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: 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! 

Pearls

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!

 

Alexandrite 

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 treselegantedesigns@gmail.com, 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.

Click Here to Shop Now!

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 treselegantedesigns@gmail.com!

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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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About Me: My Tres Elegante Designs Story

Janice Stiles

Welcome to Tres Elegante Designs!

 

Jan Stiles, Artist at Tres Elegante Designs

 

My name is Jan Stiles, and I am the artist behind Tres Elegante Designs jewelry. My husband of 46 years and I run this company together. Family is everything to us! Not only are they the greatest joys of our lives, but I also feel deep gratitude for the artistic influences my family has given me, which have resulted in the opportunity to grow my jewelry design business.

Artistic From An Early Age...

The Tres Elegante Designs story truly began with my Mom, who taught me to sew despite the demands of raising five children. I drew inspiration from her clothing design, cooking, flower arranging, photography, and other artistic and creative pursuits from an early age, learning to sew at 10 and developing an interest in all sorts of art forms. By 8th grade I was making all of my own clothes, and by college I was able to tailor a winter coat for myself and a suit for my father.

My paternal grandmother also inspired artistic expression. During summers away from my hometown of Detroit, at my grandparents’ cottage in northern Michigan, my grandmother taught me to cook and gave me the freedom (and responsibility) to help her cook dinner for 9 people each night. I learned to bake pies, make jams and properly fry the fish that my brothers caught. I was also always interested in the variety of rocks we gleaned from the lakeshore at Black Lake, just south of the Mackinac Bridge. My summers with my grandmother taught me how to bring loves of many art forms into synergy.

Architectural Training

While I developed these skills and grew in appreciation of fine arts, I was also taken by shapes and forms, by geometry and building. I remember commandeering the sandbox at the age of 5 to create buildings and roads!

Although I took classes in art and clothing design in college, the job market and lack of teaching opportunities available upon graduation led me to graduate from University of Michigan College of Architecture and pursue a career in architecture. While this forced me to put my first love of interior design and my plans to become an educator on hold, architecture influenced a new love for all things geometric. 

My Third Career!

After a long and winding road, a 15 year career and a move to Arizona, I made my way into education so my children could enjoy time without long hours and travel. After two decades as a math teacher and school administrator, I started planning for early retirement or, more correctly, my third career!

Throughout my first two careers, I continued to collect artwork and jewelry. We moved to Phoenix in 1987, my parents having retired and moved to Tucson in 1986. My mother became an accomplished quilter and floral artist, while my father worked in stained glass. Several years later, my mother began to renew her interest in jewelry design as did I. 

We began attending the gem show with relatives who worked in the jewelry business. This evolved for several years until I began taking classes from Jen Hanscom at CreativeU. She introduced me to working with sterling silver, which has a much softer “hand” than other metals. 

After my Mom passed away in 2008, I picked up her jewelry tools and found a new passion. Jewelry design was a way to connect with her creative leanings and my own.

Be Seen. Be Recognized. Be Taken Seriously. 

Since my first explorations of jewelry technique, I’ve taken a number of courses from other jewelry artists, learning new techniques that I can adapt to my own style of work. After gleaning so much knowledge from different artists, I finally felt like my designs could stand beside even the most expensive brands. I continue to test and expand my technique to provide the highest quality product without sacrificing the design.

My dream for Tres Elegante Designs is to design jewelry that you will adore and wear every day, whether with t-shirt and jeans, a little black dress or everything in between. My hope is that when you wear a piece of my jewelry, you are seen, recognized and taken seriously. 

I find it important that people of all ages, especially women, achieve recognition for who they are, both personally and professionally. It is my belief that art and jewelry should be unique to the wearer, part of their personal statement. So a focus of my design is to make it possible for wearers to confidently add a completely unique piece of jewelry to their style, as a form of self-expression that is impossible to achieve with mass-produced pieces. 

Art jewelry is my medium as it is an opportunity for creative expression, not solely a learned technique. I use sculptural design and unusual techniques together with traditional processes to literally create wearable art. 

I enjoy experimenting with design, techniques and materials, often focusing on movement and 3-dimensionality in a synergy that recalls my architectural background and love for the natural world. The Sonoran Desert is a particularly striking source of inspiration in my work. 

I also have a great love of pearls. My first “serious” piece of jewelry was a gift of Mikimoto graduated pearls at age 16 from my grandmother that had been purchased in Japan by my father. I was hooked! I strive to find unique ways to incorporate pearls into my jewelry, and am constantly experimenting with new ways to reflect the beauty of pearls in my designs.

Synergy and emergent beauty are central to my artistic focus. From the varied hammer strikes, unpredictability of patina, the chaos of the torch or a structure of nature, my designs allow the personal “you” to come through and stand out!

Features

Since 2010, my work has been shown in a variety of places. 

Galleries include: The Sonoran Arts League Gallery at El PedregalOn The Edge Gallery and Easy Street Galleria.

My work has been featured in Voyage Phoenix, The Foothills Focus and the Scottsdale Arts District Guide. 

Art shows include Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour, Camelback Studio Tour, Art on the Canal, Scottsdale Canal Convergence, Petoskey Art in the Park, Crooked Tree Art Fair and Art Fest at Castle Rock where I was awarded second place in Jewelry in 2019.

Let’s Connect!

It’s easy to contact me, whether for a completed piece or to talk about a custom

one. I love to connect with collectors, hearing about your ideas and inspirations, and can;t wait to work on a custom piece with you!

To reach me, call 480-818-5177 or email me at treselegantedesigns@gmail.com

You are also invited to sign up for my VIP mailing list for insider peeks, special deals and new releases!

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