Country Overboard!: Jewelry Judge

This is another pic I snapped at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas. Granted, the whole Vegas thing elicits a particular dress code, but I think this gal took it a bit too far. Love the Erin Featherstone black beaded mini-dress she’s wearing, but I do think she went a big overboard on the jewelry. Did she really need those oversized, bohemian earrings? (which might be perfect with a bikini on St. Tropez) AND the big bangles? AND the layered necklaces? And the photo doesn’t even show the huge cocktail ring she was wearing on her right hand. Darling…scale it back a bit and you’ll be stunning!

too much jewelry
Beautiful woman, yet over-accessorized

Storage: Part Duex

So I know that I’ve already written about jewelry storage in a previous post, but I just HAD to show you another amazingly organized (and large) collection. These photos are from the closet of one of my clients. She travels the world, and has curated one of the coolest jewelry collections that I’ve seen during my many years as a stylist. No, it’s not all fine jewelry, but it’s amazing. I can’t tell you the number of hours we’ve spent “playing” in her jewelry box, accessorizing all her outfits. And I can’t honestly think of one time that she didn’t have just the right piece to finish off an outfit. She certainly gets a big, gold star for the way she has stored her jewelry in both a lovely and user-friendly way.

elfa storage drawers
The main part of her collection is stored in this Elfa drawer tower

elfa drawers
An inside look into some of the drawers

Her necklace collection has grown so large, that she got these great lucite wall mounts to display her most commonly used necklaces.

necklace storage
When you can see it, you'll wear it!

And finally, many of her earrings are now on display on top of the Elfa drawer tower. Great idea!

earring storage
Clever way to display earrings

Yet another client has been building a fabulously cohesive jewelry collection. She had a storage shadow box custom made at the local framing shop. It seriously looks like art hanging in her closet!

jewelry shadow box
Way to highlight your jewels!

She lined the cork board with silk, though using a sturdier fabric, such as linen, may be a better choice if you’re going to move your pins often. My client doesn’t, so the silk worked out perfectly.

I hope these examples inspire you to store and display your jewelry in a new way, if your current system isn’t working for you. Happy organizing!

Rings Gone Wrong…

I, probably more than most, can certainly appreciate the sentimentality of jewelry. I’ve got my Italian grandmother’s engagement ring, which features blue glass that has been weathered by work in harsh chemicals. I’ve still got a lovely black safety pin embellished with beads from a German pen-pal from when I was nine. Oh, and of course some of my Swedish grandmother’s “cruise” jewelry. (translation: pink rhinestones)

But when you wear all your mementos on your fingers all at once (along with a dated manicure) it’s just not right. Though I loved hearing the story of each and every one of the rings this sweet woman wears daily, I really think she should selectively wear her rings and not over-accessorize. (Curious side bar: why has she ignored her pinky fingers when she is clearly into abundance?!?)

too many rings
Edit, edit, edit....and get a current manicure!

Spring Trend: Art Deco

So what exactly is Art Deco that we’ve been hearing so much about? Basically it’s a jewelry style that gained popularity during the World’s Fair in Paris in 1925 and remained en vogue for about 10 years. It’s name is derived from the official name of the fair, and it’s characterized by very architectural features: squares, circles, and triangles that form very cool geometric patterns.

Art Deco has been popping up everywhere from the fashion mags to the street, so if this trend appeals to your personal style, then jump on the bandwagon! I’ve seen examples at a range of price points. Here are a few cool pieces that have caught my eye. First up is a pair of earrings that would take you from jeans to a LBD.

CA & Lou aventurine earrings
Aventurine & Crystal disc earrings by CA & LOU

I think this red resin ring by Trina Turk would add a lot of umph to a maxi dress, with a margarita in hand, of course!

trina turk ring
Trina Turk Button Ring

This fabulous Deco bracelet by Kenneth Jay Lane is very hot. It really combines two trends, with the cuff being another important theme this season.

kenneth jay lane bracelet

Finally, this necklace would spice up a slim cardigan and skinny jeans. Love it!

Kara ross necklace
Kara Ross Art Deco Necklace

So if you want to get your speakeasy on, then scoop up this trend while it’s in a store near you…because you know these things never last.

Man About Town: Jewelry Judge

While I do typically focus on women in my Jewelry Judge series, I must say that a very tall drink of water stopped me in my tracks today. All decked out in a black suit, polka dot shirt and bow tie, his personality definitely came through (in a tasteful way) with his choice of brightly colored beaded bracelets. While not always a fan of “man jewelry,” this one definitely worked for me! His collection included pieces from Chinatown in SF, Hawaii, and a multi-bead combination made by a friend. In my book, he’s got it goin’ on!

kenny dodson
Showing his personality with accessories!

Just ALL wrong!: Jewelry Judge

I first have to apologize for the quality of this photo…it was taken in a dark place during a concert. Even though the show on stage was quite tremendous, the hand of the gal next to me just stole the show. It’s one thing to rock the huge, embellished cross ring. I can get into that if it jives with the outfit. But combined with one of the most frightening manicures I’ve ever laid eyes on, I just was flabbergasted. What was she thinking?!? (And really, those nails must be a safety hazard!)

cross ring
I am almost beyond comment....

Alexis Bittar: Designer

Hot guys and jewelry…put them together and how can you go wrong?!? It’s even better when that guy designs some of the most amazing and increasingly popular jewelry around. When I first stumbled into Alexis Bittar’s Soho store in NYC years ago (I think circa 2005), I knew he was on to something big. Press fast forward and he’s become one of the most well-known jewelry designers I’m aware of.

