastered this, especially when she says, “Creating is not linear to me. It is like a careful yet chaotic orbit of paths; I just do what feels right for the stone and for the experience I am having at that point in my life.” All her designs are proudly handmade in Seattle. Having everything created locally is extremely important to Shamila and her objective, as well as keeping everything as ethically sourced as possible.
One thing I love so much about her designs is how she showcases the gemstone's beauty above all else. A rutilated quartz is poised gracefully within a setting, while a labradorite is captured ideally to show off its unique labradorescence. Shamila loves using gems that are specially cut, which takes her collections to a whole new level.
Speaking of specially cut gemstones, her carved citrine and amethyst minaret stacking rings are what dreams are made of! A week later and I'm still thinking about them. If you're unfamiliar with what a minaret is, it is found in Islamic architecture and is a distinctive feature, where prayer is called out--oftentimes similar to a tower. Shamila's Lokum Lale Luxe collection features these minaret carved gemstones in different styles, not just rings! I'm wearing a few in the photos above, like the lariat necklaces and dangle earrings. I especially love the variety of gemstones that this carving style comes in--like Pyrite?! So amazing to see pyrite not only used in fine jewelry but carved into a shape like that. Other stones besides the citrine and amethyst include lapis, turquoise, black spinel, lemon quartz, London blue topaz, smokey quartz, chalcedony, rose quartz, carnelian, rock crystal quartz and green onyx.
Another collection that blew me away, Shamila's stacking rings made of specially cut gemstones--round and square checkerboard, honeycomb and rosecut faceted stones. Pops of color are huge for accessorizing and these rings are ideal to pull off some colorful looks. These rings are the kind you just can't have one of, so the more the merrier. I've stacked several in the photos above. They are so fun to wear and have a loyal, local collector base! Want something unique and gets people wondering, "What kind of gemstone is that?!" Then you HAVE to check out her Flèches d'Amour collection which uses rutilated quartz and rutilated topaz. Not many gemstones feature inclusions that make them even more beautiful than they already are! These gemstones are so unique and Shamila does a great job of enhancing their beauty!
I want to thank Shamila for welcoming me into her design studio and allowing me to learn about her as a designer, while experiencing her jewelry first-hand. I hope you are now familiar with her work if you weren't already--and if you'd like to get a chance to see her designs in person yourself, she has many upcoming shows where she exhibits. Like this Saturday & Sunday in Glencoe, IL at the Glencoe Festival of Art...as well as August 13th & 14th in Los Gatos, CA at Los Gatos Fiesta de Artes. Be sure to continually check back on the EVENTS page of her website or sign up for her jewel-laden newsletter to know before anyone else! More dates, especially during the holidays, will be announced soon.
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There are so many pieces of jewelry out there! It is almost mind-boggling thinking about the number of options we have as consumers, along with all the push and pull we get from the media..."buy this," "save 50% on this," "check out this season's must-haves." And with more and more celebrity endorsements and blogger sponsorships, you might not know who to turn to for advice anymore!
Well, I've put together my current list for the Top Five Designer Jewelry Brands which you need in your jewel box--and these are chosen based on my own opinion. This is not a sponsored blog post nor did I receive any compensation to choose any of these five designers! I simply think what they are doing right now is amazing and by adding any or all of these designers to your jewelry box will no doubt be an investment in more ways than one!
1. Buddha Mama Jewelry: I was really impressed after seeing all the new collections at this year's Couture show and truly floored by the vibrant colors, rich gold and enamel work, with enamel being a huge focus for the girls this year. I loved every bit of it! When buying a piece from Buddha Mama, you can't really go wrong--they also have big and bold if that is your style, lots of statement pieces, some spiritual pieces and if color is your thing--tons of options!
>> My pick? I would go for either one of their shaker cuffs (of course custom fit, as no cuff ever fits me ) or one of their 20k Marquise pendants outfitted with a color combo that gives you the best zen vibes you can find.
2. Nancy Newberg Jewelry: I love this line of jewelry because it is one that you can put on with anything--jeans and t-shirt, ball gown, pajamas--and just works. The jewelry is sophisticated yet cool, refined yet slightly edgy. The rings you see in the photo above, those can be worn alone, with no other jewelry whatsoever, and you'd still be best dressed in terms of jewelry wherever you are.
>> My choice? Either the ring pictured in yellow gold or one of her newest domed ball rings.
3. Venyx: This stunning line by Eugenie Niarchos totally transports you to another world. The uniqueness of it alone puts it in the top five. If you like colorful, most of her designs will be the perfect addition to your jewelry box; color is a big part of her line. The black-light responsive enamel rings are really cool too. Bottom line, if you want something that will truly get people talking and curious as to the story behind a piece, then Venyx is for you.
>> My pick? Anything with a rainbow of gems will do, but if I had to choose, a Moonshell rainbow ring.
4. NC Rocks: A favorite newcomer of many, NC Rocks truly "rocked" it at Couture. Adding a piece from their collection to your jewelry box would be a smart thing to do, as I only see them growing and continually expanding their collection. Start now and continue collecting! Their enamel pieces are incredible--love the Art Deco inspired designs.
