Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Branching Out

Surprises are the best, especially when you get what you had dreamed of! I love being a part of jewelry surprises when the giver knows exactly what the receiver wants. It allows me to be creative AND be sure that the result will be much adored. This was the case when I was asked to design a custom ring for a Christmas gift that resembled a tree branch. I immediately became enchanted with the idea of having the branch weave around the finger and entrap a trio of brilliant diamonds. The challenge of this piece was finding a balance between having the ring look like a real tree branch, while still remaining wearable and comfortable, as well as making sense when you're only able to see the front section of the ring while it is on the finger. The end result was pure success. Everyone was happy, myself included.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

oh my, what a druzy!

I've seen other designers use druzy in their work, and I just couldn't resist any longer. It has everything I look for in a gemstone; a unique cut, great texture and depth, uniqueness and sparkle, of course!

I just finished this really cool "caged druzy" necklace. It features a one of a kind piece of druzy captured in a hand-crafted sterling silver setting. A bright diamond adds interest to the bail, which moves freely along an oxidized ball chain. This necklace pretty much sums up my jewelry aesthtic: a bit rough, rugged and organic offset with luxurious details.

Love it! This piece will be available soon on

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Outside In

Talk about never having to leave the house! Built in 1960 by architect Daniel Leiberman in Mill Valley, CA, this house was designed, naturally, to bring the outside in. And that it does so well. The beams radiate out from the center column and walls of glass allow uninterrupted light to fill the space. It somehow reminds me of the tree houses from Star Wars, but more modern, and oh so much cooler.

Friday, November 13, 2009


This is how my bench looks after days of non-stop work.  Quite messy, huh?  For some reason, when I have a ton of work to do, I just can't justify taking 10 minutes to clean up and start fresh. Perhaps I should rethink this strategy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bound Together

I was lucky enough to actually attend the wedding that I made this slightly rugged, yet still refined wedding band for.  The Groom's ring was cast from an actual shipwreck plank that I found along the San Francisco coast.  The white gold ring featured rope accents on both sides to tie together the nautical theme.  It was very appropriate for a classic wedding on gorgeous Cape Cod.  The bride was glowing in her stunning strapless gown, and the groom's smile was no less than a mile wide.  With the reception held at a beautiful old inn, it felt like a throwback to another time and place, one that I did not want to leave.  Cheers to the bride and groom!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Stars + Ravens

I'm absolutely obsessed with local gal Sarah Boruso's nostalgic collection of carefully made clothing called Stars + Ravens.  The intrigue lies just as much in her inspiration as in the breathtaking details and draping of her garments.  Not to mention, she's the lead singer in a band, AND her name is Sarah (with an "h")

What's not to love?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ancient Treasures=Modern Inspiration

On my last day in NYC I had about 2 hours to take in the MET, which is virtually impossible as i'm sure some of you know.  I did, however, take time to peruse one of my favorite sources of creative stimulation: ancient adornment.  I especially get lost in the rich, high-carat gold and mythical references.

This egyptian snake bangle bracelet rocked my world.  
C'mon now....doesn't get much better than this!
The amazing, surprisingly large Heart Scarab of Hathofer ca 1492 B.C.
Greco-Roman lion bangles.  I'll take two, please!
Mesopotamian Lunate earrings 2600 B.C. 
 I'm dying to make lightweight folded hoops like these!
Stunning Greek arm cuffs.  
Imagine self sunning on the Mediterranean, tan skin, hair flowing, long cascading dress, arm cuffs!  One can dream, right?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I've been busy traveling and haven't even had the time to write a blog post.  Last Friday, Daily Candy featured a front page article all about Sarah Swell Jewelry!  The article, entitled Princess of Tides, weaves a romantic tale about my jewelry.  Check it out! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Love Story

Making an engagement ring can easily become stressful and nerve racking.  Strict timelines, hazy concepts and the fact that I'm responsible for pleasing two parties; the proposer whom often has no idea what the proposee is pining for, and the (hopefully) soon to be fiance who usually has a very clear vision of the perfect moment with the perfect ring.

Luckily for me, I recently had the chance to make a wonderful ring for dear friends that included none of the above dilemmas. 

John, who works on the San Francisco Bay, came to me with idea of using coral somehow to create a "lace-like" engagement ring.  I instantly thought of using a sea-fan to create an interesting pattern for the band.   I used an actual piece of coral, made a mold into which I injected wax.  I then took the wax and sculpted the band of the ring which was cast in white gold.  I selected a 1/3 ct stunningly cut, clean and white sparkler which I bezel set and sunk into the band.  

Serena, an amazing graphic designer, obviously has a great eye for design.  I thought she would appreciate the nod to nature in a subtle and interesting way.  The result was a totally unique, organic ring that also reads as somewhat architectural and modern.

The proposal went down at one of the couple's monthly "movie nights" held in the backyard of their SF home.  I was honored to be in the audience as the sailor man crouched on bended knee and asked his fair maiden for her hand in marriage, to which she said YES!

  The ring in wax prior to casting 

Monday, August 10, 2009

East Bay Blast!

So, last Friday's party was pretty off the hook.  By 9:00 there was a line around the block of eager party goers from all walks of life.  I was stationed at my table for most of the night, but got to sneak away for a few minutes.  The museum was packed with people both inside and throughout its' many courtyards and patio spaces.  I managed to see Goaple's heart felt performance and tribute to her hometown, sample some cucumber-mint gelato, and browse the myriad of great designers.  My boyfriend scored a great hoodie from local fave Estillo Clothing Company. 

I installed new lights in my jewelry case which made it glow on this magical evening.  There was much love for my work from all different types of people.  Hearing positive feedback about my work from young & old, black, white, and brown, men and women truly makes me feel like i'm on the right track.

The best part about the party was the outpouring of love for Oakland.  People believe in their town no matter how many outsiders have deeply rooted, less than favorable views about the place they call home.  Witnessing the diversity of my City's population, all with the common goal of creating a better Oakland, fills my heart with pride like nothing else.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Fashion Awards Recap

Here are a few images from the San Francisco Fashion Awards that I attended last weekend.  Held at the famous Phoenix Hotel, a beacon for musicians and celebs visiting SF, the event was a fashion show/award ceremony/trunk show/rock concert extravaganza.  Even though most of the attention was focused on the runway, I still had several great sales!  

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