Inspirations

Yes, Carrie Hoffman’s Tata Jewelry Is About Breasts, but Also Raising Funds for Cancer Research

New York City. June 12, 2019. When Carrie Hoffman was diagnosed with breast cancer in the winter of 2016, her jewelry design business was (understandably) put on a back burner. Within a year’s time, she went from diagnosis to biopsy to surgery to mastectomy, all with the amazing support of a community of other strong Los Angeles–based females around her.

“There was an intense sisterhood of women who helped me frame the cancer process,” she says of friends acquired from a Facebook-based moms’ group.

Keiko Mita jewelry

After a year and a half of sickness and recovery, Hoffman was ready to return to her jewelry bench, which was a healing experience. And with her cancer process fresh in her mind, she thought about a way to express it in jewelry. She hadn’t seen any breast-motif pieces in the market, so could she create one that was tasteful yet spoke to the challenges of the disease and survivor’s tales? She carved a breast in wax with the intent of placing a gemstone in the center to represent a nipple. Many breast cancer victims lose theirs in the mastectomy process. Hoffman also knew how the colors of women’s nipples varied widely, so in a ballsy moment, she reached out to that local online support group and asked breast cancer survivors to send her snaps of their breasts. The point? To see the range of colors in women’s nipples so she could capture them in jewelry with the appropriate colored stones. Thirty photos arrived in her inbox, and from those were born seven different colors of gemstone nipples including pink sapphire and smoky topaz. Next, she set the gems inverted in 14k gold styles to make the look more subtle. To date, stud earrings and necklaces are available, with 20 percent of wholesale cost benefiting the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Adds Hoffman, “Tatas are a way to support breast cancer research but also keep looks elegant and subtle.”

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At a retail show in February in New York City, Hoffman sold two-dozen styles, and at the recent Premier trade-only show in Las Vegas, a retailer ordered 20 pieces plus a custom number. The merchant wanted diamonds to represent a scar motif.

Thaissa Voigt, manager at Wright’s in Manhattan Beach, Calif., and store owner Nancy McFarland were intrigued by the collection but were initially hesitant to buy. Would their shoppers find it offensive? Ultimately, they decided not.

“I think it’s a great idea to celebrate that you are here,” says Voigt. “I like the idea of different nipple colors because we are all so different. Everyone knows someone who had breast cancer and if you’re a survivor, why not celebrate it?”

Tata stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. pink sapphires, $423

Tata stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. pink sapphires, $423; Carrie Hoffman

Tata stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. smoky topaz, $423

Tata stud earrings in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. smoky topaz, $423; Carrie Hoffman

Tata pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. black diamond, $383

Tata pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with 0.03 ct. black diamond, $383; Carrie Hoffman


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Inspirations

The Broken Heart Jewelry Collection by Rachel Quinn

New York City. June 7, 2019. When Rachel Quinn fell in love nearly four years ago, she and her beau fell quickly for one another. Quinn had just moved from New York City to Los Angeles to take advantage of the California weather and ride her motorcycle more often, and within a few months of her move she met her new man.

“As soon as we met, we were both like ‘Oh, I found you!’” she recollects. “It was fast and furious, and within two months he proposed.”

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Up until that point, Quinn’s jewelry had a bit of an edge—think biker themes and skulls—but the romance softened her aesthetic. She created a Puffed Hearts series that reflected the feeling in her own lovestruck heart as well as her degree in fine arts and background in painting and sculpture. He asked her to make a piece that represented their love, and out of that request was born a pair of hands holding a heart. “It represented me holding his love and me offering mine,” Quinn explains.

But then he met a new friend, and Quinn suspected it was more than platonic. As the relationship seemed to blossom, Quinn’s instincts were on alert; she pressed him about it, and he denied any inappropriate behavior. But when Quinn asked to see the texts on his phone, he could no longer deny the romance. “He lied to my face,” says Quinn. “He literally left me and moved in with her.”

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So, when the relationship broke, the hurt was illustrated in her work. Quinn started damaging her heart jewels, but in an adorning way that turned trauma into beauty. Her thoughts turned to voodoo effects, and her happy puffed hearts turned into pin cushions with pearl-topped needles covering their surfaces. Arrows, too, cut through the hearts just as her fiancé’s action had done to her own. And despite the pain, Quinn realized there was something beautiful to heartbreak.

“I know now that I have a basement and a subbasement of emotions that I didn’t have before,” she says. “I understand things more deeply—pain brings you that. And there is a beautiful humanity to it, the connections you make to people who share their stories with you. It’s been a very unifying experience.”

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For sure, Quinn’s heartbreak is bittersweet given that collectors stand to gain from her wrenching emotions working overtime in creativity mode.

