Sunday, March 26, 2017

It's Ivane!!!

 For those of you who don't know, Ivane Thiebaut is a resident goldsmith here at Jewel Envy. A lot of her work is inspired by nature, and if you stop by the studio you should definitely take a peek at some of her shell and flower jewellery.

She also has a range of pieces that find their inspiration in Canadiana - perfectly simple and classic, that make me very impatient for summers at the lake, or winters on the trail.

 Classic canoe cufflinks in sterling silver $145

Toronto xoxo postcard bracelet in sterling silver $50
 (our city's skyline features on the reverse side, and it's on an adjustable leather cord)

Fan favourite antler necklace in sterling silver $155
My favourite pine cone in sterling $170 (both on silver chains)

Show some hometown (and handcrafted!) love with jewellery by Ivane Thiebaut! You have plenty of time to get yours for the Canada 150 celebration this summer:)

Saturday, March 25, 2017


You might be familiar with engraving from custom initial rings or pendants you have been given as a gift.
Well! Engraving done by hand uses tools like these called gravers that scrape into the surface as you draw across a piece of metal.

Here is a sample piece that really shows each step it takes to add the detail you see in engraved designs.

Imagine the skill it would take to draw INTO metal. Most work is done on flat surfaces (like the initial on the ring and sample above). Building up skill over time engravers take on custom creations especially on one of a kind rings, check these out:

Engravers can work on older pieces bringing them new life or even on the work of one of our goldsmiths here at Jewel Envy. We can custom create a ring and work with an engraver to create a beautiful and one of a kind ring. Check out more rings below! - Alexis

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The world is your oyster!

  The world is your oyster

  1. You are in a position to take the opportunities that life has to offer.

This is a really strong statement. Almost the cry of a great warrior. Yet the pearl inside the oyster is so fresh, delicate and an absolute mesmerizing beauty to behold. The formation of a pearl is really a wondrous thing
I also think that Pearls have been used to represent women coming of age. They are symbols and demarcations of their stages in life. In some society and cultural circles, young girls received small pearls for their first pair earrings, followed by gifts marking sweet 16, 21, and marriage. Later gifts are used to demonstrate the power and wealth of the woman's husband and position, or place in society.
The "Crown", and "Jackie" are great examples of movies that demonstrate this.  

The Crown shows how paramount pearls were to the image of the Queen, and The Queen Mom. A daily ritual putting on pearls. In Jackie, it was if she was putting on a costume and stepping into a role when she, put on her perfume, fastened her pearls, (put on her gloves) and greeted the public.   

To understand the basics of pearls, how they occur, and are formed, provides a basis for the classification and valuation of these gems.

Make no mistake, Pearls are the King of Gems. Pearls were discovered long before Rubies, Sapphires, Emerald and Diamonds. Pearls are talked about in the Bible, 5,757 years ago.  

There is even an old law that states "you must not charge a premium when you sell two items that match instead of one by itself". Unless the matched pair is so rare, and hard to find and that it might take a long period of time and incur a great expense to match the pair. You can see how this directly relates to pearl earrings! The bible talks about pearls being that rare items that is it so very difficult to find a naturally occurring matched pair.  


Pearls are formed when a foreign matter is introduced into the inside of the bivalve.  The species protects itself by isolating the irritant and coats it with a protective layer to protect the oyster from damage. Calcium carbonate is the material that is deposited on the irritant. It is gathered by the organism from the waters that it lives in. The layers of this material are built up and we collectively called these layers the nacre of the pearl.

Each variety of bivalves, grow for different periods of time, produce different types of pearls, colours, sizes and shapes in pearls.  

Naturally occurring pearls are very rare. Natural pearl beds, were over farmed and natural pearls became extremely rare.     

To read more information on this topic I refer you to Pure Pearls web site that has excellent information on Natural Pearls.


In the early 1900's when natural pearls started to disappear experimentation began where by the bivalves were implanted with seeds and irritants introduced into the pearls. The challenge was to not kill the bivalve when inseminating it and removing the pearl, when it is mature.  

Below is a collection of three cultured pearls that are matched in colour.  All are golden pearls from South Seas, salt water pearls.  

Later I am going to continue, talking about, Mikimoto Pearls and Majorica Pearls which sound so similar, could not be more different. After that we will start the exciting journey of lusting after strands of pearls. How to choose a strand of pearls, worthy of a Kings Ransom....


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Love in Lapland - Iceland

I am Jerell, I have been fascinated with jewellery from a young age, 4 or 5.

Looking through my Mom's jewellery box I would find her good jewellery and a pile of broken and discarded items.

I was amazed that items made of gold would be discarded.  It was usually chains that were tangled or were missing parts.

