Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to Wear Delicate Jewelry

Two little heart rings, so pretty, wear them together

I will be the first to admit to not being a big fan of delicate jewelry. This is the jewelry that consists of thin chains, tiny rings and earrings without any bulk. To me it seems that these small delicate pieces just disappear on a person or if you can see them, it’s because the piece is peeking out of a peter pan collared shirt. Too sweet and cutesy to me, but maybe I’m just wearing it all wrong.


Several thin rings on each finger makes a bolder statement
Delicate jewelry can make a statement if worn correctly. Many pieces are exhibiting an edgy appeal while still maintaining their delicate features. Delicate thin rings can make a great big statement when you wear them stacked together. Add them to your index and middle fingers but remember to keep the rings thin, one or two on each finger should be enough. Also remember to go bold on both hands. If you have three fingers wearing rings on one hand make sure the other hand is also embellished.


These earrings may look delicate but they dangle and have width
Bracelets are easy; you can add several delicate pieces together. Keep the embellishments simple. No chunky pieces or large stones. Thin chains with maybe some small beads look great against simple slip-on bangles. You can mix it up with colored metals or go for a more conservative look by keeping a tone on tone look. Think gold bracelets and chains with bronzed bangles.


Several small and delicate bracelets make an impact when worn together
Necklaces look especially good when layered. Go for several different delicate chains in different lengths. You can mix and match new pieces with vintage favorites for a more interesting look. The necklaces should have a slightly cascading effect so you can see each one. Remember to keep pendants or anything that adds dimension towards the bottom. The most important point is keep it simple but let the pieces tell your story and then you’ll truly have a look that’s your own.

Let the necklace that peeks out of your sweater have a bold pendant

Monday, July 28, 2014

What to do with Inherited Jewelry

If you're lucky you inherited this! Michael Schofield & Company please call for info

I received my Grandmother’s pearls when she passed a few years ago. The reasoning behind why I received this bequeath was because pearls are my birthstone and pearls really weren’t anyone else’s thing in my family. While I was ecstatic with this gift, there are some to whom receiving jewelry as an inheritance won’t be such a thrilling event. The big question then becomes, what do I do with this jewelry?


Or maybe you received a hand craved garnet bracelet...
If you love the look of the piece but it has obviously been loved for many years, you might want to consider refurbishing. Most jewelry stores have a bench jeweler or work with someone who is an expert at cleaning up and restoring your piece. They can also help with replacing any gemstones that have gone missing or clasps that are broken. They will polish it up and make it look brand new. I did this with a watch once and the results were amazing.


This will become an heirloom, Jorge Revilla Florida bracelet
Another option is to have the piece or pieces recycled. You can take one or several pieces of jewelry in to a local jewelry store and they will disassemble the parts, figure out what you have, and then redesign a piece that utilizes all the parts. This is a way to continue to wear Great Aunt Betsy’s jewelry yet it will match your own personal style and taste. Many jewelry stores offer this service and the cost will depend on what you are making, how much you bring in for recycling and if you add other costly gemstones or metal.


Some people collect vintage cameos...
Receiving an inheritance of jewelry is a great thrill and a great responsibility. You are now the caretaker of a family heirloom. While not all family heirlooms carry great monetary value, most carry a lot of sentimental value. This is why you must consider what to do with those inherited pieces carefully. You don’t want to get anyone mad and you don’t want to feel bad if you do the wrong thing. Remember, inherited jewelry can come with strings attached. Just make sure you know which strings you can cut.
Or maybe you can start your own collection, Gabrielle Bruni Creations

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jewelry to Keep You Safe

Comes in a variety of styles, CuffLinc

By now we’ve all heard of jewelry and wearable devices that help to keep us on track with our fitness, appointments and updated on social media, but now there is a line of jewelry that has incorporated safe technologies. These jewelry pieces house a computer chip that when activated sends an alert to a person of your choice and warns them that you may be in trouble.


