Monday, November 30, 2009

The Young Victoria

I just saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, The Young Victoria, and I can't wait to see it! The film follows the early life of Queen Victoria (played by Emily Blunt) who was crowned at the young age of eighteen. It also portrays her marriage to Prince Albert (Rupert Friend), who's subsequent death prompted Queen Victoria to live a life of mournful seclusion.

Queen Victoria is one of my favorite historical figures. It was her life-long mourning period that inspired the Victorian Era, and prompted the popularity of mourning jewelry. I'm excited to see the clothing and the adornment that Emily Blunt wears in this film, it's all sure to be breathtakingly amazing.

Check out the trailer for The Young Victoria below:

Friday, November 20, 2009


I was recently shown this website,, which boasts the refining service of turning your unwanted gold scrap into adorable cats. This seems like a wonderful opportunity to get rid of some junk, and receive a package of purring love in your mailbox.

Now, I have a couple of questions about the services touted by this website... First, what kindof cats are we talking about here? I really don't want a stray cat or an alley cat, or a cat with feline leukemia. Also, is it possible to get a pet of lesser worth in trade for silver? Maybe a Guinnea pig? I do have a couple ounces of scrap silver lying around, and a new hamster would be nice.

Anyway, if you have some scrap gold and want a new pet, check out

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I was excited and flattered to see that I've been blogged about on one of the blogs that I'm currently following, Broesvitrine.

Broesvitrine showcases international jewelry that is 'fresh, special, beautiful or plain crazy.' Jewelry designer Broes van Iterson authors the blog and updates it weekly with new gems that she finds.

Highlighted by Broes was one of the luminescent pieces that I did recently, Biopsy II, which is pictured above. Please be sure to check out Broesvitrine, it's a great resource to learn more about fine art jewelry being made today.

Picture Perfect Parure

On picture day in second grade, I snuck in some of my favorite jewelry to wear for my school portrait. I was immortalized wearing a necklace, a brooch, and a pair of earrings that I certainly didn't leave the house wearing that morning. It was pretty surprising for my family to receive the packet of photos documenting me in all my bejeweled glory.

Even at eight years old, I had a desire to be photographed in my favorite jewelry. I thought the jewelry was beautiful, and therefore I would be beautiful. Despite the fact that none of the jewelry matched, it was a parure that made me feel so special, I don't think I ever took a school portrait that was a memorable since then.

I like to look at pictures of other women wearing their jewelry. I hunt through books at the library, and scan the internet for images of women displaying their collection of jewels. For a while now, I've been collecting portraits of ladies decked out in full regalia, wearing a menagerie of diamonds, pearls, and other precious bobbles. There is something about the way that these women look, the expressions on their face, that reflects how the jewelry makes them feel on the inside. As if the weight of the adornment actually lightens their mood and their raises their spirits. Like a child playing dress-up.

Here is a sampling of some particularly nice images below. I concentrated on women wearing pearls for this selection. Unfortunately, I don't have names for all of the ladies.

Above: Empress Alexandra Feodorovna

above: Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pretty, pretty prototype

I've been working on some new designs that will be laser cut out of neoprene. At the risk of sounding overly self-assured, I'm pretty excited about the things that I've been working on lately. I've been using a wider range of source materials, and creating compositions that incorporate specific imagery from different pieces of jewelry from antiquity. Like Frankenstein's monster... but prettier. Here is an image of a prototype of a bracelet that I've just completed. This is just a computer print out, so in the finalized piece, the white of the paper will be gone and you'll see skin through the negative space.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I spent the afternoon at the RISD library recently, doing a little bit of research on French 18th century jewelry. It was a wonderful way to spend a rainy day: piles of books and a scanner. I was rewarded when I came across this image from the Victoria and Albert Museum, it shows a fashion plate of hair styles from a Parish shop in 1776. I really like how the hair transforms into an ornate system of adornment. Braids become strands of pearls speckled with gems and bows stacked precariously upon their head like a crown. Stunningly precarious.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


'...similarly it was at the moment of her arrival that the Duchess lighted up for the whole evening. And while she was handing over her evening cloak, of a magnificent Tiepolo red, exposing a huge collar of rubies round her neck, having cast over her gown that final rapid, minute and exhaustive dressmaker's glance which is also that of a woman of the world, Oriane made sure that her eyes, just as much as her other jewels, were sparkling.'

-Marcel Proust
A la recherche du temps perdu, Cities of the Plain

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Poor Jewelry Design

I recently came across an interesting article about young contemporary jewelry on DesignBoom. The article, Poor Jewelry Design, focuses on avant garde jewelers who are more concerned with creating objects that communicate issues of value, history, status, or material connotations than following dictums established by previous jewelers. Although I have a problem with the title of the article, the article is a good summary of current investigations in the field. For me, the use of the word 'poor' to articulate the work is a tad belittling. Considering the value of the content associated with the work, allowing the material value to dictate the worth is a reiteration on a stale concept of value.

The text from the article is posted below, enjoy! Be sure to follow the link to the article to see more examples of contemporary jewelry.

the struggle of precious with non-precious materials is typical of recent years and has prepared a new way for 'young contemporary jewelry'. neither preciousness nor eternal preservation seems to be important to this new breed of arty accessories - with its value lying in its communicative potential. within the young international jewelry scene, the new arrangement of everyday materials is a sovereign one and provides pieces with a lively expression. in the middle of the 20th century, a large part of society consisted of middle class people, conservative in their taste and whose ideals were very strong and
deeply-rooted, a society little inclined to change its lifestyle or its symbols. jewelry was often viewed as an emblematic
gesture, a sound investment that could be passed down through generations.

there was, however, another part of society ready for renovation. industry and fashion have changed the approach to jewelry by removing its symbolic and ancestral value. in a society, where great importance is given to superficiality, jewelry has been deprived of any cultural value thus limiting its understanding
and consequently its distribution. in this context, the pioneers of the contemporary scene, albeit with some difficulty, had a fertile ground to work on.

does it represent what it did in the recent past? when economy is stagnant, it is obvious that contemporary jewelry is faced with a very difficult challenge. it seems to be a restricted matter, among a rather small group of people and moves in a limited market, for many reasons including the fact that it does not shift a large sums of money. however, it seems the role of jewelry nowadays is not determined by whether the field is restricted, but whether the designers will be able to maintain and develop this specific sector.
often people do not understand why something so minimal and simple, made from materials such as used material, silicone, plastic, glass, and paper should be so 'expensive'. for most people, 'contemporary' and 'the use of poor materials' is
equivalent to economic.

so what makes some things valuable and others not?
these contemporary accessories are made of innovation and artistic research. a piece of jewelry is not merely a decorative ornament; it usually
has a meaning, which might be a celebration of something, or a loss, it might be very personal,
but these meanings can also be universal, recognizable in today's society. the rigorous monumentality of 'poor jewelry' comes alive when it is worn, when the tactile pleasure of the alt
ernative materials comes into play. in the research of innovative materials, the here featured artists' work is characterized by an empirical approach – solutions are found by direct experimentation.

Images: Hild Dedecker, organic ring; Constanze Schreiber, ornament and crime necklace; Rai Lie, thin ring; and Gesine Hackenberg, necklaces.