David Webb Makes Their Debut at Couture

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Don’t ever say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. At nearly 70 years old, David Webb still reigns supreme as an iconic, American jewelry house full of the most exquisite designs. One look at a David Webb piece and you KNOW it is a David Webb piece. From the finest craftsmanship, to the bold enamels and well-known motifs, the jewelry has been delighting since 1948. They have a strong following, a large amount of die-hard collectors and a presence known worldwide; not to mention a showroom/workshop located on Madison Avenue in NYC and a boutique in Beverly Hills. You’d think debuting for the first time at a tradeshow would not be on their agenda. Could such a legendary American brand make a move like that? And if so, how could they “do it their way”?

I was very curious myself…however feeling more excited than any other emotion. I made sure that David Webb was first on my Couture agenda–Villa 112 was the place and I was ready to gawk, gander and swoon. Walking into the Villa, I thought I was in their NYC boutique for a minute. Luxury was brought to the desert and the animal kingdom followed along too. I got to see many of the pieces that hit the red carpet over the past year–like totem necklaces, which one was worn by Nicole Richie back in November and I still can’t think of a better look. I love seeing David Webb worn on the red carpet and it is always magical when it happens. Speaking of red carpet, nothing would look more incredible than the turquoise and emerald necklace I got to try on while at Couture–could you imagine that on the red carpet?! Hopefully it will happen in the future. I also got to revisit some animal favorites–like panthers and cats (rings) and dolphins, fish and snakes (bracelets).

One new aspect of David Webb which debuted during Vegas Jewelry Week, is a scaled down collection with a lower price point than typical pieces. This new collection, called Motif, features black and white enamel and appeals to all ages. There are also new entry-level pieces from the Tool Chest collection, which I actually am a proud-owner of from the off-chance I entered my name into the drawing to win a pair of Nail Stud Earrings. I couldn’t believe I won! I’ve obviously been wearing them ever since. (The next day I wore them to the Antique Show, and almost every dealer commented on them!) I’ve included a photo of the earrings above (last photo) and they are done in 18k hammered gold and are only $680.

Be sure to stop by David Webb if you’re ever in the NYC area or Beverly Hills to check the new collection out. If you thought you’d never be able to afford a piece of David Webb, think again–this new collection may be your chance!

Special thanks to Levi Higgs of David Webb for taking the photos!


Couture 2017

Want more? See my visit to their NYC boutique

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30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry into Summertime!

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Summer is next week–can you believe it?! Are you ready?! One of my most favorite things to do in the summer is to plan activities that I wouldn’t normally get to do…this involves taking days off from work, surrounding myself with people I love, and living my best life. I also like making lists or a group of goals to complete over the summer–they can be wishful thinking or very, very serious. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of 30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry just in time for summer!

