Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Part II: #GYPSYINSF

When I found out I was traveling to San Francisco for my sister's wedding, I immediately started planning which jewelry friends + places I would try and visit. It was a super short trip, so I knew we were going to have to pack it in! Side note: I don't know how I lucked out with a man who's willing to be dragged around to look at gems -- he's a real trooper (here's hoping he stays so willing forever!).

You know that person you follow on Instagram/stalk their site or blog so obsessively you feel like you know them? Well that's how I felt about
Metier, who was first on my list of places to check out. I had admired their pieces and general taste for so long, in my head we were already super tight! Certain pieces (this, THIS, and about a zillion others) stuck in my mind as members of what I call the "holy grail" category, and I knew I had to meet the masters behind such a beautiful selection in person.

We arrived in San Francisco, dropped our bags at our hotel and immediately walked to Hayes Valley, one of the most charming neighborhoods in SF, and what Sheri and Trina, Metier's co-owners, referred to as "The Nolita of San Francisco." Metier is tucked in on Laguna Street, just off of Hayes, the gorgeous main drag lined with cute shops, great restaurants and beautiful coral trees (New Yorker note: Hayes Valley is much, much prettier than Nolita -- just saying). 


SF Selfie! Can you tell how out of breath we were? Those hills are seriously major.

Hayes Valley: The Main Drag

I must say, working in a store for 5 years has left me somewhat turned off from shopping. It often feels uncomfortable being on the other side of the counter, and I revert to a childlike place of "what if I break something?!" or "am I annoying the shopgirls trying so many rings?", so I was slightly nervous to actually go to a space I had admired from afar for so long.

Luckily, Sheri and Trina made us feel immediately at home. Their tiny jewel box is just 200 square feet, but when you step inside it may as well be a castle! The midnight-blue walls feel super lux and immediately pull you in -- it's one of those spaces where everything is beautiful, from the abstract wall mural to the display cases to, of course, the inventory.  


A snapshot of the interior - how cool is their dutch door?! (via Metier Blog)

Gold leaf mural backdrop to their amazing collection of vintage jewelry (via Metier Insta)

A little bit of background: Metier began 20 years ago as a larger shop that carried cult-favorite clothing lines such as Acne and A.P.C., in addition to a range of accessories. Over the years their business evolved, moved, and finally settled in their current location, with a tightly curated selection of vintage, antique and contemporary jewelry mixed in with a few it-girl accessories from artists like Ryan Roche and Shawn Burke. Their cases house truly incredible things, all artfully arranged, and their photography is top-notch, which for me just pushes them a head above the rest. 


But seriously, how amazing is their photography? (Via Metier Facebook)

A target ring, moss agate and rubies? You had me at hello! (Via Metier Facebook)

I immediately got to work trying on as many pieces as I could at a time! Their selection of Victorian and Georgian jewelry is stellar, and all are extremely reasonably priced. They also carry some amazing contemporary lines, like mixed-metal bands I'm totally obsessed with by Variance Objects, and Arielle de Pinto, whose cool, innovative pieces have been on my wishlist for ages.  


These Georgian Silver + Rosecut Diamond trilogy ring and stacker would make the perfect wedding set.

They're also pretty as part of this phenomenal Georgian Diamond + Turquoise Stack, and paired with a Victorian Opal + Diamond Flower Ring; All available on their site.



A really cool little Victorian star-set diamond + enamel Gypsy ring and a Victorian bloodstone that fills all your statement ring dreams. 



The Enamel Gypsy Ring had the coolest graphic side detail - almost like the face of a bird!


I totally cheated on my engagement ring with this insane Edwardian Platinum, 14k + Diamond Cluster Ring - the central Old Mine Cut measures a full carat and is BONKERS beautiful.

In addition to rings, their collection of Victorian + Georgian lockets and pendants is seriously on point.

Those Georgian Pinchbeck + Enamel Floral earrings were calling my NAME! 

A pretty vignette displaying some of the other accessories they carry - available here.

I ended up taking home two special pieces. The first is hugely sentimental, an Art Deco hand-engraved platinum + 14k ring Josh bought for me as a wedding band. He felt strongly I wear a band in platinum to match the engagement ring he gave me, and he loves all things Deco. When we saw this one, we both agreed it was the perfect match that would also serve as a romantic memento from a special part of our trip. 


My future wedding band, pictured on the bottom.

The second purchase is also special, as it's one I bought for myself! I ended up completely falling in love with and bringing home that incredible Victorian men's bloodstone ring. I had never seen one with such an interesting pattern to the stone (it almost looks like camouflage) and I LOVED the heftiness and detail of the beautiful setting. The stone is also faceted into a beautiful, soft curve that mimics the finger, which is unusual and ultimately what sealed the deal for me. 


My new bloodstone ring.

