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Monthly Archives: August 2015

  • Arik Kastan: The Story Behind the Jewelry

    One of our most popular designer lines and loved by the jewelry and fashion insiders, Arik Kastan in the United States wouldn’t be possible without one fierce entrepreneur: Tamar Kelman.

    “I immediately fell in love with Arik Kastan’s work and knew I had to find him,” Kelman says, of the first time she saw his jewelry in 2009.  Previously, she worked with a variety of Israeli-based jewelry designers, helping them launch their lines in the United States.  Arik Kastan’s diamond and gemstone jewelry, handcrafted with vintage-inspired rose and yellow gold, stood out to Kelman as something new and refreshing.  She liked that it still featured an old world jewelry technique and look.

    arik kastan citrine ringarik kastan opal earrings

    Over the past six years, Kastan and Kelman’s business relationship has flourished, due to the success of the line in the United States.  While Kastan stays true to his original gold mixtures and handcrafted details, Kelman takes the pulse of fashion trends and helps to infuse the designs with a modern touch.

    Speaking on their collaborative process, Kelman says, “It varies a lot.  Sometimes we discuss specific elements and sketch designs, other times I give Arik a general theme or idea I want to introduce and he just innately knows what I mean.”

    Kelman and Kastan speak regularly about what’s currently happening in their lives and what inspires them.  For Kelman, her environment and lifestyle in LA is an important factor.  “Life can get hectic, and taking time to enjoy natural beauty is something that’s important to me.  Los Angeles is a huge city but has a laid-back vibe with great beaches, hiking spots and lush tree-lined canyon roads where I live.  I thought a lot about incorporating floral elements and eclectic color combinations into the collection, paying homage to these traditional motifs of Victorian jewelry.  At the same time, Arik was experimenting with an organic look in the form of raw, imperfect gemstones.  So we blended our concepts together to create floral designs with gems featuring bright, bohemian color combinations,” she said.

    turquoise earrings, arik kastan earrings, arik kastan jewelry

    Kelman took note of the appeal of stacking rings, and started styling looks on the line’s Instagram account.  An LA native, she began by layering the textural rose gold jewels in a way that worked with her own sense of style, mixing luxury with leather jackets, tees and jeans.  The end result was pretty with an edge, a look that captured the attention of jewelry blogger Gem Gossip, known for her “Show Me Your Rings” hashtag.

    arik kastan jewelry, arik kastan instagram

    While Arik Kastan’s styles change based on current inspirations, remarkable gemstones have permanent residency in his jewels.  Kelman and Kastan hand-choose the gems together, focusing primarily on those that were prevalent in the Victorian era, staying true to the vintage aesthetic.  Rustic diamonds and rose-cut rubies sparkle in the rose gold, while turquoise and sapphires add potent contrast.  The iridescent gems:  labradorite, moonstone, and opal, are evaluated by a different criteria when chosen for the jewelry.  “They have to be magical,” says Kelman.

    moonstone earrings, arik kastan earrings, rose gold earringslabradorite ring, arik kastan ring, triple gem ring

     To add more layering possibilities to the mix, this year, Arik Kastan introduced yellow gold in the United States.  It’s a custom blend, and Kelman says “similar to the type of gold you would see in Italian jewelry.  It complements green, blue and black stones really well.”   Kelman advises collectors to wear the two metals together, rather than exclusively.  “Stacking mixed metals always looks great,” she said.

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    For a woman eager to add Arik Kastan to her own collection, where’s the best place to start?  Kelman says “Our labradorite and moonstone 3-stone rings are definitely a ‘must-have.’  I also personally love larger statement rings like the Queen’s Scepter ring in labradorite with sapphires and the Marquise shield ring in turquoise with diamonds.  I never leave the house without my watch chain necklace with a large heart padlock.  These are my basics.  Oh!  And the blossom stud earrings.  Also necessary.”

    arik kastan jewelry

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  • Real Proposal Stories: Mike & Erica’s Prospect Park Proposal

    prospect park proposal Sarah-Bode Photography

    From their first date to their proposal, Mike and Erica’s relationship has been full of surprises.

    The couple first met online, and after exchanging a few messages, planned to meet.  Mike had set up drinks at a bar before their date at a comedy club, but to his surprise, Erica accidentally fell asleep and made it just in time for the show.  “There was never any doubt that I would wait,” said Mike.  “I knew she was a special girl worth any wait.”

    The couple instantly hit it off and got closer over the next couple of months, enjoying the honeymoon period.  Just two months into dating, Mike received an unpleasant surprise.  “I started seeing doctors for some abnormalities in tests from my last check-up.  No big deal, I felt fine.  Then my doctor called me at work on a perfect sunny Friday afternoon to tell me I had an aggressive form of leukemia.  The only thing I could think was, ‘I’m not ready to say goodbye to Erica,’” he explained.

    Mike returned to his hometown out of state for treatment, and the couple kept their relationship going despite the distance and the circumstances.  It served as a good time for Erica to visit Mike’s home and meet his family.  Mike says, “She was my motivation for getting better.  She was the one that kept me positive.  When you’re battling something like cancer, you need something to hope for, to look forward to, to give you a reason to fight to live.  I fought for Erica.”

    It was then that Mike knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Erica, and so began the search for the perfect ring.

    Lucky for Mike, Erica gave him a head start.  She had an inspiration image that she loved from Pinterest.  “I wanted a ring that would be timeless, so I looked for rings with both vintage and modern elements.  I am naturally drawn to gold and found an antique rose gold ring that I found irresistibly romantic,” Erica said.  Unlucky for Mike, the picture that Erica found lead to a dead end on the Internet, leaving him to start from scratch.

    Mike was determined to get Erica her perfect ring, and so he set out on creating his own version of it.  “She is a one-of-a-kind girl and deserves a ring to match,” he told us.  He arrived at our store with his inspiration image to begin designing a custom engagement ring.  Mike consulted with our jewelry specialist Lee Terranova, and we put the dream ring into production with the assistance of our Master Jeweler.  “After a couple of weeks, I saw the computer images of the ring, but I knew I couldn’t be sure until I finally got the chance to see it in person,” Mike said.  “When the chance finally came… wow.  I really never knew it would sparkle THAT much.”  Mike left our store, ring in pocket, feeling “impressed, happy, excited and terrified,” he said.

    prospect park proposal engagement ring

    Mike’s nervousness continued the day of the proposal.  “My antiperspirant decided to take the day off,” he said.  He planned to propose near the Vale of Cashmere, the couple’s favorite section of Prospect Park, and had hired a photographer to capture Erica’s reaction.  The moment Mike dropped to one knee and told Erica there was no one else he’d rather spend his life with, she began crying tears of joy.  “After I pulled it together, I cried out ‘yes!’” she said.  “It was exactly what I would have hoped for – just me, him, someone to capture the moment, and a story to tell for years to come about my favorite surprise.”

    prospect park proposal 2

    prospect park proposal 3

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