Fall Jewelry Showcase at Pratt Institute

A couple of weeks ago I attended an evening lecture and jewelry showcase at Pratt Institute — two exciting and thought-provoking events! The first was a talk and book signing with Damian Skinner, the editor of Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, a newly released book in collaboration with the Art Jewelry Forum. His information about contemporary jewelry along with the discussion that followed with the audience was fascinating. It is a solid book with a lot of topics to consider. Keep an eye out for my review of it in the coming months!

Contemp Jewelry signed insta copyThe second part of the evening was a jewelry showcase that featured work created by faculty, alumni, and current students. It was wonderful to see these pieces all exhibited together. A level (dis)playing field of sorts! Here were some of my favorites:

Lauren Curry, class of 2014, “My 1st Time Using Chopsticks”, 2013. Brass, purple heart wood, garnets, emeralds, crushed chicken bones.

Lauren Curry chopsticks insta copy

You might remember Lauren’s name from my previous post about the Pratt Junior Jewelry Exhibition — she was the winner of the Tiffany & Co Foundation Jewelry Design Scholarship! Although these chopsticks are more art object than jewelry, I loved them for a number of reasons. It’s hard to tell their scale from the photo but these are actually very oversized chopsticks, which adds to the memory of everyone’s first time with chopsticks. Didn’t they feel enormous and gawky in your hand? Lauren also set a garnet and emerald at the top ends of the sticks, which made them feel very regal and important. I couldn’t help but love that they are made of purple heart wood. Makes it sound like she was going into first battle with a plate full of food, armed only with these courageous chopsticks! And last but not least is the metal chicken head that they rest on. A casualty of the food war?

William Yang, class of 2014, “Black Oyster Necklace”, 2013. Sterling silver, brass, fossilized oyster, green amethyst, champagne quartz, smokey quartz, peridot, black pearl, coffee grounds.

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I love how futuristic this necklace is! I can just imagine some distant time when we all wear necklaces like these as a source of power. Energy is drawn from the “fossil fuel” of the oyster shell in the center of the necklace, and using gemstone buttons and cogs it is filtered in pathways upwards. This necklace would have fit in perfectly with the recent LOOT exhibit at MAD!

Alexia Cohen, technician and faculty, “Wrist Expansion 17”, 2007. Gold-plated brass frame, white elastic cord.

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Alexia actually had a different version of this bracelet on display, with rhodium-plated brass and black elastic cord, but I loved this lighter gold version that she was wearing so much that I took a photo of it instead. She let me try it on and it was lighter and softer than you might imagine. Fantastically flexible and comfy. It made me feel a bit like a superhero (perhaps it’s all that webbing?) because of the concept that I could extend the size of my wrist into a huge gold outline. For when I need to be extra powerful!

Shuoyuan Bai, class of 2014, “Untitled Necklace”, 2013. Copper, transparent enamel, silver leaf.

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Yet another piece that totally could have been at LOOT! I love how each round on this necklace looks like a gorgeous piece of stained glass. The blues and green are so vibrant. Definitely a statement piece!

Taylor Kumiko Hermes, class of 2012, “Letting Go: Anger”, 2012. Cross body brooch. Brass, handmade Japanese paper, fishing line.

taylorhermes3Taylor’s body brooch has so many layers to it. I love that it goes across the body (it has pin mechanisms at the top and bottom to hold it in place) in a completely unique and interesting way. The little pieces of paper are feather thin and go from light to dark as they travel down the body. There is so much movement in this — the pieces of paper are literally flying off of you. But the symbolism is what really gets me on this one. To think that this piece of jewelry could symbolize the act of letting go of anger — of taking all those little dark negative pieces that accumulated over time into anger and bursting them apart. It is powerful and artistic and just fascinating. How therapeutic it must be to wear this piece!

Which is your favorite? Would you love to try on that webbed expansion bracelet? Or perhaps the stained glass necklace against a little black dress? Maybe a little catharsis from wearing the body brooch? They’re all so cool. Until next time!

P.S. Although I mention Pratt a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous jewelry created by awesome designers!

 

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Field Trip: If I Had $1,400 to Spend at LOOT: MAD About Jewelry

Yesterday I made my way to the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) on Columbus Circle to check out day two of their five day LOOT: MAD About Jewelry exhibition and sale. This is LOOT’s 13th year, but my very first checking it out. The pop-up sale features the work of over 50 jewelry designers who create one-of-a-kind artistic pieces. These jewelry artists come from more than 20 different countries, so it is a unique opportunity to see jewelry you might not otherwise know about or have access to. LOOT is on the second floor of MAD next to the currently abridged Barbara Berger Fashion Jewelry exhibition. In case you missed my blog post about that fantastic exhibition you can check it out here.

