Men’s Black Diamond Ring: Jewelry Judge

One of my monthly indulgences is getting a pedicure. It’s an hour of true bliss, and I’m usually just in my own little world while Sara gets my toes all dolled up. But at my last appointment, my eyes kept drifting to the gentleman seated in the next chair over. He had more than your ordinary wedding band.

Subtle, yet with a little bling
Subtle, yet with a little bling

Three rows of small, black diamonds, encased in matte platinum really made for a unique ring, and it truly seemed to suit his personal style. Normally I’m not into big bling for a guy, but I thought this was pretty cool. His wife, seated one more chair over, said that they had it made by a jeweler in San Francisco. They were clearly both very happy with how it turned out, and quite smitten with each other as well. Love that!

Izzy Jewel Box

When Oprah gives her stamp of approval to something, you know it’s bound to be a hit.

You know you've made it if Oprah endorses you!
You know you’ve made it if Oprah endorses you!

Well I can confirm that she was right on the money with these stylish wall-mount jewelry storage boxes by Izzy Jewel Box. I finally got to see them in person at a local art & wine fair, and let me tell you, the booth was brimming with activity! And perhaps it’s time for some new jewelry storage after receiving some special holiday gifts?

Their basic boxes come in three sizes, with a variety of options as far as background color & pattern, as well as layout of the pegs and earring strips.

Example of their medium sized box
example of their medium-sized box

Here’s one of their small earring boxes (holds 24 pair) with a cool multi-colored background.

Love the background!
Love the print!

There are also some that are a bit more grand, such as this beautiful mirrored earring box.

I have a thing for anything mirrored!
I have a thing for anything mirrored!

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can catch them live at a variety of festivals and fairs. But no fear if you’re not — they have a full selection for sale on their website.

Talisman Necklace: Jewelry Judge

I was intrigued by the necklace this woman was wearing. Upon closer inspection, it was truly a necklace of varied talismans, from far and wide, and with much significance for its owner.

talisman necklace
What a collection of stories and meanings!

The first charm the caught my attention was one I had certainly never seen before…that of a liver! You’re reading it correctly, a human liver! And love the inscription on the back. Given that I was viewing this at a cocktail party, I can only hope the “protection” rubbed off on me!

liver charm
Have you ever seen anything like this?

There was also this cool-looking gold-filled canister. Apparently it’s a Thai amulet, and the designer offers it as a $20K life insurance policy! Wonder if State Farm would buy into that. 😉

thai amulet
Thai protection

Finally, the red eyes of the wolf pendant seemed to be looking straight into my eyes. It was given to the woman by an Alaskan shaman.

wolf charm
This is a serious charm!

I love how personal this necklace is, and how the owner really has captured so much that is near and dear to her heart. Given that it’s on a long chain, I know that it’s often hidden beneath her clothing, but I know that SHE knows it’s there. Cheers!

Layered Skulls: Jewelry Judge

No, this is not a Halloween post. Instead, it’s about a seriously chic woman I recently encountered at the Wilke’s Bashford grand re-opening bash in Palo Alto.

layered necklaces
How did she think of this?

This combination consists of 3 longer necklaces and one shorter one. The first (with the grosgrain ribbon detail) is by Nanette Lepore. Then she added a costume gold/rhinestone necklace, and third one by All Saints.

links of london skull
Now this is re-worked jewelry!

This shorter necklace is a lariat by Tiffany & Co. She then made it her own by adding the small, black skull by Links of London and another little charm she had. So creative!

As a final touch, I caught a glimpse of her wrist…

skull bracelet
Understated skulls

I love how she threw in the skull bracelet in her stack. (I believe that’s by Links of London as well.) I bet that most people don’t even notice it, which makes it even cooler. Chic with a bit of attitude!