1. Pick a gemstone, any gemstone, and learn all about it.

2. Find a gem show that is coming to your area and attend!

3. Have a gem or mineral specimen collection? Reorganize it in a cool way.

4. Plan a trip to go gem mining.

5. Do you have a favorite Instagrammer in our jewelry community? Plan a summer meetup.

6. Pick a state that is somewhat close to you, and research the best jewelry store they have to offer. Plan a visit!

7. Make a cool treat on a hot day–these gem ice trays can be filled with any fruity liquid!

8. Find a gemstone print top, bathing suit or towel and wear it to the beach.

9. Reserve a day at the nail salon and go for a gemstone manicure!

10. Buy that jewelry book you’ve been eyeing and lay by the pool with it!

11. Scout out some amazing flowers in your city, buy them, and take some jewelry photos with them.

12. Find a new way of wearing some of your favorite pieces of jewelry.

13. Take a day to clean your most-worn pieces of jewelry.

14. Plan a SWAP party with friends that also love jewelry.

15. Pick a time period you don’t know as much about as your favorite jewelry period, and learn about it!

16. Spend an entire day “hunting” for antique jewelry online–but do it by a pool.

17. Learn about crystal healing and depending on where you live, schedule an appointment with an expert.

18. Throw a gemstone-themed party!

19. Learn about a new designer you’ve never heard of before.

20. Need a new way to store your jewelry? Splurge on a jewelry cabinet and reconfigure it if necessary.

21. Take a jewelry making class.

22. Decide on creating a charm bracelet or necklace–gather charms, buy some new ones and put it together.

23. Get something very special and sentimental made into a piece of jewelry.

24. Size all of your fingers and keep it written down.

25. Get registered to bid at your favorite auction houses.

26. Put on all your favorite Art Deco jewels and watch a 1920s old movie.

27. Hit up your local estate sales or garage sales. You never know!

28. Tell someone thank you by gifting them a piece of jewelry.

29. Get lost on Pinterest by searching “antique jewelry” or “jewelry.”

30. Pick your favorite medium (water colors, arcryllics, pencil, etc) and try drawing/painting a diamond.

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Search my summer favorites

Let me know which of these you want to do! –> @gemgossip

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Top Five Pieces I Wanted to Take Home With Me at Couture 2017

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This year the Couture show opened its doors to hundreds of buyers and press from all over the world, while I walked in a day late of opening day, I was quick and eager to dive into all that it had to offer. Each designer stood beaming behind their booths, creativity on full power and all their blood, sweat and tears front and center under the grappling lights. More on the show in general in a few days, but I wanted to focus in on five pieces, from five different designers that I felt stood out to me. These pieces may not be the flashiest or have the biggest gemstones; they are pieces I would want for my personal collection–items I could see myself wearing and enjoying on a daily basis. There are lots of jewels at Couture that were bold, striking and great for editorial shoots–but translating them into every day wear for an average American didn’t quite fit in my eyes. Yes these jewels might be fun to drool over, to take a photo of, or to just simply stare at, but as I stood there thinking to myself, “what if I owned a store in Nashville, what would I buy that would fit my audience?” I realized that sort of changed my entire thinking while browsing. Most of the time when I’m in “Gem Gossip mode” I’m one-sided in my thinking, focusing on what pieces would photograph well, what would my followers want to see, what would get the most “likes.” So here are my top five pieces that I surely wanted to take home with me at Couture 2017!

1. Anthony Lent Crescent Moonface bangles: being celestial obsessed must be commemorated somehow and these bangles fit the bill in many ways. First off, they are wearable and go with just about anything, for any occasion. Secondly, they are timeless and can be passed down through generations. Best part is they are each hand-made by Anthony Lent himself in his Philadelphia-based studio.

See the Anthony Lent website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

2. Anything in opal from Jacquie Aiche: If you’ve visited Jacquie Aiche’s booth at Couture, you know–every year she outfits her spot in gems and mineral specimens that have you feeling like you’ve been transported to her world. And once inside, there’s no shortage of jewelry–each corner and nook is filled with displays, dripping in jewelry. And that’s exactly their mantra–cover yourself in their pieces and style yourself to the max. Every necklace, bracelet, earring, ring and body chain complements one another, and now we know why she has so many devote “tribe” members!

See the Jacquie Aiche website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

3. Stackable, easy on-and-off chokers from Suzanne Kalan: ok, we all have realized chokers are still going strong in popularity and if you’re really wanting to invest in something that is well-constructed, easy to wear, and gorgeous all-around, I suggest these! Suzanne Kalan is known for her baguette diamond wizardry and she follows through again in the choker design department. At the show, the chokers were displayed in large bunches, stacked together and they looked just as good, if not better when worn! There’s no clasp or ties, it is flexible, so you can take it on and off SO easily!

See the Suzanne Kalan website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

4. Enamel surf boards from Tara Hirshberg: I loved all the charms I was seeing at Couture this year and these enameled surf boards were a definite highlight from the debuting designer. I have never surfed before in my life and honestly am frightened beyond belief of the ocean, but even with those pitted against me, I have never wanted a gold surf board more in my life! haha! I love the colors used, the size of them and the wearability. Creating surf-related jewels came naturally for LA-based designer Tara and her ocean living and ocean loving life.

