BTS: The Color of the Year Collection

YALL. I am beyond excited for the Color of the Year Collection launch that happened on Monday. I don't think I've ever worked so hard on something, and I'm in awe of how everything turned out (seriously wouldn't look so good without Nicole McConville's photography expertise and the gorgeous Jackie as our model). 

As the name suggests, this collection was inspired mostly by the 2016 Pantone Colors of the Year. It was the first time in a long time (maybe ever?) that they chose 2 colors rather than one, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped about their choices. Pale pink (rose quartz) and baby blue (serenity) are the perfect colors for Spring. They're light, soft, and practically neutrals in my book, especially when worn with such subtlety as found in the newest collection. My interior design guru sista always taught me that three is the most perfect number in the design world so after adding in a simple white to those pantone hues, the collection practically designed itself. 

The colors were inspired by the pantones, but the designs came from a whole different source. The collection is really kind of split into three parts, all pulled together by the colors used. First, the large stone pieces - back in early January, I was browsing one of my favorite jewelry/vintage/natural found objects stores here in Asheville and came across various palm stones. I was immediately drawn to the rose quartz and blue lace agate (hence the idea for Pantones), and stocked up my cart. The White Howlite stones were sourced elsewhere, but the larger Rose Quartz and Blue Lace Agate stones used in the ANNIE Necklace and KATHERINE Cuff came from my local shop. I started to play with designs for these babies and spent the next two days sketching. I knew the stones were too large for earrings, rings, or small necklaces. So, a statement necklace and cuff combo was the best choice. I had a vision for the ANNIE Necklace but was struggling to figure out what to do for the cuff. The stones were organic and to contrast that imperfection, I wanted a clean design - something to really highlight the stone itself. I saw a design on a Great Gatsby party invitation somewhere while browsing pinterest/tumblr and the border design struck a cord inside. The design for the cuff just came right out. I've searched and scoured, but I can't find that image anywhere - my apologies, folks.

Sketching a cuff design + creating it in wax (you can even sneak a peek of another design I played with in the bottom right corner!)

Sketching a cuff design + creating it in wax (you can even sneak a peek of another design I played with in the bottom right corner!)

On the mandrel - all cleaned up and ready to be sent off for casting

On the mandrel - all cleaned up and ready to be sent off for casting

Making sure the chain + tassels fit onto the wax model!

Making sure the chain + tassels fit onto the wax model!

Next, the wheel pieces with the tiny stones in the center. I was searching for one component that I could use over and over again throughout the collection - one piece that would bring the whole thing together. However, I'll admit, though, the idea for the tassels came first. I've been playing around with tassels for some time - I first released pieces with permanent tassels last fall (they can now be found in the sale section), but I know versatility is key in today's fast-moving world. Being able to take an outfit from day to night or jewelry from trendy to classic in one swift motion is what it's all about, and I wanted to find a way to tap into that. Enter: removable tassels. Offered in three color ways, our removable tassels can be "popped" onto many of the new Pantone pieces - The JULIE Necklace, The MARGHERITE Necklace, and The ELIZABETH Studs, to name a few. So, I had the tassels, but I needed a piece they would connect onto and that, if desired, many tassels could connect. The wheel symbol was only natural. With openings all around, you can connect up to 7 tassels if you want! I mean, why not Pop a Tassel?

From sketch to reality... such a fun process! Making sure the tassels + hook fit onto the wax model

From sketch to reality... such a fun process! Making sure the tassels + hook fit onto the wax model

Cleaned up and enjoying the afternoon sun in the studio

Cleaned up and enjoying the afternoon sun in the studio

Lastly, the oval cabochon pieces were inspired by my grandmother, Elaine. When I was 16, "Moss", as I knew her, gifted me with a gorgeous black onyx oval cabochon ring. At the time, it felt dated and, simply, too big for my 16 year old fingers. But, over time, and since she has passed, I've come to truly cherish that ring. It reminds me of a time in her life that I've only heard in stories - when she was a young woman, raising three boys on her own since her husband had passed prematurely, gracefully performing in local theater shows, and looking absolutely stunning every day. To be honest, I have no idea when she actually got the ring, and I regret never asking her. But regardless of if she got the ring before this time in her life or much later in life, it still reminds me of her strength and courage. She grew up in a generation where she was expected to rely on her husband  for just about everything and when she no longer had a husband, she had to learn how to do things on her own. I'm so proud to call Moss my grandmother, and I'm honored to wear the ring she gave me. So, back to the collection - The ASHLEY cocktail ring is my modern interpretation of the ring Moss once gave me. From that design, evolved The ELAINE Earrings, SARAH Necklace, and PEDEN Cuff

Finally, the names of the pieces - each piece is named after a woman in my life, whether a friend or family member, within whom I find inspiration. Their laugh, their courage, their loyalty - these and many other characteristics can be found in the people with whom I want surround myself. Each piece in the collection's product description gives a little insight into who that woman is, and I'd like to encourage you to go that find out! It is the era of #girlbosses and #thefutureisfemale, after all, so why the heck not embrace some sista love?

So there you have it - The Color of the Year Collection inspiration and behind the scenes in its entirety! I'd love to know what you think about the new collection - what are your favorite pieces, what's first on your wish list? Sound off in the comments below!

Happy Thursday!