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Bell Up to the Gem Bar

28 Jun

Bell Up to the Gem Bar

As a jewelry lover, jewelry designer, and bead shop fanatic, I fell instantly ga-ga over this very cool idea from Sonya Ooten, a gem bar (pictured):

Sonya opened the Gem Bar in the heart of Larchmont Village in the center of Hancock Park. Just East of Vine and several blocks from Paramount Studios, Larchmont is the best kept secret in Hollywood.

Sonya Ooten Gem Bar fits that vibe just fine. Sonya believes in the beauty and power of jewels and founded her brand 9 years ago with the goal of making well priced, fashion forward, fine jewelry accessible to everyone. And, that's what she's done in Sonya Ooten Gem Bar, purveyor of health food for the soul. No artificial ingredients allowed. No base metals. No artificially stimulated gemstones. No faux pearls. Just well priced, fashion fine jewelry with a deliciously luxuriant attitude.

Love that – "health food for the soul." Of course, if you are like me and live a few thousand miles away from her jewelry shop, you can also purchase her jewelry from her web site. I've blogged before about Sonya Ooten's jewelry. She tends to have a mixture of texture, bead work, and mixed-media take on jewelry.

Like this fishnet Turquoise Pendant


And these Crochet Hoops Earrings


Jewelry Shopping for You?

30 May

Jewelry Shopping for You?

I saw the cutest little gold earrings the other day on QVC, and I came this close to buying them for myself. I may still get them, but I reminded myself that I had a few bills to get past before I would allow myself to spend money on something I could live without (at least for a few weeks) first.

So, how many of us feel comfortable buying fine jewelry for ourselves? Other types of jewelry, such as beaded and/or bridge I can make, so I'm always "giving" myself some kind of new jewelry piece, but when it comes to jewelry I'd considered fine jewelry, that's another story.

The Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council wondered something similar when they set out to complete a recent consumer pole on self-purchasing of fine jewelry:

April 2007: Fine Jewelry Self-Purchasing Report

The JCOC set out to explore consumer willingness to buy fine jewelry for themselves. This report not only reveals what style of fine jewelry JCOC panel members are interested in, but their motivation, purchasing habits and much more!

This report includes the following sections:

– Introduction & Methodology
– Executive summary
– Past Fine Jewelry Self-Purchase Behavior
– Planned Fine Jewelry Self-Purchase Behavior
– Demographics
– Comparative Insights
– Strategic Recommendations
– About the JCOC

You can download a free copy of the whole report here.

The report is 20 pages long, so I'm still making my way through it, but it's pretty interesting. It looks like a good number of jewelry lovers do shop for themselves, so I guess I need to get over it. What about you? Do you buy jewelry for yourself, or do you wait and give a lot of hints in hopes that someone will buy it for you?

Clarabella Grand Opening in NY

20 May

Clarabella Grand Opening in NY

New Yorkers will want to head on over to Clarabella's this week for all the fashion and jewelry festivities. Not only do they have great jewelry for sale (like these leather band bracelets), but they even plan an how-to session where you can make your own earrings. Here's the scoop from a recent press release:


New Lower East Side boutique presenting jewelry, accessories, and shoes in a gallery setting launches with a week of special events

Clarabella, the Lower East Side 's newest boutique, is now open. Located at 279 East Houston Street , between Clinton and Suffolk , Clarabella presents a wide range of jewelry, accessories, and shoes in a gallery-like setting. To celebrate the store's Grand Opening, owner erin Whelan has announced a week of special events, giveaways, and discounts.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007 through Monday, May 28, 2007

All Week: All visitors will receive a complimentary leather keychain or pendant handcrafted by Clarabella artisans Erin and Melissa

Special drinks and snacks

Tuesday: Earring Class with Nicole Gagne – spots still available but going fast! Through simple metal wiring techniques like forming and wrapping and delicate hammering, you'll learn how fun and easy it is to create dangling earrings. ($100 for 2-hour instruction, two pairs of earrings, and plier set). To sign up, email

Wednesday: Grand Opening Party in conjunction with Fieldlines Architecture

Thursday: Annie Choi reads from her book Happy Birthday or Whatever: Track Suits, Kim Chee, and Other Family Disasters – part of her wildly successful ';Monsters of Memoirs' tour. Drinks and snacks will be served.

Fri – Mon: Different wines available for tasting from 6pm until closing

Monday: Special Memorial Day Sales on select Clarabella items.

