What a whirlwind life has been these past few months. I'd like to hit pause for a bit on this wondrous ride called Life, but I really can't complain. While I haven't been able to spend as much time in the woods as I would have liked this Spring, I'm hoping to make up for it this Summer. Chanterelles and black trumpets are here :-)
Instead, it's been art, art and more art for me. In addition, I'm attempting to re-organize my books, but it's really just a means to leaf languorously though art monographs over long, lazy afternoons. The photographs of artists in their studios, with colleagues and in different parts of the process has been a powerful reminder that I am engaged in the same endeavor today. The past couple of weeks have inspired me to action. I feel reenergized and want to step with intention into the most prolific and productive phase of my career. My summer horizon looks glittery and fun. I can't wait to see how the universe will conspire to bring me closer to my dreams. I'm confident this is going to be my best summer yet. I hope you feel the same way.
TANZANITE, SPINEL AND SAPPHIRE EAR CLIPS
This was a super fun commission that I began last year. The client wanted the central pair of cushion-cut tanzanites weighing just under thirteen carats remounted. Beginning with those as anchors in the design, I added a couple of brightly saturated pink spinels from Tanzania. Both the client and I love the paisley, or Persian pear, or mango motif, as the form is commonly referred to in cultures and regions spanning both the globe and time. Once the form had been created, we encrusted the surface with the most vibrant and and rich multi-colored sapphires.
Gold is a very dramatic color and I kept altering the sapphire palette as we began the setting process, much to the initial chagrin and subsequent outright rage of my setter. But we were thrilled with the results when we were finally finished. I had also prepared a beautiful back plate featuring the sacred geometry of the Fibonacci spiral, but this had to be jettisoned because of concerns about the overall weight of the ear clip. This is the sword of Damocles that hangs over a jewelry designer. I loathe jewelry that is unwearable. It's an abject waste that titillates & beckons with no promise of delivery.
MATCHED PAIR OF GEM QUALITY CHROME TOURMALINE
This matched pair of Asscher-cut tourmalines are gem quality, weigh over sixteen carats and were born in Madagascar. They are a rich, saturated green, and this variety is known by the moniker 'chrome'. They would look beautiful in a medieval or Renaissance heavy gold setting. These stones evoke the gilded, stylized opulence of Renaissance portraiture, and brought to mind one of my favorite portraits.
The background of the photograph abover features a closeup of the portrait of Duchess Katharina von Mecklenburg painted by Lucas Cranach the Elder in 1514. She's flexing with those rings, as the kids today would say. Such timeless style. The portrait features her jauntily wearing what looks like a single earring (in addition to a jeweled hat pin), although perhaps it's another pendant pin holding her turbaned head dress in place? She is among my dream patrons.
This rectangular-cut sapphire was selected because of its classic and highly desirable blue. It weighs over three and a half carats and is flanked by a pair of single-cut diamonds on each side, within a handmade platinum mounting. It's richly saturated and eminently chic. Gemmy and simple. I try to acquire stones with the idea that they should sell themselves. This one certainly did that.
The ring is nestled among the prettiest sugared almonds. They look so pretty and that matte color is so elegant. I personally favor a monochromatic display on my coffee table, and recommend the brand Ernesto Brusa. The almonds are delicious, and you won't chip a tooth, or worse, if you bite down on one.
MANDARIN GARNET, DENDRITIC AGATE
AND GOLDEN KESHI PEARL EARRING LAYOUT
This layout started with the central oval dendritic agate cabochons from Kazakhstan. I'm particularly drawn to the landscape style of dendritic agate. Then I pulled the marquise cabochon-shaped spessartite garnets, commonly marketed as mandarin garnets, to surmount the dendritic agate cabochons. The garnets are Namibian in origin, and exhibit a molten, slightly honeyed quality.
The garnets seem to be lighting the landscape of the agate. But something was missing. When worn, the landscape in the agate was getting lost, so I played with adding a fringe of golden keshi cultured pearls from the Philippines to direct the eye back to the agate landscape. Of the two options, I chose the one on the right. They are in production and I am chomping at the bit to get them done. All around the world in one jewel.
You'll see them finished in the next newsletter, or in the office when you visit next.
We are lucky that East Africa is producing garnets in scintillating colors. Malaya garnets have become very sought after for their peachy, apricot colors. This one is elegance personified. It's a pale to medium saturation pink, with a seam of peach color, and is very tasteful. I just finished a biography of Bunny Mellon (The Life of an American Style Legend), who became famous for her adage 'Nothing should be noticed.' I like to think she would have appreciated the understated elegance of this color. It is a gem quality Malaya garnet, from Tanzania, and weighs just over five carats, and is collectible.
Garnets come in every color of the rainbow, with the exception of blue. This bright peachy pink is classic and I would like to see it accented with the white single-cut diamonds featured in this photograph in either a ring, or as a magnificent clasp for a torsade or sautoir necklace.
The pillows are beautifully made with quality fabrics and I so look forward to seeing them in the morning when I walk into my living room and when I enter my home at the end of the day. They bring me so much joy.
The internet is such a rich resource for learning (Google ebony wing damselfly. You're welcome.), but you really have to wade through a ton of manure to get to the proverbial lotus. Worth it, but it requires vigilant and constant exercise of your critical analysis faculties.
I'm torn about attending the fireworks show this holiday. The weeping willow fireworks are my favorite and just make my heart sing. I adore firework displays but we now know they are terrible for the environment and a genuine horror for wildlife and pets. I'm sad about the end of an era, but we have to be better stewards of the environment. It guts me to think of a world without sparklers, because they are magic, but denial and/or ignorance are no longer an option.
However, I know that if we bring some of that can-do American spirit to thinking about new, environmentally friendly ways to celebrate, there is no stopping us. It's time to harness both the long tradition of American innovation and also the best of American showmanship to pivot into a new style of celebration for the Fourth of July holiday. Simply, now that we know better, we must do better.