Sunday, October 27, 2019

Cameos: portaits from the past

Antique Carved Shell Cameo pin and pendant Set in Rose and image 0
We might have seen them in antique stores, or on our grandmother's jewellery box, small portraits, usually from a woman on a profile view carved in a white shell and added to a coral oval back, surrounded by many ornamented accents and being a versatile piece that could double as brooch or a pendant.

 Most cameos represented women in classical Greek attires or pictorial scenes drawn straight from Greco-roman mythology, Artemis Or Diana on a profile with a crecent moon on her forehead, the three graces prancing delicately like ballerinas and other images are very common in this remarkable piece of jewellery.

This Greco-roman influence gives us an amazing start point for this pieces of jewellery to enter the world of fashion as discoveries in archeological expeditions and the uncovering of many ruins and temples at the beginning of the 19th century sparked a neoclassical wave that influenced painting, music, sculpture, attires and many other forms of art, including jewellery.

The most versatile of the jewellery pieces in my opinion, cameos were not only worn by women, as men would also wear then in the cravats, side pockets or the fold of a coat. Of course cameos for men depicted masculine scenes, like a water bearer almost naked, profiles representing classical heroes from literature like Achilles and roman emperors.

Image result for cameo portrait men

Most men and women from the higher classes would commission their own portraits on a cameo.

Not as common today (sadly) many cameos remain as amazing legacies of intricate design and fashion from the previous century. We can find them in antique shops commonly, but there are still goldsmiths and carvers that will create them, and you can even commission your own portrait.

I hope this small article was informative and spark your curiosity about cameos and vintage jewellery! 


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Small & Beautiful, Seed Pearls!

Seed pearls are small pearls formed in saltwater mollusks that are usually 2mm or less in diameter; used vastly on Victorian jewellery as an accent and were considered pure elegance because of the white color and the delicate shine they added to any piece.

Image result for seed pearls

The most famous example of the use of seed pearls is the Gatchina Palace Egg created by the Russian jeweller Peter Carl Fabergé for the Tsar Nicholas II of Russia; the egg was an Easter present for his mother and contained a replica of the small town palace.
House of Fabergé - Gatchina Palace Egg - Walters 44500 - Closed.jpg

Seed Pearls can be found on brooches and a vast number of accessories from the era; Today, not as used and famous, they make unique accents to jewellery and a perfect alternative for the common white brilliant stones.
Image result for seed pearl ring

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Creations after they leave the studio

We love seeing our creations out in the wild! We recently got DMs from a customer with wonderful pictures and I couldn't wait to share them! Jade came into the studio last fall and after introducing her to our space and giving her the run down on what we offer including repairs, redesigns, custom, and classes she was immediately curious about custom creations. She had a vision in mind for the engagement ring of her dreams and we were more than happy to make it happen. Parul searched around for the perfect gem that had a magical colour shift (green/red) called andalusite and it paired beautifully with the leaf pattern of the ring made in rose gold. Then Alexis matched the leaf pattern with a mixed metal rose and white gold band for David. Please enjoy the fabulous pics sent our way!

Photos of Jade and David were taken by Tom Hsiao, check out more of his work here!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

August birthstones

I can't believe that we're already in the middle of August!  Where did the summer go?

Today, I thought I'd talk just a bit about August birthstones, since gems are always a fun topic!  The most well known birthstone for August is the Peridot.  Here are a couple of images of peridot: an image of rough stone in matrix, and a faceted one.... , user pyrope , user Michelle Jo
Peridot is a magnesium and iron-rich silicate, and is sometimes known as chrysolite.  It can vary in colour depending on the amount of iron in the crystal, from yellow, to olive to a more brownish-green.  Occasionally, they can be darker, or a more pure green, but this is relatively rare.

The other main birthstone for August is the spinel.  Sometimes mistaken for  a ruby, it often has a pink to red colour. With crystals incorporating Magnesium and Aluminium, although its main colour is pink, you do sometimes find them in other colours including blue, green, yellow, brown, black, or violet.

Know anyone with a birthday in August? Why not come see what we can design incorporating peridot or spinel for an extra special birthday gift! 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Happy Saturday- and new (ish) window display!

As you may know, if you visit the big blue house, approaching from the south, we have three amazing street level windows, which we use to showcase one of our resident goldsmiths, a special theme, or a special collection of work from the studio group.  We like to rotate the displays, and we have just recently changed out the windows to showcase one of our newest additions-the work of Alex Kinsey of Kinsley Vey Designs.  Alex has a number of pieces from his 'Growth' collection available in the retail shop of the studio, like these earrings and pendant:

However, the windows showcase Alex's more recent work, some large exhibition pieces from his 'Iron Identity' collection, which you can read more about here (as well as see some great photos of his jewellery scale pieces). 

I have to admit that my photos don't really do his fascinating pieces justice!!  Why not wander along Roncevalles and take a closer look at his work yourself. While you're there, check out our class list and maybe visit us in the studio retail area, we love visitors! 

