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A Present for Myself

16 Feb

A Present for Myself

Blue Nile posted lower-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings last week. No one was happy about this, especially their shareholders, who saw a drop in value.

Apparently, their sales only rose 20 percent. Wow. Bummer.

I like Blue Nile – but their prices are anything but cheap. Perhaps I should invest in their stock instead of in their jewelry.

They did manage to get a few things right for Valentines Day. For example, this beautiful pair of aquamarine studs. At 7mm (about one and a quarter carats), they're nicely sized and only $300.

The site allows people to review – a must for me in today's online purchasing environment. I confess that checking reviews all over the site, more or less at random, revealed that most reviews are positive. If you're a suspicious person like me, you might wonder if the company is skewing the results.

Only one way to find out: to order the earrings myself!

Photo above is from BlueNile.com.

Pearls: Worn By a Trendsetter?

31 Jan

Pearls: Worn By A Trendsetter?

It was Aliona Doletskaya who first introduced me to pearl earrings. My mother has pearls. My aunt has always coveted a Mikimoto necklace (she settled for a less expensive strand of "ordinary pearls" that looked anything but ordinary to me). But me, I've always felt that pearls were simply for older women.

Then I saw a photograph of Aliona – something about her look stopped me. She was in a simple, starched white oxford with a navy cashmere wrap casually thrown over her shoulders. Next to her was a black crocodile bag (to die for) and her only jewelry: an enormous set of big, white pearl studs. Aliona Doletskaya is the editor of Vogue Russia. Figures.

Pearls vary hugely in quality. They are graded (AAA, or sometimes just A, being the highest) on shape, luster, size and of course, surface quality. South Sea pearls can grow to be quite large, and let me tell you, they are really expensive. This pair is stunning at $2,600. They are flawless, and very large at 14.0 – 15.0 mm.

I bet that's what Aliona Doletskaya (don't you just love that name!?) was wearing.

But for us non-Vogue editors, Since 1910 also sells a 12.0 – 13.0 mm version for a mere $1,230.

The Byzantine Fashionista

21 Jan

The Byzantine Fashionista

I do not care what you think; I love these earrings. Actually, these earrings do seem to say, "I don't care what you think." They have that bohemian quality that screams, "I embrace style from any age and laugh in the face of fashion."

Perhaps I'm not being fair, but let's face it, in the description, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Store uses the word "Byzantine" as a selling point.

I have an enormous soft spot for the Museum. A) I love going there. B) It's an art institution, which makes me feel like my purchases aren't really going towards commerce, but that my funds are being used to support the arts. And C) well… truth be told, their stuff is cheap.

Anyway, where else can you buy something that comes with this description:

"One of the great initiatives taken by Constantine the Great, emperor of Rome from 307-337 A.D., was the transferring of the imperial capital to Constantinople (originally a small Greek town called Byzantion, that is now Istanbul, Turkey). Serving as a bridge between Europe and Asia, Constantinople became one of the most important centers of jewelry-making in the Mediterranean. The capital's stylistic innovations became popular and highly lauded throughout the Byzantine Empire."

Great factoid, huh? Perfect for a dinner party where you can wear earrings so classic they were worn in 300 A.D.

I love it.

Gems Meant To Be Worn

17 Jan

Gems Meant To Be Worn

I am a huge fan of Roberto Coin. I suppose, given the quality and prices of his jewelry, who wouldn't be? When I saw these earrings, I knew I had to write about them. After all, something so shockingly beautiful ought to be out there in the world being worn. And you never know – maybe Roberto needs help advertising (as if Christy Turlington isn't enough!)

I am a big believer in gems, though I grew up in a house where my mother wore beads on a regular basis. If it sparkled, it was locked up in her safety deposit box. Her engagement ring has been locked away for so long, I can no longer remember what it looks like. Gems are meant to be worn: there is nothing like a multi-faceted stone catching the light to make a woman sparkle.

These earrings fit the bill and if I owned them, I can tell you, they'd never be locked away!

Niobium Jewelry

18 Jan

Are you familiar with Niobium? Niobium is a dull gray metal that is rarer than gold and more precious than sterling. It's a refractive metal that produces brilliant colors when it's heated or anodized. Anodizing is a process in which metal is dipped in an electrically-charged bath.

metal jewelry
Holly Yashi Paradise in Bloom Earrings
Leaf-shaped earrings adorned with one simple bloom and multi-hued branches
Available in other colors

In both anodizing and heating, a natural oxide with a very high refractive index forms on the surface of the metal. Depending on its thickness, this transparent oxide layer produces interference colors, like a beetle's back, or oil on a puddle.

jewelry designers
Holly Yashi Niobium Reversible Earrings
Niobium, Amethyst, Sterling Silver ear wires, 1-1/8" long
To reverse, simply remove earrings from ear wires and turn them around. 1 1/8" long

In the anodization process, Niobium will display different colors on its surface, depending on the voltage of electricity that is applied. You can also repeat the process to get more than one color on the same piece, and the colors never fade or tarnish. So beautiful!

