Whimsical Jewelry Brooches: Racehorses!


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From left to right: 1910 brooch in platinum and diamond and enamel, maker unknown. A & W  Jewellers Antique diamond and gold brooch with enamel. Below: 1960 Racehorse Brooch in platinum and diamonds, with rubies in the details. A & W Jewellers, silver and gold brooch with diamonds

Brooches

Every year we, the inner crowd, shout that this is the year of the brooch’s return. Luckily, we are not held accountable for such statements we love to spread throughout the internet and in the real world. 

The truth is that it is the brooch that often is subject to the most beautiful jewelry designs. And the subjects are often bolder or more statements than any other piece of jewelry. It will take some new, fresh and cool stars, and well-known women and men to show up wearing brooches if we want to grab your attention again. For now, the brooch is the object least sold in any given jewelry store. 

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One newer and one older. But both by Cartier. The one on the right is from the 1930s, in platinum and diamonds. The other one is created in this century, in gold, diamonds and a sapphire.

Vintage

I have chosen the brooches with the subject horses and jockeys for this blog. Why? Because I do like how a sport and jewelry came together. It is both elegant and for many; this is a joyful sport to watch. Or an important sport in which to invest. Both in owning a horse or a stable or perhaps you might be a bit of a gambler 😉

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Van Cleef & Arpels horse & jockey 1940. A & W Jewellers in gold and enamel is the company that created the other two brooches

Our love for horses

What I also like to observe is how this is a part of our story with horses. We always loved their speed, their strength, their endurance. Horses have played a major role in our story. Without them, we wouldn’t have created the world that we know today. They were there in times of war, they were there to help plow the land, and they even provided as food themselves.

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A jewelry brooch of a jockey without a saddle, from 1890 containing 2.25ct of diamonds and made in 9ct gold

Let’s be kinder

From a very personal perspective: I love the observe these brooches. However, I place them into the context of humanity’s history, which intertwines with that of the magnificent noble horses. We failed them many times, and we have treasured them too many times. As we progress as human beings, I feel that the whip and the bridle bit should be banned. Both give the rider the idea of control, but instead of asking and receiving, we force and create pain. 

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This brooch is 9cm and created back in 1900-1909. 18kt gold and diamonds. And it seems that the face of the jockey is a carved gemstone

Also, the world of racehorses fills people with excitement and thrill and lots of money. But once again, there is another side less kind, less beautiful. 

So I see these brooches as reminders. I see them as a part of how we see things for a while before we moved on. They are delightful, whimsical, and for those who love the sport nonetheless, a beautiful token of showing it in a precious way. 


Disclaimer:

We have mostly non-paid for content on Bizzita.com. But sometimes we do work together with brands that we love and that work with us for exposure online. They choose Bizzita.com as a trusted authority jewelry blog and pay us for it. How do you recognize sponsored content? We work in two ways. 

  1. Placement in the text with a link outside Bizzita.com for which the owner of the link has paid us. 
  2. A dedicated blog to one brand or designer, including a link to the website/shop and full name and address details of that company.  

We feel that working this way is the most ethical and nice for everyone. From our readers to the companies we collaborate with. Are you triggered to work with us too? Would you like an interview, a link in an article to your store or website, or a blog that tells your stories? Drop Esther a line: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you are curious about a certain piece we show, but that you can’t find yourself, just write us to the same address. find can, we love to help you!



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#256 Core Values and How to Position Your Brand to Align with Them


I want to do something a little different this week…

2020 has been a year of reflection and change for me, and I hope it has been for you, too. 

So I decided to reevaluate and get real about Flourish & Thrive Academy’s core values. It was a necessary exercise for me, and I hope it inspires you to do the same.

Because we are built on the value of community over competition, and standing with your community means you’re always learning, always reflecting, and always innovating.

As I talk about our core values and how we position our brand in alignment with them, I hope you can come to better understand how to identify and align with your own brand’s core values.

Together we can talk the talk and walk the walk.

Click here to download the show notes

Community Over Competition

This is, like, the core value of our core values.

I have a long history as a jewelry designer, and in the past I found the industry to be so competitive and tight-lipped. I couldn’t stand it!

This led me to co-found Flourish & Thrive Academy, where we can foster an inclusive community of designers who are always supporting each other, always building each other up, and always challenging the norm.

Always Learning, Always Implementing

As a business owner, you’re always actively seeking to stay on top of sales tactics and industry trends. Value-driven community work is no different!

There is no better way to foster an inclusive, empowered community than to acknowledge the limitations of your own perspective and listen to those around you.

And always back it up with solid action.

Show Up From A Place of Service

I made this company to serve my community.

Yes, it’s a business. But I strive to show up every day coming from a place of service. How can I best meet the needs of my community? How can we, as a company, support and empower the designers in our programs?

When service is truly your #1 priority, everything else falls into place.

Now it’s time to think, what are your core values?

xo, Tracy

Links:

Conversation with Jocelyn Kopac: Steps To Ally-ship For You And Your Jewelry Business

Jocelyn Kopac

Lorraine West

Andrea Hill

FREE: The Down & Dirty Difference Between Today’s “Thriving” vs. “Nose-Diving” Jewelry and Creative Product Brands

You don’t have to do it alone, check out our coaching programs!

Facebook

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Listen on Apple Podcasts!





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Father’s Day 2020: Gift Ideas | The Bench


Falling on the 21st of June this year, Father’s Day is fast approaching once again. Men in general can be notoriously tricky to please and often call for gift buying that is just a little left of centre to strike the right note. The Cooksongold website makes the perfect hunting ground for those searching for a practical gift, so I have rounded up a selection of little gems that might just fit the bill.

