Friday, August 31, 2012

Women in Politics


Poor Condoleezza, I'm sure this has happened to us all


As another tedious political season begins we are all treated to the ups and downs, the slings and arrows and typical mudslinging of politics. While I will not endorse any political party, I think they’re all nuts, I will discuss what women in politics are wearing. First off, why do we discuss what the women are wearing yet the men are rarely touched. Unless we are discussing Governor Chris Christie’s weight, the men have remained a non-fashion topic of discussion.

 

We will discuss Hillary Clinton’s love of pantsuits, Ann Romney’s designer clothing and even Michelle Obama’s great style sense. We discuss women as if they are only the sum of their clothing and accessories. Now I’m not knocking it, some of these women have made great strides for their gender all while being fashionable. It is just funny how we all notice what women are wearing first and what they are saying second. I admit to being guilty of this, I notice Nancy Pelosi’s necklaces before I hear what is coming out of her mouth on TV news clips.

 Hillary loves a pantsuit

It just shouldn’t be this way. We should give just as much credence to what women in politics are saying as men. We never notice a nice suit or the color of a tie on a man when he walks up to the podium to begin a speech. We just watch and wait for them to begin speaking. As a woman walks up to the podium we are critiquing their dress, hair and makeup. This is potentially wrong because a woman is greater than the sum of her parts. Although a really awesome pair of shoes is cool.

 

That’s another thing, why don’t the women in politics wear super expensive shoes. I haven’t seen too many Christian Louboutins or some daring metal studded numbers? Maybe they are being practical, after all a pair of platforms or stilettos which kill their feet after standing on stage for hours. There is also the tripping hazard when meeting the public or dignitaries. They don’t all have bodyguards to help them navigate stairs and doorways like Lady Gaga. So for now I guess I will continue to monitor which lipstick Condoleezza Rice is wearing but I will try not to be superficial and actually pay attention to what is coming out of her mouth, lipstick on teeth aside.

You can buy Nancy's pearls on Amazon.com

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Death and Taxes


 


There is a saying, “The only things certain in life are death and taxes,” usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it could be someone else. There are of course other certainties in life, such as who will inherit your stuff when you die? I know this is a depressing topic and something that no one wants to think about, but it is necessary. I’ve recently had a death in the family and while there was not an inheritance issue it does put the burden on their spouse for now on. It got me to thinking.

 

When someone passes there can be unfortunate miscommunication regarding what to do with personal belonging. This can include jewelry and watches. If these items have more sentimental value than monetary value there may only be hurt feeling if someone gets a piece that another coveted. The problems can arise if a piece has a large monetary value. How do you divide up an expensive diamond ring among several children? You can’t of course, but you can make it clear where each piece should go upon your death.

 
You are really special if you inherit this coffee table
 
 
If you have a piece of jewelry that is not only expensive but something you want to keep in the family, make sure you do not give it to someone who might not have the same idea. It is common for people to receive jewelry that they do not like, will not wear and has little emotional attachment to them. These are the pieces that languish in a jewelry box or the bottom of the drawer. They are also the pieces that end up at gold buying establishments or are dismembered and refashioned.

 

Don’t get me wrong I understand that there may be some very unattractive jewelry out there, but the giver needs to know the intent of the receiver. If the receiver tells the giver that they may melt down the piece for cash the giver might reconsider their bequest with this additional information. I know people who have had a piece of jewelry that was passed down for several generations only to have its family ties broken when it is sold by a recent inheritor who wanted the money more. I’m sure that was not the giver's intent. So think about what you own and who you think should have it upon your death. It might save a lot of unwanted grief in the end.


While beautiful it might not be for everyone

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Cuff Links


 
 

Now cuff links aren’t exactly the type of jewelry that is on everyone’s lips but they are very useful. Men are taking a little more time in dressing nowadays. The pocket watch is making a comeback and many guys love the look of a wristwatch. Gone are the days of looking at your cellphone for the time, well not completely gone but wearing a watch is definitely a trend.

