Archive | March, 2010

Brainwashed by Fashion

28 Mar

Brainwashed by Fashion

In Touch Magazine is evil.

And so is In Style, and Self, and just about every other magazine that convinces me, though pretty pictures, to part with my money.

It all started with a free-giveaway contest that I lost. In Touch was giving away these amazing Viv & Ingrid Large Spiral Hoop Earrings in turquoise. I was gaga over them. I entered the drawing with visions of the glorious hoops dancing in my head.

It was not to be. I didn't win the drawing.

For awhile I tried to forget about them – I didn't really need them. They might be ugly in-person (so to speak). Maybe they're heavy, or uncomfortable, or not real gold.

In the end, though, it turned out they're gold-filled, and summer is coming. Nothing speaks of summer more than turquoise. Turquoise with jeans, with white pants, with my bikini in Hawaii… while sipping a Piña Colada…

Okay, sorry about that – I was day-dreaming. Hm. It seems that while I was dreaming, my finger slipped and I ordered them… and filled out the credit card information… and now they're coming to me via UPS.

How could that be? I guess I was brainwashed by the fashion magazines. It wouldn't be the first time!

Photo above is from VivandIngrid.com

The Cameo Re-Imagined

27 Mar

The Cameo Re-Imagined

I was in an antique mall in La Jolla, California when I spotted the earrings. After touring the warehouse for the better part of an hour, I was tired and ready to leave. But then a glint of color caught my eye.

There, on the rack was a collection of Extasia earrings in every color. Beautiful, classic, colorful and absolutely stunning on, I was struck with indecision. Which ones to buy?

I was with my parents. My dad frowns on earrings (I can still remember his shock and dismay when I came home with pierced ears at age twelve); he made a face, and for a moment I wavered.

Then my mom stepped in. She thought they were beautiful and she offered to buy me a pair. Guilt washed over me as I realized I couldn't depart with just one – I had to have the purple ones for evening, and the gold for day. I thought, "here are these incredible artisan earrings – I'll never see anything like them ever again! I better buy two pairs."

Little did I know, Extasia can be found online. Well… I'm glad. Because now I know where to go if I want more!

Photo above is from Extasia.com.

A Spring Bouquet

21 Mar

A Spring Bouquet

It's spring and the world is exploding with color. Just yesterday I walked by an azalea bush bursting with the most beautiful, vibrant pink flowers you've ever seen.

I find myself reaching back into the recesses of my wardrobe to drag out my spring clothes and finding… well, finding that I wore them out last year, or they don't fit (too many bagels, too many rounds of dessert). I need color, vibrant color, and I need it fast.

When I have a craving like this, my quick fix is to do a little online shopping. And I always start in the easiest-to-fit category: jewelry.

Neiman Marcus can always be counted on to have a beautiful collection that's perfectly overpriced. I was rewarded immediately by finding a pair of XL Wonderland Teardrop Earrings on their site. Pictured above, they're an absolute knock-out.

Made of faceted blue rock crystal over mother-of-pearl, the stones (such as they are) are set in sterling silver. Ippolita Rostagno, who designed them, has incredible taste, and it is for this taste, evidently, that we are expected to pay $895.00.

After staring at this number for awhile, I grab my car keys and head out… to the grocery store, where I buy a fabulously beautiful spring bouquet. Total cost? $15.99.

My ears may be unadorned, but my kitchen table looks bright and cheerful. Spring is here at last.

Photo above is from NeimanMarcus.com.

Coral: Too Precious To Wear

21 Mar

Coral: Too Precious To Wear

When I was in New York recently, I passed a Tiffany & Co. window with an ocean theme. I didn't think much of it – just another marketing gimmick. It turns out that the theme was a little too subtle for me: Tiffany was actually trying to make a statement.

"The theme of the window display underwater world is designed to inform the public that coral is a living thing which can account for the coral reef systems to provide food and breeding sites for the reproduction of marine organisms," says the Tifffany & Co. website.

I admire them for taking a stand, and for actually caring. As consumers, our insatiable appetite for pink coral jewelry has been terrible for our reefs. Imagine the clownfish Nemo without a reef to hide in.

Okay, invoking a Disney character is truly under the belt, but things have gotten so bad that scientists and conservationists are urging industries to act where governments have not.

For more info about coral, check out Too Precious To Wear. In addition to Tiffany, the site lists other jewelry and fashion designers who've gotten on board. With Paloma Picasso and Reem Acra on the list, you'll be in good company.

Photo above is from Tiffany.com.

The Dog Ate My Diamond

15 Mar

The Dog Ate My Diamond

My husband went shopping for the diamond for my engagement ring in the diamond district in New York. He and the diamond dealer were looking at stones, and the dealer kept picking them up with tweezers. Suddenly, the tweezers snapped together and the stone flew out of his grasp.

No one could find the diamond, and the entire office went into lockdown. They sealed all the doors and no one was allowed entrance or exit.

