Dear Jewelry Friends,
If we were asked to think of one word to describe March at Gem X, it would be: gemstones.
On Gemflix, we stepped into the fascinating universe of the lapidary with Justin K. Prim. Justin, who has studied with master cutters around the world, shared his wisdom and even a demonstration of the cutting process. Our guest host was Cora Sheibani, designer and member of the core, who wonderfully brought in the perspective of the jeweler. After, our member Stephanie Carendi commented, “I love to think of a gem now as carrying the preferences and decisions of its cutter and context and aim.” We could not agree more.
In New York, gemstones took center stage with Top Notch Faceting’s Jean-Noel Soni, who gave us a peek into his latest creations, like mint garnets that burst with springtime colors. Members in London met for a joyful studio tour with the wonderful Joy Bonfield-Combara (Joy BC), and some lucky LA’ers had one wish come true with a visit to see Aladdin’s lamp and other wonders of the Disney Archive. Core member Levi Higgs and member M.J. Rose led an exciting conclusion of our first ever book club and our Gem X Scholar Jenny House of Origin 31 celebrated an amazing recognition.
Read on for more gems like these and a look at what’s coming up next!
Yours in jewels,
Heidi & Lin
Congratulations to Jenny House, founder of Origin 31, for winning a Bronze award in the Goldsmiths Craftsmanship & Design Awards. Jenny is one of our inaugural scholars and she used her funds to purchase CAD software, which has revolutionized her jewelry design process and helped her create a winning design for the awards. Learn more about it, in her words:
Whilst I was CAD trained I hadn’t been able to use the software for over 10 years. I was a little rusty! However, after spending a long week doing tutorials to refresh my memory, I had one day to create my design on CAD to submit to the prestigious Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship And Design Awards for the “Repurposing Jewelry” brief. The brief was:
‘A client who wants to gift their son a special item of jewelry to wish him safe travels and great adventure as he embarks upon 6 months of traveling across South East Asia. He has just completed university where he studied Marine Biology, an intriguing field to which he is very committed and passionate. He had to postpone his exciting travel plans due to the pandemic but is now excited and raring to go! The client wishes to use the materials from their grandparents’ wedding bands that together contain: 11grams of 18ct white gold, and 7 brilliant cut 1.5mm diameter sapphires and 7 brilliant cut 1.5mm emeralds. The client’s son is comfortable wearing jewelry (cuffs, rings, pendant/necklace, earring/s)’
My concept is called ‘Home and Away’ and based around a Chinese good luck coin. It features details of his home, including the Union Jack Flag and a compass pointing north west to his home, and on the reverse a map of the area which he will be traveling in along with the compass pointing south east. As homage to his passion for marine life, sapphires and emeralds create a wave motif.
Check out Jenny’s other work on her Instagram @origin31
One wish came true with Aladdin’s lamp for our members in LA! In collaboration with Jewelry Collectors of LA and Women’s Jewelry Association, we embarked on a magical adventure through the crown jewels of The Walt Disney Archives at the Bowers Museum a few weeks ago. Sharing the jewelry love, 30 members gathered to hear behind the scenes stories about iconic pieces like Cinderella’s Swarovski crystal slipper and Juliet’s larger-than-life wedding ring. One wall displayed the “personal” ring collections of beloved motion picture characters – think the Star Wars rebel signets next to the Queen of Hearts’ cocktail and Jack Sparrow’s pirate rings. A must see, the exhibition will be on view until June 19th. XX
Early in March, a lucky group of NYC jewelry lovers stepped back in time for an evening of “Jewelry Through the Ages,” hosted by Simon Teakle Jewelry. Over cocktails and dinner in a private library, we heard Simon recount tales from his many jewelry adventures, over years spent at Christie’s jewels and now running his own gallery in Greenwich, CT. Our long dining table was filled with conversation, gasps, laughter and jewels spanning from the Georgian era on one end through the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Retro … all the way to Contemporary. And in the recent week, springtime arrived early for us when Jean-Noel of @topnotchfaceting visited from California. Jean sources rough from all over the world before fashioning them into unique, vibrant gemstones. Over cocktails and dinner, Gem X got the first peek!
