Anna Ruth Henriques: perfect jewelry for a stylish Fall

One thing I love is getting lost, link after link, in the subject of jewelry.

Yesterday I started by getting updated on the blogs @ JCK magazine, where I particularly enjoy the Style 360 section, by Jennifer Heebner. I wanted to research for leafs in particular, for my previous post (read here if you wish). As usually, after a little while I had already discovered something new: Anna Ruth Henriques.

The mood

Anna ruth Henriques, Jewelry, Designer, Leaf, Spider, Nature

It is nature at its best. The website welcomes you with a fresh stream of water running along the green of trees and brown of the wooden bridge. You feel good instantly!

The jewelry

New shapes, deceptively simple when you look at first but so inspired and full of personality. Approachable. You feel like choosing your own favorite and wearing it right away.

The most recurring theme is the SPIDER. Anna Ruth explains her view on this workaholic bug:

“That elegant creature represents self-sufficiency, independence and creativity” (…) “I liken them to my women friends”.

Well, I have always been a bit scared of spiders. But you know what: these spiders have such a tender nature that I want to welcome one to my own jewelry box. I am hooked.

My heart is divided: should I have the cuff?

Anna ruth Henriques, jewelry, designer, spider cuff

Or the ring?

Anna ruth Henriques, jewelry designer, spider ring, carnelian

But then, you also have the LEAF. And here Anna Ruth takes a sculptural approach and creates an  organic shape that combines, again, the right amount of creativity, precious materials and nature, resulting in very attractive jewels.

Styling inspirations

So I’m thinking about celebrating Autumn wearing these irresistible LEAF shaped jewels.

1. Maybe I’ll combine the green leaf with spider earrings with a chunky cable knit sweater and jeans.

Fall trends, Weekend look, cable knit, leaf earrings

2. I can warm up this season’s trendy burgundy looks with the leaf pendant, complete with the cute spider in the back.

Fall trends, burgundy, laef pendant, Anna Ruth Henriques

3. Or maybe just bring my greyish work looks to life with this necklace that combines the many themes in Anna Ruth Henriques’ creations.

Fall trends, work wear, spider, leaf necklace, jewelry

And YOU, how do you plan on updating your jewelry box this season?

Notes for good housekeeping:
a) Jewelry photos were taken from www.annaruthhenriques.com, with the designer’s kind authorization.
b) All clothes and accessories’ photos can be found at www.polyvore.com and www.matchesfashion.com.
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Jewelry trend: a walk in the park

A walk in the park, leaf jewelry, Silvia Taveira

Autumn is here and with it come the rusty colored parks and woods, sidewalks covered in falling yellow and orange leaves. The squirrels play around, looking for food, preparing for winter.

And you start thinking about roasted chestnuts,

their smoky fragrance coming from the oven…

No, no, no, going astray here!

Ok, back to topic:

Nature has always been an inspiration for jewelry designers. Fauna and flora have been depicted in the most creative ways possible, from the most figurative to the conceptual. And that still holds true today.

Flowers tend to dominate, specially the high jewelry scene, given the opportunity they allow for intricate metal work and precious color play, resulting in very sophisticated jewels. However, the LEAF is less frequently represented. Or so I thought.

The latest issue of Vogue Gioiello, edited by Vogue Italy, celebrated the season by pulling together several beautiful examples of leaf shaped jewelry, both contemporary and vintage. As this is a theme I have worked a bit, I stopped to think about it.

The leaf results definitely in a sunnier jewel. Mainly worked in yellow gold and warm colored stones or diamonds, it is no surprise. Less formal than the flower, less romantic than the heart, it is still a feminine shape. It is approachable. And maybe that is why I like it.

Exploring a bit my favorite designers’ work, I discovered wonderful earrings by Cathy Waterman (e), the lovely Katie Holmes wearing Cindy Chao’s leaf earrings (d) – a magnificent example of her White Label collection, the streamlined and always stylish leaf charm by Jennifer Fisher (c), along with the epitome of Fall – Verdura’s leaf brooch, a great example of his gifted approach to color (f). You can also spot me wearing my own design: the Midsummer Dream yellow gold leaf pendant (b).

What about you: are you a Flower or a Leaf person?

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Jewelry trend: double cross

Silvia Taveira, jewelry trend, cross earrings, gold

The cross is one of the timeless shapes in jewelry.

Symbolic, mystical or simply classic, it adds depth and mystery to your look.

The cross pendant is the most common form of wear and we all have one or more of these, in different shapes and materials, which we wear to exhaustion. Well, at least I do!

Now, the trend is double cross: earrings in a cross shape are showing up in brand collections as well as fashion spreads.

Vogue Paris has played this look extremely well in their September issue, featuring cross earrings in the cover, with Kate Moss, as well as inside, in a beautiful black and white session that gives me wishes of cold and foggy winter.

I give you here three examples (left to right) in totally different moods:

Playful – Pomellato Glory collection

Gothic – Stone Paris

Classic – Mysty by Sílvia Taveira (yes, you know her…)

Now, tell me: would YOU wear cross earrings?

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Cindy Chao, I risked my life for you.

One of my favorite jewelry related books is Carol Woolton’s “Drawing Jewels for Fashion”, as I have mentioned in the past. Besides its inspiring qualities, along with a bit of innocent creative voyeurism, it has introduced me to a few (very interesting) new designers.

