This season, we have added one very special oversized glass ornament to the Holiday Collection. Of course, I think all 34 of this year’s collection are special, but we wanted to design one ornament that was more than six inches in diameter, hand-painted in an opulent pattern based on an old Russian egg.

Inspired by the scrolls and flourishes, Ben in the New York City studio first painted a blue version on a oversized glass ball, just so we could clearly see how the pattern would fit across the entire surface.

Nicole then was able to make a flat colored rendering, and filled it in with a jewel-tone palette, outlines of glitter, and 300-plus Swarovski crystals.

The team in Poland then went to work bringing our concept to life on the first mouth-blown glass sample. We loved the look of it, but felt that the red background was too flat, so we asked them to try another sample with a more mottled red/burgundy finish.

It all came together in one spectacular design that we have fittingly named the 2014 Opulent Glass Ornament.

To further signify the importance of this ornament, we have limited the edition to just 275 pieces that I personally numbered and signed.

I look forward to making this an annual tradition.

Often we are asked to create a unique, one-of-a-kind design for a special event. Time does not allow us to answer every request, but for our good friends at Harrods in London, we always say “yes”! They were launching the Jay Strongwater shop on their new home floor, and we designed a remarkable golden figurine to mark the occasion. Working with our brass peacock figurine, we started at the crown and meticulously covered him in thousands of Swarovski crystals.

We lavishly hand-set these brilliant faceted crystals, particularly these “aurum” stones, finished in actual gold alloys.

The finished Golden Peacock was breathtaking, and the limited edition of ten quickly sold out.

I was very taken by the wonderful sparkling texture created by tightly fitting the crystals together over an enamel base. Our new Platinum Collection for fall 2014 celebrates a mixture of gold, bronze, silver, and hematite crystals hand-set over a series of striking frames and three glamorous candlesticks. Each design is inspired by the techniques polished to a golden finish on that first peacock.

The Morgan Scalloped Pave Frame is one of my new favorites in the Platinum Collection.

This elegant design is finished in 14K gold, enameled in transparent amber, and each hole along the edge is filled with a calibrated crystal stone.

We then begin to cover the entire enamel surface with 500-plus hand-set Swarovski crystals!

The twelve new designs in the Platinum Collection all dazzle with thousands of reflections from each faceted crystal.

The 2014 glass ornaments are here! 30-plus new designs, each one a sparkling treasure of holiday whimsy and old-world craftsmanship. Over a year ago, we found the beginnings of inspirations in our jeweled metal collection.

Our designer Nicole first worked with us on rough sketches–followed by detailed, colored drawings–to send over to the ornament workshop in Poland. First, preliminary clay models are carved, and then finer detailed versions are made in an alabaster material to form the final molds. Their glass blowers heat up tubes of clear glass to blow into these intricately shaped molds.

Once the glass has been silvered on the inside, they can begin painting on layers of colored pigments, tracings of glitter, and of course, lots of hand-set sparkling crystals!

The flower-covered Boxwood Elephant Figurine is one of the designs transformed into glass for the holidays.

And another, the Bejeweled Cross Objet:

I am particularly excited about three of the new ornaments in the Flora & Fauna grouping, inspired by the palette of our Nouveau Vanity collection. How charming to see these soft, watercolor tones of pinks, creams, and lavenders with pearl accents for holiday decorating.

Sometimes the inspiration can be the idea of taking natural animals and “dressing” them in bright jewel-toned garlands of glitter and stones, such as the adorable Mandarin Duck and Grizzly Bear, just two of the many new characters in the Jubilee grouping.

These are just a few of the new ornaments! We are only able to make a limited quantity of each one every year, so visit jaystrongwater.com today and make your selections.

You know I love having the opportunity to get out of the New York studio and visit with clients at some of the best stores around the world where you can buy our designs. This coming Saturday, I am looking forward to our first event of the fall season at the Neiman Marcus store in Dallas NorthPark. But I cannot stop thinking about this past spring shows and meeting one of our best collectors, seven-year-old Aston!

It all happened at the Neiman’s store on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Seems that Aston has been collecting our miniature figurines for a few years, and the team at NM let his parents know that I would be visiting. And even though they live a few hours away, both his parents drove all the way with Aston so we could meet. This charming young man was so sweet–it was a joy to meet him. He carefully looked around the department at all the new collections, and when his parents asked him what he wanted, he choose the Neiman Marcus exclusive elephant figurine from the Jungle Collection. His first big-time piece from us–how great is that!

