Inspirations

Platinum Born Jewelry Gives Every Woman a Chance to Own the World’s Most Precious Metal

New York City. Nov. 15, 2018. Earlier this year, jewelry lovers with champagne tastes on beer budgets got a gift from the nonprofit association that promotes the rarest of all precious metals: Platinum Guild International (PGI) unveiled an entry-level-price platinum jewelry collection in association with key industry partners. Called Platinum Born, about 30 individual pieces are made in Japan—a country with a long love affair with delicate platinum designs—and distributed by Suna Brothers, a seasoned maker of heirloom-quality jewels.

For years, directional voices in jewelry including editors and top store owners have lamented the fact that platinum was largely available only in wedding rings. It wasn’t easy to find chic platinum jewels in wearable styles for every day. Designers like Elisa Solomon and Deirdre Featherstone knew long ago the importance of offering fashion-forward styles in platinum (think of Solomon’s Peace Sign necklace for $2,530 and just about everything Featherstone makes, including emerald and diamond climber-style earrings), but most other makers relegated platinum to the wedding category alone. That’s not a bad space to be in, but it is limiting, especially for a metal that’s durable, bright, hypoallergenic, and rare. How rare? PGI maintains that platinum is 30 times more rare than gold. Further, if all the platinum ever mined were melted and poured into an Olympic-sized pool, the platinum would barely reach your ankles while gold would fill three pools. That’s pretty rare.

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So PGI worked with international partners to make an accessible collection of platinum jewelry. Styles including chains for layering, lariats, bracelets, and dangle earrings, with retail price tags from $495 to $7,500. There’s even a magnetic necklace that you can effortlessly wrap around the neck or wrist—no fumbling with a clasp! The individual pieces are sourced from a few Japanese platinum jewelry manufacturers as opposed to one company with a singular collection, giving shoppers the ability to start their personal platinum inventories with essentials for repeated wear.

“There’s nothing like this in the market,” explained Danielle Barber, creative manager of Suna Brothers, at a high-end jewelry trade show in Arizona. “Platinum has value and we want to offer greater access to it.”

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PGI USA President Jenny Luker agrees. “We’ve seen this platinum opportunity in Japan, and we want that for the U.S. Many brides already want a platinum wedding ring, and many other women already own more than two pieces of platinum. After concluding extensive focus groups and market research, Platinum Born fulfilled what the consumer was looking for.”

The venerable retailer Lux, Bond & Green, of Boston, immediately bought into the line and offers many of its styles for sale online. And at these prices, there’s no need to wait; your platinum moment can happen much sooner than you may have thought.

Platinum Born bracelet, $495 at Lux, Bond & Green

Platinum Born bracelet with pearls, $495 at Lux, Bond & Green

 

Platinum Born Drop Leaf earrings, $825 at Lux, Bond & Green

Platinum Born Drop Leaf earrings, $825 at Lux, Bond & Green

 

Platinum Born Triple-Strand necklace, $1,275 at Lux, Bond & Green

Platinum Born Triple-Strand necklace, $1,275 at Lux, Bond & Green

 

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Inspirations

Get Obsessed (and Misty Eyed) with Erika Winters’ New Hana Jewelry Collection

New York City. Nov. 14, 2018. Hana was a natural choice for the name of the latest jewelry collection from Seattle-based designer Erika Winters, given her DNA, professional history, and the word’s meaning. “Hana” means “one” in Korean—a nod to her mother—and reminds Winters of the “back to one” commands she received from directors in her past life as an actress. It’s also a direction she ruminates over repeatedly, like a mantra (think back to an original place or essence). The silhouette in Hana, a blend of an octagon and a trapezoid that the jeweler calls a trapagon, is simple, striking, and the focus of all Hana styles.

A trio of diamond rings from Erica Winters' Hana collection. As shown, rings range in retail price roughly from $7,200 to $10,800 with diamond center stones. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

A trio of diamond rings from Erica Winters’ Hana collection. As shown, rings range in retail price roughly from $7,200 to $10,800 with diamond center stones. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

“Hana is geometric and octagonal, with connecting double trapezoids on the north and south ends,” Winters explains. “It’s the way these trapezoid shapes connect and the deep slope of the corners that make the Hana design.”