See the Tara Hirshberg website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

5. New diamond bow rings from Arik Kastan: I always look forward to seeing the new designs from vintage-inspired Arik Kastan. This year’s new bow rings had my head spinning and jaw-dropping. They are perfect to stack and fit right in with other antique pieces, as seen here stacked with some other fun Arik Kastan rings. Loving all the green agate too! Tough decision though choosing which bow–the top or bottom??

See the Arik Kastan website here.


Couture 2017

Want more? See my top picks from last year’s show!

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PRECIOUS ENCOUNTER : SARAH APPLETON

WHITE bIRD is pleased to welcome Sarah Appleton among its designers ! Paris based jeweler, Sarah is a descendant of the Bonebakker family, with a legacy lasting over two hundred years in the silver and goldsmith business. Defined by a clean aesthetic, the silhouettes are fluid and modern, often catching the eye when the gold or a precisely placed diamond reflects the light. The namesake collections embody an easy and timeless elegance meant to be worn and loved daily. The designer agreed to share her memories and her inspirations in an interview…

What is your first jewellery memory ?

My first piece of jewelry was an original Native American Fetish Necklace given to me by my grandmother, which hung on my wall growing up and something I still have in my collection. She was also a jewelry collector and would only wear one statement piece either made for her by my uncle or a magnificent art deco ring.

What’s the first piece that you designed ?

Starting at three, I would make earring collections with my older sister out of paper and other odd materials, which I would then tape to my ears.  At about  twelve, I had my first experience working with metal soldering together a silver twisted ring.  Then about 10 years ago in New York I started working in gold and made the Pull Through earrings as a solution to feeling unbalanced wearing any other earrings.

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What is your favorite stone ? Why ? 

I don’t have a single favorite stone, I absolutely love working with diamonds (especially Navettes) and natural sapphires.

Do you have a piece of jewellery that you wear all year-round ?

Double Navette Ring.

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Who are your favorite jewellery designers ?

Suzanne Belperron , René Boivin , Buccellati  and the Yazzie family.

What are your greatest design influences ?

The subtleties in art, architecture, nature, and our experiences.

What do you listen to in your studio ?

When I have music playing, mixes my fiancé makes for me with 90s hip hop, soul and funk. Also a little bit of Buena vista social club, la son charanga , Nina Simone, Django Reinhardt, Rhianna, Kaytranada, Disclosure, Chet Faker, The XX… Depending on my mood.  Apart from music I listen to audio books and NPR radio. Other times it is just studio sounds, Paris rain and the birds chirping in the garden below.

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If you were not a jewellery designer, what would you do?

Artist, or wood furniture designer.

Which famous people (living or dead) inspire you the most ?

Most importantly the people in my life, along with Lucy Dodd, Dorothea Rockburne, Ellsworth Kelly, Tadao Ando, Richard Serra, James Turrell …

What is your dream destination ?

My list is never-ending, but this year I would like to take a trip to go sapphire hunting and surfing in Sri Lanka.

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Photos credits: Sarah Appleton

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PRECIOUS ENCOUNTER : CATHY WATERMAN

The famous American designer Cathy Waterman answered our questions !
It is after a career in film production that she begins to create jewellery inspired by nature and fairy tales. Handmade in her Los Angeles studio, her jewellery are made with a particular attention to details for our greatest happiness…

What is your first jewelry memory ? 

When I was a little girl, my family travelled to Europe and in Paris, in a store window, I saw a little heart shaped gold charm with simple engraved images of a boy and a girl … for a long time, it was what I thought about when I thought about Paris and about love. When I got back, my parents surprised me with that charm which I must have worn but have absolutely no recollection of wearing. For me, it was the idea of love and the mystery of Paris, and not the object that moved me.

What the first piece that you designed ? 

The first pieces I designed were a collection of jewels that were 22k gold and inspired by history and my love for castles and crowns and were hammered and set with princess cut diamonds, sapphires and rubies. They evoked buried treasure and had little pearls and the beginning of my obsession with lace.

