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Arts & Entertainment

Jewelry designer to show latest creations at Saks

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Sept. 12, 2008

International jewelry designer Barry Brinker will play salesman today and Saturday to introduce his fall line at Saks Fifth Avenue, Downtown.

"I want to connect with the customer," says Brinker, whose unusual and creative pieces range in price from $300 to $30,000. "I don't just make the jewelry. I try to work on an individual and a personal basis. My jewelry is about an emotional connection between myself and the customer."

Brinker's personality helps fuel that connection.

"Everyone wants to meet the designer who is responsible for creating the piece," says Kathy Kane, fine and fashion jewelry department manager at Saks, Downtown. "And creative people are usually interesting people. Barry is so much fun, and everyone loves him. He is a show in himself. It is a treat for all of us when he comes to town."

Coming to Pittsburgh is a highlight of his fall tour, he says. Growing up in Cincinnati, he recognizes comparisons between the cities.

"I love Pittsburgh because it has an industrial kind of feel to it," he says. "I love the architecture, and the people are so friendly. I have a great following there. They are down to earth. What you see is what you get."

Brinker, 52, does everything from finding gems to designing and constructing his rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants. He looks for the most unusual stones. One of his favorites is the sapphire, which he has in multiple colors --dark blue, yellow, pink and purple.

He says 10-karat yellow gold is most popular, but he makes jewelry from all metals. He buys direct so he can pass the savings on to his customers. Traveling all over the world, his focus is to discover stones with which he can create something different. And when he does, he enjoys the challenge of making and then seeing the completion of a masterpiece, like any artist.

Brinker attributes his ability to see what individual parts are needed to make the finished product to his multiple careers. He had an interior design business, bought and sold antiques and rugs, and lived in Hong Kong where he designed handbags.

"That experience adds to the design of the jewelry," says Brinker, who autographs each piece. "I tend to think outside the box. My work is one of a kind. No two are the same. I do have some popular styles which people like."

Brinker designs for women and men but tends to keep male jewelry more conservative.

"Customers know what they want when they can pick up a piece of jewelry and try it on and see it and feel it and touch it," he says. "I want people to be excited about my work."

Additional Information:

Barry Brinker

What: International jewelry designer introduces his fall line

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. today and Saturday

Where: Saks Fifth Avenue, Downtown

Details: 412-263-4800

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