Gift Ideas

Yep…it’s true! You’ve only got a few shopping weeks left until the holidays arrive. Now I know I’ve given you some tips on how to select jewelry as a gift, but I thought I’d make your life even a little bit easier with some specific gift ideas.

1. Personalized mom or grandmother jewelry is a very thoughtful gift, and there is a wide array of choices out there! Initials, birthstones, names, you can find it! One site I discovered that has a very nice selection at reasonable price points is Hearts on Your Wrist. Don’t let the name fool you, as it’s much more than just bracelets! I thought these pendants were especially versatile, as they’re not “too too” and can be layered with other necklaces.

Darling pendants from Hearts on Your Wrist

2. If you’ve got children, grandchildren, a niece or any little one in your life who loves jewelry, then a children’s jewelry making kit would be an ideal gift! I vividly remember the shoebox full of beads I had as a little girl, and the hours I spent creating the most exquisite (in my mind!) pieces! Crayola’s Model Magic Jewelry Studio is double the fun, because you actually get to design and make your own beads!

Crayola Model Magic Jewelry Studio

I also think the Bead Bazzar Sofista Bead Kits are very chic, from the packaging to the contents. They come in beautifully coordinated collections, so your creations are bound to be stunning.

Chic bead set by Bead Bazzar

3. Long ago I wrote about charm bracelets, and I still think they’re one of the best gifts around. They’re appropriate for any age, and once you start one for someone, you have a built-in gift to give them each year. Suppose that this year your gift recipient went to Paris? Or just decorated her place in a French style? Then perhaps a charm of the Eiffel Tower might be just the ticket for her! I have ordered from Precious Accents many times, and I feel it’s one of the most comprehensive sites out there.

Eiffel Tower charm by Precious Accents

4. Family heirloom jewelry is an amazing gift you may not have thought about. Usually gifted after your love one passes away, consider how wonderful it might be to give one of your treasured pieces to someone while you’re still here to see them enjoy it. I have been the lucky recipient of such amazing treasures on more than one occasion. My Aunt Jean has given me quite a few things that belonged to my grandmother, and I just adore them! In fact, just this past week I wore her big opal ring, which I can clearly picture my grandma wearing with her floor-length lavender crystal-pleated, polyester dress back in the 1970’s. To make it even more special, my aunt also gave me matching opal earrings which she herself purchased on a trip to Australia. Sooooo special!

My grandma's opal ring with my Aunt Jean's earrings

5. Cubic zirconia studs are a basic to almost any jewelry wardrobe no matter what your personal style may be, yet I’m surprised how many people don’t have them! Now of course diamond studs are fan-tabulous, but personally I love my cz’s, because I can get the carat weight I want (I think 3-4 tcw is best) without the hefty price tag. And do you think anyone can tell that they’re faux? Certainly not! I learned the hard way not to get them set in sterling, as they quickly tarnish and there goes the whole “lookin’ real” thing! Instead, I think cz set in real white or yellow gold is best. Gold, platinum or rhodium-plated sterling are also good bets. Nordstrom has many cz options, so it’s a good place to check out.

CZ studs rock!

I hope you find these suggestions helpful, and if you come up with some gift ideas you love, please share!!

Natasha Wozniak: Designer

I was very pleased to meet Natasha Wozniak (no…no relation, I asked) at a recent trunk show at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco. Her Brooklyn-based line definitely lives up to its “boldy romantic” tag line. Truth be told, I had never seen metal worked in quite this way.

Amazing necklace by Natasha Wozniak

Her pieces definitely have some visual weight to them, yet the airy scrolls don’t let them feel “heavy.” Her price point ranges from $150 to $2500, making it much more accessible than many lines sold in fine jewelry stores.

Natasha Wozniak
Amy and Natasha

Perhaps the curls and swirls in her design are inspired by her curly hair (curly girls unite!), but it really brought a feminine sensibility to an edgy, urban collection. I was intrigued to find out that Natasha had been a Fulbright Scholar in Nepal, and her experience there really influenced her design aesthetic.

She uses hand-fabricated blackened silver with 18K gold and semi-precious stones to create her dramatic pieces.

Two more exquisite necklaces by Natasha

I love when I encounter something new and unique in the world of jewelry, and this line certainly qualifies!