Even though I was a lively, energetic child, I still had the patience and the eyes for being able to detangle the chains.  

Family have so many traditions and memories around jewellery.

For me jewellery was a right of passage.  Getting my first little gold ring with a turquoise at 7, a watch at 8,  charm bracelet at 10.  And then, charms through out my life ( when charm bracelets are in style I would add charms).  

Growing up I watched my Mom get jewellery for special occasions, and sometimes just because.  The gift and occasions become memories for the entire family.

My sisters and I remember my Mom getting a new ring from the jewellery store in the Banff Springs Hotel.  We were out skating and when we came in we saw this beautiful Lapponia ring that my father got my Mom.  Just because..

As the years progressed, my father added to her collection of Lapponia.  Birks carried the line for many years.

Fast forward 30 years.  I was in Jewellery School and joined the Metal Arts Guild of Canada, I saw an exhibition that the group was putting on.

It was an exhibition of works that were inspired by the sculpture Björn Weckström’s. from Iceland - Lapland.   Bjorn Weckstrom was Lapponia principle designer.

His gold work represented the rough gold nuggets found in Iceland.  These look pretty similar to gold nuggets found in Northern Alberta during the goldrush.

The silver work is inspired by the vast winter landscape and the snow drifts.  It has a frosting achieved through depletion building.  Removing the copper content from Sterling silver, gives the metal a very white, frosted coating.

The last few episodes of Nick's Season of the Bachelor, was filmed in Iceland.

 It is too bad that that he was not able to pick a ring from Lapponia as an engagement ring for Venessa.

Image result for snow drifts in iceland

Photo from Fire and Ice Helicopter Tours of Iceland.

Lapponia and Star Wars

Planetoid Valleys necklace by Lapponia Jewelry.  Photo © Lucasfilm Ltd


Amanda Henderson is one of the resident goldsmiths here at Jewel Envy. Her company is called Jewelust, and she designs and creates amazing jewellery.

Today is all about Amanda’s earrings!

Here is a little sneak peek of one of her earrings that she created here in the studio:

These ones have pretty little roses; you can enjoy too lovely stacking rings,  with the same design.

For a sparkling night, this sparkling and incredible pair of earrings.

To feel sophisticated choose this magnificent pair

For the great days, when everything is on your side, be bold with these ones!

For any day, just to feel unique!

Amanda is a great designer, she also does incredible custom work, her creativity and fine work are one of her trade marks.

Have a nice Sunday.



Sunday, March 12, 2017

Choker Neclace... did you know

I love choker necklaces but not all in their history is rosy!

Choker necklaces are all the rave at the moment, a "must" item of current fashion trend. This is old news however, it was already big in various antic civilisations such as in China centuries ago, American history as well as India and Egypt.


 Also around 1798 during the French Revolution, women used to wear a red ribbon around their necks to honour the people that had been de killed.


 Then around 1860, the ribbon around the neck could mean that a woman was a prostitute, however it was also a favourite item for the ballerina to wear as seen in Degas Ballerinas paintings. Towards the mid century the choker necklace became a Royal Fashion item following princess Alexandra who was wearing them to hide her scar on her neck.

In 1944 it had a revival as shown in 'Life Magazine" for the modern woman.  In 1990 even men were wearing it such as Mike Jagger, Jimmy Hendrix and even Elvis. It had a big revival in the mid 90s as it became highly fashionable again with a "goth' trend with Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.

Again recently every youngster would wear a choker "edgy sexy,  cute but bad ass" too!


Well it's here to stay, and you can even make your own in one of our classes.


Saturday, March 11, 2017


Happy weekend everybody!

I was browsing through my website analytics the other day (a handy and very important feature that I use sparingly/almost never), and noticed something interesting. Some of my traffic had been directed by a website that I recognized immediately - - a recommendation from a professor many moons ago.

It is a shop that specializes in rings specifically made from alternative materials. The owner is allergic to metals, and so she scours the internet to source the most interesting and beautiful, non-metallic pieces in wood, lucite, jade, resin, and you get the idea.

She also posts regularly on her blog, showcasing rings from makers the world over. These features are not limited to alternative materials, but include any and all fabulous wearable rings in all different styles. Anyways, one of my rings was featured here - so yay!

Go check out the blog, there is SO MUCH INSPIRATION and SO MANY RINGS! She's been blogging since 2003, so you definitely have some catching up to do. Have fun!

xx sash


Friday, March 10, 2017

The Classics Revisited

The Classics Revisited

Is there anything that is really considered classic in jewellery?

Maybe are there no real classics, just the style of the day? A la Mode?