One very interesting part of being a jewelry collector is realizing how your taste evolves with time and experience. I have always loved soft stones (coral, turquoise, and the harder but still earthy agates + onyx), but I never realized how much until recently. More than ever I find myself drawn to their beautiful colors, bold presence and the interesting cuts and carvings they often have. Not only do they appeal to my style, which definitely tends more towards the edgy than the feminine, they are also often set in men's rings, which is a bonus as well (my friends know I love a big ring!). As stones, they speak to me as treasures from the earth whose beauty is beheld in a different way than that of diamonds and their other, sparklier gemstone cousins. I hope someday to sport hands full of giant, earthy statement rings, whether Victorian or Modernist (#futurejewelrygoals).

All in all, we had an incredible time visiting the ladies at Metier, and I'm so glad I picked it as the one jewelry store we had the chance to actually see! I highly recommend checking them out - in person if you can, or from afar through insta + their beautiful site. Everything about Sheri, Trina and their work is totally right up my alley, which made it easy to choose a ring from their collection I'll use to mark one of the most important moments of my life. It's impossible not to fall in love with them and their "deeply personal" collection, even the hashtag they've adopted to describe themselves -- #keepersoftheold -- is compelling. My only regret is that I left without taking a photograph of the four of us as a souvenir (though I did get a little #showmeyourrings action ;).


#Showmeyourrings: All personal collection or available at Metier. Fun fact: Trina's amazing antique Native American sterling ring (right) was passed down through generations in her husband's family!



xoxo
Angela

Sunday, May 3, 2015

PART I: #GypsyinSF

I recently had the pleasure of taking a trip to one of my favorite places, my old stomping grounds of San Francisco, for my sister Sophie's wedding. When she and her fiancé, Matt, announced their plans for an elopement-style wedding at City Hall, followed by a weekend in Napa, Josh and I jumped at the chance to book our tickets! Although we had each visited family + friends there before, and I briefly lived in the NorCal/Bay Area in my mid-20s, we were excited to return together.  

One of the best parts about becoming a jeweler is my ability to make pieces for special occasions in my family. I've posted before about the privilege I had of making wedding rings for my cousin Mollie and her husband Arran for their wedding in London last summer. I knew making rings for my sister and new brother-in-law would be an equally rewarding experience, as well as a natural progression after creating her engagement ring last year. 

Sophie's engagement ring was a collaborative effort between me + my former boss, Lori McLean. The hardest part of the process, besides settling on an initial design, was keeping it a secret! I had never talked rings with my sister before (she's too much of a rock star for those dreaded "when am I getting a ring?" conversations), and her hubbie-to-be was a little lost (love you, Matt!) as many men are, in the process. Using an antique diamond was a given, both for its beauty and sustainability. After selecting a particularly special and spectacularly clear Old Mine Cut, we chose a relatively simple setting that would both show off the stone and that could be embellished later if she desired. We hand-carved the setting in wax in Lori's sunny midtown studio, with her taking on the bezel and me, the band.




L-R: The 1.06ct OMC diamond we chose + Lori carving the setting in her studio.









L-R: The band I carved + The complete setting in the studio before casting.

I chose to cast the Art-Deco inspired form in 18k rose gold because I felt its soft pink hue would complement my sister's fair complexion. I love rose gold, but it unfortunately doesn't suit my skin tone, so I was especially excited to have an opportunity to use it.


The unfinished setting, after being cast in 18k rose gold.


Luckily, the ring went over swimmingly! I was incredibly relieved when it made it from NYC to California unscathed, and he finally popped the question. When all was said and done, I'm pretty sure I worried more about this ring than anything else I've made, but in retrospect I think it was good practice to get myself comfortable with important, larger projects (even if the process felt like it shaved a few years off my life!). 



The finished product!

Fast forward to now, and the creation of the wedding bands. For hers, I drew inspiration from the shape of our Grandmother's wedding ring, a classic platinum and diamond Art Deco stunner which she has worn every day since her wedding in 1940 (for real tho, she never takes it off). Our grandmother is a huge role model for all the women in our family, and, at 97, is still kicking it like a boss as the family matriarch, so choosing her ring as inspiration felt natural and really made it feel like I was creating a future heirloom. For her groom, who was after a more organic finish, I carved a simple but substantial 5mm band, cast in 10k yellow gold with a rough, raw surface. 


Our grandmother's wedding ring, which she never takes off.

The whole gang! Wedding photos via Kate's Captures Photography.

Saying "I do" in the beautiful San Francisco City Hall!

Mazel Tov! Breaking the glass and a champagne toast on the steps of City Hall!

I have a special relationship with my sister. We are so different (she works for the White House and I play with sparkly objects) and yet no one has been more supportive or excited about my work and successes. It was a huge moment for me to see her get married, and I can't begin to express how honored I was to be asked to contribute the jewelry used to symbolize their union.


Sister love.

Stay tuned for Part II of my trip, including details of my meetups with my California jewelry friends and an incredible visit complete with life-changing purchases at my favorite jewel box in the world, Metier.  


xoxo
Angela