Gems of the Earth

'Planet Earth' Yowah Nut Opal

‘Earth’ Yowah Nut Opal

One of the most unique gemstones in the world is the Yowah Nut Opal. 

These unusual opals are mined in the small town of Yowah, located in outback western Queensland, Australia. Yowah is known for its opal mining and they produce some of the most beautiful opals in the world.

Distinctive to the region, Yowah Nut opals are referred to as  ‘picture stones’ because of the gorgeous patterns they naturally create due to their formation in an ironstone (hematite) matrix.

Fashion inspired by art, art inspired by nature. Whichever way it goes, it’s great. I guess you could say that my obsession with Taffin has reached another level. James Claude Taffin de Givenchy is a French born, New York-based jewelry designer and a descendant of the Givenchy fashion house. His jewelry company, Taffin, blows my mind. Each piece he designs is usually one of a kind and many of them are auctioned off. Taffin is currently the creative director for Sotheby’s. I love this guy. Pictured below is his stunning ceramic tree brooch with pear shaped diamonds.

I cannot get over how ridiculously talented people are, how they envision something so beautiful in their mind and manage to create it seamlessly with their hands. The striking resemblance of the Taffin tree to Georgia O’Keeffe’s painting below is amazing. Maybe they’ve both taken trips to Lake George? ;)

From the Lake (Lake George), No. 3, 1924, Georgia O’Keeffe

Patterns in nature often serve as metaphors for life: a diamond is formed by tremendous pressure and time.

Trials shape us into who we are. We’re all under pressure and sometimes the intensity can last a long time; but if nature creates a diamond under these circumstances, just imagine the fruit you can bear.

A diamond in the rough
A diamond in the rough

Never give up on your heart’s desires; these dreams are in your heart for a reason. “At any given moment you have the power to say that this is NOT how the story is going to end.”

Israel is known for its atypical and artful jewelry.  With influences from ancient Middle Eastern cultures and impressively detailed craftsmanship, the pieces a traveler finds here in Tel Aviv are often one-of-a-kind.

While running around Neve Tzedek earlier today I stopped by Boaz Kashi, a small jewelry boutique featuring original designs and revamped vintage pieces from all over the world.  Kashi is a fourth generation jeweler who travels near and far searching for unusual vintage finds.  Every piece in his store stands out in some way: think of brightly colored stones set in darkened metals, unconventional textures and a treasure trove of tribal-inspired creations.

The retrofitted vintage bracelet pictured below is so cool.  I love the bright coral against the shadowy, oxidized silver.  It’s around 50 or 60 years old and is an authentic Yemenite design.  Kashi added the Swarovski crystals to act as the clasp and the contrast of shimmering crystals and darkened silver is wowww…so lovely.

Vintage Yemenite bracelet made of oxidized silver, coral and Swarovski crystals

Vintage Yemenite bracelet made of oxidized silver, coral and Swarovski crystals

I think I gotta pick this one up.  Bling!

On my recent trip to Los Angeles I picked up this Vanessa Mooney necklace from Fred Segal in Santa Monica.  Mooney is a Hollywood darling – she’s the great-granddaughter of Harry Warner, one of the original Warner Bros. – and she designs funky, handcrafted jewelry in her LA studio.  An extensive world traveler, Mooney’s pieces are often characteristic of a place’s culture, natural beauty and tradition.

The necklace pictured above is gold-plated with cubic zirconia and wooden skull beads.  It’s nothing fancy, but the contrast of dark wood against CZ creates a little extra sparkle – I’d describe it as delicate and slightly tribal.

Jewelry designer Lele Sadoughi travels around the world and creates collections by connecting each piece’s design to the placeHer Spring 2013 collection is influenced by Ancient Egypt: scarabs, sundials and scepters.  The use of crystals (instead of diamonds) and enamel makes Sadoughi’s jewelry affordable, with most pieces in the $75-$300 range.  She writes a blog about how her travels inspire her work – the image below shows her “sundial inspiration.”  Pretty cool huh?

Egyptian style is pretty distinct.  I bought a necklace in Israel (that conveniently doubles as a headband) and every time I wear the shimmering black and gold dainty piece on my head I hear “Tracey, you look so Egyptian.”  Essentially, you know Egyptian style when you see it.

Scarab Earrings

Scarab Earrings

Scepter Necklace

Scepter Necklace

This Scarab Bracelet looks like it’s part of a museum collection.

Scarab Bracelet

Scarab Bracelet

Bungee cord jewelry.

Designer Jaclyn Mayer creates artful jewelry collections with bungee cord (the same type used for bungee jumping or for securing luggage) and accents each piece with gold and silver-colored metal hardware.  The designs are awesome and really intricate; the necklace and cuff below are from Orly Genger by Jaclyn Mayer.  Proenza Schouler featured bungee jewelry in their Resort collection a couple of years ago – naturally, Resort collections are always my favorite.;)

Seriously, what a cool idea!

Navan Necklace, rope with metal links and cut out tubes. Via

Navan Necklace, rope with metal links and cut out tubes.

Tawa Cuff, rope with metal links and clasp. Via

Tawa Cuff, rope with metal links and clasp.

Buy the jewelry online or…make your own.  Find simple instructions to make bungee jewelry here.