24 karat muse | VailDaily.com

24 karat muse

Cassie Pence
Special to the DailyYossi Harari's wooden bangles were bought new at a flea market. He then added gold details to each bracelet.

BEAVER CREEK – Even in the ’90s when the world was wearing white gold, jewelry designer Yossi Harari never abandonded his 24 carat gold.In its purist form, gold is the designer’s muse, and lucky for Harari, the fashion gods have made it hip again. You can see Harari’s designs shining in their intense yellow color in every fashion magazine on the stands. His signature layered necklaces drape across female celebrities from Salma Hayek to Nicole Richie to Oprah to Cindy Crawford, one of his first high-profile clients who wore him long before the gold craze.Born in Israel and raised in both Israel and Turkey, Harari prides himself on creating his jewelry the old fashion way – by hand. He likes the feel and look of antiquity. He uses no casting or wax system, just 25 workers in a workshop.

“When you create something by hand, not one piece will be the same as the other,” said Harari, who will be in attendance at Gotthelf’s in Beaver Creek. “It is much more unique.”Harari’s signature work is the six-strand gold lariat. Gold pieces are strung in silk, so the lariat moves more like high thread count sheets than a gold necklace. “It’s like liquid gold,” Harari said.He designed the clasp of the lariat so the necklace can be worn in many different ways. Harari likes all his pieces to be versatile. For example, a woman could wear the lariat dangling to the side or tucked in the back instead of the traditional sexy way, hanging straight down through the chest. Or she could wear Harari’s five strand choker with the clasp in front or doubled as a bracelet.”I love when ladies can play with a piece of jewelry,” Harari said. “She can create her own look.”

Harari’s creates with the intention of layering. He begins with a simple beaded gold necklace and then mimics the design in color stones. A woman can layer the two, or three or four strands, and it becomes a full, flirty set. The same goes with rings. Harari designs them to stack.His latest collection, the Sara Collection, feature rose-cut diamonds set with foil over oxidized gold. The contrast is stunning between the black of the foil, the yellow gold and white diamonds, which are mounted like a mosaic.”It’s an old technique. I liked reviving it,” Harari said. “Everything today is synthetic, so unreal. Working with real gold is difficult to do. It’s something I wanted to be able to achieve.”Another collection featured in the trunk show at Gotthelf’s is Harari’s vintage ebony wood bangles, which, Harari said, he created before the wood jewelry craze hit early this summer. He bought them new at a flea market. The bangles are circa 1940s, Harari said, and he has added individual gold details to each one.”I like that they are one of a kind, old and expensive wood,” Harari said. “I also like the contrast between black ebony and gold.”

Oprah does too, she was one of the first to buy the big wooden bangles. Even with so many women wearing Harari’s collection, there is only one woman in his life.Harari first created a ring at age 11 for his mother, who he said is his muse for life. “I always have a female in mind when I design, but my mother is No. 1,” Harari said.He comes from a family of art and antique collectors. His mother had a craving for jewelry, and Harari learned to appreciate the craft from her. “Even when I was very young, I always loved the beauty of detail of something so small,” Harari said.

Harari will be at Gotthelf’s in Beaver Creek through Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For more information, call the jeweler at 845-9198 or visit http://www.yossiharai.com.Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 618, or cpence@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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