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Published: 1/6/2005

Designer's pieces shine with stars

BY RHONDA B. SEWELL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Graham Graham
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Sarah Graham says she isn't making a conscious effort to create jewelry for the stars.

But, she says, having actress Kim Basinger wear one of her rings in the movie Cellular, and actress Sharon Stone add some of her pieces to her collection has put a Hollywood shimmer on the 5-year-old business.

"I try to make the jewelry feminine yet substantial, and combine contrasting materials together, such as steel and diamonds," says Mrs. Graham, who is based in Venice, Calif. "I see my prototypical customer as a strong, accomplished woman with graceful, natural beauty - a woman who wants her jewelry to display her self-confidence in taste and style and to subtly command attention, whether worn with everyday attire or evening elegance."

Mrs. Graham and her husband, Michael, turn materials such as 18-karat gold, blackened steel, Akoya and Tahitian pearls, and black, white, and cognac diamonds into jewelry in signature colors of black, gold, and white.

Sarah Graham Metalsmithing

pieces are carried in about 100 jewelry stores in North America and Asia. Locally, they are sold at Paula Brown Gallery in downtown Toledo.

Denise Long, Ms. Graham's sister-in-law who works for Sarah Graham Metalsmithing, says family members were excited when they learned that Basinger would wear Mrs. Graham's jewelry in Cellular.

In the movie, Basinger wears Mrs. Graham's Triple-Wide Oyster Band, an 18-karat white gold ring with an opening designed in the shape of oyster.

"She's on the phone a lot in that movie, and you can see [the ring]," Ms. Long says, adding that Basinger wore the ring and a necklace designed by Mrs. Graham to the film's premiere.

Mrs. Graham says much of her inspiration and many of her materials are drawn from nature. Even her product names - such as Stepping Stones, Bamboo, River Rock, Oyster, and Conifer - are derived from the natural world.

Mrs. Graham received a bachelor's degree in international business from the University of San Diego. She served a two-year goldsmith apprenticeship in Carmel, Calif., and spent six years as a bench jeweler before launching Sarah Graham Metalsmithing in 2000 with her husband. She has studied the jewelry in museums, galleries, and stores in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and India.

Contact Rhonda B. Sewell at: rsewell@theblade.com

or 419-724-6101.



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