Clarabella – 279 East Houston Street , between Clinton and Suffolk – (212) 979-0270
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-8pm; Sunday, 12pm-7pm.

Clarabella will be open on Memorial Day, but is usually closed on Mondays.

New Jewelry & More Boutique

9 Mar

New Jewelry & More Boutique

Pieces of Venus is announcing the launch of its new on-line boutique:

For shoppers, Pieces of Venus delivers all the elements sought by the savvy consumer and fashionista with just a click of a button. "Women are smarter, sharper, and have higher standards when searching for the perfect outfit, bag, or jewelry," says Beverly Rose, founder of Pieces of Venus. "It's not enough that something is pretty, but it should be compelling enough for people to stop on their tracks and take a second look. Don't you love it when someone compliments your style? That's what Pieces of Venus is all about: making a statement, not following trends."

Pieces of Venus can help shoppers get the look for less this season by just updating a few key pieces. According to Beverly, here are some must-haves for the spring season: clean and tailored jackets, fit cardigans that stop at the hip, capris, full skirt and blouse, asymmetrical floral dresses, whimsical and ethnic pieces (Indian skirts or Greek sandals), light blues and purple shades, seaside or nautical accessories, select vintage accessories, and printed hand bags.

I took a stroll around their shopping area and found some interesting jewelry items (below). I also like how they have a little of everything from bangle bracelets to hand bags. Right now, there isn't a huge selection, but enough to enjoy a little virtual shopping tour and probably a web site to keep an eye on for unique jewelry pieces such as these earrings and necklace I found.


New Hip Hop Bling Shop

21 Feb

New Hip Hop Bling Shop

I can't say that hip hop bling is my thing, but I have to admit that some of the items on the new web store called are pretty interesting, like this LED dog tag. I haven't seen anyone wearing these yet down here in Nowheresville, but I could see how these would be popular since they connect technology and culture.

Here's the latest about this new web shop from a company press release:

A young entrepreneur has decided that every hip hop fan should be able to have hip hop jewelry like the rap stars, but shouldn't have to pay like one. After countless attempts trying to find affordable bling jewelry for himself with no luck, entrepreneur K. Chrisler decided to go straight to the source and start buying hip hop jewelry from manufacturers and resell it at affordable prices to everyone through his online store.

"I searched for months trying to find hip hop jewelry at reasonable prices from stores all around the US, but could not find anything that was within my budget. I basically got fed up and went straight to the manufacturers and asked to buy it wholesale", said Chrisler. "When they agreed I decided to start an online store which would allow anyone just like me to be able to buy their own iced out jewelry at affordable prices".

Chrisler recently opened his online store at where anyone can buy numerous types of bling jewelry such as; removable gold grillz, iced out replica watches, hip hop pendants and much more.

The most popular item so far has been his LED belt buckles. LED belt buckles allow customers to input up to 6 different custom messages that scroll across the LED screen. They fit nicely onto any existing belt and can be bought in either regular size or in the mini size.

Tome Gallery Valentine Jewelry Show

8 Feb

Tome Gallery Valentine Jewelry Show

If you are in New Mexico this week, then you may want to check out a little gallery's special Valentine's Day exhibit, The Tomé Art Gallery, located at 2930 Highway 47 near Tomé Hill between Belen and Los Lunas in New Mexico.

The special showing will include art work along with lots of hand-crafted jewelry such as fused glass jewelry, sterling silver jewelry, and beaded jewelry.

From Jewelry with heart:

The Tomé Art Gallery is hosting a special jewelry show from Feb. 9 to 18 which will feature the work of several Valencia County artists, including Greg and Deb Schwirtz, Vern Deas, Layne Hedrick, Pat Poole, Joan Prokopiak and Pati Woodard.

"We did a Valentine's show and a jewelry show last year, but we thought we'd combine them this year because, after all, jewelry is a popular gift for the holiday," said Greg Schwirtz, one of the seven artists who will display their work at the show. "All the jewelry is all handmade and one-of-a-kind. Each piece is unique and beautiful."

With a variety of artists displaying their own distinct styles, Schwirtz said there will be something for everyone at the show whether you're looking for beaded necklaces, sterling silver bracelets or turquoise pendants.

[...] The Valentine's Day Jewelry Show will also include special events such as an opening reception and jewelry class from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, at the Tomé Gallery.

Jewelers Give the Personal Touch

24 Dec

Jewelers Give the Personal Touch

If you've got the cash, then the bling is only secondary to the actual purchase of the jewelry. Customer service is also critical to the sale, and high end jewelry shops and indie jewelers know this. They want to mix and mingle with the "in" crowd who can afford their high-end baubles. One way to do this is through parties and other social events.

