Most people would not see the similarities between a celebrated private art collection and the jewelry creations of Silverhorn, but they are not Michael and Carole Ridding, purveyors of some of the most feverishly sought-after jewelry in America. “What makes an exquisite piece of jewelry is an unwavering commitment to hand crafted detail, the finest materials and an enduring quality”, Michael Ridding observes, “It’s the same with a fine collection of art.” “Our clients seek us out for beautifully made classic pieces,” adds Carole Ridding, “which express their personal taste and style”.
A profound sense of place and personality infuse the elegant Silverhorn galleries and design studio in Montecito, California where the Riddings and their team maintain an elite, International clientele. Each piece is hand made using artisan methods by head designer, Noel Bendle and other jewelers and craftsman including Darby Farmer. The results are unique works of understated elegance. Sleek forms emerge from an aesthetic grounded in a respect for craftsmanship and simplicity of design. Fashionable and sophisticated, the collection is often bold in its use of color and strong shapes.
For Michael Ridding it all started as a small boy playing with and collecting rocks. “I began with crystals and then graduated to rare gem stones. It was Carole’s love of fine jewelry and her entrepreneurial spirit which encouraged me to take my lifelong passion one step further. Together we searched for artist who could transform the gemstones into spectacular works of art”. In 1997 Michael met Noel Bendle who remains today as the Silverhorn head designer.
Michael and Carole launched their business in the Canadian Rockies in 1976, where the name was borrowed from the majestic Silverhorn Mountain. In 1986 they expanded and moved their business to the affluent community of Montecito, California.
Michael’s lifelong passion leads him around the world in search of rare gemstones. “I buy gems as a collector, never as a jewelry designer”, says Ridding, “the ones I purchase must stand alone in terms of their clarity and rarity. The stones he chooses go into the hands of Silverhorn’s award winning designers and goldsmiths. Every piece is designed with exacting precision and created with the gemstone in mind. Their distinctive, high quality pieces are impossible to reproduce. The importance of highly specialized crafts people is one of the keys to Silverhorn’s success. “What makes our jewelry so unique and ahead of what others are doing is the fact that we specialize” says Ridding. “Our enamellers only do enameling, our engraver only does engraving; each of our design team is the very best at his craft and this is essential to the overall look. It is a great collaboration which creates significant, collectible pieces.”
In fact, their jewelry is so original that Silverhorn’s designers are recognized and awarded year after year for spectacular creativity. And Silverhorn itself is recognized by leading museums and private collectors as one of the most talented purveyors of rare gems. “The pursuit of perfection has a long lasting benefit” states Carole Ridding, “as a company we believe strongly that the finest jewelry is the best investment while enhancing the quality of lives. We offer jewels that appeal to discriminating individuals who expect unparalleled quality”.
A member of the American Gem Society, Silverhorn’s annual testing and re-certification assures their clients of consistent high standards and provides a guarantee of value and quality. All gold is 100% ethically sourced. “Our reputation is earned everyday”, says Michael Ridding, “through our award-winning designs, our collection of diamonds and precious stones and our commitment to servicing our loyal clientele”. That service can be found readily among the Silverhorn team headed by manager, Tristin Tracy. Silverhorn contributes generously to worthy Santa Barbara non-profits. In addition to auction items of fine jewels, Silverhorn encourages local community involvement through advertisements supporting efforts of such organizations as Girls Inc, The Music Academy of the West, The Santa Barbara Museum of Art, The Dream Foundation and many others.
Maybe the dream that these jewels and gemstones hold for us is the dream of immortality and timelessness; at least the collection at Silverhorn suggest this is so. With their contemporary and classically inspired jewels, custom projects which fulfill client’s fantasies, gem carvings and agate bowls, time is a continuum.