Atlanta-based Cresta Bledoe of Cresta Bledsoe Fine Jewelry uses satin-finished 18k gold and shark tooth fossils.
Cresta Bledsoe of Cresta Bledsoe Fine Jewelry
Headquarters: Atlanta, Ga.
Year firm launched: 2011
Signature style: “Shark teeth fossils in 18k gold. There is some interesting symbolism and folklore around shark teeth fossils. They have been associated with protection for thousands of years. Some of the earliest records in Italy referred to them as tongue-stones for resembling a man’s tongue and thought that they fell from the heavens during eclipses of the moon. They have been thought to be an antidote to snake bites when soaked in wine, protection against the Evil Eye, and even more recently thought to protect the wearer from harm while swimming or surfing in the ocean. My jewelry has a simple, clean-lined, modern aesthetic…that can be worn everyday.
“Often luxury items that are animal based treasures such as ivory, horn, or fur are poached, whereas shark teeth fossils are cruelty free since sharks shed thousands of teeth into the ocean over their lifetimes. Not only are the fossils so special because they are perhaps the oldest relic you will ever touch, but each one had to be found like a needle in a haystack, so there is a very human aspect to them.”
Training, education, and design process: “I began designing and sample development in 2008, inspired by spending time in the small coastal community of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., where my husband’s family has always lived part of the year. Each house has a huge bowl of all different sizes and shapes of shark teeth fossils that have been collected over their lifetime on that beach. I loved the idea of designing a piece for his mother and sister, using fossils that we inherited from his grandmother’s collection—my desire that began as a way to show appreciation for this new tradition that was shared with me, and turned into an obsession with sketching endless designs and learning about jewelry fabrication techniques. What inspired me was not only the family heritage aspect, but also repurposing these beautiful organic fossils that are anywhere from 50 to 100 million years old into something refined and elegant that celebrates each unique fossil shape.
“The clean lines…and interchangeable aspects of pieces…shows my interior design education and background. My education also included studying product design in France, which has been a greater focus recently as I have been working in textile design as the global creative director for a large textile company. I think designing in many mediums adds richness to the overall body of work.
“I work through all of the details in sketches and often determine the stones through doing color studies by painting in gouache on the sketches. I work very closely with a master jeweler who hand crafts each one-of-a-kind piece, and direct all of the details to make each piece unique, such as shapes of fossils, thicknesses of bezels, setting details, orientation, etc. I believe that the fit and feel of each piece is the most important aspect and am constantly testing and reworking details to assure a piece can be delicate but lasting and durable. Achieving this is an engaged process that includes ongoing modifications.
“Since most pieces are one-of-a-kind, we fabricate most of the components in the U.S. However, there are some components, such as the chain—imported from Japan—that we do not.”
Materials of choice: “Primarily recycled 18k yellow gold and shark teeth fossils. Thus far, my pieces use stones as a fine outline to accentuate a shape or form and draw contrast to materials. I use very tiny conflict-free white diamonds and black diamonds to add a highlighted outline, along with grey moonstone, turquoise, sapphire, and chrysoprase for their modern color pairing with the charcoal of the fossils and satin-finished yellow gold.”
Accounts: “Most of my sales are to private clients, but the line is currently sold at Broken English in Los Angeles. I don’t have any overseas accounts at this time.”
Jewelry trade show exhibits: None.
Retailer buy-in: None.
Starting retail price: $1,245 in 18k gold