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    August, 2019

    Hello friends,

    This summer is turning out to be sweetly magical. I've enjoyed my share of fresh corn, chanterelles, peaches and strawberries, but I have one more goal before summer's end. I am absolutely determined to get an excellent shot of a dragonfly or ebony wing damselfly. Life is good and I am grateful. I hope each of you feels the same way this summer.

     

    MANDARIN GARNET, DENDRITIC AGATE
    AND GOLDEN KESHI PEARL EAR PENDANTS

    a close up of food on a table
    a cut in half

    Dendritic agate continues to captivate my imagination, and the mirror images of this matched pair are a designer's dream. This pair is opaque and the landscape stretches horizontally. Each ear pendant centers upon an oval cabochon dendritic agate from Kazakhstan, surmounted by a marquise-shaped spessartite garnet cabochon, further accented by a button-shaped golden keshi cultured pearl fringe. The garnets are Namibian and the cultured keshi pearls are from the waters of the Philippines. These ear pendants are like wearing a sunset on your ears. The light from the orange garnets illuminates the landscape. All the gem materials are 100% natural, and the ear pendants were made right here in New York City. They are mounted entirely in 18K gold.

    The stark, dramatic simplicity of these earrings makes me feel elegant and powerful. Although they seem heavy, they are light enough to wear throughout the day.
     

     

    DIAMOND AND 18K GOLD QUATREFOIL EARRINGS

    a cut in half
    a close up of text on a black background

    These are a further exploration of the Renaissance quatrefoil ring from my last newsletter. I wanted to make a matching pair of earrings. These earrings are set with matching French-cut diamonds weighing approximately 0.70 cts., and mounted entirely in 18K gold. While I love the quatrefoil setting, it is the back of these earrings that make my heart beat faster. It is a secret union of intricacy and detail. We used 3D printing technology to create a matching quatrefoil plate for the back using the fleur de lys motif. The setting and the fleur de lys motif are centuries old, but the technology used is cutting edge.

    For the finish, I prefer a matte look. For these, we matched the finish of this Wedgewood dish, and sandblasted the earrings to give them a granular texture. 

     

    NATURAL CABOCHON CEYLON SAPPHIRE

    a close up of text on a black background
    a close up of a cake

    I purchased this sapphire as part of an Art Deco diamond ring, and unmounted the sapphire. It was badly scratched up and needed to be repolished. After repolishing, the final weight of the stone is approximately 16.48 cts, and now it has a mirror-like finish. The stone was born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and is natural, without any treatments. It is a medium blue color and is really quite gemmy.

    I didn't think the original mounting was worthy of the quality of this stone. Instead, I would love to build an Egyptian stylized blue lotus ring setting for it.

     

    COGNAC AND FANCY INTENSE YELLOW DIAMOND

    a close up of a cake
    a close up of food
    I adore the lover's eye brooch, a popular nineteenth century design, and would like to see this two carat cognac diamond used as the pupil and/or this elongated pear-shaped fancy intense yellow diamond (accompanied by a GIA certificate) weighing approximately 0.60 cts. as the tear. They are resting atop a card featuring a lover's eye design.
    a piece of cake
    --------------------

    The card is a personal favorite from Open Sea Design Co., and is a richly detailed lover's eye brooch. Swoon.

     

    CARRÉ-CUT MINT TOURMALINE PARCEL

    a close up of food
    a stack of flyers on a table

    The mint green colors of tourmaline coming out of Afghanistan and Mozambique are fresh and crisp. These carré-cut tourmalines measure 4 mm square and are perfect for channel settings. As you move to the back of the sorting board, you see the color go from minty to lagoon-colored blue-green, or indicolite colors. Sitting and sorting layouts of these for a ring, or a matched set of eight for a pair of earrings are a play activity for me. It's a rabbit hole I love to fall down.  

    The flowers in the foreground of the photo are called kangaroo paw, and the name charmed me into buying them. The pair of petal settings on the right are a work in progress. Still not quite done. That quatrefoil setting is too flat and lacks volume. Time for another edit. You'll see them finished in the next newsletter hopefully. 
    a stack of flyers on a table
    IN OTHER NEWS
    A long time fan of the artist Claude Lalanne's work, I was deeply saddened by her recent passing. In response, I've returned to summer projects from last year, and have finally molded and cast my maple key and acorn branch in silver. These projects were inspired by seeing her flatware at a museum in Paris over winter break.

    I've worked to balance work, introspection and socializing this summer, and am pretty happy with the balance I have struck. These are my entertainment recommendations. In movies, I'm looking forward to Gurinder Chadha's Blinded by the Light, and plan to see this (opening) week. It's inspired by the memoir of journalist Sarfraz Manzoor and his love of the works of Bruce Springsteen. I have thoroughly enjoyed her other movies, especially Bend it Like Beckham, and if the reviews are any indication, I'm going to love this one too.
    For those of you who prefer entertainment in the privacy of your home, I recommend RamyGlow and Poseon Netflix. Ramy is a series about an Egyptian-American millennial living in New Jersey and coming to terms with his identity as a Muslim American man. It's all about becoming and belonging or, as Joseph Campbell named it, the hero's journey. Glow is a series about women's wrestling (I hear ya...what?!?!). It stars Alison Brie, who usually plucks on my last nerve, but I love her in this series, and the entire ensemble cast. Finally, Pose is about the African-American and Latina transgender community and the Ball culture in New York during the eighties and nineties. Fair warning to those that came of age in the nineties (that would be me) that it can be a nostalgia bomb. I ugly cried when Simply Red's Holding Back the Years (1986) came on during an episode.

    All of these are essentially about finding out who you are, where you belong and finding your tribe. My take away from these series is be unabashedly yourself, and the world will rise up to meet you.
    a stack of flyers on a table
    In books, I devoured Joanne Ramos' book The Farm, about commercial surrogacy. Fascinating. This is her first book. Wow.
    Next up are Solitary by Albert Woodfox, Winners Take All by Anand Girdharidas and The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali. Albert Woodfox was held in solitary confinement at one of the most notoriously violent prisons for more than four decades for a crime he did not commit. He is a study in grace and I have much to learn from him. Girdharidas' book examines his supposition of how philanthropy is increasingly an elite charade being used to perpetuate the structures of institutional inequality. Finally, The Stationery Shop is a love story set against the back drop of the Iranian revolution. The story is set in a book store, and that cinched it for me. I think book stores are magical places where anything is possible. Time travel, new languages, secret worlds and innumerable rabbit holes to explore forever and ever. Yes please.
    As we move towards the final month of this iridescent summer, I'm trying to capture all my season's memories like fireflies in a jar. So many highlights: a bear cub spotting, new mushroom spots, saw my first ebony wing damselfly, learned how to make my favorite black trumpet pizza (Thank you Charles & Leslie!), wineberry picking, llamas, peacocks and live music in the woods of New Paltz. And the summer isn't even over yet!
    Finally, I'm gearing up for my annual trip to Asia. I'll be away from September 6 until the 22nd.  Until then, please accept my best wishes for an enchanted Labor Day weekend. You deserve it.

    Warmly,
    Reema