Inspirations

Designer Emily Wheeler’s La Selva Jewelry Collection Has a Tropical Vibe You’ll Love

New York City. Dec. 31, 2020. For jewelry designer Emily Wheeler, pandemic lockdown days left her feeling sad and nature deprived, but interestingly enough, that’s when her newest offerings were born.

“L.A. was completely shut down, and I was feeling very deprived of nature, which is why I wanted to make a collection around it,” she explains. 

Wheeler had had an idea for a luscious-looking flora and fauna line, but it wasn’t until quarantine set in that she acted on it, reaching out to local florist Pretend Plants and Flowers for assistance. She asked them to deliver weekly jungle-inspired arrangements in specific color palettes. They countered with an even better suggestion: show us your Pinterest board and we’ll get Amazonian plants that match those colors. Wheeler responded with a request for greens, reds, blues, and yellows because she had specific gems in mind—tourmalines, sapphires, turquoise, peridot, and the “fun and random” offering of Shattuckite (think Caribbean blue crystals and slab material with woody and/or green veins) and Leopard opal.

“Shattuckite is a mineral that is mostly found in mines in Arizona and Mexico, and which I discovered in Tucson last year,” she says. “Shattuckite is a mix of copper silicate crystallized with malachite.”

Like many of Wheeler’s selections, they are uncommon and carefully curated. “I wanted to make a smaller collection that is mostly one-of-a-kinds,” she adds. “It’s a weird time and people aren’t buying a lot, but I think when they do buy, they want it to be something timeless, special, and personal.”

All the diamonds used, including pavé, are colorless and VVS1 clarity. “A lot of designers don’t bother with all that anymore, but quality has always been a priority for me,” she says.

Meanwhile, the finished pieces definitely transport viewers to a greener place. Hourglass earrings feature trillion-cut padparadscha sapphires, Leopard opal, and tourmaline, a mix that Wheeler calls “jungle cat” in appearance. Plus, all the different pink and orange sapphire hues bring to mind an ombre-tone flower. “Those subtle variations in color are so beautiful in nature, and I try to bring that through with my work,” she says.

Her absolute fave piece? Moss earrings with faceted turquoise melee. “My jeweler in L.A. did a good job—that [turquoise] can break easily.

And the name La Selva? It’s Spanish for jungle—a fairly straightforward choice given her southern California residence. “I didn’t want to name it Amazon because of the obvious association with the retailer,” she jokes.

La Selva debuted with 30 SKUs in 18k but expect more to come. Retail prices start at $3,800.

Ring in 18k yellow gold with a bicolor tourmaline, by Emily P. Wheeler, $8,400; available online at Emily P. Wheeler

Ring in 18k yellow gold with a bicolor tourmaline, by Emily P. Wheeler, $8,400; available online at Emily P. Wheeler

Moss earrings in 18k yellow gold with 12.46 cts. of yellow and green rose-cut sapphires, hand-carved turquoise, faceted turquoise melee, and green tourmaline, by Emily P. Wheeler, $14,000; available online at Emily P. Wheeler

Ring in 18k yellow gold with a bicolor tourmaline, by Emily P. Wheeler, $8,400; available online at Emily P. Wheeler

Necklace in 18k yellow gold with 127.91 cts. t.w. rough tourmaline crystals and 7.69 cts. t.w. sapphires, by Emily P. Wheeler, price on request; available online at Emily P. Wheeler

Necklace in 18k yellow gold with 127.91 cts. t.w. rough tourmaline crystals and 7.69 cts. t.w. sapphires, by Emily P. Wheeler, price on request; available online at Emily P. Wheeler


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Inspirations

Marlo Laz’s Tie Dye Enamel Jewelry Is the Wearable Peace We Need Now

New York City. Oct. 9, 2020. When Jesse Marlo Lazowski, founder and creative director of Marlo Laz Jewelry, unveiled her Tie Dye jewelry collection, it was (not surprisingly) an instant hit. In retrospect, however, Tie Dye now seems like a wearable dose of happiness delivered to us by serendipity. Who couldn’t use a little punch of kaleidoscopic color and boho-chic vibes in these Covid-19 times?

The DNA of the collection speaks the worldly and vividly colorful spirit of the brand (who isn’t familiar with Lazowski’s whimsical Porte Bonheur pieces?) while honoring the origins of tie dye.

