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After 20 years of designing black-tie gowns and wedding dresses for well-heeled denizens of Southern California, Irit Ehrlich started to produce jewelry that somehow married a weighty Edwardian feel with a California casual vibe. The result was stacks of stretch bracelets strung with turquoise and tourmaline stones. Ehrlich would mix her own bracelets with diamond bangles on her wrists, a combination that garnered plenty of attention from friends who were attracted to the colorful mash-up of high-end and semi-precious stones.

'My vibe was always to combine old and new, not be traditional or conventional,' says Ehrlich, who began selling her bracelets to friends nine years ago and quickly expanded her materials to include diamonds.

She keeps that heavy Edwardian look in the line by using recycled silver that is oxidized to give the metal a rough patina that is vaguely reminiscent of knight's armor. The mix of oxidized silver and diamonds, she says, 'took on an almost primitive and vintage feel.'

The silver is often combined with rose or full-cut diamonds and occasionally with coins that were salvaged from a Spanish shipwreck -- a signature element of Ehrlich's line that has attracted celebrities such as Amy Adams, Courteney Cox, Halle Berry and most recently, Michelle Obama.

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