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What is Craftsmanship?

What is Craftsmanship?

My simple definition… a skilled artistan whose quality of design and work shows in what is made. It’s a skill that is motivated by mastery and can often feel meditative to the artist. There is a passion for the work that is produced coupled with an attitude that believes this is important and as such so is the end value of the work. This is not a destination, but a long discipline.

I believe the word craftsmanship also fits into today’s tech world. Creating a design that can be integrated with the guidance of a technical computer operator is for me, yet another expression of the connectedness l believe in and often seen in my work. No way does this diminish the craftsmanship and design of my work. Combining a design with the mechanical skills of technology is a way of using a new tool to support my creativity. The efficiency technology affords me, allows me more time to develop new expressions.

In the end, craftsmanship is all about quality, passion and experience and a desire to produce a valuable work of art.

My simple definition… a skilled artistan whose quality of design and work shows in what is made. It’s a skill that is motivated by mastery and can often feel meditative to the artist. There is a passion for the work that is produced coupled with an attitude that believes this is important and as such so is the end value of the work. This is not a destination, but a long discipline.

 

I believe the word craftsmanship also fits into today’s tech world. Creating a design that can be integrated with the guidance of a technical computer operator is for me, yet another expression of the connectedness l believe in and often seen in my work. No way does this diminish the craftsmanship and design of my work. Combining a design with the mechanical skills of technology is a way of using a new tool to support my creativity. The efficiency technology affords me, allows me more time to develop new expressions.

 

In the end, craftsmanship is all about quality, passion and experience and a desire to produce a valuable work of art.

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Past, Present: A Legendary Symbol

Past, Present: A Legendary Symbol

Valentine’s Day left me thinking about engagement and wedding rings. This is a custom that has continued over time, but heck what caused us to declare our commitment with a ring in the first place? After all mankind has been sporting rings since its early antiquity.

It seems the engagement ring was introduced by the Romans. Knowing the love this culture had for jewelry, I buy into that. Back then, the groom would give his bride two engagement bands: one of iron and one made of gold. It appears that ancient Romans wore their unembellished iron bands while at home, but when traveling in public the elite wore gold bands. The band was placed on what we call the ring finger on the left hand. It was believed at the time the ring finger contained a vein that connected directly to the heart. The Iron band was first introduced as a symbol of strength and placed in a circular form representing eternity and became known as a symbol of the martial contract, it was “Ironclad”.

 Our modern day wedding rings are given as a symbol of love and commitment. I’m willing to bet the Roman iron wedding ring indicated ownership more than commitment. Glad we evolved from that. As time and artistry evolved, wedding and engagement rings became more elaborate for the elite of Rome. Just as the Romans evolved in their engagement symbols, we too have begun to move away from the time honored all white diamond engagement ring to a ring more reflective of the bride and groom. Many in their twenties are choosing color to represent their commitment. Whether Princess Diana cleared the way for this new thinking or the popularity of color gemstones among the young started this movement it is here to stay.

The Romans may have sported wedding bands to show their “ownership” today’s couples have abandoned the notion of “ownership” to one of committed support and love. This symbol of their commitment is on display in their independent choice of color for their engagement ring. The look is a timeless symbol as love it’s self.

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Romancing the Stone

Romancing the Stone

Aquamarine, named for the Latin phrase "water of the sea", is a blue to blue-green beryl. A close cousin to Emerald and Morganite, Aquamarine is the second most popular gem beryl. Its identity is defined by its color. The deeply saturated blue gem is the most desirable color of Aquamarine. 

I personally love the variety of color, like the sea, that can be found with Aquamarine gemstones. I recently acquired a deep blue 8mm round gem at the Tucson Gem Show this year and I am please it will become the centerpiece of an engagement ring. The trend towards colored gemstones is stronger this year with younger buyers often choosing Aquamarine for their engagement ring—breaking the "diamond only" rule. Aqua's durability makes it ever-lasting, something to consider when shopping for a ring that comes with lifetime promise. Whether you are in the market for an engagement ring or a stone that will recall the romance of the sea, this gemstone is for you. I created the 18kt yellow gold cocktail ring seen above using a fine Aquamarine I located in New York City. 

