Jewelry Navigator

Gems & Unique Jewelry for Shoppers Who Want to Stand Out Beyond Trends

The Not So Scary Truth About Opals


Anne of Geierstein, also known as The Maiden of the Mist is a novel written by Sir Walter Scott, in 1829, and cast an unlucky shadow onto opal.


The story told of a young princess who wore an opal pin in her hair.


When she was happy, the opal radiated with its signature flashes of colors. When she was mad or sad, the opal faded in light and color.


Convinced she was evil or bewitched, holy water was sprinkled onto the opal to break the jewel’s spell, and at once, the princess fainted and collapsed.


The next morning, there was only a heap of gray ashes where she had been laid.


From that point on, opal was believed to be bad luck, and it suffered in popularity.


It regained attention and jewelry status to be pushed again by the jealous diamond industry, so it is speculated.


Today, opal is enjoyed by many for its fiery display and wide variety.


The most recent variety uncovered is a transparent, jelly variety, called Ethiopian opal.


A listener of the podcast reached out to me about a few Ethiopian opal stones she has that have discolored to a duller orangey - yellow color, and asked if I could explain the change of appearance.


I reached out to a few gemologists and specialists, MD Maya Gems, Diana Jarrett, G.G., and Matt Hopkins of Hopkins Opal.


Matt spent some time with me on a phone conversation and explained why the opal changed color, and also clarified the controversial advice to either oil or keep your opals in water.


Be sure to visit the website for the accompanying blog post that will feature links to the research, photos of opals and opal jewelry by Thesis Gems, Russell Trusso, and more!


I met Emily Kuvin at the Jewelers of America Jewelry show in New York this past summer.

She was featured as one of a select few designers in the New Designer Gallery, curated and selected by Liz Kantner.

She’s been featured on Gem Gossip’s site with her Stella jewelry, and now I’m so excited to have her as today’s guest on the podcast.

What I find so interesting about Emily is how she balances the business and design side of her jewelry with the skills and background from her education and prior careers.

With a degree in history and English, she continued into the field of journalism, and was a news broadcast journalist.

She returned to school for a law degree, and practiced law before deciding to pursue a long lasting interest of jewelry design.

Her career experience and research skills as a journalist and in her law profession serve her well in her jewelry business.

She seamlessly balances a mix of aesthetic understanding with business practicality.

Currently, her two collections grow from classical influence, yet offer an elegant and whimsical style.

The Stella (the latin root of the word, star) collection consists of various sizes of organically formed stars with nine arms.

Using an organic star motif, one can interpret her Stella collection to express an appreciation for stars and a respect for the vast universe, or as a resemblance to the “kapow” super hero comic strip graphic as a way to recognize internal strength in a fun and whimsical way.

The largest design, Stella and a medium size, Stellina are featured as necklaces and earrings.

In the center of each Stella and Stellina piece is an oval gemstone surrounded by six small diamonds sprinkled around the center stone and in the middle of the stars’ arms.

Gems like morganite, tourmaline, amethyst, and turquoise are just a few of the gems she uses in all her designs.

The Classical Collection is the second line of jewelry featured in Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design.

Inspired by the iconic pyriamids of ancient Egypt, for which she had an affinity for studying as a young girl, Emily grew her Classical collection based on triangular forms and gems.

Emily combines the triangualr form that three small, bezel set gems with trillion shaped gems as the basis for her Classic Collection.

Both her collections are unique and offer a distinguished celebration to stand out with elegance that transitions between casual to formal wear.

I love how Emily Kuvin’s designs pack a sparkling punch to remind us who we are and to stand up for the super stars we are!


What started out as a concrete jewelry for an architectural thesis project for her graduate program turned into a line of jewelry created by Emily Minton.

Now, Emily is a full time practicing partner at an archticecture firm in Baltimore, where at night and on weekends, you can find her designing and managing the manufacturing of her jewelry from NYC. 

Recnetly, her jewlery was featured on the models for Flying Solo's late summer fashion show.

