Trinkets, Tchotchkes and Mementos – Nob Hill Gazette

I’m certain there is a post somewhere on 20 ways to Organize and Display Travel Mementos. As a Maximalist, my years of collecting don’t leave much space at home for toting more Travel Mementos.

I recently donated a piano to create space for more art. I gained an entire wall to hang enlarged photos from my Journey’s, daily reminders of my best-loved experiences. The Moroccan afternoon under an Argan tree filled with goats dangling above my head, a baby goat in my arms, truly a Daliesque scene. Bhutanese women in a turnip field, their lavender garb matching the bushels of turnips.  

Local art which can be toted home flat in a suitcase or jewelry are desired pieces from my wanderings. No more shipping home trunks of local furniture or enormous Indian marble tables or brass elephants!

The Berber Boghadad Cross was found in the souks of Tangier. My driver client liason spotted two more for me in the souks of Agadir. The decorated enamel Berber crosses seem a bit more rare than the plain silver crosses, in any event they are very easy to transport!

Nob Hill Gazette

Iradj Moini – Beautiful Bold Baubles

I first discovered the jewelry of Iradj Moini appropriately in Palm Beach. Shopping on Worth Avenue is comparable to Beverly Hills on steroids, in a grand and attention-grabbing brilliant plumage way. His jewelry is bold, vibrant and not for the faint of heart! Collecting vintage costume jewelry is wildly widespread, and Iradj is one of the designers who has literally changed the perception of stunning well-made costume jewelry.

Iradj MoiniHis fabulous jewelry was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006 as part of Iris Apfel’s collection, and was also featured in the Trop Exhibit at the Louvre where he has three pieces in their permanent collections. Fashionable followers seek out his dazzling over the top designs and flocked to peer and covet at the recent Barbara Berger Fashion Jewelry exhibit at the MAD museum.

Desired and recognized by his devotees, one woman behind me at the Ballet asked if she could look at the front of my Iradj necklace. Regularly published in high fashion magazines and sold at Bergdorf Goodman and also in a small boutique in Soho.

Iradj allowed me to spend time in his New York workshop and peek at the myriad masses of jars of sparkles and gems. A treasure trove of his work, it reminded me of visiting the private offices at Jaipur Gem Palace, with boxes of casually strewn spectacular adorned necklaces, glimmering bracelets and stunning earrings.

As a young boy, growing up in Iran, he was always fascinated by beauty and design, his professional parents preferred he ignore his fascination with creativity. Shaped by his culture, and the combination of his father’s scientific and mechanical attributes and his artistic mother, he secretly made small pieces of jewelry.

Early influences were Yves St. Laurent whose bow motif appears in many of his eponymous designs. As a young teenager  he adored the movies of the iconic leading lady of Mexican cinema, actress Maria Felix. She, a connoisseur of high fashion jewelry, was frequently photographed in her diamond serpent Cartier necklace. Iradj’s raison detre for the countless serpents in his designs, he sustains a profound dedication to the elegance and essence of each muse.

Iradj moved to New York in the 1980’s to study architecture. His fashion passion was temporarily relegated due to the rigorous demands of the Iranian government demanding that those who left, be educated in a field of study that would provide a degree, producing a productive citizen. His parents dutifully sent him funds for his education, he made and sold jewelry in his free time, not liking architecture.

Iradj sold a few of his pieces at a Bendel’s trunk show and eventually designed couture jewelry for Oscar de la Renta. He openly confesses that he designs styles similar to St. Laurent and interprets them in his own look. Each chic piece is hand made, and comprises oversize statement stones of turquoise, citrine, amethyst, fluorite, and aquamarine or Swarovski crystals. Silversmith classes and soldering were his initial basic skills; drafting honed in the architecture practice aided his abilities.

Baubles or beads, each a work of art, and designed, he laughs for him, no thought to design for a particular woman or collector. To achieve a flawless piece, each design begins with a sketch and the process continues to iterate using a multitude of stones. Iradj has to utterly love a design before he will let a piece be shown to a buyer. Enthralled, I picked through boxes of of gold shimmering serpents, exquisite stone necklaces and bracelets, which lay abandoned until he is inspired again.

A necklace, despite consisting of large chunky stones, is usually off set by a delicate mix of semi precious stones, many are rough cut yet are complimentary. Iradj Moini designs overlap the genre of costume jewelry and fine gems.

In person, he is playful, shy and self-effacing about his prominence and success in the world of fashion. He boldly shares his dearest work is the enormous audacious imaginative pieces. He laughs when he says a necklace doesn’t have to be oversize, but these are the best, the most expressive! He refers to the Swarovski crystals, as diamonds, which are his most favored stones. Obviously, if he worked with fine gems, the pieces would be stratospherically expensive.

Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, and Elle frequently drape models and society butterfly beauties in his over the top opulent jewelry. Palm Beach, Bergdorf’s a few online vintage dealers, cherished and collected, do keep an eye out his dynamic show stopping jewelry.

Stocking Stuffer!