All of my fall visits are listed on the website at jaystrongwater.com. Take a look, and I hope to see you this fall!

Lynda is someone who needs no introduction! She has been fearlessly managing the Jay Strongwater studio for over 20 years. And every year, as summer winds down, we celebrate Lynda’s birthday in the studio with cake and–of course–a new handbag to add to her collection. Gucci, Pucci, Fiorucci, she has them all. This year, we found her a chic little black leather bag from 3.1 Phillip Lim. She loved the bag and we love her!

I love a personal touch: a handwritten note on a monogrammed card, special gift wrapping, remembering a birthday. As a young boy, I have this memory of my mother getting a fur coat (I know, the ’70s!), and inside the coat, her initials were embroidered on the lining. I was so taken by that personal touch.

Being attracted to typography, I have always wanted to design a complete Jay Strongwater alphabet of jeweled charms, but making 26 brand-new models all at once is a daunting project. Luckily, our very talented designer Dawn was up for the challenge! Hard to believe we started this about two years ago. Looking at old antique alphabet samples, one in particular caught my eye: a serif letter highly decorated with scrolls, leaves, and flourishes from 1889.

We then made drawings of how our Jay Strongwater alphabet could look, a classic detailed letter wrapped with leaves.

Slowly, over a period of months, all 26 letters were completed in meticulously carved clay sculptures. Of course each one is as beautifully detailed on the back as the front, with delicate flowers and amusing butterflies, dragonflies, and ladybugs.

As in all our metal designs, molds were made of each letter, poured in pewter, and finished in 18K gold. I then worked with Allyson and Cecilia in the New York studio to paint the enamel colors: verdant greens with blue, purple, and red accents on a warm amber base. Each letter was then completely paved in brilliant, hand-set Swarovski crystals.

I find the excitement starts with the package itself. It was important to me that each alphabet charm be presented in a box worthy of such a beautiful design. The final tooled-leather-wrapped, hinged box has our name embossed in gold leaf and is lined in deep fuchsia satin.

How nice to have this most perfect, personalized gift for everyone on my list. See our website for the full collection.

It is always wonderful to meet collectors and present the newest collections to them when I visit a store. But early in the morning, before the store opens for the day, I have time to quietly talk to the store’s team about the thought process and development behind each design. This season, I find myself reaching for two designs in particular to talk about, the Nouveau Candlesticks, “Roselyn” and “Mirabelle” …

… and the Floral Butterfly Bowl, “Claudette.” Both styles epitomize some of our most beautiful creations, with strong silhouettes and intricate details.

It has been many years since we added new candlesticks to the collection. I wanted these to have a grand, twisted metal arm starting from the base and reaching high up, holding the leaf-wrapped candle cups. Punctuating the base are large oversized lilies with contrasting petals of enamel and large jeweled crystals. Larry started working on them in early 2103 by forming the first models in clay.

We made molds of these and poured the first pewter castings. Cyril then began refining the shape and adding the stone settings to the petals. The flower models went to Rhode Island for more mold-making. The candlesticks themselves went to India to be sand-cast in solid brass.

On my recent visit to India, I was able to watch them shape the curves into each piece.

Meanwhile, back in the New York Studio, Ben and I were talking about the colors of the lilies, and how to achieve the lush color palette. By adding layers of white enamel under the final colors, the perfect pigments were achieved.

Whereas the candlesticks started with clay models, the floral bowl began with sketches. I wanted to take the scrolls from Floral Scroll Wall Mirror and shape them into a dramatic bowl lifted on a matching base.

Once Manreet had worked out the placement of the scrolls and leaves, our foundry in India started crafting the first samples, paying particular attention to soldering each leaf into place.

We received these first prototypes in New York, where Cyril and I designed all the jeweled flowers and butterflies that are woven throughout. These were then all sent to Rhode Island for mold-making.

When all the parts came together, and there are more than 20 on this bowl, Ben once again worked with me on the palette of green leaves setting off the hot house blossoms. More than 1800 hand-set stones finish the bowl with a sparkling aura.

We started shooting the spring 2014 catalog on a cold December day, and now three months later, it is still cold and snowing here in New York! But I know that any day now, we will have sunny spring days. While we are waiting, let our new catalog fill your home with some great new designs. Photographed over two weeks, we placed the designs in rooms filled with antique furniture to create the perfect settings.