 

 

Since so many guys are thinking about fashion, what to wear and how to wear it, it’s not a complete surprise that cuff links are now more popular. A cuff link requires a shirt with a French cuff. A standard button cuff won’t do. You need those little slots to put the cuff link in and more and more stores are now carrying this type of shirt. There was a time fifteen or twenty years ago when you couldn’t find a French cuff. It seemed to be only available in specialty menswear stores or very high end department stores.

 
 
 
Now all menswear stores carry French cuff shirts as an option and there are many ready to wear available. Another nice aspect of this fashion trend is not all cuff links are stuffy. While cuff links were once the territory of the wealthy and well dressed, now they are a fashion statement and that statement can be fun. You can support your sports team, declare your hobbies or simply go with something whimsical. There are many options available.

 


So declare your fashion style and wear a French cuff shirt and some personal cuff links. If you’re stuck in a suit all day you might as well have some fun. Besides, cuff links can be conversation piece and who doesn’t need a conversation starter every now and then? It’s what all the well-dressed men are wearing.

 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Metallic Shorts Instead of Jeans...Really?

Really cute but will this work in your office?


A fashion blog that shall remain nameless suggested six alternatives to your jeans. Now these alternatives were not only expensive in comparison to jeans, but I’m not really sure they would work. Jeans are a tough act to follow. Everyone wears them with everything and they are even acceptable in many office environments. Not so sure that metallic shorts would be a big hit anywhere except a nightclub.

 

The idea is an alternative to jeans will brighten up your wardrobe. Apparently jeans can get boring and mundane, after all everyone wears them. Now I think it is great to find alternatives to jeans. I do wear them almost daily, who am I kidding, I wear them everyday. The thing that gets me is these alternatives seemed a little weird. Case in point, scuba pants. Now I’m not familiar with scuba pants outside of the ocean, but these pants according to the description are made of neoprene. Not only does this sound weird, it sounds uncomfortable.

 Jill Sanders PVC skirt

Part of the appeal of jeans is comfort. People wear jeans because they are concerned with comfort as well as style. There are a lot of comfortable jeans on the market that are also quite fashionable. The other grip I had with the six alternatives was the shortness of everything. There were the metallic shorts, the sequin shorts and a peplum mini. Unless you have awesome legs and never bend over you might just want to reserve this style for a night on the town. I understand that these are hot fashion trends but they may not be for everyone. This is particularly true of us who spend more time at Starbucks then Vegas.

 

So for now I’m going to stick to my jeans. A good alternative for the super conservative is the suggestion of camo jeans. I also like colored jeans for something different. I'm not going to go with any neoprene or PVC because let’s face it; I no longer have the body for such materials. I have a pair of faux riding pants and a few pairs of legging that work great for mixing it up. I guess the best thing to take from this is, alternatives are just something different, the final choice is yours.
 
When you say "scuba" I think of this!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Network Marketing Seminar




I went to a free seminar last week on networking. I belong to a great women’s networking group and I thought this seminar could give me a few pointers on how to network smarter instead of harder. Although I would probably be part of this group even without networking potential. They are actually a great group of women to just hang with anyways. But I have to admit I did pick up a couple of good ideas, although it was a long day and I had a feeling I wasn’t being told everything. The presenter was intentionally holding back information. There was a reason the seminar was for free.

 

The presenter was hosting a free seminar to advertise his network training materials. Now this individual was very well informed and seemed like he had a system that was well thought out and potentially worthwhile. I just wasn’t completely sold. Now I understood that no free seminar is truly free and I did learn a couple of new tricks but I believe that when giving a seminar a presenter should try and be a little humble. Their system is not "the greatest," or "the newest thing" or "the only system you’ll ever need," marketing is a moving target and changes over time are required so no system will be your last.

 

While I agreed with the presenter’s idea that advertising is a waste of money and time, you get a lot of interest but mostly people who want to kick the tires, not real sales.  I disagreed with his making training session a priority. He said that a client of his cancelled a training session because the client had a meeting with a customer. He felt that training was more important than a face to face with a customer. How? Customers are your business, without them we wouldn’t have a business. While it is important to take the time to learn new methods of marketing it is also important to take care of the reason you are in business, customers.

