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Introducing JCK Design Challenge Winning Designs

September 23, 2016

Back in February we partnered with JCK Events for their 2016 jewelry showcase in Tucson, Arizona. We sponsored a design challenge that pitted the most talented jewelers against one another (in a friendly competition, of course). Our mission was to highlight and honor those designers who think outside the box, use unique materials, and demonstrate amazing craftsmanship.

Rough Pink Tourmaline Stone Ring | UncommonGoods

Rough Pink Tourmaline Stone Ring by John Bekarian – Also available in Rough Emerald

After careful deliberation by the judges, John Bekarian’s Rough Stone Rings were the chosen winners.

Our Jewelry Buyer Sharon Hitchcock commented. “John’s ring design is gorgeous in its simplicity. It features a lovely stone, surrounded by precious metal. It is symbolic of keeping the one you love close to your heart. We are excited to carry this piece in the UncommonGoods jewelry assortment.”

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Gift Guides

Elegant to Edgy: A Guide to Jewelry You’ll Love

July 30, 2015

See UncommonGoods' Jewelry Collection

As UncommonGoods’ Jewelry Buyer, I see a ton of the beautiful pieces that I bring into the assortment end up making fabulous gifts for stylish women. I love seeing my selections making people happy on birthdays and during the holidays, but I also enjoy thinking outside the gift box to find necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings that jewelry lovers will want to buy for themselves.

I hand-picked these pieces not only because they make me smile, but also because they span a variety of styles–classic, contemporary, elegant, edgy, and even eclectic.  Each design is special, unique, and totally unexpected, and I personally want them all for my own collection. (And I think you will too!)

3 Stone Sea Glass Necklace | Courtney Gillen | UncommonGoods

What is more nostalgic than sea glass? Courtney Gillen uses gorgeous real sea glass to make this necklace. It can be a wearable reminder of childhood days spent collecting rocks and shells at the beach or a tribute to a bygone seaside vacation. No matter why you wear it, it’s an easy way to keep the ocean close without going overboard with the nautical theme. | 3 Stone Sea Glass Necklace

Stalactite Slice Ring | Emilie Shapiro | UncommonGoodsThis statement ring truly does make a statement. Artist Emilie Shapiro is known for her use of gorgeous raw stones, and in this case, she goes all out. The eye-catching gem is actually a stalactite, formed over millions of years. One word: WOW. | Stalactite Slice Ring


Sterling Silver Wings Bangle | UncommonGoodsIt can be hard to take a chance when you don’t know what the outcome will be. The artist behind this beautiful bangle, Christine Street, uses the messaging “she took the leap and built her wings on the way down” to say it’s OK to take a chance and pursue a dream. | Sterling Silver Wings Bangle 

Tibetan Bell Necklace | Jen Pleasants | UncommonGoods

Inspired by meditative Tibetan bells, this handcrafted necklace makes a soft, soothing sound. As if the gentle tone wasn’t enough to bring on a serene smile, artist Jen Pleasants  finishes each bell clapper with a personal touch, a hanging heart. | Tibetan Bell Necklace


Mixed Metal Earrings | UncommonGoods


Fernanda Sibilia creates a rustic feel by hand-hammering these mixed metal circles and letting oxidation add its own special touch, a unique patina. No two earrings are the same, but those intentional imperfections make each set a perfect pair. | Trio Mixed Metal Earrings


Personalized Birch Cuff | Nancy Nelson | UncommonGoods


Nancy Nelson gets her inspiration, and materials, from nature. The bark that created the cast for this brass cuff is the perfect backdrop for Nancy to carve your initials. The little heart cutout is an extra drop of  sweetness. | Personalized Love Birch Cuff


Sky Glimmer Necklace | UncommonGoods

The artist behind this piece, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre, captures the feel of the sky as dawn breaks by adding glossy glass enamel to fine silver. The finished “petal” has a subtle, shimmery ombre effect that’s simple and sophisticated. | Sky Glimmer Necklace 

Hydrangea Gold Dipped Lace Necklace | UncommonGoods
Inspired by pre-Columbian jewelry, Tulianna Garces, takes lovely pieces of vintage-inspired lace and transforms them into gilded necklaces. The lace is dipped in 24kt gold and then meticulously cleaned by hand so the detail comes through, creating a special piece that isn’t easily replicated. | Hydrangea Gold Dipped Lace Necklace

Precious Dipped Lace Heart Necklace | UncomonGoods

The floral motif isn’t the only style that shines in dipped lace. The delicate fabric is the perfect starting point for Tulianna’s heart-shaped creations as well. | Precious Dipped Lace Heart Necklace & Mini Gold Dipped Lace Heart Earrings.

Penny for Your Thoughts Necklace | Trudy James | UncommonGoods

This whimsical necklace features an adorable mini penny!  Trudy James creates a teeny-tiny replica of a penny with perfect detail and places it in each pendant, so you won’t have to offer your spare change to get folks to tell you they think of this charming piece. They’ll pay you compliments unprompted. | A Penny for Your Thoughts Necklace


Golden Slice Agate Necklace | UncommonGoodsThe raw look of this shimmering stone is earthy, yet glamorous.  The designer, Lucy Dalton, hand selects each agate and then accents the chain with little gold nuggets to create a perfectly pretty piece with just the right amount of edge. | Golden Slice Agate Necklace

Anatomical Heart Pendant | UncommonGoods

Whether you love edgy jewelry, want to show off your interested in biology or anatomy, or just want a necklace that stands out, this piece by Justine Brooks is a great way to show that you march to the beat of your own heart.   | Anatomical Heart Pendant


Jewelry for Every Style | UncommonGoods

Maker Stories

Tavia Brown’s “Industrial Delicate” Rings to Last a Lifetime

May 20, 2013

“I very clearly remember being six years old and knowing I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. And it never changed,” said jewelry artist Tavia Brown. “I ventured down my artistic journey in my childhood and ended up in college discovering metalsmithing.”

