Monday, November 5, 2012

First stop, the tropics

Our jewelry vacation has begun! Thanks for joining me on the journey of Metalicious jewelry making. This is where we travel together to learn about the inspiration of creation. (Sorry, I love a good rhyme).

One of the first jewelry collections I designed when I started Metalicious was my Bubble Collection.  These are whimsical, fun pieces that I made by slicing up different sized tubing and soldering it together to look like bubbles. Here's my best selling Champagne necklace in sterling silver with a gorgeous London Blue Topaz briolette gemstone:

So why the bubbles? I'm not a soap maker, deep sea diver or competitive bubble blower. But I do love going through the car wash.

All that blue, sudsy goodness that leaves my car squeaky clean!

I also love to swim. I was lucky enough to have a pool growing up and spent entire summers swimming and ending up with green hair. And I can play a mean game of "Marco-Polo." But my favorite way to spend the summer now is at the beach.

My husband and I were lucky enough to spend our 10th wedding anniversary in Vieques, PR. I found some amazing shells and sea stuff that I carefully packed and brought home to make into jewelry. I added them to my Raw Collection of shark teeth.  This recycled sterling silver shark tooth necklace is my best seller:

My favorite piece from Vieques is my Sea Urchin Necklace.

But I also was obsessed with these tiny conch shells as I was snorkeling. I only picked the ones that were uninhabited by both conch and hermit crabs!

Totally not kidding...

No, that's not seaweed on my head. It's my ratty hair...

So after our trip I wanted to be able to do something good as my way of thanks to Mother Nature. I'm donating a percent of the profits from my Raw collection will be donated to the Coral Restoration Foundation. They work hard to recover the Florida Keys coral reefs through nursery rearing of coral colonies and planting out on reefs. I'd love to "adopt a coral" on behalf of my customers. Every little bit will help!

Thanks for taking the trip with me!

Jewelry design tour: Hong Kong

I traveled to Asia for the first time in 2002 for the jewelry company I worked for at the time. My mission was to work directly with our overseas designers in Hong Kong and to visit jewelry factories there, in Bangkok and in India.  I was so excited to get to travel to these beautiful countries even if it was for work.  The bridge above is one of the first things I remember about that trip, jet-lagged from the 12 hour flight, it was beautiful, architectural and it took me over the water into Hong Kong.

Hong Kong has bright lights, a polluted harbor, clothing stores, world-class restaurants and is bustling with millions of people. It reminded me of my home in NYC. :-) I loved it there!

Our Hong Kong designers were even nicer in person than over e-mail. It was great to put faces to the names of the people I had been working with for a year. And I was so busy, I barely had time to actually see anything other than the inside of the office!  Our vendors were kind and took me out for dinner most of the time, since I had no idea where to go other than the hotel restaurant.

This was my view of Victoria Peak, hidden behind the storm clouds. We would stay on the Kowloon side of the harbor across from The Peak. Jet lag would make me get up by 4am. So in the mornings I would go to the gym at the top of the hotel and run on a treadmill as I watched the sun rise over the harbor. There's now a giant skyscraper in that view, I saw it being built over a few trips to Hong Kong, and to me it looks like a giant electric razor.

One night, my co-worker and I ventured out and took a funicular to the top of The Peak. We had dinner at the top, gazing down at the lights of the city and the sparkling water of Victoria Harbor. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, I can still remember sipping a glass of wine and feeling so small as we looked at this beautiful city.

This isn't my photo but it's similar to the view that night:

One of the neatest things I saw were the 'junk boats' which are fishing boats, out on the harbor. I felt like I had stepped back in time, or maybe went to the future where Kevin Costner ruled Waterworld.