Hana earrings in 18k rose gold with gray spinel start around $6,400. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

Hana earrings in 18k rose gold with gray spinel start around $6,400. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

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The shape transports Winters to a mental place filled with ancient Eastern and Middle Eastern concepts, shapes, and architecture as well as ziggurat structures and Korean jewelry.

“When I developed the shape, I built this little temple in my mind that takes me to this spiritual, peaceful place. To me, my mother is in this shape.”

That’s because Winters’ mother was the impetus for Hana. In 2015, her mom—a tough woman who pushed her daughter to strive for excellence—told the designer that she wanted a ring featuring her daughter’s birthstone, emerald. So Winters went to work sourcing one, a stunning vivid-green number, of good size and lightly oiled. “I don’t get to buy an emerald like that often,” she says of the treasured gem.

The emerald Hana ring Erika Winters made for her mom. This piece is not for sale.

The emerald Hana ring Erika Winters made for her mom. This piece is not for sale.

But at the time she purchased the stone, her mother was diagnosed with cancer and given just six months to live. Hospice quickly entered the picture, but Winters’ mom—ever loving but a demanding figure who bluntly delivered requests—insisted her daughter speed up her piece’s production. “She said, ‘You better hurry up and make something,’” Winters recollects. Dutifully, the daughter did so, creating her mom’s ring and planning for future Hana styles to feature only cushion and emerald cuts with the surrounding metal bezels playing out the Hana shape. “It’s all bezel settings—more pared-down ones,” she says.

Hana engagement ring with a colorless emerald-cut diamond retails for about $10,800. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

Hana engagement ring with a colorless emerald-cut diamond retails for about $10,800. Email erikawinters@gmail.com for purchase.

When Winters’ mom died in 2015, the designer shelved the line. A year later, she debuted five Hana styles—including her mother’s emerald ring, which isn’t for sale—at the 2017 Couture Jewelry show. Since Winters is known for diamond styles, the ring garnered much attention as well as a few orders from stores. Complete styles—center stones and mountings—are made in 18k gold or platinum and start around $4,500 retail for gold. And though Winters is known as a wedding-ring designer, Hana translates effortlessly into fashion looks with colored-stone centers.

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The nearly five-year-old jewelry brand is also diversifying into other styles, such as necklaces. One piece with a Hana motif on a split chain sits in the hollow of the wearer’s neck, offering a “timeless and ancient yet futuristic vibe,” says Winters, while a nearly 6-carat smoky, lavenderish-color spinel style will offer a blingier look.

“Hana is elemental and simple—back to one,” she says. “I don’t like fussy.”

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Inspirations

Melanie Georgacopoulos’ Mother-of-Pearl Jewelry is Masterful

New York City. Nov. 8, 2018. It was 10 years ago when London-based jewelry designer Melanie Georgacopoulos first felt a little sorry for the underrated and often neglected gemstone material mother-of-pearl.

“It’s often seen as a tacky material and has never really been showcased for its beauty,” she says of the lustrous oyster shells that are typically cut up and used to make inexpensive jewelry. “There is a lack of interesting mother-of-pearl jewelry, so I wanted to give this humble material value through craftsmanship.”

Also top of mind for this pearl-loving designer? The extraordinary prices high-profile diamonds fetch at auction as well as the complex environmental and social issues surrounding the mining industry. (The latter is a non-issue for the eco-friendly pearl-farming industry.)

She brainstormed, and the result is her Gemstone collection of 13 mother-of-pearl jewels that mimic popular diamond cuts in two-dimensional form. For example, the Cullinan I—the largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found, weighing 3,106.75 carats—is represented in one of her larger (6 cm) “gemstones.” Each comprises as many as 72 individual sliced and matched mother-of-pearl pieces that are precisely cut, filed, and polished before being assembled into 18k yellow gold bezel-set pendants, earrings, rings, and brooches.

