Thursday, November 14, 2013
Jewelry set with garnets became popular in the last part of the 1800s. In shades of red, from pomegranate to dark scarlet, they were cut for faceted point back stones, domed cabochons and beads. Garnets were favored for their dramatic appearance against the skin and for their rich sparkle in the glow of electroliers, the new lighting of the era.
Garnets were mined from Mount Kozakov in Bohemia, a region noted for its network of cottage workshops, with families specializing in different aspects of jewelry production. Bohemian garnet, a relatively soft stone, was faceted with pedal-operated tin wheels in the workshops of stonecutters. Since the coloration is deepest red, faceting a pointed top produced the most reflection and color. Top faceting like simple chatons, checkerboards and rauten cuts were preferred over the traditional point back shape.
To mount garnets, metalsmithing workshops were kept busy in the production of repousee stampings. casting and handmade filigrees. Garnets were set into the plainest one stone earrings to bracelets, collars and tiaras of clustered stones, graduated sizes and complex designs.
After WWI, Bohemia became a region of the newly formed Czecho-Slovakia in 1918. As popular demand for jewelry surged, glassmakers of imitation jewels began producing stones and beads in garnet colored crystal. The enchantment of garnet crystal jewelry has never waned. Sweet Romance offers several pieces reminiscent of garnet and seed pearl jewelry of the early 1900s.
Click here to shop
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Friday, October 18, 2013
Magazine publishers just can’t get enough black ink to print the images of designer apparel so in vogue this year. Whether it’s a demure little black dress, a black leather jacket or a voluminous black velvet cape, black is back and black is big. Fascination with the darker side of the spectrum is based in mystical symbols, gothic themes, ethereal icons, rock stars and movie pirates. It is a totally different angle for mainstream fashion, allowing a unique form of personal expression.
Juxtaposed silver and gunmetal elements include hearts, daggers, crosses, cats, crowns and keys—all the fantastic signature sculptures of Sweet Romance. Loaded with silver dreams and dark imaginings, this collection melds amulets of romance and fortune with symbols of mystery and faith. Crystal prisms and circa 1960s chain styles further articulate Night Light’s edgy, sophisticated look. Layer all your pieces together, black against silver, cross against dragon, swords over hearts.
In manufacturing this collection, I chose a variety of vintage chains from the 1960s. There are heavy gauge etched triple ropes, delicate oval twists, sheared curbs and textured cables. Much of this stock was depleted for Night Light. Vintage glass beads from the 1940s and unusual faceted hematite stones from the 1950s are other elements that add a particular retro authenticity to the collection.
Having lived my life in California, my art is influenced by intriguing local cultural images. Among my favorites are the tarot-like pictures used on the tickets of the Loteria Nacional. It was a French entrepreneur who was the principal promoter of this game of chance, a pastime in 1887 that became the Mexican national lottery. The origin of the 300 year old depictions is shrouded in mystery, but most allude to life, love, hope and fortune: el Corazon, la Estrella, la Calavera, la Corona – the Heart, the Star, the Skull and the Crown. These are the primary symbols of my Night Light collection. I hope it inspires and delights you!
Click here to shop
Click here to shop
Love from Shelley