Inspirations

Lika Behar’s New Cage Collection Is Keeping Us Captivated

Phoenix. Jan. 31, 2020. On a trip to St. Petersburg five years ago, jewelry designer Lika Behar, known for her modern-day ancient Greek- and Roman-inspired designs in 22k gold and sterling silver, became smitten with traditional Russian design (think gold and Faberge eggs). Upon returning home, she started playing with a cage-like concept as an homage to the silhouettes seen abroad.

But the collection took a while to take shape. For years, Behar made different looks, but none to her liking. Finally, a friend asked her to develop a design to house a large round pearl that she didn’t want drilled. Behar was forced to finally act on the cage aesthetic that had been developing in her mind.

“That request was the kick in the pants I needed to make the Cage collection!” Behar admits from booth #207 at the Centurion Jewelry show. (Also find her at the Select show in Tucson, Feb. 2–3, in booth #31 and at the AGTA GemFair Tucson, Feb. 4–9, in Tucson in the Grand Ballroom booth #3108.)

She debuted a few Cage styles during the Las Vegas shows last year, and the reception was so good, she added more. Round beads of lapis and turquoise as well as pearls take up residence inside some gilded cages, many made as necklaces. There’s also a smooth, oversize, and randomly faceted aquamarine pendant for sale, and a smaller tanzanite version has already sold. Gem-free geometric versions, too, are options. These are evolutions of earlier pieces made in a style reminiscent of art deco. All have been a hit with buyers, with many placing orders that will eventually make their way into stores. (Interested? Email Lika for purchase information at likabehar@likabehar.com.)

Behar’s uniquely Mediterranean spin on the idea of Russian treasures gives collectors more of the casual, rustic everyday elegance that they have come to expect from the Turkish native. Want to own a piece of Behar’s history? Retail prices for Cage styles start at $1,500.

Cage drop earrings in 22k gold and 18k white gold with 0.80 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,400; email likabehar@likabehar.com for purchase.

Cage drop earrings in 22k gold and 18k white gold with 0.80 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,400; email likabehar@likabehar.com for purchase.

Cage drop earrings in 22k gold with 12.26 cts. t.w. oval-shape tanzanite, 0.23 ct. t.w. yellow pear-shape diamonds, and 0.18 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,840; email likabehar@likabehar.com for purchase.

Cage drop earrings in 22k gold with 12.26 cts. t.w. oval-shape tanzanite, 0.23 ct. t.w. yellow pear-shape diamonds, and 0.18 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,840; email likabehar@likabehar.com for purchase.

Cage pendant (chain sold separately) in 22k gold with a 58.23 ct. crystal-cut aquamarine, 0.15 ct. t.w. colorless diamonds, and 0.11 ct. t.w. yellow diamonds, $10,950; email likabehar@likabehar.com for purchase.

Cage pendant (chain sold separately) in 22k gold with a 58.23 ct. crystal-cut aquamarine, 0.15 ct. t.w. colorless diamonds, and 0.11 ct. t.w. yellow diamonds, $10,950; email likabehar@likabehar.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

Jan Leslie’s Rainbowrific Gummy Bear Jewelry

Phoenix. Jan. 29, 2020. When Bergdorf Goodman asked Jan Leslie for some candy-theme jewelry for a sugar-inspired window display two years ago, the jewelry designer and cufflink queen responded with wearable peppermints and boxes of chocolate. The request also opened the way to other confectionary-fueled ideas, including her recently debuted Rainbow Gummy Bear and companion Stripe collections.

“I’m obsessed with rainbows!” admits Leslie from Phoenix, Ariz., where she was setting up her booth at the trade-only Centurion Jewelry show (booth J214), which takes place from Jan. 28 to Feb. 1. “And considering what is going on in the world—from the legalization of cannabis in different states to pride celebrations and gay marriage rights—I wanted to make designs that brought smiles. A rainbow is a symbol of joy.”

Not surprisingly, Bergdorf’s loved the gummy looks but ordered them in solid colors. The rainbow version cufflinks, however, took home a Best in Men’s jewelry award at the 2019 Couture Design Awards during the Couture show in June in Las Vegas. Now, Rainbow Gummies are available in rings, earrings, cufflinks, and stud sets in sterling silver or 18k gold vermeil with hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel.

