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Fan Club: Shamballa Jewels, by Marco Bicego

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Marco Bicego explains why he’s a fan of the work of these up-and-coming Danish designers.

[dropcap cap=A]Although Shamballa Jewels first became widely acknowledged by American retailers after receiving the JCK Rising Star Award in 2005, Mads Kornerup actually started the company more than a decade earlier, in 1994. He opened a store in Paris with a diverse collection of ancient Indian and modern Scandinavian-inspired designs. Mads eventually found his own form of expression and expanded the collection with original pieces. Shamballa was worn by A-list celebrities and sold in Barneys New York.[/dropcap]

In the early 2000s, he developed the Star of Shamballa collection to include pieces influenced by the ancient traditions of yoga and meditation. His brother, Mikkel, joined the company as operations partner in 2004. Shamballa Jewels has since become recognized for macramé braided bracelets with 18K gold balls and pavé set diamonds or sapphires of many colors. The philosophy is rooted in spirituality, Buddhist and Tibetan symbols and beliefs, created to remind the wearer of such fundamental human traits as love, compassion, empathy and tolerance and to bring together the harmony of body, mind and soul. — STORY BY BETH BERNSTEIN

[componentheading]Marco Bicego on Shamballa Jewels[/componentheading]

“I first met the design team (Mads and Mik) of Shamballa at the 2007 Couture Show in Las Vegas. Their booth was packed and there was a buzz with the press and retailers that piqued my interest.”

“When I met them, I could see immediately that they had an unusual style and would carve a niche in the U.S. market. Their designs are at once youthful and sophisticated, and are created for well-traveled men and women who are comfortable buying jewelry for themselves. There is also nostalgia in their designs, with the use of leather macramé and pave balls: rough and refined, familiar yet ultra chic and modern.”

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“Mads, Mik and I get together and chat each year at the show. These guys seem to encompass all that I admire. They have a great deal of integrity and energy, and it comes through in their designs. It’s more of a way of life than a brand or a business model. I believe we connect very well on this idea. I also think that our designs complement but don’t compete with each other, and they have similar values to mine — good food, good travels, good fun, family ties — and a true passion for the jewelry.”

“Shamballa takes an intuitive approach and they are on target with their marketing as well. Mads travels and does personal appearances, listening very carefully to what the consumer is saying. It helps them to know where they are going with their product and how to evolve.”

“These Danish guys have an exciting future. They are willing to invest in the experience and to stay true and focused. Plus they have a great sense of humor, which is important on all levels, but it definitely gets you through the more difficult times and keeps what we are doing fun!”

 

[important color=grey title=About Marco Bicego]

Redefining the phrase “everyday luxury,” jewelry by Marco Bicego is sensuous, expertly crafted and designed with imagination. His flair for making a statement that is at once glamorous and personal has been Marco Bicego’s hallmark since he launched the collection in 2000. Says Bicego, “I’m designing for modern cosmopolitan women who understand that they can wear bold pieces with an understated (rather than flamboyant) look and be noticed for their taste and style.” Bicego got his start in his father’s atelier in the Veneto region of Italy. He experimented and came up with a style that blended urban lines with ethnic motifs and merged natural forms with stylistic outlines. This, along with his manipulation and hand finishing of gold, has become his signature style. Today, Marco Bicego is sold in over 1,000 fine jewelry stores throughout the world. He is the recipient of numerous international awards.[/important]

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[componentheading]Designs from Shamballa Jewels[/componentheading]

Single bead thin bracelets with pave colored diamond and sapphire beads in 18K yellow and white gold

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Macramé blue sapphire and diamond 18K pavé bead bracelet

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Macramé and 18K white gold diamond pavé bead bracelet

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Fan Club

Fan Club: Lene Vibe

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Fan Club: Lene Vibe

Megan Thorne praises the witty, enchanting designs of Lene Vibe.

BY BETH BERNSTEIN

 

Published in the September-October 2013 issue

Danish designer and goldsmith Lene Vibe’s collection, called Vibe’s, offers an edgy take on the childhood memories of fairies, exotic flowers and the creatures one might find in the most enchanting of tales. She translates this with elegance and wit into wearable one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry in which the golden, magical motifs are surrounded by sumptuous handpicked South Sea, keshi and freshwater pearls, as well as antique and rough-cut natural colored diamonds. Vibe started as an apprentice at Georg Jensen in 1995, and in 2002, she opened her own store and wholesaling business in Copenhagen. Her work is sold throughout the U.S. by fine retailers, and she has recently expanded the collection to include colored gemstones.

MEGAN THORNE ON LENE VIBE

“FROM THE MINUTE I SAW one of Lene’s pieces, I was awestruck. It was a pearl ring with the most delicate three-dimensional floral motif, and as I looked at it from different angles, I kept discovering new things: A snail climbing up the side, a diamond bezel underneath with a mix of white and yellow gold in the tiniest of flowers. The combination of the metalsmithing and detail and the wearability of it was something that only a true artist could accomplish.”

“Lene’s talent and rare ability come through in each and every piece she designs.” “I particularly love the way she offers an irreverent and witty take on feminine pieces. Her pieces are pretty but are the opposite of girly or sweet. Their beauty lies in the unexpected, like mixing skulls and guns with intricate flowers, snails, leaves and thorns. It is this juxtaposition that gives her pieces their distinctive character.”

“I didn’t meet Lene until about a year after I began seeing her pieces. After meeting her and getting to know how lovely, straightforward and charming a person she is, her jewelry became even more special, if that could be possible.”

