Today, we "divert" to another kind of beauty: jewelry - the beauty that lasts forever.
Firenze Gems of Los Angeles, California, specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces designed by Kiki Walker. Kiki uses precious and semi-precious gems, pearls, and yellow and white gold to create her stunning pieces. She shows her creations at International Gem and Jewelry shows, which traverse the country, landing in my area four times a year. You can find a show schedule at this link.
I will warn that my photos don't do Kiki's jewelry justice. It's hard to get good photos in a convention center without setting up lots of gear to mimic studio conditions. Nevertheless, I had to try so that I could share some of the jewelry with you. Just click on the photos to enlarge them.
Firenze Gems offers the quality of "designer jewelry" at a fraction of the price you will find in jewelry or department stores. How is this possible? Kiki is the designer, manufacturer, and marketer, and by cutting out the middlemen, she is able to pass the savings on to her customers. I have bought a "wardrobe" of Firenze Gems pieces, and each piece draws compliments wherever I go. Her designs, like the name of her company, are influenced by her time in Florence, Italy.
At the top left, you will see a picture of Kiki (yes, without her beautiful face) modeling aquamarine beads with 18K gold "spacers" between them and a beautiful 18K gold and diamond clasp. This necklace is now mine, I'm pleased to say. I helped her at the Northern Virginia show on the 14th-15th, and everyone who stopped at her display admired these fabulous gem-quality aqua beads. The "dangly" earrings Kiki is wearing are also aquamarines, mixed with 14K gold and pearls - stunning.
At the top right, you will see a strand of multicolored black Tahitian, white and cream South Sea, and golden Australian pearls with an eye-catching clasp that is best worn where others can see it. We should never hide beautiful clasps in the back!
The next photo is a beautiful tear-shaped black Tahitian pearl (18 mm long and 15 mm circumference) on a necklace of 18K white and yellow gold with diamonds interspersed in the chain.
Above is an especially catching design. The fancy gold necklace has earrings to match. The combination of 14K yellow gold, Tahitian black pearls, and appetite is truly gorgeous. Has I won the lottery last weekend, this set would have been mine too! I'm a blue and green gem addict.
Although Kiki works with all kinds of stones, she loves aquamarines and other blue and green gems, such as appetite, iolite, kyanite, tourmaline, and chalcedony. These are my kind of colors, and she uses them a lot. That doesn't stop her from working with other fabulous gems - and antique gaming counters. Pictured below is a fire opal necklace. The stone has gleaming life, fire, and color - qualities my photo just doesn't capture.
Kiki does lots of custom work, so if you see something you like, but want it done a bit differently, she can make it your way. Or, she can copy pieces you have seen and like - or may have lost. What's amazing is that she doesn't charge extra for custom pieces, just her relatively low markup over costs. She is actually rewarded by her customers' happiness.
I can't show you everything in this blog, so if you get a chance to attend an InterGem Show, look her up. Or, you can contact her by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.