Good looking bangles you squeeze to activate
The CuffLinc jewelry connects to a cellphone via Bluetooth technology. The wearable security devices do not need charging but will need replacement once a year. The only problem that I see with this device is the need for a cell phone with a signal. If you don’t have a signal the alert will not reach its destination. Probably best to invest in that better more expensive cell phone company that offers more towers if this is the way you are going to go with wearable security.


Some are quite modern looking
The nice thing about this wearable security is it actually looks like jewelry. It doesn’t resemble some weird clip on device. Each piece is actual jewelry and there are different styles available. So you may have a choice that will compliment your wardrobe. These technologies are fairly new and many devices are still not available for sale. CuffLinc is preselling many of its items at this point.


Gold bangle with hidden chip
I guess this is the wave of the future. Big Brother is finally on our doorstep and he’s bringing technology to keep us safe from attacks and kidnappings. I remember when people got upset that Facebook and other social media apps were keeping track of our whereabouts, now we are deliberately wearing a device that keeps track with GPS. How things change.
Some of these styles are quite attractive

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Can Jewelry Be Green?


Ever since the Kimberley Process came into being, jewelers have had the option of purchasing conflict free diamonds. This particular certification scheme has kept rebel movement from using rough diamonds to finance violence against legitimate governments. It is also been instrumental in reducing the violence against citizens of these countries. These humanitarian movements seem to have had an influence on jewelry manufacturers’ methods.


John Hardy crafts new pieces from old jewelry
This begs the questions on whether or not consumers give consideration to jewelry that has been produced more ethically minded. Most consumers are familiar with diamonds that are sourced from validated mines but how far should a manufacturer go to ensure that the jewelry they produce and distribute meets the consciousness of the general market? Does using recycled material make the jewelry piece more desirable to consumers?


While large companies tout their searches for sustainable material, validated mines and recycled material, there are small designers who also work directly with the silversmiths. These small designers, such as Michael Schofield, work with families of silversmith who produce his jewelry. They use traditional methods and handcraft beautiful pieces. To me this is just as important as what the large companies are doing because Michael is preserving a lost art.

Melissa Joy Manning uses ecologically mined stones
Large companies work hard at making themselves look good. Catchphrases such as ethical mining practices and sustainability grab consumers’ attention. Michael Schofield is doing something just as important. He works with silversmiths who use ancient techniques to product his pieces. Few craftsmen are able to product jewelry using these methods and without Michael bringing these pieces to market; these methods could die out due to a lack of buyers. So while jewelry can be green or sustainable or even ethical it can also preserve art and look beautiful doing it.
Michael Schofield & Company works with silversmiths who utilize old world techniques to product brilliantly intricate cuffs, Gold Vermeil Filigree Cuff

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obtainable Designers

Pretty sure I'll never own one of these

When my daughter comes over for a visit we eventually end up in my room. There is always something I want to show her or give her. She loves this because it gives the opportunity to sprits herself with some perfume. I admit that I have a perfume collection that rivals the fragrance counter at Macys. Most of these perfumes are in pretty little designer bottles, they’re really quite attractive.


My personal collection of designers
The problem is why should designers only be obtainable through a perfume? I know I will probably never own a Chanel handbag, a pair of Ferragamo shoes, or anything crazy by Dolce & Gabbana, but I can own their perfumes. I can own Versace, Dior and Vera Wang. I can wear them proudly and it’s a size that will always fit. Such is the life of a jewelry/fashion blogger who has no sponsors.


Pretty sure I'll be dead before I get this handbag
This gets me thinking that it is such a shame that many high end designers are just that, high end. It is difficult for the average working person to afford such items. While I love the look and may lust after a classic Chanel quilted handbag, I know that it is unobtainable. It just wouldn’t fit into my budget and no I don’t sit around debating on whether to pay the mortgage or put my name on the waiting list for a Birkin and at my age if I start saving now I just might get one on my deathbed. Not exactly what I’m going for here.