 

So the main point I took away from this seminar was that networking is important. Not the kind of networking whereby you try and make a sale but the kind of networking where you build relationships. Networking can only work if you go in without any preconceived notions of making a sale. It takes time to build a business and it takes time to build relationships. They are one in the same and you cannot have one without the other. So work on your relationships and the sales become a natural part of these connections. see, this is why customers are so important.

Friday, August 24, 2012

An Arm Party




For all of you who know, have an arm party! For those not familiar with the term, an arm party is basically wearing a lot of bangles, bracelets and trinkets all on our wrists. It’s a fun way to accessorize and can be tailored not only to the outfit but to the wearers personality. Having an arm party is still a hot trend and as summer continues a great way to show off your collection.

 

I love the look of a bracelet watch and some bangles. It is not only functional, you can tell the time, it looks good. Now you don’t always have to use a watch, you can use just about any combination that you find attractive. It’s actually better if you do a little mixing and matching. Now is the time to be eclectic. You can mix vintage with new, costume with real, natural materials with alternative metals. The fun part about an arm party is anything goes!

 
 
 
I’ve recently purchased some small bracelet watches for women. It was a choice I specifically made with the concept of an arm party. I had on my usual Murano glass bead bracelet, the gold one, and paired it with a slim gold toned bracelet watch. It was quite attractive and perfect for mixing. I was quite proud of myself for finding a watch that worked so well with my beaded bracelet.

 

I will be working hard this weekend to get some pictures out of my hubby for the store and also to get the item up on the website. It is so awesome! So those of you are thinking of having an arm party, go ahead and indulge. It’s still summer and short sleeve are practical and fashionable. Hey it’s Friday night, what a perfect idea for date night.
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Steampunk and the Pocket Watch



My husband asked me if I had ever heard of the term “Steampunk.” Which of course I did, but it was a new term to him and he was a little perplexed. I had not only seen the use of Victorian Steampunk in fashion but I had also read several books with a Steampunk theme. Science fiction and fantasy lend themselves well to this alternate reality. The reason he was asking me was because he saw a jump in interest of pocket watches.

 

Steampunk when used in fashion or art truly emphasizes the design of the object. In items such as pocket watches the interior is part of the design. I’ve seen watches that had exposed gears and working. While the exposure of the interior workings of a watch is visible they are also highly stylized and polished. The wonderful thing about these designs is their emphasis on craftsmanship.

 
 
 
I’m completely fascinated by watching the interior of these watches move. It’s fun to see the gears shifting and spinning, so much better than an ordinary pocket watch. Some of the watches have solid covers so you have to open the watch to see inside. Others have a skeleton cover so you can see not only the time but the internal workings of your time piece. Believe it or not I’ve seen cuff links with little gears and wheels that spin, super Steampunk.

 

Now I know this style of pocket watch is nothing new. It goes back to the Victorian or Edwardian era when a gentleman wanted to show off the craftsmanship of his pocket watch, but it’s new to me. The interest in the Steampunk style has made pocket watches an important accessory for men and women. It’s a pretty cool trend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding a Wholesaler


ASD Las Vegas


I’ve been in business for a little while and when I first started it was almost impossible to find jewelry that I liked and thought would sell. Now I’m not saying that I know that much about products that sell because I’m always shocked at what sells. Everything from hamburger CD cases to crocheted dolls could potentially sell like hotcakes. This is why you need to attend trade shows, to see all the stuff. While at ASD Las Vegas I was particularly overwhelmed with the variety of wholesalers I found.



A wholesaler is someone who sells goods at the lowest price possible. They usually require some type of minimum purchase so be prepared for quantity. They are also hard to find. Unless you attend a show like ASD in Las Vegas you might be hard pressed to locate a “real” wholesaler. There are numerous wholesalers (and I use the term loosely) on the internet, but they aren’t true wholesalers. These are companies that get products in batches for a good deal and turn around and sell them. Wholesalers usually have either a direction connection to the manufacturer or they are the manufacturer themselves. True wholesalers aren’t middle men.