What is your favorite stone ? Why ? 

I love turquoise. It’s a healing stone and I wear it year round always feel good with it on. I love the color and that it calms me. I love color and my favorite is green, every single of the million shades of it…emeralds, tourmalines, garnets, etc… On the other hand, I love to work with diamonds because by their nature, they allow me to create light…not big diamonds but more the little ones that I set in lace and watch twinkle as I move through the day and into night.

Do you have a piece of jewellery that you wear all year round ? 

I wear a leather necklace with many charms dangling, all of which are personal and are the talismans of my life : a locket with photos of my family, two engraved child charms (one with my kids names on it and one that my mom wore with the names of her progeny), a gold pair of wings that are a copy of a set on my dad’s air force uniform, a juggler charm from my muse collection, because, what mother isn’t a juggler ?

Who are your favorite jewellery designers ? 

I love some old Buccellati pieces and so much of the work of the art nouveau jewelers, pieces that I like to visit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.

What are your greatest design influences ? 

Nature and history and travels and frankly, things I’ve not seen yet are my inspiration. There’s nothing more glorious and humbling than nature and it has provided the motifs for my work from the beginning… I travel everywhere and see things that bring me to my knees in wonder… And I’m a history lover and the stories it tells become movies in my head and jewels in the studio.

What do you listen to in your studio ? 

Music at every single moment of my life. I grew up in a house where it was Broadway Show Tunes and Franck Sinatra and Barbra Streisand records on as well as Opera and I have super eclectic tastes and on shuffle it jumps from Puccini to Sade to Taylor Swift to Swahili lessons.

If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you do ? 

I would be a teacher. I love kids and for the past 13 years have devoted a morning or two each week to a school in Compton and have had some of the best times of my life in a classroom. Or I would be a landscape architect and build gardens that I dream about.

Which famous people (living or dead) inspire you the most ? 

I’m inspired by people who bravely pursue their dreams in the face of challenges and the explorers who went where no one else has gone. I wish that I had that kind of courage. By name, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, whoever invented the Internet, Le Corbusier, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Kobe Bryant.

Photos credits : My Little Paris, Cathy Waterman

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Shop Updates: Two Brooch Conversion Rings + Ankh Bracelet

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We’ve updated the @shopGemGossip page with a few items–two of them being these brooch conversion rings which I’ve just gotten them back from my jeweler yesterday. I love the way they turned out because most importantly, it is all about comfort with these conversion pieces. I’ve been seeing a lot lately that don’t look so comfortable or even reasonable to wear–pointy ends, seed pearls, or too gigantic for a finger. These are what I would call Goldilocks style–just right!

I also picked up this 18k yellow gold ankh bracelet that I thought was killer. I love the look of it, especially stacked with a gold watch and other bracelets. Egyptian Revival is one of my favorite types of jewelry, which is why I had to have this bracelet for my shop.

All items are listed on my separate Instagram page, check it out @shopGEMGOSSIP

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Amanda of Maejean Vintage

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I’m so excited to share this month’s Jewelry Collection Story with you all because I know how much we collectively love the Maejean Vintage sisters! You probably own at least one piece from their Etsy shop, with over 12,000 sales made to date, I’m more apt to say you probably own several pieces! I know I do! It is fascinating to think over 12,000+ items have passed through these sisters’ hands–it leads one to be curious as to what is in their personal collections?! What pieces have they come across over the years that they just couldn’t bear to sell?! What jewels struck a chord with Laura and Amanda?

We are so lucky both were eager to share and put together these photos and stories of their collections. We decided to do a two-day, back-to-back event featuring the collections of both sisters–first up is Amanda’s collection, the younger of the two sisters!