BOOK CLUB WRAP-UP
In late March, author M.J. Rose and co-host Levi Higgs concluded a wonderful series of discussions about our winter read, The Last Tiara. We were absolutely riveted as we finally learned the truth about Sofiya, Carpathian and the tiara! We were especially intrigued to learn more about The Midas Society in these final chapters and knew we needed to ask M.J. what inspired the Society’s headquarters. You can listen to her answer here. Excursion to the South of France anyone?
It has been such a thrilling reading adventure over the past few weeks. We have been swept into a mystery surrounding a missing Romanov tiara, characters inspired by jewelry legends like Paul Flato and M.J.’s plot twists that kept us guessing to the end. We have loved our intimate conversations with M.J. and book club host Levi Higgs. Stay tuned for a new book club pick, coming soon!
This month we are shining a spotlight on one of our newest members. A jewelry designer who champions lab-grown gemstones, fantastic design, sustainability and artisanal craftsmanship, Anabela Chan grew up in London and Paris and studied at the Royal College of Art, London. Anabela launched her eponymous label in 2014 and opened her new flagship store on Sloane Street, London in 2020. Her creations are worn and loved globally from Beyonce, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, J.Lo to Taylor Swift and members of the Royal Families.
At Gem X we definitely love her bold use of color – both in metal and gemstones. Anabela described her jewelry heaven as “discovering friends and fellow designers’ personal treasure trove of their private collections and their stories”, a sentiment we at Gem X can definitely share. Her favorite gemstones are opals and tourmalines. Her favorite jewel to wear, unsurprisingly, is a cocktail ring. Her dream jewels? The JAR jewels in private collections (yes, please)!
WHAT'S COMING UP...
New York City | Sunday, April 3rd
THE JEWELS OF WINTER SHOW
When Barneys closed its doors in 2020, we wondered what, one day, might fill its space. Our wishes were granted when we heard that The Winter Show is returning this April, and in a special edition, being held inside the storied space that is 660 Madison Avenue. You are invited to join us for a walk around the show to see its best, bejeweled hits.
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles | Saturday, April 23rd
DIAMONDS & FINE JEWELRY FOR BREAKFAST
You are cordially invited by Ana Wroblaski, West Coast Director of Fine Jewelry, for a private Saturday morning tour to preview the Spring Fine Jewelry Signature Auction specially hosted by Heritage Auctions. With light bites and refreshments in hand, we will get to hear more about the auction process and jewelry market. Following the private tour, Heritage invites you to peruse and enjoy the sale at your leisure.
Please RSVP here.
Online | Wednesday, April 27th
At the GemGeneve fair, jewelry writer and historian Vivienne Becker curates Designer Vivarium, an exhibition of the world’s most avant-garde jewelers. Last year this included Rahul and Roshni Jhaveri, the husband-and-wife founders of Studio Renn. Known for pushing the boundaries and creating jewels like this concrete and diamond ‘On the Edge’ ring. On Gemflix, we are invited into the Studio Renn world, to learn about their creative process, novel use of materials, sources of inspiration and much more. RSVP in title.
Versailles, France | Saturday, May 21st
THE ROYAL VERSAILLES BALL
A glorious night in May of fine cuisine, reeling, bubbles, fireworks and entertainment, all in support of the charities Unicef UK, Lewa and Street Child. Gem X is hosting a table and has invited members to join us in France.
The table is currently full, but you can join the waitlist by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
LAST TIME ON GEMFLIX...
For our March Gemflix, we stepped inside the lapidary’s universe with wizard gem-cutter, Justin Prim. After learning from master cutters all around the world, Justin shared some pearls of wisdom with our Gemflix audience. He demonstrated the process of cutting, discussed the power of a good cut and debated the price of beauty. We swooned over the before and after examples of stones Justin has worked on, in our dream version of a gem makeover.
ACCESS ARCHIVES OF 120+ GEMFLIX REPLAYS
Replays are available to all members of Gem X