 Beautiful natural stone jewelry at ASD Las Vegas


Most of the wholesalers you might find on the internet buy close outs. This is particularly troubling if you are trying to build a business. Nothing hurts you more than finding the perfect item only to find that it is no longer available. I had this happen with some beautiful amber earrings once, everyone loved them and then my supply dried up. I couldn’t get a single pair and the vendor disappeared, so sad. There goes all my hard work in product identification and promotion. There is also nothing sadder than finding out that something you have been purchasing can be found for less from the actual manufacturer and they ship faster.



I would highly recommend trade shows such as ASD Las Vegas. Not only do these types of trade shows give you the opportunity to browse various products, they give you a chance to discuss manufacturing, construction, delivery, pricing and other important aspects of a vendor/retailer relationship. Finding vendors with neat stuff is only half the battle. Developing a lasting relationship whereby a vendor can meet or exceed your product needs is vastly important. After all, if we don’t have reliable products and supply chains the coolness of the product is a moot point.

If you can't find it here it doesn't exist!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taking Pictures

While I love this photo, it's hard to make all your jewelry look this good


After the recent visit to ASD Las Vegas my husband and I decided to update the studio. Okay, I admit it; he wanted to update the studio. He is the one in charge of taking photographs for the web store and I do a lot of the data entry. I am always bugging him for new pictures since he has very disparaging remarks about mine. Hey I think they look pretty good for an iPhone! One of the hardest things to do is get your photos consistent. There are many variables, starting with light, which can make your photos differ in appearance.



Many stock photographs that we receive from our vendors have a bright white background. The item appears to be floating without any support. This is a special light box that allows a photograph to be taken with this effect. It can be achieved through Photoshop but you are probably an expert in this program and have the patience of Job. Since our photography and computer skills are still advancing we need to rely more on the set up instead of the program. Tip number one, having the right set up can greatly reduce your time using Photoshop and the time you spend taking pictures.

 Notice how the items appear to float with little or no shadow


The new studio set up allows for lighting underneath the item. This is critical for an even and consistent photograph. You can light around the object and use filters but unless you have a box that light from all sides any moving of lights will change the tone of the photograph. Each object, especially jewelry will absorb or shine differently so lighting is important. It is natural to move the light around to try and get less or more reflection based on each piece, this can lead to inconsistent photographs and therefore inconsistent pictures on your website. I hate it when a website looks like a ransom note.



Since we’ve gotten back from Las Vegas we’ve been trying to find the perfect amount of white for our pictures. It’s a lot harder than you think. The pictures are still in the experimental phase but I will use them anyways. I think they look great! Photography is hard and it is even harder to find that perfect balance between washed out white background where the object looks like a cartoon and the right amount of white background where the object is perfectly lit. Keep an eye on the website as new products and pictures go up. As with anything, a website should always be a work in progress. That’s what keeps it interesting.


The bracelet appears to float but still looks real, has detail

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bejeweled Clutches


Beautiful jewel toned clutches



One of my missions while at ASD Las Vegas was to find some handbags. I’m thinking about introducing accessories to my jewelry store and evening bags seemed like a natural. Now there were a lot of pretty leather and synthetic handbags to be found at the show, but shiny and jeweled clutches were the products that caught my eye.



I wandered around the convention center for at least two days, looking at vendor’s wares before I decided on where to purchase. I found a very helpful gal named Kelly who had the most fabulous evening bags. They were all sparkle and shine and will fit in nicely with my jewelry. The company is City Design Group, Inc. D.B.A. One Up & NY. They have a Facebook page and everyone should follow them. Hope this link works: www.facebook.com/#!/jnbfashion.citydesign

Don't forget animal prints 

What I like the best about their bags is the uniqueness of the product. The style is edgy yet classic. I can actually see my Mom and my daughter wearing these bags. That is really something! An evening bag should be classic but it also has to make a statement, these bags fit the bill. They have just enough sparkle to say “I’m special” but the sparkle isn’t overkill. I saw a lot of evening bags at the show that just went over the top. They had sequins, rhinestones and fleur de lis all at the same time. I know an evening bag should shine but it shouldn’t blind.