Amanda’s Collection:

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

These are some of the necklaces in my collection. The most special one is the dog tag that belonged to my Pop-Pop when he was in the USMC. I feel honored to have inherited it. The garnet cluster pendant was a Valentine’s Day present from my honey. I adore it! Sometimes I wear it on a long gold chain and other times I wear it as a choker.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My most recent acquisition: an antique pale amethyst with a seed pearl halo which I wear in memory of my Aunt Cindy.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My favorite bracelets are the gold filled bangles that I love to stack, and the two silver bracelets I inherited from my mother (the charm and the cuff), which she use to wear when she was in her twenties. The platinum and diamond pin is a family heirloom that I occasionally wear on a chain or a dress for special occasions!

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Left: I don’t wear earrings often, but when I do I keep it simple with the Victorian paste stones, or dress it up with my garnet dangles. Right: Vintage and antique rings in my jewelry collection. I am always on the look out for rings that feature sparkly old cut diamonds, endearing terms (my PET ring is one of my favorites!), or unique shapes!

My vintage jewelry collection really started around the time my sister and I opened our online vintage jewelry store, Maejean Vintage, in 2010. My collection is definitely smaller than I would ideally like, because I have such a hard time keeping pieces for myself! I know a lot of other sellers have that same guilty feeling when keeping a piece instead of selling it! Because of this, I only keep a piece in my collection if I absolutely ADORE it and it speaks to me on a personal level.

When I first started collecting, I was drawn to dainty and intricate pieces, mostly from the Art Deco Era. As my knowledge of different eras developed, so did my collection! My jewelry consists of pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Mid Century, and Modern eras. I am finding myself more drawn to bigger and bolder pieces as time goes on. I especially have a soft spot for rings!

Being a student at GIA has introduced me to the wonderful world of gemstones, so I am definitely drawn to gemstone jewelry — especially diamonds, garnets, emeralds and sapphires!

I have had the best luck finding jewelry for my personal collection at antique flea markets – especially the large flea market that happens three times a year in Brimfield, MA! I love flea markets because it really is like a big treasure hunt and I also enjoy the ability to haggle ;). eBay and Etsy have also been great marketplaces for finding unique pieces from all over the globe!

A lot of my pieces have strong sentimental value to me and represent people, places, or different times in my life. I recently acquired this amethyst and seed pearl ring which I wear in memory of my aunt, who adored the color purple. Seed pearls can represent tears, which is also very fitting.

Antique jewelry is my biggest passion – I love imagining where the pieces have been, and who cherished them before they came to me. I feel so lucky to have a career in connecting other people with sparkly old gems! <3

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Maejean Vintage –> @MaejeanVintage

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AMETHYST, FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE

From light pinkish violet to deep purple, the amethyst is one of several forms of quartz. It is the stone of courage and intelligence. Worn by bishops and knights, it was said to bring wisdom and fortune in business. Amethyst is also considered a dream stone. It is often used to cure insomnia, or put under a child’s pillow to prevent nightmares.

It owes its beautiful colour to iron and aluminium presence. Without these colouring agents, amethyst would be completely transparent, like pure quartz, also known as rock crystal. The range of colour is very wide and can vary from nearly colourless with a faint mauve tint to a glorious deep purple.

This stone can be found in several countries. Whether in South America (Brasil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico), in Africa (Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar) or in North America (Canada, United States).

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The amethyst is one of the most popular gemstones, and has been treasured since ancient times. It was largely employed in antiquity, already in Ancient Egypt, where it was known as ‘the stone that brings luck’ and used for amulets and talismans.

Its name derives from the Greek amethystos, which means ‘not drunken’, as its colour evokes that of raisins before their conversion into wine – but also because the stone was thought to ward off drunkenness. Purple has long been considered a royal colour, which partly explains why amethyst has been sought-after throughout history.

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Photo credits : Structure Mineral

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Precious story : vermeil

Vermeil (also known as gold-leaf or gilt) is a thin layer of gold applied to the surface of silver or bronze. It is considered a precious metal.

The Incas were the first to develop gilding techniques, which are numerous.  Although gold and silver-leaf was mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey in the fourth century B.C., the technique was dependent on mercury, which is toxic, and eventually died out.
Today, electrolysis is used to produce vermeil safely. However, it has not enjoyed much popularity until recently when the rising price of gold has made vermeil an attractive alternative.

