Thursday, March 27, 2014

Babette Shennan - Designer Spotlight

Last week I was lucky enough to meet with jewelry designer Babette Shennan. Coffee cake and Babette's jewelry make for the best breakfast imaginable! Babette launched her fine jewelry line three years ago after studying jewelry design and gemology at the Gemological Institute of America in New York. Having previously worked in the fashion industry, design was not new to Babette but her focus changed to jewelry after a trip to India. Inspired by the jewelry she saw on her trip she decided to pursue jewelry design upon returning to New York. Babette's stunningly colorful and expertly crafted jewels won her the Centurion Emerging Designer Award in February of this year and she displayed her collection at both the Centurion and AGTA shows. 
Rubellite and carved jadeite earrings with inset pink diamonds
Dedication to superb craftsmanship and incredible gemstones in the richest colors make for heirloom-worthy pieces. Babette's appreciation for color shows in her selection of gemstones such as tourmaline, which the designer favors because of its juicy color and range of hues such as greenish blue and yellowish green. I also love how pieces with different stone colors (such as the below examples) are expertly arranged in such a way that neighboring stones do not detract from or overshadow one another but instead enhance the vibrant colors.
Hinged "Ribbon" Cuff with emeralds, sapphires & aquamarine, sterling silver, antique silk finish
Hinged "Ribbon" Cuff: emerald, sapphire, aquamarine, sterling silver, antique silk finish
Amethyst "Mosaic" Earrings with sapphires, tourmaline, peridot, mali garnet, rainbow moonstone, aquamarine, 14K
"Mosaic" Earrings: sapphire, tourmaline, peridot, mali garnet, rainbow moonstone, aquamarine, 14K gold

 Hinged "Gingko" Cuff with tsavorite garnets, 14K yellow gold, sterling silver, antique silk finish
 "Gingko" Cuff: tsavorite garnets, 14K yellow gold, sterling silver, antique silk finish
Leaves were a recurring theme in the designer's sketch book and the first ring she drew incorporated a gingko leaf. Babette attributes the flora influence in her designs to her upbringing in California where she spent time outdoors and in her parents' flower-filled backyard. These influences lead to the development of the "Secret Gingko" Collection. While the gingko leaf is a steady design element throughout the collection different metals, gemstones and convertible features differentiate the pieces.

(Left) "Gingko" ring with pink tourmaline, pink diamonds, 18K gold (Right) "Gingko" studs with removable gemstones
The below earrings are an example of a convertible piece. Featuring bold carved aquamarine gemstones, these earrings can be worn on either the yellow or white gold side thanks to a user-friendly swivel system. 
“Gingko” earrings with lens cut aquamarines and 18k white and yellow gold

What will we be seeing next? Babette is currently working on a mid-level jewelry line.
One thing is for sure - whatever we will be seeing from Babette Shennan in the future is sure to showcase seriously colorful gemstones and enchanting, wearable designs!

Be sure to follow Babette on Instagram @babetteshennan and her website:

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