One of the great things about LOOT is that the designers are right there to talk with while checking out their jewelry pieces. A great opportunity to hear more about their inspiration and techniques — plus they know great ways to style their jewelry! I wish I could say I had money to burn at this sale, but why don’t we make it fun and use play money? Here is what I would have purchased if I had a $1,400 budget. And yes, I even included real-life NY sales tax in this play money shopping spree!

Monopoly Money

PLAY MONEY TOTAL: $1,400 

#1: Meghan O’Rourke’s Pear-Shaped Oxidized Titanium Earrings for $245 (plus $21.68 in tax):

Meghan O'Rourke earrings at LOOT

Much of Meghan’s work on display involved a technique of oxidizing titanium, which gives this wonderful grey hue to the metal. It also gives it a bit of an eggshell finish, so the pieces have a fantastic understated quality. Her method of punching holes in the metal to create the patterns reminded me of the cut-out of a doily. The pair in the top right hand corner were my absolute favorite — the way the pattern looks like the facets of a gemstone. It was extremely hard to leave these earrings at the show instead of taking them home with me! Meghan also does beautiful work with an anodized aluminum method, which colors her pieces in a rainbow of hues. You can see more of these gorgeous pieces on her website.

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $1,133.32

#2: Danielle Gori-Montanelli’s Grey Felt Key Chain Necklace for $145 (plus $12.83 in tax):

Danielle Gori-Montanelli Key Necklace LOOT

Danielle’s felt necklaces are so much fun! Now that it’s fall (although it was almost 80 degrees here in NYC yesterday, so it doesn’t quite feel like it yet) there’s nothing cozier than some wool. These necklaces made out of thick felt are extremely light and moveable. Danielle also uses bright colors to contrast some of the darker chain links. I fell in love with the center necklace, the light grey chain with the dark grey key. Couldn’t you imagine wearing this with jeans and a t-shirt, or with a fancy little black dress? She also makes fun felt stone collar necklaces, plus felt lego long necklaces, all available in her online shop.

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $975.49

#3: Rachel Eardley’s Coin Wren Bird Ring for $156 (plus $13.80 in tax):

Rachel Eardley coin bird ring LOOT

Rachel uses coins and silver for her jewelry, and it makes for these charming and sweet pieces. Many of the coin cut-outs were of small animals — birds, rabbits, pigs, horses, owls, etc. Her display case felt like a magical fairy-tale forest world! This particular ring was my absolute favorite because of the two-tone metals and the open space inside the circle that lets your skin show through. Rachel was also an absolute pleasure to speak with. Definitely check out more of her work — she has necklaces, bracelets, brooches, earrings, cufflinks, etc. all in a similar style. I wish this bird ring could fly home to me!

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $805.69

#4: Margherita Marchioni’s Rainbow Colored Pencil Pyramid Necklace for $480 (plus $42.48 in tax):

Image courtesy of Margherita Marchioni

Image courtesy of Margherita Marchioni

Let’s start with a little fact about me: I adore colored pencils. I love the range of hues and using them to blend the colors in an art piece. So a colored pencil necklace? Right up my alley! Margherita uses pencils as a tool to create amazing shapes like these pyramids. The center of the pencils (where the color is) are drilled and thin clear plastic string is looped through to connect the pieces. So this necklace was very dynamic and flexible. Yet another necklace that could be dressed up or down! And absolutely a conversation piece. Check out some of her other jewelry in her gallery — I also loved the twisting colored pencil necklace that looked like a DNA double helix!

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $283.21

#5: Ashley Buchanan’s Powder Coated Grey Earrings for $144 (plus $12.74 in tax):

Ashley Buchanan earrings LOOTPowder coated jewelry has this wonderful soft finish and a modified sheen that I adore. These earrings, like Meghan’s earlier, remind me a bit of a doily because of the cut-outs. Although they may seem like they would be stiff, when I tried them on they actually have a good amount of dangling movement. They also look great when worn with the straight side toward the face — it frames the jaw and neck perfectly. Another very hard piece of jewelry to part with. I am also a (newly) big fan of her Faux Real line, which has a ring called Diamonds Are For Everyone that involves a button with the image of a diamond from a magazine placed in the center setting. It’s pretty fun, you can check it out here.