‘Digital Crafts’ by Ann Marie Shillito – (999 A176), £32.99

Having had a design-based career, using CAD in the latter stages, I know my dad would be interested in a book focussing on industrial technologies being utilised by designer makers. Perhaps not for everyone, but I’m willing to bet that many of you who use this website also have creative parents with more than a passing interest in modern technology. Covering 2D and 3D digital designing and modelling, 3D printing, reverse engineering, CNC machining and waterjet and laser cutting, this book is packed with fascinating examples of jewellery, furniture and decorative objects all created using state of the art technology which is now more accessible than ever. A captivating read for anyone with a creative/technical mind.

Sterling Silver Lobster Hook Clasp/keyring 48mm X 21mm – (NVF T27), £23.35

With its chunky proportions, this oversized lobster clasp makes a really special keyring fob ideal for a gift. Weighing in at a hefty 13.47g this is not something that will be mislaid easily! Either team it up with a suitably themed accessory or simply give on its own to add to an existing keyring.

Daler Rowney Series A Sketchbook A3, 25 Pages, 150gsm, (997 473), £11.53 and Faber Castell Goldfaber Aqua Watercolour Pencils X12, (997 BF1), £10.18

A sketch pad is a thoughtful gift for anyone as it encourages us to stop and really look at things and reflect on what they mean to us. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it) many of us have a little more time on our hands right now so it’s an ideal opportunity to get drawing; and by using watercolour pencils you can incorporate paint without the hassle of a palette or individual tubes which is simplicity itself.

Knot Cufflink Rhodium Plated Brass, (X2A 102), £13.10 and Black Leatherette Cufflink Box, (996 135), £2.94

 Cufflinks are a classic men’s gift and make a nice finishing touch to any formal shirt. These rhodium plated brass knots, are understated, classy and subtle enough to please any discerning gent and at a fraction over £13, are pocket money priced. Add a classic black leatherette box to complete the gift.

Magnetic Wooden Tool Holder 45cm, (999 099C), £23.60

My final pick is for practical dads who love their tools. Our fabulous magnetic tool holder is the height of practicality and simplicity combined. Fixed to a wall with the fittings provided, metal tools will be held securely and in clear view so will never be mislaid again (or that’s the idea). Perfect for hand tools and smaller objects such as drill bits which would otherwise clutter up the workbench. This is ideal for dads who don’t like a fuss when it comes to gifts.

So what will you be getting for your dad this Father’s Day?

Browse our full range online and ensure you order in good time to guarantee delivery for this years Father’s Day.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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How To Silver Plate Jewellery


Silver plating jewelleryWhether you’re looking to smarten up some pre-existing jewellery or you want to expand your service offering – silver plating jewellery is a great place to start. There are a number of techniques you can use when learning how to silver plate jewellery, but we’ll start with the most basic. For this technique, you’ll need to know how to make a silver plating solution. But don’t worry, we’ll talk you through each step. Want to find out more? Discover everything you need to know about silver plating jewellery, from the necessary tools and equipment to what the process involves below.

Tools and equipment for silver plating jewellery

  • Jewellery of choice. Whether you’re looking to transform some costume jewellery or give your old silver pieces a new lease of life, this silver plating solution for jewellery can work on brass, copper, bronze or nickel metals.
  • Protective gloves. This is mainly to prevent the solution from staining your hands and fingers a pretty unpleasant yellow hue.
  • Two polishing cloths. One for applying the solution and another clean cloth for buffing once the solution has been applied.
  • Silver plating solution. The key piece of equipment in this technique. Using a silver plating solution quickly adds value to any old piece of jewellery.
  • A cover for your table or jewellery workbench. Much like the protective gloves, you may want to use a cover for your workspace to avoid any staining from the solution.

How to silver plate jewellery: step by step

Now you know which tools and equipment to collect, it’s time to run through how to silver plate jewellery, step by step:

  1. Thoroughly clean the metal. In order to achieve the best level of silver plating, you’ll need to make sure that the metal you want to silver plate is completely clean. The best way to do this is to use one of your polishing cloths to remove any dirt or grit.
  2. Prepare the solution. Once the metal has been cleaned, you can prepare the solution. You’ll need to distribute the contents in the bottle, so give it a quick shake before dabbing some of the solution onto a clean cloth.
  3. Apply the solution. Completely cover the metal with the solution on the cloth. Apply liberally to ensure a high-quality finish. Don’t worry if the metal turns a darker colour – this is only temporary while the silver transfers onto the metal.
  4. Finalise the piece. All that’s left to do now is to gently buff the metal with a soft polishing cloth to create a high shine and professional finish. And you’re done!
  5. Repeat as necessary. Not so happy with your first go? Don’t worry. Simply repeat the steps above until you achieve the desired outcome.

Use our visual guide for more tips and tricks on how to silver plate jewellery.

What is electroplating jewellery?

Now you know how to silver plate jewellery with a silver plating solution, what are the other ways that allow you to create the same effect? Another popular method is electroplating.

So, what is electroplating? And how does electroplating jewellery create the same effect? To put it simply, electroplating is another way to transfer a surface layer of metal onto another type of metal. The process involves using an electric current to do the transferring, which can be achieved with a specialist piece of equipment called an electroplating unit. Better suited to professional jewellery makers, electroplating allows you to silver plate jewellery that wouldn’t be possible with the solution alone. So if you’re just starting out, we’d recommend you stick to a silver plating solution for jewellery to begin with.

Wondering where to buy silver plating solution?

Pick up your silver plating solution and any other jewellery tools you may need from Cooksongold. Looking for more jewellery making inspiration? Head to the equipment and technique focus section of our blog for a variety of different techniques to try your hand at.



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17 Hip and Cool Jewelry Brands you need to know!


Hip Cool Jewelry Brands Header

 

What makes a brand hip or cool depends on many different things. I agree. But I selected these brands for a reason. And with each brand, I will explain their cool or hip factor. So come with me! 

 1. Amy Pepper

Amy Pepper is a British award-winning jewelry designer whose work is inspired much by her surroundings. Shells and sea life form the heart of her sculptured jewelry pieces. 

What makes Amy Pepper jewelry cool?

