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Pave Party

Pave Party

This is one of my all time jewelry stone setting techniques.  The term is derived from the french word PAVE, which literally means “to pave”.   The inspiration for this is the cobble stone streets of Europe.

Small stones are set across the metal in the piece which allows me to blanket the jewelry in color (something I love).Emerald pave signet ring

The pattern for the stones is worked out on the metal to hold the stones into place.  I love setting the stones in oxidized silver, it gives a rich body of color and a powerful effect overall.  Its an old jewelry technique that works well with my crownwork®.

Yellow Sapphire Pendant

 

Working with Pave is where I can play and have fun with the stones, I often sit at my bench with bags of small stones I have picked up in Tuscon and move them all around like puzzle pieces until I get the right combination.

 

The stones are set deeply into the oxidized silver so the jewelry is beautiful and durable.  Click the video below for more of my thoughts on all things Pave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Enamel

Enamel!

I worked with enameling in my designs years ago and recently fell back in love with it.

Enameling has very strong historical design references, it has been used throughout jewelry history dating back to ancient times.  Many cultures have been using enameling for thousands of years dating back to 1300 BC.

Making the enamel involves mixing flux and ground glass then melting it at a high temperature.  It can be extremely difficult to work with and control, our enamelist has years of experience and is a highly skilled artisan.  She uses multiple firings to build up the layers and create the bold, fun colors I love to work with.

Plique-a-jour enameling is hand painted onto the crownwork® in layers so that the color shines through the work.

Opaque enameling is baked into a channel built into the design.

 

Enameling brings a beautiful unblemished permanent color to my the jewels, it doesn’t soften over time and will look the same 100 years from now.

I love the vitreous sheen of the enamel in the jewelry juxtaposed with the polished stones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Q&A with Ray – All about Diamonds

Diamond, Specialist, Buying Stones

What is a lab grown diamond/natural diamond?

A natural diamond is created by the heat and pressure in the earth’s core, they move their way up over millions of years to the earth’s surface – they are carbon molecules that become cubic minerals. A lab grown diamond is a near instantaneous modern version of the same thing. It has the same composition but it’s “in the image of” and doesn’t have the natural unique qualities that a natural diamond has.

Which do you recommend?

They both serve their purpose – I personally prefer natural diamonds. I have worked with them all my life and there is always something special about stones the earth has created. You should work with whatever stone speaks to you and that is within your budget. If you see a lab grown diamond that works for you, then that’s the one that was meant for you!

Will lab grown diamonds wear out or yellow over time or are they the same as natural diamonds?

They have the same chemical composition and they will go the distance, just like a natural diamond.

What is the prettiest cut in your opinion?

I love so many of them! Its always so hard to pick a favorite or the prettiest. If I had to choose one to work with today it would be a 3-4 carat cushion cut, it is elegant and timeless and will always retain its value.

How do I choose an ethical stone? I don’t know where to start

Canadian and Australian diamonds are ethical because of the way they’ve set up the mines. The most important thing is to be able to trace the source of origin, the certification of the stone will be able to tell you that. Having vintage diamonds recut is also a fabulous way to be kind to the earth and ethical at the same time. 

Can you help me source a diamond for my engagement ring?

Absolutely! I studied diamond technology and know everything about the structure of diamonds. I have spent my life working with these gorgeous stones. Click here so we can start a conversation, I can work within all budgets. 

Do you recommend ordering a diamond online? (Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile)

I think it’s better to go somewhere where you’re going to get an education on the stones – I like to get multiple stones for a client and then I give them a loupe to look at them each closely so  I can explain each stone thoroughly. It’s educational, personal and helps you to connect to the stone.

What are some common misconceptions about diamonds?

People often look and adhere to the four C’s – color, cut, clarity, and carat when referencing diamonds. But sometimes you can find a really beautiful one that’s got a lower grade because of an inclusion, but that inclusion that lowered the grade could be right on the very side of the stone that with the right design you can barely see when its set. You can get more bang for your buck!

What are some fun facts about diamonds?

For me, I  love that they are the hardest atomic structure on the planet. They are also the most simple atomic structure. Diamonds are cubic and the speed at which they transmit the light through the mineral is what makes them sparkle so much and that makes them beautiful. The speed of light makes them shine.

What are black diamonds?

Black diamonds are diamonds that nature exposed to other chemicals (graphite, pyrite or hematite) in their formation. They used to use black diamonds to produce the needles for record players! They wouldn’t get worn out after use.