Alexis Bittar
Meeting Alexis for the first time

Alexis’ line is probably most famous for his lucite pieces. In fact, my friend Jen seriously needs to enroll in a 12-step program to deal with purchasing said pieces. Here’s a peek into her collection:

alexis bittar jewelry
Can we say Jen is a collector?!

His collection has three different branches. I think the one he’s most well-known for is his Lucite collection, which includes amazing hand-carved, often embellished works of art. Then he’s got his Miss Havisham collection, which is a bit more hard-core — encrusted with crystals and the occasional feather detail. Finally, there’s the Elements line, which truly has an organic esthetic.

While his line can be found in major retailers throughout the nation (Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Sak’s to name a few), I feel it’s his singular boutiques which really get his vibe across. San Francisco (my stomping ground) had the privilege of his store opening this past year on Fillmore Street. I stopped by for a visit recently. Upon entering the boutique, I felt like I had walked into a large jewelry box, complete with bleached grey cabinetry filled with his vision, a light grey marble floor and papered walls adorned with painted cherry blossom branches. This case highlighted his tribute to Grey Gardens, with feminine tones of pinks and greys.

alexis bitter grey gardens jewelry
Tribute to Grey Gardens

One of the coolest aspects of his boutiques are the collection of vintage pieces he has curated. He has a been a collector for most of his life, and he’s accumulated a wide array of delights which he now sells solely at his retail boutiques. Here’s just a few of the items available on the day I visited.

alexi bittar vintage jewelry
Clearly, jewelry from a good "vintage"

So between his own designs and the amazing treasures he’s picked up from his lifetime of travels, I think I have a crush on him. If he’s not yet on your radar, then get up to speed. You may find yourself in need of an Alexis Bittar 12-step program yourself.

Adley Stump of “The Voice”

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas this past Sunday. Now I know the style-du-jour in Vegas is typically something resembling Malibu Barbie in platform heels. But trust me, throw in the country awards show and it was simply mind-boggling!

Just a couple seats away from me was Adley Stump, a contestant from the wildly popular singing show “The Voice.” She had the most bubbly personality and was more than happy to chat with everyone, sign autographs, and be in photos with fans…a genuine sweetheart!

Now I know that her headbands are part of her signature style. But what do you think about all the gold jewelry in combination with the sparkly shirt? Is it just right for the venue and event? Or is it going to far? For this one, I’m curious what YOU think! I look forward to your comments.

adley stump academy of country music awards
Adley and Amy at the ACM's

How to Keep Your Jewelry Safe

I decided upon the ivory Grecian gown for the ball. Being a Princess, I next walked to the jewelry vault room, where my trusty guard ushered me in to select my coordinating jewels and tiara for the evening. Oh wait…I’m just a commoner…wearing jeans and a cute top for going out tonight. And my “vault” is just a regular ‘ole jewelry box. So really, what’a a commoner like me to do about keeping my collection safe? Granted, it’s not the crown jewels, but it still consists of a lifetime of carefully curated choices.

The two main components of jewelry security are the physical safety measures and the insurance. I chatted with Debbie, my go-to gal at my State Farm office, and she agreed that the best way to insure your jewelry is through a personal articles policy. You may not realize it, but most standard homeowner’s or renter’s polices only cover around $5000, less your deductible, and only $2500 for any one item. If you’ve got a sweet wedding ring, then this would hardly cover it!

To create a personal articles policy, you need to have a list and detailed description of each item you want to insure. (You’ll be surprised at how quickly things add up!) And most insurance companies will require you to have an appraisal done for any item worth $5000 or more. Most local jewelry stores can do an appraisal for you. And typically, the more items you have them appraise, the more cost effective it is. I do have a personal articles policy in addition to my renter’s insurance, and I update it once a year to reflect new acquisitions.

Next, I spoke with Captain Mike Matteucci of the Burlingame police department. As expected, he said having your jewelry in a fire-proof safe, be it a wall safe or one bolted to the floor, was your best best in securing your investments. True, a safety deposit box would work as well. But really…how often would you be driving down to the bank to get out a bracelet you wanted to wear to dinner?! (Though I guess if you have a butler, he could do that sort of thing for you.) 😉

Gem 2418 jewelry safe
This safe is quite lovely!

Capt. Mettteucci also told me that 90% of robberies occur during daylight hours, so be SURE to use your alarm system and lock your doors and windows, even if you’re just running down to Safeway to pick up a dozen eggs. He also brought up a good point about not having your jewelry accessible if you’re entertaining. He cited a number of cases where jewelry had been pilfered during a dinner party or while a teen child was having friends over. Never even thought about that one!

Finally, where to “hide” your jewelry if you’re going out of town and you, the lowly commoner, doesn’t actually own a safe?! Well he said the worst places to hide things are in the bedroom (i.e. under the mattress or in the pocket of a coat hanging in the closet) or the den. Instead, think about clever hiding places in the kitchen or your children’s room. I highly doubt that the average crook would be searching through the 100’s of stuffed animals that reside in Johnny’s room….Another friend suggested that hiding things in metal pots in your kitchen would be difficult for a thief to detect with a metal detector. Capt. Matteucii hadn’t heard of this tactic before, but it does sort of make sense.

While I do just adore creative jewelry storage, these tips do make me think. I know that jewelry is just a “thing” and that things aren’t the most important parts of life, but if I can take measures to secure my lovelies, then I’m going to do it!