FashionFacets

The Master Stroke

San Francisco’s Revere Academy, a professional school for jewelry production and design, is completing its second masters’ symposium this month. Not for the faint of heart, this course features instruction in metalsmithing’s most demanding disciplines, such as granulation, cloisonné enameling, gem carving, and “Metalmorphosis,” new interpretations in traditional metalsmithing. The faculty includes accomplished jewelry artists such as granulation and classic techniques expert Jean Stark, master gem carver Glenn Lehrer, and Steve Midgett, author and expert in mokumé-gané, the Japanese art of wood-grained metal.

The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, located in downtown San Francisco, is celebrating its 20th year of operation. For information, contact the Revere Academy, 760 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102; (415) 391-4179.

De Merini Collection Celebrates Life, Funds a Cure

Thirty years ago, a child diagnosed with leukemia had only a 4% chance of survival. Since then, research—much of it funded by the Leukemia Society of America (LSA)—has boosted the five-year survival rate to 80%.

In commemoration of LSA’s 50th anniversary, De Merini Inc. of New York has created a special collection of luxurious jewelry called “Della Vita,” which means “of life.” The collection includes an 18k white gold, aquamarine, and diamond necklace with detachable aqua pear-shaped drop; a smaller aquamarine and diamond necklace with hand-made 18k white gold chain; and coordinating bracelets, rings, and earrings. De Merini is donating 15% of the gross income from sales of the collection to LSA.

LSA began in 1949 with nine members, $850 in its treasury, and one $500 grant to a single research scientist. In 1999, the organization expects to raise nearly $95 million, with 77% of the total going directly to research and patient services for people with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, myeloma, and other blood-related cancers. It also provides educational and advocacy materials, family support groups, and other patient aid services.

For more information on the Della Vita collection, contact De Merini, 575 Madison Ave., Suite 1006, New York, NY 10022; (888) DE MERINI or (212) 840-8635.

Even Italians Get the Blues

Pink may be the new black, but blue notes remain the order of the day from many Italian jewelry designers. White metals and blue gemstones made an eye-catching duo in many spring collections, using silver, white gold, or platinum set with aquamarine, sapphire, tanzanite, blue topaz, lapis, and blue-dyed glass. Gemstones included traditional faceted and cabochon cuts as well as beads with either faceted or tumbled, free-form shapes. The look works for either sport or dress, say designers.

For an important ring, few designs can top the cool beauty of a sapphire or aquamarine framed in diamonds in a platinum setting. But for everyday wear, trendsetters can choose a blue glass heart in silver wires or a stretch-mesh bracelet with lapis to turn denim jeans into a major fashion statement.

Students Tap into Gold Emotions

Rather than bemoan the lack of talent among today’s student designers, one Italian manufacturer decided to take the matter in hand and create a design competition for students in and around Vicenza, Italy. M.P.M., Vicenza, producer of popularly priced gold jewelry and gifts, launched Gold Emotions Gobbato, a design contest named for company owner Enzo DeGobbato. The event challenges students in art and design institutes and professional jewelry trade schools to produce jewelry of specific weights and categories.

The current winners, featured at the January VicenzaOro trade fair, created women’s pendants and men’s jewelry. The next competition, to be judged this month, requires students to design pieces of yellow or white gold jewelry targeted at a young female clientele. To qualify, students must create a set of ring, necklace, bracelet, and earrings with specific maximum weights. A special prize will be awarded for a pendant of an original subject with a maximum weight of eight grams. Cash prizes and certificates of honor will be awarded in September.

Pearls of the Orient

Underscoring its “Pearl of the Orient” nickname, Hong Kong took its title to heart and sponsored the second annual International South Sea Pearl Jewellery Design Competition. Organized by the South Sea Pearl Consortium and sponsored by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, this year’s competition attracted nearly 400 design sketches from an international roster of designers.

After preliminary judging, winning sketches were produced by jewelry manufacturers from the designer’s country, yielding a sparkling 21-piece collection that included bracelets, rings, brooches, earrings, pendants, necklaces, and a freestyle category. There were three winners in each product class. Winning designs were on display at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Show and modeled during a fashion show there (see story on p. 252).

As always, some design winners are indicative of emerging trends in the market. Notable in several of the top designs were a two- or three-color combination of pearls in black, gray, white, or gold; pearls in channel or “cage” settings; and the use of matte-finished white metals to enhance the pearl’s opalescence.

JIC Gets Jewelry on the Runways

Sometimes you just have to pound the pavement and bang on doors. That’s exactly what the Jewelry Information Center did to get fine jewelry more of the recognition it deserves within the fashion industry. Appalled by the lack of mention of jewelry (let alone fine jewelry!) at past seasons’ ready-to-wear shows, JIC took matters into its own hands and approached some fashion designers directly. As a result, some of the stars of the New York fashion scene incorporated fine jewelry into their runway presentations for fall/winter 1999-2000.

William Calvert, in his first appearance at the Seventh on Sixth shows, broke away from the minimalism that has gripped fashion for years and chose architectural and nature-inspired jewelry for his show. He selected pieces by the New York gallery NOA and three West Coast designers: Katey Brunini, Christian Tse, and Cynthia Bach. Mary McFadden used jewelry by Simon Alcantara of McCall Alcantara, who created a special collection for her jewel-toned “Mongolian” fashions. Randolph Duke chose a selection of diamond jewelry by Harry Winston and gave it a modern twist by using large colored diamonds (an 83-ct. yellow and a 50-ct. brown) wrapped with leather in the models’ hair. The finale showcased a gold, diamond, and garnet brooch, once owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, in a model’s hair.

At the South of Seventh shows, rising stars of the SoHo fashion design scene also used fine jewelry in their runway presentations. T.C. Laughlin selected 18k gold, platinum, and diamond jewelry by Catherine Iskiw and an extravagant flower brooch with 30 cts. of diamonds by Ella Gafter. William Calvert’s designs were presented again in the S.O.S. shows, this time using South Seas pearl jewelry by Erica Courtney, Ella Gafter, Mikimoto, and 17 other pearl designers. The South Sea Pearl Consortium assisted the designer in selecting his jewelry. Finally, Carla Westcott chose black jewelry—black Tahitian pearls, onyx, jet—and platinum jewelry from NOA and Fragments for her show on April 7.

To find out more about the jewelry, contact Shaye Strager at the Jewelry Information Center, (212) 398-2319.