Crazy to see the contrast between the old fashioned junk boats and the uber-modern city buildings. I had such a great time in Hong Kong, even though my hair was a frizzy mess the entire time (it's not the heat, it's the humidity). My Metropolis line was inspired by the beautiful modern buildings of the big cities I've visited, including my home NYC.  This is one of my most popular ring designs in recycled mixed metals:

But sadly I had to move on to my next stop: Bangkok! To be continued...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

What is Jewelry Design

Jewelry design is a term most often used to describe a sketch someone has made, that they want turned into jewelry. Many crafters call themselves "jewelry designers" because as a broader term it encompasses all the techniques of jewelry making.  Beading, wire wrapping, hand fabricating, stone setting, model making, etc. So jewelry design can mean the sketch which is a jumping-off platform, or it can mean everything having to do with making jewelry. Confusing, right?

To me, creating handmade jewelry is so much more than a sketch or a craft. It's thoughts, experiences, colors, memories and emotions that are expressed in tiny sculptures for people to wear.  Jewelry is such a personal expression, for the people who wear it and for me as a jeweler and artist. Every piece of jewelry I make is like a small part of me going out into the world. I'm worried people won't like it, I'm afraid something will happen to hurt it and I secretly want loads of people to love it.  I want it to do good things in the world.

Over the next few months I'm going to take you on different trips with me, we need a vacation, right?  On our journey we'll take a look at what has inspired me in my jewelry designs and I hope you'll share what inspires you. We all are creative, we're all artists because we all have a unique perspective on what we see and how we process our experiences.  So I hope you'll join me and enjoy our little blog-cations over the next few months!

My Wish ring will start us off right. Ready? Let's go!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Wintry Ocean

As a kid I used to spend part of every summer at the beach. The Jersey Shore to be exact: cheese fries, Wildwood piers, Atlantic City... but I wasn't anything like Snooki. I can remember building sand sculptures with my dad for the yearly competition and we came in 1st place one year for building a giant sandragon. The smell of coconut will always me of suntan oil. As an adult I have tons of freckles from all the sunburns I got for spending all day, every day in the sunshine at the beach.  Such good times!

It goes without saying that the ocean is a big part of my inspiration. A horseshoe crab, a jellyfish, the foam created by waves crashing on the shore, I love it all.  Especially in the winter. There's something peaceful and silent about a winter beach, without all the crowds, and it makes it special. Like it's all mine. A welcome solitude.

A few weekends ago we were lucky enough to spend some time in Martha's Vineyard at a very generous friend's house. It was already Spring but one of the coldest weeks where the wind whipping off the ocean makes you shiver even if you're wearing a full length winter coat (which I was).  We made a trip out to a pier in Menemsha where we climbed 'treacherous' rocks.

Later that afternoon we made s'mores.

And the next morning we ran around the beach in our winter coats and bare feet!

I love that my kids took off their shoes and socks to run around. Little sand crabs.

Coming soon... some new additions to my ocean-inspired collection. I'm so excited to share them with you!!!  Soon... soon... soon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Gemstones are like candy

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest jeweler in the world. My trip to Tucson, AZ was a blast! I went with 3 of my favorite women, also amazing jewelers, and we shopped for gems. every. single. day.

I came home with a Pirate's Booty bag of sparkly rainbows! Here are some of the gems I bought and how I made them into Metalicious jewelry!

First up are purple sapphires, I set one into a sweet Bling ring where I facet the metal around the stone for a unique, handmade modern ring:

How about this one-of-a-kind blue spinel necklace. The color goes from navy to cornflower blue, it's absolutely stunning. I kinda want to keep it for myself, but then I remember the booty and that someone needs to pay for it. Here's my Wrought necklace in navy blue spinel:

I also found super sparkly, bubblegum pink sapphires so I had to set them into my Tiny Sweeties:

When I found these London blue topaz squares, they reminded me of little pools and I had to have them. They are so beautiful that they don't need much else, so I carved a modern square slide necklace and cast it into recycled sterling silver.  Look at the color and clarity of the gemstone in this necklace!

There will be more to come, I also bought some one-of-a-kind kunzite cabochons, some light pink morganite cushions, golden citrines, teal turquoise slabs, opals, and tiny smiling sapphires!  Thanks so much for supporting my business and my Metalicious shop.  You totally rock!