  1. Her jewelry has that organic look and feel
  2. She works with both silver and gold
  3. Good value! Her jewelry is very reasonably priced. Prices start around $200,- 
  4. Salt & Pepper diamonds. Embracing nature in all its forms is the new normal and spot on! Not the flawless diamonds, but the ”imperfect perfect ones”.  A trend we’ll see much more everywhere.  

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsAMypepper

Amy Pepper

2. Ana Thompson

Ana Thompson is a Colombian jewelry designer who lives and works in London, UK. Her fascination with Science, Technology, and Design is combined in her creations. And it shows! There is movement and flow. It feels like there is a vibration or a frequency and her Vortex Ring (last one of these three images) which retails around £6500,- is absolutely one of my personal favorites from her collection.

What makes Ana Thompson jewelry cool?

  1. Her approach! The idea of Design in jewelry is common enough, but Technology and Science are just a little bit rarer.
  2. The flow
  3. The best of two worlds. I believe that people that try to combine two different worlds ( Colombia and the UK) always bring something extra to the table
  4. Contemporary, very modern stylish look 

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Ana Thompson

Hip Cool Jewelry Brandsana Thompson ring

Ana Thompson

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Ana Thompson

3. Ania Haie

Ania Haie is not really a designer and the collections are widely available in the countries of distribution. This fashion jewelry collection is build around an idea of being both current and cool and very affordable. Most of the jewelry is either in silver or gold-plated. Prices start around $10-$15. 

What makes Ania Haie jewelry cool?

  1. Very affordable!
  2. Looks sleek and more expensive than it really is
  3. Simple and modern 

Hip Cool Jewelry Brandsania Haie Ear cuffs

Ania Haie

4. Apostolos Kleitsiotis

Apostolos Jewelry is designed by Apostolos Kleitsiotis, a Greek jewelry designer who works from Alexandroupoli in Greece since 1990. His work is a combination of old-Hellenic jewelry tradition combined with the contemporary. His jewelry 

What makes Apostolos jewelry look cool?

  1.  Unique! 
  2. Sculptural.
  3. Perfect if you like a bolder and cool jewelry design, it doesn’t shout, but it creates curiosity.
  4. I love the color of the metals combined! Silver and gold, mixed with precious and semi-precious gems.

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsApostolos Kleitsiotis

Apostolos 

5. Bea Jareno

Bea Jareno works from Wimbledon, UK. She says she loves India and I think it shows in her work. Her jewelry is fashion jewelry 2.0. 24kt Gold Vermeil and semi-precious gemstones from the base of her collection. What I like about her collection is that I think I see it: her love for yoga, India, colors, and life. Her longing to be ethical ( sourcing ethical gemstones) and her need to express herself, her beliefs, and her inner motivation in her jewelry. I loved this piece featured her below ( £395,-) with tourmalines in sterling silver and 24kt vermeil gold. 

What makes Bea Jareno jewelry cool?

  1. Her jewelry shows her inner WHY ( who is she, why does she make it. She makes you feel it and this is, for the right consumer, very appealing) 
  2. Ethical! We all know it, this should be the future.
  3. Wearable and a little BoHo.
  4. The gemstones, I love that they are ethically sourced and I love the gemstones she picked. 

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsBea Jareno

Bea Jareno

6.Jacqueline CUllen 

Jacqueline Cullen is an English jewelry designer and jewelry maker. She uses different precious metal and gemstones but loves also to use Whitby Jet as featured in the images below. Whitby Jet is wood that under extreme pressure-formed a mineraloid called Whitby Jet. Jet is the name of the mineraloid, Whitby refers to the unique location in England where this is found. Jacqueline works ethically and responsible and her inspiration comes from asteroids, the universe, the light breaking through, the stars, and I love that very much. (Taschen, the book company releases a book with images from the Hubble telescope and I pre-ordered it immediately) It’s not just beautiful looking but her inspiration and how Jacqueline chooses to translate that inspiration in her jewelry is consistent. This is what she stands for, this is who she is. Mind you, the reason I love it too is that I have a fascination with the Universe, the stars, the light, the origin of everything. 

What makes Jacqueline cullen jewelry cool?

  1. Ethically and responsibly sourced and all created by Jacqueline herself.
  2. A clear theme in her work
  3. The beauty of Whitby Jet 
  4. Not limited to only Whitby Jet but allowing it to play a role even in her other creations. Just visit her website to learn more 🙂

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsJacqueline Cullen Jewelry

Jacqueline Cullen

7. Maud Traon

I remember the moment I saw Maud Traon’s jewelry for the first time. Thinking literally: oh wow!  Maud Traon is a small company based in the U.K. Each of her creations is unique and can be bespoke according to your taste and style. Maud’s approach to jewelry design is very much the opposite of 99,9% of jewelry designers out in the world. The way she sets stones is unconventional and reflects more how you would find them in nature. She also treats glitter with the same respect as she has for the natural gemstones she uses. The rings below are both in silver. I would understand that this is not everyone’s taste, but oh my, this is extraordinary fun and gorgeous jewelry. I adore her originality and again, like the aforementioned designer; she is consistent. Something that makes her work recognizable and pure. Prices of rings vary from around $450 – $1700.

what makes Maud Traon jewelry cool?

  1. Hugely original
  2. Small brand, bespoke possibilities
  3. Organic look and feel
  4. Unconventional and unique 

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsMaud Traon

Maud Traon

8. Polly Wales

Polly Wales is another English designer- now based in Los Angeles- that has challenged the traditional thinking of setting stones. Her jewelry is cast-not-set. She casts the gemstones directly into molten gold which gives it that, again, organic look. It doesn’t feel new, it doesn’t feel like you need to be extra careful, but it looks like it’s been worn for some time now.

And this is exactly what Polly stands for. That warm, more intimate, and not intimidating feeling. Jewelry that isn’t pristine and shiny. Her jewelry is made in 18kt gold. I like her jewelry lots, especially the ones with the colored stones. This is jewelry for the ”uber-cool, not giving a damn about showing off jewelry as status-symbol” but rather treat it as a personal beloved friend.

what makes polly wales jewelry cool?

