A few months ago I joined my friends Brittanny Taylor of Brittanny Taylor Photography, Patsy Culp of AndCelebrate, and other bloggers to meet and talk with jewelry designers working right here in the state of Rhode Island.
The #RIJewels tour was part of an initiative led by Visit Rhode Island to connect influencers and bloggers to industry leaders and experts to broaden the visibility and exposure of the talent within our little state.
The tour kicked off with a coffee + pastries breakfast meet & greet with three designers: Meghan Devinat of Duo & Duet, Loren Barham of Loren Hope, and Nicole Romano of Nicole Romano.
Duo & Duet was born out of a couple's mutual passion for designing and creating. Made from ultrasuede (which is often described as an artificial substitute for suede leather), their pieces are delicate and whimsical, and push the traditional belief of what accessorizing means in this day and age, particularly for the ready-to-wear art lover and/or fashion aficionado!
I, for one, appreciate thoughtfully-made accessories because i know the quality will be up to par. Amidst all the pretty shapes and ruffles, my eyes were set on the red wing-shaped earrings (below), and I couldn't help myself but visualize pairing them with a LWD. How ever you choose to wear your Duo & Duet item, my advice would be to let it be the statement piece it is meant to be by opting for a minimalist outfit. If you'd rather stick to your glitzy side, commit to making your Duo & Duet piece proud by going in 100% from head to toe!
Aaaah the joy of finally meeting in person Loren Barham, Founder and Designer of Loren Hope! Her business is one of Rhode Island hidden gems from my perspective. I adore the way she injects visual flavor and vibrancy into her pieces --- I mean... see for yourself!
There is a piece for every taste, and every style. If you prefer your necklaces to have that WOW factor, opt for something like the one below. Or...
Recently I was at a partner shop, pulling pieces for a client's upcoming branding photoshoot. As I was making my jewelry selections and placing the earrings, bracelets, and necklaces on the counter, the boutique owner began to log the items on a sheet of paper. Then she turned to me and said: "All great selections! You know all of these are from designer Nicole Romano, right?" And my reply: "Ha! I had not idea but I am not surprised at all! I love her stuff so it's natural attraction."
Nicole Romano's pieces are not conversation starters; they are conversation dominators. They are bold and fierce, and one thing's for sure...they are not for the timid-don't-want-to-be-noticed type. I dream of wearing these pieces with a sweet body-con dress and a killer leather jacket. That's how much of an impact they've made on me.
I remember the collective "OOOOHHH" and "AAAAHHH" from the tour group as we entered the offices of Kiel James Patrick (also known as KJP). If you are familiar with the brand, the nautical ambiance and feel of the interior design will then come as no surprise! The New England ocean-inspired vibes are strong and yet feel breezy...relaxed even. As a lover of RI waters myself, I am in awe at the commitment, passion, and thoughtfulness that the company and brand exude.
Our group's conversation with KJP and his team was intimate. He spoke genuinely and openly about how it all began; the influence of social media in terms of global connections; and shared moving anecdotes. His fiancée, Sarah Vickers of the popular blog, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, also made an appearance as she was wrapping up an interview in the next room. It was nearly impossible to leave the factory without feeling inspired!
I have told myself that in my next life, I will be a jewelry designer and travel to beautiful places all around the world, in search of gorgeous, unique stones and beads, just like Designer Jessica Ricci. Seriously.
Every piece made by Jessica Ricci has a story. And it's personal and meaningful; and you will find yourself connecting to those human emotions. I, for one, could relate to the free-spirit element reflected in her pieces as I am in constant search for experiences that bring personal fulfillment, cater to my desire of creative freedom, and nurture my love for cultures. Jessica Ricci's pieces are inspired by her travels to various corners of the world - such as Mumbai, Nepal, Paris. Just the thought of me walking into a bazaar in one of those places make my stylish heart melt. I am not kidding - I will melt!
Definitely check out her pieces, and when you do pick out a little treasure for you, know that you will have my stylist approval - 100 percent!
The Providence Jewelry Museum was our last stop and brought everything full circle. I appreciated this visit immensely because it provided historical context to the jewelry industry in Rhode Island, and emphasized the crucial role it played in past years (and still plays now).
The good news is anyone can tour the museum. The staff is welcoming and encourages everyone to call and inquire about scheduling a visit. It is certainly a great way to get to know a part of Rhode Island history - you will not be disappointed!
As always, thank you for visiting our blog!