By Michelle Graff
michelle.graff@nationaljeweler.com
Early yesterday morning, scanning through my Google News Alerts, I came across a headline that read “Silver Jewelry--Is It Fashion Or Fine Jewelry?” After finishing up my first Couture 2009 appointment, I quickly answered that question for myself.

The Couture show is titled Couture for a reason, so a bounty of one-of-a-kind wonders with five-figure price tags is pretty much par for the course, yet one of my expectations for the show this year was that I would be seeing a greater-than-normal amount of silver pieces. Despite the high-end nature of the show, when I interviewed retailers at trade shows earlier in the year, designs crafted in the price-friendly metal were among their most sought-out pieces. And given today’s tough economic conditions, I couldn’t imagine that those concerns wouldn’t translate over to Couture.

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After wrapping up the first day at the show, it seems designers are exhibiting no small dearth of the metal.

One of my favorites for the day was jewelry brand Tara Moor, well known throughout Europe and Asia, yet a newcomer to the United States market. The brand crafts sterling silver jewelry at pocket-friendly price points, from $150 to $2,000 retail. But the best part is the balance of textures and patterns within each of the designs. Granulation (as seen in this design to the left), hand-hammering and carving are just some of the techniques that clearly designate this silver into the "fine" category.



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