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Day 5 – 12 days of Designer Christmas Jewellery

Our team of Atelier jewellery designers use a variety of metals and gemstones in their work. Inspired by their surroundings, these creators have been in their studios all year handcrafting accessories for all the ladies on your list.

Collins Necklace #Jewellery @Erinlaura #MadeinCanada

On the West Coast, Erin Johnson named her company Erinlaura, combining her name with her grandmother’s – a strong creative presence in her life. The Erinlaura necklace collection is a combination of rough cut gemstones and delicate gold chains as striking as the bays and inlets of British Columbia’s shoreline. She balances yin and yang influences in her jewellery designs.

ignite-turquoise-beads-diffuser-necklace @Skimbaco

On the other side of the country, Katja’s Skimbaco Lifestyle brand launched their initial essential oil diffuser jewellery line after experimenting strands of leather and cloth. You may not be able to travel to the shores of Bali, but this stunning collection might at least allow you to daydream.

Aurora Ring #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

The time to buy Anastassia Selezneva runway-quality jewellery is right now before she makes good on her goal of moving to New York City. All the Anastassia Sel necklaces, ear crawlers, rings and bracelets are handcrafted with recycled sterling silver and 14k gold so that you can feel good about your sustainable purchase.

Concrete and Stainless Jewellery @ColleenPoitras

Based in Canada’s largest city, Colleen Poitras balances the demands Toronto living with her jewellery line. She works with leather, concrete and stainless steel to handcraft stunning pieces that work for the Pretty.Rocker.Chic in every girl. These pieces are guaranteed to dress-up any outfit.

Keme Jewellery Handcrafted @KemeJewellery

Kĕme Jewellery is the name of Melanie Neves brand, where she transforms metal clay into fashion accessory pieces that are inspired by the earth. Nature meets design in her sage leaf rings and wave patterned stud earrings.

Handcrafted jewellery by Canadian Designers

Explore the entire jewellery collection here.

Day 3 – 12 Days of Designer Christmas Shopping for Handbags

Many of Atelier’s designers have spent years perfecting their craft. In the case of handbags, there are so many elements that go into creating a beautiful purse – material selection (leathers, silks, fabrics), zippers, clasps, button closures and much more.

Nancy Newman gathers textiles and vintage fabrics from around the globe for her handbags. The bucket bag shown below includes traditional indigo dyed cotton from the Hmong tribe in Laos, a pigskin leather bottom, repurposed leather strap and a reclaimed glass bead from Ghana. Think of the work that goes into just one of her bags! She really is saving the fashion world one purse at a time.

Follow this link for all of the beautifully crafted bags by our Canadian Designers.

For your Pinterest board:

Designer handbags

Day 2 – 12 Days of Designer Christmas Shopping – Earrings

On day two of our designer days of Christmas, our jewellers have been hard at work on beautiful earrings. Comfortable to wear and the perfect accessory for casual and evening dress choose from a variety of styles.

Click here to see the full designer earring collection.

There are ear crawlers by Anastassia Sel

Branch Ear Crawler #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

Metal clay studs by Melanie at Keme Jewellery

Wave Textured Stud Earrings @KemeJewellery

Fun (Bali-inspired) hoops by Skimbaco

2getger-turquoise-earrings #Jewellery @Skimbaco

An elegant blend of sterling silver and concrete by Colleen Poitras

 

If you like this please pin this image:

Earrings are the final touch for a perfect outfit. Give designer-made earrings this year.

Win a Designer Necklace by Jewellery Artist Anastassia Selezneva

It’s the holiday season and time to celebrate with a free giveaway. All you have to do is get social with us for your chance to win this designer necklace gift.

Necklace contest December Holiday giveaway @Atelier_boutiq

In the last year, the team of designers showcasing their women’s fashion accessories and home decor items on Atelier has grown to over fifteen artists since our launch one year ago. This impressive group of Canadian designers includes jewellers, weavers, handbag artisans, candle makers, woodworkers, clothing designers and more. Take a peek at the full list of creators here.