Such is the case of Cindy Chao. Part of the Natural World chapter, the four pages dedicated to her work show you a few of Cindy’s most iconic creations, drawing side by side with the photo of the finished piece and basically get you crying for more. As you already guessed, the inspiration is indeed Nature and there are recurring themes like butterflies, flowers and hearts that are hooks to my hopelessly romantic side.

Cindy Chao butterfly brooch

At this point, you’re thinking “Yeah, we have seen butterflies in jewelry, haven’t we?”

Well… yes and no. Not like these ones.

The work that goes into these jewels incorporates so much more than just good design, it is even difficult to describe.

It is sculpture – Each design is sculpted in wax, every surface and side worked with excruciating detail. The ending curves could not be more natural.

Cindy chao flower bracelet

It is painting – Assembled over months if not years, the colors are used to create shape and contour with the same fine detail of ancient Chinese painting.

Cindy chao flower brooch

It is mosaic – The irregular size of the stones, either diamonds or colored stones, add to this symphony of movement, resulting in a unique representation of reality that is three-dimensional, grand but also ethereal.

Cindy Chao diamond ring

It reminds me of Gaudi, the Catalan architect who marked Barcelona with his own unique reading of gothic meets modernist forms, along with a bit of nature.

Also from Taiwan – remember my previous post? – Cindy Chao grew up surrounded by artists: her grandfather is an architect and her father a sculptor and both of them had influence in the way Cindy translates her feelings into forms and colors. Initially set to follow a career as an interior designer, Chao fell in love with jewelry after studying gemology in the US.

Most of Cindy Chao’s creations are one-of-a-kind pieces, only available for viewing and purchase to a few lucky ones – the Black Label. However, now there is a White Label, made of wearable jewels that are available at very selective – but still existing – points of sale.

Yes, ok, but what about the life risking?

A-ha! I found out that the first ever “Art Jewel Gallery” had just opened at the Park Life shopping mall in Beijing, and that a mere mortal like myself could go and see Cindy Chao’s work, the White and the Black Label, live.

And more, my own hotel was just across the street from the mentioned Park Life. So there I went.

park hyatt beijing, park life

Now, have you ever crossed a street in Beijing? There you have it! I won’t say more.

PS1 – It was worth it.

PS2 – For more reading on Cindy Chao surf away to www.thejewelleryeditor.com and www.jewelsnob.com or buy Carol Woolton’s book here.

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Sifen Chang speaks Portuguese!

The discovery

I “read” Vogue China. Yes, I do. Just like with Asterix comic books when I was five: I look really hard at the pictures and imagine the whole story.

That’s why, when flying from Shanghai to Beijing, I could not resist the last Vogue China “Jewellery and watches”, looking at me from the stand. It was mine!

As the plane took off, the process began… looking really hard at the pictures and hoping for some English in the text.

Sifen Chang necklace, tahitian pearls

At some point, a page popped: the most exquisite pearl necklace, organic, delicate and so sophisticated. Who did this?? A couple of names came though my head as I searched for the blessed English phrases amidst the Mandarin.

Mmmm, Sifen Chang ?! No bells. Never heard.

One or two days later, killing some time at the hotel, I decided to investigate that name – what was it, again? – Sifen Chang. I googled it, while picturing a man.

Sifen Chang, photo

I was up for surprises, dear readers. Sifen is not only a lady but a Portuguese speaking one too, having spent a good part of her life in Brazil. What else did I need to empathize immediately with this designer? Nothing really…

Career path

According to her website, her career path is impressive. Sifen Chang was born in Taiwan but moved to Brazil with her family, where she grew up and started her professional life as a geology specialist. She decided, however, to go on studying gemology and jewelry design, in GIA’s California campus, and then moved back to Taiwan to work in the jewelry industry.  She opened her studio in 1997 and started creating custom made pieces for private clients. Soon, one of her designs was spotted by Sotheby’s Taiwan head and by 1999 her first creations were being auctioned in Sotheby’s HongKong.

Statement jewelry art pieces

The first thing that strikes me when looking at the pictures of some of Sifen Chang’s auctioned pieces is their light.

Sifen Chang ring, white gold, diamonds

Second, I notice the color – always present but never “in your face”.

Sifen Chang jewelry, ring, brooch

Third, there is the extraordinary ability to make the most of the stones’ natural shape to build beautiful organic yet delicate forms.

Sifen Chang jadeite brooch, white gold, diamonds

Last but not the least, they are wearable jewels.

Sifen chang jadeite earrings, white gold, diamonds

Indeed, for the most discerning collectors only.

Manifesto

Next time I’m in Shanghai, I’ll definitely do my best to meet this exquisite creator!

Meanwhile, make sure YOU take a look at Sifen Chang’s website and let me know what you think.

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Victoire, Dior, Victoire, Dior, Victoire… “I die”!

What happens when a jewelry junkie dies and goes to heaven?

She sees these:

Dior goes Frida Kahlo and I go totally numb.

Check it out at Garance Doré, the lucky photographer.

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Suzanne Belperron… curious about her

Belperron Jewelry monographyWho was Suzanne Belperron?

Now that the Dior book is already comfortable on the bookshelf – actually it’s on the coffee table, closer to me – one needs another fix of creativity. This time, a bit of the past. I am really curious about this innovator whose jewelry Karl Lagerfeld reportedly collects. If good for him…

This one on the way. Run, Amazon, run!

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