Niobium is also environmentally clean, lightweight, and hypoallergenic. It's used in a lot of body jewelry-the stuff you see stuck into young people's lips, noses, eyebrows, and foreheads-because it's completely non-reactive with human tissue. It's safe to wear for even those most sensitive to metal allergies, and it can be colored beautifully.

Links to additional information about Niobium Jewelry:
Working with Niobium
Niobium Floral Earrings Tutorial
Large selection of Holly Yashi Niobium Earrings

For Earring Lovers Only

27 Oct

For Earring Lovers Only
Jewelry designers are known to specialize. For example, they may only use certain types of gemstones and metals. Or, they have may lean toward a particular sort of technique or jewelry style. But, jewelry designer Mary E. Pongonis has a unique specialization – earrings. She even has a patent for a certain type of ear wire design. Her company is called Meya2s, where the 2 is square, not a 2 right next to the other letters, and she sells finished earrings designs (pictured above is Beaded Amy A's) as well as just earring wires, which are unique wire designs in themselves. Here are some more earrings from the Amy A collection.

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Copper is Cool

11 Sep

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Copper is one of those metals you don't see a lot of when it comes to your average jewelry design. In fact, most metalsmiths learn the jewelry making ropes on copper, and then graduate to silver, then gold, then platinum, and well, you get the picture.

So, I guess since copper is a rather inexpensive metal compared to gold for example, that may be one reason it's not considered as valuable to most jewelry designers. Yes, I get that it doesn't cost a lot, but that doesn't mean you can make some cool jewelry with copper, such as they very cool copper earrings from City Details.

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Devil Wears Prada and Jewelry

11 Jul

Devil Wears Prada and Jewelry

So finally, I managed to watch The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep and anne hathaway. Of course, the movie never measures up to the book, but it was a good movie, and Streep really made the movie for me, as did the great clothes and accessories, including jewelry.

There is a scene where "Andie," Hathaway's character, finally realizes she needs to literally dress the part if she's going to manage to keep her job, and she's shown in one great outfit after another. As a jewelry fan and accessories lover, I of course, noticed how she wasn't just wearing a certain skirt or dress, but her outfits looked complete and put together because of the jewelry, shoes, hand bag, and hats that finished it off.

I guess because I'm about a year behind on this one, I wasn't able to find exact pieces of jewelry from the movie. If anyone know where I can view these on-line, I'd love to know. However, I did manage to stumble onto Amazon.com's Devil Wears Prada Boutique and picked out a few pieces which I think at least give some of the attitude of the movie.

Marianne Rain Drops Silver Necklace
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Kings Rd Hoop Earrings in Gold and Silver
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Crystal and Pearl Gold Chandelier Earrings
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I think one of my favorite scenes is where Niles is telling Andie that size 6 is the new 14, size 2 is the new zero, and size 4 is the new six. So, in other words, she's fat! I'd kill to be a size 6!

Go Organic with Sarah Hood

10 Jul

Go Organic with Sarah Hood

I saw an article in the paper this weekend about how us old hippie chicks are coming back in style. I guess this means I have an excuse to keep my hair long for a few more years at least. Along with flowing locks and flowing frocks, earthy jewelry is in with this hippy-chic look.

Jewelry Designer Sarah Hood shows how organics can be combined with new looks and some new materials. You can find her shop on Etsy.com as well as more about her at www.SarahHoodJewelry.com:

Sarah Hood Jewelry is an exploration of the natural world. I'm drawn to simple shapes and clean lines-perfect circles, smooth and elongated leaves, simple flower forms. I hope to showcase the ordinary in extraordinary ways.

My work on Etsy is a collection of one-of-a-kind pieces, limited editions, experiments, investigations and departures….jewelry-making just for the fun of it.

Pictured left are sterling silver etch earrings from her etsy shop. Then there are these fun and funky branch earrings, made from plastic, yes, I know.

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Dish on Dangle Earrings

22 Jun

Dish on Dangle Earrings

When you are running out the door and have little to no time to select a complete compliment of jewelry – darn that time clock at work! – consider grabbing a knock-out pair of earrings and be done with it. Make sure they are extra long and have some kind of color if possible, but the more dramatic the better in order to make up for lack of time to select the perfect bracelet, necklace, and rings to match.

I found some WOW dangle earrings over at Novell Designs, starting with these from their Rose Veltri Jewelry company:

The RVK-161E earrings are specially hand crafted in palladium with .62 carats of round diamonds and orange carnelian smooth drops. Rose Veltri draws her inspiration from unpredictable sources, detaching ordinary objects from their usual function, and uniquely reinventing them as visually stunning jewelry art.

Yellow is starting to become the new black:

The RVC-132E earrings are specially hand crafted in 18kt white gold with .14 carats of round diamonds and 22 carats of white beryl briolette clusters.

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The RVS-147E earrings are specially hand crafted in sterling silver and 14kt rose gold with a knife edge and two 3mm pink tourmaline round faceted stones.

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