Friday, December 24, 2010

Featured Artist

Valerie K

     Valerie K was born and raised in Casablanca Morocco and currently resides in Pasadena with her husband and 5 year old son.  She has been designing jewlery for the last 15 years and was selling it wholesale. She now has an Etsy shop, through which she is sells directly to the consumer. 
     Valerie works with all kinds of metals, from 22 karat gold, to silver which is mixed and matched with beautiful colored stones. These metals and stones embody, the rich colors and beautiful architecture of Morocco. 
     When she isn't designing jewelry, she's in her organic garden where her fig tree is abundantly producing figs for jams, in addition to an generous crop of heirloom tomatoes.
14K pink gold vine earrings with diamond
Many of your designs seem to reflect forms found in nature, do you look directly to nature for inspiration? What are some of your other sources of inspiration?
    Yes, I draw most of my inspiration from nature, trees, plants. I love the pure and perfect aspect of a leaf or a branch. I love the outdoors and love to garden so i am always outside especially in the spring when I start my vegetable garden in the back of our house. I grow all kinds of things from tomatoes to eggplants. I am delighted in the morning when I can go pick a tomato and eat it for lunch or dinner. My second passion after jewelry is cooking.
     My other source of inspiration is antique byzantine jewelry. At the time, they used pure 22karat and 24karat gold to handmade every piece of jewelry. Those pieces have a very natural and unfinished look to them which makes them perfect in their imperfection. I made a few rings like that but with the price of gold right now, they are not as easy to sell.
14 K yellow gold earring with gold dots
I love the interesting stones that you incorporate into your designs: “pink Tourmaline faceted nuggets,” “peruvian calcite,” “yellow chaicedony.” How do you select the stones which are used your designs? 
    Oh for the stones... i try to go to the Tucson Gem Show in Arizona. I feel like a child in a candy store. So many beautiful stones, and I have been in the business long enough that now I can select gems that are unusual and cuts that are uncommon. When I first saw raw diamonds beads 10 years ago, I thought this is it!  Wow!  They were amazing and still are. But I am always on the lookout for exciting stones and different cuts. 
22 karat gold ring with green milky aquamarine 
What have you found to be the benefits and/or challenges in your transition from designing wholesale jewelry to selling directly to the consumer? 
     When i was doing wholesale, I did not have any contact with the end customer. I dealt with buyers who decided what to carry in their catalogs or stores. I loved it but I did not have that direct connection with the person who was going to buy my piece. Now that I am doing straight retail, I do have a direct connection and I feel that I am part of their dream, for a moment. Especially if they are buying an engagement ring, it is a really special occasion for them and I love being part of it. 
Peruvian calcite necklace
Many thanks to Valerie for sharing her beautiful jewelry designs and be sure to check out her blog.

What do you think of Valerie's elegant, nature-inspired designs?
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1 comment:

  1. thank you so much for featuring my on your blog. Happy holidays! valerie