There was no question that the new Indigo Collection had to be up front on the cover and opening pages. The freshness of mixed blues looks striking against a background of old Chinese porcelain jars and sprays of yellow orchids. When we previewed this collection to buyers and editors, we could feel their intrinsic reaction to the new color palette. In particular, everyone loved the cleaner new frame styles with their more graphic quality.

A few pages later, I finally got to shoot a tablescape of our new napkin rings. To all our collectors who have been asking me when we are designing new napkin rings–they are here! The incredible diamond-faceted glass rings set off a big jewel on top. Each pair is packaged in our signature Jay Strongwater box.

And please don’t miss the four new glamorous pins on the opposite page: sprays of flowers highlighted with opal-colored crystals.

Turn a few pages and be wowed by a double-page spread launching the Luminous Collection: silhouettes of shells, crustaceans, mollusks, and fish depicted in hammered bezels that are individually fitted together and set with faceted crystals stones and pearls. We photographed them on old tables, in a room filled with light, to illuminate their surfaces.

If you remember, this past fall we introduced the Chinoiserie Collection; this season, those same design elements inspire wonderful new pillows. Photographed on a simple linen-covered bench, the lush embroidered colors look beautiful against their cream velvet backgrounds.

I can’t cover every page here, but near the end, on page 42, there is this arresting photograph of our new Nouveau-style candlesticks elegantly placed on a dark wood table. Their grace and beauty culminates in gentle swirls holding leaf-wrapped candle cups.

I cannot wait for you to turn each page yourself and see all these beguiling photographs, each one capturing the many facets of what we love to do every day. Please visit our site to view the e-catalog or request your own printed copy!

How do you collect your Jay Strongwater charms? I recently met a wonderful collector in Florida who drapes her necklace around her simple black handbag. Filled with so many charms, it had become too heavy to wear!

This season, we have 11 new charms to tempt and delight all our collectors, each one designed with all the intricate details that you find in our larger figurines, but meticulously finished in a smaller scale.

Our Marla ladybug will bring lots of good luck, beautifully resting on the puffy heart covered in tightly hand-set sparkling crystals.

Love is in the air for Lucy and Carl, as these two lovebirds exchange love songs while resting on a swing.

Our newest elephant, Howie, gently floats under a multicolored striped balloon.

The bee charm, Muriel, has vibrant wings of hand-painted graduated deep pink enamel.

Our tropical fish charm, Linus, boldly stands out with his crystal-stoned, turquoise striped body.

We hope you love them all, and if you have a special collection or a fun way to use our charms, we’d love to hear about it. Post a snapshot on our Facebook page or leave a comment!

Outside it’s freezing, with yet another snowstorm blowing through, but inside our home, the March issues of home and fashion magazines are starting to pile up: thick with the newest advertisements, a new season, a new direction, filled with images of a glorious spring season, everything abloom, the possibilities are endless.

Maybe you have to go through a harsh northeast winter to make you relish what is just around the corner. As a young boy growing up just outside of New York City, visiting the New York flagship of Saks Fifth Avenue was intoxicating, with its stately carved wood interior and dramatic fashion on display. I can remember they once had a campaign introducing the new season at hand, and the tag line was “The Pulse Quickens.”

In our own kind of way, I think we are feeling that same sense of excitement launching our first new designs for 2014. Turning away from our more muted, jewel-toned color palettes of fall, the spring season starts with “Indigo,” a clean, crisp composition of Prussian, cobalt and cream-colored enamels. That classic blue-and-white pairing as seen in old Chinese porcelain has inspired the feel of our Sophie Hydrangea Bowl, with twisted brass-finished branches and enameled blossoms wrapping around the rim of our mouth-blown, dappled blue bowl.

A particular favorite of mine is a new frame in the Indigo Collection that has a gentle scalloped edge and has been meticulously enameled like Florentine marbleized papers.

The very talented Grace first lays down a base of white paint over the gold-finished frame. From there, she puts down the first of 25-plus parallel lines of swirling enamel in similar shades of blue.

While everything is still wet, she carefully takes her needle and drags it repetitively through the enamel to complete the fine detailed finish. One mistake, and she has to put the frame aside and start all over!

We loved the effect so much that we covered a new box in the same technique and finished it with a dramatic large jeweled dragonfly perched on top.

All of this and so much more, I can’t wait for you to see all of “Indigo” for yourself…