Inspirations

Sharing the Rough Jewelry Brings the Same-Name Film to Life, and to Your Own Collection

Pocatello, Idaho. Jan. 7, 2019. Like many in the industry, Brecken and Jonathan Farnsworth were moved when they watched the 2015 documentary Sharing the Rough. The owners of Parlé Jewelry Designs were also friends with producer Orin Mazzoni, who has family in the jewelry industry, so when he expressed interest in a collection that would help bring the film to life, the Farnsworths—whose company motto is “Stones That Speak”—knew they could accomplish the task. The pair were already offering stones—including myriad colors of garnet—from East Africa, so the challenge would be in telling the story of the stones in a more specific way as well as designating a portion of sales to a charity that would ensure the funds would benefit the communities mining the gems.

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The Farnsworths became aware of the Devon Foundation, a charity organized by jewelry store owner Nancy Schuring of Devon Fine Jewelry in Wyckoff, N.J., who had visited East African mine sites and even appeared in the film! Schuring was already funneling funds for education and meals to those living in mining regions, so they elected to give their collection proceeds to the Devon Foundation to distribute. One of the beneficiaries? The Kitarini Primary School located in Tanzania near the Kenyan border. The school serves the children of the area’s Masai tribe. Five percent of wholesale dollars of the Farnsworth’s Sharing the Rough jewelry collection benefits Kitarini, helping to provide meals, books, uniforms, and more to elementary-age students. Retailers who carry the collection are encouraged to match monies. For a firsthand look at Devon’s efforts, the Farnsworths visited the school in September, afterwards pledging “to give $15,000 to the Foundation,” explains Brecken.

Jonathan and Brecken Farnsworth visited the Kitarini Primary School in September to see how proceeds from sales of their Sharing the Rough jewelry collection would be utilized.
Jonathan and Brecken Farnsworth visited the Kitarini Primary School in September to see how proceeds from sales of their Sharing the Rough jewelry collection would be utilized.

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As for the Sharing the Rough jewelry collection, which is sold by retailers nationwide, it features mixes of uncut and faceted gems to reveal the transformation of the stones. Collection-wide, styles have a hand-hewn look and are carved in wax for authenticity. Gems include Lotus garnet (a pink stone) as well as rhodolite, mandarin, tsavorite, and mint Merelani garnets. “We’re expanding offerings and increasing style selections for 2019,” adds Brecken. Retail prices start at $595.

Want to learn more about Parlé’s involvement? Check out their podcast Gem Junkies on iTunes and queue up episode no. 11, “Journey to the ‘Rough’, What Happens in Tanzania,” when they had just returned from Africa in September.

Necklace in 14k yellow gold with cabochon-cut Indicolite tourmaline, $18,600; Contact  jonathanf@parlegems.com for purchase
Necklace in 14k yellow gold with cabochon-cut Indicolite tourmaline, $18,600; Contact jonathanf@parlegems.com for purchase
Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Inspirations

Irene Neuwirth’s Whimsical Flat Gold Jewelry Collection Should Be Your 2019 Obsession

Los Angeles. Jan. 3, 2019. Gemstone junkie Irene Neuwirth’s love affair with color rages on, though you wouldn’t know it from her new Flat Gold jewelry collection. It features girly-glam looks like hearts, bows, and horses, but without a gemstone in sight. That’s right—no opal hearts, white pearls mixed with turquoise cabochons, or fire opals married to a dozen other gemmy-delish and freeform-in-appearance stones. These are, after all, the lighthearted driving force of this Los Angeles-based designer’s design repertoire. But, like the name suggests, Neuwirth’s new collection is mainly flat and gold. Period.

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Neuwirth dishes that she’s had some of the styles in mind—and in her collection—for more than a decade, though a new crop of horizontal cuties debuted this fall. To date, 36 looks are available in 18k yellow, rose, and white gold. While some have diamond and pearl accents, most are level and free of surface adornments. Why? Neuwirth wants to stay nimble.

