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Local jewelry designer wins national recognition

Kerry Yu will bring her jewelry to Hollywood Jan. 13


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CHOI YEE JOEYEE WONG - Model Elizabeth Ruth Pettyjohn's hair and makeup was done by Beau Monde College of Hair Design. She's wearing a O'Pearl Brands necklace by Lake Oswego jewelry designer Kerry Yu. Lake Oswego jewelry designer Kerry Yu will represent the city of Portland this winter during the RAW annual Indie Awards Show in Hollywood on Jan. 13.

Yu’s line of jewelry, O’Pearl Brands, was titled Portland’s Accessory of the Year on Nov. 15 at the Bassanova Ballroom. O’Pearl Brands was also chosen among more than 10,000 contestants across the United States as a national finalist.

“I didn’t even give it a second thought that I would become a national finalist,” she said. “I’m just following my passion.”

Yu’s passion is to create bold, classic yet modern jewelry from semi-precious stones and pearls. Her jewelry line includes wedding necklaces that feature two white freshwater teardrop pearls with a long sterling silver chain and bolder necklaces that feature braided leather, natural stone, agate, feathers and crystal beads. Earrings range from simple pendants to dangling chandeliers made of crystal, jade, pearl, silver and semi-precious stones.

“As a jewelry designer I always want to deliver a message of human power,” she said. “The power that makes us unique, makes us feel capable and gives us confidence to feel beautiful regardless of age, color, shape and size.

“My jewelry makes a big bold statement, and when people wear it they feel confident and proud.”

About the award

RAW: Natural Born Artists is an independent arts organization whose mission is to provide independent artists within the first 10 years of their careers with tools, resources and exposure to inspire and cultivate creativity.

RAW currently operates in 54 cities across the United States and Australia. Once a month, from February to October, RAW hosts a local artists spotlight in participating cities, which features fashion, makeup, hair stylists, film, photography, visual arts, performers, accessories and musicians. At the end of the season, community members vote on their favorite local artists and city semi-finalists are announced in each category.

One winner from every city, in every category then goes on to be judged by the RAW panel of industry professionals. The nine national winners were announced Dec. 3 and honored with their awards at the RAW annual Indie Awards Show. Winners receive big career-boosting prizes like distribution, store placement, studio time, gallery placement and consultations with industry executives and professionals.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: CHOI YEE JOEYEE WONG - Model Favour Kibali's hair and makeup was done by Beau Monde College of Hair Design. She's wearning a O'Pearl Brands necklace by Lake Oswego jewelry designer Kerry Yu.

Fashionable globetrotting

Yu has showcased her talents across the globe first as a model, then as runway show director, jewelry designer and entrepreneur. Yu is a native of China.

She moved to Lake Oswego five years ago and until recently, operated her business from West Linn.

“My life journey has taken me all over the world; I just ended up in Lake Oswego,” she said.

Yu began her fashion career as a model in the early 1990s in China. Modeling careers and education at the Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology lead her to Canada and Spain — where she started her own modeling agency — and back to China.

She moved to Lake Oswego in 2007 with her family and launched the jewelry line O’Pearl Brands. Today, she remains busy designing jewelry, working trade shows and directing fashion shows and events for charitable and cultural events. Her jewelry and fashion events have benefited groups like Lake Oswego School District, The International School, Miss Oregon USA and Miss Oregon Teen USA.

She has designed jewelry for Mary Sandell, producer of the movie “Coraline,” for her 2010 Golden Globe Award and Amy Roloff from the former television show “Little People, Big World.” This year, she showcased her designs at New York Fashion Week at the Lincoln Center.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: HAL HARRISON - Lake Oswego jewelry designer Kerry Yu won Portland's Accessory Designer of the Year.Through all her success and travels, Yu said she works to design jewelry that is “a little high end” but not “museum style.” Most importantly, she wants her jewelry to make women of all ages feel beautiful.

“My jewelry carries the message: Live loud,” she said. “When you put on my jewelry you will feel vibrant and you will feel alive. It’s a statement that you are proud of yourself and that you live as loud, young and beautiful as you feel.”

O’Pearl Brands jewelry can be purchased online at http://opearlbrands.com or at the following locations: Silkwood, 809 NW 11th Ave., Portland; Chinese Garden Gift Shop, 239 NW Everett St., Portland; Barbara Johnson Clothing Store, 7807 SW Nyberg St., Tualatin; Silkwood, 12325 SW Horizon Blvd., Beaverton; and Magnifique Boutique, 8525 SE 13th Ave., Sellwood.