“Kids love them, adults love them,” observes Leslie. “We’ve taken kitsch to another level as art.”

To complement the bears, Leslie gave them color-striped jewel companions. Seven different colorways exist within striped styles that are made in sterling silver and 18k gold vermeil with the same enamel accents and mother-of-pearl or abalone inlay. Two different artisans embellish Leslie’s jewels—one for inlay and another for the enamel. Retail prices start at $195.

“Most people don’t want all one look, they like to mix and match,” she notes. “The stripes work well with the rainbows, offering a natural segue to those wonderful pops of color.”

Gummy Bear stud earrings in 18k gold-plated silver with rainbow colors of hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel, $295; available online at Jan Leslie

Gummy Bear stud earrings in 18k gold-plated silver with rainbow colors of hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel, $295; available online at Jan Leslie

Stripe bangles in 18k gold-plated silver with hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel and mother-of-pearl or abalone inlay, $450 apiece; available online at Jan Leslie

Stripe bangles in 18k gold-plated silver with hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel and mother-of-pearl or abalone inlay, $450 apiece; available online at Jan Leslie

Award-winning Rainbow Gummy Bear cufflinks in sterling silver with hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel, $595; available online at Jan Leslie

Award-winning Rainbow Gummy Bear cufflinks in sterling silver with hand-painted translucent ombre-effect enamel, $595; available online at Jan Leslie

Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with purple garnets and diamonds, $1,300 at K.Jon’s

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Inspirations

AJDC’s Annual Jewelry Design Project of Polka Dot Is Spot-On Stylish & Not For Sale

New York City. Jan. 20, 2020. For 24 years, the elite group of designers that make up the American Jewelry Design Council (AJDC), a nonprofit comprising members that elevate the caliber of jewelry design through educational activities, has released one themed project annually as a way to collectively flex creative muscles. But, unlike most of the group’s jewelry designs, these pieces aren’t available for sale—they are regarded as one-of-kind creations made for the sake of high art and are intended “to stimulate both the artist and the viewer to think beyond common limits and elevate jewelry expression to the realm of art,” according to the group. This year’s theme? Polka Dots.
AJDC members include renowned names like Whitney Boin, Michael Bondanza, Henry Dunay, Michael Good, and Pascal Lacroix, among others.
AJDC executive director Marylouise Sirignano Lugosch offered some insight into this year’s efforts.

“We would like every member to participate (we have 36 members), but, understandably, everyone can’t always complete it,” she explains. “This year we had 29 projects. Some themes pique more interest than others.”

Of course, part of the fun is seeing the finished pieces. AJDC used to display them at trade shows, but that proved costly. This year the group is in negotiations with an interested party to display them prior to the Las Vegas fairs, but the deal isn’t yet done. Next year some of the pieces will have a permanent display case at the University of Arizona’s Gem & Mineral Museum. The museum is moving to the Pima County Courthouse, which is under renovation, and will reopen in fall 2020 under the moniker of the University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum.

AJDC member Paul Klecka, who made a massive black dot cuff, loved the entries of fellow artists Alan Revere, Kent Raible, and Diana Vincent. As for his own piece, he says it evolved from the thought of making something dramatic and bold but not necessarily precious (in materials) to a fierce-looking, warrior-inspired number executed in black nylon.

“I found a website I love that had a menu of printing services for CAD designers,” he says. “The array of choices was amazing—from brass, bronze, silver, or nylon. I made mine in black nylon because it’s one of the things I have learned with the AJDC: removing the precious aspect of a piece of jewelry forces a viewer to consider it from a design standpoint rather than as a precious item.”

Something else he loved from this year’s project? The annual designer retreat weekend, where, for the first time, AJDC members brought their pieces in progress and had a show-and-tell of sorts.

“Many AJDC designers don’t go to the Las Vegas shows, so you never get to see them,” Klecka adds. “So, to get to sit there and hold their pieces and ask them how they did it was great. It was the first time we ever laid out all the projects in a conference room and all converged like that. It was inspirational.”