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $126.47

#6: Alienina’s Sailing Mixed Cuff in Grey for $108 (plus $9.59 in tax):

Alienina bracelet LOOT

Image courtesy of Alienina

If you hadn’t noticed yet, I love the color grey. Love love love. This bracelet, created by jewelry artist Eliana Venier for her collection Alienina, is made from sailing rope and recycled jersey fabric. Woven together it creates a sturdy but stretchable jewelry piece. I fell into serious love with this bracelet because once you slide it on your wrist it hugs you is this perfectly cozy and comforting way. Who wouldn’t want to walk around feeling a permanent hug, especially when the weather gets chilly? A bracelet you could wear every day! Check out her other woven pieces in her online shop – a never ending wish list of great jewelry. And all hand-washable!

PLAY MONEY REMAINING: $8.88

Well, we have $8.88 left over. What would I do with it?

Diamond Bingo

Scratch-off lotto tickets! That way there’s a chance to win it all back — or win even more and shop all over again for more jewelry pieces!

Which was your favorite of the bunch? Or are there any pieces you saw on the designer’s websites that you adore? If you are in NYC anytime between now and Saturday you should definitely check it out, plus admission is only $5 to the museum during this sale. Also, they are having an all-day jewelry event on Saturday, October 5th to celebrate the last day of the sale. Lots of jewelry-related workshops and tours. Excited to go back next year!

P.S. Although I mention the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) a million times in this blog post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition/sale. I am simply a lover of gorgeous jewelry!

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Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age Exhibit

In June I had the pleasure of visiting the Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age exhibit twice, currently on display at The Forbes Galleries in NYC. The first event was part of a talk with conceptual gem artist John Hatleberg, who has several pieces on display. The event was organized by the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA) and its co-director, Elyse Zorn Karlin, who guest curated the exhibit. At the second event Elyse gave a private tour of the exhibit to a small group. Both times I was struck by how much detail and information could be packed into the small exhibit. The jewelry gallery at Forbes is just one room but this exhibit, which includes over 100 pieces, contains so many amazing pieces of jewelry. With just a few days left until the exhibit closes, it is a must-see for all you jewelry and space geeks!

SpaceJewelrycover

“The purpose of this exhibition is to document how the history of space exploration has been reflected in our popular culture through both fine and non-precious jewelry and to showcase the beautiful and whimsical jewels that are being crafted today as jewelers continue to ponder the mysteries of the universe.” — Elyse Zorn Karlin, Guest Curator

Although the exhibit is centered around jewelry inspired by and related to space, there is also great non-jewelry memorabilia to go with the gems — a space ship sewing set from the 1930’s, a space cadet thermos, and a space-themed toy piano from the 1950’s all contribute to the far-out feeling of the exhibit:

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

The centerpiece of the room, which is the first item you see as you walk into the main area of the exhibit, is the Tampa Necklace by Van Cleef & Arpels. This one-of-a-kind piece, from a private collection, contains a multitude of diamonds and gemstones — round, baguette, and rose cut diamonds; pink, purple, blue, and yellow sapphires; onyx; orange garnets; red spinels; and beryl. It was created in 2010 and was inspired by the science fiction novel From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne:

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

The movement in this piece is incredible, the way the diamond trail of the rocket has swirled around the neck several times, and the burst of orange air beneath it. An ingenious part of this design is the large yellow sapphire at the bottom of the piece, which has an orange garnet set underneath it that shows through because of how thin the yellow sapphire is. It adds to the dream-like fantasy of the piece. Along with that, this necklace can be worn nine different ways, since it is made up of detachable and interchangeable pieces. Such a fantastic piece, especially for this exhibit!

The exhibition contains a wide range of jewelry, with items from the dawn of the space age (the late 1950’s to 1960’s) along with contemporary pieces, like the Venus Earrings by Steven Kretchmer Design:

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

Looking at these earrings you might think, “Cool earrings, I get it, they look like diamonds in orbit”. But they are so much more than that! There earrings are made up of 18 kt gold, diamonds, and polarium, a permanently magnetized platinum alloy created by Stephen Kretchmer. One of the amazing behaviors of polarium is levitation, which is exhibited in these earrings. The diamond discs are not attached to any part of that center rod — they keep their amazing spacing simply because of the poles repelling. How amazing is that!