>> My choice? Either the middle ring I'm wearing in the above photo or the Venice ring.
5. Alison Lou Jewelry: Investing in a young and hip jewelry designer like Alison Lou is smart and her jewelry is worth every penny. Every jewelry box needs a piece when you look at it, it makes you smile. That's exactly what kind of jewelry Alison designs...whether it's a ring that features your favorite emoji, a pair of earrings delicately enameled in your favorite color, or a necklace that is personalized, her jewels are just as sentimental as they are trendy.
>> My fave? Her Wildflowers by the Yard necklace...or if you're more of a ring girl, any of her enamel eternity bands are amazing.
Visually caught up in the moment, I stumbled upon Onirikka Fine Jewelry one day while browsing Instagram and immediately got swept up in their feed. I was drawn in by the pops of color given off by the bright bubble gum topazes and quartz gems featured in the Klasica rings, all set in 18k yellow gold. I dug deeper to find a few more collections, each unique and stunning. Like the Prisma Collection, which mixes all the right colors of sapphires and sprinkles in some white diamonds for good measure. The Trinity Collection is all diamonds, mostly bezel set in clusters of three, all done in 18k gold. It's classic with a twist. And finally, the Unika Collection is just as you would suspect--one-of-a-kind designs that let designer Gloria Rank create freely.
Each piece is handmade in New York City, keeping in mind the mantra of the line--jewelry is a legacy. The creativity is never-ending for the El Salvador born Rank, who finds inspiration everywhere she goes.
Such fun and unique designs led me to a few questions, wanting to know more about the designer behind these jewels and what's in store for the future. Hope you enjoy my Q & A with the Gloria, creator of Onirikka Fine Jewelry:
I'm always working on new pieces for the next collection, so I'm looking forward to showing some new designs in exciting materials. But what I'm really most excited about is showing Onirikka at an upcoming jewelry show. Stay tuned for details!
I can truly say that my love for jewelry started in childhood, always feeling a special connection to it. Then I studied design at Le Arti Orafe in Florence where I was able to nurture and express my passion for jewelry design. About midway through my career, I married my husband and 13 years later, we have two children in my hometown of San Salvador, El Salvador. For a few years, I put my jewelry career on pause for a little while but am excited to now be back doing what I love. I jumped back in with an intensive jewelry design course at GIA in New York. My first collection came out in 2011 and flourished by privately selling in El Salvador. A few years after that, I launched a proper label to tap into other markets and now the brand stands where it is today.
I feel a great sense of pride every time I am recognized from a jewelry industry expert. I am still learning and finding my voice through jewelry, which I suspect will continue to evolve throughout my career. And with every step forward, every single accomplishment, as small as it may seem, is a step closer to reaching my goals.
I am very guided by my goals and dreams. In fact, the name Onirikka comes from Oneiric, which means "From Dreams." My ultimate dream, and where I see the company going, is to be sold in five major retail stores, creating enough brand awareness to open an Onirikka Fine Jewelry flagship store in major cities. I also hope to launch a kids line and ultimately, to create a foundation that supports performing arts in my native country, El Salvador, and in other countries where dance, theatre and art are not taken seriously.
As we know, jewelry is a very emotional business. So my absolute favorite piece of jewelry is not the coolest or trendiest. Instead, it's a vintage gold and diamond brooch that hangs from a pearl necklace, which I received as a gift from my grandmother, when I turned 18. I love everything about it; it's intricate, delicate and meaningful. I still vividly remember the day she gave it to me, and her happiness when she handed it over. Two other favorite pieces are my vintage engagement ring, which belonged to my husband's grandmother, and a black and white frog ring, designed by myself, inspired on balance.
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We have your holiday essentials!
Turn heads at holiday parties with these Arik Kastan tips:
Stack up our three-stone rings
We've been three-stone lovers since day one, as this design has been the foundation of our Arik Kastan collection, yet continues to be a best-seller. Wearing multiple three-stone rings stacked on top of one another gives a bold, night-time look. The more you add, the bigger your look! You can mix and match different gemstones--here we have mixed onyx, smokey quartz and labradorite for a dark and mystical theme. We also have a "petite" version of our three-stone ring which is also stackable.
Layer our evil eye necklaces
Ward off negative vibes with our very own Evil Eye necklaces, set with rose cut diamonds! Here we've layered two of them--one is set with a turquoise in the middle, the other is not. These necklaces are dainty and fun; easily dressed up or down, whatever the occasion! A holiday dress isn't complete without at least one!
Don't be afraid to pile on cocktail rings
Cocktail rings go hand-in-hand with holiday cocktails, wouldn't you say?! At Arik Kastan, big and bold rings are our thing. We've designed several using different shapes, various gemstones and in our signature rose gold. Whether you opt for our Round Pave Ring, or our Marchioness large navette style, or even our Round Onyx cocktail ring, we want to assure you one thing: the more the merrier! Don't be afraid to pile on cocktail rings! Trust us.
Get your holiday list going!