The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Game of Shells: Abalone Crowned 2014’s Top Trend

Apr 16, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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wholeshell

Back in December, Jennifer Heebner, senior editor at JCK, named abalone the top jewelry trend for 2014 in her Style 360 blog at JCKonline.com.

wholeshell

an abalone shell

“Since the color blue continues to be a big hit in both fashion and jewelry, abalone shell (or paua, as it’s called in some other parts of the world) fits the current color trend,” she writes. “And while this shell or mother-of-pearl material is oftentimes inexpensive—and has been fashioned into numerous entry-level-priced silver numbers in the past—some more recent, super-high-end and diamond-encrusted styles have appeared, making the material a candidate for newfound appreciation in the luxury market.”

Luxury or non-luxury, the shell’s swirling rainbow of colors gives designers a pop of eye-catching color to work with. A piece of paua shell wrapped in silver (or gold or base metal) is simply stunning.

shellproject

Inspired? Check out our Wire-Wrapped Paua Shell and Pearl Pendant project to get you going!

Abalone is a mollusk, in the same phylum as snails, lobsters, and even squid. But its shimmery iridescent shell has made it prized since ancient times.

Paua, which is the Maori name for the abalone found in New Zealand, is the most sought-after type of abalone because it is thought to display the richest range of colors—from light blues and greens to deep purples. The Maori consider paua shell tonga, or sacred, both for the nutrition it provides and its beauty.

And so now we want to know! Four months into 2014, are you working with abalone? Have you seen more of it in the first few months of the year? Are customers asking for it?

Take our poll below and then click on results to see what your fellow jewelers think of abalone.

Do you use abalone in your designs?

View Results

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Non-Traditional Engagement Rings: Are Diamonds Still Forever?

Apr 2, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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emerald

Wedding season is almost upon us. And while diamonds are usually the darlings of the jeweler’s bench during this time of year, more and more couples are requesting sapphires, rubies, topaz, and other colored stones for their engagement rings. Will your work reflect this colorful trend? Check out The Studio today to get inspired!

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Etsy Trends We Love: Shapely Jewelry

Mar 9, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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featuredgeo

Today at The Studio we talk with three jewelers (from three different continents!) whose work takes inspiration from the clean lines and simple forms of geometry. Shlomit Ofir of Shlomit Ofir Jewelry Design, Laura Geupin of SharpCloud, and Jess Jones of FawnAndRose are all creating Etsy Trends We Love –Check it out!

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Olympic Inspiration: Gold Medals by the Numbers

Feb 26, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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olympics

The closing ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics were held on Sunday, which means all the athletes are headed home with their gold, silver, and bronze hardware (U.S. athletes are bringing more than 25 medals back). This year a record number of medals were given out, thanks to the 12 new competitions added to this year’s games. And, being jewelers, that got us thinking, what exactly is the golden jewel of the Olympic games made of?

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Etsy Trends We Love: Pretty in Pink (Gold of Course!)

Feb 10, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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rgsapphire

Popular in 19th century Russia and 1920s New York (thanks to Cartier’s classic trinity ring), rose gold is enjoying a Renaissance of late. The warm blushing tone is created by decreasing the silver-colored alloys and increasing the copper-colored alloys normally found in gold. The chemistry between the two metals is electric. Not as flashy as traditional gold and not as subdued as silver or white gold, rose gold offers just the right mix of subtlety and warmth. From the red carpet to the sportswear department, it has been everywhere the last two years and is showing no signs of relinquishing its crown as queen of the alloys.

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Spark Your Creativity: Five Jewelry Exhibits Not to Miss!

Feb 6, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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countessnecklacecap

Today at The Studio we bring you a little fodder for your creative soul. Here at Rio Grande, one of our favorite places to go in search of inspiration and new ideas is museums. All that creative genius gathered in one place just makes us want to make something. Luckily for jewelers, there are a bevy of jewelry-focused exhibits this spring and fall. From the Medieval to the avant-garde to the diamond-studded, the exhibits offer a little creative rejuvenation in the dark days of winter.

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Education at Rio Grande: Color Yourself Excited—Ronda Coryell’s Torch Enameling Class is Coming Soon!

Feb 3, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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Ready to take your Argentium® Silver designs to a whole new level? Want a chance to work side-by-side with one of the world’s foremost experts on this incredible alloy? Looking to add a little color to your metal designs? Or are you one of those jewelry makers who always wants to learn something new? If you answered yes to any (or all!) of these questions, come to Rio in March for our newest class—Torch Enameling on Argentium Silver, taught by gifted instructor and Argentium expert Ronda Coryell.

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Inside Rio: A Few of Rio Grande’s Favorite Customer Service Superstars

Jan 14, 2014
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Heather Apodaca
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Our Rio Superstars posts usually focus on the many talented jewelers who work on our technical support team. This week, we thought we would visit a different part of Rio and introduce you to just a few of the superstars from our customer service teams. First-rate customer service is one of the things we pride ourselves on here at Rio, so we are thrilled to introduce you to the people who make it all happen.

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The Studio’s Top Five Posts of 2013

Dec 26, 2013
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Heather Apodaca
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Like everyone else in the blogosphere, we spent the last week looking back at 2013. Here at The Studio that involved digging through the hundreds of posts we created over the past year, rereading our favorites and delving into the data to find out which posts our beloved readers (that’s you!) visited the most.

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Pantone 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

Dec 12, 2013
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Heather Apodaca
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Caption

Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s 2014 Color of the Year, intrigues the eye, sparks the imagination, and glows from within. Perfect for jewelry, accessories and fashion!

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