Rainbow-hued glass from Purple Cloud Studio

Since all of our staffers are still at the JCK jewelry show in Vegas, I’ve had a little time to do some research into one of my favorite topics – jewelry, naturally! I’ve had a stack of jewelry trade magazines growing steadily next to my desk for several months, so this week I attacked the pile.

One of the things that jumped out at me right away was the trend away from precious and even semi-precious stones in jewelry to the increasing use of gorgeous, budget-friendly glass. Of course, glass has been used in jewelry making since ancient times, but new techniques have truly revitalized the art. This new glasswork is every bit as breathtaking a gemstone, and the lower price point means bigger, bolder statement pieces!

My favorite discovery for gorgeous glasswork is Purple Cloud Studio, led by incredible artist Michele Palenik. Michele has over 20 years of experience in fine jewelry design and a degree in Marine Biology, so she cleverly combines her two loves — science and art. This unique blend of art and science allows her to create truly special forms with brilliantly hued glass, as well as glittering silver, gold, semi-precious gems, luminous pearls and iridescent shell.

One of my favorites is Michele’s Sister Circle Pendant, pictured. These pendants are colored, fused glass circles (1.5 – 2.5 inches in diameter) and are available in any color combination you can imagine. Suspended from contemporary, linen cord, they are adjustable and feature a sliding knot so thatyou can wear it high or low. And, at only $28 each, I think I need several!

In addition to gorgeous commercial pieces, Michele does exceptional custom work and has forged some unique relationships, in particular with the Odyssey Marine Research Company. They are an amazing group of people who seek to bring to light the very fabric of world history through shipwreck research and recovery. Michele has even created specially commissioned pieces for Odyssey as part of a Pirate event in Walt Disney World!

Want to see more of Michele’s beautiful work? Visit Purple Cloud Studio or catch her segment on HGTV’s show That’s Clever .

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and social activist. In addition to Susan Said What?! Susan also writes for Style on a WHIM, It’s how you play the game!, and Success Won’t Wait!

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