Monday, June 30, 2014

What is Ametrine

Ametrine gemstone in traditional emerald cut

A beautiful and new to me stone is ametrine. This is a combination of amethyst and citrine that has naturally formed within one gemstone. It produces a gemstone that is purple and yellow, amethyst and citrine, within a single gemstone. The colors can be a 50-50 split or a molted pattern that produces colors ranging from peach to magenta.


Ametrine crystal
Ametrine is a rare gemstone and is only produced in one mine in southeastern Bolivia. While ametrine has been known for several hundred years it wasn’t until 1925 that the gemstone was documented in an issue of American Mineralogist. In the 1960s the gemstone was being produced but not attributed to any specific mine, in 1989 the mining company Minerales y Metales del Oriente S.R.L. obtained mining right and began commercial production.


Ametrine cabriole pendant
While this gemstone is rare it is also beautiful and affordable. Usually cut in an emerald cut, this stone has a bi-color pattern from purple to yellow. When compared to similar sized stones of other material, the ametrine is quite affordable yet equally as beautiful. A pendant is a perfect way to wear ametrine as it protects the stone while showing it to advantage by allowing the highlighting of the color pattern in the stone.


Ametrine is interesting in its natural form
Ametrine is an interesting gemstone; it has properties of amethyst and citrine. If found naturally it is quite rare. While synthetic varieties can be produced by heat treating, it can be costly thereby making the gemstone more expensive. Since natural varieties are available and quite beautiful, so why not go natural? Ametrine is my latest find and I’m quite pleased with this gemstone, hopefully I can get my pieces up on-line for viewing soon.
Ametrine in a fancy cut

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Gabrielle Bruni Designs

Simple, classic blue topaz call to order GAL 1178-BTWS

I love jewelry and it’s wonderful when I find designs that fit my style. Now I know I’m not alone in my love for Gabrielle Bruni’s designs because people have come to me to have pieces made. The craftsmanship is so wonderful, the designs are bold and each piece feels so good against your skin. Gabrielle’s jewelry is perfect.


Sterling silver bangle with a touch of gold, call to order GAL1374
Now I’m not just saying this because I’m a fan. I spend an inordinate amount of time examining jewelry and while I do not profess to be an expert I know quality when I see it. Each piece is carefully made with precision. No rough edges, completely finished backs, stones that are set properly and attention to detail. You won’t find any sloppy edges here and if you do, it’s not true Gabrielle Bruni.


Sterling silver pendant with chain, call for details GAL2255
It is shocking to me the number of manufacturers who are just that, manufacturers of jewelry. They do not seem to care about the details in making a quality piece. This is not the case with Gabrielle’s pieces. I have never seen such quality and the price point is super affordable. This is another reason why I’m a fan. Jewelry is made to be worn; pricing can affect how often you may wear a piece. Everyday pieces should be affordable and wearable.


Love this amethyst ring GAL1701
Gabrielle Bruni’s designs fit the bill. The quality is outstanding so wearing your jewelry every day is easy. Each piece is affordable so you can put together a matching collection that not only looks great together but makes you feel totally put together. Let’s face it, life is hectic and we’re all busy. It’s so much easier to have jewelry pieces we can rely on each day to make our lives a little more beautiful and Gabrielle Bruni’s designs are outstandingly beautiful.
Amethyst, blue topaz and white sapphire, oh my! Call to order GAL 2235-W

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beautiful Silver Jewelry

This is my absolute favorite, Michael Schofield Filigree Cuff

Silver has become a popular alternative for jewelry pieces. This is partially due to the high cost of gold. Quite a few years ago, and I hope I’m not giving my age away in anyway, you purchased gold, preferably 18K. Not many retailers sold 14K and 10K was impossible to find. Yes, I’m that old. The high cost of gold is driving the high cost of some gold jewelry pieces.


Enter sterling silver. Sterling silver was once considered the poor step-child of jewelry. It was generally worn by those who were much more bohemian in style. Think handmade jewelry purchased on vacation in Mexico and South America. The craftsmanship was usually fair and while quite beautiful it didn’t always dazzle the consumer with its high quality crafting. Nowadays sterling silver is an acceptable and sought after metal in jewelry.


