Archive | March, 2006

Paparazzi Watches Join MSN

31 Mar

Paparazzi Watches Join MSN

More from Swatch….if you aren't into the super bright fun themed watches Swatch is known for and are looking for a something a little more serious and high-tech, then take a look at their Paparazzi model. This model has actually been around for awhile, but low-tech people like myself just now discovered it.

From a company press release: Swatch, the innovative, trend-setting watch brand from Swatch Group, the leading global watch corporation from Switzerland, has joined with MSN Direct, a division of Microsoft, to launch a stylish and colorful new watch known as "Paparazzi." With four new multi-colored styles, Paparazzi offers wearers exclusive entertainment information and the opportunity to meet celebrities. In addition, Paparazzi owners can access the MSN Direct service to receive personalized information – including news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes and more.

Swatch Watches Hot Again

30 Mar

Swatch Watches Hot Again

Remember when Swatch Watches were the must-have fashion item of the day? Well, looks like they are become very popular again, or so Bloomberg.com has announced:

March 23 (Bloomberg) — Swatch Group AG, the world's biggest watchmaker, had a 21 percent rise in second-half profit as the company sold more of its most profitable luxury timepieces and sales of Swatch brand watches recovered.

Net income climbed to 354 million francs ($271 million) in the six months ended Dec. 31, from 292 million francs a year earlier, according to full-year results released by the company today. Biel, Switzerland-based Swatch said in a statement that there has been "a promising start to 2006, and the outlook for the current year is optimistic.'"

You can find some wonderful watches on the Swatch website. I was pretty amazed at the huge variety of themes they have available. They are also still pretty reasonably priced, many under $50. Looks like what's old is new again.

Book of Lux Watches

29 Mar

Book of Lux Watches

If you are a watch fanatic and especially enjoy some of the high-end luxury watches on today's market, or wish you could enjoy them, then the new book, Guide to Luxury Watches, published by Assouline, may be the perfect read for you.

From National Jeweler: "Assouline's Guide to Luxury Watches, issued this spring by Assouline Publishing, is an exhaustive guide to timepieces ranging from collector-worthy watches to fashion accessories rotated on an ever-changing basis. Author Fabienne Reybaud, a watch and jewelry columnist at French newspaper Le Figaro, addresses today's booming watch market in the book."

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With 100 color and black-and-white illustrations, the Guide follows watches through history, charting their course from sundial through pocketwatch to analyze the history of time-keeping mechanisms. In addition, Reybaud covers the often jaw-droppingly expensive auction market for watches and canvasses the various trademarks, styles, features and collections that characterize the timepieces of today."

Dig For Your Diamonds

28 Mar

Dig For Your Diamonds

Often when most people think of diamonds, they picture a huge mining operation in some country like Africa. But believe it or not, not all mines are owned by large organizations. In fact, a few mines are still open for public digging and that includes a diamond mine located in southwestern Arkansas.

From the Chicago Tribune: "The first diamonds were found here [Crater of Diamonds State Park] in 1906 when then-landowner John Huddleston, slopping his hogs, noticed some glitter in the Barnyard. Having prospected elsewhere, Huddleston knew when he saw the pair of silvery, oily-surfaced stones among the pig droppings that he'd struck it rich. One diamond weighed three carats, the other more than four.

Huddleston took his stones to the bank at Murfreesboro and, because nobody believed they were really diamonds, was offered 50 cents for the two. Huddleston turned down the offer and dug up more stones; skeptics became believers, and his mine became famous. He later sold his 160 acres to a Little Rock banker for $36,000.

The land changed hands several more times before it was bought by General Earth Minerals of Dallas. That firm mined it for three years, then sold it to the state of Arkansas for $750,000 in 1972. Other land was acquired, and that same year Crater of Diamonds State Park–which to the untrained eye doesn't remotely resemble a volcano–was created. Today the park sprawls across 880 acres.

Since then more than 85,000 diamonds have been plucked from a 37-acre tract of decomposed kimberlite or lamproite (as geologists are now calling it) diamond-bearing igneous rock, according to Bill Henderson, park assistant superintendent."

Wise Pearl Woman

27 Mar

Wise Pearl Woman

e-commerce is really tough these days, especially in the jewelry industry because there is so much competition. However, according to Biz Journals.com, one woman has found great success creating her own on-line pearl jewelry store:

"Hundreds of years ago, the Australians believed pearls held supernatural powers. Houstonian Amanda Raab isn't sure about that; but she does posses a knack for selling the unshelled gems.

The daughter of two entrepreneurs, Raab sought a way to make extra money as a graduate student at The University of Texas. Researching the online fashion market, she stumbled upon an article about pearls. That planted the seed for her company, PurePearls.com.

"I knew starting this company that it needed to be something that I can be very passionate about, because I have this personality where I can get very distracted," Raab says. "I made the decision to sell pearls in the middle of night. The idea really pulled my heartstrings."

E-commerce site PurePearls.com sells the precious gems for less than one-third of what they cost in a retail store, according to Raab. Because the company buys directly from pearl farms all over the world, Raab is able to maintain low margins, which she says are passed on to customers."

I visited PurePearls.com and I have to say I was very impressed. Of course, I love (love, love) pearls, so I enjoyed looking at all the wonderful jewelry there, but I was also very impressed with all the great information she has available such as pearl farming, pearl care, and pearl history.

Here are few of my favorite jewelry items from the site:

9.5mm, AA+ quality Tahitian cufflinks are set in your choice of 14K solid gold or sterling silver. Bullet back closure.

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The 8.5-9.0mm Akoya pearls on this 18-inch necklace are 'AA+' quality with extraordinary luster.

