Entries in jewelry interview (26)
A unique concept came into the minds of Veronique Tournet and her partner when they launched LA BRUNE & LA BLONDE in 2011--a jewelry line that focuses on diamonds free from settings. Everything from the way the diamond sparkles, to how it is worn was completely different once this new concept was applied to the duo's designs. Each diamond is drilled, pierced and offset into a dangling, bare-aesthetic design and the minimal looks have been highly-coveted by fashionistas worldwide. If you're in the NYC area, Bloomingdale's carries the line so you can see it in person!
I got the chance to catch up with Veronique and ask her a few questions about her jewelry line, which will soon be on top of your wish list!
The new Ad campaign that will highlight our « Nude diamond » concept. We want this ad to be both impactful and fun.
I worked for Boucheron and Mauboussin for more than 15 years before launching my own jewelry brand. I wanted to create a brand presenting diamonds directly on the skin. In our LA BRUNE & LA BLONDE collections, there is no gold between the diamond and the skin. That is why our packaging is a real cosmetic jar!
The moment we decided to drill the diamonds. It was like a sacrilege but this is the most important thing we did. We wanted to show the diamonds from every angle and allow the light to play with them; never done before.
Our goal is to expand LA BRUNE & LA BLONDE as an international brand with a focus on the US market. This is our very own “Manifest Destiny” so to speak!
The « Octopus » Boucheron ring offered by my significant other to celebrate the birth of our second child.
To see more, check out their website: LA BRUNE & LA BLONDE.
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Leeorah Betan-Hartman is naturally talented in many ways, but we are so ever thankful she has chosen to hone her skills with jewelry design with Lulu & Shay. Her creations are enchanting. Her finishes are unfinished perfection. Her style is effortless cool. And I want so many of her pieces! I got the chance to meet her and her husband at Metal & Smith in September, happily trying on my favorites and seeing everything in person for the first time. Excited to catch up with her and see what she has going on in the new year!
I am always working on new pieces for not only my next collection, but I find that I often return to the collections that are the foundation of my jewelry line, adding a nuance or a different take on the theme. Right now I am working on some new pieces for my Luna Diaries Collection- an intimate look into Victorian inspired jewelry. Victorian jewelry is rich with meaning. The carved symbols and motifs are not just pretty embellishments; each have hidden symbolism and even the gemstones have multiple meanings. I am so intrigued and amazed by the romanticism of the jewelry of that era. I feel that the rich history of these pieces mix well with the natural and flowing feeling of my pieces that are influenced by nature and our surroundings – completing a full thought and story when layered and worn together.
Even as a young child I had a deep affinity for jewelry. I would sneak into my mom’s jewelry box and try on each of her pieces of jewelry, gazing at all the different stones and colors. I also made my own jewelry as a child- first with beads and with polymer clay and then evolving into more intricate bead and wire wrap pieces. In college I earned a B.F.A. in film and pursued a fulfilling career in editing film trailers, but I missed working with my hands. I started taking classes in metal-smithing and wax carving in NYC. Wax carving allows me the opportunity to create not only more finely detailed pieces but also freer flowing and organic ones. I just love the freedom and creativity I have while working with wax.
Once I had a cohesive collection, I launched Lulu & Shay. I wanted a name that had personal meaning like the jewelry I was creating. Lulu is a nickname I had as a child, and Shay is my husband's childhood nickname. My two passions -- jewelry and film -- are joined as I use the story telling nature of film to apply a narrative element in my jewelry line. Editing films requires distilling a big picture into its key elements, and I strive to mirror that in my jewelry making. Each piece can tell a story of its own while striking a personal connection with the wearer.
I would say my proudest moment is when I design a custom-made engagement or wedding ring. It is humbling to be part of such a significant and special moment in a couple's life and to capture their connection in the jewelry I create. I enjoy the process of collaborating with my clients, hearing their stories of love, and finding ways to create a ring that embodies how they envision their relationship. Throughout the process, as the designs evolve from sketches to hand carved wax to the final piece, I have a sense of solidifying, both literally and figuratively, their commitment and love. It is such an honor to know that they will have those rings for life, unique pieces to cherish and pass down. I’ve done rings that also match one another, whether it is the texture or motif. Being trusted with creating a symbol of love and longevity, knowing someone saw that potential in my work, makes this the moment I feel proud of what I create.
I am so excited to continue to expand my business. I look forward to partnering with more retailers, both jewelry stores as well as lifestyle stores. I am also working on expanding my online presence and client base, including my work on more bespoke and one-of-a-kind pieces. I am, of course, always continuing to push my creative process while still sculpting, inventing and carving my pieces by hand. It is so important to me that I make all of my jewelry with a dedication to ethical manufacturing. I am approached by more and more people who are looking for unique and one of a kind pieces that truly reflect their values and personal taste. I find that more people are conscious of the environmental impact they make and they want to make sure that the jewelry they wear represents their desires for a more eco-friendly world. I strive to create pieces that reflect this inner core value not only through the appearance of the piece, but through the entire process of making the jewelry itself.
As I continue to grow, I am exploring more options of how I can insure that all aspects of my business follows that standard.
