MIAMI. It was on a trip to Palm Springs, Calif., 25 years ago when Ann Lois fell in love with oversize gold designs. The engineering executive stumbled across the Denise Roberge Gallery, brimming with fine art and robust selections of high-karat-gold jewelry of the merchant’s own handiwork. Spying a pair of 22k gold squarish, huggie-style drop earrings with scroll motifs, Al (as friends call her) snapped up the pair after being wowed by their size—a standout for her petite 5’4’’ frame—and by their compelling design and clip-on posts.
“It’s difficult to find earrings that I like and will wear,” she explains. “And I had never seen anything like them, not even in my travels on the East Coast.”
Over the years Al has added about 14 more pieces to her Roberge collection. Other acquisitions include large clip-on charms like an open heart affixed to an oversize chain-link necklace, several rings (two that she always wears together), and bracelets. For Al, it’s the weight of the gold, the richness of the color, and the Etruscan-inspired design of the pieces that got her hooked.
“Unfortunately, every time afterwards I went to her store I bought something,” continues a modestly vexed Al. “I’ve even bought pieces from her over the phone when I couldn’t get to Palm Springs.”
Her favorite: a strand of plump freshwater pearls she bought on a hank (industry lingo for a strand of unset or loose pearls). Roberge strung them and added a custom clasp. Using leftover pearls, Roberge made drop earrings that include the same ruby accents she used for the clasp of the necklace. Al was smitten. “I’ll never see these anywhere else,” she says.
Not surprisingly, admirers have been abundant—and demanding. “They all ask, ‘Where did you get those?’” adds Al.
Ann Lois is a longtime jewelry collector and fan of Denise Roberge’s work, but she’s also interested in learning about the vast landscape of other jewelry designers working in rich karat gold. Below, we offer 12 options to fuel her obsession and help her keep on collecting.
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