I was surprised to learn that Emily is both the model and photographer for all her photo shoots for her jewelry.

From scenes that look like a moonscape, to the contrast of straight and curved lines set in the cornfields of Nebraska, Emily's photos on her site and Instagram feed are inspiring and make shoppers intrigued to know more about her jewelry.

You can find Minton online, and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


Episode 24 Making Smart Choices for Jewelry That Lasts


Busy people need to make smart choices for jewelry that lasts.


In this episode, I share tips and features to make jewelry selections that will save you from costly repairs, and ensure a lifetime of wear and enjoyment.


Thanks so much for joining me, and enjoy the episode!

About Brenna, the Jewelry Navigator
A Graduate Gemologist with a degree in geology, Brenna has worked in the retail sector of jewlery for nearly 15 years.

With a heart for the small business owner and independent designers, Brenna fills the gap between trade show and shopper looking for unique jewelry to define life and experience.

By sharing the missions, stories and creations of artisan and independent jewelers, Jewelry Navigator brings jewelry to the shopping public that may otherwise go undiscovered.

Visit for more, and follow on Instagram @jewelrynavigator


AP Gemology & Jewelry With Thesis Gems


Last week’s episode was all about alternative jewelry to the class ring.

I shared so many other ring options that would be worn and not destined for the jewelry graveyards of forgotten jewelry box drawers.



This week, we continue with the school theme with a Thesis.


According to the Oxford dictionary, and Thesis is


“A statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.”


I vehemently stand by the thesis that jewelry is worth more than the money we pay for it.


Jewelry speaks the words we don’t have to tell someone how special they are to us.


Jewelry is like wearing a mini monument that continuously celebrates our most important life events.


Cate Claus is the creator and designer behind Thesis gems, and  brings more validation to my theory



Cate thoughtfully and throughly sources the materials used to create her jewelry, using only the finest gems recovered in the most earth friendly practices while yielding the most return to the local and regional communities and environments.



As stated on her website, her Motto for Thesis Gems is:


“We believe that people and the environment are more valuable than any gem. That’s why Thesis seeks sources that are committed to ethical treatment of workers and the land.  And we donate 1% of our gross sales to organizations fighting to conserve and defend our planet. That's our thesis. Guaranteed forever.”


I feel Cate does a great job proving and supporting her thesis, and she does it all while maintaining a full time practice as a pediatrician in the San Francisco area.


I’m so happy to share her story today!


Episode 22: No Ring Left Behind - Alternatives to Class Rings

Do you still have your class ring? Has it been abandoned in a drawer or jewelry box?

Class rings aren't as popular as they were in the height of their popularity, say in the 1950's through the 1980's.

For decades, graduating from high school and college had been celebrated with a coveted class ring.

West Point Military Academy began the tradition in 1835, and from there, other schools adopted the concept with their own rings.

The first class rings were all metal, or set with gemstones like onyx and carnelian.

Today, many students are choosing to forego class rings.
Some reasons may be cost, lack of interest, or opting for other gifts, like electronics or cash.

Whether you or your student decides to show school pride and celebrate academic merits, graduating from high school and college is a big deal, and worthy to be celebrated with jewelry.

In this podcast, I share alternative rings that will hold interest and have style versatility beyond the year of graduation, so you don't make a purchase only to be abandoned in a drawer or jewelry box a few months or years later.

The jewelers and designers featured in this episode are:

  • California Girl Jewelry
  • Jill Kathleen Designs
  • R. Simantov
  • Emily Kuvin Jewelry Design
  • DRU. Jewelry
  • Hugo Kohl Jewelry
  • Rita Jewels
  • Thesis Gems
  • May Came Home
  • Crash Jewelry
  • Minton - Premium Architectural Jewelry

For links, photo features of the jewelry mentioned in the episode, please visit the blog post on 

Follow Jewelry Navigator on Instagram @jewelrynavigator

Thank you for choosing Jewelry Navigator for your unique jewelry selections, and enjoy the episode!

