Birthstone Jewelry Feature: August Peridot

Janice Stiles
Peridot is the modern August birthstone. It’s always green in color but varies depending on its source.  A peridot has never been created in a lab and a real peridot will never change color regardless of lighting.

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Pearl Guide, Pt. 1

Janice Stiles
There are so many beautiful shiny objects called “pearls” these day, but it's easy to tell the real ones from the fake ones. To do so, gently rub the pearl against the front of your tooth; if it feels gritty, then it’s a real pearl, whether cultured or natural. If it feels smooth, then it’s not a real pearl regardless of the description. Be careful to not use the edge of your tooth, as you could scratch the pearl!

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Birthstone Jewelry Feature: July Rubies

Janice Stiles
Rubies! One of the “big four” gemstones, which also include diamonds, sapphires and emeralds, rubies are July's birthstone, and a favorite gemstone of mine!

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Birthstone Jewelry Feature: June Pearls and Alexandrite

Janice Stiles

In many ways, June marks the start of summer. Maybe you have a fun vacation planned or maybe you are excited to spend time with friends and family. Perhaps you even have some graduations to celebrate or weddings to attend! Whatever your big plans, I hope that this month and the start of summertime treats you all very well and that you're able to attend some of your favorite art shows soon!

June also features two gorgeous and unique birthstones. If you're looking for versatile jewelry to complement your summer styles, or a gift for a June birthday, you can't go wrong with pearls and alexandrite! 


Pearl Cluster

A classic look with a fine art jewelry twist, Tres Elegante Designs pearl earrings and pendants will add the glimmer of summer sand and sun to any outfit, highlighting your inner glow! 

Historically, pearls have been thought to promote faith, charity and integrity. Pearls have been worn for thousands of years and are one of the most sought-after gems. They are the only gems that are created by a living being: freshwater and saltwater mollusks.

Because of their organic origin, pearls are “gems,” but not “stones.” In ancient civilizations, pearls were the ultimate symbol of wealth and social status. They have been associated with love and marriage and were believed to have an ability to protect the wearer from harm. 

Since pearls are grown in a mollusk, they are truly organic and no two are ever exactly alike, unlike gems that are mined from the earth and cut into shapes. One of pearls’ most unique properties are optical, caused by the refraction of light as it passes through multiple layers of nacre.
The unique color combinations that can be seen, especially in sunlight, are called “orient” and “overtones.” These colors cannot be found in inorganic gemstones and cannot be replicated in a lab. Pearls are frequently paired with inorganic gemstones and metals as their luminescence enhances so many other colors!
Pearl Dangles

Check out the Tres Elegante Designs Pearls and Stones Collection!

My love of pearls began at age 11, when my parents gifted me a pearl ring that I cherish to this day. My pearl passion grew deeper when, at 16, my grandmother gave me a set of graduated Mikimoto pearls my father had brought back from the Korean War. This collection, in its diversity of design, celebrates my love of pearls and their inherent versatility.

Click Here to Shop the Collection!



Pearls aren't the only June birthstone. Alexandrite, a stone that comes in a variety of colors, including green, blue, red, pink & more, is another option for the sunny folks with June birthdays in your life!

The stone was originally found in Russia, but now small quantities are mined in Africa, Brazil, India & other locations. It is known for changing color depending on the lighting-usually from blue-green in daylight to red-purple at night or in incandescent light.

Naturally mined alexandrite is quite rare and expensive, about $15,000 per carat for top quality gems. Most stones on the market today are lab-created alexandrite, but still “real” stones as their chemical and physical characteristics are exactly the same. Natural alexandrite can contain some inclusions, which are flaws in a stone that occur when it's formed. Lab alexandrite has no inclusions and while still expensive, is a fraction of natural, making it an attractive alternative.

Alexandrite Pendant

Alexandrite is 8.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it an excellent stone for wearing everyday.



Order Pearl or Alexandrite Gemstone Jewelry Now! 

Curious about creating a custom pearl or alexandrite piece for a loved one with a June birthday? Send me your ideas at, and we will work together to create the perfect piece! 

May you step into the summertime sun feeling classy and confident! 

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Behind-the-Scenes: What is Patina?

Janice Stiles
Explore the patina technique behind the beautiful blue-green copper elements in our Patina Collection!

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Fine Art Behind-the-Scenes: Fold Forming

Janice Stiles

Fold forming is a metalworking technique in which metal is folded, alternately annealed and forged repeatedly, and unfolded. Following this process, each piece of metal assumes a completely different and unique three-dimensional form.

Forging is the process of shaping metal via hammering, rolling, or pressing.

Annealing is a heating process that softens metal to allow for reshaping through various techniques. No solder is used with the metal while it is being fold formed.

Fold forming begins with a sheet of metal—I typically use 24-gauge copper or silver. At this point, the metal needs to be dead soft, as it hardens quickly during the fold-forming process. Each hammer strike “work hardens” the metal, which makes it increasingly more difficult to work with.

Some tools used in this process include a steel bench block, on which to hammer, and a fine-edge rivet hammer, with which to form a nice edge once it's unfolded.

Fold forming lends itself well to combination with other techniques.

Patina is often used to enhance the texture of fold-formed pieces, as it gives it greater depth.

Reticulated sterling can be set atop fold-formed copper to add additional drama and flair.

Check out the Tres Elegante Designs Silver Fusion Pendant!

Reminiscent of Viking treasure with an air of modern sophistication, this pendant is designed for everyday wear. With visible evidence of flame torching, no two pendants are alike, but all are similarly reticulated in sterling silver over copper to create a rich fine art jewelry sculpture piece. This piece won't look out of place anywhere--in fact, it roots its wearer to both the distant past and the bright future, a perfect adornment for someone looking to make big plans.

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If you have any further questions about this technique, or if you'd like to work together to create a custom piece of fine art jewelry featuring fold-formed metal, reach out to me at!

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Birthstone Jewelry Feature: April White Topaz (A Great Diamond Substitute!)

Janice Stiles
Diamonds are April’s birthstone. I think most of us are familiar with diamonds (and what they cost!). I won’t be working in diamonds this year, but have some fabulous white topaz stones that are a lovely substitute at a fraction of the price.

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Birthstone Jewelry Feature: March Aquamarine

Janice Stiles
March's featured birthstone is Aquamarine. This is an amazing stone and its name is perfectly descriptive. It is such a beachy, watery pale blue, similar to seawater. Although it can have inclusions, most stones have excellent clarity and transparency. Color ranges from the pale to deep blue that is often seen in the ocean.

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Fine Art Behind-the-Scenes: Mined vs. Lab Created Stones

Janice Stiles
The jewelry industry is erupting with necklaces, rings, earrings, and other unique items created using a rainbow of gorgeous gemstones. Some are created with natural stones, while others use man-made alternatives—some of which are superior in brilliance and appearance. It’s important to keep in mind that high-quality, man-made stones are not intended to deceive, and just because they are lab-created, they are not necessarily low-quality.

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Birthstone Jewelry Feature: February Amethyst

Janice Stiles
Amethyst colors can range from pale lilac to a deep almost reddish purple. Amethyst is sometimes heat treated to enhance the color. It’s mined all over the world, but Brazil is best known for its amethyst mines.

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