“I have been trying to develop this collection for years—lots of people have been asking for more, but I was so obsessed with the stones that it was hard to pull me away from that direction,” she explains. “So I took it as a challenge to myself.”

Plus, the airy and fun aesthetics of the styles are still in line with the artist’s DNA. “I see women in restaurants and in airplanes wearing them, and I love how lightweight and feminine they look and feel,” she adds. “I think the whimsical yet fine nature of the collection makes them clearly mine. I love the irony of the hearts and bows and horses and how playful and sugary sweet they are.”

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Expect flat gold flowers (Yay!) next and find all the pieces—ranging in retail price from $680 to $19,460—in the Irene Neuwirth boutique in Los Angeles and online.

Meanwhile, her biggest accolade to date doesn’t come from a celebrity or revolve around a certain motif; it has to do with the collection’s absence of gems—Neuwirth’s signature.

“The biggest compliment is that although there is no color—what I’m typically known for—people still look at the pieces and know right away they are mine.”

Small Love Link bracelet in 18k rose gold, $4,710; Irene Neuwirth
Small Love Link bracelet in 18k yellow gold, $4,710; Irene Neuwirth
Little Filly Link necklace in 18k yellow gold, $5,980; Irene Neuwirth
Little Filly Link necklace in 18k yellow gold, $5,980; Irene Neuwirth

Medium Strawberry earrings in 18k yellow and rose gold with 0.36 ct. t.w. diamonds, $7,790; Irene Neuwirth
Medium Strawberry earrings in 18k yellow and rose gold with 0.36 ct. t.w. diamonds, $7,790; Irene Neuwirth


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Inspirations

Get the $*@!# Out! Here’s Why Coomi Curses in Her New Uncensored Jewelry Collection

New York City. Nov. 28, 2018. Coomi Bhasin of Coomi never took offense when her über macho contractor colleagues—she was an executive in construction a lifetime ago—spray painted “The Bitch Resides Here” on the side of her projects. Instead, she reveled in the vulgar name, bringing it out of retirement years later as a gold-and-diamond-encrusted badge of honor to wear in her fine jewelry. Enter the new Uncensored Collection in 20k gold.

“I used to love it,” she recollects with a laugh. “I was in a man’s world with some of the toughest people imaginable, and I was always very proud.”

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After years of honing her antique-inspired golden signature style, complete with a paisley-motif tag and a diamond inset that touches the skin, she decided to loosen up her masterfully high-end aesthetic with a collection that revealed a cheekier side.

Pendant necklaces from Coomi's new Uncensored jewelry collection let everyone know what's on her mind

Pendant necklaces from Coomi’s new Uncensored jewelry collection let everyone know what’s on her mind

 

“I’m expressing what every woman feels—that they are tired of being expected to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, and they can’t say this or that,” she explains. “My son said, ‘Mom, you can’t do this,’ but I’ve always restrained myself.”

So, to appease her son, who doubles as a coworker, she tempered the irreverence of Uncensored by putting the Sagrada aesthetic (think lovely enamel) on the backsides.

Some of the nine styles to date (they only arrived yesterday) include a band that spells out “Warrior,” a skull pendant emblazoned with FOH on the forehead, the phrase “Sorry Not Sorry,” and a question mark with the word “Whatever” sinuously situated in the outline of the punctuation. Still, not every piece contains shocking language; modest types will prefer the bracelet with oval shapes imprinted with the words “Love,” “Truth,” “Wisdom,” “Faith,” and “Joy.” By mid-December, Bhasin will have more, as well as a lower price point in sterling silver. Still, we’ll all have to wait until spring to purchase, since Uncensored is not yet in stores. Tentatively, the gold line will range in retail price from $1,000 to $10,000.