So now that I’ve found the perfect evening bags they will be up on my website soon. Come and check them out and if you like the designs there are many more. These bags have style and flair, something that is sometimes hard to find. I was also impressed with the construction. I like a bag that will hold up to the test of time both in style and durability. Believe me when I tell you that I found a lot of nice looking bags but they didn’t appear to be durable. I will be kind to these other vendors and not mention the extent of quality. If you’re looking for quality and panache take a look, you just might find something you love. I know I did.


Got to love these neutrals

Friday, August 17, 2012

Starter Beaded Bracelets


Love these blue handblown glass beads



I just love a beaded bracelet; I own two and wear them all the time. One is cool colors the other is warm, to match my outfits. I get quite a few compliments on them but people are also befuddled by how to put a beaded bracelet together. It can be quite hard since one cannot know exactly how a bead will match up in size or color. Making your beads match can be the hardest part of putting one of these bracelets together. I had an idea!



Getting started is hard; it takes coordination or at least a little willingness to commit. Many Murano glass beads are not cheap and high quality beads get expensive. If you buy two or three beads and they look awful together you can waste $50 or more. I decided to put together some starter bracelets. It’s a simple bracelet of two or three beads on a leather strap. I’m planning on pricing the beads inexpensively so I can share the joy of collecting. I’m also going to take some of the guess work out of choosing.

 The bead in the middle is natural stone

By putting together themes and colors I can help take some of the guess work out of putting together a beaded bracelet. I know this was the hardest part of putting my own bracelets together. I wasn’t sure if the size of the bead was compatible with beads I already owned and sometimes a silver bead was so small it was dwarfed by a glass bead. It looked odd. Not that I didn’t love each bead individually, but there must be some symmetry when putting together a bracelet.



For those of you out there who are talented and already collecting beads, I know you don’t need to buy preselected beads, but take a look because there are some pretty sets. I’m planning on putting more together and getting the price just right. I’m throwing in the starter leather strap for free! What a deal. So if you’re planning on starting a beaded bracelet, take a look at some of my starter sets. If you are already collecting and just want to add to your collection this is a good way to get some matching beads at a good price. PS: my husband is going to kill me for these iPhone pictures!

Adding a silver Bali bead in the middle mixes things up

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tired but Happy After ASD Show Las Vegas


Not a great picture but check out the pattern on these bracelets


As some will know from my convoluted posts, I’ve been at ASD Las Vegas these past few days. It has been an interesting, exciting and very tiring experience. I found some new vendors and saw a lot of merchandise that was pretty, practical and sometimes puzzling. What was fascinating was the variety of merchandise available at ASD Las Vegas. I found things that I never even thought about, yet wanted. Now that I’m able to rest my feet I’m able to regroup and figure things out.



One of the vendors I discovered was a gentleman from Nepal. He is from a family of silversmiths and had some beautiful bracelets. While most of his booth seemed pretty mundane upon closer inspection I found some real treasures. Mostly bracelets were among these treasures. He had taken sterling silver and fashioned it into woven patterns around a solid cuff. In some instances the woven silver was simply laid flat and held together with end clips. The weaving of the material makes the bracelet slightly flexible.

 Love the one on the bottom
The bracelets ranged in size from one inch to three inches and had different types and widths of woven silver. I was just enthralled. He also had silver bracelets with religious mantras and beautiful filigree. I naturally purchased one of each and am hopeful that I will be purchasing more in the future. I’ve have similar bracelets in my inventory but they are made from pure silver and are quite heavy, hence they have a price to match. These bracelets are woven so they are a little lighter and easier on the budget. They are so easy on the budget you can purchase more than one.



