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Sarah Graham visits the Squash Blossom in Vail through Saturday

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyThese stackable rings by designer Sarah Graham incorporate blackened steel and 18-karat gold, two metals that Graham is known for in her work.
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VAIL, Colorado ” Designer Sarah Graham will be visiting the Squash Blossom in Vail through Saturday with her spring trunk show. Graham designs jewelry that which is subtly feminine yet substantial and unique yet universal in appeal, according to store manager Amy Logan.

The first thing people notice is the natural appeal of Graham’s jewelry, which are based on organic materials. The inspiration for her original designs and materials is grounded in nature as confirmed by the labeling of her jewelry: “Pebbles,” “Stepping Stones,” “Oyster, Conifer,” “Bamboo,” “Shadow,” “Leaf and River Rock.” Each piece reflects its natural source such as the texturing of a tree branch or the waviness of an oyster shell.

Another unique element of her jewelry is the use of 18-karat gold and blackened steel. A distinctive addition, the blackened steel creates an arresting contrast and depth to the jewelry. The small, detailed addition of black, white and cognac diamonds and of Akoya and Tahitian pearls also ad to the distinction. Each piece carries strong tones of thoughtfulness, attention to detail, quality and timelessness. Her signature combination of black, white and gold colors immediately identifies the artist.

“My jewelry is pretty modern and sophisticated,” Graham said during a phone interview last year. “I like the clean, modern look, but I think ultimately what works best with the body is something with softness. That’s why I like the juxtaposition between something like steel, which is industrial and sophisticated, and the organic shapes, which soften the look.”

Graham’s career as a jeweler began when she made a simple line drawing of a bracelet for her sister as a Christmas present. She took the design to a local jeweler and asked him if he could create it. He was so impressed with her design and its potential that he not only agreed to have it made but offered to teach her his craft as well.

“Much to my father’s chagrin, who had paid for college, I said (to the jeweler), ‘I’ll wash your windows if you teach me how to make jewelry,'” Graham said.

After her basic instruction, Graham perfected her Old World craftsmanship by serving as an unpaid apprentice for two rigorous years under a master goldsmith in Carmel, Calif. Graham studied the jewelry of the world in museums, galleries and stores in North, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and India. She then became a bench jeweler for six years before launching Sarah Graham Metalsmithing in 2000.

Graham sees her customers as strong, accomplished women with graceful, natural beauty ” a woman who wants her jewelry to display her self-confidence in taste and style and to subtly command attention whether worn with everyday attire or evening elegance. Celebrities such as Sharon Stone and Kim Basinger are collectors of her jewelry.


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