About Brenna, the Jewelry Navigator
A Graduate Gemologist with a degree in geology, Brenna has worked in the retail sector of jewelry for nearly 15 years.

With a heart for the small business owner and independent designers, Brenna fills the gap between trade show and shopper looking for unique jewelry to define life and experience.

By sharing the missions, stories and creations of artisan and independent jewelers, Jewelry Navigator brings jewelry to the shopping public that may otherwise go undiscovered


Episode 21 And the Winners are…!!!  Juler's Row Giveaway, & A Look Back


As promised, today, I’ll be announcing the winners of the Julers Row Giveaway.

If you missed it, last week, in the Jewelry Navigator Boarding Lounge, Julie Bishop of Juler’s Row and Katherine and Josephine shared her story of how she successfully runs two jewelry businesses, IN


Episode 20 Back to School Jewels With Juler’s Row Home Decor Jewelry Art



We ran a giveaway contest for one of two of her jewelry theme decor items, of either a cushion cut diamond tote bag, or an Opal watercolor rendering canvas print, both with a retail value of $145, and both items are perfect for  back to school = the tote bag with its big, beautiful cushion cut diamond, and the opal watercolor print to brighten up and add sparkle to any dorm or apartment wall!


In the contest on Instagram, instructions were to like the posts, follow both me and Julie at Juler’s Row, and tag 3 friends to enter.


All of her jewelry and home decor items are made in the U.S., with the exception of the katherine and josephine satin straps, and

the artwork prints used for her Juler’s Row home decor items are all designed by Julie, and hand painted by her mother, Amy, also a designer.


Before I announce the winners, I want to thank everyone for listening and supporting Jewelry Navigator Podcast.


I’ve really enjoyed visiting with and sharing the jewelry and the designer’s stories with you.


I look forward to bringing more stories and helpful tips in upcoming episodes.


If you haven’t heard all the episodes, in today’s I re-cap a few of them so you can enjoy a quick synopsis, or created mental notes to go back and hear episodes you missed.


For the remainder of August, and possibly into the first week of September, I’ll be taking a hiatus, but will return with new episodes.


I’m taking time to assess where I can add and create valuable service to you as shoppers and listeners, as well as to the artists and designers I feature.


For now, let’s congratulate the winners of the Juler’s Row diamond tote bag and opal watercolor rendering canvas print


The Cushion Cut Diamond tote bag goes to  Lori Cooper @lcooperfabulous


and the Opal Print goes to Julie Bergstein Romenanko who is @justjulesllc on Instagram.


Congratulations to both Lori and Julie for winning Juler’s Row wonderful creations! I’m so happy for both of you, and thank you for following and supporting me and Julie on Instagram!


The format for the podcast has mostly been visits with guest designers and jewelers.


A few have been solo episodes where I’ve shared information that is probably not common knowledge for shoppers, and I hope has been helpful.


I’ve thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the jewelers and designers, and sharing their jewelry and stories with you.


The following are clips from six of the episodes - there are fourteen others waiting to be heard and enjoyed.



I met Samantha Jackson at a show in New York in February.

I was so excited to find her, and you can hear the rest of her story, but here’s a quick clip from Episode 14 The Virtues of Heavenly Vices Fine Jewelry With Samantha Jackson



Many of the designers I feature are women, but there’s one who captured my attention with her innovative concept of using the parts from late luxury and sports cars, like ferraris, maseratis, and prosches that sustained minor damages, from her husband’s auto body shop,

Christi Schimpke from the third episode, Q & A With Crash Jewelry Founder Christi Schimpke


It’s important to me to help shoppers understand the proper terminology and common misconceptions with jewelry terminology and concepts.

One of my pet peeves is referring to diamonds as chips, and the misnomer of using semi in combination with the word precious when describing gemstones.


