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Entries in vale jewelry (9)

Summer Getaway: Adventures in New Mexico with Vale Jewelry

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Summertime gives us all the wanderlust vibes you can ever imagine. Our Instagram is typically filled with jewels, gems and all things relating to jewelry design, so it always grabs our attention when our favorite jewelry designers and store owners post an envious getaway pic. We've seen glimpses of Paris, tropical islands, Canadian mountains, and everything in between. I'm personally obsessed with the US desert southwest--remember I honeymooned in Sedona, Arizona?--so when I saw a New Mexico landscape scroll onto my screen I had to know more. Luckily the sister duo of Vale Jewelry, Eva & Ava, were more than happy to share about their two-week trip to New Mexico--let's find out more:

We planned this trip around a visit to Walter de Maria’s groundbreaking land art, The Lightening Field, but it quickly ballooned into a 2-week major road trip around New Mexico. The fifth largest state, but one of the least populated, the vast deserts and scrubland inspired Georgia O’Keeffe body of work as well as numerous other artists. You only have to spend one day there to understand why it’s muse to many creatives, between the sunsets, endless sky, and the ingrained history of crafts. No wonder it picked up the nickname of The Land of Enchantment. Home to most of the US’s oldest Native American and indigenous tribes and pueblos, including the Zuni, Navajo and Hopi, this magical and awe-inspiring land should be on anyone’s travel list.

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Left photo: One of the oldest continuously-inhabited communities in the United States, Taos Pueblo was built in the early 13th century and located right in the Rio Grande Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it holds a very active Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe residing in multi-storied adobe houses built as two complexes made from mud, wood, grass and water. This historic village is located just 1 mile outside Taos. About 4,500 members still live in this area, but only about 150 still reside inside these structures year-round without the modern convenience of running water and electricity. While it is a private community, they do offer visitors to come see parts of the village where locals sell crafts like pottery and local eats like fried bread.

Right photo: San Geronimo has a storied past as one of the first post-Columbian Spanish Catholic churches in the US. Built by Native Americans of the Taos Pueblo people under the suppression of the Spanish missionaries and colonial powers, this one featured above is actually the third reincarnation. It was one of the many churches destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt when tensions between the native tribes and Spanish colonial presence boiled over. The current church shown above was built in the 18th century.

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Left photo: The ladder above resembles some of the staircases used in many pueblos as well as native and local adobe houses. Typically, the staircases are made of local timber such as pine, spruce and ponderosa. These ladders were precious items since the wood had to be cut down from forests located quite a distance from local desert pueblos. They were passed down from generation to generation. In traditional Pueblo culture, the people of the original land came to this land by the underworld. Hence, many pueblos build ceremonial underground chambers within these adobe houses called kivas that the chieftains use for religious song, prayer and ceremonies. The one above is one from the Acoma pueblo featuring a double ladder for going up and down with a lightening rod shape holding the two together.

Right photo: On our way back from staying overnight at The Lightening Field in Quemado, we stopped by Pie Town. Yes, you read that right, it’s a town named after one of the best desserts having taken its name from an early settler of the town in the 1920s that made the town famous with a highway pie shop. The pies above are at a local pie shop called Pie-O-Neer. The Macaroon Apple Pie and Cherry Cherry Pies are worth the stop. And yes, we ate all 4…and then took a few for the road.


Left photo: One of our favorite stops for local barbeque, Rudy’s had the most incredible brisket and baby back ribs, this is the place to stop for New Mexican bar-b-q in Albuquerque, friendliest staff and the tastiest homemade cherry and apricot cobblers this side of the Rio Grande! If in Santa Fe and craving local barbeque, stop by a food truck called Santa Fe BBQ.

Right photo: A must when you’re in Santa Fe. The New Mexican picnic above is breakfast at a local favorite called Tia Sophia’s. They make some of the best sopapillas, the pillowy fried quick breads in the image. Order everything ‘Christmas’ which means doused in both the red and green chiles. Also, a stop at Gabriel’s just outside Santa Fe is a must too. Known for their tableside guacamole and carne adovada, neither will disappoint! The local enchiladas and tamales are things to order when in town.

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Left photo: This is the view from Sandia Peak after hopping off the tramway. The crest here reaches over 10,500 feet and the tramway’s the world’s second longest ride. The sunsets and sunrise in New Mexico are unreal, typically fiery red and orange against the bluest backdrop.

Right photo: A quick hike in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park is a must if you’re in central New Mexico. Formed by volcanic ash deposits that have since been weather-worn to form sand-colored cylindrical cone shapes standing side-by-side. A walk in between these canyons is awe-inspiring.

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Left photo: No trip to New Mexico is complete without a stop at White Sands National Park. The world’s largest gypsum dune runs for over 275 square miles. So big, this dune can even be seen from satellite in outer space. Despite temperatures reaching 120F during the afternoon, the gypsum sand never gets hot due to the gypsum crystal’s natural ability to reflect the sun and the fact that it does not convert light into heat. We went barefoot and even did some dune-sledding down the steep cliffs. For a cool experience, plan to camp overnight.

