South Seas Go South of Seventh

The South Sea Pearl Consortium (SSPC) sponsored the runway presentation this spring of designer William Calvert’s fall/winter eveningwear collection. It was part of the second round of New York fashion extravaganzas, the “South of Seventh” shows held in trendy SoHo.

Calvert presented his evening collection in three categories: earth, sea, and air. Each featured gowns and two-piece ensembles accessorized by South Seas pearl jewelry.

According to Devin Macnow, U.S. regional director for the South Sea Pearl Consortium, sponsoring Calvert’s show was part of an effort to reestablish SSPC’s presence in the United States. “It’s important to connect South Sea pearl jewelry with a woman and her fashion lifestyle,” he says.

Jewelry featured in the show included designs by Jennifer Jiunta, Wendy Brigode, Deborah Blohm, Mastoloni & Sons, Broome Pearls, Tri-Gem Industries, Tara & Sons, Shogun Trading, and Mikimoto. Each company provided jewelry featuring white or golden pearls, with an emphasis on simple details, complementing Calvert’s philosophy that clean lines and silhouettes enhance luxurious fabrics more than extreme ornamentation.

Tiffany Puts History on Display

Tiffany & Co. will present an exhibition titled “An American Design Legacy: Highlights from the Tiffany & Co. Archives” from July 17 through

Sept. 11. The exhibition, on display at Tiffany’s flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in New York, will comprise more than 50 objects drawn from the firm’s archives. Divided into five themes, the designs capture the spirit of the age in which they were created and showcase Tiffany as a uniquely American institution that has influenced style and taste for generations.

“Flora and Fauna” focuses on nature, an inspiration for Tiffany design since the company’s founding in 1837.

“The World’s Fairs” theme celebrates the great fairs of old that allowed each country to highlight its most celebrated innovators. Firms such as Tiffany created new pieces that showcased the excellence of American design. This exhibit includes the “White Orchid” brooch with gem-set gold and enamel, one of several orchid brooches exhibited at the 1889 Paris World’s Fair.

“Gemstones” illustrates how high-quality gemstones, particularly colored stones, became a signature of Tiffany jewelry (largely because of the efforts of renowned gemologist Dr. George Frederick Kunz). A highlight of this section is the “Flag Brooch” in platinum, diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. It’s one of the earliest and largest examples of American flag jewelry.

The “Personal Style” segment features jewelry designed for specific individuals, such as the 1941 “Trophée” clip designed by Jean Schlumberger for Diana Vreeland, legendary editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine.

“Living in Style” depicts the American way of opulence during the Gilded Age. At the turn of the 20th century, in the homes of prosperous and upper-

middle-class Americans, social rituals required particular objects, such as the ornate coffee set in sterling silver, gold, pearls, and enamel on display here.

Aspects of Las Vegas

For the Aspects design group, a consortium of international jewelry artisans, the first half of 1999 has been busy. Earlier in the year, several members of the group took part in a special exhibition of European designers at the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) conference in St. Louis, held at Elleard B. Heffern Gallery. Aspects member Michael Zobel of Germany recently published a retrospective of his life and work, while member Michael Good of Rockport, Maine, a goldsmith renowned for his technique in anticlastic raising, entered into a collaboration with enamelist Marilyn Druin to create 18k gold and enamel objets d’art.

The Aspects group was again a featured exhibit in the Design Center at the JCK International Jewelry Show in Las Vegas. Part of the Aspects display was its special “Puzzle” pin. The pin project is a collection of various-shaped brooches from each of the Aspects artists, which fit together to form a circle.

CPIC Encourages Stylists

The Cultured Pearl Information Center recently hosted Design 99, a jewelry preview event for some of Hollywood’s most powerful fashion forces—the celebrity stylists. The event, held at the Argyle Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, featured more than 150 pieces of cultured pearl jewelry from 10 designers.

The stylists had an opportunity to view and feel jewelry by such artists as Ella Gafter for Ellagem, Erica Courtney, David Orgell, Gumuchian Fils, Asanti, La Nouvelle Bague, Paul Morelli, Cynthia Bach, Wendy Brigode, and Deborah Blohm. Among the stylists in attendance were Philip Bloch, whose clients include Jenna Elfman and Jim Carrey; Jeanne Yang, who’s dressed Calista Flockhart and Sara Michelle Gellar; and Jessica Paster, stylist to Cate Blanchett and Kim Basinger.

Devin Macnow, CPIC director, said the event was part of an ongoing effort to expose the celebrity and entertainment world to the latest pearl jewelry designs, and he commented that the stylists play an increasingly critical role in determining what a star will wear for public appearances.