Here’s a clip from

Episode 11 Chips are for Lunch, Not Diamonds and Other Helpful Jewelry Tips



Marc knobloch generously shared so much information on diamonds that i had to make two episodes!

Marc is a third generation diamond specialist in NY’s diamond district.


Marc and I spoke during the late afternoon while he was on his way home, so there are sounds of the city’s busy commute


He helped clarify a few of the complex concepts when shopping for a diamond, from

Part 1 and 2 of Diamonds Demystified with Diamond Industry Insider, Marc Knobloch




I love all jewelry, but have  a special place in my heart for colored gemstones, and when they’re big, rare, unusual and beautiful, I really take notice, like the jewelry made by CGJ by an exceptional mother - daughter team in San francisco.



Episode 10: Champagne, Rare Gemstones, and Jewelry With Denise Forbes of California Girl Jewelry




Capturing the essence and revealing the stories and meanings behind the styles and designs reflected by the significant cultural changes experienced during the Industrial Age in America is the gift Hugo Kohl offers through his exclusive vintage and antique style jewelry.


I was lucky to catch Hugo kohl of Hugo kohl jewelry  in the summer when things were a little slower, so was treated to a tour of his factory, workshop, boutique and museum

in Harrisonburg, VA.


He’s made a career from researching and discovering the tools and methods used to make the first jewelry created by the early methods and tools of the industrial era from the 1800’s.


The tour was recorded as the audio for the podcast, so you can hear the sounds of the machines, along with ambient music played at the work stations and in the museum which you can visit and tour


Episode 16 America’s Vintage Jewelry Legacy with Hugo Kohl of Hugo Kohl Jewelry


Thank you for joining me in these first few months of the podcast.


If you’ve enjoyed listening and learning about the jewelry and the designers, I’d so appreciate if you would leave a review, and be sure to visit their websites and instragram feeds and say hello, inquire about a gift design you have in mind, or just tell them how wonderful they are!


Until I return in September, reach out and say hello, tag me, message me - I’d love to hear from you!


And always remember - fasten you jewelry first before helping others with theirs!



Welcome to the 20th episode of the jewelry navigator podcast!

Today’s guest is Julie Bishop, creator and designer behind not just one designer jewelry business, but TWO - Juler’s Row, and Katherine and Josephine.

To help celebrate the 20th episode, and bring some extra sparkle to back to school, I have a very special back to school jewel giveaway, collaborating with my guest, Julie Bishop, and her Juler’s Row home decor items.

Juler’s Row started as a blog, and a way to explore multiple areas of jewelry design.

With bench, metal smithing and design experience, Julie understands the processes from concept to jewelry.

As her career’s evolved, she’s gained more hands on experience from behind the scenes as well as from the boutique counter, assisting clients with custom designs.

Using the concept of the variety one finds in a jewelry district, along with her name,  Juler’s Row is a line of jewelry art - both wearable and decorative - for yourself and your home!

The jewelry of Juler’s Row is sterling silver and yellow gold vermeil over sterling silver, accented with linear and geometric black and white enamel detail, set with rose cut white topaz gemstones, black onyx and fresh water pearls.

Juler’s Row home decor line grew out of an innovative solution to Julie’s desire to have jewelry wall art, and decorative accessories.

 Unable to find just what she wanted, she created a line of wall art and home decor items created and designed between she and her mother, Amy.

The two collaborate on designs, then Amy hand sketches and accents the details with watercolors the antique jewelry, tiaras and gemstones featured on Juler’s Row decor items.

The artwork is then transferred to canvas wall art, tote bags, accent pillows, wallpaper, and paper prints.

Julie’s other line, Katherine and Josephine, is a line of vintage inspired jewelry designs, which connects antique style with a relevant update for today and for years to come.

Katherine and Josephine offers a variety of styles, from minimalistic tube cuffs, set with diamonds on the ends, to jewelry set with French cut stones.

Julie’s fine jewelry line of Katherine and Josephine creates jewelry that’s charming and classical using accents like milgraining and bright cut stones.