As a precious metal, vermeil has a hallmark and is subject to customs regulations.

In France, vermeil must have a sterling base and be plated with at least 5 microns of 18-karat gold. In the US, the minimum quality of the gold plating is 2.5 microns of 14-karat gold. Canadian vermeil must consist of at least 92.5% silver and at least 10 microns of gold plate.

Generally, large objects that seem to be made of gold, like sports trophies for example, are actually vermeil. Gilding reduces the need for cleaning and therefore the risk of damaging the jewellery.
Moreover, it is made two hypoallergenic metals, gold and silver, so it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

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Vermeil is often used by WHITE bIRD designer Charlotte Chesnais, who makes elegant and avant-garde jewelry, Stephanie Schneider also use it with fabrics and Arielle de Pinto  discovered a way to turn the chain into fabric and realized the technique could be endlessly manipulated, without compromising the weighted, nearly liquid quality of the work.

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Vermeil jewellery must be carefully maintained for the gold plating wears away over time. It should be stored in individual pouches to avoid friction that can damage the gold surface layer. To clean it, use a sponge soaked in soapy water and then rinse in clean water and dry with a soft cloth. It is not recommended to clean vermeil jewellery too often.

Photo credits : Stephanie Schneider

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Precious encounter : Ileana Makri

Globetrotter Ileana Makri was born in Greece and shares her time between Athen, London, Paris and New York where she has previously lived in and still finds inspiration.
The underlying “rock chic” approach to the design makes her jewellery uncompromisingly contemporary and simultaneously timeless. In her own words, Ileana Makri creates “jewellery for no special occasion”.

What is your first jewellery memory ?

My first jewelry memory is a little talisman pin, a gift to me from my German nanny. This together with a small cross I had found on the street were my favorite toys and I would spend hours playing a very strange game. Even though this was my most beloved items I used to bury them in the sand in our garden and then I was digging to get them back again.

 What’s the first piece that you designed ?

I cannot remember which was first but I have designed many one of a kind pieces as a teenager some of them were still around until Easter of 2014 when they broke into my house and stole all my most beloved pieces. My favorite one was a thread band that broke the first day I wore it because I insisted to make it super thin! This broken in two bands is still in a little box in my drawer.

 What is your favorite stone ? Why ?

My favorite stone is the diamond. It is the symbol that best expresses simplicity since it is unadulterated being pure carbon and at the same time when polished it has the most breathtaking glow of all other gems.

Do you have a piece of jewellery that you wear all year-round?

I always have a pair of mini hoops with me even if I don’t wear them all the time. In the summer it is part of my everyday outfit since I can wear them while swimming or doing other sports. 

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Who are your favorite jewellery designers ?

My most favorite of all times is Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR). His work is a tribute to beauty. I love the work of Sevan Bıçakçı and the enchanting fantasy world that unravels behind every piece he makes. Luz Camino for her beautiful “Plique-jour” work and Wallace Chan for the poetry in all his pieces. Last but not least my friend Irene Neuwirth for her amazing sense of color and endless imagination!

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What are your greatest design influences ?

Great pieces of jewellery made throughout time are always a strong source of influence. However nature, music, gems and the sea are a wonderful source of inspiration for me and I draw many ideas from each of these elements.

 What do you listen to in your studio ?

I listen to different types of music depending on the mood of the moment: Fado- Blues- Soul- Classic and Greek. One of my favorite artists the last years has been Amy Winehouse. 

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If you weren’t a jewellery designer, what would you do ?

One of the professions I would love to do is gardening. I have a great connection with nature and I love flowers. The colors and shapes that you can find in nature are unique and it is impossible to find them elsewhere. I try to express this beauty through jewellery but you can never come even close to the beauty and perfection of nature.

Which famous people (living or dead) inspire you the most ?

Gandhi is my strongest inspiration. “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” are his words that are always in my mind.

What is your dream destination ?

Any place on the planet still unspoiled where nature reigns.

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