The high price of gold has made sterling silver popular. Many jewelry designers are working in silver to not only make their pieces more affordable but because they’ve found this metal to be perfect for their designs. Silver, unlike gold has the ability take on many characteristics. It can be made to look antiqued, shiny and bright or maybe a combination of the two. Designers are crafting jewelry specifically with silver in mind and the results are astonishing.


The designer Michael Schofield & Company has some beautiful silver designs. His cuff bracelets are particularly beautiful with intricate designs and patterns. There is a wonderful use of hand engraving on each cuff. Each cuff is made from scratch and truthfully a photograph does not do it justice. You should see these pieces up close. The detailed engraved twin fish design is an ancient symbol and is perfectly executed in silver. Want to make it more beautiful, how about gold vermeil? Michael Schofield & Company does both so how can you resist something so fabulous, I know I can’t.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Disney Mickey Mouse Pocket Watch

Original Mickey Mouse pocket watch 1933

Everyone knows the Mickey Mouse watch. Probably quite a few people own one. The Mickey Mouse watch is ubiquitous because it is so charming, a little piece of Americana that you can wear on your wrist. The interesting aspect of the Mickey Mouse watch is how long it has been around. It was originally introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.


Walt Disney and the Ingersoll Watch Company worked out a deal and came up with the idea of the Mickey Mouse watch. It resembled the watch that we all know today with Mickey on the dial using his arms to tell the time. It was a cute watch and quite popular. It was so popular that the venture between Walt Disney and Ingersoll lasted decades and also produced other Disney character watches.


Today Ingersoll is working with Disney once again and producing a Mickey Mouse pocket watch. These pocket watches have the same dial design from the original 1933 watch. An art deco style Mickey graces the dial and his arms still tell the time. A sub-dial located at the bottom of the watch has three little Mickeys running in a circle. How awesomely cute is that?


Even the back of the watch is cute, Ingersoll Mickey Mouse pocket watch
I’ve had the opportunity to see these pocket watches while visiting JCK. They have a solid stainless steel case and 17 jewel movement so you know you’re getting a quality product. Times have changed so the technology that goes into this pocket watch is a little better than the original 1933 model, but don't worry, the new Ingersoll pocket watches retain all the charms of the originals.
Mickey Mouse wrist watch from back in the day

Thursday, June 19, 2014

June is for Pearls

This goes way beyond the simple pearl necklace, Michael Schofield pearl and diamond necklace
Special order available

June’s birthstone is the pearl. This is great for me since I was born in June and I love pearls. The interesting thing about pearls, other than how they are made, you grow them in an oyster. Talk about a sustainable product. The pearl has become much more laidback, less stogie, not so much the territory of the 1950s housewife. Back in the day every woman had a simple pearl necklace, it was the standard.


Carry them on a clutch
While the simple pearl necklace may still be popular, the way that it is worn is what has changed. You no longer have to wear pearls with a cardigan and a floral dress. It isn’t saved for those overly saccharine sweet good girl looks. Now pearls can be worn with leather, jeans and a t-shirt. The delicate beauty of a pearl is the perfect juxtaposition against tough or rough.


They're popping up on sunglasses, Fantas-Eyes
Another interesting aspect of pearls is how they are being used. While the simple necklace is still in fashion, pearls are popping up everywhere. They adorn clutches and evening bags, sandals and even sunglasses. You can add a pop of pearl just about anywhere. It’s a simple fashion statement that allows you to add a bit of femininity without looking too sweet.


Check out the pearl in the heel of these Nicholas Kirkwood sandals
Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t wear pearls with the ubiquitous cardigan sweater and dress set, I’m just saying that pearls have gone mainstream. Designers are using them in unexpected ways and that’s a good thing. So even if you weren’t born in June, give some pearls a try, they can brighten any outfit and add a bit of class to your leather moto jacket.
Try a pearl and silver ring, Michael Schofield
Special order available

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

I Got Free Shoes or How to do Customer Service

The free shoes in question

Okay…I’ll admit that they weren’t really free, someone has to pay for them since they were shipped to me by mistake. This is a story about great customer service. Getting great customer service isn’t easy these days. Most companies spend more time playing duck and cover, and placing people on hold instead of actually addressing their problems. I will be the first to admit that addressing irate customers is not pleasant but it must be done.