There is a fascinating section in the exhibition dedicated to jewelry that has flown in space. Astronauts are allowed to take up to twenty personal items on a space mission, with a limit of 3.3 lbs total. Jewelry is often taken as part of this package because of its small size and sentimental nature. Of course having a piece of jewelry that has gone up into space greatly increases its value as well, and many pieces can fetch between $50,000 – $100,000 at auction, depending on which astronaut it belonged to. One of my favorite pieces is a Towson watch worn in space by commander Gerhard P.J. Thijiele, on loan from the National Watch and Clock Museum, which was worn on US Space Shuttle Mission SS-99 from February 11th-22nd, 2000. The date on the watch is permanently set to the 22nd, the last day of the mission. Looking at the worn leather band and the stopped clock you can almost imagine it has soaked up special space powers!

If you thought the idea of having items on display that have been in space was cool, another section of the exhibit features jewelry created using materials that come from space. This includes meteorites, tektite, moldavite, pallasite, and moissanite. A fun example of this is the Kitchen Sink ring by John Hatleberg:

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

Photo courtesy of Forbes Galleries

This ring is true to its name with a plethora of gemstones set in it — pallasite, white diamond, red emerald, South Sea pearl, zircon, tourmaline, spinel, sapphire, tsavorite, aquamarine, and irradiated diamond. I imagine it is strong fluorescence in these diamonds that gives them a milky glow, which matches so perfectly with the other gemstones in the ring. The green overtone of the South Sea pearl gives the feeling of an alien lifeform’s skin. Couldn’t you imagine this is what the surface of some fantastic alien planet looks like?

I could go on and on about the amazing jewelry at this exhibit, but I would rather leave the surprises for you to see for yourself. The last day of this exhibition is September 7th, 2013, and it is free to the public. If you are here in NYC, treat yourself to a lunch break at this stellar gallery. It is truly out of this world!

P.S. Although I mention The Forbes Galleries a million times in this post, I was not paid or perked to write about this exhibition. I am simply a lover of gorgeous space-tastic jewelry!

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Photo Blog: Brooklyn Pride Festival 2013

As long as I am playing catch-up with the blog this week (see my post from a few days ago about a couple of Christie’s auctions that occurred in May) why not offer up two posts in one week? The heat is crazy now in NYC, and I am here to help distract and entertain. What better way than my very first photo blog?

Six weeks ago I had an awesome time as a vendor at the Brooklyn Pride Festival. This was the festival’s first year at their new location on 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, and my first year being a part of it!

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Earlier in the week I gave a sneak peek on Instagram of some fun free items I would have at my booth:

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All week there was the threat of rain, but when I checked the forecast the night before it looked like the rain would end just in time for the festival. Hooray!

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I bought a little notebook earlier in the week to write notes on people I met and spoke with during the day. I opened it on the morning of the festival to find the inside cover had this apropos quote!

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Setting up the booth was easier than expected thanks to my family of helpers. I couldn’t have done it without them! This also meant we had a bit of time before the festival started to take silly photos. Can you see the resemblance?

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One of my favorite ideas that worked so well in the booth were these beautiful pink hydrangeas. There was one in each corner to distract from the tent boots (so the tent doesn’t fly away with a gust of wind). They were so cheerful!

hydrangea copyright

 

My dad, who is an amazing artist and creates incredible artwork with chalk, did diamond ring chalk designs on the concrete around the booth. Here is just one of the sparkly rings!

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Remember that photo of the rings on my finger? They are party favor engagement rings, which I paired with fake silver and gold bands attached to my business cards. Everyone got one! The little kids who came to my booth and were table height adored them. Who doesn’t love a fun ring to play with during a street fair?

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The crowds were there early and lasted throughout the day:

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Since I wasn’t selling a product but rather a service I had a big sign in the booth that said “Ask the Gemologist!” so people knew they could come and talk to me. I spoke to so many great people who had wonderful questions about diamonds, gemstones, and rings. It was fun to help and inform!

ask the gemologist and me copyright

 

Since I was in the booth all day I didn’t get a chance to walk to fair. That didn’t mean I couldn’t send a friend to score me a pair of awesome sunglasses that National Grid was giving out at their booth a couple of blocks away. So cool! Cue the requisite smoochy face:

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All in all it was a fantastic day. Perhaps you will see me at next years festival!

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Did you attend the Brooklyn Pride Festival? Did you find anything great there? Or perhaps there was a Pride Festival in your hometown? This was the first street fair where I didn’t get to consume fair food, like grilled corn or a pickle on a stick. I’ll have to make up for it at the next one!

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