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Gold…What’s ahead in 2018?

Gold…What’s ahead in 2018?

Now that the crystal ball has dropped and the New Year has arrived, I was curious about the predictions for gold in 2018. We are living in such a chaotic time, that predicting the future, let alone the gold market, almost seems impossible. I ran across an article that caught my attention and I thought I’d pass along what the World Gold Council believe is ahead for 2018 the gold market.

Chief Market Strategist John Reade for the World Gold Council had the following to say:

"The Financial Market Drivers in 2018

 According to Reade, “monetary policy – and policymakers – will continue to be significant drivers of gold demand”. He explains that the US Federal Reserve (the Fed) is expected to “hike rates further next year and start to allow its balance sheet to contract”.

Over the next 12 months, Reade predicts a possible slowdown in the European Central Bank’s (ECB) monetary policy action. Additionally, the Bank of Japan may dial back its quantitative easing, and China could continue its efforts to rebalance economic growth and possibly de-leverage some sectors of the economy.

There are two other factors as potentially important for gold: first, the ongoing strength – or otherwise – of already expensive US equities. Second, the trajectory of the US dollar.

Physical Market Drivers in 2018

Reade explains that income growth is probably the most significant market driver for gold. This rests on the fact that, over the long run, it has been the most important driver of gold demand. Reade says that the WGC is optimistic for its outlook. Additionally, “China, the world’s largest gold market, has avoided the hard landing that many were predicting 18 months ago and is expected to grow at a fair clip in 2018, with the consensus forecast at around 6.4%”.

India is expected to be one of the fastest-growing countries in the world in 2018, expanding at an even faster rate than it did between 2012-2014.

Germany’s economy is expected to maintain its momentum and unemployment is anticipated to continue falling. Finally, the US jewelry market, the third-largest in the world, could benefit from continuing economic growth and high consumer confidence."

So there you have it, gold certainly looks strong and a sound investment for the coming year.

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A Softer Shade for Fall

A Softer Shade for Fall

The calendar tells me it’s fall; until now, the weather in New York was not in agreement. I love the change in season. 

It always brings about a feeling of change and new adventures, and there is, of course, all of the amazing things people love enjoying these days: sweaters and pumpkin everything that goes with chilly weather, changing leaves, apple picking and of course the start of the holiday season. I’m all about it.

When I think of fall colors, for me it’s a lot of oranges, browns, dark reds and burgundies that remind me each year of growing up in a northern suburb of Chicago.Many of these colors are included in the palette of colors Pantone predicted would be hot this season. I think some are slightly richer than last year and include some zesty hues that I think perfectly encapsulate summer’s hesitation to leave each year. 

A pantone color not immediately associated with fall is a soft, feminine pink that is reminiscent of ballet slippers. How unexpected is that? The tone is soft, and just like mother nature's pink that compliments fall colorings, this pink compliments all skin tones.

I have taken my cue from nature and incorporated a beautiful peachy pink Morganite stone in a pair of earrings. My Morganite Crane earrings pictured here are the perfect example of this soft color that’s not only perfect this season, but all seasons and all skin colorings!

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August’s Evening Emerald

August’s Evening Emerald

Sometimes known as the “Evening Emerald” because its sparkling green hue looks brilliant any time of day; Peridot, the birthstone for August, is one of the oldest known gemstones.

It is interesting to note that the Peridot is one of the few gems that come in only one color. It’s tint can very due to its iron content with its exact coloring varying between a yellowish to a perfectly olive green color. The most valuable color variant of Peridot, however, is a dark olive green.

Often mistaken for Emeralds during the Crusades, Peridot is really an under-appreciated gem that is actually quite stunning and can even be seen as part of the Russian crown jewels. I paired a natural Blue Zircon with a Peridot in my Crane earring to compliment the lush green stone. This is a gem with its rich history that will undoubtedly make it a conversational piece in your jewelry collection. So even if your birthstone is not Peridot, you just might want to consider adding it to your jewelry box.

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Patek Philippe’s Grand Exhibition in NY

Patek Philippe’s Grand Exhibition in NY

The brand’s The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York opens Thursday, July 13 at Cipriani at 42nd Street, is offering the public a look into its 178-year history and some of its most important pieces. 