  1. Imperfect perfection
  2. Cast-not-set stones
  3. Understated yet unique and present
  4. Her design is consistent. Her story matches her jewelry completely. I believe her.

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsPollyWales PEarShaped RosecutpepperSaltDiamonds

Polly Wales

9. FENTY jewelry

Fenty jewelry is part of the Fenty Universe, a collab between LVHM and the famous singer Rihanna Robyn Fenty. This is not a small brand from the start but a combination of creating a product around a famous young singer known for her style and coolness. She is a strong woman, independent, and she has figured who she wants to be at this moment out.

Her fashion jewelry line is strong. If you write about fine jewelry daily, you are tempted to say that it is affordable fashion jewelry. But actually, it is a little pricy. All products are made in galvanized brass and the gorgeous theme of cameo jewelry that stood out for me is created in polyester resin. Nothing too precious, but it’s the idea and the connection of the always hip and cool looking Rihanna, that makes you look twice.  What I love is not just the jewelry but the whole approach of the brand. It’s about inclusivity and you do get that feeling. The photography for this collection is done by Ruth Ossai. Some of the jewelry is shown with a hijab, which completes, in my eyes, the understanding of inclusivity once again.

what makes fenty jewelry cool?

  1. It’s Rihanna all the way!
  2. Cool ideas
  3. Cameo new style
  4. Inclusivity (the new normal) 

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsRihanna

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsRihanna.Fenty

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsRihannaFentyModel

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsRihanna Fenty Cameo

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Fenty Jewelry

10. Tom Foolery

Tom Foolery is actually a jewelry store featuring lots of original and cool designers, but Tom Foolery also brings an own line called Muse by Tom Foolery to the public. And here is what I like about it: the use of diamonds. In the past year, we have started to embrace imperfect perfection. We, people that work in the jewelry industry and those who work to observe trends and consumer preferences of the future, see a bright future for inclusivity. It’s a cultural movement that spreads its wings and touches just about everything. Slowly but surely. Inclusivity is about including all races, genders, and sexual identities. It doesn’t stop there. A visible handicap, a plus size model, an aging woman or man, if a brand goes fully inclusive, then you’ll find these people which is you and I really, in the communication and identity of the brand.

It’s about understanding that the world isn’t just about the young and the beautiful. And translate this in communication and design. In jewelry, we might see more diversity in the people portrayed in the marketing campaigns of a brand (finally!). We might also see it in the diamonds used. And here is what captured my eye, when I looked at Muse by Tom Foolery. Rose-cut diamonds, grey, salt, and pepper of yellowish diamonds. You either love it or don’t, but I dig it! 

what makes tom foolery jewelry cool?

  1. Inclusivity translated into rose-cut, grey ”imperfect” diamonds
  2. Embracing other cool designers and giving them a platform
  3. Traditional at first sight, contemporary if you look closer

Hip Cool Jewelry BrandsTom Foolery

Tom Foolery

11. Alison Evans

Alison’s work is found in many museums and there is even a permanent collection in the Museum of Scotland. Her technique is based on the ancient technique of chainmail. She creates all the links ( gold, silver, or titanium) by hand. This doesn’t sound special if you’re not familiar with jewelry making, but that is a choice and not the easiest one! A lot of work. She says on her website that she explores in her work the contrast between nature and the manmade, industrial world. That’s not what I see. I find her work beautiful because she seems to smoothly merge and blend those two together and it feels natural and soft.  

What makes alison evans jewelry cool?

  1. Handmade.
  2. Strong style
  3. Consistent design, clear message, and story.
  4. Fluid and soft, and yet also: bold and industrial looking.

Hip Cool jewelry brands AlisonEvans18ktGoldring.plus earring

Alison Evans

Hip Cool jewelry brands AlisonEvans18ktGoldring

Alison Evans

12. Anna Sheffield

Anna Sheffield has two stores in L.A. and New York. At first sight, this is a slightly more conventional brand than most of the ones featured here. But stay with me; I like the jewelry, mostly because it does meet that world of more conventional-looking jewelry, story, and symbolism, ethical thinking, and inclusivity. You can opt for a ”perfect” diamond but also go grey all the way, as shown in the stone below. The founder Anna Sheffield has met that fine line between being a little different, yet understand the longing also for traditional design and how people think about jewelry. Most of the consumers with buying power aren’t as avant-garde as we, blinded by all the beauty created and what we ( bloggers, journalists, trendwatchers, etc) see on a daily basis this like to think 🙂 By taking small steps, Anna shows her clients what a little detail as using a grey diamond can do for a piece of jewelry. She uses also diamonds previously used, which is the perfect forward-thinking and what we’ll see more and more. 

what makes anna Sheffield jewelry cool?

  1. Re-use diamonds from old jewelry
  2. Inclusivity; grey diamonds
  3. Traditional meets cool
  4. Lots of symbolism in her jewelry (talisman collection)

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands Anna Sheffield

Anna Sheffield

13. artËmer

Artëmer Studio is based in Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s such a cool company! This alternative engagement ring jewelry design company actually embodies the perfect storytelling technique of today. Not as a marketing trick but it feels authentic and real. They take you with them into their why ( why they make the jewelry as they do) they mention their challenge and low point with grace and just a bit of humor. And then show you on their website not just a range of glossy highly edited images. No, they take you into their reality. The normality of daily life and the beauty they have found in that normal life.  So, I believe (in) them! And as a consequence, I observe their ideas about the use of baguette diamonds in their jewelry with this in mind. Personally, I have always loved baguette-cut diamonds. The way this duo combines it, makes me drool a little. It’s cool, fresh, and yet incredibly chic and contemporary.

what makes artemer jewelry cool?

