Friday, January 22, 2010

Jewelry Blog Carnival -- Favorite Jewelry

The jewelry blog carnival is hosted by a diverse group of jewelers to collectively ponder a topic of the month. Please visit the other members' blogs (links at the bottom) to see their views.

The topic this month is our most treasured piece of jewelry not made by our selves. Already I'm in trouble, because I can go a million different ways with that question, right after I ask for a refinement of "most treasured." Which favorite would that be?

If you want to know which piece of jewelry is sentimentally my favorite, then I'll of course choose my wedding ring, given to me on the day I married my best friend. It was chosen from a practical standpoint, as I spent my days in a physics laboratory, wrench in hand, working on broken vacuum pumps, lasers, or electronics. I chose the simple, protected design with an eye to not losing a finger or fracturing a diamond. Close behind that favorite will be the antique cut diamond, the "Mrs. Brown" diamond as we call it, that has been given to four generations of family brides so far, which was reset with my birthstone sapphires as a first anniversary gift. I didn't want to use it in my wedding ring, as I knew it would be passed down to my daughter-in-law someday. I wear those rings every day, yellow gold that they are, even though I predominately choose silver these days for other jewelry.

If I choose my favorite piece of original handmade jewelry, I'll select the not-quite-straight answer of earrings. I adore earrings and wear them everyday. I collect them wherever I go and always remember where and when they were purchased. My jewelry box overflows with them. For many years, I just collected what I liked without regard to the maker. Now I consciously collect from artists I admire, and I've pared down some of the older collection to make room for special pieces, as I can afford to invest more in an adornment that I'll wear frequently. I regularly wear this collection and become heartbroken when I occasionally lose half of a special pair, as I did recently with a silver flower dangle made by Lorena Angulo. On my regular rotation lately: favorite earrings by Lora Hart, Celie Fago, Gordon Uyehara, and Louise Hibbert.

Perhaps the most inspirational earrings I've collected recently were these Australian boulder opal earrings, made by Vicki Grossman Wyrick of Ida Ida Studios (unfortunately, the weblink seems to be broken), which I found at the Fiesta Arts Festival in San Antonio on my 19th anniversary. I love the asymmetry, the name, and the inspiration. Titled "He Said, She Said," the earrings are unmatched but coordinating because her story and his story are always different views of the same events. What a beautiful metaphor for marrige. The photo doesn't show it, but the bottom stone on the female earring (right) is hinged to represent how women chatter while the male earring is rigid and quiet.

My interest in boulder opals originated with these earrings. They have also inspired me to consciously work towards including more narrative in my jewelry, although I can't say that I've made the progress I desire in that direction yet, partly due to dealing with my mother's declining health. She entered hospice this week, so I'm not at home to browse through my collection and snap a photos of a wide range of fabulous work to show. But the one pair of earrings that traveled with me were these, which serve as an encouragement to me to speak up and advocate for my mother in this time of transition.

Please visit these other sites for the perspectives of other fine artists:

Tonya Davidson
Lora Hart
Andes Cruz
Tamra Gentry
Lorrene Davis
Elaine Luther
Marco Fleseri
Angela Baduel-Crispin