I have been staying in a lot during the cold, dark, winter days; hibernating and watching movies and award shows.

Turner Classic Movies are such an inspiration. Hollywood Glam, Netflicks' The Crown shows Queen Elizabeth coming to age, Royalty,  Block Busters - The New Hollywood -.

When I think about the classics I think about pearls.  Long before the discovery of diamonds and platinum, pearls were the most valued gem in the world.

According to the Cultured Pearl Association of America Inc. luster, size, shape, colour, and nacre along with thickness and surface quality are the factors that determine the value of the pearl.

I would also add into this the variety of pearl i.e. Salt Water -vs - Fresh Water Pearls. Virtually all pearls today are cultured, making natural pearls the highest valued.

So what does cultured mean?  Man introduces a seed or a bead, usually round, into a bivalve mollusk. The bivalve forms a coating around the bead called a nacre. In a natural pearl, a pieces of sand or debris enters the bivalve naturally and the nacre is formed. This does not happen very often so now people plant seeds in oysters to start this process.

Natural pearls are highly valued. An example of this is that Cartier purchased his building on Fifth Avenue in NYC with two matching natural pearls.

While single, double and triple strand pearls are still the ultimate in classic jewellery, pearls incorporated into contemporary designs offer the best of both worlds.

This series will continue to talk at how to choose a classic strand of pearls that is worthy of becoming a family heirloom to be handed down to future generations.

Below are some examples of contemporary designs using pearls

The first image is of work by resident goldsmith Hyewon Jang, the second is of student work.


Dear Readers,

We continue with our short series of trips around art and the great and incredible mind of the human being.

From Paris where we were last week, we are flying to Moscow, Russia.

We are going underground to give a glance to the Moscow's Metro.

Moscow’s metro system is one of the busiest in the world and, at 190 miles (305kms) long with 185 stations, it’s also one of the largest. The stations aren’t just transit hubs – they’re a sort of free public art exhibit, and one that tells the history of the city in their design and decoration. The stations were designed so lavishly in the hopes that their beauty would inspire workers on their way to dreary jobs under Soviet rule. These ornate stations eventually became known as “the palaces of the people” for their extravagant architecture. Later, new stations were designed in a slightly more understated way, their appearance reflecting a more austere time in the city’s history. (wikipedia)

With help from David Burdeny, Vancouver-based photographer, we will be able to see the gloriously vaulted halls of Moscow's Metro Stations.

As much you make your way through the system, the history of the city manifests itself before your eyes. The stations range in design, from palatial baroque marble and granite structures to modern iron and glass, revealing the aesthetics ideals, hopes and failures of communist Russia.

All jewelers and designers deal with patters, forms, colors, an every one of us brings our passions through our work.
This extraordinary places give inspiration to me, and over the years my head and my spirit are full with the most extraordinary richest of all, creativity, I  keep all this memories in my heart up today, and they enrich my work and my life every day.

Between the many incredible beautiful stations, I have selected only a few and it's very difficult to choose, but these will show you some of the most incredible underground places on earth.

Arbatskaya Station, it was designed by Leonid Polyakov, Valentin Pelevin and Yury Zenkevich. Since it was meant to serve as a bomb shelter as well as a Metro station, Arbatskaya is both large (the 250-m platform is the second-longest in Moscow) and deep (41 m underground). The main tunnel is elliptical in cross-section, an unusual departure from the standard circular design. The station features low, square pylons faced with red marble and a high vaulted ceiling elaborately decorated with ornamental brackets, floral reliefs, and chandeliers. The walls are covered with cream-colored ceramic tile. (Wikipedia)

Elektrozavodskaya Station. Named after the electric light bulb factory nearby, the preliminary layout included Schuko's idea of making the ceiling covered with six rows of circular incandescent inset lamps (of which there were 318 in total). However the outbreak of World War II halted all works until 1943 when construction resumed.

The station's legacy was that it serves as a bridge between the pre-war Art Deco-influenced Stalinist architecture as seen on the second stage stations and their post-war counterparts on the Koltsevaya Line. Both Genrikh and Rozhin were awarded the Stalin Prize in 1946 for their work.

Kievskaya Station feature low squares pylons faced with white marble and surmounted by large mosaics by A.V. Both the mosaics and the arches between the pylons are edged with elaborate gold-colored trim. At the end of the plataform is a portrait of Vladimir Lenin.(Wikipedia)

You can open at home in this cold and shiny Sunday many more links of this beautiful metro's stations at the Moscow's metro. Let your imagination fly, the world is incredible and amazing.

Have a nice Sunday.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Art Deco Inspiration

Dear Sunday readers,

Many years ago, I found this book, ART DECO JEWELRY by SYLVIE RAULET in an old book store in Montreal.