  1. Their story takes you right into their world of jewelry design
  2. The use of baguette diamonds!
  3. Fresh, real, authentic and beautiful 

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands artemer Diamond EngagementRing

artemer

14. Nina bukvic

Nina Bukvic is a Croatian jewelry designer who graduated at jewelry design at Londonʼs College of Art & Design, Central St Martins. She has a self-developed technique that is her signature style! She likes to bring textile methods into metalwork and uses fine gold wires and chains. She hand weaves her jewelry and combines them with colored diamond or gemstone beads. It looks slightly messy at first sight, but why does my eye linger on her jewelry?

I love her informal approach, it does seem- almost- at the kitchen table ;-). It’s unique and I think that if I wear this, I would play with those moving beads all the time. It’s yet again a very different approach in jewelry. It’s more precious than it may look at first sight and I think that this is the kind of jewelry that simply never bores you. It remains fascinating, moving, organic almost. This jewelry isn’t sleek but a far more artisanal product. It looks like that, it feels like that, and I think you’ll love it for that

What makes nina bukvic jewelry cool?

  1. Unique
  2. Artisinal look and feel
  3. Moving beads
  4. Makes you want to touch it

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands Nina Bukvic

Nina Bukvic

15. Charlotte Chesnai

When you look at the image of Charlotte Chesnai, she seems so incredibly young! But make no mistake, this very original jewelry designer once worked as a co-designer for Balenciaga. She founded her own company in 2015 and her jewelry is known for its sleek, fluid, moving design.

Charlotte loves jewelry as it gives her the possibility to play with forms and structure. Both in silver and gold vermeil as in 18kt gold. But jewelry is just a choice she made, it could have been furniture or anything else, as long as she got to play with this idea of fluidity and structure. If I call her work commercially interesting, I don’t mean to say it will just sell because it is a proven concept in jewelry design. No, what I mean is that it is playing with forms as we know them, but just in a different matter, a different combination, a different direction.

I think that people are used to the forms, but are intrigued by how she displays them in her jewelry. It’s attractive, it’s smooth, round, and pleasing. It’s edgy and uber-cool, wearable and bold, but never heavy. What I also love about her collection is the price range. I love brands that create something beautiful and extraordinary, but not cost enormous amounts of money. While we, me included, treasure our artists and jewelry creators in the high-end jewelry category, the real world needs more affordable beauty.  

what makes charlotte chesnai jewelry cool?

  1. It’s not cool, it’s uber-cool
  2. A designer pur-sang
  3. Affordable!
  4. Sleek, soft and round, fluid and gracious looking

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands CharlotteChesnaiRings on Hnad

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands CharlotteChesnaiRings

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands CharlotteChesnaiRings.On Hand

Charlotte Chesnai

16. Stuart McGrath-armoura

I previously wrote about Armoura on Bizzita, after having a pleasant conversation with its founder Stuart McGrath. He shares his story both in the blog about him and on his website, but Stuart once was a talented sculptor, who had to change everything after a serious accident.  He became a jewelry designer and translated the love for art and design into his jewelry collection, which has matured over the past years and found it’s identity.

What I see when I look at his website is the caring for detail but also; a mix between easy to wear, art-deco looking design mixed here and there with that longing for pushing boundaries with other ”over the top” design ideas. His pret-a-porter jewelry is very chic and understated. It’s when I look at his more audacious ideas that I feel there is more, much more to come from this fantastic designer.  

What makes stuart McGrath -armoura jewelry cool

  1. art-deco made cool
  2. Sleek and contemporary
  3. There feeling that there is more to come from this lovely designer!

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands StuartMcCrath

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands StuartMcCrath.png2

Stuart Mc Crath

17. Katkim

Katherine Kim has studied at the Central Saint Martin College of Design in London and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. Based in L.A. she thinks locally and responsibly. All her jewelry is created in California and sustainability and global responsibility are her core values. Katkim jewelry is so much fun! Look at her ideas on how to wear it! Refreshing and new.

An earring is over the ear, but not in the heavy way we have seen it in the past years, but rather a mix between an aesthetic look of the future combined with the punk movement of the ’80s. Katkim’s jewelry is a favorite among fashion editors as it gives that immediate modern twist without overbearing the outfit of the model. And this is what it does for the wearer.

It’s there, it’s eye-catching, stunning, yet it’s not overbearing, it’s beautiful and the way it’s worn will make it a conversation piece, but it’s modest and understated at the same time. A great look for many, but you need to be a little bit more daring.

What makes Katkim jewelry cool?

  1. Re-invention of how to wear jewelry
  2. Elegant and futuristic
  3. Edgy and daring
  4. Sustainability and global responsibility as the core values of the brand

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands Katkim.png2

Hip Cool Jewelry Brands Katkim

KatKim

As always, I would love to know your thoughts! What did you love immediately, which brand did you check out to learn more about? What would you spend on a cool piece of modern jewelry? What do you think about the approaches of each designer or brand? 

What great jewelry design is also about

In an attempt to be inclusive myself, I embraced not just fine jewelry. I did not go for the high-end brands for people with deep pockets only. We need to understand that well-designed objects and jewelry aren’t about price. It’s not the metal or stones used that makes for great design. Design is where capacity, skill, and intuition meet. Great design always has an inner value. Something that inspired the creator of the piece. In today’s world, where we are slowly coming out of one of the weirdest and most challenging moments in our own lives ( the Covid-19 lockdown period) we are re-discovering how much our values and beliefs count. How little it is about status and just throwing money at things and how much it is about connection, relevance, and the values we all share. We know how vulnerable we are. And we are tackling so many issues at the same time, from the battle for equality for all to the battle for a beautiful thriving planet for our children’s children. 

