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The Art and Jewelry of J.Grahl Design


I want to bring in a few details of our Eggs.
As with any carousel, the animals are the key elements,
This photo (more to come) are from our first Carousel Egg, (1984 ) done for the Mann family (one of 3 eggs for them). Beth Eyler and I went to Disney, Knotts Berry Farm and about a dozen other historic carousels in California searching out the best characters. We even met with Mr. Denzel for a long interview just before he passed on. He was arguably one of the best animal carvers of the late 19th early 20th century,.
Here is one of his chariots, prior to mounting on the Egg,
The horses move up / down independently as does the chariot. These are 18K with enamel.


His & Her’s,
These are favorites, (aren’t they all in a way…)
They were made for great friends, Fabricated in Platinum, 18K yellow gold and beautiful Burma rubies, with the D, VVS1 , one carat heart shape diamond as a center point.
Simple in design, Really a tough piece to accomplish, Each of the rubies is a very slight trapezoid, allowing them to line up on a diagonal plane and still appear to be square.


A little diversion is always good (maybe a lot…)
anyway, here are a suite of letter openers.
We’ve done a few, they are always gem set, in this case, Lapis, Green Beryl,and a Bi Color Tourmaline, all Idar carvings,
There are the ancillary accents, Ruby, Diamond, Sapphire etc.
The blades are hand forged stainless steel, the handles, sterling silver.
All for different clients but lumped into a group shot (NOT Sylvia’s…)


sometimes you just have to get earthy…
My surf buddy, Jeff Balaban, has been carrying around a Megalodon sharks tooth his brother gave him years ago. His brother lives by Tamarindo in Costa rica, & `found this on the beach.

Since I love old… Hate to see anything go unused… and this is waaay older than a shipwreck (like 20 million years…). Jeff is now the proud owner of a chunk in “Surfer” jewelry (anything like Treasure jewelry???)
Fabricated /cast with a Tahitian cultured pear and sting ray cord.

Me surfing…


Man Does not live by Optivisors alone…


Every component works really well together in this necklace. I must ask some nosey questions.

Why did you cover the top of the tooth? Was it simply a design decision or is it broken or not interesting?

That stingray cord is perfectly gorgeous. Did you start with a pre-made cord? If not, how did you handle the tanned skin? It must be somehow bonded to the cording.

When shopping for shagreen, sometimes I see hollow depressions instead of hard circles, as if the leather has been sanded too much. It looks damaged.

I think fakes would display a regular pattern in the texture because it would be too difficult to prevent pattern repetition and I doubt real skin has repetitive patterns of textural bumps.

How do you find the genuine skin and avoid the fakes?


Cord came from Germany… It’s real…
The top was a really eroded, not much character but the perfect shape to get over center and get a Good hold on the tooth.
We replicated the patterning in the tooth on the cap, there were some nice striations, kinda like a Sargent’s stripes.
As much as I love to tell my stories, this was simply an acknowledgement of my friend’s love for his brother and a heart felt gift.
And our mutual love of the water…


Saw some Atocha artifacts on display in Havana, at the old fort.

Please excuse any typos-- curse my clumsy digits…


So on My list to go there,
There are “Thousands” (really) of shipwrecks form the 14th through the 18th century,
A lot around Cuba (Been off limits since before Batista…), Dominican Republic, Colombia and so many more.
Havana is ground zero for the simple reason that it was the last port left before heading back to Europe.
The last written documents were sent from there. It was the center of the New World…
The archives in Saville are the treasure trove for all hunters looking in the Caribbean , assuming the documents reached Spain…

Stay engaged, these things still have an effect on our lives today.
Head south from Mexico and the past is much closer than our North Western perspective allows…
Were it peaceful, it would probably be the richest area in the world, Between history, artifacts, natural resources and sheer mystery, it’s like landing on Mars…


Crossing paths…
For some , a symbol,
for others decoration.
Crosses have been a design staple for , oh maybe 2000 +years.
Though the design for has been found much earlier.
Here are design examples, hand fabricated in platinum and 18K yellow gold.
The earrings are made the same way.
Th the Tahitian culture, Black and white pearls (Moi et Toi), are a symbol of relationship between two who care deeply, hence the use as a revered jewelry gift.