That drive, discovery, and dedication lead Tavia to found taviametal in 2001, and stay true to her craft through business ventures, marriage, and motherhood. Fittingly, her latest collection celebrates one of those special occasions in life–saying “I do.”

Tavia incorporates metals not traditionally used in wedding jewelry, like titanium and rose gold, and textural elements into her original designs to create unique rings for men and women. She calls her style “industrial delicate,” referring to the juxtaposition of tenacious metals with elegant design, and although her pieces are a bit bolder than some wedding bands, they are perfect for making the statement, “our love is solid.”

“In my first jewelry class I found my match in this small-scale, three-dimensional medium,” Tavia said. “I knew then that this was what I was going to do.”

The artist now creates her pieces in her own Charlottesville, VA studio, but before setting out on her own she worked as a bench jeweler for a high-end jewelry designer. “I worked in the jewelry studio and daydreamed about having my own studio business,” she said. “I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it; I didn’t have a concrete plan. I just knew I was going to do it.”

Taviametal started out as a part-time endeavor, but grew over time as Tavia transitioned from exhibiting her own work at small shows while still working full-time at her bench job. Over the next few years, she got married, cut back her day job hours, and started planning for her future while helping her husband, who is an entrepreneur himself, with his business.

“Eventually, I knew kids would be the next step and I quit my job for the jewelry designer to get accustomed to not having that paycheck,” Tavia said. “I wanted to ensure that I would still follow my dream and take that big leap after having kids. So I worked part-time for my husband and part-time for taviametal, nurturing both businesses. I eventually switched and made taviametal my full-time commitment in 2007. Since then, my husband and I have continued to support each other in our individual business adventures, helping each other grow.”

Along the way, Tavia also discovered the joy of working with titanium–which is now her signature metal.”I had a very close-knit group of metalsmithing/blacksmithing friends and we would have these Monster Metal weekends during which we would take turns at each other’s studios learning a new technique or trying out a new material,” she explained. “Well, one weekend we tried our hand at titanium. I found that I really liked the color and the weight; and I loved the industrial feel and look to it, which fell right in line with my aesthetics.”

“I discovered that I could use the titanium for my rings, taking advantage of that natural gray color to contrast with other materials and continue the layering of textures that I like to create in these rings,” she continued. “I also found I could apply a heat patina which adds even more color – blue, purple, bronze – to the recesses of the designs. Titanium definitely has its challenges. Some basic metalsmithing techniques cannot be used with it, such as soldering – which is a main practice. So I fabricate my titanium jewelry by cold joining contrasting materials and friction fitting the layers, with an emphasis on textures and design. I really love these challenges about titanium. It keeps me creating in ways that take me outside the box. It pushes me to come up with new and interesting designs, and I am constantly exploring.”

“There are times where I get inspiration simply from the material… its challenges, limitations, and look intrigue me,” said Tavia. “Other times it’s just texture, the juxtaposition and tactility of different textures together, and the manipulation of the materials into amazing surfaces… Another impetus for me is family. This is a recurring theme in my work since college.”

Now, as a mother of two, Tavia is inspired by her children and says that over the years she’s been lucky to be able to mold her schedule around what’s best for her whole family.

“I want my kids to see that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to,” she said. “I want them to know that they can dream as big as they want… On days where I must work longer than the usual I take my kids to the studio with me after school. I have carved out a kid area in my office, complete with easel, art supplies, toys, TV, movies, hula hoops, snacks, and more. Even though I am working, it is fun to be together at the studio.”

Tavia says that one of the biggest lessons she’s learned so far is “to breathe and be kind to myself and know that it will all work out.” She explained, “If I do my best, my kids will be their best. That’s not to say the ride hasn’t had its moments of difficulty; some days just have tears and other days are full of laughter. Each day is a new day of parenting with new challenges, so I am constantly learning – not just as a mom but also as a metalsmith and business owner.”


Comments of the Week

December 2, 2011

With the gift-giving season booming, UncommonGoods has been bustling! We’re answering customer questions, helping people find great gifts, and taking, packing, and shipping orders. But don’t worry, through all of the holiday shopping fun, we haven’t forgotten to find great new products for our community voting app. We’re happy to see that our community is able to take a break from baking Christmas cookies and writing letters to Santa to share votes and comments with us!

Some of our favorite feedback this week comes from commenters who’ll zip it when it comes to headphones, want to leave a lasting impression, and are excited about open discussion.

Many commenters love the fun design of the i-Slide Zipper Headphones, but Maggie pointed out that they’re also practical.

Good point, Maggie! We agree that the tangle-free aspect is a definite bonus.

Another fashion accessory in the lineup this week isn’t quite as bold as the bright orange headphones. Inner Message Rings make their mark subtlety. The raised letters and symbols on the inside of each ring actually leave imprints in your skin.

ER questioned whether the ring would be a good fit, but Stephanie and Ranel are convinced that this design could be a comfy, everyday piece.

Ranel’s favorite product this week isn’t the only fun modern design getting buzz. The Modern Bottle Opener is getting noticed for it’s unusual size and shape.

Do you agree with Laura that this modern design could get the conversation flowing? Are you like Roberta and have a bartender friend in mind? We’d love to hear your feedback on this, and all of the great uncommon designs up for voting this week!

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