So with my first find at ASD Las Vegas I come home a winner and that’s a hard thing to say when you’re coming home from Las Vegas. I have more inventory on the way, some I’m just trying out so there aren’t huge quantities but I’m sure people will love what I’ve got. Keep an eye out for pictures and postings in my store. I’m sure that once you see some real pictures (courtesy of my hubby) you will want one or two…or maybe three.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Heading Home From ASD Las Vegas


Miles of watches

So I’ve heading home today. While I love going to various trade shows, viewing what people are selling and what is coming on the market, it always feels good to go home. After a few days I start to miss my bed and all of the creature comforts of home. I guess everyone misses their bed even while on trips and it's been a tough trip. Convention centers are huge and I usually get lost which means a lot of back tracking and walking, not to mention extremely rude TSA agents at airports (You know who you are). One of the toughest things is finding a vendor one day and when you go back to make a deal, you can't quite remember exactly where they were located. Even with a map I got lost.


This trip wasn't any different from other vendor shopping trips. Lots of walking and lots of getting lost. The motto of the ASD Show in Las Vegas was "Find Anything, Buy Everything." It is a motto that is extremely true. While I was looking for watches, jewelry and evening bags, I found tons of other things. I may not purchase but I sure did look. There was cookware, perfume, socks and apparel. There was all kinds of toys and gift products and vendors selling entire booths. This post is kind of short because I'm kind of tired but I promise to write more tomorrow and add some pictures. I'm so excited to show some of my latest finds, got some really awesome jewel like clutches on the way. More later!

Monday, August 13, 2012

ASD Shows Las Vegas

Ordered chaos


By the time you read this I will be in Las Vegas. Since it’s such a fun place to go I will use any excuse to pack my bags and catch a flight. Starting on August 12th the ASD Show is being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. ASD Las Vegas is a retail merchandise trade show. It is basically where wholesalers meet retailers. The merchandise is varied and expansive so you can find everything from jewelry to electronics. There will be sellers of home goods and health and beauty aids. It should be interesting.



This will be my first time attending. I’m not exactly sure what to expect but I’m looking forward to visiting with the sellers of custom and fine jewelry. I know one of the sellers and currently do business with them. I’m jazzed about viewing the costume and fashion jewelry sellers’ wares. There is a definite market for fashion jewelry that is high quality. Going to the show should allow me to view, handle and hopefully establish relationships with some awesome sellers. I’m also hoping for some time to walk around the fashion accessories sellers’ booths. So many handbags, so little time.

 Shopping fine jewelry

While I do not own a clothing store I may not be able to resist taking a peek at the clothing booths. What woman could resist that temptation? The show runs through August 15th so it will be quick. I took some time before I left and tried to map out where I would like to go during the show. I think maybe it is futile. I have determined which categories I have to view and I’m hoping that there is enough time to get to those booths that are not on my must see list. It is going to be like a kid in a candy store.



So wish me luck and I will try and keep my thoughts posted. Not sure if I will be getting any photos onto my blog but I promise to take lots of iPhone pictures to post later. If I find anything interesting I will try and post on Facebook or instagram. The real test of this trip is to see if all my technologies work. Sometimes that’s the biggest hitch in my giddy up.

Friday, August 10, 2012

My Trip to Reno

Totally cool!


I recently went to Reno, again. I’ve been going there a lot lately because I have family who live in the area. My father in law passed away recently after a lengthy illness and there is a lot that has be taken care of afterwards. I’m shocked at how much there is to do. It is also very hot in Reno. Something that I’m not really used to since I live in the San Francisco bay area, while it may get hot here, it always cools down at night. I won’t linger on a depressing subject, my reason for going to Reno. The Reno trip did have a cool surprise, Hot August Nights.


What a surprise when I arrived


For those who aren't familiar with Hot August Nights, it’s a car show that completely encompasses the cities of Reno and Sparks. Car enthusiasts come from all over the country and bring their hot rods, classic cars and modified vehicles for display and cruising. I saw some of the most interesting vehicles and cool cars all displayed in the hotel parking lot. Many of the cars were labors of love, complete with placards that explained the long and often arduous task of restoration. Most owners sat with their cars and were willing to “talk shop” with those who were interested.

 Cars kept cruising past

There were a lot of happy couples there with their cars. I saw a lot of women who even dressed the part. For those with an old Chevy Bel-Air, poodles skirts, sparkly t-shirts and of course saddle shoes. Those who had highly modified hot rods, there was a lot of tattoos and leather. There was even a guy with a Woodie with a surfboard and he wore a Hawaiian shirt. Although I’m sure some of these people weren’t actually wearing a costume, they may have just been trying to match a theme. There were only a few people who wore what was obviously a detailed outfit to match the car.