My favorite piece of jewelry I own is my initial ring pendant necklace. My personal necklace has a ring for everyone in my family. Each ring has our 3 initials on it (first, middle, last). I like that the initials are subtle and you have to look closely to see them making it even more personal. I also have a ring on the necklace that has 7 diamonds in it, one for each member of my family as well as our rescue dog Lulu. She came with the name and owned it so well I just forfeited my nickname ;). I wear my Precious Leaf earrings in 18K Yellow Gold almost daily. They are so light and effortless and remind me of my favorite season Fall. I tend to change my rings that I wear almost daily, but of course I have favorites too! Lately, I like to wear several stacking rings topped with the Beatrix Ring with diamonds.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Lulu & Shay.
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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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I met Ellen while purusing an antique show. I heard someone come up from behind and say, "Oh wow, it is Gem Gossip in her element!" and she was totally right...I was mid-stacking and closing out a deal at a booth and was surprised by the remark. I turned around to see Ellen's smiling face. I hadn't met her before but I knew of her online shop. That's when a stranger quickly became a friend, and I'm excited to introduce her to all my readers as well! She has great taste--just read how it all began, and you'll see why! Having a love and passion for jewelry comes from within and you can totally tell by talking to someone that truly loves what they are doing! This is true for Ellen.
That’s such a good question because it was a very circuitous route.
You could say that collecting runs in my family. My father started collecting stamps as a boy and continued through his adult life, then went on the collect modern art and lastly wine. As a young girl I would drive with him on Saturday forays to NYC art galleries to view art, learn and decide what if anything excited us. My grandmother (his mother) was a collector too and frequented local auctions always on the hunt for jewelry and crystal. I’ve always had a passion for great design and studied art history as an undergraduate - those Saturday excursions having had a huge impact on me. I worked at ArtNews magazine right out of college and soon came to realize that earning a decent living in the art world was a slim possibility. I jumped around working in various fields over the years - managing a gallery, working in advertising production - then attended graduate school in international business. While working in banking in San Francisco, I befriended an antiques dealer and helped her out on weekends. That was when the AHA moment occurred to me: my passions were working with people and educating them. Did I want to teach school? Not really but working in retail combined both of these loves so my next step was to move back east where I began my eleven years working at the Flagship store of Tiffany & Co in the corporate sales department. It was there that I had some incredible training which not only honed my abilities in sales but was also where I discovered my love of fine jewelry through the introduction to the jewels of Jean Schlumberger. I was learning about jewelry manufacture and techniques but the Schlumberger designs were what truly piqued my appreciation of and passion for fine jewelry. I fell hard for his designs- little works of art that are bold, whimsical, colorful, and exquisitely made…I fell for a gold bracelet first which was at least something that fit into my life style. When I moved to The Berkshires in Massachusettes, I was fortunate to be asked to work with Walter McTeigue & Tim McClelland, owners of McTeigue & McClelland Jewelers. (If you don’t know them, you must check out their website www.mc2jewels.com ) McTeigue is a well known name in the jewelry industry; four generations have run their NYC operation, and I soon learned that they had manufactured for Tiffany & Co for years and then sold that arm to Tiffany! Small jewelry world, as you know.
They’d only been open a year when I arrived and it was just the 3 of us so I had lots of first hand, personal experience watching the development of the designs as well as the manufacture of their exquisite hand made jewelry. And the education I received! From two of the best- Walter McTeigue taught me about diamonds and colored gemstones; what to look for, what makes a good stone, I became expert in grading diamonds! Tim showed me what to look for in well made jewelry. I perused their extensive collection of jewelry books and then they sent me to The Antique Jewelry and Art Conference better known as ‘Jewelry Camp’, an annual event that currently takes place at the end of July in NY. I’m quite sure that you and many of your readers are aware of it and have most likely attended at some time. (If not, and if you want a few days of nothing but jewelry for ten hours a day, run, don’t walk!) I had no idea what to expect and in those years they offered a 2 day jump start for novices and then 4 or 5 days of camp. My head almost exploded with all the information and my hand ached from all the note-taking but it was the most wonderful experience. I found what I wanted to involve myself in and study for the rest of my life! I met amazing people, attended for the next 9 years and have learned more than I thought possible Unfortunately, now I find it more difficult to spare the time to attend but I keep hoping to make it back soon. Through those five years I helped the owners purchase new jewelry for the store and in fact it was during that time that I made my first trip to Vegas to attend the JCK show. I’ve always had a good eye for style and quality and it was reinforced after that trip when I saw how our customers reacted to our purchases.
I had also begun doing some buying of my own and rented space in a group shop to sell my early purchases. Through these experiences my confidence grew until I finally had the nerve to set out on my own and start my on-line jewelry business.
My first buying trip each year is the Miami Beach show and thank goodness for it. The timing is perfect for a warm getaway from the Northeast. Throughout the remainder of the year, I mainly travel the northeast from New York to New Hampshire but also go to California, Las Vegas and occasionally Paris and London. I attend shows and try to scope out hidden gems at antique and flea markets, like Brimfield….you never know what you will find. And of course, I often have existing clients and new ones coming to me when they want to sell something.