Design Discoveries

Carolyn Tyler: Stoking the Fires of Paradise

Carolyn Tyler has an enviable lifestyle: Part of it is spent in Santa Barbara, Calif., the rest on the isle of Bali in the South Pacific. Tempting as it might be to just kick back, relax, and enjoy it all, she prefers to use her training from the diverse worlds of anthropology, fine art, and graphic design to create a collection of one-of-a-kind jewelry whose themes incorporate nature, mysticism, and mythology.

Tyler’s Stones of Fire collection is aptly named. The gemstones she chooses are most often brilliant in color, sometimes with phenomenal characteristics such as asterism, iridescence, or opalescence. Tyler prefers the offbeat gem with an unusual shape, color, or interesting inclusion that gives it “personality.” She sets them in 18k to 24k gold to impart the weight and luster they deserve. Among her favorite stones are opal, cat’s eye, ammolite, chrysoprase, and, most recently, South Seas pearls. An entire new collection has been created around these unique pearls. Some are drilled and studded with gemstones, others set in granulation or undulating gold settings that are further embellished with colored gemstones.

Before embarking on her career in jewelry design, Tyler studied fine art, anthropology, archaeology, and commercial art in her native California. Her first business venture was an award-winning agency, CAT Design Advertising, which she ran for 10 years. To satisfy her creative spirit, she opened an import company, Cat in Paradise, for which she designed clothing and exotic objets d’art. Still seeking a “higher expression of creativity with more universal appeal,” she finally found her niche in gemology and jewelry design.

Working in her Bali studio, which overlooks a river amid jungle terrain with a view of a volcano in the distance, Tyler directs a staff of talented Balinese goldsmiths. Her jewelry is inspired by themes from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Celts, and Incas, mixed with the tribal art of Africa, Asia, and Indonesia. Her Stones of Fire collection can be found in top galleries in the United States and abroad. Tyler leaves Bali occasionally to make buying trips or conduct trunk shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Nassau, Bahamas. Then it’s back to recoup and create, blending the worlds of science fiction, astrology, and the majesty of nature. Tyler made her U.S. debut as one of the Rising Stars at the Design Center of the JCK Las Vegas Show last month.

Carolyn Tyler, 2022 Cliff Dr., Suite 256, Santa Barbara, CA 93109; (805) 966-0031, or in Bali, (62 361) 974270.

Best Wishes from Renee Ricca

Renee Ricca danced her way into a million hearts with lively stage performances in A Chorus Line, Cabaret, and Fiddler on the Roof. Now, she’s aiming for a closer relationship with the public through her Circles of Wishes jewelry collection.

Born in South Africa and trained in ballet and theatre at the London Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Ricca performed around the world in a variety of forms, including music, mime, and classical and modern dance. Returning for a visit to her native Johannesburg, she became intrigued by the legends and symbolism attributed to jewelry. She conceived the idea of a gold “wish necklace” consisting of seven charms that stood for universal good wishes of happiness, long life, love, courage, friendship, peace, and prosperity. Ricca researched symbols of antiquity and their meanings to find the right images to depict these wishes.

What she came up with were simple images of a sun, turtle, heart, tree, butterfly, and dove, as well as wheat, which she styled into 14k gold pendants. Ricca credits her performance background with inspiring her interest in fables, nature, and art. “It was important to me to continue the powerful energy and creative expression of performing in another art form,” she says.

Building on the concept, Ricca then created Circles of Wishes for men, a set of wish charms for children called the Birth Wish Gem Collection, and her newest innovation, Promise 2000, a limited-edition collection of three finger rings in 14k yellow and white gold set with gemstones and containing secret compartments in which to store a wish charm.

Ricca says the Circles of Wishes collection has taken off because it speaks directly to its audience. The collection is sold with its own packaging and displays depicting the circles concept. Retail prices are in the moderate range; the collection begins at approximately $100 for miniature charms and interchangeable earring hoops and goes up to $1,000 for Promise 2000 Limited Edition gemstone lockets.

Circles of Wishes Inc., 866 Avenue of the Americas, Sixth Floor, New York, NY 10001; (888) THE-WISH or (212) 213-2739.

Nature Calls

As the romantic trend continues in jewelry design, manufacturers on both sides of the Atlantic are putting their faith in Mother Nature for inspiration in their newest collections. Flowers, foliage, butterflies, and bugs are lending their images to earrings, rings, and necklaces.

Depictions range from childlike, flat daisies to elaborate, sculptured flowers with satin-finished petals and gemstone accents. Animal motifs are also important, from reptile skin textures and abstract images to finely detailed butterflies and moths.