Finally, the jewelry dealer's daughter knocked on the door, and he was forced to let her in. Lucky thing he did, because she had found the stone just outside the door.

Just today I read a similar story, with a special twist. When George Kaufman went to work at his jewelry store, he brought his golden retriever along. He was looking at stones with a co-worker, when a large diamond flew off the table and the dog, Soli, wolfed it down.

All efforts to recover the stone from Soli's mouth failed, and George was forced to wait for nature to take its course. It did, and three days later, the $20,000 diamond was recovered.

Somehow, I think, had my husband not found our stone, the excuse, "the dog ate my diamond" wouldn't have quite worked out… but it would have made a great story!

Photo above is from JewellersWorkshopGallery.com.

Bejeweled by Kate Spade

14 Mar

Bejeweled by Kate Spade

Kate Spade doesn't just make bags – she makes shoes, clothing, glasses, paper and yes, fantastic jewelry. Her designs are smartly simple: mimicking diamonds and gems set in yellow gold, with an old-world flair.

Of course, Spade uses glass instead of gemstones and she sets her cut glass in 12 karat gold plate. The bill for the items is consummately low. Take her Gumdrop Studs. They look like amethyst but are not, and at $38 for the pair, they're a steal.

Or the Know the Ropes Scatter Necklace – in 12 Karat gold, it's 32" long so it can be looped around twice. The knot motif is old as the hills (think Tiffany) but has been repurposed here for a classy, versatile necklace.

My favorite is the Lady Marmalade Small Bracelet. The pave crystals look to me like old world diamonds. They are, in fact, just glass in a clever setting. The perfect selection for an evening out, or even something to dress up a pair of jeans, Kate Spade has classic down to a science.

Photo above is from KateSpade.com.

A Bracelet to Fool the Eye

13 Mar

A Bracelet to Fool the Eye

About once a year, I go to an event where I'm completely outshone by people who out-dress me and out-accessorize me. The event is usually a benefit, or a swank New Year's party. In the other words, it's an event where I don't quite belong.

It's always awkward – part of my brain knows that it really isn't important whether the dress I'm wearing is two seasons old or whether my shoes are from Marshalls. In a way, frugality is a point of pride. But truthfully, there's always that urge to fit in and look like I can afford a certain lifestyle.

This is where costume jewelry comes in. I recently blogged about Swarovski Crystal's fun and whimsical jewelry. They also make really elegant pieces that can pass for the real thing. Ann Taylor is carrying a Swarovski Crystal Stretch Bracelet that would fool all but the most discerning eyes. It really looks like a vintage piece.

So now I can don my cut glass and throw my shoulders back. Not only do I fit in with the crowd, I achieved "the look" for $135.00. Now that's satisfying.

Photo above from AnnTaylor.com.

Bangles That Pop

10 Mar

Bangles That Pop

I love fab bangles but whats better than a stacked bangle? Each of Melinda Maria's Infinity Bangles add an extra bit of glamour whether you one or more together? These have been found on various celebs and although they are perfect for red carpet glamor, it's also perfect when you're stepping out for brunch or just doing a bit of shopping. I have always loved anything that is sterling silver and the varying size of each orb has such a boho chic look to it. Her bangles can be found using various materials and Max & Chloe has been known to sell various items from her line. This is definitely a great way to add in pops of color and glitz to your overall look!

Estate Jewelry in an Unassuming Package

7 Mar

Estate Jewelry in an Unassuming Package

Sometimes the most beautiful things come in the most unassuming packages. When my parents told me they'd bought me a bracelet while getting their annual check-up at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, I wondered what kind of bracelet they could have found in Minnesota.

If you've been to Rochester, it's a town that centers around the medical facility – not the sort of place you'd expect to find a jewelry store with fine estate jewelry.

Looks can be deceiving. Hight & Randall Personal Jewelers has some lovely estate pieces. The bracelet my parents selected would perfectly match the lovely ring in the photo above.

Be warned: their website is terrible – hard to negotiate, easily tripped up. But if you can stand it, you might find something beautful. And hey, if you find yourself passing through Mayo for a few medical tests, take the edge off and stop by.

Photo above is from secure.personaljeweler.com.

Vita Fede Comes To Light

7 Mar

Vita Fede Comes To Light

Thank God for Daily Candy – they keep me informed about all the latest and greatest happenings in my hometown of Los Angeles. But they also keep me abreast of some pretty terrific styles and jewelry online.

Sometimes the things I find through their suggestions surprise me – or rather, I surprise myself. For example, a few pretty pictures led me to Vita Fede's website.

They make what I would describe as a cross between motorcycle jewelry and the kind of thing you'd find at an art fair. Not very attractive sounding, I know, and perhaps my description is unfair. Still, I really like their style.

The Vita Fede Dez Ring is made with 24K plated gold and "Italian orange natural stone." I love that. What is it – quartz? And if so, why not say so? At $215.00, who cares what it's made of: it looks great.

I'm delighted to have become acquainted with their designs. Hope you'll feel the same!

Photo above is from VitaFede.com.