As a special treat for back to school, and to help you carry your jewels to school, and deck out a dorm or study room with jewelry, Julie and I are doing and Juler’s Row Giveaway for not one, but TWO Juler’s Row items.


The first one is a Double sided heavy cotton twill tote bag with belting straps, with a Cushion Cut Diamond, Sketched in pencil, painted in watercolor, printed on cotton material, allowing you to sparkle as you return to school, or wherever you go!


The Bag measures 16.25"X15.”, and the diamond was painted by Julie’s mother, Amy, and has a retail value of $145!


The second giveaway and back to school jewel, is a Canvas Print of an


Opal Layout Rendering sketched in pencil, painted in watercolor on 140 lb. paper and transferred to canvas.


The Opal Layout was designed by Julie, and painted by Julie’s mom, Amy.  

The wrapped canvas is 12X12 inches, and 3/4 inch deep, with hanging wire.

Retail Value: $145


I originally had the giveaway scheduled for today, but wanted to give you all more time and chances to win - so, to enter to win either the Cushion Cut Diamond Tote or the Opal Layout Rendering Canvas print, you’ll want to follow both Jewelry Navigator and Juler’s Row on instagram or Facebook, @jewlerynavigator or @julersrow and tag three friends, and include the hashtag, #julersrowgiveaway.


So, you and your friends have a chance to win either the Diamond Tote bag or a jeweled opal canvas print - both perfect for a stylish return to school or to add more sparkle to any office or study area!


I’ll announce the winner on next week’s podcast, and you have until Sunday, August 12, to enter!


I’m so excited to be sharing Julies’s story and her unique jewelry home decor items and jewelry with you, and am grateful for her generous participation in my very first give away!


Good luck!



May came home is a fresh and colorful jewelry line designed by the versatile and talented jeweler and designer, Deborah Halperin.


Inspired by the e.e. cummings poem, “maggie, millie, molly and may,” Debbie brings the joy of discovering the beauty around us through colorfully graphic jewelry designs of enamel jewelry created in both sterling silver and 14kt yellow gold.


Lucky clovers, tiny bunnies, suns, moons, and doves are just a few of the whimsical themes within her colorful jewelry.


Episode 19 shares how Debbie’s journey and second degree in graphic design has delivered her to where she is in her jewelry career today.


I met Debbie and her jewelry at the JA Show in New York recently, and am so glad I did!


I was drawn to her exhibit because of the variety of brightly colored enamel jewelry she makes.


But what’s especially unique about her colorful and graphically pleasing designs, is that many of them are reversible, with one side of the enamel colors as one color theme, and the other side, a mirror image, or complimentary design.


All May Came Home Jewelry is made in the USA, in New York City.

#artisanjewelry #madeinamerica #womenjewelers #poetry

#colorful #happyjewelry


More American Made Jewelry Discoveries


Besides sharing more amazing jewelry designers with jewelry made in America, I thought I’d also take the time to catch up and share some shopping and sale opportunities, which I’ll share in a few minutes.


Summer is for fun and traveling, and we’ve been busy doing that!


In fact after I record this episode, I’ll be headed to DC to visit the Smithsonian museums with my family - and gems etc


For the month of July, I’ve been featuring jewelers and designers of America, and jewelry made in the U.S., starting with Hugo Kohl out of Harrisonburg, VA, who creates jewelry from original, antique tools and hubs used just like they were in the 1800’s.


A lot of his jewelry is accented with ornamentation that held secret messages for the recipients, from cigar band style rings, to signet styles, to the delicately engraved gold wedding bands.


If you missed that episode, it’s number 16 America’s Vintage Jewelry Legacy with Hugo Kohl of Hugo Kohl Jewelry

Then, in episode 17, I featured Kiara Boughner of Wade and Willow Hand Forged Jewelry.

The Eclectic Story and Designs of Wade and Willow Hand Forged Jewelry with Kiara Boughner


Kiara is a talented young woman, who sources many of the stones she sets in her jewelry with her husband, and often includes their young son on their gem hunt excursions in the California desert.


