A little closer to Camp Joy Ranch, AJ took me to Cave Creek, another beautiful town with a distinct wild west atmosphere and lots of touristy stores and restaurants. The drive into the town was thru vast “forests” of saguaro cactus..I was half-expecting to see cattle rustlers or stage coaches along the way.Knowing that I wanted to purchase some genuine, quality turquoise and native American silver, AJ knew exactly where to take me: Rare Earth Gallery, a very special (and very large) store with just about every gemstone and earthly treasure from around the world. Out front of the store were several carved marble pieces, like this magnificent rearing horse…. …and AJ took an instant liking to this HUGE chunk of crystal (above). They also had a wide selection of Tibetan salt lamps (below)And behind the cash registers were two beautiful back-lit artworks (below) made with marble and precious and semi-precious gems mined in the surrounding Phoenix hills. You should see the outstanding amethysts and tourmalines that come from this region. I made a bee-line for the jewellery counters and found two stunning rings behind locked display case doors – please sir, may I try them on? Done…they fit perfectly…the rings are mine. One is a green-hued chunk of turquoise for my right hand and the larger one is made of blue turquoise and spiny oyster inlays, both silver. Obviously a favourite shop of his, AJ purchased a couple more stones to add to his and Tom’s basket of stones in their front lobby (below) – very tactile home decor and each stone carries mystical powers to heal or energize.Once we stored our purchases into the car, we wandered across to where the “frontier town” was – today there were only a few tourists and it seemed a bit sad. We dropped in to the candlemaker (fragrances were a bit too strong for me to remain there), then a couple of the souvenir stores but I just couldn’t “get it up” to enjoy the silly crap on sale there. They had a great loo, tho. I wish I’d taken a few pics – lots of old photos of 30’s and 40’s Hollywood movie cowgirls as well as old rodeo ladies lined the walls so I was able to enjoy a tinkle under the gaze of those vintage wild west gals. Next blog will cover my final full day in Arizona: we visit the incredible butterfly conservatory and reptile museum, and AJ and I enjoy our deelish “last supper” – more steak for me…LOL!
Here’s the ultimate “rock concert” – if you like gorgeous gems and baubles, then this is the show for you.Big thank you to Salim Moorani, Founder of The Gem Expo, for inviting me to come out to the spring show which opened today at the Hyatt Regency Hotel on King W in Toronto – show runs tomorrow, Saturday Mar.17th 10am-6pm and Sunday Mar.18th 10am-5pm. www.thegemexpo.com Salim greeted me at the door along with his charming wife and daughter (below) and then let me wander the aisles, meeting up with vendors and gem ambassadors.I was pleased to run into the lovely folks from Sonatona Natural Gemstones & Minerals (below) who I met last year…they’re always ready with a smile and willing to share their extensive knowledge about their precious and semi-precious stones. www.stores.ebay.com/sonatona Lots of ready made jewellery as well as loose gems for crafters and home bead-makers…. One new vendor I was delighted to meet was Deb from Karibu Beads, featuring hand-made Kazuri Beads from Kenya. The story of these beads is fascinating so I encourage you to visit www.karibubeads.com to learn more. Here are just some of the gorgeous colourful beads I saw…. The Gem Expo also features some stunning glass work, too, including these giant “crystal balls” and some spooky stone skulls. Groovy, baby! How about some fossils? Check out these prehistoric shark teeth…yikes!Meet another new vendor, Ryan Desantos of Laya Skye Jewelry (below). He brings in handcrafted designs from Bali and I particularly liked the amazing “floating” rings that are all sterling silver with a rotating element so you can fiddle away and calm your nerves with them. One of them almost fit…I was soooo tempted. His new website is currently under construction but do check it out next month: www.LayaSkyeJewelry.com More fabulous bling…..what’s a girl to do?! Lots to see and buy so come on down this weekend – most vendors take credit cards and Debit cards/Interac, plus there are cash machines in the hotel.
I had the pleasure of visiting one of Toronto’s hottest new jewellery designers, Pamela Lauz, this afternoon at her Carlaw Ave design studio and oh my, I felt like I’d walked into Aladdin’s cave…surrounded by beautiful sparkling gems, pearls, gold, silver, platinum all displayed in a beautiful gallery atmosphere.
I first met Pamela at last year’s Toronto Outdoor Art Show held annually at Nathan Phillips Sq. , when I was drawn to her booth by her delicate and dainty “Acorn” collection of earrings and necklaces. After visiting her online gallery and store, I was blown away by her architecturally influenced collections and range of materials, so when I was invited by Pamela’s sister and business manager, Natalia, to visit the studio I jumped at the chance to interview Pamela while I played “dress up” with some of her gorgeous pieces.
Do you select your own gemstones and how does that process work? Do you have specific stone requirements for completed designs, or do you pick the stone first then design around that gem?
PL: Genuine gems are at the heart of many our designs and I love to personally select each gem. Our custom designs begin with specific gemstones in mind, especially when restyling our clients’ treasured gems. When creating our signature collections, I think of how the gem’s colour and shape will interact with the design in mind – a true marriage of stone and metal.
Gold, silver, platinum or other metals – what is/are your favourite materials?
PL: Every precious metal has its own wonderful properties and I enjoy working with silver, platinum and 15 different gold alloys.
Silver is a true white metal that allows us to create jewellery in a wide range of sizes.
