August 22, 2014
If you keep up with magazines or blogs that cover jewelry, you’ve likely seen the headline, or some variation of it, at least once: “These aren’t your grandmother’s pearls.”
August 20, 2014
[caption id="attachment_2473" align="alignleft" width="125"] Monika Knutsson[/caption]
Monika Knutsson has found the perfect way to combine an antique look with a golden, modern touch with her Gilded Lace collection.
After getting her start in fashion, she eventually realized she could use the lace she found in other ways. The designer began dipping the pieces in karat gold, creating a unique look that celebrates the fabric pieces’ past as it brings them into the present.
Each piece is given a tag that includes its name, as well as the year and history of the lace’s creation and its former use.
Read on to learn more about Knutsson’s inspiration, design process and the exciting new things she has on the horizon for her jewelry line.
National Jeweler: How did you get started in jewelry and especially doing these kinds of pieces?
Monika Knutsson: I was working in France as a fashion designer for Isabel Marant. When we designed a vintage lace collection, I went to the flea market at Clignancourt to do research and find old lace pieces and garments. That is when I discovered this enormous treasure of old, beautiful lace, and I started collecting it.
The first piece of lace jewelry I made for myself. It was a cuff bracelet and it was stunning. My head started spinning and I continued all night to design lace jewelry. The possibilities were endless. Needless to say, I did not sleep that night.
Both of my grandmothers were lace makers. Dipping the lace in 24-karat gold is a way to honor not only their work, but all the other women that made lace by hand.
I moved back to the United States in 2008 with my large lace collection. In 2010, I founded the company in New York City. My studio is located on the Upper West Side in Manhattan. I make all the jewelry by hand. The lace is dipped in 24-karat gold, sterling silver or rose gold here in New York.
NJ: Take me through the process you use to create these intricate pieces.
MK: First, I find the lace and cut it according to a pattern. Then I hand-sew the jewelry together. For example, in the new collection I have a cuff called “Claudie.” It is a cuff made of circular lace from the 1960s. There I sew on a back to the cuff and then a silk tulle pouch under the lace to hold the pearl in place. The next step is to dip all the lace in lacquer; this is to seal it and also to make it stiff so that I can form it.
Now the pieces are ready for the metal. They are sprayed with a thin layer of copper and dipped in a batch of 24-karat gold or sterling silver. This process is long and requires a lot of hands-on supervision.
To finish, all my cuffs, bangles, collars and larger necklaces are signed and numbered and come with a piece of the original lace.
This is the “Margaret Rose” cuff, made using British crown lace made in 1936 to commemorate the coronation of King George VI in 1937, dipped in 24-karat gold. The cuff is named after one of King George VI's daughters ($895).
August 19, 2014
As of Monday afternoon, donations to the ALS Association, the nonprofit that works on research, care services, public education and public policy surrounding amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), were up 767 percent year-over-year. They rose from $1.8 million between July 29 and Aug. 18 of last year to $15.6 million in the same time period this year, according to figures released by the association.
August 7, 2014
I feel as though I’ve written a fair number of “large rough unearthed” stories in recent months, so many, in fact, that I began to wonder: Has this been an unusually active year for finding rough diamonds that are 100 carats or larger?
August 6, 2014
With all the recent consumer press reports accusing major chains of selling lead glass-filled rubies without proper disclosure, Associate Editor Brecken Branstrator takes a look at the rules for selling these stones.
August 4, 2014
When I was wading through the De Beers Group’s first-half results recently, a paragraph about De Beers Diamond Jewellers, the retail chain De Beers operates in a 50/50 joint venture with luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, stuck out to me.