 Loved this mauve colored convertible

Since this was only an overnight trip I didn’t get to spend much time looking at or visiting the cars. There was a huge stage set up in the massive parking lot with a band playing Eagles tunes so the party continued into the night. I have to say the Grand Sierra Casino Resort & Hotel was set up well for this event. They had a massive display area that was covered and lit, and they had lots of outdoor food stands and bars. While this may not be my usual blog about jewelry and fashion, it was interesting enough to talk about, and I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Winner of the most modified vehicle category

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scarves for Summer


A Swash scarf works for summer

As many who read my blog know, I love a good scarf. Most of the time my “uniform” consists of a navy blazer, jeans and a scarf. I wear a scarf with just about anything. Now in the summer I am still guilty of wearing a scarf. I know I get looks from people wearing t-shirts, shorts and sandals who think I must have a problem to wear a scarf in the heat, but not so. The right scarf even when it’s hot can be comfortable. This is especially important on hot days.



The right fabric can make all the difference in comfort and wearability. No wool, no heavy cotton or synthetics. Silk is ideal for a summer scarf. The fabric should be lightweight and colorful. If you’re stuck going from air conditioning to outside and back again, a scarf can add just a little bit of warm to keep you from getting goose bumps. Since shivering isn’t all that attractive, I opt for a scarf in silk or chiffon. I’ve found this particularly true when traveling. Airports, hotels and some public attractions like museums keep their interiors like an icebox.


 Foulard Pied de Poule Print Scarf

 A scarf is also a perfect accessory for dressing up an outfit. It can add a splash of color to an all-white or cream ensemble. I’ve found that wearing all white seems a little pretentious but if I add a colorful scarf it becomes more relaxed. During the summer we all want outfits that are relaxed. Scarves also finish an outfit. It adds that little something to make an outfit complete. I notice I get better tables in restaurants when I’m wearing a scarf. Maybe it’s not a coincident.



Since I usually shun the sun, I burn every time I go out in it. I’ll probably need a collection of scarves just for summer outfits. Go for something floral or maybe something with a wild print is adventurous. Its summer after all and there is no better time to cut loose and have some fun. It only happens one season a year, unless you count New Year’s Eve.


Fleurs d'Indiennes Scarf by Hermes

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Do You Own a Loupe?




While it may seem silly, it is important to own a jewelers’ loupe. This is a simple device that allows you to see things at 10x, 20x or 30x normal. It’s basically a small magnifying glass. How many times have you needed that? I’m betting a bunch of times. It’s a handy little appliance that can help you see just about anything better, not just gemstones and jewelry. There are many instances where seeing something a little better has helped. You can use it to maybe read the fine print in some contracts.



When purchasing a loupe look for a triplet, this means that there are three lenses that works together to enlarge what you’re looking at without distortion or color distractions. A single lens loupe may distort the object you’re viewing. Most of the time a 10x loupe is perfectly fine for viewing gemstones and diamonds, while a stronger loupe can magnify an object better it doesn’t add any useful information to what you're observing. It’s kind of like viewing those pictures of a germ blown up. It’s cool to look at but doesn’t give you any useful information unless you’re a biologist.


 Swarovski loupes, pretty but impractical


There are plenty of loupes on the market and some come in gold or other colors. There are even loupes with Swarovski crystals embedded all over. These designs are cute but don’t help. Look for a jeweler’s loupe with a black frame since this color will reduce the amount of reflection that can alter the color of the object you’re viewing. Loupes are relatively easy to use. You first have to establish your seeing eye, look through the loupe and then slowly move the object back and/or forth until it comes into focus. You may like to turn the object to get the best view. Have a firm grip on the object; you don’t want it flying across the room if you slip. It probably is best to start with a ring, maybe even on your finger.