The book provides essentials to anyone interested in the ART DECO period or in superb examples of the jeweler’s art.

As the author’s says “A piece of jewellery is the symbolic object par excellence, appreciated as much for its aesthetic qualities as for its intrinsic value”

Art Deco was a pastiche of many different styles, sometimes contradictory, united by a desire to be modern. From its outset, Art Deco was influenced by the bold geometric forms of Cubism; the bright colors of Fauvism and of the Ballets Russes; and the updated craftsmanship of the furniture of the eras of Louis Philippe and Louis XVI; by the exotic styles of China and Japan, India, Persia, ancient Egypt and Maya art. It featured rare and expensive materials such as ebony and ivory and exquisite craftsmanship. (Wikipedia)

Ones of the many masters of ART DECO are, GEORGES FOUQUET, LOUIS CARTIER, LOUIS ARPLES, RAYMOND TEMPLIER, JEAN FOUQUET, and French houses of jewellery  like BOUCHEROND and LALIQUE.

Many of the creations of the Haute Joaillerie remain unidentified, like the one we can appreciate in this photo.

Anonymous: diamond bracelet with ruby cabochons, mounted on platinum. Sotheby’s Geneva

This Boucheron’s brooch in sculpted lapis, jade, black enamel and engraved citrine, c 1925, signed. Primavera Gallery, New York, it’s one of the great pieces from the French jewellery house in Paris.

The name Lalique evokes the brilliance of jewellery, the wonder of transparency, and the brilliance of crystal. Before it became a brand name, it was the name of a man, an artist of genius, René-Jules Lalique and of his heirs who shared his creative flame.

Lalique necklace in glass and gold. Scarabs composed of moulded blue glass plaques alternate with plaques bearing a design of branches, mounted in gold, c 1925. Sotheby’s Monte Carlo

The most important steps in Cartier's family business were made over several generations by the goldsmith Louis Francois Cartier, his son Alfred Cartier, and his three grandsons, Pierre, Jacque and Louis Cartier. 
Throughout the First World War Cartier continued to produce inventive and original designs. Cartier introduced many innovations into the jewellery market. Primarily known for their work with diamonds, the firm designed lavish pieces, often incorporating other stones in new and unusual settings for contrast and colour.

These three pieces of incredible jewellery, show the magic and incredible work of Cartier’s family.

Cartier: pendant watch in onyx, round diamonds, turquoise and black enamel. Christie’s Geneva.

Cartier: sautoir and tassel pendant in jade, pearls and black onyx, signed. Christie’s Genova.

Cartier: diamond and ruby necklace, mounted on platinum, signed. Christie’s New York.

French jewelry manufacturer GEORGES FOUQUET, considered both master of Art Nouveau and master jeweler in Paris, he joined his father in the family business in 1891 and opens in 1900 a new Bijouterie Fouquet at 6 rue Royale in Paris.

Contrary to Lalique, Georges Fouquet expressed himself through more synthetic geometric forms.
There are so many master pieces from Georges Fouquet but one of the greatest pieces are these pendant earrings in moonstone, sapphires, diamonds, and blue enamel, c 1925. Private Collection.

Another incredible piece from the master is this pendant in grey gold, black lacquer, and brilliant-cut diamonds, blackened silver cord, signed. H. 10 cm, W. 5 cm. N. Manoukian Collection.

I can’t stop myself showing his incredible original pieces, Monsieur Fouquet is one of the greatest master of Art Deco!   

This pendant designed by Andre Leveille in frosted crystal set with onyx and calibre coloured stones, 1925. Private Collection, it’s Fouquet at his best!

I can keep going for ever in the incredible work and master ship of the great masters of Art deco, but before I leave you today I must showcase a piece from Raymond Templier, platinum and diamond brooch, 1930, signed. L. 4.6 cm, W. 3.7 cm. Private Collection

And the one and only Van Cleef & Arpels, vanity case in gold and mauve jade with floral motifs in rubies, emeralds and rose-cut diamonds, edged with green and black enamel, 1926. Van Cleef & Arpels Archives.

I hope you enjoy our trip through ART DECO today as much as I did.

Have a nice Sunday!


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Science in Jewellery

I heard recently that Bill Nye is going to be back in action teaching science through a new show on Netflix. I am excited and decided to dig up some science inspired jewellery to get y'all just as giddy about it as me.

I am a fan of Bill Nye's encouragement of discovery. If you question something around you go forth and experiment to discover answers! - Alexis

Cell Brooches by Paul McClure

Fibonacci Golden Ratio pendant by Shirlee L.
DNA necklace by somersault18:24