Reema, Age 4 in India

Shinde Jewels

From The Archive




November, 2019


Hello friends,

Just about six more weeks before we wave goodbye to this lovely year. This month is all about gratitude and the next is for reflection (especially that final week). I'm thinking about my ceremony of thanks. Each day is better than the last. Turning inward and working on myself this year allowed me to rethink & refine my goals. I'm proud of me. I did well and the year isn't over yet. As the subway spits me out onto the block every morning, the soundtrack in my head is the Rocky theme song.


I'm a compulsive list maker and will shamelessly journal lists with titles like: Dope Shit I Did this Month.  

I fervently hope each of you feels the same way when you look back upon this month, if not year. Write a wishful list if there are things you're still waiting on. Conjure them into being by writing them down.



a birthday cake
a close up of a phone

Now this is an electric pink sapphire. Hot pink or bust.

This rectangular-cut pink sapphire is an acidic, neon pink. It's a clean stone, and I love the cut. Small table, and high crown angles. Chunky & voluptuous. It weighs approximately 3.54 carats and would be perfect for a ring. Only so you could admire it all day.

Speaking of ring, I would incorporate these pear-shaped pink sapphires, which are skinny and long, and create a balance/contrast to the rectangular cut. The background is 'Toile de Jouy' tissue paper that I could not bring myself to discard. That's a picnic I'd like to attend. Picking sapphires off trees like fruit while picnicking actively. Yes please, and thank you.



a close up of a phone

a bunch of different foods

I've had this sumptuous plaque of dendritic agate since 2016 and it has been through many iterations. I thought it would make a wonderful swag necklace, and cut a series of smaller plaques to match. We created the settings and the clasp at great expense but at the last minute, I abandoned the entire design. All the castings were sent back to be refined and I began again. Something didn't feel right; that design felt too heavy and formal. Jewelry should be worn and enjoyed frequently, if not daily. So I pared the design way down into a frame for the 'painting'.

The fern-like or seaweed structures you see are a mineral known as dendrites growing within the host rock of agate. This scene reminds me of the paintings from the Hudson River School. I love the way the frame turned out, with the weeping willow branch draped over the frame, further accented with canary-colored diamonds. But I could not figure out how to hang the chain. I have an extensive jewelry library and frequently leaf through my books before I sleep so that my dreams are populated by anthropomorphized gems and jewels. A Wiener Werkstätte pendant by Eduard Josef Wimmer-Wisgrill dated 1914 was just the design inspiration I needed. The necklace is done. Please stop by and try it on. It begs to be worn.

When I think to where I first started in the jewelry business, and then look at this jewel, my heart is so full.



a bunch of different foods
a group of flyers on a table

My love affair with Renaissance jewelry rages on. After finishing the petal ring and earrings, I wanted to explore enamel. These ear pendants are set with tumbled, unheated Burma rubies, each suspending a black onyx drop, surmounted by an 18K gold and black enamel cap. The rubies glow like coals, as do I when I wear them. I'm playing with a variety of other designs with different enamel colors: bluish grey chalcedony with pale periwinkle spinel and white enamel next.  

And speaking of enamel, I'm interested in taking Valerie Blum's enameling class at Jewelry Arts Institute, and we need a minimum of three more people to run the class. If anyone is interested in an Introduction to Enamel weekend class in mid-March, please reach out to me. It would be two full days over a weekend.



a group of flyers on a table
a close up of a egg

These parcels are all multi-colored sapphires in different shapes and sizes. The pink material in the bottom right hand corner are all spinel. The photo is noteworthy because every stone in this photo is natural color and untreated. The only human intervention has been the polishing process—faceting the stone.

It's lovely to start the holiday season with fresh, full palettes to draw from. Magic fairy dust for the jeweler.



a close up of a egg
a close up of a sign

A simple strand of pearls is so elegant. I adore Nancy Pelosi for her seemingly endless collection of gorgeous gobstopper strands that are her signature style. There's a woman who knows her style and won't be following a trend anytime soon. Fresh.

I do wonder what her jewel box(es) look like.
These are two strands of Tahitian cultured pearls in different body colors. A pavé-set grey diamond clasp perhaps? These are monochromatic colors, but you could opt for a multi-colored strand of Tahitian pearls. I like the layering of silver & gunmetal grey. It's bold and dramatic in an understated way. They certainly telegraph power.