Designer Anastassia Selezneva is helping us mark this special time of year by offering one of her beautiful necklaces for this free holiday giveaway. Made with recycled brass and sterling silver the Black Tourmaline Union Necklace is designed and handcrafted by Anastassia. The tarnished sterling silver necklace chain joins two brass circles and features a black tourmaline bead.

Black Tourmaline Union Necklace Anastassia Sel

How do you enter for your chance to win this necklace?

Sign-up for our newsletter (a bit of shopping temptation twice a month)

The lucky winner (random draw) will be announced on December 22nd.

Holiday Bonus: Shop with a 20% discount on Anastassia’s collection until December 23rd enter coupon code: AnaSelHoliday

Thank you for supporting our Canadian Designers!

 

Luxury Gift Guide Spoil her this Christmas

The special lady in your life deserves to be showered with gifts on her birthday, at Christmas, at Valentines and other special occasions. But, what to get her? Our designers at Atelier are here to solve your shopping dilemma this Christmas with our Wrap her in Luxury gift guide.

Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Christina VonBun is an Austrian transplant who arrived in Canada via South Africa. VonBun handcrafts exclusive leather handbags with the finest leather, a pursuit she has perfected since she achieved her master craftsman certification in Vienna. She works almost exclusively with ostrich leather. See her full collection here and shop with her special holiday 20% discount (coupon code: VonBunHoliday).

Nadia clutch @ChristineVonBun

Our friends at Artigiani Milanesi have two cashmere sweaters (Gracie Lacy and the Waterfall Cardigan) that any lady would love to receive as a gift.

Waterfall Cardigan in Cashmere Artigiani Milanesi

For gifts under $100 – check out this gift guide.

For designer fashion at a reasonable price explore this gift collection.

Discover this Holiday Gift Guide for Affordable Designer Shopping

Just in case you missed yesterday’s blog post the designer team at Atelier is hoping to keep your December stress levels down, with our holiday gift guides.

This seasonal gift guide is filled with ideas for unique, small-batch presents made by talented Canadian designers.

Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016

Our design team handcrafts these women’s fashion accessories and clothing in their workshops, and only in limited quantities. You can find silky scarves, soft cashmere wraps and shiny rings and things – just what a girl needs for her closet.

Nancy Newman collects vintage fabrics from around the globe. She describes her workspace as slightly messy, but that is part of the creative process behind her handbags.

bucket bag vintage mali mud fabric and black leather @NancyNewmanTextiles

Designers Anastassia Sel, Melanie Neves and Katja at Skimbaco have a range of fabulous rings and necklaces made with semi-precious stones for a magical Christmas.

diffuser-jewelry-turquoise-set #Jewellery @Skimbaco

Morija Reeb admits that from time to time her weaving projects start to take over the basement, but she loves process behind creating her silk scarves. Read more about her story and see her handwoven silk collection here.

Handmade silk scarf @MorijaDesigns

Kaarina named her company KOTI Designs, the Finnish word for home. Her stunning geometrical  evening bags are made with raw silk. These bags are a must have accessory for ladies, and a perfect compliment to that cocktail dress.

silk-evening-bag-half-moon-shape-in-black-and-scarlet-and-gold @KOTIDesigns

On the West Coast, Artigiani Milanesi works with fine cashmere to create winter woollies. These wraps and ponchos will keep her warm all winter.

maxi-scarf-cashmere-artigani-milanesi

Did you miss the stocking stuffer gift guide? Here is the link.

Gift Guide Designer Holiday Shopping Ideas for Stockings

It’s that time of year; the kids are either looking for the darn “Elf on a Shelf,” or fighting over whose turn it is to open the advent calendar. At the same time, mum and dad are juggling corporate holiday parties and trying to burn off the eggnog. The countdown is on for Christmas shopping, and the thought of parking at a mall is frightening.