History of Tie Dye

“Tie dye first appeared in Peru is 500 AD, then in Asia in the 8th century in the form of Shibori,” says the designer. (Shibori is a Japanese method of dying fabric. “In the modern Western sense, tie dye is emblematic of the 1960s and of peace, free love, revolution, and freedom. From a fashion standpoint, I’ve collected tie dye pieces throughout the years from Prada, Valentino, The Elder Statesman, and Proenza Shouler.”

Specifically, though, Lazowski’s travels through Puglia, Italy, a few summers ago is the more immediate inspiration for Tie Dye. She spied some incredible tie-dye plates that gave birth to a vision of pendant necklaces. Awareness of Italian paper marbling techniques, too, may have had a little influence.

“As far as I am aware, no one has ever made a piece of Tie Dye fine jewelry before,” she continues. “It’s really unlike anything that’s ever been on the market, and I think that’s why people were so blown away by the collection.”

Marlo Laz Tie Dye Jewelry

The collection includes large and mini-size Tie Dye pendants and necklaces as well as signet rings and earrings. A trio of color palettes feature Lavender, Celeste, and Dove, with three distinct patterns dubbed Aurora, Spiral, and Mandala. All pieces are made in 14k gold while the enamel designs are hand painted, making each one unique. And a bonus in these hyperpolitical and “I’m speaking” times? A woman is the force behind each and every creation.

“Tie Dye pieces are hand painted by our incredibly talented female enamel artist in New York,” says Lazowski. “The entire production of the collection, from start to finish, takes place in New York.”

The gemstone palette, meanwhile, is drawn from the enamel colors found in the collection. “In the Celeste color palette, we use tanzanite, aquamarine, and peridot,” Lazowski explains. “For Dove, we use black diamonds and garnet. And with Lavender, we pair pink and orange sapphire.”

Tie Dye is in stores now and available for special order on the Marlo Laz website. Retail prices start at $1,400.

Tie Dye Lavender signet ring in 14k yellow gold with pink and orange sapphires by Marlo Laz, $2,930; available online at Marissa Collections

Tie Dye Lavender signet ring in 14k yellow gold with pink and orange sapphires by Marlo Laz, $2,930; available online at Marissa Collections

Tie Die necklace in 14k yellow gold with gemstones by Marlo Laz, $3,920; a similar one with tanzanite and peridot is available online at Net-a-porter.

Tie Die necklace in 14k yellow gold with gemstones by Marlo Laz, $3,920; a similar one with tanzanite and peridot is available online at Net-a-porter

Mini Tie Dye earrings in 14k yellow gold with tanzanite, aquamarine, peridot, and diamonds by Marlo Laz, $4,200; available online at Ylang23

Mini Tie Dye earrings in 14k yellow gold with tanzanite, aquamarine, peridot, and diamonds by Marlo Laz, $4,200; available online at Ylang23


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Inspirations

Gigi Ferranti’s New Portofino Jewelry Collection is the Trip to Italy You Can’t Take Right Now

New York City. Oct. 5, 2020. Gina Ferranti of the Gigi Ferranti jewelry brand just unveiled the Portofino jewelry collection, a vibrantly colored tribute to the fishing village on the Italian Riviera coast. While Ferranti’s family hails from Naples and Sicily and she has visited the Amalfi Coast and Positano, she maintains that Portofino, in Northern Italy, remains a destination on her bucket list.

“I’ve been thinking about it and would have gone already had it not been for Covid-19,” she explains in a phone interview.

In fact, Portofino has been on her mind since late last year. This is when she was researching ideas for a new 18k gold collection with juicy colors of colored stones, a trend she saw happening in the market. As she brainstormed, she kept returning to her Italian heritage—which has long been an inspiration for designs. Her Lucia collection, for example, represents stained glass windows and architecture from Italy’s vast number of churches. This time, she mused, why not let an entire locality serve as a muse instead of merely elements within one? Portofino, known for its colorful houses and stunning Ligurian Sea, became an obvious choice.

“The landscape has a lot of color,” she observes, knowing it was a feature she wanted to add to her previously diamond-driven offerings.

Portofino debuted last week with cool and warm colors signifying different parts of the city’s landscape. Think candy-color dwellings in pink and orange sapphires with blue zircons and tsavorite garnets representing the sea. The gold is largely 18k yellow with a couple of items made in 14k yellow. Silhouettes include waves, lines representing the repeating patterns of buildings, and cute slender penne pasta forms, among others.