Bitch pendant necklace in 18k gold with diamonds and rubies, price not yet available, email Michelle@coomi.com for info

Bitch pendant necklace in 18k gold with diamonds and rubies; email Michelle@coomi.com for info

Backside of Bitch pendant necklace in 18k gold with diamonds and rubies has the enamel aesthetic from Coomi's Sagrada Collection

Backside of Bitch pendant necklace in 18k gold with diamonds and rubies has the enamel aesthetic from Coomi’s Sagrada Collection

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Bracelet in 18k yellow gold with diamonds features the words Love, Truth, Wisdom, Faith, and Joy; pricing not yet available, email Michelle@coomi.com for more info

Bracelet in 18k yellow gold with diamonds features the words Love, Truth, Wisdom, Faith, and Joy; email Michelle@coomi.com for more info

 

“It’s the most fun collection I’ve ever done,” says the designer.

Not surprisingly, her favorite is the Bitch pendant, where the word is spelled out on a hand giving viewers the middle finger. “I identify with that one the most,” she says coolly.

 

Jennifer Heebner LLC

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Inspirations

Giving Tuesday: Help Horses Dodge Slaughter with This Jewelry

New York City. Nov. 27, 2018. It may seem hard to believe, but many of America’s horses are at risk of slaughter—a fact that jewelry designer Mikelle Terson of Mikelle Design and the EQUUS Foundation would like to change.

This is because in 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that restored the American horse-slaughter industry. The administration investigated the fate of many of these majestic creatures once their usefulness (think racing horses) or terms as pets expired, determining that the ban on horse slaughter led to increased abuse and neglect—and the illegal shipment of horses to Mexico and Canada for butchering. The re-establishment of the American horse slaughter industry meant that the lives of the animals could perhaps be more humanely ended on U.S. soil with proper inspections in place to guarantee a level of accountability.

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While the thought behind the governmental move was a thoughtful, albeit controversial, one, horse lovers are understandably aghast at the thought of ponies being butchered for meat. So Terson, who has a history of supporting animal welfare organizations with her jewelry, teamed up with the EQUUS Foundation to offer horse-motif necklaces with proceeds benefiting the welfare of American horses. The effort is called the Happy Horse Giving Campaign.

Sales of this Happy Horse necklace in sterling silver from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $195

Sales of this Happy Horse necklace in sterling silver from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $195

The mission of EQUUS is to protect and strengthen the bond between horses and humans, and it does so by supporting organizations that shelter, rehabilitate, retrain, and rehome horses in need, as well as offering retirement opportunities for aged horses or scenarios that would allow horses to help change people’s lives, such as through therapy.

Mikelle came in contact with EQUUS while exhibiting at the Hampton Classic on Long Island in New York. She was fascinated by its mission and was shocked at learning that a horse once considered a beloved family pet or champion racer could actually end up in a slaughter house.

Sales of this Jumping Horse necklace in 14k rose gold from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $795

Sales of this Jumping Horse necklace in 14k rose gold from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $795

“Sometimes horses get sold several times and ownership gets lost along the way,” she explains. “Many people have no idea that this could happen—that their horse could end up in slaughter.”

To help, Terson created two horse necklace designs, each available in sterling silver, 18k yellow gold, and 14k rose gold, and she enlisted the help of a longtime client and philanthropist who earmarks an annual budget to help worthy animal causes. With that help, 100 percent financial matches will be made to EQUUS with the sale of every one of her necklaces.

Sales of this Jumping Horse necklace in 18k yellow gold from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $1,100

Sales of this Jumping Horse necklace in 18k yellow gold from Mikelle Design helps save American horses from slaughter thanks to a partnership with the EQUUS Foundation; $1,100

“It’s an unusual opportunity when something is matched 100 percent,” she says. “Even big companies that use the pink ribbon to generate donations for breast cancer research will only donate about three percent, but to have someone match the same price that you pay for a necklace? That’s unheard of.”

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This behind-the-scenes benefactor is willing to match up to $15,000, or the equivalent of 15 of Terson’s Vertical Jump horses in gold. But here’s the catch: the Dec. 31 deadline for donations is fast approaching. “That doesn’t seem unconquerable in a month, does it?” she maintains.

“Horses are such a strong symbol of power and majesty, and many are surprised to learn that they are not always living the life of safety and dignity that they deserve.”

Jennifer Heebner LLC

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