I was mesmerized by both their stories - if you still have summer travels, make sure you download the episodes yo’ve missed to catch up!



Wrapping up July’s podcasts, we continue with American made jewelry, I have some new designers to share with you I met at the Jewelers’ of America Jewelry Show in NY last week.


I was so excited to meet several people I follow on Instagram, most of whom are designers, and one very special gemologist, who I’ll tell you about in a few minutes!


I attended the show with one of my favorite people in the world, and best friend, Angelica.


We worked together in Virginia for a small indie store, and became close friends.


Angelica is passionate about serving shoppers and their jewelry vision by custom or ready made means.


She has excellent “jewelry intuition”, and can move a job along quickly by interpreting a client’s needs and design ideas to finished jewelry joy.


She’ll be taking over The Jewelers Bench in Hershey, PA at the beginning of next year.


It’s wonderful seeing the evolution of the jewelry trade changing over to the next generation with capable and enthusiastic direction.


I was excited to get be with her at the show as I was getting to meet the designers and see their jewelry.




Ok, so on to what I discovered at the show!


Last weekend, I attended the JA show for the first time, and LOVED it!


I especially enjoyed meeting the jewelers and designers in the New Designer Gallery, hearing their stories, and what inspires them to create their jewelry.


We’re navigating a unique business arena - one that can change in months rather than years.


What’s really exciting is seeing the opportunities evolving and growing from the mechanisms of online reach, not only forming friendships, but connections so we can champion for each other.


Most of the designers I met are women, yet many did not start as jewelry designers - which makes their jewelry and stories even more intriguing and endearing.


I’ll share a few of their stories today, and in the coming weeks, I hope to have more in depth features with them.


I flew to Harrisburg Saturday, so I could take the train to New York with Angelica on Sunday.

With filled travel mugs of coffee to go, and our latest trade magazines, we departed for New York.


Before we arrived in the city, we did our homework, and made notes who we wanted to find at the javits center.


We went straight to the New Designer Gallery, a special, but small selection of new designers.




I was excited to recognize the explosion-type designs of Emily Kuvin as I entered the section of the New Designer Gallery.


I’ve been following Emily for several months now, and always love seeing her joyful gem explosions suspended from necklaces, earrings, and as statement rings.


As I visited with her, she shared her formal education and former career was in marketing and journalism.

She picked up jewelry design in high school, and transitioned from her former career to pursue and grow her jewelry business full time.


Based in New Hampshire, All of her jewelry is made in the U.S.


Her signature star explosion motif is part of her Stella line, and almost looks like a comic book emotion explosion, but hers are either freeform shapes to create earrings and necklaces or engraved on cuff bracelets.


She also creates elegant but simple forms using three bezel-set stones to form a single triangle, or paired up with a trillion cut colored gemstone.


You can find her at emily kuvin dot com as emily kuvin jewelry design.

as well as in several specialty and jewelry boutiques in the Boston and New England area, which are listed on her website.








I really enjoyed hearing the designers tell their stories, and as we strolled down the aisle, we were drawn to the booth where Danielle of Merzatta warmly welcomed us to visit her and her jewelry.


Bold, but elegant, Merzatta jewelry is designed and inspired by textures and forms of nature.


Cast directly form organic and botanical originals,

Each piece I wore and examined was comfortable with its own unique features, and the price points are very wallet friendly.


Danielle and her husband, Chris met while on a construction project in the Grenadines.


While in the tropical location, they would collect trinkets of nature while on walks, like a piece of sea fan coral, shells, and random pinecones.


After returning to the States, their relationship continued, they married and had their first child.


In between starting their family, and their continued design work, they discovered means of jewelry fabrication to translate patterns of nature into jewelry, many taken from the items they originally found in Grenadine.


The couple creates and manufactures Merzatta jewelry from their home studio in New Jersey.