“I wanted to create an experience so when someone looks at the collection, they can feel that they are in that destination,” she explains. “It’s designed to give the wearer an intimate experience and feeling of happiness, serenity, and rejuvenation—what you would feel if you visited Portofino. Now more than ever, women want to escape to a happy, more serene place, and to feel glamorous and chic even when just wearing a pair of jeans.”

Portofino is available now for purchase on the Gigi Ferranti website and for order by stores; delivery to merchants is within four weeks (all jewelry is made in New York City). Retail prices start at $1,350.

Portofino three-stone ring in 18k yellow gold with 1.22 ct. blue zircon and 0.98 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, $5,800; available online at Gigi Ferranti

Portofino three-stone ring in 18k yellow gold with 1.22 ct. blue zircon and 0.98 cts. t.w. tsavorite garnets, $5,800; available online at Gigi Ferranti

Portofino side-set hoop earrings in 18k yellow gold with 1.84 cts. t.w. colored sapphires and tsavorite garnets, $5,850; available online at Gigi Ferranti

Portofino side-set hoop earrings in 18k yellow gold with 1.84 cts. t.w. colored sapphires and tsavorite garnets, $5,850; available online at Gigi Ferranti

Portofino Penne link necklace in 18k yellow gold with 3.85 ct. colored sapphires and tsavorite garnets, $15,500

Portofino Penne link necklace in 18k yellow gold with 3.85 ct. colored sapphires and tsavorite garnets, $15,500; available online at Gigi Ferranti


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Inspirations

Jade Trau’s Victoria Collection Is Jade Lustig’s Own Intimate Ode to Personalized Jewelry

New York City. Oct. 1, 2020. Given Jade Lustig’s affinity for vintage jewelry (modern retro diamond styles are her signature), the founder of jewelry brand Jade Trau’s new, super personalized Victoria collection, which debuted in June, won’t surprise many, though it will delight scads.

The idea for the collection was born on a De Beers-sponsored trip to Botswana last fall, where she sketched a line of zodiac charms. Lustig loves reading her own horoscope daily, so leaning into a line of meaningful jewels like these felt right and was a move she wanted to explore further. She unveiled a capsule offering of Victoria in platinum at the end of November 2019, loving the “chill vibe” of the tony metal’s whitish-gray color.

“Victorian jewelry is sentimental, so I started with pieces that were meaningful to me,” she says.

The initial looks in Victoria were so well received that she kept designing. Wanting to flesh out this fine-but-casual approach to jewelry, Lustig added 18k yellow gold to offerings. “The two-tone look just knocked it out of park,” she says.

Next came initial pendants, created during quarantine. Working remotely with her manufacturing team, they used CAD and Facetime to create letter charms that are about a half an inch large. Religious symbols, too, like Buddha, an evil eye, and a cross, were born as well. “They have lots of articulation,” notes Lustig.

A challenge lay in designing pieces at a distance when the process is typically so tactile, but Lustig and her team made it happen.

Pieces in Victoria now total upwards of 60 different charms, nine necklace chains, and six bracelet chains. All charms have diamond accents. Zodiac stud earrings are also available, as are chains that can be purchased separately from charms, a feature her fans had been wanting. Collectors can build their own charm bracelets and add appropriate elements from other Jade Trau collections. Lustig’s Loop pieces, for example, act as clasps but also as charm holders, and medallions from Alchemy can mingle well with new Victoria charms.

Letter charms in Victoria start at $1,450 retail, Zodiac studs cost $1,850 a pair (though can be sold as singles), and Zodiac charms cost $1,990 apiece. All pieces are available in platinum or white, yellow, or rose gold, though some chains are only available in yellow. Lustig even has a few special charms available with pink diamonds.

The designer’s only misstep? A dearth of rings. “I’ve been washing my hands so much that I forgot to add rings in Victoria,” she laughs.

H Letter charm in 18k rose gold with 0.16 cts. t.w., $1,450; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

H Letter charm in 18k rose gold with 0.16 cts. t.w., $1,450; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Evil Eye charm in 18k white gold with 0.20 cts. t.w., $1,650; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Evil Eye charm in 18k white gold with 0.20 cts. t.w., $1,650; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Virgo Zodiac stud earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.07 cts. t.w., $1,850; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Virgo Zodiac stud earrings in 18k yellow gold with 0.07 cts. t.w., $1,850; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Tatum chain bracelet in in 18k rose gold, $2,525; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase

Tatum chain bracelet in in 18k rose gold, $2,525; wendy@jadetrau.com for purchase


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