When I look at this jewelry, I see each of the voices and lives behind the brands. I see how authenticity in many of their stories drove me to publish about them. I see hope and beauty and a spark of pure joy. I hope you saw this too 🙂

With love, 

Esther



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Types OF South Indian Bridal Jewellery That’s Trending In This Wedding Season


Jewellery, for a woman, is not less than a cloth on her body. Since ancient times, ornaments are an integral part of women’s life. Nowadays jewellery is all about fashion, and women wear a variety of jewellery on different occasions. On the auspicious day of marriage, a woman wears heavy necklaces, bangles, earrings, etc., while on other occasions a woman prefers to put on simple jewellery matching with their attire.

In a country like India where every region has its own culture and religion, the southern part of India to has its own culture and religion. The South Indian Culture is essentially about the celebration of the eternal universe through the celebration of the beauty of the body and femininity.

The women of South India are fascinated with jewellery. Even the people over here prefer to carry royalty with them. There are many types of jewellery in the South Indian tradition and each of them is unique as they define the culture of southern India. Each of the jewellery consists of different items like – necklaces, bangles, earrings, rings, bracelets, mangalsutra, anklets, etc.

South Indian pieces of jewellery are truly an epitome of their culture and traditions. They are deeply rooted in the traditions, beliefs, cultures, festivals, arts, the status of South Indian people. Jewellery is said to be a status symbol for South Indian. 

Now when we talk about wedding functions of South Indian people, we know how much they are connected with jewellery.  South Indians spend lavishly on their wedding ceremonies because they know marriage is a one-time investment or spending. Indian Wedding is the most memorable and important day in the bride’s life. South Indian brides are fond of heavy jewellery. Their love for jewellery is eternal. Let us know about the different types of wedding jewellery.

1. Necklaces:-  

Necklace, the first and foremost thing that attracts a woman. It adds glow to her beauty and appearance. It has additional attachments inset into a necklace itself. The attachment typically includes precious and semi-precious materials such as diamond, ruby, stones, garnets, etc. Different types of necklaces which are generally seen in South Indian culture are Lakhsmi Haar, Mango Mala, Kasu Mala.

South India Antique Inspired Necklace Set South India Antique Inspired Necklace Set

 

2. Rings

A ring is an ornament that we wear in our fingers. It is usually designed from metals such as gold, platinum, silver, etc. Depending on different cultures, a wedding ring can be worn in the left or right ring finger. We find different engraving on the ring surface. Vanki and Meenaz rings are common in South Indian weddings.

Southern Bling Antique Style Ring Southern Bling Brass Floral Ring

3. Bangles & Bracelets:-

A bracelet is an ornament that is worn around the wrist. It is made up of different metals which contain stones, diamonds, crystal and many more materials engraved on it. Now let’s come to the most commonly worn ornament that an Indian woman wears, that is bangles. Bangles carry a traditional value in Indian culture and are considered to be auspicious. Both married and young girls wear bangles. In the southern region, bangles are famous with names like kadas, valayal, gajju, bale and vanki.

Southern Bling Cutwork Design Bangles Southern Bling Cutwork Design Bangles

4. Hair Ornaments:-

Hair ornaments are of different types such as jadanagam, nethichutti, surya pirai and chandra pirai. South Indian brides are inclined towards Raakodi also known as juda pins. The brides love to decorate their buns with all the hair ornaments on special occasions of their wedding. 

Southern Bling Temple Inspired Hair Accessory Southern Bling Temple Inspired Hair Accessory

5. Mangalsutra:-

Mangalsutra, which originated from South India is a sacred thread and it depicts the marital status, dignity in the Indian Society. In southern states the mangalsutra is known by a different name:-

  • In Tamil – It is known as Thaali or Thirumangalyam.
  • In Kerala – It is known as Minnu and Ela or Elagu Thali.
  • In Telugu – It is known as Mangalasutramu, Pustelu, Maangalyam, Ramarthaali and Bottu.
Two Wati Goddess Laxmi Mangalsutra Necklace from Sanskriti Temple Goddess Faux Pearls Mangalsutra

6. Waistbands:-

A waistband is an ornament made up of different metals, which is worn around the waist. In southern culture, when an infant wears it, it is known as Aranjanam whereas when worn by women, it is known as Vaddanam. A waistband is a vital part of South Indian brides Jewellery.

voylla kamarband voylla kamarband

7. Anklets:-

The sound which is made by anklets signifies people that they should behave properly with a woman. Since ancient times, women were made to wear anklets compulsory after their wedding. Different metals like gold and silver are used to design anklets. 

Taal Mridang Tabla Motifs Anklet Taal Mridang Dholki Anklet

8. Toe rings:-

According to your Indian culture, since ancient times married women wear toe rings as it increases their chances of conception. A toe ring is known by three names in Southern India Mettelu in Telugu, Metti in Tamil and Kalungura in Kannada. It is also said that toe rings have ayurveda related benefits.

Zircon Gemstones Adorned Toe Ring CZ Gems Adorned Toe Ring
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GRS Tools: Introduction | The Bench


 

‘What used to take years to learn, can now be picked up in days’

GRS are an American based manufacturer who have been producing premium quality engraving and setting tools since the mid 1960s. Their aim has always been to make these two highly skilled techniques easier and more attainable by way of improved technology and product innovation and today they boast a 700 strong product range which is shipped to 120 countries worldwide, achieving precisely that.

Many believe that engraving in particular is a dyeing art whose heyday has long since passed. By way of complete contrast GRS believe that craftsmanship is at an all-time high right now, thanks in part to the availability of superior quality tools which in short, make the technique easier.

What does GRS produce?

GRS Gravermax G8 For Intermediate Pneumatic Engraving and Setting with Foot Control – 998 G239

The GRS range is extensive, but one of the products they are best known for producing is their pneumatic Graversmith, Gravermach and Gravermax systems which are suitable for both engraving and stone setting. They come in a variety of different configurations and offer a unique combination of consistent speed and power. The speed is set and fixed and therefore constant and the pressure is controlled by a foot pedal or (if you prefer) a hand piece giving the user enhanced control and power to achieve great results.