Who needs it?!

Atelier is here to help bring back a little holiday Zen, with our designer gift guides. Watch our blog and social media feed in the next three days as we are going to help reduce your shopping stress with three different gift guides full of ideas for stocking stuffers to thoughtful ways to express your love.

Holiday shopping ideas – our gift guide brimming with small gifts and stocking stuffers:

Designer Holiday Gift Guide 2016

These designers are based literally from coast to coast in Canada, from Halifax to Vancouver. They work with precious metals and gemstones to design unique jewellery, vintage fabrics to make precious purses, and fine linens for home decor.

Anastassia Sel has a selection of gorgeous necklaces, bracelets and ear crawlers made with recycled sterling silver and 14K gold. See her collection here.

Vitae Bracelet @AnastassiaSel

Erin, the founder and creator at Erinlaura Jewelry, is based in beautiful Vancouver, where she creates a necklace collection that she names after her best friends. Explore her full collection of rough gemstone chains here.

Ava necklace @erinlaura

Melanie quit her day job to focus full time on Kĕme Jewellery her designer brand, where she fashions metal clay into gorgeous nature-inspired keepsakes. The Kĕme Jewellery stud earrings and leaf wrap rings are under $100 and will fit comfortably in any stocking.

Keme Jewellery Handcrafted @KemeJewellery

Our Pretty. Rocker. Chic. Colleen Poitras makes stunning jewellery accessories in her Toronto studio. Her passion is working with leather, concrete and stainless steel. Go ahead make a statement this Christmas – view her collection here.

Significance bangle moonstone @ColleenPoitrasWinter is the time to spend a little more time indoors and enjoy the Anouk Alpine linen collection of tea towels, aprons and pillows (ok those might not fit in a stocking). Speaking of home, there are pure beeswax candles from Bees Wax Works and hardwood serving boards from Schooner Lane Designs in our “For the Home” collection here.

Anouk linen pillows handmade @Anouk

Learn About Exotic Leather Handbags by Christine VonBun

Toronto Canada’s biggest city, comes with all the trappings and frenetic pace of a metropolis. Finding and creating beauty can become obscure. However, we discovered designer Christine VonBun who handcrafts exotic leather handbags in her Toronto workshop. Discover her artistic inspiration and backstory here:

What brought Christine VonBun to Toronto?

When I made my decision to leave South Africa, I set my sights on a country with vast open space. The options were limited. My tennis partner spent eight years in Canada and loved it. Toronto was the obvious choice if I wanted to stay in my field with the benefits of a larger city. I never regretted that decision. We live three hours from Algonquin Park and try to get out with our beloved canoe (we name her HMS Edelweiss) as often as we can.

Christine VonBun fabricates a collection of handcrafted leather handbags in Toronto. Her interest in fashion started on a miniature scale sewing clothes for her dolls. Christine’s youthful pastime led to her educational choice, a dedicated fashion school in Vienna, Austria, called Modeschule Hetzendorf in a baroque castle.

Nadia clutch @ChristineVonBun

The school’s applicants must pass an entry exam to test their artistic and creative abilities. Christine began the intense five-year program at the age of 14. Many students were in their early twenties and the class size was limited to 24 people. The first two years centred around art, colour development and artistic education along with traditional high school courses. In the program’s third year, you are required to select a speciality. Christine chose leather and began working on handbags, belts and wallets.

After three years at Modeschule Hetzendorf, Christine received a journeyman’s certificate in handbag design and manufacture along with a degree in graphic and fashion illustration. However, her goal was to achieve her master craftsman certification, which in Austria legally allows you to open a store and workshop in your field. Christine VonBun was clearly dedicated; she had to work as an apprentice before applying for the elite track, which then required more specialised design and handcrafted work along with business related courses.

What was the final step?