Here's more about this new trend in jewelry customer service from The Miami Herald:

Giving potential or existing customers the opportunity to try on sparkly baubles or designer watches is just one reason that upscale jewelers in South Florida and across the country are increasingly using special events as a key marketing tool.

Jewelers have learned that to reach this key consumer, it's just as much about sponsoring prominent charity events, cross-marketing with other luxury brands and hosting intimate parties to court potential new customers or thank existing ones.

This consumer has plenty of money and is willing to spend it. Sales of jewelry and watches are expected to reach $62.6 billion for 2006, marking a 6.3 percent increase over last year, according to forecasts from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

''If I'm spending $300,000, the least you can do is make [me] and my friends feel special,'' said Milton Pedraza, chief executive of the Luxury Institute, a research firm. “There's no question the wealthy consumer expects more. It just won't do to have a typical experience anymore. In the end they're collecting stories they can tell around the boardroom or the benefit parties.''

Jewelry Stores for Sale

3 Dec

Jewelry Stores for Sale

I'm talking a BIG jewelry sale here – and entire jewelry retailer may be up for sale soon, Claire's.

Known for their fun, funky, and relatively inexpensive trendy jewelry, Claire's is visible in just about every mall in America and in many other locations throughout the world.

Here's more about why they may be selling out from

Jewelry retailer Claire's Stores is considering whether to sell the company as part of an effort to boost shareholder value, it said Friday.

Claire's Stores Inc., which operates more than 3,000 stores in the U.S. and around the globe under the names Claire's and Icing by Claire's, sells low-cost costume jewelry and accessories to tweens, teens and young adults.

The public company has retained Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its financial adviser to assist in the search for buyers and to review other options. But it said it would not provide details about any possible actions until its board of directors had approved them.

Shares of the company rose $1.55, or 4.87 percent, to $33.36 at the close of trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The statement came following the company's announcement that November same-store sales were flat, missing analysts' expectations.

Jewelry Shop Goes to the Dogs

17 Nov

Jewelry Shop Goes to the Dogs

If you are in the Jacksonville, Florida area this weekend, then stop by one of three jewelry shops in the area operated by Underwood Jewelers.

While I didn't see any animal-themed jewelry in their on-line catalog (though I did find some other nice jewelry pieces – see images below), they will be showing and selling it this weekend as a way to benefit the local humane society. Here's more from First Coast News:

Dog chains are taking on a whole new meaning for the First Coast.

"The World's Largest doggie Charm Show" opens in Jacksonville this week. The show features animal-themed jewelry.

Underwood Jewelers created the charms to show off all sorts of different animals' features. They're donating 10 percent of the sales to the Jacksonville Humane Society.

The makers say they decided to branch out into pets after 30 years in the jewelry business. They'll be taking on cats next.

The show runs through Saturday at all local Underwood Jewelry stores.underwood2.jpg

Instore Picks Another Jewelry Winner

26 Oct

Instore Picks Another Jewelry Winner

InStore magazine has another pick for fabulous jewelry shops with their latest focus on Simmons Fine Jewelry located in Meridian, Idaho.

According to, Simmons was ranked the 7th coolest jewelry store in the nation:

Simmons' new store, at 1220 N. Olive Ave., Meridian, is five times larger than the former Boise store. It employs 14 people and generates more than $4 million a year in sales, Simmons said.

The store houses 72 jewelry cases and the 300 linear feet of display area divide the wares by gem: sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz and pearls among them. Simmons also carries Breitling and Cartier watches (Simmons' personal favorites), Seiko clocks and, of course, scores of wedding rings. A curved ceiling inlay mirrors the u-shaped main jewelry display.

A large wrought iron chandelier dangles from a recess above the entryway, shining down onto the Simmons logo inlaid in the tile floor.

In the wake of the Instore award, Simmons has received increased attention from jewelry vendors worldwide.

"We pretty much have everything we want," Simmons said.

With two graduate gemologists and three custom jewelers on staff, Simmons does all its own custom work on-site in a basement lab. An ultra precise computer cuts the most intricate custom designs – from family crests to athletic team logos – into molds before they're cast into metal. Simmons also started selling its own brand of diamonds, with a microscopic Simmons "S" (reminiscent of the Superman logo) laser-cut into the diamond.

Here's a look at the inside of the store – check out all those fabulous jewelry-filled glass cabinets.