These eggshells are from the farmer's market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, and I just can't bring myself to throw them away. They are so achingly beautiful.
a close up of a sign
© The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met has a tiny exhibition called Jewelry for America that is on view until April 5, 2020. All of the jewelry is from the Met's permanent collection. For those of you who are unable to travel to the city, most of the items are published on the Met's website. There are multiple pieces from one of my favorite American jewelers and NY-NJ resident Marie Zimmerman. If you don't already have the monograph of her work The Metalwork of Marie Zimmermann by Deborah Dependahl Waters (et al.), please add it to your library immediately. Important pieces by other female jewelers like Florence Koehler are also on view. Please don't miss the Art Smith pieces, the Alexander Calder necklace, the pieces by both Louis Comfort Tiffany & Paulding Farnham for Tiffany & Co. And the vulcanized rubber chain link hair comb by The India Rubber Comb Company, circa 1851.
The early American miniatures highlight that we are a nation of immigrant settlers stretching back centuries, and the post war jewels again underscore this recurring theme in modern American history.
I was lucky enough to attend a gallery talk by Beth Carver Wees, the show's curator. On view is a book of instruction from the period on how to weave your own hair jewelry titled Art of Hair Work by Mark Campbell (1887). This single item had a powerful effect upon me. I was under the impression that hair jewelry was manufactured for sale, and Ms. Carver Wees disabused us of that notion by highlighting the book side by side with a woven hair bracelet. The workmanship is so detailed that I couldn't imagine a layperson endeavoring to undertake such projects. As we quilt, knit and crochet, Victorian women were weaving hair jewelry into sentimental mementos & keepsakes. Although I do find the idea of hair jewelry a bit macabre for my taste (those creepy Victorians: charm bracelets with babies' milk teeth, jewelry with beetles and bird heads...amirite?), the artistry and sentimental value should not be denied. To learn something new about jewelry sends a little current up my spine. My eyes go round and I look like a cartoon character, but way freakier.
a close up of a sign
Reema's Reading List
These two books are both love letters to nature, but from different perspectives. Delia Owens' Where the Crawdad Sings casts nature in the form of a marsh, as a silent, but powerful protagonist. She (yes, She) nurtures and ultimately educates Kya—the most precious and valuable gift of all. With that gift, Kya liberates herself. I read that book from start to finish in record time and was thoroughly impressed to find out this is Owens' first novel, which she completed in her late sixties! Well, there's hope for me yet.  

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer is non-fiction, but also a love letter to nature. Both Owens and Wall Kimmerer use words in lyrically different ways. Owens conjures a marsh and the world held within, down to the tiniest creatures and plants. Wall Kimmerer uses words to spin a song of love and longing.

These are just two passages from Braiding Sweetgrass that I have copied into my journal so far:
When describing wild strawberries, the first berry to appear (pg. 23): “Strawberries first shaped my view of a world full of gifts simply scattered at your feet. A gift comes to you through no action of your own, free, having moved toward you without your beckoning. It is not a reward; you cannot earn it, or call it to you, or even deserve it. And yet it appears. Your only role is to be open-eyed and present. Gifts exist in a realm of humility and mystery—as with random acts of kindness, we do not know their source.”

“Ceremonies large and small have the power to focus attention to a way of living awake in the world.” pg. 36  [Emphasis mine.]

The botanical word porn in this book is intoxicating. Here's three for a soupçon of titillation: Libum, petiole, and aerenchyma. A libum is the wee little eye of a bean. A petiole attaches a leaf to the stem, and aerenchyma is the botanical term for the spongy pith found in some plants (in particular aquatic plants).

On the word puhpowee: “I stumbled upon it in a book by the Anishanaabe ethnobotanist Keewaydinoquay, in a treatise on the traditional uses of fungi by our people. Puhpowee, she explained, translates as 'the force which causes mushrooms to push up from the earth overnight.' As a biologist, I was stunned that such a word existed.”
a bunch of food on a grill
In other news of wonder, I stumbled upon these Hidden Rose apples from an orchard in Vermont. They are a blush to rosy pink inside! What a treat. I distributed them to as many people I saw that week. My little neighbor received one with this note: 'Eliana, This apple reminds me of you because it's small and sweet. Most importantly, it's really pretty on the inside, just like you.' Huge hit. She wanted to take it to school and show it to her teacher. I felt pretty good that day. 
The blue eggshells around them are from Tello's eggs at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market in Brooklyn. The shells are delicate shades of blue and I haven't been able to throw them away. I save them for a week or so on my window sill, photograph them, rearrange them into pretty and prettier still configurations, and then reluctantly compost them.
I'm going to keep meditating on the words gift and ceremony as we move towards this uniquely American holiday. Ceremonies for living awake in this world in order to recognize and receive gifts with wonder & gratitude. Yes, that is a worthy goal for me.
Golconda will be closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday November 28th and Friday November 29th. I'll be giving thanks to the original people of New York, the Lenape tribe. Currently, most Lenape belong to the Delaware Nation and live in New Jersey, Oklahoma and Ontario, but the word Lenape means “Original People,” and the Lenape are the Original New Yorkers. The name Manhattan comes from the Lenape “Manahatta,” meaning “hilly island.” I'm thankful for their sacrifice so we could be here, now, today, on this incredible, glittering, magical blue marble hurtling through space. What a gift.

Gobble Gobble,

Leave a comment (all fields required)

Comments will be approved before showing up.