I love rings, and she and Chris have created a selection of beautiful designs, some with stones, like a trapiche emeralds and a star sapphires, others with open designs of the patterns and textures they were formed from.


One of my favorite rings is created from the small pinecones that interlock and spin together.

You can see a video in my Instagram feed of the pinecone ring.






Imperfect Grace is a line of colorful jewelry designed with a geometric flair with an endearing history, and is named for the  confidence we grow into as we come into our own adulthood.


Krista Trpkovskiimmigrated From the Ukraine at 12, and weaves small colorful gems into her designs as lively as the colorful Ukrainian cross stitch embroidery from her homeland.


The geometric designs and bright gemstones are set into innovative stacking designs that reflect creativity and versatility.


I loved watching her demonstrate how the rings stack together seamlessly.


She makes stackable bands that look like single or double sided crowns, so when they’re stacked together, they look like a solid band, with the gems alternating from either side.


I’ll put photos up and watch my instagram feed for photos as well.


you can fine her at imperfect grace dot co,


There were ten designers all together in the New Designer Gallery, but I’m saving a few of the others for another podcast, because I want to tell you about who else I met and saw at the show!


I also met both Gigi Ferranti and Lori Ann Friedman of Lori Ann Jewelry.


I’ve admired both Gigi’s and Lori Ann’s jewelry because their designs stand out as being unique and innovative , and I love how their combinations of colored stones and shapes.


Many of Gigi’s jewelry designs have what’s become her signature pattern from her Lucia collection - Lucia meaning graceful light reflects the elegance of her jewelry.


Because most of her designs are based on geometric patterns, the rings and bracelets are stackable, and can be worn together or separately.


Besides meeting Gigi in person (and she’s lovely, warm, and welcoming), I had the honor of visiting and wearing her mermaid ring!


If you don’t know what that is, you HAVE to see it!



Mermaid ring in 18K rose gold set with a rectangular 7.09 ct with Brazilian Indicolite Tourmaline, Pink Sapphires, Diamonds and Tsavorite Garnet.


Once in a while, you come across a spectacular gemstone, and the inspiration comes through that stone; this is one of those cases. We love when the stones speak to us and the creativity starts flowing. This is our interpretation of a Mermaid, beautifully crafted with quality gemstones. For gem lovers, a definite conversation piece.


Her jewelry is a show stopper, and every time we passed her booth, she had shoppers and visitors captivated by her and her jewelry.




Many of the jewelers and designers I feature came from former careers, and ultimately, their skills and past experience contribute to their jewelry in one way or another.



If you’ve ever played with water color painting, you know the color is added in layers.


Building on the concept and design of layers, Lori Ann Friedman of Lori Ann Jewelry, does just that.




It’s a technique that I wouldn’t have expected, but one an intuitive artist like Lori Ann came up with!


For her Mediterranean collection, she Uses high polished gem slices as a the sort of transparent canvas , she then adds layers of gems.


The stones added are mostly bezel-set, and often with a primary center focus stone, surrounded by accent diamonds or other gemstones.



With collections, like



she selects the gemstones while subtly capturing and pairing them with complementary metals and accent gemstones.


Unique combinations, like labradorite, opal and green sapphire create ethereal wearable art, like a ring from her Galaxy collection.


Lori Ann was awarded the Mort Abelson New Designer of the Year from last year’s New Designer Gallery.


Her first career as a graphic designer and art director for an engineering company serves her well as an innovative jewelry designer.


I met up with Lori on one of the semi circular couch alcoves set up throughout the showroom and was able to visit with her before heading to the airport for my return home.


Lori Ann’s jewelry can be found on her website, lori ann jewelry dot com, as well as in Mitchells stores, a luxury brand retail store, with locations  in New York, CT, CA, and OR.


I had been trying to connect with a very busy gemologist while at the show the two days we were there.


You might know her from Instagram as Gemology Geek.

Erica was striding down the aisle of the New Designer Gallery when we found each other.


