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Donna Distefano Announces Her 22-Karat Year

 
2016 marks a major milestone in the business of noted goldsmith Donna Distefano. In what will be her 22nd year in business, Distefano is promoting her “22-karat” gold year with a series of creative endeavors, promotions, and reflections on her career to date. The first event of 2016 will be a lecture on goldsmithing at the National Arts Club in New York City where Distefano will be the sole presenter, sponsored by the Gemological Institute of America, the world’s leading authority on diamond and gemstones.

Admittedly, Distefano has set the bar high. Highlights from 2015 include a presence at the annual Academy Awards with runway model Dorith Mous wearing two Distefano statement rings on the Oscars red carpet. The Huffington Post declared Distefano “Jeweler to the Stars” in a 2015 headline, and Town&Country Magazine featured Distefano in editorials about travel, nautical, and museum-worthy gems.
   
A celebrated goldsmith and jewelry artist, Distefano was recently honored with a Proclamation from the Council of the City of Pittsburgh for her participation in the acclaimed Carnegie Museum exhibit, Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age. Declaring July 21st, 2015 “Donna Distefano Day” in Pittsburgh was a grand gesture of appreciation by the city for Distefano’s work and her agreement to lend her masterpiece ring, titled The Love that moves the sun and the other stars, to the well-publicized display.

One of the most widely covered rings created by a living artist in the exhibit, Distefano’s masterpiece has been featured in InStyle Magazine, Town & Country, Forbes, CIJ Jewellery Magazine Trends & Colours, Zappos Couture, Luxury Jewels 24 Magazine, and is also featured on the back cover of the modern designer jewelry compendium, Jewelry’s Shining Stars by Beth Bernstein. Distefano has also appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in connection with the opening of Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age.

An excerpt from the official proclamation reads: “NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby commend and congratulate Jewelry Designer Donna Distefano for the unique distinction of showing her masterpiece ring in Pittsburgh’s  Carnegie Museum of  Natural History exhibit , Out of This World! Jewelry in the Space Age and for her outstanding career in combining poetry, history and literature with her commitment to socially and environmentally responsible jewelry making; and, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare Tuesday, July 21 , 2015, to be “ DONNA DISTEFANO DAY ” in the City of Pittsburgh.”

In between hanging out with Debbie Harry and Betsy Johnson at New York Fashion Week, Distefano also found time to restore, research, and reproduce a 1930’s class ring that belongs to a client. The client’s grandfather was the original owner of the ring, a graduate of an agricultural planning program in Tennessee. For this African-American man to graduate from college in the 1930’s was particularly notable because he was the son of a slave. It was rare for a child of a slave to even attend college at that time. The ring symbolized a powerful family history. The reproduction was worn by the client at a presentation he gave at Harvard University, something we are certain his grandfather would have been very proud to know.

Some of the creative endeavors Distefano has planned for 2016 include the expansion of her signature 22-karat gold jewelry collection. Nécessaires will be introduced along with zoomorphic motifs. The 2016 Look Book, recently published, will also be distributed. Donna Distefano will continue to create bespoke handmade high karat gold jewelry and her masterpiece ring will remain in the Carnegie Museum through early 2016.

About

Donna Distefano is an award-winning jeweler and expert goldsmith dedicated to bringing the rich tradition of the court jeweler to the modern luxury market. Her collections are featured in Town & Country, InStyle, Gotham, New York Magazine, and Brides Magazine among others. Donna Distefano jewels are handmade in New York City and include jeweled necklaces, chandelier earrings, diadems, engagement rings, elaborate cocktail rings, cufflinks, shirt studs and intricate chains. Each piece tells an inherently glamorous story through the hands of a true goldsmith. Clients include: Legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, Pulitzer Prize winning and Oscar nominated playwright Tony Kushner, actors Milena Govich, Stephanie March, Jessie L. Martin, and Paula Garces among others.

Donna Distefano in the Carnegie Museum

 
The Love that moves the sun and the other stars, the singular masterpiece ring from Donna Distefano’s atelier travelled to The Forbes Galleries (2013) to The Carnegie Museum of Natural History (2015-16) and is now back home at the Donna Distefano atelier.

