So, in Part II of this series, I want to focus on what it is that makes jewelry 'southwestern' and why does there seem to be this prevailing thought in other parts of the country that 'southwestern' style doesn't translate to their locale?
The American southwest is defined by it's unique, rugged landscape and high contrasts. It's an area of the country that is both beautiful and full of extremes from the high mid-day, summer temperatures to the freezing, night-time desert temps. It's home to such natural wonders as the Grand Canyon and the Valley of Fire.
|Traveling through New Mexico, a scenic shot from the road.|
So what is it that defines 'southwestern' style jewelry? It's a unique style that focuses on the love of natural elements, textures and mimics the high contrasts of the environment.
Southwestern jewelery tends to utilize vivid natural stones such as lapis, turquoise, malachite and the like mixed with the stunning contrast of shiny sterling silver. It features geometric designs that are reminiscent of the surrounding cliffs and harsh landscape that dominate the countryside. It is bold and big - pieces that make an impact like the scenic views that go one for miles.
|This amazing necklace by Davida Lister is bold & bright - typical of the southwestern style, $1,375.|
|This vintage piece from Nico's Nostalgia at RubyLane.com shows the diversity in color of s ingle type of |
stone (turquoise) & has the southwestern flair that you see in pieces featuring sterling silver, $297.
|A modern piece, this 14kt yellow gold & coral ring make a big impact from West of Santa Fe, $1,430.|
|Another contemporary piece by Alice Lister, the Rainbow Cuff in Sterling Silver features |
a multitude of stones for a huge statement, $1,900.
|Another vintage cuff, this piece features crushed coral & turquoise set in sterling silver & is offered |
through Chippewa Lake Antiques on Ruby Lane, $55.
|A unique contemporary piece, this 14kt yellow gold braided turquoise ring by by Navajo |
artisan Bernyse Chavez, is featured at West of Santa Fe & is a stunning example of
the big impact the natural stone can have, $985.
Stayed tuned for next week's finale, Part III, where I'll discuss styling tips for that will transcend your particular locale and allow you to bring a little southwestern flavor to your part of the country!
In the meantime, sit tight for a new (one-time only) spin our Feature Friday that will highlight some of my favorite southwestern jewelry artisans!