Shells used include South Sea, golden, and Tahitian oyster shells as well as pink and white freshwaters. Akoya shells are noticeably absent. “They’re too small and not thick enough to use,” explains the artist.

The limited-edition offerings also represent a natural progression from Melanie’s ongoing examination of the pearl as well as a groundbreaking appearance for the little-celebrated shell material.

“It’s a tricky process but one that makes you feel very proud once you finish,” she says. Upon reflection, Georgacopoulos doesn’t want to inspire false hope in a future for the look. “These were so hard to make, I won’t make them again,” she concedes.

Collectors should take note: don’t look for these jewels in stores. Reach the artist directly to purchase these one-of-a-kinds. Retail prices start at £2,800.

Melanie Georgacopoulos mother-of-pearl jewelry

Melanie Georgacopoulos mother-of-pearl bracelet

Bracelet with white and lavender freshwater mother-of-pearl, golden South Sea and Tahitian mother-of-pearl shell, 13 mm baroque-shape Tahitian pearl, and an 18k white gold clasp, $3,700;  E-mail me@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com to purchase

 

Melanie Georgacopoulos mother-of-pearl ring

Cushion ring in 18k yellow gold with white and lavender freshwater mother-of-pearl, golden South Sea and Tahitian mother-of-pearl shell, $3,680;  E-mail me@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com to purchase

 

Melanie Georgacopoulos mother-of-pearl pendant necklace

Oval pendant necklace in 18k yellow gold with white and lavender freshwater mother-of-pearl, golden South Sea and Tahitian mother-of-pearl shell, $4,205;
E-mail me@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com to purchase

Melanie Georgacopoulos mother-of-pearl brooch

Brilliant Brooch in 18k yellow gold white and lavender freshwater mother-of-pearl, golden South Sea and Tahitian mother-of-pearl shell, $6,305; E-mail me@melaniegeorgacopoulos.com to purchase

 

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Inspirations

The New Bubbles Pearl Jewelry Collection from Assael Is a Whimsical Classic

NEW YORK. By the time Assael’s Bubbles collection debuted at the Couture jewelry show this year, Assael designer Sean Gilson had created many iterations of it. “The most recent pieces are the natural progression of that evolution,” he explains.

While his priorities for the look were beauty and wearability, the inspiration—surprisingly enough—does not originate from light-hearted child’s play. Instead, it hails from a onetime serious conversation about surface tension and bubble formation with Finish-American jewelry master Heikki Seppa, who died in 2010. Pearls by nature have “variation and nuance that fit neatly into simple forms made into complex shapes” explains Gilson. Bubbles pieces also demonstrate the strength of pearls as a “standalone gem” without diamonds (America’s favorite stone), says Peggy Grosz, director of business and product development.

Pieces in the Bubbles collection are crafted in 18k gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls to depict those traditional pearls in a fresh way—“What Coco Chanel might wear today!” Grosz exclaims. “Pearls need a facelift for a modern, confident clientele.”

For sure, Bubbles is a response to dated pearl jewels that should be simple and relevant to style today while also being timeless to eliminate their stodgy perception. “Bubbles are a perfect embodiment of classic but innovative jewelry,” says Gilson. The ultimate challenge was to create a young, sophisticated look with tried-and-true white pearls that have long suffered a Barbara Bush stigma (think grandmother’s pearls). The reaction thus far? Goals accomplished—Bubbles is a hit among many! Next up, Tahitians will join this playful collection. Look for them later this year.

Bubbles cluster earring in 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $8,800
; Assael Purchase online at Neiman Marcus

Bubbles cluster earring in 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $8,800
; Assael
Purchase online at Neiman Marcus

 

Multi-Bubbles ring 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $10,400
; Assael

Multi-Bubbles ring 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $10,400
; Assael
Purchase online at Neiman Marcus

Bubbles bracelet in 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $19,500
; Assael

Bubbles bracelet in 18k white gold with white South Sea and akoya pearls, $19,500
; Assael
Purchase online at Neiman Marcus

 

Jennifer Heebner LLC

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