The exhibition, “Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age,” was a group show including the world’s most revered jewelry designers, curated by Elyse Zorn Karlin, Co-Director of the Association for the Study of Jewelry & Related Arts. It was previously on exhibit at The Forbes Galleries in New York City in 2013 then travelled to The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA. in 2015-16.

For this exhibit, Donna Distefano created a one-of-a-kind ring inspired by Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Paradiso, Canto 33, The Final Vision. Titled “The Love that moves the sun and the other stars” (the last line of Canto 33), the breathtaking 30mm in diameter ring combines several of Distefano’s passions. She has studied The Divine Comedy in both English and Italian and has always loved the way the poem combines so many seemingly disparate elements: mythology, realism, love, judgment, geometry, and astronomy to name a few. In Canto 33, Dante faces God and sees, “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.”

The heirloom-quality ring combines 22-karat gold, the color of the sun, with diamonds, earth’s hardest and brightest substance. In the center of the ring is a cross of Gibeon meteorite. Known for its incomparable stability and beauty, the Gibeon meteorite entered our atmosphere at seventeen miles per second an estimated 30,000 years ago. It exploded high in the atmosphere, showering fragments over a large region of what is present day Namibia. The meteorite had traveled through space for over four billion years before it was trapped by the Earth's gravitational field and pulled to earth as a brilliant fireball.

Combining the earthly and the celestial, the mythological and the real, visual art and literature, Distefano’s piece is truly out of this world.

For a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of this ring, click here.

“One of the most fascinating pieces in the dazzling display…heavenly!” - Marion Fasel, jewelry editor of InStyle Magazine

“Imagine a ring designed jointly by Italian Renaissance and Klingon artisans: that’s what this fantasia of diamonds, hand-chased stars, celestial roses and crowns, beautifully wrought gold and mounted pieces of actual meteorite evokes. This might be the one piece of jewelry that Dante or his Beatrice would wear on an interstellar voyage.” Jim Shepard, award-winning author of The Book of Aron

"There was no other piece on earth that was as heavenly to feature on the back (cover) of Jewelry’s Shining Stars and no other ring that moved me as much as this one. The moon and the stars…and me.”- Beth Bernstein, author of Jewelry’s Shining Stars

“a standout ring by Italian and American goldsmith Donna Distefano. The piece was inspired by the final canto of Dante’s Divine Comedy and brings a poetic artistry to the collection.”-Luxury Jewels 24 Magazine

Codex Illuminatus

 
Codex Illuminatus: The New Masterpiece created for Joe & Billie Perry

Imagine a pendant so personal, so beautiful, it can literally tell your individual story in gold. The new Codex Illuminatus pendant by Donna Distefano has captured the imagination of legendary Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who recently purchased one for his wife, Billie to celebrate the release of his New York Times best selling autobiography, "Rocks". This latest collaboration involved crafting a tiny book in pure gold with turning pages accented with ruby and diamond and custom engraving. Perry describes Distefano’s jewelry as “rock and roll jewelry at its finest”: a veiled reference to his fondness for fine gold, aka pure 24 karat gold. Distefano explains the appeal her work has for the Perrys: “Pure gold is something that very few goldsmiths are working in today. I am able to offer made to order jewels that cannot be found anywhere else. I grew up with Aerosmith’s music and I can capture the aesthetic naturally. Music is a huge part of my life, almost as big as metal.”

Donna Distefano in new book: "Jewelry's Shining Stars"

 

 

Original works by Donna Distefano are featured in Jewelry’s Shining Stars, a new book celebrating today's most coveted jewelry designers. Written by noted author Beth Bernstein, (Fine Points Publishing, September 2013) Jewelry’s Shining Stars represents a coterie of jewelry designers committed to pushing boundaries and forging new wearable art. Their collective emphasis is more on emotion than status, focusing on the relationship between jewelry and the wearer. Distefano says, “I am thrilled to be a part of Jewelry’s Shining Stars. Beth Bernstein has curated a stunning volume that has its finger on the pulse of what is happening in jewelry today.” Distefano's goldsmithing masterpiece, The Love that moves the sun and the other stars from is shown on the back cover of the book.

