If you haven’t visited my online store in a minute, come on by! I’ve done a few renovations. My updated homepage now has a slideshow that explains each collection. The first slide is my gold collection. Gold always comes first with me — the first serious designs for my line were done in 18K yellow gold.
https://store.wendybrandes.com/products/cleves-necklaceThat’s model Tricia Akello (styled by Shannon Stokes) wearing my Cleves earrings, as well as my Agrippina, Borgia, and Juana poison rings. The Borgia and Juana rings are both available now in size 6. The Cleves earrings and Agrippina are made to order. If you need some romantic swan jewelry right this minute, I have two Cleves rings (one with white diamonds and one with black diamonds) and a necklace all ready to go to a loving home. The Cleves mini-collection was inspired by Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, who was a damn genius, as I explained in a 2007 blog post. To make a long story short, if a monarch with a habit of imprisoning and/or beheading his previous wives offers you a lot of money for a divorce, do what Anne did: Take the money and run! You can spend some of the loot on a beautiful ring for yourself.
See how the Cleves ring looks on the beautiful hands of model Grace Ming.
Continuing through the new homepage slides …
… platinum is my favorite white metal. I used to work with white gold, and I still will for a custom job, of course. But platinum is brighter and stronger. And, with gold being so expensive these days, you might as well upgrade to platinum! The photo above features my platinum Luna ring, modeled again by Grace Ming. I swear, Grace does have a face! See?
My whole website renovation started because I was considering taking silver jewelry off the site entirely — I’ve been winding down that collection since 2018. I had just a couple of silver designs left when I got requests for my silver NASTY necklace ahead of the election last November: Women who were voting against The Former Guy wanted to represent. I couldn’t say no, so I actually found a New York manufacturer willing to do small quantities of high quality silver jewelry. As a result, silver remains on the site in very limited quantities. Get your NASTY necklaces while you can!
I think I’ll always be up for doing fun, pop-culture-inspired silver designs when the occasion calls for it, but my priority is my top-of-the-line 18K yellow gold and gemstone work, which is best represented by my Maneater collection. I’ve struggled with what to call that part of my line because while the jewelry is made with gold, it’s much more complex than my main gold collection. The proper name for the intricate work is “high jewelry,” or “haute joaillerie” in French. But a lot of people aren’t familiar with that term. I’ve settled on “fine art jewelry” for now.
Hey, let’s check out that Pink Elephant and Tipsy Writer Maneater ring on Grace’s lovely fingers.
Model Tricia has fingers too! She got to wear the Dragon and Knight Maneater ring.
As for my wedding jewelry — the first thing to note is that I say “wedding jewelry” not “bridal jewelry,” because engagement rings and wedding bands are not just for women marrying men. Anyone can and should be able to celebrate their love! I hope the term “bridal jewelry” goes out of use. It so old-fashioned.
Even more important than that bit of information is the fact that all my wedding designs are completely custom-made. Yes, there are plenty of jewelry websites that allow you to “design you own ring” by choosing from a range of pre-designed settings and selecting a stone or stones from their inventory. That’s not what I do, at all. I work from your dreams, not from a list of set styles. I can turn an old ring into a new ring.
I can turn your unworn diamond stud earrings into the side stones on a mixed-metal engagement ring.
Want a classic style? Here’s what I made for Abigail.
But Lori wanted something that didn’t look like an engagement ring at all, and I did that too.
I can work long-distance, and within a variety of budgets. One thing I generally won’t do is a surprise ring design. We all want the person who gets the ring to love it, not to be surprised in a bad way! If you’re the person proposing, trust me — you can still create a happy surprise through your choice of time and place. I will help you strategize if you need ideas. At this point, I’ve done more proposals than you have.
Customization isn’t just for wedding jewelry. My website includes a gallery of past, non-wedding custom work.
None of these pieces are for sale, but they are there to feed your imagination. I like to tell people that if they can describe it, I can make it for them. Contact me and we’ll create something special together, like Laura and I did for her 50th birthday.
My goal is to make jewelry that’s both wearable and museum-worthy — something that was on my mind as I watched the Netflix movie The Dig, which is inspired by the true story of the 1939 unearthing of an extraordinary Anglo-Saxon grave. An 86′-long wooden ship had been buried in a field to honor a powerful 7th-century king; only the imprint of the ship remained and the king was nowhere to be found, but the gold jewelry of the Sutton Hoo site now resides in the British Museum. What else can survive millennia like that? Truly, jewelry at its best serves as art; artifact; and (emotional, if not literal) armor. So, if you’re ready to indulge, you know where to find me: