Fashion & Beauty

Jewels of the Smithsonian Craft Show

April 20, 2017



I’M A FAN of  exquisitely made fine jewelry, but my pocketbook balks at spending the big bucks I’d need to pay, for example, for Pomellato‘s colorful stacked rings or the Victorian enamel and diamond cuff at NYC’s D.K. Bressler or most any piece of jewelry at Tiny Jewel Box I’ve been coveting. But the truth is jewelry that’s a lot less precious is much more suitable to my everyday life. Stuff that I don’t need to store in a vault.

Which is one reason I’m looking forward to next week’s Smithsonian Craft Show. Several first-timers to the show will be selling the kinds of bracelets, necklaces and earrings that I can wear out to dinner at my neighborhood bistro or on my weekly run to the farmer’s market. And that I can happily buy for myself without feeling a lot of guilt.

Holly Goeckler’s Chiyogami Necklace is made of paper that’s laminated, folded and inset with stones.



A Philadelphia native, Holly Goeckler has been designing jewelry for 25 years. Currently, inspired by intricate Japanese paper stencils, she takes die-cut patterns, laminates, folds and then combines them with stones to form her colorful jewelry. Her Chiyogami Necklace  is constructed of rag paper, 24-karat gold leaf and white topaz in gold settings; the clasp is sterling silver. The piece sells for $320.

A concrete and felt bangle from jewelry artist Allison Jones.

Allison Jones, who lives in Pittsburgh and whose jewelry can be found in the city’s Andy Warhol Museum as well as Fallingwater  in Mill Run, Pa., likes working with industrial materials, particularly concrete. “There aren’t a lot of people doing it,” she jokes. She mixes the hard concrete with the soft fiber of felt that makes each piece feel bold and substantive, which she imagines is a fitting description of the woman who will wear it. Her pieces range in price for $85 from a simple chain with a concrete charm to an oversize bangle for $1,700.

Metalsmith Lisa Crowder’s one-of-kind necklace.

Austin, Texas-based metalsmith Lisa Crowder uses traditional silversmithing techniques to create her multiple-layered necklaces, earrings, brooches and bracelets.  Her one-of-a-kind necklace ($425, pictured) is kiln-fired vitreous enamel on copper, stitched with thread and set with oxidized sterling silver on a sterling silver chain.

Swimmer, rower, “scavenger of the shoreline,” native New Englander Blair LaBella finds constant inspiration from the ocean environment. No wonder many of her pieces are made from beach stones and beach glass. Because LaBella believes that jewelry should make a statement about someone and what they value, she’s focused on creating pieces that will have a personal connection to their wearer. Her stunning beach stone bracelets range in price from $1,200 to $3,500.
The Smithsonian Craft Show will be at the National Building Museum from April 26  to April 30. For tickets, click here

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