Catherine Angiel: Designer

While I don’t have a tattoo, I can certainly appreciate some of the amazing ink I’ve seen on my friends (Leslee’s whole back is covered!) and on random people on the street. Jewelry designer Catherine Angiel takes it a step further. Her tattoo-inspired jewelry line is the epitome of rocker chic.

I had a blast getting to know this multi-faceted lady at a recent trunk show at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco.

Hanging out with Catherine
Hanging out with Catherine

Catherine was born and raised in New York City. Music (drumming in particular) is in her soul, she loves the “grit” of the city, and she loved being part of the underground music scene. Graffiti, rock n’ roll and tattoos are what inspired her in creating her line, which is famous for its use of black diamonds and precious metals. She opened her Greenich Village store in 1993, the same year that she also appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine. (An interesting side note: Catherine is the one who coined the term “commitment rings!” How cool is that?!)

Cover by Sunny Bak
Cover by Sunny Bak

As she states, “My vibe is all about breaking the rules; whether it’s in my music, my jewelry, or my life. I’ve always been a renegade.” No doubt! And her cool jewelry line lives true to that vibe. This bracelet was the first piece I tried on. I could envision it as a tattoo around someone’s upper arm, but for me, this was the perfect way to sport the look.

I adore the scroll design!
I adore the scroll design!

I took this image from her website. Being deathly afraid of spiders, it’s probably good I didn’t see it in person. But again, I can appreciate her use of white diamonds and black spinel beads.

Perhaps this fits your personal style?
Perhaps this fits your personal style?

Every piece in the line is hand-crafted right in her NYC workshop. Catherine talked about how she loves the relationship between stones and metal. She feels that stones actually “choose” the metal that they’ll be in harmony with. I like that thought process, and I think the stones in these rings made great choices!

She loves working with colored stones
She loves working with colored stones

She has a men’s line as well. These cufflinks would be perfect on the right guy!

Do you know a guy with a rocker attitude?
Do you know a guy with a rocker attitude?

Here’s an image from her website that really captures the whole look and feel of the line. It’s artistic, edgy, rocker chic, fashion-forward, and likely much cooler than I am.

A shot from her website
A shot from her website

While she describes herself as a “bad ass jewelry designer,” Catherine is also a big animal activist, and loves to garden and cook. I know I’ll never forget that sparkle she had in her eyes when talking to me about her life story and her jewelry line. If you’re inspired to see more of her collection, you can find it at her store in NYC, Neiman Marcus in SF, Fragments in NYC and Montaigne Market in Paris.

Bejeweled Bun: Jewelry Judge

While on the escalator at Westfield Mall in San Francisco yesterday, I couldn’t take my eyes of the gal in front of me. I love how her casual bun was adorned with a couple jeweled hair pins. She looked as cute coming as she did going. Just that little pop of sparkle really added a lot to her whole look.

Love the sparkly detail!
Love the sparkly detail!

I’m going to have to give some more thought to hair jewelry!

My 5 Favorite Picks from the Wilke’s Bashford Party

Monday evening Wilke’s Bashford hosted “A Time to Dazzle” in their beautifully remodeled San Francisco store. You know that I was one of the first to arrive, eager to view the spectacular array of goodies in the cases. Here are the pieces that really caught my eye (but in no particular order).

1. Two bracelets by Yossi Harari — The one with white diamonds is called the “corset cuff,” and the one with cognac diamonds is named the “bubble Lilah cuff.” Stacked together…wow!

Double the fun!
Double the fun!

2. A trio of aquamarine and diamond rings by Loren Jewels

I couldn't decide which was my favorite!
I couldn’t decide which was my favorite!

3. An art-deco feeling diamond and ruby bead necklace by Oscar Heyman

Rubies galore!
Rubies galore!

4. A new take on the diamond hoop — “confetti” cognac diamond hoops by Paul Morelli

Beautifully different than the average hoop
Beautifully different than the average hoop

5. The perfect necklaces to wear everyday — druzy and diamonds by Kimberly McDonald

I'll take one of each, please...
I’ll take one of each, please…

And trust me — this list could go on and on!

