The ascendance of silver
With gold at record-high prices, sterling silver is becoming the favored alloy for both professional jewelry designers and their customers.
I'm wearing more silver, enjoying its relaxed quality and the presence a substantial piece lends without evident glitz.
A few outstanding pieces for your pleasure:
Silver and pearls, grace and grit
An Andrea Piccini sterling and pearl ring shows that silver need not be austere; price,$550 from Luisaviaroma. The ring comes in two finishes, palladium, the white-metal finish that looks like white gold, or ruthenium, which creates a medium-dark gray metal.
These coatings are increasingly used in designer silver jewelry not to disguise the material, but to produce colours other than silver-silver, and to resist tarnish.
|Andrea Piccini ring|
Deliberately tarnished for texture
Silver oxidizes (or tarnishes) it is exposed to oxygen. You may not like that black stuff on your silverware, but jewelers are deliberately oxidizing sterling to create contrast and depth, as shown by Pamela Love's Triple X cuff, very cool. Price, $1,240 at net-a-porter.
|Pamela Love cuff|
Not much is made that's chic as than Bottega Veneta's oxidized silver coil bracelet in its famous intrecciatto weave, available in three sizes, at BV or net-a-porter (in small only); price, $2,250.
|Bottega Veneta bracelet|
If you want to oxidize your own too-shiny silver beads or other pieces, you can do it yourself using an egg! Here's how.
Silver with gold
Combining silver and gold in a piece takes a keen sense of design and balance. Jeremy Heber shows how in his gold domes ring, a sterling shank tipped with 9ct gold ends. The ring is available in fine and more substantial weights, too. The larger ring is around £85 from Church House Jewellery.
|Jeremy Heber ring from Church House Jewellery|
Silver and diamond
Another Jeremy Heber design, the Pirouette pendant, shows the appeal of silver and diamonds. You don't want to set a big diamond directly in silver, especially in a ring, where the soft silver would not stand up to knocking around. But a 2 pt. sparkler in a pendant? Simple and smart. Price, £75.
|Jeremy Heber Pirouette pendant|
Stamps and seals
Silver and stamping were made for each other; Auroro Lopez-Mejia's concave Spiral Cross-Stamped Pendant is stamped with evocative imperatives: "the biggest risk in life is not risking... infinite" and on the reverse, "heart-the vital part-invincible: that which cannot be conquered-imagine: to paint with the mind-courage-spirit-love-life".
A large pendant (diameter, 1 1/4 inches) with a substantial message, on a 32-inch leather thong. Price, $440 from Twist.
|Aurora Lopez-Meija pendant|
Wax seals in the style of Vancouver cult jeweler Pyrrha, whom I've mentioned in a post about amulets, are more affordably rendered by another Canadian designer, Etsy seller beadsss of Edmonton, Alberta. I like the Compass Rose wax seal necklace in antiques (oxidized) finish; comes with a 16 or 18-inch silver chain, $$39 ($2 more for 18-inch chain.) (Pendant is about the size of a nickel.)
A beautiful gift for a friend embarking on a real or metaphorical journey.
|Compass Rose pendant by beadsss|
Pyrrha's work is especially refined, so I wanted to show their Crown Wax Seal Studs, which symbolize "dignity and accomplishment". An upcoming graduate would treasure these. Price, $206.
Stellar silver: I'll share more finds with you as I find them. And thank you to the many readers who've shared your favourite artisans. That's what the Passage is here for!