Classic Wayfarer sunglasses are affordable
Fashion should be obtainable. Just because a person is on a budget doesn’t mean we have to be frumpy or wear counterfeits. There are plenty of options out there for unique and stylish looks without breaking the bank. In fact, I give more credit to those individualists who take the time to look fashionable without wearing designer outfits. They are the truly the stylish ones as it not only reflects their personality, it shows the world their imagination and it wasn’t taken directly from a runway show.
The infamous Goop t-shirt, not affordable

Friday, July 18, 2014

Always Put Your Best Foot Forward or Make Your Website Shine

David Yurman knows how to make an attractive banner

As a person who sells on-line I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at other people’s websites. I peruse store front windows; I browse both local stores and the internet. Part of this is research and part of it is just curiosity. I want to see what other people are doing. How do they present their products and if what they are doing truly works for them. How much information is too much information and how can I show the customer what my product really looks and feels like.


What I find shocking is how many websites have gotten the seal of approval from customers and retailing experts yet how bland their websites come across. Many websites consist of a name with logo and then some standardized pictures of their products. Most of the pictures are flat with a white background and many don’t even appear to be a three dimensional product. While this style is popular, it doesn’t ring any bells for me, plus it doesn’t say much about the product.


Jewelry for Me banner, the text doesn't show unfortunately, I had a web designer offer me this exact same banner. I ended up making my own.
I love websites that use creative photography to depict their products. One of my favorite websites is David Yurman. Not only do they use models to show off their jewelry they also use techniques that produce a 3-D picture. You get a sense of proportion and depth with these pictures. Let’s face it; you only have a picture to get a person interested in buying the product. If your picture is lacking, chances are you’re not going to look further or read the information you so carefully wrote.


Blue Nile product photo, not sure I would spend $21,000 on this plain looking product
While pictures are important you also want to convey information. Sometimes it isn’t easy to give dimensions or weight but it is important to do the best you can. A clothing website has the advantage of showing the clothes on a model but if the model is 5’ 5” and 98 pounds how will you know? Some websites have taken to Photoshop to the extreme. This gives a distorted image of the product and also your website. So while it’s hard, try and be truthful but also accurate in your depictions. The shopper will thank you for it and they may ultimately purchase something.
Jorge Revilla pearl and sapphire bracelet, I took the picture myself!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Please Wear Jewelry



I’m not saying this because I sell jewelry; I’m saying this because I don’t think enough women understand the effectiveness of accessorizing an outfit. I went for a walk around the mall, yes, I do that, and I found many women who were dressed for work, yet they didn’t have many accessories and a decided lack of jewelry.


Wear something fun, coral bead necklace
I think that it is easy to underestimate how important jewelry is to an outfit. It creates a finished look. It pulls an outfit together and adds a finishing touch. Wearing a dress and a pair of shoes may cloth your body but it doesn’t add any personality to the outfit. Jewelry and accessories are those pieces that convey your personal style to the world.


Take the basic white t-shirt and jeans. This is a favorite outfit for many women, even Katie Holmes. While it is entirely functional in this form you can completely change it by adding jewelry. Some cute bracelets, a scarf and maybe a fedora take this bland outfit to the next level and add some pizzazz.


Funky turquoise beads are so cool
So when you get dressed in the morning think about how you want to show the world what you’re made of, what’s your style? That cute black peplum blouse would look even cuter with an organic turquoise necklace and matching earrings.  Don’t forget its summer and now is the time to play with jewelry in bright colors. So please ladies, wear some jewelry.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Palladium Hits a 13 Year High


Bummer…palladium is getting expensive. I remember back in the day as gold was hitting all-time highs, even surpassing platinum, palladium was still relatively inexpensive. This lower price allowed jewelry makers to duplicate a similar look and feel to gold or platinum while still maintaining the resiliency of the other metals. Basically, you got something sturdy and looked like white gold or platinum for a much lower cost.


Amethyst earrings with palladium, please call for pricing
While the price of palladium is still low in relation to metals such as platinum, palladium is trading at $879.90 per troy ounce as opposed to platinum which is trading at $1499 per ounce; this increase has made palladium much more expensive than in years past. I checked some historical charts and palladium was trading somewhere around $135 per ounce on average in July of 1996. As you can see, it was defiantly cheaper a few decades ago.