5 Tips for Buying Jewelry as a Gift

Black Friday is right around the corner, so you may be thinking about what to buy certain people for the holidays. Though many people think jewelry is too personal of a gift to pick out for someone else, I disagree. It’s definitely doable with some careful consideration to certain points. So here goes:

1. Think about the personal coloring and skin tone of your recipient. Do they have warm, golden skin and cool blue eyes? Then a mixed metal necklace might be just the ticket. A cool, creamy complexion with jet black hair may just adore some striking sterling silver earrings.

2. Think about the scale of the person’s physical features. This includes taking note of the size of their eyes, smile, and how tall they are. The most inherent jewelry for a person will be one that’s in harmony with their own scale. I guess the exception to this rule would be diamonds…they can never be too big, right?!

3. What’s the personal style or jewelry signature of the giftee? For people who know me, they know that they can’t go wrong with a piece with a bohemian luxe vibe: horns, tassels, buddahs, polki diamonds, etc. Someone who really thought about it would never think of giving me a necklace with a pink crystal bow on it — it just wouldn’t be me. Really think about the jewelry the person already wears, and try to picture if what you’re giving her would work seamlessly in her collection.

4. What’s their lifestyle like? A mom with babies or toddlers will love to look at those gorgeous dangling earrings, but really, when would she wear them? Just not practical. So think about what activities (sports, travel, work) the person is involved in and choose accordingly.

5. Finally, think about the “noise” factor and snagability. This piece of advice really goes for all jewelry purchases, not just when giving it as a gift. Certain pieces just make too darn much noise, like earrings that jingle every time you turn your head. Can we say annoying?! Even more so if one works in a quiet environment. Also, think about what would happen if the piece of jewelry rubs against a delicate knit or silk chiffon. Prongs that stick out, rough stones and the like may wreck havoc on the wardrobe.

So keep these tips in mind when heading to the mall on the November 25th. Bring those, patience and parking karma, and you’ll be all set to find the perfect gift for that special someone in your life.

The gift of jewelry!

Pamela Froman: Designer

I put on this ring, and I fell in love right on the spot. The substantial weight of it on my hand and the ethereal quality of the moonstone was mesmerizing.

My new crush, the Empress moonstone ring

Pamela Froman is a very talented Los Angeles based designer who’s motto is “get crushed.” This refers to the special hand-hammered satin finish applied to her pieces. Each piece is handmade, so no two are exactly alike. Pamela’s line includes gold of all colors, including a chocolate hue that I had never laid eyes on before. It’s just beautiful either on its own or when mixed with other metals.

Stacking rings in a rainbow of metal colors

Many of her pieces have more than one tone of gold in the same piece, making it very wearable on a variety of skin tones. She uses a special alloy with her rose gold, giving it a warmer peachy tone as opposed to the more typical cooler pink.

When I started trying on her natural diamond rings at this Mankia Jewelry trunk show, I realized that they would make stunning, non-traditional engagement rings. I found out that they can customize these rings — the bigger the better in this situation, right?! šŸ˜‰

Natural diamond rings

How to Lose a Sale!

Ok, I know I’m in the image business and that image really does matter. But it still completely shocks and horrifies me when I see it in action in a negative way, or experience it myself!

Jeff and I were enjoying poking around all the shops in Mendocino this past weekend. Of course, I had to hit each and every jewelry store we encountered. On the way back to the car, Jeff spied one on a side street that had escaped my normally perfect radar. Upon entering the beautiful establishment, the sole employee did not even acknowledge us. Hmmm…strange, especially since there wasn’t a single other customer in the store. Granted, we were in our “hiking clothes,” but nevertheless, most of the people out and about were not in their Sunday best!

After making verbal contact with her (though she wouldn’t look at me), we continued to stroll around the stunning displays. I finally stopped and asked about a stylish 1960’s carnelian cocktail ring, talking about its history and asking a few questions. Did she even offer to take it out of the case to try it on? No. Did she seriously just walk away from both me and the jewelry case mid-conversation? Yes. Did she com-PLETELY lose a possible sale? MOST definitely!

I still get worked up just thinking about it. Apparently the scene with Julia Roberts on Rodeo Drive from Pretty Woman is not as fictionalized as we might think. How sad…

Really? You won't even show me the ring?!