Right photo: Another stop along the way is Carlsbad Caverns and watching the enchanting Bat Flight where over 500,000 local Brazilian Free-Tailed bats make their nightly migration from the cave to feed. It’s a coordinated visual symphony!


Showing off some vintage Native American silver by Navajo and Zuni tribes made between the 1900s and 1950s. We picked up these older pieces during our travel around New Mexico. Some of our favorite stops include:


Shopping Guide:


  •  Rainbow Man (Santa Fe) – amazing selection of fabrics, weavings, jewelry and objects
  •  Santa Fe Exchange (Santa Fe) – wide range of both sterling silver, objects and some turn of the century pieces
  •  Shalako Indian Store (Santa Fe) – widest vintage sterling silver shop, great for Concho belts, rings, and bangles. Nancy and Marsha are both well-informed on Native American jewelry
  •  Palms Trading (Alburquerque) – solid selection of old pawn, blankets, shoes and food stuff
  • Rose’s Pottery (Bernanillo) – housed behind Rose’s is an old theatre that the owner converted to a small private collection of early Pre-Columbian to middle of the century art and pottery. If you’re lucky, she’ll give you a tour of this collection passed down from her father. The front features a beautiful collection of Kachina dolls and pottery from all the major pueblos
  • Old Town Antiques (Alburquerque) – the owner Connie is like an encyclopedia of New Mexican crafts, beautiful selection of both jewelry and objects, she even offers Pre-Columbian artifacts. 


Eating Guide:


  • Tia Sophia’s (Santa Fe) – best brunch and breakfast place for New Mexican cuisine
  • Café Pasqual’s (Santa Fe) – modern twist on New Mexican with some delicious homemade cookies
  • Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q (Alburquerque) – fantastic ribs, brisket, daily special cobblers and desserts
  • Gabriel’s (Santa Fe) – delicious guacamole and carne adovada
  • Frontier (Alburquerque) – a mix of everything, an all-day diner styled location popular with locals, young and old
  • Jimmy’s on Jefferson (Alburquerque) – quick local favorite for breakfast, order Steve’s Breakfast Special featuring a plate of hash with green chile. 
  • Grove Cafe & Market (Alburquerque) – modern eatery with homemade granola and breakfast and brunch
  • Cocina Azul (Alburquerque) – great lunch spot for some of the best carne adovada and homemade and fresh sopapillas and posole
  • Farm & Table (Alburquerque) – fresh and modern New Mexican classics as well as farm-to-table dinners with a small working farm on the back
  • Golden Crown Panaderia (Alburquerque) – tasty fruit empanadas



Cultural Guide:

  • Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch (plan advance for an overnight stay, it books up early)
  • Georgia O’Keefe Museum
  • Walter de Maria The Lightening Field (apply in February when they open up spaces, openings close within minutes)
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (get there early before it gets too hot)
  • White Sands National Park (come here right before sunset for the most magical view)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (don’t miss the last elevator down at 5pm)
  • Rio Grande Gorge & Bridge (shop from the local artists selling at the foot of the bridge, view is not for the faint of heart)
  • Roswell, NW (stop at the museum and eat at Big D’s for their famous green chile burger)
  • Sandia Mountains (go there an hour before sunset)
  • Taos Pueblo
  • Acoma Pueblo



WANT MORE? You can follow Vale Jewelry ---> @valejewelry

Q & A with Ava & Eva of Vale Jewelry


Delicate, layering fine jewelry was a rare thing to find about a decade ago, and twins sisters Ava & Eva wanted to fill that void. With no background in jewelry except for a burning passion and love for it, they dove right in and stuck with their designing instinct. Today, their "low-key luxe" jewelry line is worn by so many women everyday who never take their pieces off! I caught up with the duo to find out more about Vale Jewelry:



Each year, we work with Michael J. Fox, Team Fox and Bachmann-Strauss on a charity piece with all proceeds going towards finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease, Dystonia and Movement Disorders.

In addition, we also collaborate with local artists and this year we are working with a local NYC sculptor, Mel Kendrick, to create a small capsule collection inspired by his current body of work. His oeuvre centers primarily on sculptural work in wood, bronze and cast concrete, all of which play with the idea of space and geometry. We’re excited to see how the contrast between his medium and ours will materialize into a physical piece of jewelry.

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We never intended to start a jewelry company. The two of us simply loved working with our hands. As kids, we’d spent summers building everything from birdhouses to showers for our Barbies! We started the business with essentially no metalsmithing experience. We dabbled here and there with simple wire-wrapping and beadwork but then decided to dive right in with classes at FIT and hours at their open studio.