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Trusting Your Jeweler

27 Mar

Trusting Your Jeweler

When buying jewelry, especially fine jewelry that includes precious metals such as gold and platinum and gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, it is really helpful to educate yourself as much as possible. That is actually one of my goals for this blog is to help educate consumers. However, finally it comes down to whether you can trust your jeweler or not.

From Sun-Sentinel.com: "Few purchases are more mystifying for first-time buyers than fine jewelry. There's more information out there than ever — from jewelers' Web sites and online forums to nearly ubiquitous grading reports from independent labs. But buying expensive gems and precious metals is still largely a matter of trust between you and the jeweler.

First, educate yourself on the basics. For diamonds, that means the four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat weight. For gold, platinum and silver, it means purity.

You can find helpful information on these fundamentals from the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) and the better business bureau (www.bbb.org). The Gemological Institute of America, the most prominent diamond grading agency, provides tutorials on buying diamonds and colored gems at (www.gia.edu)."

You can also find some helpful advice here: How to Pick a Jeweler

Men and Silver Jewelry

25 Mar

Men and Silver Jewelry

More on the men's jewelry front – Tracey Mayer tells New City Chicago that she started designing jewelry for men because they started 'begging for it.'

A picture comes to mind…please, please, make me a bracelet!

But, seriously, this more evidence that men are loving the bling almost as much as women: "The designer is quick to point out that bearing baubles doesn't necessarily showcase a dude's feminine side. By incorporating jewelry into his wardrobe, Tracey says, a man not only remains masculine but demonstrates the courage to "redefine masculinity." Tracey describes her typical male customer as the type who "exudes confidence and has his own unique sense of style. He'll wear cufflinks with jeans as well as to a black-tie event."

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Mayer culled inspiration from a wide variety of sources for her current men's collection: "Having a home in South India lends a strong Eastern influence in my work," she says. "However, I'm just as likely to spark a great idea while sitting at the football field, watching my boys play." Mayer's passionate about 950 silver, a material that's slightly more pure than sterling, and she incorporates ancient Indian stones, black obsidian and faceted gemstones into her cufflinks, money clips, rings, bracelets and necklaces. A sandblasted, oxidized finish ups the funk factor on several of her pieces."

Make sure you make your way to the Tracey Mayer website. Great jewelry – and even the music isn't too bad.

A bracelet and ring from the Loop Collection:

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Bean Jewelry

24 Mar

Bean Jewelry

I love the name of this web site – The String Bean Shop. It gives a whole new meaning to liking vegetables, which I happen to really like almost as much as I do jewelry.

With spring officially here, this company has spouted some new jewelry designs for its Spring 2006 collection.

From a company press release: "Spring is in full bloom at The String Bean shop, a new full-service jewelry design boutique based in Brooklyn, New York. Like spring itself, its debut collection of handmade jewelry, named Regeneration, is about renewed beauty. The String Bean has created something special by stylishly blending the elegance of bygone eras with this spring's fashion trends. The result is an exclusive jewelry collection of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets that make women of all ages feel feminine, sexy and ornately accessorized on all occasions. Custom jewelry design is also available for special occasions."

Here are a few pieces from the collection:

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Gorgeous green coin pearls coupled with 14k gold-filled accents are ultra feminine and irresistible.

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Brilliant green coin pearls are enveloped by 14k gold-filled chain drapes making for a truly glamorous look day or night.

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Black line agate and majorica pearls dance around textured 14k gold-filled chain in pattern that is fun, sexy and all your own. Measures 37" long.

Fashion Web Happenings

23 Mar

Fashion Web Happenings

I try to keep up on all the latest and greatest jewelry and fashion trends discussed on the Internet, and let me tell you – there is a huge (massive!) web community out there of fashionistas!

To help spread the word, here are just a few tid bits from other fashion journalists on the Internet. This, by the way, is just the tip of the fashion-berg. See my blogroll for more inspiring bloggers.

Almostgirl, aka Julie Fredrickson, is tired of the disconnection facing fashion bloggers, writers, forums, and other fashion professionals, so she has decided to do something about it. She is in the process of unveiling Coutorture.

Shoelover is hosting Carnivale of the Couture (which unfortunately I've been spacing out on lately). The question for this installment is "If you could exchange your life with that of any one particular fashion "celebrity" whose life would it be and why?"

andrea at Making Things, combines her love of knitting with her awe of beadwork in her March 20th post A truly atelier's sweater. Of course, beads are not just for jewelry.

Lesley at FashionTribes.com selects a huge metal butterfly and beaded necklace from MightyFlirt.com, a fun piece though a tad on the large size.

Dazzling Diamonds from Christie’s

22 Mar

Dazzling Diamonds from Christie's

Who else but Christie's New York will dish out gems like these!? Yowza! But, you do have some time to save up for a jewelry loving spurge. The auction is scheduled for April 11, 2006. Odd or maybe ironic that those of us who can only afford to eat at McDonald's can't afford to buy the jewelry from this particular auction. From Diamonds.net:

"Christie's New York will hold its Magnificent Jewels sale on April 11, 2006, which will include the Joan Kroc collection. (Kroc was the wife of fast-food chain McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc, and a well-known philanthropist.) [...]

The sale also features a number of signed pieces, including a colored diamond and emerald "Camaieu Tiger" brooch by René Boivin, with a pavé-set colored diamond articulated body and marquise-cut emerald eyes, this unique piece offers a surprisingly realistic interpretation of this exotic animal's crouching pose through detail and execution.

Viewing begins April 6 at Christie's Galleries, 20 Rockefeller Plaza, in Manhattan."