Luana Coonen Jewelry

behind the scenes

Home: Born & Raised in Hawaii

behind the scenesLuana CoonenComment

Sometimes I forget I'm from paradise....

I've heard many friends and colleagues complain about dreading their annual trip home for the holidays: dragging their feet back home to the bitter cold east cost, sitting through dramatic family dinners, or some other variation of dreary situations.

I feel very luck that home represents none of this to me. I cherish my time with my wonderful, strange and alternative family, in the always soul-nurturing island life back in Hawaii.

I was born on the Big Island, and just a few years later, we relocated to Maui, where my father built us a home to suite the whole family. Nestled on a remote gulch, the property overlooks lush green views, a babbling stream, and just a nip of an ocean view.  Our family planted the property with a macadamia nut orchard, garden beds & edible landscaping, a large variety of tropical fruit, garnished along the way with several varieties of flowering orchids and bromeliads. I'm happy to still call this property home. 

 view from the house. oh yes, and the rainforest calls for frequent rainbows. 

view from the house. oh yes, and the rainforest calls for frequent rainbows. 

Every year I take some time off after a busy holiday season to recharge my batteries and get some contemplative time in near the Pacific. It is 360˙ beautiful. From our family property, the views everywhere you look, to the love my friends and family show, this place is brimming full. 

This season, I had a particularly nourishing trip home, as I decided to adventure and get some well-needed time to myself on long hikes and and a variety of trails around the island (hiking is one of my favorite pastimes). I dove head-first into the wonder which is Maui, and wow, I forgot how wonderful it is....

 New Years Eve on the beach, as per tradition

New Years Eve on the beach, as per tradition

 views from the waikamoi ridge 

views from the waikamoi ridge 

 the super secret swimming spot 

the super secret swimming spot 

These trips home a feed my art practice, reminding me of why I have such a strong connection with nature. From the green, lush rain-forest where I spend my days, long afternoons spent in the kitchen fiddling with things from the garden, to wandering around our yard filled with interested flowers, tropical fruits and permaculture tidbits planted by me and my family, it's no wonder I've always got nature on my brain.... 

 jackson chameleon finds, making rose water and bowlfuls of lilikoi 

jackson chameleon finds, making rose water and bowlfuls of lilikoi 

I love home and it loves me back.... 

 last views from the airport.... 

last views from the airport.... 

Esqueleto Spotlight

Spotlight, behind the scenesLuana CoonenComment

Right across the Bay from San Francisco, there lies a treasure for the jewelry enthusiasts... Esqueleto in the cozy 'Temescal Alleys' in North Oakland. The store has a lovely curated selection of talented designers, creating a chic, soft spoken desert theme. Brimming with geodes, fossils, and strong pieces from jewelry designers across the globe, this store has too much good stuff. I find they have a knack for curating distinct & different designers, leaving me desiring many pieces from the display cases... 

 Enjoying my time with the great staff at Esqueleto

Enjoying my time with the great staff at Esqueleto

One of my favorite events is my annual trunk show held in their Oakland location. The staff is laid-back, easy to work with, and always a really fun to spend time with. I enjoy this yearly event to check in with Esqueleto's customers and my collectors, and seeing many old friends. I often leave the weekend with a full to-do list of custom orders and my head brimming with ideas for new designs my customers have mentioned they'd love to see!  

 Luana Coonen Jewelry Trunk Show 2015

Luana Coonen Jewelry Trunk Show 2015

Esqueleto is run buy the well-know jeweler Lauren Wolf, a woman of many talents, including running her stores (LA and Oakland) and producing her own jewelry line. Yet, from my first-hand experience, Lauren is a bit of a wonder woman, always calm and at ease, as you can tell immediately when walking into the welcoming environment of their Oakland store. They often do monthly events, including art shows and participating in First Friday, contributing to the lively scene in the Temescal Alleys. Next time your in the area, check it out, it will be well worth it, I swear. 

Enjoy Esqueleto's Artist Spotlight: Luana Coonen from a while back!  

How it begins

behind the scenes, jewelry design, natural specimensLuana CoonenComment

Years ago, I challenged myself to design jewelry without gemstones, as a comment on the environmental consequences of mining, and as a design challenge. Years later, working with simple natural materials continues to bring me joy, and is a gentle and romantic process for me. From finding just right specimen to start with, to the delicate handling the whole way through, I enjoy this unique process I have chosen for myself, and find these just as precious as gem stones.