“I’m not done—I have more damaged hearts to make,” she says. “My Pin Cushion Hearts have truly been my lemonade out of the last few months of lemons.”


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Pin Cushion Heart ring in sterling silver with freshwater pearls, $385; Rachel Quinn

Pin Cushion Heart ring in sterling silver with freshwater pearls, $385; Rachel Quinn

Cupid's Heart Bracelet in 18k gold vermeil, $480; Rachel Quinn

Cupid’s Heart bracelet in 18k gold vermeil, $480; Rachel Quinn

Editor’s note: Quinn made this cute, happy, puffed-up heart during her relationship.

Pin Cushion Heart necklace in oxidized silver with freshwater pearls, $710; Rachel Quinn

Pin Cushion Black Heart necklace in oxidized silver with freshwater pearls, $710; Rachel Quinn

Pin Cushion Through the Heart earrings in oxidized sterling silver with freshwater pearls and heat-treated rubies, $920; Rachel Quinn

Pin Cushion Through the Heart earrings in oxidized sterling silver with freshwater pearls and heat-treated rubies, $920; Rachel Quinn


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Inspirations

Just Peachy: Lika Behar’s Peach Gold Jewelry Collection Is a Warm Tangerine Embrace

Las Vegas. June 4, 2019. Lika Behar’s peach-color gold jewels have recently received a trademarked moniker—Peach Glow, so cool!—and the love of myriad jewelry buyers shopping her booth at the Las Vegas trade shows this week.

Peach Glow offerings are made in Behar’s signature high-karat 22k gold, but instead of a pretty pink color she created a pale kumquat hue that beautifully enhances oxidized silver, colored gemstones, and the skin tones of many people.

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For sure, pink and peach gold are a niche that take some acceptance, but those who love rosy gold are also digging this amberized variety. “Those who like pink gold love Peach Glow,” said the artist over the weekend from her blinged-out booth in Las Vegas. “I made Peach Glow because I wanted to do a pink that was not offensively orange.”

To date, she’s paired turquoise and pink pearls with Peach Glow as well as setting colorless diamonds into styles to let the gold color speak for itself. “To be set into Peach Glow, the stones must talk to me,” she insists.

Save a street dog's life this summer.

Peach Glow is also speaking to store buyers, given that half of offerings were sold by mid-show. Nice. Get into Lika’s look at an entry price of less than $1,000.

Mona Lisa ring in 22k Peach Glow gold with oxidized silver features a 6.53 ct. turquoise, $970; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase

Mona Lisa ring in 22k Peach Glow gold with oxidized silver features a 6.53 ct. turquoise, $970; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase

Lydia earrings in 22k Peach Glow gold with pink freshwater pearls, $1,650; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase

Lydia earrings in 22k Peach Glow gold with pink freshwater pearls, $1,650; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase

Aurora cuff bracelet in 22k Peach Glow gold with 0.49 ct. t.w. fancy-shape diamonds, $7,700; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase

Aurora cuff bracelet in 22k Peach Glow gold with 0.49 ct. t.w. fancy-shape diamonds, $7,700; email paul@likabehar.com for purchase


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Inspirations

Shimmering Chic: Mastoloni Adds Moonstones to Its Bella Luna Jewelry Collection

Las Vegas. June 3, 2019. Mastoloni’s Bella Luna collection (bella luna is Italian for beautiful moon) was already a good-looking line with white freshwater pearls, but the renowned pearl house has added voluminous geometric moonstones to the mix.

Milky-color moonstones complement the soft glow of the pearls, while angular cuts contrast with the organic gem’s silhouette. All gems are set in 14k yellow gold, creating a contemporary and unexpected fashion line that is both luxurious and lighthearted.

Keiko Mita jewelry

And about those geometric moonstone cuts? They had a purpose beyond their obvious cool effect.

“We didn’t want to use a round bead that could be confused with a pearl,” says company principal Fran Mastoloni. “Bella Luna is fun and offers a fresh look with pearls—a flawless mix that makes for magic.”

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 Mastoloni Linear Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and faceted moonstone beads

Bella Luna Linear Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and white moonstone beads, $705; email fran@benaliconsulting.com for purchase

 Mastoloni necklace in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and faceted moonstone beads

Bella Luna Tassel Bar necklace is 17 inches in length in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and white moonstone beads, $1,550; email fran@benaliconsulting.com for purchase

Mastoloni Drop earrings in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and faceted moonstone beads

Bella Luna Tassel Bar earrings in 14k yellow gold with white freshwater pearls and white moonstone beads, $1,715; email fran@benaliconsulting.com for purchase


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