How come no one ever sends me free jewelry?
It all started with my purchase of a pair of shoes. I’ve wanted these shoes and had them in my shopping cart on for quite some time. Since my birthday rolled around I was free to make the purchase which I did on the 12th. I’m a VIP so I get free next day shipping. Around the 15th I noticed that I had not received a shipping confirmation or my shoes so I called A friendly customer service representative apologized for the lack of shipment and put in a new order, free of charge and told me my shoes were on their way.


Or free Birkin handbags?
Sure enough I received a shipping confirmation later that day with a delivery date of Monday. A few hours later I received another shipping confirmation but I thought it was just a repeat, computers do that sometime. On Monday my shoes showed up and I was all happy. Then I noticed that the other shipping confirmation which I was getting ready to delete had a delivery date of Tuesday. What the heck? So I waited and sure enough, the same shoes showed up on my doorstep on Tuesday.


Although I'd take free clothes
Since they didn’t charge my card, I got a pair of shoes for free. Being the honest person that I am I went to my account and tried to send them back but the option would also refund my credit card, not good. I ended up calling and they straightened everything out. What was so amazing about this experience was the customer service representative who apologized for inconveniencing me. He knew I would have to tape a new label to the box and drop it off at the UPS store. While I believed this was not really hard work they acknowledged they made a mistake, went out of their way to correct it, paid for postage and apologized. I haven’t had customer service this good in quite a while. Keep up the good work, you’re excellent customer service is a dying art.

Although I did get free dessert on my birthday

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gabrielle Bruni Creations

One of my favorites, Chocolate Diamond Bangle

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Gabrielle Bruni for a number of years. She is a fabulous designer and I have to honestly say that if I could buy jewelry all day, it would be her jewelry. I haven’t seen anything that isn’t totally wearable and wonderful, I love it all. Her designs are creative and bold with just the right amount of sparkle so they don’t overpower your outfits.


For the pearl lovers, Regina Collection
I actually found her jewelry for the first time years ago while on a cruise. The few pieces that were available were attractive and different. I purchased a bracelet and then set out to hunt down the remaining pieces. This is how I meet Gabrielle. In my search for a supplier I found Gabby and her wonderful jewelry, I also found that she had many more pieces and several collections.


One of my new favorites, Fiori Collection
This past month at JCK I had a little time to sit down with Gabrielle and discuss some of her designs. There are a few new pieces that I haven’t seen before and of course they are all beautiful. While I have my favorites from former collections, it looks like I will have to be adding some new favorites. My personal favorite is a set from the Fiori collection. I love blue and these stones just sparkle and shine.


Don't forget the matching pieces, Fiori Collection
Another great aspect of Gabrielle’s designs is the ability to customize. If you prefer onyx to blue topaz it can be arranged. She is quite accommodating and creative in changing gemstones or metal to meet a particular customer’s personal taste. There are few designers who are willing to go to so much trouble and provide these customizations at such reasonable pricing. This is why she will probably be one of my favorites for years to come.
So unique and beautiful, I promise to have bigger pictures soon, Fiori Collection

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Summer Shoe - It's Not What You Think

Clarks Shira Brenna $84.99

Now the warm weather begins, those hot stuffy days that make us want to run to the beach so we can wiggle our toes in the surf and sand, but alas, I don’t have the time. Since I don’t have the time to cool my toes at the beach I can at least keep them cooler in summer shoes. When you say summer shoes most people think sandals. While this is quite true, sandals are the shoes of summer; you don’t automatically have to think two pieces of thin strapping material and a foot bed.


Clarks Wessex Shay $120.00
Shoes for summer or hot weather come in all shapes and sizes. Think perforated leather, peek toe booties, wedges, espadrilles, ballet flats and closed toed sling-backs. All different styles of shoes can be summer shoes and for those of us who feel slightly uncomfortable showing a lot of skin, even on our feet, a good selection is super important. When I was a kid I didn’t run around bare foot too many times. Shoes are great protection against rocks and broken glass so I always had shoes that covered my whole foot. Hence, my love of boots.