Brothers under the skin, The star of this suite , by virtue of size and presence is the Padparaja, This one a 4.78 ct flawless gem from Sri Lanka. Like is close neighbor from and earlier post, the Kashmir it’s resting with, these are both sapphires, separated by la continent and a few chemicals, these are effectively the same gems wearing two different color suits. The effect of trace elements have the wonderful , chameleon like effect on the parent Corundum family of gems, allowing for many wonderful colors to occur.
Of these, the three major players are the Padparaja, The Kashmir Sapphire and the Burma Ruby.
The Padparaja shown is what the Sri Lankan gem dealers call “Sunset”, a bit of a cognac hue mixed with a bit of pink under the right light.
This hand fabricated platinum and diamond piece brings the feel of the lotus flower into play, a reminder of the spirituality associated with these revered gems.


One of my favorites, and the darling of the gem collecting community, and yet,…
almost unknown in the public domain.
This is a true gem, Burmese in origin, stunning red with no modifying colors, bright. This will give the best rubies in the world a run for the money spent.
Affordable-Ish…, getting more costly by the year as supplies diminish.
The ring is hand fabricated in Platinum and 18K yellow gold and diamonds for accent.
Rare again…


Absolutely Fantastic! Thank you for posting.


You’re welcome…
Thanks for looking!


Here’s one to noodle on a bit.
I did this for a wonderful lady about 10 years ago, It just showed up today to get cleaned up a bit and so I could get some shots .
This is one continuous piece of 18K yellow gold, fabricated a bit like taffy.
The stones were a random pick , intended to be eclectic and not become thee total focus of the piece.
They are set in platinum with about as little metal as I could use too hold them in.
There are little wear marks here and there if you look close enough, but not bad for ten years of use so far.
Kinda fun,


as distinct from "Bling"
I think this ring has it,
A look that grabs , but doesn’t overwhelm.
This piece is done for a TV chef(tess?), so it wanted presence, but not so much that one’s eyes got hooked on the piece,instead of the show.
The center stone is 1.71 ct, G, VVS1, The side stones are also
VVS 1&2, D & E in color.
The ring is hand fabricated platinum.
( and… even though I abhor the lack of clean-out holes, If I do them on a piece like this there is simply no structure left… There is always something around that will make me eat my own words…)


Beautiful piece. Well done

Andy “The Tool Guy” Kroungold
Director Tool Sales & Stuller Bench
Stuller Inc.
P 1-800-877-7777 ext 4191 or 4194


Thanks Andy, coming from you that’s a welcome compliment.
At some point I’ll have to get the RIO plugs in,
I’ve been using them since the founding, and I do projects for Paula & Martin, as well as Seth. There is a pretty deep connection to you-all. (not to mention a shop full of tools…)
Please keep up your great work, and thank you so much for supporting Seth’s re-birthing of Ganoksin.


Grahl meets Deco …
Here is another piece fresh off my friends finger where it’s been for the last 22 years. I just had to clean & tighten the center stone.
The diamonds are from her mother’s ring, circa 1935.
We wanted to keep the Deco flavor so the platinum top was created with that look in mind. She also wanted the fit of our style stirrup band and liked the yellow / white combination.
I Have a deep affection for my friends, I want their pieces to last. I’m also happy to see how they actually hold up over time, in this case , quite well. I did nothing but clean & tighten, no polish or re-detail.
Here’s to another 22 years (I’ll be 92… Hope to be here to clean it again…)


Old to new…
I do watch cases periodically , I this case for a friend that had bought a Rolex “Cellini” model on her first trip to Europe about 1962.
These models, mostly ladies, were rather plain and uninspiring. Unfortunately, they didn’t get better as they aged, though the movements were great.
She asked if I could do something more dramatic and this was my response to her challenge.
18K white gold, pave’ diamonds, 2 small sapphires for accents.
The band is original Cellini as is the movement,
The casework is JGD.