Meanwhile, Susan Sadler’s inspiration—which is typically a lighthearted one—hails from a moth she spied on her garage door one day. In fact, she wasn’t even particularly inspired by the dot theme until she saw her moth one summer day in 2019.

“Even though dots are in my vocabulary—my mom’s name was Dot and she wore a polka dot robe, and I had a dog named Dot who had polka dot blanket and sweater—I wasn’t inspired until I saw the moth,” she says. “He was big and a taupe-brown color with dots that were a darker taupe. I took pictures of him and decided to make a pin in silver with gold and colored stones like orange sapphires, tsavorite garnets, amethysts, and round peachy-color pearls.”

Her moth is also edged in yellow gold, but a casting incident with black paint instead of oxidation or rhodium plating took a disastrous turn, eating away at some of the moth’s metal. Thus, the moth hasn’t yet been completed. Still, there’s always next year to try again. The theme for 2020? Secret Garden.

Earrings by Jose Hess for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography

Earrings by Jose Hess for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography

Band by Mark Patterson for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography

Band by Mark Patterson for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography

Cuff by Paul Klecka for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography

Cuff by Paul Klecka for AJDC
Photo by Sara Rey Jewelry Photography


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Inspirations

Chroma Colored Stone Jewelry by Emily Kuvin Is Your Go-To Daily Accessory

New York City. Jan. 17, 2020. Emily Kuvin is already known for her whimsical Stella starburst shape, and now the Manhattan-based jewelry designer is unveiling another effortlessly chic and easy-to-wear aesthetic in the Chroma Collection.

Chroma styles feature a trio of rectangular cuts—a tile, a baguette, and a wider, deeper baguette shape that she calls a Bon Bon (“They remind me of Pez candies,” she explained in a phone interview this morning)—in a variety of colored stones. Think blue topaz and peridot as well as sapphires. While a press release states that the designs are inspired by travel, Kuvin dished on their exact origin in our call.

The design of her Jubilation earrings—a starburst-like spray of baguettes—stem from the design request of a friend. The pal had received a pair of baguette-cut diamond earrings after a family member passed, but she didn’t care for the style. So Kuvin took them apart and made her a ring and the Jubilation design of earrings. “I loved them so much that I decided to make colorful versions of them,” she explains. “Ironically, I am my most creative when I have constraints such as, ‘You have these baguettes to work with, make something.’”

Meanwhile, another friend is responsible for the creation of her Bon Bon jewels. A pal became an inadvertent gemstone buyer and collector when stationed in a job in Afghanistan, bringing home a number of stones for Kuvin. Among the rocks was a step-cut green tourmaline that became the first Bon Bon ring. “I loved the simplicity of it,” recollects Kuvin. Tile numbers, too, were born from these Afghan gems, which are now visible in Chroma in earrings and necklaces.

Jubilation styles are made as earrings, pendants, and cigar bands, while Bon Bon are available as rings, necklaces, and stud earrings. Though Chroma is all about color, diamond lovers can also find styles to love. “I’ve sold medium- and small-size Jubilation styles in diamonds,” adds Kuvin.

All pieces are made in 14k gold, and retail prices range from $550 to $3,000.

Bon Bon ring in 14k yellow gold with turquoise or citrine, $550 apiece; available online at Emily Kuvin

Bon Bon ring in 14k yellow gold with 1.1 ct. turquoise or citrine, $550 apiece; available online at Emily Kuvin

Bon Bon necklace in 14k yellow gold with blue topaz and peridot, $2,050; available online at Emily Kuvin

Bon Bon necklace in 14k yellow gold with 3.3 cts. t.w. blue topaz and peridot, $2,050; available online at Emily Kuvin

Jubilation studs in 14k yellow gold with baguette-cut pink, yellow, and orange sapphires, $4,000; available online at Emily Kuvin

Jubilation studs in 14k yellow gold with 5.63 cts. t.w. baguette-cut pink, yellow, and orange sapphires, $4,000; available online at Emily Kuvin


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