Queen Presents a Yankee-Made Collar

All must be forgiven for Boston’s little tea-dumping prank a while back: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a team of Americans to create the first piece of official British state insignia ever made outside of the mother country.

A 6-ft.-long, 14k gold chain collar of office was presented to Scotland’s Lord Lyon, King of Arms, last December. The Lord Lyon (though obviously not always the current one!) has been Scotland’s “other king” for nearly seven centuries and is a judge of the realm in all matters of heraldry. He is charged with ordering all state and royal ceremony and occasions, has powers of imprisonment, and enjoys a coronation of his own when he ascends to office.

The 2.5-lb. collar consisted of 47 links with a colored enamel pendant of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, in the center. Forty St. Andrews societies worldwide each funded a link, on which their society name is engraved. The gift re-creates the mysterious necklace depicted in the Lyon coat of arms, which has been missing for 250 years. The project took almost four years to complete.

Sculptor Don McKee of Boulder, Colo., was commissioned to make the collar. He sculpted the original waxes that were molded and cast by Mark Malucci, owner of Colorado Casting & Design of Denver. Malucci was also responsible for alloying all the metal and casting the crown and the St. Andrew medallion. Hoover & Strong of Richmond, Va., provided the sheet gold and round wire used in the project.

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion

Council of India commemorated the golden anniversary of India’s independence by creating this gem-encrusted golden version of India’s national flag. The piece was mounted on a marble Ashoka pillar and presented to India’s prime minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, last year.

Waves, Drops, Pink Pearls Abound at JA Show

Delicate jewelry with Edwardian-era design influences was the leading style trend among manufacturers exhibiting at the Jewelers of America International Jewelry Show, held Jan. 24-26 in New York. The look, made popular initially by period films such as Titanic, continues as the current hit movies Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love highlight jewelry as an important fashion element. Many pieces of adornment, especially neckpieces or earrings, were accented with tiny gemstones or pearl drops and dangles.

The white metal and diamond pavé look is still going strong; in particular, pieces often are wave-patterned or have scalloped edges. Diamond jewelry in general was quite popular at the show, even pieces set in yellow gold. All told, it was a pretty “sparkly” exhibition.

Also making a continued strong showing were both white and black pearls, but the newsmakers were pieces using pink or lavender baroque pearls. The other colored gemstone trend was items incorporating flowers made from colored gems.

The Miller Freeman Jewelry Group, the show sponsors, opened the event with a fashion presentation titled “Fashion & Fine Jewelry – A Mastermix of Design.” Highlighting the increasing importance of fine jewelry in the fashion industry, models displayed leading fashion and jewelry design trends for spring. Participants included Barry Kronen Designs of Sunrise, Fla.; Maurice Lacroix of Encino, Calif.; Rings & Things of Spokane, Wash.; and De Merini, Gumuchian Fils, Jamms Fine Jewelry, Kwiat, Leser Enterprises, LeVian, Nili Jewelry Corp., and Susan Michel Ltd., all of New York. Models wore the fashions of David Rodriguez, Elena Bajo, T.C. Laughlin, and SK Wilbur. All belong to S.O.S. (South of Seventh), a division of SoHo Partnership, an organization that brings together the downtown Manhattan design community.

In other show-related news, the International Jewelry Design Guild celebrated its launch. The new group was the inspiration of New York designer Whitney Boin and Vincent Polisano of Pennsylvania-based Diana Vincent. The guild’s goal is to increase designer prominence in the jewelry industry via events, education, and an ongoing public relations program. Major goals of the organization are to establish and clarify a firm definition of designer jewelry as well as to promote the idea of design as jewelry’s primary and most valuable element.

Boin and Polisano are the organization’s chief officers. Executive board members are Jean-François Albert of JFA Designs in Irvine, Calif.; Lisa Labrado of the Platinum Guild International in Newport Beach, Calif.; Michael Good of Rockport, Maine; Leopoldo Poli of La Nouvelle Bague in Florence, Italy; consultant Mort S. Abelson; and Jane Bohan, Michael Bondanza, Henry Dunay, Peggy Grosz of Stefan Hafner for Bernard Grosz, Jose Hess, Robert Lee Morris, and David Yurman, all of New York. Consultant Judy Karlin-Grant was named as director and key contact.

For more information, call (973) 669-8383.

Greta Garbo Designs of San Francisco, a firm inspired by the late actress and run by her grandnephews and nieces, debuted two new collections of jewelry at the JA Show in New York. Unlike the publicity-shy actress, these bold jewelry designs ask to be noticed.

Garbo’s grandnephew, Craig Reisfield, is the creative director for the firm. He paired vivid memories of his late famous aunt with inspiration drawn from her vast art collection and archival and personal items. He says the collection reflects the true artistry and aesthetic sensibilities of the glamorous but reclusive actress.

The Milan Collection was inspired by Garbo’s interest in textile design. It features an intricate pattern emulating the weave of a fine fabric. The combination of 18k gold with white or black cultured pearls blends visual, tactile, and emotional elements into a collection retailing from $620 to $8,200.

Other lines include The Stockholm Collection, which pays tribute to Garbo’s Scandinavian heritage. It’s based on use of the circle, the earth’s most universal and eternal shape, which complements the Swedish aesthetic of uncluttered elegance. The collection features 18k gold circles in a concentric design and retails from $535 to $5,750.

Greta Garbo Designs Inc., 210 Post St., Suite 1109, San Francisco, CA 94108; (415) 392-5676.

Vivian Alexander Offers Private Museum Tour

V ivian Alexander of Maurice, La., creators of the Forbes Collection of Fabergé egg-inspired minaudieres, launched its spring collection with a private party and tour of the Forbes Magazine Galleries in New York. The museum contains the largest grouping of Fabergé objects outside the Kremlin.

It also holds a vast collection of important American historical documents, such as the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and Richard Nixon’s resignation letter.

Guests watched as Vivian Alexander principals Vivian Tullos and Alexander Caldwell unveiled the newest addition to their Forbes Collection line, a tabletop clock called “Chanticleer Egg Clock.” The clock, made in a limited edition of 150, is the first non-purse objet for the design team and is an artistic re-creation of Peter Carl Fabergé’s Imperial Chanticleer Egg owned by the Forbes Magazine Collection.

Vivian Alexander, 6165 Picard Lane, Maurice, LA 70555; (800) 898-0803 or (318) 898-0803.

Butterflies, dragonflies, bees, and other insects are perennially popular subjects for jewelry designers. Like pearls, their appeal is timeless. Right now, with the newest trends in jewelry inspired by the Edwardian, Victorian, and art nouveau eras of the late 19th and early 20th century, the appeal is even stronger. That’s because the graceful curves and delicate wings of insects served as a focus for many artists of these periods, particularly devotees of the art nouveau movement.

In jewelry design, though, there will always be some who eschew direct representation and prefer to use realism merely as a launching pad for more whimsical, interpretative flights of fancy. Here are some modern jewelry designers’ impressions of the insect world.