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Gorgeous glass jewelry: Big, bold and beautiful

Renee Minus White | 4/12/2011, 4:34 p.m.

Smart Glass Jewelry, designed by Kathleen Plate, offers a new take on the bold and beautiful jewelry of the '70s.There's also a natural and "go green" component to her collection because Plate recycles glass.

Her holiday collection is stunning, and she also shows some ornate ornaments for your Xmas tree. Born and raised in Cathlamet, Wash. ,Plate has always loved to create beautiful things. Her mother inspired her creative passion during her childhood; she recalls working on projects with her mother, who taught her how to solder and stain glass. Smart Glass Jewelry was born while Plate was in graduate school at Georgia State University, where she received a master's degree in American literature. Her business started with a birthday gift for a friend. After searching for a gift and not finding a satisfactory one, she handcrafted a pair of earrings out of stained glass. She received rave reviews from her friends and decided to take her products to festivals and craft shows. The move proved to be a promising start for this then-unknown artist. Plate began selling her pieces to small boutiques in the 1990s. Her business took off when Aveda placed a huge order after seeing her make a necklace out of one of their cosmetic bottles. In June 2006, Coca-Cola commissioned Plate to create a line of jewelry using their signature bottles. Smart Glass Jewelry premiered on the Home Shopping Network in 2008,reaching more than 91 million viewers.

In business for more than 14 years, her business has grown worldwide. Plate's design philosophy includes a respect for the Earth that's coupled with a commitment to high quality. Plate's exciting collaboration with some of the largest corporations in the world has moved her to a commission to create chandelier installations out of recycled bottles for DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS). Her products can also be seen on TV shows like "Nip/Tuck," "Days of Our Lives" and "Entourage." Products are available at www.smartglassjewelry.com.

Jewelry designer Sandy Baker has launched a clothing collection to add to her design repertoire. Her focus is on women's garments. "I've always designed most of the clothing I wear," said Baker. "I'm enjoying the opportunity to share my ideas with other women." Her collection of fuller figure tops is produced and sold by Sterling Styles of Walnut, Calif. The labels of her garments feature a bold, black-and-white graphic trademark facsimile of her face. Baker consistently designs to encourage women to make breathtaking personal style statements. "Women want engaging jewelry and beautiful clothing," she explained. Baker's designs can be found at exclusive galleries, better women's specialty shops and museum shops around the country and internationally. In Harlem, Baker's jewelry and clothing designs can be found at the Brownstone.