Platinum is the strongest white metal and it provides the most secure hold on gemstones. When it comes to gold, 18K white gold is the strongest, most durable white alloy, while 14K yellow gold is the strongest yellow alloy. When it comes to colour, nothing beats the richness in colour that 18K yellow gold provides and we also have 3 gorgeous shades of rose gold.Costume vs. fine jewellery – what do you recommend fashion conscious women buy?
PL: Jewellery and other fashion accessories look their best when selected to complement’s one’s own style rather than the current fashion trend. To me, jewellery is an investment to be enjoyed for years to come. For this reason an item’s durability is as important as its design longevity. Most costume jewellery available today is not as durable as well-crafted fine jewellery. Below, Natalia showed me a few choice baubles…
How does your earlier engineering career and passion for architecture influence your jewellery designs?
PL: Architecture is my main source of inspiration – I love to explore buildings and attend architecture lectures.
My engineering education helped me refine my attention to detail. Every aspect of a given design is thoroughly considered: from the comfortable fit of a cocktail ring to the perfect symmetry of a pair of earrings and the balanced drape of an asymmetrical necklace.
Moreover, jewellery is best enjoyed when designed to suit one’s lifestyle and this can only be achieved by thoughtful observation of my clients’ personalities and preferences. A great deal of thought is also placed on the tools and techniques to craft the best realization of a specific design.
Your designs have sleek clean lines and lack the fussiness so many designers have been incorporating into their current flowery collections. Do you feel your more classical themes will have a longer lasting appeal and wearability for your clients?
PL: Our clients share our affinity for contemporary lines and clean polished surfaces. We find balanced simplicity timeless. However, we are lucky to be exposed to as wide a range of designs as there are aesthetic preferences.
Personally speaking, I am at my creative best when designing sculptural forms. I thrive in the challenge of distilling an idea into its key essence and interpreting it through subtle yet meaningful details.
I also enjoy collaborating with my clients in materializing their creative vision for their custom-designed jewellery and I welcome the opportunity to take my design aesthetic to different horizons.
Do you see any design trends as far as metals or gems for 2016?
PL: Gems are a very personal choice. The larger gems are selected as a wardrobe staple and are considered an investment to be enjoyed for many years to come. These statement pieces suit one’s own colour palette and seldom follow fashion trends.
Our clients also like to represent their families through birthstones. To add meaning to their cherished jewellery, we frequently personalize designs like the Infinity pendant with colourful birthstones. On the metal front, I see a growing preference for rose gold, which looks fantastic and provides a unique warm glow on many skin tones. Yellow gold continues to be very popular and white gold prevails as the ideal setting for sparkling diamond jewellery.
If you could design a commissioned piece for any celebrity (or royal family member), who would that be and what would you design?
PL: I’d be honoured to create jewellery for Cate Blanchett (below) who is not only a brilliant actress but also a theatre director, wife and mother of four. She portrays a wide range of personalities with outstanding versatility but also with fine taste. Outside movie sets, I admire Ms Blanchett’s timeless style and effortless elegance. These are qualities that inspire me to create designs that bring forth one’s confidence, transcending trends and time.
Any upcoming trunk shows or special events where we can see/buy your stunning designs?
PL: Our studio on Carlaw Avenue in Leslieville is always open for visits to view our signature jewellery or to discuss a custom design or restyling project. We will participate in the Cabbagetown Arts and Crafts Festival on Sept 11-13 and then at the One of a Kind Christmas Show from November 26 to December 6th.
Pamela also specializes in re-designing and re-purposing clients’ much-loved existing pieces so I decided to take my humongous 1980’s smokey quartz cocktail ring and ask her how she would re-design this stunning stone into a more fashion-fwd gold setting. She asked me all sorts of questions about shapes and how I would wear the ring and she came up with a brilliant new setting, turning the emerald-cut stone on its side, with a wider band…..that will be my Christmas pressie to self at the end of the year.
….and got to check out Pamela’s collection of Jeremy Guy contemporary abstract sculptures (below) – I love these tactile pieces (Nova and Mobius, respectively) and I hope to meet and interview the talented artist soon. http://jeremy-guy.com/
Pamela also showed be a special treasure she found on a recent visit to China – this stunning silver necklace (below) from the Miao hill tribe, made from one single length of silver. OMG, it was amazing to see it and hold it in person!
Happy Mother’s Day: Receive 10% off and receive free shipping https://www.pamelalauz.com/MothersDay2015
Give Mom a special gift and save 10% on pre-tax purchases of $150 and over. Enjoy this offer by entering promo code “MOM15” at checkout.
As an added bonus, we will ship your order for FREE within Canada! There is no minimum purchase required to receive free shipping. Offer available until Sunday May 9th, 2015
Receive a FREE Tungsten Band https://www.pamelalauz.com/free-tungsten-band
Receive a FREE Tungsten Band with your wedding ring or custom design project – a $250 value!
These cutting-edge rings are made of tungsten carbide, the most durable jewellery alloy. They are highly scratch resistant, virtually indestructible and will look new for many years to come – ideal for everyday wear. We’ve got many great modern designs to choose from.
This offer is available exclusively at our studio and online store with a minimum pre-tax purchase of $1,000 until May 31st, 2015.
Pamela Lauz designs can be found at select boutiques but I encourage you to visit Pamela’s website for pictures of her designs and information on her custom wedding bands, re-setting service and commissioned work. You can purchase directly online or in person at her studio. https://www.pamelalauz.com/