Should I care about the fluorescence in a diamond?

I personally like fluorescence, it gives them a bit of a personality because under a black light it glows. I think it’s one of nature’s great tricks! 

I have some diamonds in old heirloom jewelry. Can you pull these and make me something new?

Absolutely! Depending on their size and condition, it’s easy to reuse diamonds for many things. I love to work with clients to make the perfect new piece for them out of things they no longer wear or have inherited.  I have shared a few of my favorite diamond transformations with you below.

This ring is the perfect blend of something old and something new. The clients’ grandmother gifted a 1 carat diamond earring each to he and his brother to use in rings for their future brides. Our client’s girlfriend had her heart set on an oval ring and we had a 1 carat round to work with. Ray stalked her social media to get a sense of her style and then designed this ring that features the family heirloom and blends that with her amazing style. The ring now has a name “Lady Di” and its own hashtag on Instagram.

The stone in the pendant came from our client’s grandmother’s ring and was surrounded by diamonds. She and her sister split all their grandmother’s jewelry and she brought the pieces she didn’t wear to us. We made a beautiful solitaire Crownwork® pendant and then a pair of stick earrings and circle earrings with the surrounding diamonds. We recycled the gold and incorporated that into all the pieces too. New life for family heirlooms!

This client had a big diamond ring she was no longer wearing, she wanted to use the diamonds for a versatile everyday piece. We pulled the diamonds from the ring and set them in an 18k yellow gold Crownwork® pendant in oxidized silver to make them really pop.

The client had a big pair of diamond earrings that she wasn’t wearing, she saw our 18k yellow gold Crownwork® pinky rings at a trunk show and fell in love.

We made her a pinky ring using one of the diamonds and set it with a black diamond halo for extra dramatic effect.

 

We have shared lots of custom & restoration stories and wedding stories, I love working on these projects.

 

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Pendants

Pendants!

Fun to design and fun to wear, when I am making pendants I like to take my time and really think them through.  Matching the perfect stone(s) to the perfect setting.  I sit at my desk with the settings and pull out my stones, its like a fabulous & sparkly puzzle.

Three of my latest favorite creations to pop out of my brain are all so different but could easily be worn together.

Light pink and dark pink sapphire pendant

Moonstone and diamond pendant

Pink sapphire and diamond pendant

There are so many ways to wear pendants, they are the ultimate mix and match jewel.  They are amazing on their own, stacked with some friends, layered together.  So perfect to collect and treasure.

I always make my pieces on a detachable bail so they can be put on lots of different chains and played with in infinite ways, they can also be clipped onto your bracelets for the ultimate charm.   That is a whole other story that you can read about here.  Have fun and play with your jewels, I certainly have a lot of fun making them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tucson Treasures

One of my favorite things to do every year is hit up the gem show in Tucson, the main show they have in Feb was cancelled but there was a smaller version last week that I went to.  As well as finding beautiful stones to work with I am forever inspired by the incredible bounty mother nature provides.

 

These stunning stones are all snapped up by the museums, they look like something dropped into the earth by aliens.

The Dinosaur bones are breathtaking and always a highlight, the dealer sources them cleans them up and then reassembles them in steel frames to hold them all together.  They are breathtaking and a real highlight to my trip every year.

The real reason I go is to find the stones that speak to me for new jewels, I really do run across rooms when something catches my eye.  These are the gems I brought back with me and I can’t wait to start creating with them.

I found a whole slew of fabulous new beads to make bracelets and necklaces with.

On the left is Prehnite and the right is Aquamarine.  The extra sparkle comes from Titanium coating.

On the left is Aragonite and the right is  Natural Moss Aqua

Natural Moss Emerald

Natural Butterscotch Amber, all one of a kind beads.

I also found these amazing Sonoran Turquoise pieces, I love the combination of the blue and green together.  So dreamy, it has a rich warm organic feel.  I cant wait to make some gorgeous rings and pendants with these beauties.

This Petrified Wood is going to be cut into amazing drops for statement earrings.

 

This pink sapphire is the perfect example of a stone that just spoke to me, the color and the cut are so crisp and clean.  Not sure what I am going to do with this beauty yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easter Inspired Jewels

Gold Huggie Earrings

Easter Eggs can be eaten with your eyes also, here is some of our favorite easter eye candy.