As you would expect, GRS also produce a whole host of additional supporting products to go with these complex systems, such as different shaped hand pieces as well as the gravers themselves, plus a series of sharpening tools (GRS Graverhone VS Sharpening System, 998 G243) and accessories to keep your gravers in tip top condition. My personal favourite is the GRS Easygraver Sharpening Fixture, 998 G250 which, by way of a series of angled holes, allows your graver to be securely held in the perfect position to achieve the correct cutting angle every time; but the ingenuity doesn’t stop there, far from it.

GRS Easygraver Sharpening Fixture for Creating 105 Degree V-point Gravers – 998 G250

The GRS BenchMate range encompasses a series of tools designed for the bench, to support, secure, hold and facilitate your working at every stage. Take for example the BenchMate Encore QC Starter Set. This system will securely hold work away from the bench itself allowing full access, manoeuvrability and clearance, thus removing any obstacles you may previously have encountered.  In addition, the whole thing can be rotated 360° without the need for any extra tools which is a great feature. As part of GRS Quick Change (QC) system, other accessories from the range (including GRS Acrobat Versa Stand with Leica A60 Microscope – 998 G282) can be easily added, dropped and locked into place, creating a superb, multifunctional support system.

GRS BenchMate Encore Qc Starter Set – 998 G103 

 Work blocks and vices are another speciality and are available in a myriad of different options to suit all requirements. At times looking like something which has dropped from outer space, these sleek silver orbs are machined from solid stainless-steel offering strength and security whilst allowing full tilt and smooth rotation thanks to a double ball bearing system. The one pictured below is the original version, first produced by GRS, weighing in at a substantial 19 lbs and with a maximum jaw width of 76mm.

GRS Standard Block Workholding Vice – 998 G260

Everything created by GRS is done so with design expertise and extensive knowledge of technique which shows in their products. It comes at a price, but it is a price worth paying as once you buy into a GRS tool system, the possibilities become truly endless.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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The Case of the Missing Diamond – Carrie’s Story of a Ring Replication


ring replication needed for worn out ring

How Did Carrie’s Wedding Ring End Up Like This?

Can you imagine going 10 years of your marriage without wearing your wedding ring? Carrie thought that she was ready to give hers up for good after a near disaster at her son’s school.

I first met Carrie when she asked if I could re-engrave the fading pattern on her inherited wedding band, which had belonged to her grandmother. I was of course happy to help!

Carrie's Wedding Band After its Engraving was Restored

Carrie’s Wedding Band After its Engraving was Restored

She showed me the wedding band and asked how long it would take to finish the re-engraving – “My husband won’t like me walking around looking like a bachelorette for too long, you know!” I laughed with her, but was surprised when she added, “My other ring’s unsafe, so I haven’t worn it in a while.”
“How long?” I asked.
“Oh, about a decade now.”
Wow! I had to hear the story on that one!

Sand and Lost Diamonds

It's All Fun and Games Until a Diamond Goes Missing

It’s All Fun and Games Until a Diamond Goes Missing

Carrie had been enjoying her morning doing what she loved most – playing and learning with her 3-year-old son, Luke. They were enrolled in the Lou Grant Parent-Child Workshop, and this particular morning session had them outside in the sand, building castles and drawing in the soft ground.

As Luke and his classmates developed their motor-skills, Carrie and the parents did their best to keep sand out of their children’s mouths and eyes.

Pre-School Sandbox vs. Diamond Ring

Luke was hard at work shaping the third tower of his sand fortress, and Carrie was helping by bringing him dense wet sand to build with. Reaching deep into the ground, she heard a muffled *clink* and felt a sharp jab of pain shoot through her finger – the excavator had hit a rock!

Carrie shook her aching hand and let loose a stream of G-rated expletives – “Oh, nuts! That hurt like a biscuit!” As she looked over her hand to survey the damage, she quickly forgot about any pain she had felt – her ring setting was cracked in half and the diamond was missing!

A Diamond Treasure Hunt

The children’s instructor learned what had happened and announced that she had an exciting new game for everyone to play – Treasure Hunter! The children and parents were each given a sand sifter and assigned different plots of land to search.

After several stressful minutes of false-alarms and tired children asking to play a different game, one of Luke’s classmates proudly shouted that he’d found something sparkly – Carrie’s diamond!

Repair, Don’t Hide, Your Ring After Disaster

After that scare, Carrie decided to store the diamond and her cracked wedding ring in her safe. There they sat untouched for 10 years.

When Carrie first showed me the wedding ring, it was immediately clear that the original was beyond saving. Besides the cracked setting, the ring’s already slender, delicate design had been worn dangerously thin. Every part of the ring was visibly worn and aged.

What to do if You Love Your Ring, and it’s Beyond Fixing

Ring replication, CAD of replica ring

Many of My Ring Designs Begin With a Virtual Model.

We both inspected the ring under magnification, always a good idea when deciding what to do with a damaged ring. Insted of a laundry list of repairs, which would have extended the ring’s life, but not for long, I offered Carrie the idea of a ring replication with little tweaks. I suggested that we recreate the original design that she really loved, using the broken ring for reference, but make the new ring thicker in depth and a bit wider for stability on her hand.

To widen the design, I added a line of tiny diamonds in the center. Carrie’s new ring is a replica of her original, with subtle changes made to improve the design’s aesthetics and longevity.

Happy Memories Flow Again When You Go With Ring Replication

Carrie Loved the Finished Product!

Ring Replication Brought Back the Memories and Carrie’s Smile

Carrie loved her new ring! Happy memories were brought back with a wave of tears.

Do you have a beloved piece of jewelry that you love, but can’t wear? Don’t hide it away! Even if your piece of jewelry is beyond repair, maybe it can be replicated or redesigned. Remember my motto: Wear it, don’t warehouse it!

Replicating Jeweler,
Calla Gold



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Book Review: Beading for the Absolute Beginner


Beading

Beading for the Absolute Beginner, 999 A160, £12.99 

Beading and its associated techniques can, at times, feel like a different language and can be more than a little confusing to anyone not familiar with the craft. This is why well written books can be such a godsend. And, I am happy to say ‘Beading for the Absolute Beginner’, is one such book thanks to a combination of experienced and competent authors and a great layout.