Sunday, August 11, 2019


For thousands of years, emeralds have been mined and considered one of the world's most valuable jewels. The first ever recorded emeralds date back to ancient Egypt, where they were particularly admired by Queen Cleopatra. In addition to their aesthetic value, emeralds were highly valued in ancient times because they were believed to increase intelligence, protect marriages, ease childbirth, and thought to enable its possessor the power of predicting future events. 
An emerald is actually a beryllium stone that owes its special color to beryllium, chromium, and vanadium, all of which are chemical elements that are very scarce, and the reason for the color of an emerald. 
Colombian emeralds are much more on demand, and not just because of their superb quality and color. A gem's value depends upon its size, purity, color and brilliance. Even when they are mined in the same area, each individual emerald has its own unique look that sets it apart from the rest. Dark green is considered to be the most beautiful, scarce, and valuable color for emeralds. An emerald of this color is considered rare and is only found in the deepest mines of Colombia.
The eastern portion of the Andes, between  the Boyacá and Cundinamarca departments, is where most Colombian emeralds are mined. The three major mines in Colombia are Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor. Muzo and Coscuez are on long-term leases from the government to two Colombian companies, while Chivor is a privately owned mine. Muzo remains the most important emerald mine in the world to this date.
One of the most famous Colombian's emeralds are:
Patricia Emerald – this 630-carat, Di-hexagonal cut was first discovered in Chivor in 1920. It is named after the mine owner's daughter, Patricia. This emerald currently resides in the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

Patricia Emerald

Fura Emerald - the second-biggest emerald in the world, with 2.2 kilograms (4.9 lb) or 11,000 carat, found in Muzo, in 1999

Fura Emerald
Tena Emerald - the most valuable emerald in the world, 400 grams (0.88 lb) or 2,000 carats, found in Muzo, in 1999
Tena Emerald

Come to visit us at Jewel Envy with the gorgeous one you have in your magic box; grandma will be very proud to know you are going to enhance it! we can make an incredible design, we can resize it, we can clean it and more, and you will add even more great memories to it!
Have a nice Sunday!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Attention Jewel Envy followers! SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

Greetings from the Blue House in Roncy! I've got some exciting news for you on a sunny Saturday...

*drum roll please....

Our new website has officially launched and its filled with all kinds of goodies for your viewing pleasure! With updated bios on our in house goldsmiths, an updated gallery of our exclusive jewel envy pieces, updated workshop schedule and our NEW ONLINE STORE!

So click here and visit ----> to check it out - I personally guarantee you will not be disappointed!

Happy browsing, shopping and indulging this weekend!

Yours truly,


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Art Jewellery Spotlight: Jorge Manilla

Today I would like to do a spotlight on one of my favorite art jewelers, Jorge Manilla.

Jorge is originally from Mexico, and currently lives and works in Belgium. His work is large in scale, and somewhat unsettling in form. Making use of wood, leather, bone, and metal, Jorge creates work which explores the finality of human life and the metamorphosis each of us go through due to emotional and personal processes.

I was able to see his work in personal at the Munich Jewellery Week 2019 this March. The exhibition is titled Consolidations and featured both Jorge, and Corrina Goutos. Below are some images from that exhibition.


Selection of work by Corrina Goutos & Jorge Manilla at Consolidations

Necklace by Jorge Manilla

Brooch/Object by Jorge Manilla

Necklace by Jorge Manilla

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Textural Jewellery

Most people are familiar with hammered texture on jewellery pieces, however there are so many great ways to add textural elements to jewellery designs. I've compiled a few examples from goldsmiths at Jewel Envy to check out with a description of the technique used to create the texture you see on these fabulous pieces of jewellery!

Don't hesitate to inquire about variations and what we can do to create the texture you've been dreaming about. Even if you don't see it, we can create it!


Reticulated earrings by Michelle Goulet of Mich Matched Metals

Roller printed texture on pendants by Robin Cassady-Cain of House of Cassady

Reticulated ring by Michelle Goulet of Mich Matched Metals

Roller printed pendants by Robin Cassady-Cain of House of Cassady

Etched Patterned cuff bracelet by Peter van Walraven

Roller printer texture cuff bracelet by Jerell Reichert

Charcoal casting ring by Jerell Reichert

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mixed Metal Jewellery

One element I always like to think about in design is combining two different metals. It is an interesting way to introduce contrast and play up elements in jewellery design. With that on the brain I did a quick search of some of my studio mates to share some mixed metal work, enjoy!

And of course, hit us up so we can come up with a custom piece using mixed metals (and don't forget we can reuse any old gold and gems in a new creation)

Steel and yellow gold with blue topaz by Gillian Batcher of Pash Jewellery Design

Titanium, copper, sterling silver, brass with garnet and citrine by Peter van Walraven

18 karat white, yellow, rose gold bands by Helena Perez Lafaurie

Sterling silver with 14kt and 18kt gold details, topaz by Zef Radi

Sterling silver, enamel, 18kt yellow gold by Alex Kinsley
Sterling silver and goldfill wire elements by glaciale goldsmith, Alexis Kostuk

Yellow and white gold with diamonds and ruby by Gillian Batcher of Pash Jewellery Design

Sterling silver and yellow gold with emerald by Zef Radi


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tuesday Introduction!

