Alex Sepkus Jewelry: Each Design is a Chapter

“When I design a piece of jewelry, it is as if I am writing a book.”

Featured jewelry designer Alex Sepkus draws his inspiration from unexpected places. He cited his greatest sources of inspiration not as other jewelry, but as music and great literary works. “When I design a piece of jewelry, it is as if I am writing a book,” he said in an interview,  “Each design is a chapter, not in words, but in shapes and textures.”

Alex Sepkus little windows earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus little windows earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

Born in Lithuania, Sepkus studied industrial design with the intention of following in his father’s footsteps as an architect.  In his spare time he would carve miniature sculptures.  Under communism, he did not have access to precious materials.  Instead, he created his pieces with engraved stones, carved ivory and enamel painting.  This was the foundation of his unique artistic style, which would develop more and more as he started to create pieces of jewelry.

Sepkus immigrated to the United States in 1988. By the early 1990’s, he had opened Alex Sepkus Jewelry Studios in Manhattan with gemologist Jeff Feero.  Together they found, and continue to find, unusual and exceptional stone specimens to accompany the intricate designs that have become the signature of Alex Sepkus Jewelry.

Alex Sepkus Boulder Opal earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus Boulder Opal earrings, available at the Squash Blossom.

This signature, however, comes at a cost; Sepkus’s jewelry is a product of great effort.  “I have no technical secrets,” he said.  “The main trick is the very intricate manual work that goes into the process.  I can explain the process to everybody.  But at the same time, I don’t think that I have ever seen a copy of my work somewhere.  It is just so labor intensive.”

An owner of a Sepkus piece can see and feel the intense hand-crafted process by which the piece was made.  Each piece has unique magnificence that highlights creativity and ingenuity–a piece that is a product of hard work and, not to mention, is fashionable.  What’s more surprising is that his designs are not premeditated, giving them a raw edge.

Alex Sepkus diamond eternity band, available at the Squash Blossom.
Alex Sepkus diamond eternity band, available at the Squash Blossom.

“I stopped making sketches years ago,” Sepkus said.  “I imagine the piece I want to make in my head, and the hands work by themselves.  Sometimes I get surprised at what comes out.”

Interested in owning a unique piece of Alex Sepkus jewelry yourself?  Stop into the Squash Blossom in Vail or check out our website to see a diverse collection of Sepkus’s work.

Labradorite: What’s that Stone?

Faceted labradorite and 18kt rose gold ring by Irene Neuwirth, available at the Squash Blossom.

Many people point out pieces of jewelry in our store and ask, “what’s that stone?”  More often than not, the answer is labradorite–a lesser known stone with mystical personality.

Labradorite has the tendency to catch people’s eye because of its curious bluish-grey color and flashes of blue and green.  The play of color has been appropriately deemed “labradorescence”, which comes off in lustrous metallic tints.  One variety of labradorite, spectrolite, is defined by its richer display of color (including yellows and reds) and darker base.

Named after the peninsula of Labrador in Canada where it was originally discovered by Moravian missionaries in 1770, Labradorite is now found all over the world from Canada to Australia, Mexico, Madagascar, Russia and the United States.

Peter Schmid Spectrolite Necklace

Sprectrolite, oxidized sterling silver, and 24kt gold necklace by Peter Schmid
Sprectrolite, oxidized sterling silver, and 24kt gold necklace by Peter Schmid, available at the Squash Blossom.

Labradorite is a member of the Feldspar group, along with moonstone, which it is commonly confused with.  The trade name for some labradorite is “blue rainbow moonstone,” though it is actually not moonstone at all.

According to ancient Inuit folklore, the Northern Lights were once trapped on the rocks along the coast of Labrador.  One day a warrior broke open the rocks with his spear and freed the lights, but not all of them escaped.  Therefore, they still glow with the colors of the Aurora Borealis.  If anything, this gives an excellent picture of the color flashes in the stone.

Labradorite earrings with a natural pattern in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.
Labradorite earrings with a natural pattern in 18kt yellow gold, available at the Squash Blossom.

“Labradorite stands out because it looks unique from all angles as different colors present themselves,” says one sales associate at the Squash Blossom, “Many designers use it because it has a beauty all its own.”

See the Squash Blossom’s collection of labradorite here.