Medium Crownwork® Egg Huggie Stud Earrings

Large Crownwork® Egg Huggie Stud Earrings

Large Crownwork® Egg Huggie Pearl Cluster Stud Earrings

Crownwork® Olive Triple Drop Earrings

Plique a Jour Enamel Acorn Pendant

Crystal Quartz Egg Pendant

Olive Chain and Crownwork® Olive Drop Earrings

Eosite Drop Earrings

Asymmetrical Burmese Jade-Albite Ring

Turquoise Sapphire and Diamond Regency Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Pastel Jewels

Spring is here!

For me, Spring is a celebration of the rebirth of nature and I love watching all the trees and plants come to life and explode from the earth.  It is the perfect time to break out the pastel jewel tones.  I love the mottling colors and imperfections of the stones I am drawn to at this time of year.

The stones that I love to work with also have the properties and feel good factor that we all need as we move into this fresh new season.  Opals bring love and peace; Chalcedony brings vitality and energy; Chrysoprase brings joy and abundance; Turquoise brings wisdom and balance & Coral is a beautiful organic gift from the ocean.

Here are some of my favorite pastel  jewels

Angel Wing Coral BraceletBlue Topaz BraceletChrysoprase Bracelet

Turquoise Earrings Pink Opal and Chalcedony Drop Earrings – Guava Agate Drop Earrings

Pink Opal NecklacePeach Moonstone Triple Wrap Tumbled Chalcedony Necklace

Chalcedony East West RingPeach Zircon and Dimond RingOpal East West Ring

 

Piling on the pastel jewels in Spring is exactly what we all need right now as we emerge from the past 12 months and move forward into this new world.

xo Ray

 

 

 

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Delicata Squash & Arugula Salad

One of my favorite things about fall is the variety of squash to play with,  my current favorite is Delicata, they are so easy to prepare and so delicious.  I wanted to share this simple recipe that is perfect as a side or on its own.

This serves 2 people so just adjust the amounts for your needs

  • Delicata Squash
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Lemon
  • Maple Syrup
  • Flat Parsley
  • Arugula
  • Goats Cheese

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and cover a baking tray with foil.

Grab your Squash and cut the ends off, then cut in half down the middle.  Scoop all the seeds and guts out and throw away.

Slice the two halves into slices at whatever thickness you desire.  They look like cute little half circles.

Throw this into a bowl and splash enough olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt, pepper and red pepper to taste.

Throw these onto your baking tray and put them in the oven for 20 mins, after 20 mins take them out and shake them around a bit then squeeze half the lemon over them and give them another shake to coat before throwing them back in the oven for another 15 minutes.  Take them out again and drizzle them with a little maple syrup then back in the oven for another 7 minutes to caramelize a little.

They should be slightly crisp but still soft.  Put your arugula in a bowl, roughly chop the flat lead parsley and add in, squeeze the other lemon half over this then add in the roasted squash whilst still warm and top with crumbled goats cheese.

Enjoy

xo

 

 

 

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Pave Sapphire Crownwork® Wide Bands


These rings are one of my latest designs and I love the pure simplicity of them, they are the perfect way to wear some fabulous bling on your finger every day.

They measure just a little over 3/4 of an inch in length and width and sit comfortably just under the knuckle

 I designed this ring so the curve starts at the base and lifts up off the finger at the top to accommodate the faceted stones, there is also a beautiful smooth frame around the stonework.  The stones vary in size and are set in oxidized silver to give them an additional pop.  The band is my 18k yellow gold crownwork® of course.

Click here for more details on these beauties in green and orange sapphire, they can be made in any color sapphire or diamonds you desire to order.  The current production time is 3-4 weeks.  Hit that contact us button on this page to start the conversation.

xo

 

 

 

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Classic Bezel Set Earrings

My all time favorite, classic earrings are these bezel set beauties that I make in all shapes, sizes and stones.

They drape so beautifully on the ear.  The hook is made of 18k spring gold so its high tensile, easy to get on and off and helps the earring hang directly underneath the earlobe.  It also pulls the earring in so it sits tight.  No matter where you see it from (side, back, front) the earrings are translucent and you can appreciate the full beauty and detail of the earring and stone.

The rounds come in 10mm, 12mm & 14mm.  The 12mm is the perfect “starter earring” and my all time best seller.

The squares come in 9mm, 12mm & 14mm.