Smart, beautiful and a wealth of knowledge from all sides of the jewelry industry, Erica is a Graduate Gemologist who shares detailed and interesting gem and mineral facts on her instagram feed and stories.


She’s also worked in almost every arena of the jewelry trade, so she’s familiar with the inside, outside and sideways details of what designers and jewelers go through to produce, show and sell their lines.


The timing was perfect, because she joined me and Lori Ann on the semi circle couch, and we enjoyed an enlightening pow wow.


I didn’t realize how quickly the time would go at the show.


First of all, it’s a large space.

JA does a great job at organization and allowing for plenty of open space for overviews and visiting with new vendors and attendees.


I’ll definitely go again, and next time, schedule in more time to visit with designers and friends.


Wow! That was a lot!

I have been busy this summer, but because it’s the quiet before the holiday shopping storm for jewelers and manufacurures, it’s the perfect time to catch up with them for features and visits.



Speaking of the storm of holiday shopping…


I have some shopping news to share with you!


Get a jump start on holiday shopping in July - seriously - knock off that gift list early so you can enjoy making cookies and drinking cocktails, eggnog, whaterve -  while everyone else frantically shops when the days get dark earlier.


Check out these two designers’ offers to take advantage of deals that will make holiday shopping so much easier!




There are certain people - especially men - I find are very hard to shop for.

Crash Jewelry makes is a whole lot easier.


Christi Schimpke makes jewelry for men and women from minor damaged parts of luxury and high performance sports cars, like Maserati, Lamborghini, Ferraris and more.


Right now, she’s running a 30% off sale on everything in her store!


Cufflinks (they’re not just for men anymore, either), cuff, bangle bracelets, necklaces and earring, all made from the painted doors, hoods and side panels of these luxury cars.

What’s really cool about this jewelry besides being made from these cars, is that it’s super light weight.


go to crash jewelry dot com



I’ve been a big fan of Cate Claus of Thesis Gems for sometime now.


She creates jewelry with an organic, and sometimes almost tribal, but feminine feel.


A lot of her metal accents are hammered, which allows for a complementary texture that makes the stones she uses stand out even more.


She only uses stones that have been ethically sourced, and verified to the ethical treatment of those who source and mine the stones as well as for the land it’s sourced from.



Here’s the mission statement from her


We believe that people and the environment are more valuable than any gem. That’s why Thesis seeks sources that are committed to ethical treatment of workers and the land. We are not afraid to ask important questions about labor practices and environmental impact and seek hard evidence. And we donate 1% of our profits to organizations fighting to conserve and defend our planet.


Our partnerships work to ensure that your jewelry is made with integrity, from the time your gem is liberated from the earth in Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka, or Canada, to the time it is crafted into a finished heirloom by master goldsmiths in the San Francisco Bay Area or London.

-Cate Claus, Thesis Gems



She has a super interesting story that I’m going to share in a future podcast!


Oh! And, her logo is super cool! A lion and a kangaroo as her coat of arms - but very friendly.


Tsavorite, Mozambique ruby, and Lightning Ridge opals are just few of the gemstones beautifully showcased and set within her 18kt yellow gold settings.


Right now, through August 31, 2018, she’s offering $500 off any of her pieces!


See her instagram feed story highlights for complete details and the coupon code @thesisgems.




There are so many wonderfully talented jewelers and designers, and I love sharing their jewelry and stories with you!


If you like learning about new jewelry you can feel good about wearing and sharing, please leave a review in iTunes or through the platform you listen to podcasts on - I’d SO appreciate it!


I’m so excited!!!! We’re almost to episode 20!!!!


Next week, I’ll be sharing the story of a jeweler who not only creates jewelry, but paints it!


AND…we’ll be doing a give away of a bag of gems together, so you’ll really want to listen in, and stay tuned!!


Until next time…cross check your asterism (that’s for gems that exhibit a star, like star sapphires!) and sparkle - talk to you next week!


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