“A technical two-day exam where you have to manufacture a prescribed handbag in a Master’s workshop – while they watch you doing it.”

Master craftsman Christine VonBun moved from Austria to Cape Town where she honed her skills working for Cape Cobra Leathercraft a manufacturer of luxury leather handbags made with exotic leathers.

How does Christine VonBun describes her exotic leather handbag collection?

I use my favourite leather (ostrich) as the basis of my collection. What I do now is a limited collection, all the bags have a similar identity.  Most of my bags include some interesting detail or complicated aspect of construction you won’t see elsewhere. I am trying to let my craftsmanship speak for itself to set my bags apart from others. My line now is all about elite craftsmanship, exclusive materials and timeless elegance.

Christine VonBun

What inspires your design work?

I love to travel, and I love architecture, especially modern architecture and art deco. My inspiration is something out of the ordinary; such as a building or a structure in a European city or even a small town, sometimes it’s the picture-perfect rock formation somewhere in the Canadian Wilderness. These things inspire me to create.

Can you explain how ostrich leather is different from other materials?

I fell in love with ostrich leather while working in South Africa. The leather is really in its own category with its unique texture and softness. Due to a natural tanning process, ostrich is the only exotic leather that gets more beautiful the more you wear it. The ostrich leather absorbs the oil from your skin and the textured quill areas get shiny and wonderfully soft. I have been wearing my denim blue Adele bag for over eight years, and it is still beautiful, I wouldn’t trade it for a new bag. Ostrich is often mistakenly referred to as endangered, and nothing could be further from the truth. There are now many ostrich farms and leather sources, but I use only Klein Karoo ostrich, they are the world leader for ostrich product. I won’t compromise on leather quality.

Adele Ostrich Shoulder bag @ChristineVonBun

What tools do you need for your work?

The primary machines are a particular walking foot leather sewing machine and a skiving machine for thinning the edges. When it comes to hand tools, I have a selection of double-facetted hand-knives for cutting, and specialised skiving knives for thinning the leather edges. I need a fishbone knife for turning the edges. There are also a variety of pliers and hammers, and a good assortment of small screwdrivers, chisels and some glue pots. I use different adhesives for separate parts of the process. The most important piece for hand working is a large soft flat stone. I got mine from my old Master in Vienna. These fine sandstones are not easy to come by – most come from European churches when they renovate.

Gloria #ShoulderBag #Leather @ChristineVonBun

How long does it take to make a bag like Gloria or Lola from start to finish?

The biggest factor in making a bag is that there are many individual steps. You are much more efficient when making multiples of the same style. On top of this, ostrich compared to a flat leather adds at least 50% additional time. Ostrich skin is a premium leather, the quill pattern complicates how you cut, you want to maximise every square inch. Ostrich also has the added difficulty of a very time-consuming preparation procedure order to start the assembly.

Lola Red Patent Leather Handbag @ChristineVonBun

To answer your question more precisely, if I make the Lola in patent leather, and I make more than one at a time, I could get away with about four to five hours per bag. If I make multiple Lolas in ostrich, I am likely to spend eight hours per handbag. However, a single bag could take 12 hours. With that effort to produce a single purse, it’s easy to understand why these handbags are limited pieces. View the Christine VonBun creator page and order your signature leather handbag today!

How Designers are Turning Rocks into Beautiful Gemstone Jewellery

Classifying Gemstones

Talk about a rock-hard job! A gemologist must wade through a detailed analysis to arrive at a classification for a rock. Their conclusion after reviewing  colour, clarity, hardness and refractory qualities determines the relative value of a stone.

Even today, gemstone classification follows a methodology first invented by the Ancient Greeks. The analysis starts by dividing stones into precious and semi-precious piles. The precious gem group includes sparkling diamonds, red rubies, icy sapphires and green emeralds. The list of semi-precious stones is extensive.

The problem?

“There is no universally accepted grading system for gemstones.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Inert. Stable. Perpetual.

