Lola the Leopard, Queen of Jewels

The first time I laid eyes on the incredible triptych that was once in the lobby of the Trifari headquarters, I knew I wanted to create a piece of art with our jewels one day. So from then on, about 6 years ago, we started saving every single stone that was not fit for production quality standards. You see, not every stone is created equal, and the ones that are scratched or may have tiny chips in them are not suitable to use in our jewels- so we put them into a "bad" pile... As we've expanded over the years, the collection of reject stones became larger and larger, eventually requiring 2 people to carry the container they were being lugged around in, from office to office as we moved locations along the way. When we moved to our location here in Newport and started planning the store, I knew it was time to tackle this dream project. 

Loren Hope mosaic, newport rhode island

Myself and others often refer to Loren Hope jewelry as "wearable art" - and I consider the design process and the craft process of our pieces as an art form in and of itself. It was time to create the biggest piece of art I'd ever made out of jewels; the ultimate ode to "jewelry as art". 

The scene is a prowling leopard, surrounded by blooming magnolia flowers with butterflies fluttering around her. I chose this as the subject matter because I wanted to pay homage to my ultimate inspiration which has always been nature. The symmetrical flowers flanking her and her regal side profile stance contribute to a sense of formality and tradition, while the butterflies create movement and playfulness, keeping the work light-hearted. Both concepts I work to marry into the Loren Hope brand.

Loren Hope jewelry mosaic, Newport, Rhode Island

Overall the project took around 4 months to complete, with working on it on and off in spurts. Sometimes it would be for hours at a time... other days just a few minutes or so. I was fortunate to have my team there to help with this massive project, and we all contributed to hand-setting every single stone, and placing it in its spot one by one. Once the final stone was placed, we spent 2 days filling the piece with resin to set them in place. 

Loren Hope jewel mosaic, Newport Rhode Island

Loren Barham, designer, Loren Hope Newport Rhode IslandLoren placing the very last stone

The piece is a literal beast - Six feet across and weighing in somewhere around 175-200 lbs (if I could guess). It took five people to hang her on the wall, and we used a specialized hardware we found that holds up to 300 lbs. 

Lola the Leopard, Jeweled mosaic, Loren Hope flagship, Newport RI

After a survey on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, we had some great names submitted. I decided on Lola... The "Lola Necklace" is one of my very favorite pieces we've created. And who doesn't instantly think of the infamous song lyric, "Her name was Lola... she was a showgirl..." - and THAT she certainly is.

I invite you to come visit Lola in person! She sparkles and shines more than a photograph could ever show. 

Loren Hope jewel mosaic, Newport RI

Thank you, to everyone on our team, and for all of our community of Loren Hope collectors for your support in making this project possible. 

- Loren 

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