From the start, we really experimented with making delicate, fine jewelry because at the time, there were very few brands designing like that. We pushed the boundaries on traditional fine jewelry by using polki diamonds slices and rose cut diamonds a decade ago when they were incredibly hard to find. There were times when we were told “no one will want to wear this” but we stuck to our guns, ultimately making the pieces we wanted to wear ourselves.

Having some of those first clients tell us how much they loved the pieces gave us the confidence to launch a full line. And every time a client wears one of our pieces and tell us they never take it off, we feel the same excitement we did when we started. We never take their appreciation, joy and feedback for granted.

We consider ourselves lucky that we basically fell into a business we both love. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that we both wake up every day excited to be doing what we do. And we want to make sure this passion always show through our work.

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We made an engagement ring last year for a wonderful couple. They decided to design her engagement ring together. She loved champagne diamonds so we sourced an amazing soft brown champagne diamond and along with her feedback, set the stone in a gorgeous halo of white diamonds with an accented band.

When it was almost done, her fiancé called us and told us that even though creating the ring was a collaborative process, he still wanted to surprise her. So he flew home early from a gig on the West Coast and picked up the ring without her knowing. When he saw the ring, he was so moved because he thought the ring incorporated every element that she loved and that it was exactly the embodiment of her style. We were all tearing up at the showroom.

The next morning, we received a photo of the two them after he proposed with the ring on her finger. There is nothing like sharing a moment as intimate as a proposal of two people so in love. After that, well, we were hooked!

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We started the line years ago because we saw a lack of modern, dainty and subtle gold jewelry in the market. We were looking for pieces that felt personal, understated but that still were luxurious without being ostentatious, something we term “low-key luxe”, jewelry that felt like second skin. And we hope that the Vale brand will become synonymous with this everyday jewelry for modern women looking for a little glamour.

In the last 2-3 years, we’ve really started to focus on bridal jewelry and bespoke jewelry. Many of clients from the last decade are now looking for us to create one-of-a-kind engagement rings and wedding bands that they feel are not necessarily available on the market. Regardless of whether you consider yourself an alternative bride, a traditional bride, or somewhere in between, you still want a piece that truly represents your personal taste.

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Choosing your favorite jewelry is like choosing your favorite child! Jewelry is so sentimental and we find that each piece (and many of our clients agree) has a self-contained memory or meaning attached to it. And however it was that this piece of jewelry came into your life, it is a small memento that carries that personal experience.

One of Eva’s favorite pieces that she has consistently been wearing for 8 years is our Rectangle Plate Necklace. This piece has the high polish modernism that truly represents Vale. Ava loves the classic Pavé Arc Ring paired back to the Open Rectangle Ring. Its play of negative space along with a bit of sparkle from the diamonds makes the perfect combo for every day.

A great piece of jewelry should make a woman feel effortlessly chic and we hope to continue to create jewelry that will achieve that.


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{from top to bottom:

Doyle & Doyle meticulously stacks, using an awesome snake ring

Muse Showroom with a fistful of Xiao Wang and more

Monica Rich Kosann does modern heirlooms with these newer versions of antique baby rings

Carbon and Hyde captures this insane antique engagement ring set mixed with their Mikaela ring

Four perfect rings from Ila and I seen at Ylang23

Carrie Hoffman Jewelry proves that when I say stack, she says How High?

some warm hues from Arik Kastan using garnets and citrines

a funky bunch from Elisa Solomon Jewelry that I am totally digging

soft and idyllic stacks from Vale Jewelry and a monogram pinky}


anitakojewelry valejewelry rockingthatgem sequinharvest chrissiekim fiatluxsf camillecarnevale theedencollective quadrumgallery

{from top to bottom:

Anita Ko Jewelry spotted Hannah Bronfman wearing her triangle diamond ring

Vale Jewelry captures Linda Rodin wearing lots of their rings stacked up for a interview with StoneFoxBride

Rockingthatgem wearing some stacks of Michelle Oh Jewellery at a bridal showcase 

Sequinharvest trying on two incredible rings from Dezso

Chrissiekim admiring her family heirlooms-- each has its own story and history

Fiatluxsf--San Francisco's leading spot for handmade--stacks all kinds of goodness

Camille Carnevale doing it REAL big with these diamond stunners

The Eden Collective showing off some favorites before she lists them in her shop

Quadrum Gallery stacking mini Gabriella Kiss rings, the more the merrier!}



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{from top to bottom:

Fivestory rocking SheBee Gems, loving the multi-colored sapphires

Arrow & Anchor Antiques mixes antique and modern, I spy Arik Kastan and the lost B ring :(

Single Stone LA showing off some antique and vintage rings from their store in sunny California

J Hadley Jewelry designs the prettiest opal stunners I've ever laid eyes on!

Arik Kastan proving that it is good to have options! Too hard to choose though

Love Adorned owner Lori showing me some of her personal collection rings

Jennie Kwon Designs who knew simple could be so dramatic?!

Mociun has a great eye for antique jewelry, here are some of her finds from Miami

Vale Jewelry displays a simple, subtle look that packs a punch!}