The rectangle come in 10x14mm & 13x18mm

The pear shapes come in 12x16mm & 13x18mm

My classic stones are all listed below, I work mostly in 18k yellow gold.  It’s my favorite metal to work with.  Everything can be made to order in white gold also if that is your jam.

Click here to see more of these beauties, these are usually made to order and take around 2-3 weeks.

 

 

 

xo

 

 

 

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Pinky Rings

Pinky rings are the unsung hero of the jewelry world, they pack a stylish punch and are an essential part of every jewelry collection.

My love affair with them started early in life, I am left handed and very dyslexic so I had trouble with left from right. My mother gave me a little pinky ring to wear on my left hand when I was a young boy and whenever I was confused I would reach down and feel that ring to get my bearings. So for me a pinky ring has been an anchor throughout my life.

They also have a fascinating history, in Victorian times single women and men uninterested in pursuing marriage would wear one on their left hand. Later in the US they were beloved by the Mafia (many thought this was so they could be sold to pay for funeral expenses in case of untimely death).

Today pinky rings are embraced as a symbol of self love. You can wear them with initials, birth stones, family heirloom stone or just your favorite gem.

I am having a serious moment of making these gorgeous rings, click here to see all the fabulous pinky rings currently available. I can also make something to order for you, shoot me an email if you have something in mind.

xo

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Behind the Design – The Drawing

Every designer has their own process for designing, we thought you might like a little peek at Ray’s.  Ray studied technical drawing at college, so he draws all his designs in Plan and Elevation (which is a traditional drafting technique).  “That’s how I get to see a piece in 3D inside my head, because I see it from all sides”

 Whether it’s a new ring, link, earring or pendant for the collection or a custom piece or engagement ring.

Every piece of jewelry starts off with a simple drawing that began its life inside Ray’s head.

 

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Rare & Beautiful

Manon Crespi sat down with Ray at the Couture jewelry show in Vegas and talked all things jewelry for her incredible You Tube series Rare & Beautiful.  Manon is a fabulous writer, jewelry aficionado, model (we have created some beautiful images with her in the past) and most of all very good friend of Ray’s.  Their chemistry and love for jewels shines through in this fabulous conversation.

 

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Classic Cocktails and Classic Jewels

We have teamed up with one our dear friends and the beverage director for the Bowery Group NY (Cookshop, Vics, Shuka & Rosies) Tim Harris to bring you a series of classic cocktails paired with classic jewelry.

We are focusing on pairing the healing properties of the stone in the jewels with the feel good factors of the drinks. Helping us all to feel a little better from the inside out.

Kicking it all off is Clear Quartz, known as the master healing stone. It protects against negativity and helps to attune to the higher self.

Take it away Tim….

Ray and I have known each other since 2008. In that time I have been making cocktails for Ray and Ray has made some beautiful pieces for me and my extended family and friends including our wedding bands and my wife’s engagement ring.

I can’t speak to Ray’s creative process but when I’m creating cocktails, I often think beyond how drinks taste or look, and focus on how they can make you FEEL. EG Does a Manhattan give you confidence? Can a tropical drink transport you to an island beach for a few moments. Will this drink get the party started? That sort of thing. Ray’s understanding of rare stones and the properties they possess inspired this idea of pairing particular jewels to classic cocktails. Here is my take.

My day isn’t over until I can unwind with a classic Martini. The healing properties of that ice-cold, clear deliciousness is a perfect match for this healing crystal. Whether you prefer the classic Gin version or a Vodka number, remember that a martini is all about dry vermouth. Buy a good one and keep it in the fridge. Here is my recipe for the ultimate martini:

CLASSIC MARTINI

3oz London Dry Gin or Premium Vodka

0.75oz Dry Vermouth

1 dash Orange Bitters

1 pinch salt (trust me!)

Place all ingredients in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Add ice and STIR (don’t shake) for 45 seconds. Strain into a chilled glass with a stem (can be a wine glass if necessary) Garnish by taking a piece of fresh lemon peel and squeezing, skin-side-out, into the glass. Add an olive or onion if you like. If you must make it dirty, add some olive brine but not too much.

Click here to see some of our current classic quartz favorites.

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Color Therapy

I have been reading about color therapy and the idea that colors create electrical impulses in our brains that can either calm or stimulate us.  This concept dates back to ancient Egyptians who used sun activated solarium rooms constructed with colored glass for therapeutic purpose.
Here are some of my favorite color combos

xo

Ray