It might take some getting used to so play around and experiment with different object. Jewelry, buttons and even your hand are all great things to practice on. The more you use your loupe the better you will get at viewing jewelry. Everyone should have a loupe to view jewelry. They’re inexpensive and helpful in evaluating jewelry, the pieces you want to purchase as well as those already in your collection. You can inspect for chips or other problems in existing jewelry before you lose a stone. Owning a loupe is helpful and can open a new world into your jewelry.

Gold can cause reflection and 30x might be overkill

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clothing as Jewelry

Pandora Jubliee Clutch, $965, Charlotte Olympia


A hot trend for clothing is not just jewel color fabrics but actual jewels printed on fabric. Think diamond patterns and pearl strings. The easiest way to visualize this trend is to take a humble white t-shirt and imprint blown up pictures of real jewelry around the collar area. The idea is similar to painted silk but instead of pictures of scenery or birds, there are jewels strewn about the fabric. It makes for interesting clothing. Now I’ve seen some of recent introductions of these garments and it can be done right and it can be done wrong.



Back in the 80s I remember a trend of imprinting gems on silk sweats or t-shirts. This does seem a little like a redo of that past fashion faux pas. In fact, many of these imprinted fabrics were cringe worthy so I’m not super thrilled that it is coming back into fashion. I’ve seen a few examples of scarves, clutches and even shoes that seem okay. It’s the pants and sweaters that have me worried.



Pearl Skimmer, stubbsandwootton.com


For those of you who don’t remember this trend it was a bit silly and ultimately was worn by a lot of our mothers. The process was not cheap. I can still see classy older women wearing navy blue silk pants with a matching navy silk zip up jacket, the neckline imprinted with gold chains and pearls. Now of course the style is worn differently, not in the form of a matchy matchy outfit. I’ve seen the sweater/cardigan set with gemstone pictures worn with leather pants, much hipper.



The best way to address any new trend is to go slowly. Also don’t go for a head to toe look. While it may look great on the runway, it might be overkill in the office. I love the gem imprinted sweater with jeans or leather pants. A scarf is always nice and by adding a little bit of a trend you look hot but not over the top. An evening bag or clutch with imprinted gemstones is also a nice touch. Many women love their jewelry and this is a great way to wear it all the time.


Diamond Necklace Top

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gold Medals Aren't Gold

Beijing Medals, notice the jade


A gold medal is a high standard to reach and why it is awarded in the Olympics for the athletes who are the best. The ancient Olympics did not award medals but rather olive wreaths. It was not considered right to compete for prizes; rather the men should compete for the honor of being the winner. While winning is still a huge honor, athletes are also honored with a medal to denote their placement.



What we know today about that gold medal didn’t always apply in the past. Gold wasn’t always awarded to first place, silver to second and bronze to third. In 1898 silver was awarded to all first place finishers and bronze to second. In 1900 trophies and cups were all de rigueur. The truth is gold medals haven’t been solid gold since 1912 even though they were only introduced in 1904. Today the gold medal is actually silver, 92.5% with 6 grams of gold plating. I’m sure the high cost of gold has made gold plating much more economical. The host country is responsible for producing the medals for all the winners. This can be quite a chunk of change when you factor in other expenses such as stadiums, security and housing.

 Nagano Medals, one has a hole!

Since the host countries are responsible for the manufacturing of the medals some have been a little creative. In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing China the medals had a disc of jade placed in them. How creative is that? Additionally not all of the medals have been round. In 2002 the Salt Lake City Olympics was an octagon in shape. In fact some of the medals have had hollowed out centers, Turin in 2006 and the 1998 Nagano Olympics both went with this design.



There are tons of photographs of athletes with their gold medals firmly clenched in their teeth. They aren’t necessarily testing the metal content. Some former medal winners claim it is all a media attempt at staging. Although the claim that it’s a perfect picture could be true, athlete’s face framed with a medal in their teeth, why not? Any way you look at it an Olympic medal symbolized a vast achievement. There is only one more week till it’s all over so take the time to not only watch the events but the award ceremonies afterwards, because this is what each athlete is striving for, a medal of their own.
Salt Lake City gave out octagons