So, lets deal with the layout first; this book is produced by Search Press who specialise in practical art and craft books and manuals and have done for fifty years; in short, they know what they are doing. This particular book is both hard back and ring bound, meaning it will easily sit flat once open. It is also only A5 in size so it is ideal to sit on the bench top and be used as an instruction manual as you work.

Comprising of 192 pages, Jean Power and Liz Thornton guide you around materials and tools with a general introductory section spanning 37 pages. They discuss and explain the different types of beads available giving a general idea as to how they are best used, imparting great advice as they go.

“Lampwork beads – are made in a flame from glass rods. Each one is individually made so they can be quite special (and, of course, expensive).”

They then gently work through 25 varied projects which introduce a range of different techniques that fill the remainder of the book. Each project starts with a separate ‘Materials’ and ‘Tools’ section so you can clearly see what is required to complete each piece before you start. Projects include: Feet and hand ornaments, various different earrings, brooches and bracelets, a multi strand choker and a decorative keyring (to name but a few), all of which sound quite frankly terrifying to the uninitiated…

However, step by step instructions and generous amounts of photographs, (over 200 in total) coupled with friendly but informative language, help to make these projects far less daunting.

“Jump rings are metal rings that are used to attach findings and clasps, and can also be linked to each other to make chains. Make sure you open and close the jump rings correctly to help them retain their shapes.”

As the title suggests, this book covers some of the most basic techniques which will enable the reader to establish those first and fundamental building blocks of beading. For example; Crimping, opening and closing jump rings, making overhand knots, knotting elastic cord, cutting and filing wire, making double ended units and joining units together. All are covered within the confines of a project so their use is illustrated perfectly.

Both authors (Liz Thornton and Jean Power) are teachers, as well as designers/crafters, editors and writers about all things beading and their enthusiasm and knowledge really shines through in this book. This is a great introduction to beading and would make an ideal gift for anyone looking to try something new or who have perhaps been intimidated by beaded accessories in the past.

Written by Joanna Varney

Joanna has worked in and around the jewellery industry for well over 20 years. She has designed and created her own pieces as a designer maker, as well as working in jewellery retail on a much larger scale, producing designs and NPD for some of the UK’s largest high street retailers



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How to Put On a Cuff Bracelet


Silver cuff bracelet, view of opening

Small Opening on Cuff Bracelet

In my never-ending quest to educate people on jewelry, I thought I’d try another instructional video. Putting on a cuff bracelet sounds really simple, but it is not an intuitive skill.  There are three reasons I made this video.

First – I very often see people force their cuff bracelets on and off of their wrists, pulling the small open space in back, wider, then pushing it back to a smaller opening once it is on.

Second – I repair a lot of broken cuff bracelets.

Third – I hear the complaint that the cuff bracelet falls off while the wearer is driving.

 

Why Cuff Bracelets Break

As far as forcing the cuff on and off, many metals can certainly handle this flexing for some time, but like a paper clip, if you pull it back and forth enough times, it will ultimately break. If you want to keep your cuff bracelets for as long as possible, I think it’s worth checking to see if you’re putting it on and taking it off correctly.

If for some reason you can’t watch the video I’ve outlined the steps below.

Putting the Bracelet On – Some Anatomy Required

 

1. The first thing you’ll want to do is locate your radius and your ulna bone.

Thumb up Exposing Your Radius Bone

Thumb up Exposing Your Radius Bone

2. Point your thumb facing up. This exposes your cuff to the narrowest part of your forearm, or to your radius bone.
3. Place the cuff’s opening about one inch behind your wrist.

Gently Wiggle the Cuff Opening Over the Radius Bone

Gently Wiggle the Cuff Opening Over the Radius Bone

4. You’ll want to rock your wrist back and forth while lightly pushing your bracelet opening down over your radius bone.

Cuff Bracelet Over Radius and Ulna

Cuff Bracelet Over Radius and Ulna

5. As you rock your wrist/forearm back and forth, you’ll feel the tendons move out of the way. Your cuff will work its way lower. Once you work it past your ulna bone, it’s on.

Cuff Bracelet All the Way on

Cuff Bracelet All the Way on

6. Next, you’ll want to rotate your bracelet right, so that it’s lying flat on your wrist.

Push Your Cuff Forward of the Bump on Your Ulna Bone

Push Your Cuff Forward of the Bump on Your Ulna Bone

7. Once I have my cuff bracelet on, I move it forward toward my hand, over the bump of the ulna bone. In this position, it tends to stay put. If your bracelet isn’t at least slightly over your ulna bone’s bump, then it’s liable to slowly work its way off as you move your wrist around, such as when driving.

Taking the Cuff Bracelet Off

  1. First, push the bracelet behind the ulna bone’s bump, so it’s around an inch behind your wrist.
  2. Turn your wrist so that your thumb is up.
  3. Turn the bracelet toward you, moving the opening over your ulna bone. Rock your wrist back and forth. It will work its way over the bone, past the tendons and off your radius bone. Do not pull hard, just gently apply pressure upward, as you work the bracelet off.

How Big Should the Opening of a Cuff Bracelet Be?

The Opening of a Cuff Bracelet

The Opening of a Cuff Bracelet

When you buy a cuff bracelet or unearth one you haven’t been wearing, you’ll want to adjust the opening, so once it’s on, it fits snuggly. That takes a bit more doing, but ideally, it needs wiggling to get on and off, but does not need to be pulled open, to do so. In my case, the opening width of this cuff, looks as if I’d be trapped in it, unless I made the opening larger. Happily, I do not have to open it wider when using my method to remove this cuff.

If you follow these steps, your cuff bracelets will last a long time and will be less likely to fall off when you’re driving!

Your Personal Jeweler,”
Calla



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