Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Coming Along In The Studio....

I paint a design directly onto the wax first before carving.

I am working on pieces for Mother's Day and have been playing around with the highly impractical idea of photo rings. The trick will be making these extra waterproof--my lifelong challenge.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Elvedina, like many of the metalsmiths here, has so many years experience in our studio that she can almost finish my sentences when we are working on new designs. We were so gleeful when this bracelet that holds the words inside itself was finished. The Brindisi is just a really neat piece because it also is like a sculpture when it is sitting fully opened.

Nothing Lasts, Nothing Is Finished, And Nothing Is Perfect.

From top to bottom: Padova, Venice, Rome

The idea that a poem is essentially a 'private experience' informs the scale of what I make and how I make it. The fine line quality of the engraving as well as the pieces being done by different hands, at different times, with vigilant care here in our studio, adds a wabi-sabi sensibility that creates a perfect platform for the words. Richard Powell says that wabi-sabi "nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

Recently I was struck by an image on the The Sartorialist of a young Italian woman who was wearing three gold medallions of different sizes and lengths with her very chic and casual outfit: perfectly oversized chinos, flawless leather belt, navy blazer, t-shirt and leopard flats. The woman was striking and I was suddenly thinking a lot about what those necklaces meant to this her, and where she got them. Were they handed down in her family? Were they old coins? I loved how graphic and simple they were and how you knew there was some interesting story behind them because she looked interesting. Immediately I wanted to make my version of a set of medallions using as dense and masculine a chain as I could find. These new silver and bronze medallions are graphic from afar, yet have quiet details that you might miss if you don't look closely. After they are antiqued the first time, they are then hammered which gives them the feeling of an antique coin or an old cameo that is wearing away. After this process, they are engraved, then antiqued again and finally attached to the bail with an 18k gold rivet...a lot of steps, but I absolutely believe that the layering of details creates a feeling that is worth the extra effort. Inspired by the mysterious Italian woman with the Jean Seberg hair, I intended these medallions to be worn as a set if possible...and they are on my personal wish list for Spring.

Friday, February 12, 2010

New Crystal Pieces

shown from top is the Catania and Palermo

I love how these crystals are beautifully faceted, luminous and refract light. The crystal on the Palermo multiplies the words, ‘love grows love,’ by Casey Haymes and engraved on the back it says, 'we know the truth, not only by the reason, but by the heart' by Pascal. The round Catania is made to hold a custom photo and says on the back, 'All I know of spirit is this love.' by Rumi. Around the office we refer to them as the jujubee crystals.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our Little Yabba Is All Grown Up!

Miranda Kerr, the Victoria Secret model and fiance of Orlando Bloom, has purchased many pieces for herself and for Orlando so we were happy to hear that she chose to wear her own 18k Yabba Cuff for the latest GQ shoot....we fell off our chairs when we saw that was ALL she was wearing!!! I know it is hard to see it, for many reasons, but it is there. In this shot she reminds me of an Arthur Rackham illustration of Undine, the water-sprite. Here are more from the shoot:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Spring 2010 In Store And Website

Barcelona Heart with aqua and green diamonds, silver and gold.

Love formed the entire atlas of the globe,
plotted a course for the rest of us, home,
sailing alone single-handed around the world-

-Ian Burgham

Hearts are difficult to make without the usual cheesy, cutesy connotations so I wanted to create one with an unusual and unexpected design for Valentine's Day. Shown here is the Barcelona in silver. We also are making it in bronze which has really beautiful and rich quality. It comes with teardrop shaped moonstones or aqua and has 11 tiny green diamonds set into the vines. I hope you all enjoy the new collection as much as I enjoyed making it. To see the drawing and wax of this piece click here.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Forward To Your Man--Valentine's Tips From Melissa

Melissa wears her Adaline with her wedding set.

In my time working in the Jeanine Payer retail store I have helped countless people make important gift selections and with Valentine's coming up I thought I'd offer some helpful tips. For starters, the words are truly the most important thing--Substance over style as the saying goes. If the perfect words are on a piece that would not work stylistically we can always customize it.

For the woman who already owns several pieces, choosing something from the latest collection is ideal. AND hearts are always a sweet and safe choice for Valentines. In the Spring Collection I recommend the Santaigo with lines by Balzac, Love is the poetry of the senses/Love is the beauty of the soul. Another great selection is the Amatrice which has poetry by Ian Burgham , Resting on our hearts, my map of the world within you.'

I have seen women ponder about a certain piece for a few weeks or men come in and purchase something within 5 minutes! It all depends on the individual. The main thing is that you know the words that mean the most when you hear them.

Things to watch out for:

  • Don't buy in sets! one well selected piece is always more powerful.

  • Valentines Day is not the holiday for a gift certificate--this is about the sentiment and the thought, literally.

  • Women generally like to mix and match their jewelry metals, styles and eras so don't be afraid to buy silver if she has a gold ring, etc.

  • Rings are hard as surprise gifts unless you know for an absolute fact what size they wear. Safer choices are necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

  • Make sure you select the style based more on the recipient’s taste rather than yours.
The poetry choices are sometimes overwhelming, especially if you don't have a lot of time.. All of us here are experts at helping people find the perfect pieces, even if someone can't make it into the store we can help find what you are looking for--although we would love to see you in person!!

On this Valentines Day we wish you all the best in whatever you chose to give, whether it is a piece of jewelry, a love note, or hand picked flowers, it is all in the romantic, meaningful gesture.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Some Tiny Things

Look at how tiny the detail on this ring is.

and notice how perfect the detail is close up. This is a ring who's secret is in the small detail that can best be seen with a magnifying glass and can only be achieved by the work of a hand. It reminds me of the poetry we engrave in that it is not easy to see and yet we know what is there and what it means to us.

The other ring is by the Italian jewelry house of Buccellati and it is the gift I received after giving birth to my son, William, from his father and I cherish it--not only for what it represents but I also adore how it looks. The detail is dense and from afar the design is subtle. I appreciate the endowed meaning that is inherent in some tiny things.