Hello readers, my name is Alex Kinsley Vey, a recent addition to the Jewel Envy studio.

I’d like to introduce you to my work and my practice!

I am from Hamilton, O.N. where I received jewellery training from my parents. I moved to Toronto in 2010 and studied jewellery at George Brown College, receiving an Adv. Diploma in Jewellery Arts in 2013.

I’ve shown work in Canada, Europe, and the United States. I have been a member of Craft Ontario since 2012, Klimt02 since 2017, and I was accepted into Harbourfront Centre’s Artist-in-Residence program in 2015. After finishing my residency, I joined Jewel Envy as a full-time member!

I split my jewellery practice into traditional fine jewellery, and contemporary art jewellery, and jewellery education. I create engagement rings, teach students gem setting, and exhibit work in art galleries.

My current collection of work is titled Iron Identity which explores my personal and cultural identity defined by the particular environment I grew up in. This identity is intimately entwined with the place itself. Rust, corrosion, a sense of neglect, the commemoration of a fading legacy, and the ability to endure are the concepts and visual language I express in my work.
View from the Pier necklace

Gold für Eisen ring

View from the Pier necklace

This work is predominantly steel, coloured brightly using paints, and then rusted by myself. Strong, geometric forms, and a heavy use of scale.

I also take on client commissions ranging from engagement jewellery, re-using old materials, to special projects. These are a selection of some of these commissions.
Custom sterling silver dragon bracelet

Yellow gold feather earrings.

Pallasite meteorite set in 18k yellow gold frame.

Emerald cut diamond centre stone in platinum mount.

I’m excited to begin this new chapter in my career here at Jewel Envy. Have a great week!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

    Happy Sunday everyone.  It's Jess here at the store all day, holding it down at Jewel Envy in beautiful Rocny :) It's my turn on the blog, and I am feeling introspective. Today, I feel like writing about my WHY. Why do I do what I do?

    Depending where in life you have met me, you either know me as Jessica the martial artist, the banker, the dancer, the goldsmith, the teacher or all of the above. It is true; I chose to wear many hats in my life. I always have, and I do so because it feels like me. I am proud to be multi-faceted and to go through this life meeting beautiful people, learning about myself and experiencing the things that bring me joy. Isn't that what life is about anyway?

    Sometimes I wear one hat more often than another, but make no mistake, I love them all and for different reasons. That being said, the hat I want to touch on today is the sweet hat of the goldsmith. Why do I wear it and why do I love it? That's easy. 

   A piece I create could be a symbol of love between two people or many, it could be a memento honoring a milestone in someone's life, it could be an accessory that makes you feel empowered and unstoppable, or it could be an item of adornment. Whatever the reason, it is beautiful and sacred to me because it is a very special part of me that is in service to you.   
    A piece I create may be for a moment in time, or it may outlive me and go on generation to generation. In doing so, I get to look inside myself for inspiration, leverage the gifts of the earth, and morph them into pieces of art. Something that I create enters someone's life and makes them happy.  I get to take something ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary. From my heart & mind, through my hands and into the world. That my friends, is called alchemy. 


    No matter what we do in life, whether it be one thing or many, I believe it is important we that must show up at our best. Whether designing and creating a piece of jewellery, doing someone's hair to make them feel fabulous, serving a cup of coffee that kicks off someone's day, issuing a plane ticket that kick starts an adventure, making breakfast that gives someone the energy to go out and tackle their dreams, or landscaping a garden that will be the playground for memories made - remember that a part of YOU is going out into the world, and believe me, that is super special and it really means something.

Have a beautiful Sunday everyone!

Lot's of love from #Jewel Envy,


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Those lazy, hazy days of summer!

Happy Saturday! I got up this morning to sun, but my goodness, it's humid out.  It's still nice and cool inside though, if you're out and about in Roncy, come see us and have a brief respite from the heat and humidity!

I love wearing jewellery (hey, I'm a goldsmith, it's a requirement, right?).  However, when it starts getting hot, I find myself being more reluctant to wear things.  So, what do I do with this dilemma?  Earrings!  Big ones, little ones, hanging ones.  The sky's the limit!

We have an amazing selection of earrings, and here are just a few examples from our different goldsmiths in residence:
 Fiona Chen  
Helena Perex LaFaurie
Zef Radi
Mauricio Franco

The other thing I do is to wear my rings on a larger finger, or I have some rings that I specifically like to wear in the summer, that are a bit bigger than my regular rings. Sometimes one size really isn't suitable for all occasions, and that's okay! 

So, that's just my two cents to help you stay comfortable with style in the heat.  Have a great day, and hope to see you soon!