Powerful. Influential. Transforming

Hocus pocus?

Maybe, but there is a strong belief foundation behind the dominant properties of stones.

From the American Gem Society website:

“According to folklore and stories throughout history, many gemstones are thought to offer mystic healing to its wearer.”

For the fashion crowd here is what Elle Magazine had to say:

“Despite what you might think, touting the “healing” properties of gemstones isn’t just a fleeting Hollywood trend reserved for Miranda Kerr and um, Spencer Pratt. Gems and stones have been believed to hold metaphysical properties, alter our moods, and remedy a spectrum of ailments for thousands of years.”

Whether you are a believer or not. It could hardly hurt to add one of these fabulous gemstone jewellery pieces to your accessory collection.

The Powers of Gemstone Jewellery

Colleen Poitras’ significance bangle marks the power of gemstones by acknowledging life’s milestones and the need for a little luck around your wrist.

Significance bangle moonstone @ColleenPoitras

Erinlaura harnesses the strength of rough cut stones with dainty gold filigree to craft harmony in her pendants.

Collins Necklace #Jewellery @Erinlaura #MadeinCanada

Anastassia Sel remodels old-style ring settings with stunning non-traditional stones.

Aurora Ring #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

Gemstone Qualities

What stone to buy? Here, are some details on a few of the semi-precious stones in their gemstone jewellery collections.

Purple Amethyst @ColleenPoitras

Amethyst is quartz. A crystal that calms the wearer and brings a closer connection to inner thoughts. The stone creates a deep awareness (especially if worn during meditation) and a sense of protection. This gemstone helps to banish negative energies. The Greeks believed the purple amethyst to be a “sobriety stone” associating its rich burgundy colour with Bacchus (god of wine). February babies this is your birthstone.

Black Onyx @ColleenPoitras

Black Onyx – Persistence and healing this is the stone to wear to that challenging client meeting. The impenetrable dark stone improves both focus, dedication and retention. Black Onyx might be a good choice to wear to your next exam or budget meeting. Perhaps a gift for a student.

Chalcedony @ColleenPoitras

Chalcedony is known as the Speaker’s Stone. The stone of someone who reflects upon the impact of their words before speaking. This light blue stone absorbs negative thoughts and energies. A nurturing stone for a friend.

Labradorite @ColleenPoitras

Labradorite this stone is bewitching and transforming. Facilitates magical powers and clear a path through the haze of memories and desires. Having trouble remembering your dreams? This stone provides clarity, improved communication and tempers negative feelings. Maybe you should get one for everyone in your office.

Moonstone @ColleenPoitras

Moonstone associated with the moon and the goddess Diana. A gemstone for the ladies, it encourages reflection and inner exploration. Moonstone is a good luck stone, offering protection and increased fertility.“ According to Hindu mythology, moonstone is made of solidified moonbeams.” (source). The adularescent nature of this stone with made it a favourite of 1960’s flower children. Moonstone continues to charm designers.  This stone is an excellent choice for the ladies on your shopping list.

Rose Quartz a bit like rosé wine this gemstone can vary from pale to dark pink. However, in this case, it has nothing to do with the length of time spent on grape skins. Prized by ancient cultures, archaeologists date rose quartz jewellery specimens from Iraq to 7000 BC. Revered for centuries, rose quartz is a healing stone. A love stone.

Rutilated quartz @ColleenPoitras

Rutilated Quartz a clear quartz peppered with Golden Rutile increases creativity and balance your energy chakras. Trouble sleeping? Worried about ageing or life’s road blocks this attractive stone will help bring clarity and centre your thoughts. This stone may even improve your love life.

Watermelon Tourmaline Union Necklace #Jewellery @AnastassiaSel

Tourmaline is a quartz stone. These crystals run the gambit of the colour spectrum from clear to black. The stone of luck, love and positive energy. A watermelon tourmaline gets its name from the green exterior and red interior, like the melon. Wearing a black tourmaline stone might just bring you more luck than playing the lottery.

