Every jewelry collection starts with a whisper. A memory. An inspiration.
Pura Vida actually began as a single necklace designed at the request of a gracious and elegant woman I met on a cruise ship. As we got to know one another, she shared that she and her husband were originally scheduled to take their “dream” cruise together, but he had passed away the previous month. She asked if I would create a piece to commemorate their life together. As we traveled and took photos of the beautiful South Pacific islands, we played with shells, twigs, and even sugar cubes to come up with the basic layout for a one-of-a-kind jewelry design. And so, the “Dream of Moorea” was born.
My client loved her commissioned piece which features 13 baroque pearls to celebrate her and her husband’s children and grandchildren. I was speechless when she contacted me to say that she felt such a beautiful piece should be shared, and gave me her blessing to create another Dream of Moorea necklace. What was originally a single, stunning collector piece organically evolved into an entire collection, which I named Pura Vida.
Starting a Jewelry Collection
One of the first pieces I designed to fill out the collection was a smaller, simpler version of the Dream of Moorea necklace featuring a single baroque pearl surrounded by vibrant peridot and blue topaz. Set in sterling silver with white rhodium, it’s like an echo of the full 13 baroque pearl necklace.
In many ways, the Pura Vida collection is a celebration of femininity. Beyond that, it’s a celebration of life. In fact, the literal translation of Pura Vida is "pure life," but it is so much more than that. It’s really a lifestyle/philosophy that celebrates a simple and less complicated life.
With its soft-colored gemstones and pearls, Pura Vida is my most feminine collection and the pieces truly make a woman feel pretty. Some of my collections make women feel strong and powerful – like my black and gold jewelry collection – but Pura Vida has a light and feminine feel. Every woman wants to feel pretty. It doesn’t diminish our sense of strength or capability. But there is no denying that we feel more confident when we feel attractive. Every piece of Pura Vida conveys an attractive sense of self.
Gold tassel earrings are striking with a combination of white teardrop pearls and facetedemeralds, 18k vermeil beads and white pearl accents, yet completely feminine.
Mixing Metal and Gemstones
Designs include white rhodium over sterling silver and both 14k and 18k gold, precious metals that will last for generations. A platinum based metal, white rhodium is the perfect blend with sterling silver because it gives the metal a shimmering white sheen. White rhodium plating over the sterling silver means your white metal will never discolor or tarnish. Each piece is fabricated completely from precious metal sheet and / or wire.
Happily, this is a collection that can handle both white metal (silver and white rhodium) and yellow gold. I did not have a preference and wanted both gold and silver lovers to experience the peace of Pura Vida. I believe – and my hope is – that everyone makes a piece of my jewelry their own. While it is part of the Q Evon Collection, it truly becomes a statement of their own taste and style.
The gemstones are sourced all over the world. I work with one family of stone cutters in India for 80% of my stones. Throughout the collection, you will find pearls, aquamarine, chalcedony, topaz, sleeping beauty turquoise, peridot, moonstone and opal.
To fabricate the earrings below, chalcedony is faceted to my specifications by the stone cutters in India before I set the stones on sterling silver posts. We then plate the sterling with white rhodium for anti tarnish, or 18k vermeil, to offer these beautiful post earrings in silver and gold.
Expanding the Vision
I initially focussed on the vivid blues and greens of the South Pacific as a nod to the Dream of Moorea necklace. After trips to both Norway and Costa Rica, the palette expanded to include more gently hued colors of the sea, cool tones of the sand, green grass, and the quiet sound of the breeze through green leaves. I think of Pura Vida as a quiet collection - a place for meditation and time to come back to what is most important to each of us.
With their combination of milky aquamarine, freshwater coin and stick pearls, peridot, labradorite,and gray moonstone, these asymmetrical earrings are a perfect expression of Pura Vida.
As a designer, I do not follow any rules except “less is more.” I have a hefty dose of true ADD challenging me (and my employees) every single day. A good day of studio work for me is when I have taken a design and pared it back to my vision of perfection. Not too much going on and not too little. I have a collection called Metal Elements that has more moving pieces than I ever thought I would create. It too has a clean and simple flow to the components.
During an interview, I was asked for my definition of “clean“ design. I think I have two definitions. While I am a minimalist at heart, and this is one of my definitions, it is not the only way to achieve clean design. My most prevalent definition is when I can visually remove clutter and distraction and focus on what I most desire to highlight. What is the central content of any piece? In some collections it is the metalwork and fabrication. In others, it is the beauty of natural stones and pearls.
The Future of Pura Vida
Someone asked me if Pura Vida was “finished.” Pura Vida is a young collection and will continue to evolve for some time. While the esthetic and design are my own, I listen carefully to the feedback of my collectors. I do not know if a collection is ever truly finished. At least not in Q World. I do not follow seasonal or fashion trends. I want a collector to be able to add to her own collection throughout the years - and those pieces will stand the test of time.
Costa Ricans (or Ticos) use the phrase “Pura Vida” to express almost anything from “hello” to “goodbye” to “everything's great” and so much more. In essence, the inherent message of “Pura Vida” is simple – to access those serene moments in life that wash over us in unexpected and oh so welcome ways. As the early collection grew, Pura Vida seemed to be a perfect name to encompass the feelings I had while designing and fabricating each piece. I hope you’ll find the perfect piece to invoke your own Pura Vida lifestyle.
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