Cut out booties, Report Angelina $57.99
This season I’m seeing many summer shoes that feature a more closed look. The popularity of a slightly closed shoe maybe due to larger numbers of women who work in offices but want to wear something besides the ubiquitous pump. We all want to maintain our professionalism but we also are getting tired of wearing the same type of shoe every day of the week. Enter the shoe that allows just the right amount of ventilation.


Steve Madden Nonstp $99.00
I find that these slightly closed shoes look really good with ankle length slacks or jeans. You can still wear a sleeveless blouse or shirt as long as you bring a cardigan or blazer to cover it up at the office. If you’re out and about for the day a slightly closed shoe looks great with a dress that has lighter fabric that floats. Add some amber beads and hoop earrings and you’re all set. The weather appears to be warmer this week so now is the time to seek out some relief for our feet. I’m all on board for shoe shopping.
Paul Green Tasha Sandal $329.00

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Michael Schofield Jewelry Designs

Michael's award winning ring

JCK was this past weekend and I had the pleasure of visiting some new designers and some designers that I had the pleasure of working with in the past. Michael Schofield is a fantastically talented man who has produced some beautiful designs and jewelry that anyone would covet. He has won awards for his platinum jewelry at this year’s JCK Jewelers’ Choice Awards.


Such beautiful workmanship
One of the most fascinating things about Michael’s jewelry is how it is made, he doesn’t just work in a shop handcrafting each piece, he has to actually travel to Kathmandu to work with a family of silversmiths. The family practices an ancient technique that few silversmiths use in this modern era, each piece is handcrafted using these ancient hand tools instead of modern machinery. This is probably why Michael’s jewelry is so intricate and beautiful.


This gemstone bracelet is on my website
I am especially fond of his pure silver bracelets. Each bracelet has an intricately detailed exterior which displays a pattern of swirls laid down in pure silver wire. The interior of the bracelet is hand etched with beautiful Tibetan designs. A dragon, two fish displayed in a head to tail style which symbolizes in the Buddhist religion, happiness. I know that whenever I place one of these bracelets on my wrist it makes me happy. This is one very good reason to own this bracelet.


This is the bracelet in pure silver, Filigree Bracelet
This is why I love working with Michael, every time I meet with him I get to wear his jewelry, even if it’s only for a brief moment. Whenever I place a ring on my finger or a bracelet on my wrist I feel such satisfaction. Each piece is so beautiful and I’m sure that others think and feel the same way. It’s hard not to feel happy when something is so special and you’re wearing it. Keep an eye on my website as I am hopefully adding some of his new designs very soon. Each piece will be available for special order.
What's not to love? Blue sapphire and diamond ring

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Jorge Revilla Jewelry Collection

Jorge Revilla Spain

Jorge Revilla is a jewelry designer whose work is both creative and unique. I recently had the pleasure of viewing his work at JCK. I was intrigued by his use of silver, pearls and gemstones to create an organic design. For me, when a designer is able to take natural elements and recreate them in precious metal I’m always interested. What makes Jorge Revilla’s work special is his ability to use nature in his designs while adding his own touch.


Organic shapes that mimic nature
Some jewelry designers simply replicate nature. They copy a leaf or a flower and while it is commendable that they can make an exact copy, it really doesn’t add any creativity to the piece, it is simply a copy. Jorge Revilla uses nature and enhances it, adding flair while still retaining the subtle feel of the natural elements. While many may think this is easy, I know that it is quite difficult because you must add your own vision while still maintaining the integrity of the element.


Pearls are my favorite
I’ve always been a fan of bold designs and those that are organic are especially attractive to me. I find that when someone can take metal and gems and fashion them into wearable art that is always something special and should be appreciated and admired. When that someone can take an idea and turn it into something bold and beautiful that a woman can wear, therein lays the talent.


Beautiful bangle in silver
Jorge Revilla hails from Spain, so while his work is especially popular in Europe he is relatively new to the US. He has also recently won recognition for his fine work, winning the “Best in Silver, Retailers’ Choice” award at JCK. After viewing his work I can see why he is so admired. This is a designer to keep your eye on; he is bound to achieve great things based on the beauty of his jewelry.
This stunning silver ring reminds me of clover petals