The price has probably gone up as the jewelry market and investor look to other alternative metals. Let’s face it, when gold and platinum is trading at such historic highs it doesn’t make it real attractive as an investment. I personally know nothing about stocks but I know you don’t buy something at its peak. These price increases have unfortunately driven up the price of palladium jewelry.


Blue topaz cabriole and palladium earrings, please call for pricing
This is an unfortunate turn of events as I generally would turn to palladium as a less expensive alternative metal. It allowed me to acquire larger gemstone pieces without the high cost of platinum or white gold. Currently, it seems that sterling silver is the only affordable alternative metal on the market. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the price isn’t driven up.
Gemstone and palladium bracelet, please call for pricing

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Buy Less, Have More


When it comes to jewelry sometimes less is more. When my daughter was young she loved costume jewelry. She always wanted something sparkly and bright. I was apt to buy her these special pieces because they were cheap. Unfortunately, the quality was also cheap and most of the pieces didn’t last. This was fine since I didn’t pay much and her tastes changed with the weather.


Now that she is older she is thinking about the quality of the pieces of jewelry she owns. Apparently she isn’t the only one. According to AAFA, Americans are spending more money on fewer goods. Now you can say this is because the cost of goods has increased but I’ve noticed a trend of late. Small purchases or items that are inexpensive seem to not be the normal purchase whereas a onetime larger purchase is becoming more popular.


Americans are willing to spend a few dollars more on a piece that will not only say “quality” but will also last. Items that have classic style and are more versatile seem to be more popular. More customers are ordering items with rock crystal, white sapphire or two toned gold and silver combinations. These types of pieces go with more clothing items and are therefore more versatile and suitable for everyday wear. It’s the same theory that a brown or black handbag will get more uses than a red or bright yellow handbag.


Now this is not to say those bright colors aren’t getting hits also. Generally speaking I’m seeing more high quality pieces with a higher price tag going out the door lately. The small bead purchases or affordable stacking rings aren’t as popular. This could be a trend based on fashion but I believe as the economy improves people are just being smarter about their purchases. A jewelry purchase can be thought of as an investment in your wardrobe. Why not invest wisely?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Beautiful Bangles


I will admit that there is nothing I love better than a bangle. I’m not sure why exactly. Not sure if it is the way they fit on your wrist, the beauty of precious metals and gemstones on your wrist, or maybe it’s the way it sets off an outfit. I love the feel of a bangle on my wrist, much more than a pair of pretty earrings or a necklace. For some reason I’m always afraid these items will fall off.


OMG! It comes in 24K gold vermeil, Michael Schofield & Company Gold Filigree Cuff
A bangle is sturdy, hardy and you can feel the weight on your wrist. I rarely have a fear it is going to fall off or get lost. Some of the bangles I love the most are the silver or gold vermeil Tibetan designs by Michael Schofield & Company. Not only do these bangles look fabulous, they are adjustable. A simple squeeze of the bangle and it can be formed to your wrist. So if your wrist is a little small, you will have the perfect size with these bangles.


Other beautiful bangles are those by Gabrielle Bruni. Her innovative designs are beautiful and affordable. The workmanship is outstanding. Gabrielle makes bangles from sterling silver with touches of rose or yellow gold. She adds gemstones such as amethyst, turquoise or mother of pearl. Gabrielle has perfected the art of Pave and many of her bangles reflect this skill with carefully placed gemstones that create a kaleidoscope of colors.


Now that short sleeves are the go to look of the summer, why not adorn your wrists with some beautiful jewelry. Bangles are a great way to show off some splashy designs. Look for intricate metal work, or go for something bohemian. If you’re wearing creams, look for gold, if you love wearing white and blue, have fun with silver. Have some fun with your jewelry this summer and show off those arms with a breathtaking bangle, I know I will.
Okay, technically its not a bangle, I just love the Paved gemstones, Gabrielle Bruni Collection
(On a side note, any of the items you see from Gabrielle Bruni can be special ordered from the Mark Gregory & Company website.)