Actually just recently when I was looking for sweet little flower rings and cluster rings - a customer came to me with a few pieces she wanted to sell. It was so serendipitous! I do believe in the power of “thinking it so, so shall it be."
Oh my goodness, yes! Pieces I still dream about.
One was this amazing garnet and diamond pendant. The garnet is about the size of a quarter! I couldn’t give it up for years and wore it as often as I could to events and parties. It looked fantastic on a black velvet ribbon up around the neck!
Retro Natural Ruby & Diamond Bracelet -- An early purchase. I was so nervous that I’d overpaid that I sold it quickly. I did make a small profit but those clients got the deal of a lifetime.
Edwardian Paste Riviere -- This was in almost perfect condition and even without the benefit of candlelight looked amazingly real….and I do love diamonds!
Edwardian Aquamarine Drop Earrings -- I wore these often and have a sweet memory of them as my friend’s daughter borrowed them for her wedding as the ‘something borrowed’ and the ‘ something blue’.
Ed Wiener 18kt Pendant Necklace with Garnets, Sapphires, Emeralds -- Stunning and unusual since he is most know for his silver jewelry As you can see, my style is quite eclectic. If I love it, I’ve found that so will my customers!
I cannot narrow that one down to one so please bear with me!
My absolute favorite piece, which incidentally was one of my earliest purchases, is this incredible bracelet -you may have seen this in one of my Instagram posts. I love everything about it and the fact that I can wear it with a pair of earrings that were also an early purchase is a real plus. Apologies for the photograph; it was taken early and not for the website. Now of course, it is off with a friend who is borrowing it for a special event so cannot be re-shot.
But the pieces I wear almost everyday are my uniform, of sorts: a yellow and green gold retro bracelet, an Edwardian tiny sapphire and diamond cluster ring (my very first piece of antique jewelry), an Art Nouveau emerald and diamond ring and my green tourmaline ring; all of which friends and customers always want to buy. The tourmaline ring especially I’ll never sell as it was a gift from my mother. I had shown it to a client as a gift for his wife but he chose a bracelet instead. As I was showing my mother the items I had just recently acquired, she decided that I must have the ring for my own….and she bought it for me!!
My antique watch chain necklace with three antique fobs. A relatively newer purchase without which I don’t seem to be able to leave the house!
And finally there is this Henry Dunay pearl and diamond brooch which contains approximately 5 carats of diamonds! When I first saw it, my eyes welled up with tears. Silly as it sounds, I do get quite emotional when I spy a piece with such beauty and design. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and finally went sheepishly back to my friend to ask if he still had it. To my complete surprise, he did….and so it became mine. I see the diamonds as the sea rolling up and over the sand and the luminous pearls on the seashore. I’ve worn it as a brooch and was over the moon when I tried it as a pendant on a double strand of south sea pearls - it made me delirious!! The photo does not do it justice. As an FYI to your readers, I am having it professionally photographed as I have decided it is time to part with it so it will be available online within the coming months.
If you're on the hunt for jewelry that is just as chill and laid back as the designer, look no further than J.Hannah Jewelry, where designer Jess creates everyday pieces in her downtown LA studio with her cat by her side. A self-proclaimed "crazy cat lady," don't let the usual stereotypes get in the way--she is gorgeous, chic and has the coolest style--and a boyfriend! So, I do believe she is changing that "crazy cat lady" stereotype one day at a time! I know you'll love her fine jewelry pieces from her collection, of which several new pieces just launched over the weekend!
I just launched new pieces on my site! That has taken up a lot of my time until now. I just started working on a little collab with a friend who also has a jewelry line but that is under wraps for now.
I studied graphic design in college and on the side started taking metalsmithing classes out of a local jeweler's garage. I slowly started acquiring my own tools and watched youtube tutorials in my spare time. A torch for Hanukkah is every girl's dream, right? After I graduated, I apprenticed with a duo of fine jewelers in San Luis Obispo. Later on, I started my own line and moved to LA. I used to make every piece myself but I know have a bench jeweler that helps me out with production.
Honestly, the first ring I ever made would have to be my proudest moment. It wasn't anything fancy- just a silver hammered band ring, but boy was it a great feeling to find what I am truly passionate about. I have always been obsessed with jewelry, but making it myself was when things really clicked for me. My best friend still has that first ring I made.
Since I was making everything myself up until a few months ago, I wasn't really open to wholesaling. Now that I have help, it would be really awesome to see my pieces in some of my favorite stores. I am being really picky about which stores I want my line in. It has to be a perfect fit. It will be really fun to visit my pieces, I'm such a nerd when it comes to stuff like that.
I inherited a lot of my grandma's jewelry. She was such a badass and had the nicest jewels. I actually created a necklace and bracelet inspired by one of the pieces I have from her- it's called the Clara. Asking me to choose a favorite from my collection is like asking me to choose a favorite child. Currently I've been wearing the Atlas ring on repeat... And my Cat's Meow necklace because i'm a crazy cat lady = ^ -^ =