For more information on Jewelry's Shining Stars click here.

Mansome

 

A Story to Wear

 

Donna Distefano is the featured goldsmith in A Story To Wear, a documentary film about the history of jewelry. Watch the trailer here:

Look Book 2016

Jewelers that Care Awards

 
 

Donna Distefano Honored by Jewelers That Care at JCK

On Saturday June 4th, at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las VegasDonna Distefano was honored by Jewelers That Care, a non profit  organization that celebrates jewelry industry contributions to developing world and local communities. The event took place at JCK Las Vegas, the jewelry industry's premiere trade show, where the jewelry industry comes together each year. 

Also honored with Distefano at the Jewelers That Care Awards ceremonywere Jeff Corey of Days Jewelers in Maine, Lisa Linhardt of Linhardt Designs in New York, and Alfredo J. Molina of Molina Fine Jewelers in Arizona, all who have proven themselves as leaders in the jewelry industry for giving back to the global and local communities. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jewelers That Care, founded by Alethe Clemetson, honors members of the jewelry industry whose personal and professional visions align with their mission to work with and respect the world’s most precious resource: People. 

Donna Distefano's commitment to ethical sourcing began in 1994 when she first introduced recycled precious metal into her eponymous jewelry line. Described by National Jeweler as "the Manhattan-based jewelry design company known for its commitment to environmentally sensitive sourcing," Donna Distefano was named "Best of New York" by New York Magazine for 2010. Since 2008, she has expanded her use of fair trade gemstones and published full disclosure protocols about gemstone sourcing on her website.

She began incorporating charitable donations as a core value of her business back in 1996 by designing and marketing a rosary called "Truth" for God's Love We Deliver, an organization dedicated to providing meals for clients with life-altering illnesses. Over the past five years, Distefano has increased the reach of her "Giving Back" program by hosting events for Women for Women International, the Environmental Defense Fund, and most recently, OneKid OneWorld. By donating jewelry for fundraisers, hosting events in her New York City atelier, and pledging a percentage of profits from the sale of dedicated designs, Distefano has raised awareness and aid for those who need it most. Among the many charities she has supported are Sanctuary for Families, Music Cares, the American Italian Cancer Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Her understanding and willingness to inform others on fair trade issues has taken Donna Distefano to some exciting arenas. In 2010, she hosted a group of political science graduate students from Rutgers University to discuss the implications of global trade. Students were enlightened to learn the significant differences between rubies mined in Malawi compared with rubies mined in Burma. So similar in appearance, different gemstones mined under different conditions either fuel human rights violations, or a present new economic hope for an impoverished region.

Always looking for new avenues to convey her message about the importance of fair trade, in 2011, Distefano turned to an unlikely audience: the online gaming community. By donating a 90-carat garnet drusy mined by hand from the Ural Mountains for a give-away in conjunction with the launch of a new action heroine, Distefano aligned herself with one of the first Latina gaming characters and gained access to an audience of millions of young people who will be the jewelry consumers of tomorrow. The "Aluna" necklace is significant for its rarity and because it is the source of power for the fictional heroine who wears it currently in comic books and video games. With popularity and promise, Aluna has the potential to bring fair trade to the front of future discussions about jewelry.

Donna Distefano's ongoing generosity and talent has prominent personalities taking notice. As an advisory board member of the international outreach charity OneKid OneWorld, actress Stephanie March (Law & Order: SVU) has this to say about Donna Distefano: "How many things in the world are as good for people as they are beautiful? Donna Distefano creates beauty, glamour, AND safety in each precious piece."

Honored and awed by this recognition from Jewelers That Care, Donna Distefano will continue expanding her fair trade offerings and giving back programs with the hope that other jewelers will follow. Together, we can change the way America buys jewelry.

  • “Rock and Roll jewelry at
    it's finest.”
    - Joe Perry, Aerosmith
  • “Donna’s Jewels really rock!”
    - Gotham Magazine
  • “One of the coolest sites to
    shop online”
    - InStyle Magazine
  • “Best of New York 2010”
    - New York Magazine