Skimbaco Essential Oil Diffuser Jewelry for Easy Designer Fashion

Discover how a lifestyle choices created a successful brand and a line of essential oil diffuser jewelry.

Katja Presnal is the founder of Skimbaco a lifestyle brand that she founded in 2006. She tells us that the name is not something you will find in a dictionary. Rather it’s a combination of a Finnish slang word “skimba” for skis and “co” for Colorado.

“The company was launched while we lived in Colorado and skiing in was the way we enjoyed life to the fullest at the moment. Everyone can define their own “skimbaco” – it is like modern carpe diem of enjoying the moment despite where you are.”

katja-and-gaby-in-bali @Skimbaco

Presnal says that her family does live a “Skimbaco” and somewhat nomadic life. “Our three children were born in three different countries, and we have explored the world together. Just in the past two years, we have lived in Sweden, New York, and moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia.”

Skimbaco Lifestyle started as an online store for artisan products (closed in 2008) and a blog. Presnal’s proven creative talent landed her a job at a marketing agency, where she worked with large brands. However, she felt that she was not living the Skimbaco lifestyle and felt this was critical to growing the company. Quitting her agency job apparently worked as Skimbaco is now an online magazine and significant lifestyle brand. Presnal and her team encourage you to travel the world and embrace local culture through the glossy magazine pages.

What is it about essential oils that you feel relates to the lifestyle you are promoting in your business?

I’ve always been a huge believer in natural remedies and even only used essential oils for the labour when our second daughter was born. After visiting farms around the world and seeing how they cultivate cinnamon in Sri Lanka and aloe vera in Italy, I have always been drawn to using earth’s best for skin care, wellness and yes, even health care. I started using essential oils as part of daily wellness regimen about two years ago, and it took me by surprise what kind of difference the daily use of essential oils can contribute to your physical and mental well-being. I realised that essential oils are not just some natural remedies to be used in need, but that they can be part of your wellness regimen to keep you healthy – and happy.

enjoy-life-jewelry-lifestyle #Jewellery @Skimbaco

How did essential oils result in designing jewelry?

I started using essential oils in my favourite leather bracelets a few years ago and realised that leather diffuses the oils. The scent stays in the jewelry longer than on the skin. It became my favourite way of diffusing my oils, so I teamed up with my favourite designer DeAnna Cochran to create a designer diffuser jewelry line. The ENJOY LIFE diffuser jewelry collection by Skimbaco Lifestyle is done in partnership with DeAnna, and all of our pieces are handmade in her studio in Texas.

Can you describe the process for designing the diffuser jewelry?

First, we test different materials on how they absorb the essential oils, and we test them with several oils. It’s important that the materials diffuse the oils, but also won’t get ruined in the long-term use. A lot of our inspiration comes from our travels. The current collection is inspired by the colours of Bali, the sandy beaches and tropical ocean.

2getger-turquoise-earrings #Jewellery @Skimbaco

I try to stay on the top of today’s trends. However, I also wanted to offer pieces that are pretty timeless, that you can wear for years. We don’t follow a specific process yet, and some of our designs have even been born out of an accident. For example, our team member saw a close up picture of the 2GETHER silver hoop earrings for the first time, and she immediately commented: “I love that minimal necklace!” We were puzzled at first, but then saw it as an opportunity to create a minimal necklace and the Just ONE DROP necklace was born.

just-one-drop-turquoise-lava-bead-silver-hoop-necklace #Jewellery @Skimbaco

What materials are used in the jewelry?

We are constantly testing new materials and how the oils can be used in them. We currently use lava beads, leather, and geode crystals. Currently, most of our metals are silver.

Check-out the full Skimbaco collection of diffuser jewelry here.

Images credits: All photos were provided by and published with the permission of Katja Presnal at Skimbaco Lifestyle

 

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