Metal Earth Studios

It’s certainly trunk show season, and I have been having lots of fun making new discoveries in the world of jewelry! One I particularly enjoyed was meeting Rebecca Longenecker and Meghan Zimmerman, the dynamic duo behind Metal Earth Studios, at a recent trunk show at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco.

Meghan, Amy and Rebecca
Meeting the designers!

Meghan and Rebecca became friends when Rebecca moved in across the street from Meghan about nine years ago. Both having small children at the time, it was a natural connection. Fast forward about seven years, and their Oakland-based jewelry line was born. Rebecca had more of of the jewelry background, and Meghan has talents in art and photography. Combining all of their strengths, they started hand-crafting beautiful, organic, and bohemian jewelry.

They use green gold, ethically mined diamonds and sterling silver. “Each piece is created to help women feel connected to the earth, its elements, and the feminine creature,” Meghan told me. They do all the forging and finishing work themselves in their home studio. Wow!

metal earth studios
The women hard at work

I love the mixed metals in this necklace.

metal earth studios necklace
The diamond really is a special touch!

And this necklace is beautiful on its own, or layered with other pieces.

metal earth studios
The chain on this is fabulous as well

Since I have tiny wrists, I was very happy to see that they make bangles in small sizes too!

metal earth studios bangles
Perfect for stacking!

The designers are so inspired by the metals they design with, and they clearly have a talent for working with them. Take a look at these beautifully crafted rings.

metal earth studios rings
Very versatile design

If this line appeals to your sense of personal style, I definitely recommend you check it out!

Rings Galore!!: Jewelry Judge

OK…so I know that I had a fairly harsh commentary on a gal back in April who was wearing an abundance of (dated) rings. But I have to say, that while at a party this past weekend, I could not take my eyes off this woman who was decked out in slim-fitting camouflage pants, rings galore, and a killer smile.

silver rings
Forget about a statement ring…these are statement hands!

This woman has one of the most solid senses of her personal style than most anyone I’ve ever encountered! Her whole ring ensemble began with her thick platinum and subtle diamond wedding ring. Thirteen years later, the collection has grown and been perfectly curated. A combination of silver and platinum, the rings hail from everywhere from the Sundance catalogue to Tiffany & Co to Anna Beck

silver rings
These are quite some stacks!

From the diamond and platinum bands on her left pinkie for her wedding anniversary, to the group on her right pinky from her yoga instructor to celebrate the coming of her son 8 years ago, it’s just awesome! I know that I could never pull this look off, but I can certainly admire how she does it with panache!

silver rings
It’s a lot of look, yet it seems oh, so right.

During our conversation, she did say that she wears them all the time, whether throwing pottery on the wheel or swimming. They are a constant conversation piece. Between that and her unique name (Camelot), this gal is a rare gem indeed!

Trend: Jeweled Collars

NYC is always ahead of us Californians fashion-wise, and Europe before them. (I think perhaps fashion travels east to west…just a personal theory of mine). While cruising around SoHo in NYC, I saw quite a few stylish 20-somethings sporting the jeweled collar trend.

jeweled collar
Interesting take on a necklace

But I know this trend is going big-time when I saw this display at the Stanford Nordstrom last week.

jeweled collars
There are many choices available!

I was strolling through the boutiques on Fillmore Street, and I came across this creative interpretation at Lilith. It has beads sewn right on to an actual collar, that can be used in a variety of ways. Clever!

lilith collar
There are so many variations on this trend!

I spotted this sweater by Milly that has it’s own detachable jeweled collar. I’m telling you, it’s everywhere!

milly jeweled collar sweater
This a bit reminiscent of the late 50’s, don’t you think?

While I don’t think this trend fits into my own personal style, I can certainly appreciate it, and I know that many of my readers will embrace it with gusto! If you’re among that group, then rock it in style!

jeweled collar
Subdued, yet on-trend