For the first time, a two-story structure has been created in the event venue to accommodate its scale. It will feature 10 themed rooms, including a Theater Room, Current Collection Room, Museum Room, U.S. Historic Room, Rare Handcrafts Gallery and Watchmakers Room. 

The U.S. Historic Room will have a curated collection of 27 timepieces on loan from various museums--like the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston—as well as from some of the brand’s most renowned private collectors across the country. 

The collection of Graves’ pieces in the U.S Historic Room will showcase six significant watches from the Patek Philippe Museum, including his 1928 open-face, keyless winding pocket watch with minute repeater, Grande Sonnerie, Petite Sonnerie, Perpetual Calendar and Moon Phases.

 The Art of Watches Grand Exhibition New York will run from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day (with free admission) through July 23. 

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Bewitching: Black Magic

Bewitching: Black Magic

Walk along the Exotic, playful side of life. Tahitian Pearls are considered the second most valuable commercially farmed pearls in the world and to me, they are bewitching. Many times these pearls are referred to as black, but they have a color range from light creamy white to silver, to green iridescent peacock and to deep black. Unlike black freshwater and black Akoya pearls, which have been irradiated or dyed, Tahitians come by their dark glamor like color naturally.

Beautiful Tahitian pearls are among the largest pearls in the world, ranging in size from approximately 8 mm to 18 mm. These pearls are bead nucleated making many of them round, or near round, with other shapes expressed in drops, baroques, button and circled pearls. When all other factors are equal, the round Tahitian pearls are considered the most valuable.

Interesting to note, while Tahitian pearls carry the name of the famous Tahiti Island, they do not come from Tahiti. Only the pearls from the Black-lip oyster farmed in French Polynesia may be call Tahitian pearls.

The Boris earring (above) was inspired by the mysterious Tahitian Pearl. These Tahitian Pearl earrings have a thick nacre that produces a glorious glow combined with a remarkable color range that appears regal. Wearing them can only transfer that exotic, magical feeling and who doesn’t want to feel regal!

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What's Tough and Sexy?

What's Tough and Sexy?

Palladium! This lovely silvery white metal was discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston and can be found in Australia, Africa, Canada, South and North America.

Palladium is a rare, precious metal. It is a naturally silver-white metal that requires no plating, resists tarnish and is hypo allergic. An added bonus, palladium is less dense than platinum; it is strong and polishes to a beautiful bright silvery white. Palladium, because it is lighter in weight, makes it possible to design large pieces of jewelry that are comfortable to wear.

 I have often spoken of my love for 22kt gold, the beautiful buttery yellow color makes me feel like I am a king. The luxurious silver white polish of Palladium however, has sparkled its way into my heart. Whether the metal is coupled with diamonds, pearls, gemstones, or left to itself, it is sure to captivate you as well.

 If you are looking for jewelry that remains in the noble metal grouping, but are finding the cost of gold and platinum difficult, I highly recommend 950 Palladium—it is Tough, it is Sexy and certainly will place you ahead of your contemporaries.

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May & Going for the Gold

May & Going for the Gold

Thanks to Gem Gossip, May is becoming known as the month of Gold. As a jewelry designer working in 18kt yellow gold I feel there is no better way for me to launch the month of May than honoring it with this precious metal often celebrated and lusted over by kings, queens and commoners alike since the beginning of time. Aside from the jewelry aspect, gold calls attention to itself not only to jewelry lovers around the world, but also to the many financial gurus’ around the world. Whether gold is found in your pocket or on your wrist, it is important to you.

 The current collection I am featuring on this site is designed and crafted in 18kt yellow gold. I have been drawn to its warm golden color for quite sometime. My collection is about zoomorphic imagery that illustrates the interconnected nature of all living things. Using this noble metal, I have a connection with Mother Earth.

 The yellow gold also provides a continuous journey of visual reflections that remind me of our individual, yet collective journey together on this planet.

 I hope you’ll take time to scroll through the collection and discover a world of interconnection as well as find a reason to celebrate the beauty of nature’s most noble of metals—gold.

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