“Working with different types of pearls and imbuing them with something that felt so new, original and modern is yet another part of Lene’s sensibilities that sets her apart and has created a unique identity for her as a designer.” “I also admire the way she can take both classic materials, such as pearls, and materials that are more on-trend, such as rough and rose cut diamonds, and never waver from her vision or perspective. Yet, with that said, when a customer puts on one of her pieces, it becomes about them and their style. As clear as her vision is, there is a subtlety that allows the wearer to tell their own story.”

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ABOUT MEGAN THORNE: Megan Thorne’s jewelry has become synonymous with feminine designs that recall the delicacy and graceful fluidity of her first career as a fashion designer. After discovering and mastering the art of metalsmithing, Thorne launched her jewelry collection in 2007. Her intimate knowledge of working hands-on with each piece — from the model through fabrication and finishing and setting each style — has created a loyal following among retailers and consumers alike. Thorne’s bridal line has emerged as the go-to collection for today’s women who desire engagement and wedding rings that exude the character, presence and fine details of heirloom pieces, while also allowing the wearer’s personality to shine through.

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Fan Club: Naomi Blumenthal

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Fan Club: Naomi Blumenthal

“Naomi Has a deep appreciateion for nature, which come through in the way she interprets her floral elements .”

BY BETH BERNSTEIN

 

Published in the March-April 2013 issue

Naomi Blumenthal’s educational background is in sculpture and garden design. In 2002, after the birth of her son, Blumenthal opened a garden design consultancy and started making jewelry for herself as a hobby. Her clients asked if they could buy her pieces, wearing them to charity balls and some to red carpet events. In 2008, with the help of her husband, Ron, she launched the Naomi Blumenthal collection, and it has since blossomed to include all her passions — the natural world combined with the art of sculpture into a alluring, feminine and completely wearable collection.

ROBIN ROTENIER ON NAOMI BLUMENTHAL

“I FIRST SAW Naomi Blumenthal’s jewelry briefly at the Summer JA show. Her feeling for organic textures and motifs that were all hand carved completely intrigued me. She has a true eye for detail but understands completely how to translate this into wearable jewelry.”

“The jewelry is, at the same time, sculptural and feminine. You can tell the workmanship that goes into each style and how well thought out every single piece in the collection is.” “I especially like the flow of her designs. My sensibility has always been not to overdesign, so I am always attracted to simple yet strong shapes and visions.”

“A good design also lies in the correct use of space for proportion and scale, and Naomi seems to execute that with a simple elegance.”

“It is clear that Naomi has a deep appreciation for nature, which comes through in the way she interprets her floral and sea life elements. She explained that she does farming and that connection is vivid in her work.” “As her work evolves, it will be exciting to see how her new pieces layer and complement her stunning original collection.”

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ROBIN ROTENIER: A third-generation designer, and the first in jewelry, Paris-born Robin Rotenier founded his namesake line in 1993. Rotenier attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Gemological Institute of America. In 2006, FIT awarded him the Mortimer C. Ritter Award, one of the highest honors given out by the alumni association. Rotenier carves all his models, and each piece is finished by hand and produced in New York City. His passion for design and attention to detail give each piece a distinctive character. Objects and architectural details are at the core of each new design, and his creations range from tongue-in-cheek and fun to ultra sophisticated and elegant. His attention to his retailers’ needs is unparalleled and a testament to his business acumen.

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Fan Club: Adel Chefridi

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Fan Club: Adel Chefridi

Anne Sportun raves about Adel Chefridi’s fresh take on old-world styles.

BY BETH BERNSTEIN

 

Published in the January0-February 2013 issue

Adel Chefridi launched his jewelry collection in 1998 in New York. Born in Tunisia, he increasingly draws inspiration from his multicultural background, resulting in an attempt in his work to reconcile past and present, nostalgia and hope. His designs are crafted with natural gemstones and recycled metals, and they emphasize simplicity, wearability and durability. Regarding his collection, he explains, “The colors of natural gemstones are the best complement to the natural beauty of people. My work attempts to present the innate beauty of both the gemstones and the wearer.”

ANNE SPORTUN ON ADEL CHEFRIDI

“I MET ADEL CHEFRIDI at a trade show and noticed almost immediately that his work is not only well designed but well finished, with just the right amount of details and nuances and that made it truly stand out for me.”

“There exists an element of old-world uniqueness to his work that is presented in a fresh, easy-to-understand and easy-to-wear way, which is a winning combination!”

“I respect Adel’s goldsmith training background; it shows in the quality of his workmanship.”

“Many of the designs in the various groupings are well merchandised so that they can cross over. They can be worn layered, or a woman can wear a ring from one line and a pendant from another, and it all coordinates beautifully.”

“Retailers can shop his designs at the price point best suited for their store. He offers sterling silver, high karat gold, and a combination of the two. All are finished with the same attention to detail.”

“Having spent time talking with Adel, I am further impressed with what a warm, kind and generous person he is.”

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ANNE SPORTUN: In 1987, Anne Sportun launched Experimetal Jewellery Works, which grew into a retail store in Toronto in 1992 with the help of business partner Barbara Kelly. A second store opened 12 years later, and today, the Anne Sportun Collection has a staff of 25. Sportun describes jewelry as “not bound by words, geography, or ethnicity, but nurtured by a universal language of shapes, symbols and form.” In 2003, she had the honor of having the image of her hands on a Canadian 65-cent postage stamp.

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