One thing I truly love to do is explore new shops and neighborhoods. I’m always amazed how many great places there are, practically in my own back yard. My friend Laura (you may remember her from my great piercing escapade), is like a walking tour book of amazing stores. It’s not just because she loves shopping as much as I do (and she does!), but she is a rep for many home, jewelry, and gift/accessory lines with Aesthetic Movement, so it’s her duty to know all the happening places.
We set our itinerary for various places in Berkeley, Piedmont, and Oakland. I picked her up in SF and headed over the Bay Bridge. First up was Zaver & Mor in Berkeley. I’d met the lovely owner, Rada Sahney, at a couple Women’s Jewelry Association events, so I was very eager to check out her establishment, and it definitely did not disappoint.
She carries some of my favorite lines, such as Tura Sugden, Julez Bryant, and Elyria Jewels. But there were also some lines that I was seeing for the first time. One of my favorite pieces I saw the whole day is this gold and diamond bracelet by Mia Chicco. (One more item for my jewelry lust list!)
I was also excited to see a display of Sharon Zimmerman’s work, who is a local jeweler from San Francisco.
By the time we had (just about) tried on everything we wanted to, it was time to grab a bite for lunch. Since our second stop was going to be Red Bird, right by the Claremont in Berkeley, we popped into Rick & Ann’s for a really tasty meal at their community table.
Sufficiently refueled, we went to Red Bird and began perusing all the lovely clothing and jewelry. This, in fact, is a place where I have purchased many of my favorite items over the years.
I couldn’t resist trying on this unique pearl necklace by Melissa Joy Manning I spotted in the sale case. The organic shapes of the pearls are captivating.
I thought it looked pretty cool layered with the two necklaces I was wearing. And who am I to turn down 60% off?!
Ok…time to hit the road again, and next up was Atomic Garden in Oakland. (Next time I want to explore this area more, as there seemed to be many cute shops on College Avenue!)
I was definitely psyched to visit Esqueleto, which is a jewel box of a store in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, curated by jeweler Lauren Wolf. Not only does the store carry her line (the two rings I have on in the photo below), but they have selections from many designers, including a beautiful vintage selection.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Mania Mania is branching into the fine jewlery business, and I love this ring by them!
The natural beauty of these pieces by Lou Zeldis also caught my eye.
As fate would have it, jeweler Marisa Haskell, whose line is now named Marisa Mason, was in the shop, so we had to end our field trip by running around the corner in to her boutique as well.
She has a workshop right in the store, and her jewelry is artfully displayed on the walls, making it very easy to try things on.
By this time, the rain was starting to come down hard, and it was time to head back across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. Our itinerary was clearly ambitious, as we still have many stores left on our list. Hence…part 2, (hopefully) coming in January. If you have any recommendations for additions to our list, please let me know in the comment section below!
I know that when most people hear the word “gem,” they think of diamonds, emeralds and rubies. But for me, I also think of sea glass. This is glass that has been pummeled in the ocean for years, resulting in a smooth, frosty appearance. Searching for these mermaid’s tears (as they are sometimes referred to) is one of my passions. Sometimes this involves just strolling along the beach, seeing what the ocean offers up. At other times I’m descending 200 foot cliffs with ropes (or without!) and gearing up in my wetsuit to brave the waves with my mesh scooper in search of the ultimate treasure.
This past Sunday, a group of us were out in force during the king tide at a beach near Santa Cruz, California. The recent storms had taken out massive amounts of sand, and for the first time in 2 (long) years, there was the possibility of finding sea glass. Digging huge holes near the edge of the tide was our strategy that day, and unbelievably, the find of a lifetime was made! Here’s the top and bottom views of my new baby (Thanks, Jeff!) photographed by Bev Jacquemet, friend and author of The Sea Glass Rush. (This is a fabulous book if you’re interested in sea glass, and it features finds from northern California.)
Not only does this piece have an amazing amalgamation of colors, but it’s huge in the realm of sea glass. To give you an idea of how large it is, here’s a couple photos of it in my hand. (which I snapped myself)
There are very few places in the world where you can find “multis,” which are pieces of sea glass with more than one color in it. You find them near glass factories or glass artists’ studios, where they used to throw their scraps in the sea. One of the most famous places, which is on my bucket list to visit, is Seaham, England. Their multis are called “end of day” glass, as that’s the trash they dumped into the ocean after their long work day.
Even the smallest multi is a gem in its own way, with its striations and depth. Bev shot this one with some of the smaller pieces Jeff and I dug up.
I could go on and on about sea glass, gems from the ocean, but I’ll leave it at that for today. Many thanks to Bev for her images in this article. If you’re intrigued by her work and want to find out more, then I highly suggest following her on Facebook — it’s a visual delight! You can even e-mail her at [email protected] to order a signed copy of her book.
I cannot believe that three and a half years have passed since I first interviewed stellar jewelry designer Meredith Marks. (Click here to read that article.) I love how this line has grown and evolved since our last meeting, and I was pretty blown away by three different pieces I tried on at the JCK show in Las Vegas. Here they are, in no particular order.
Abalone and emerald “Lia” cuff, set in rhodium plated sterling silver
Pyrite “Graysen” necklace with diamonds
“Ivy” cuff — rhodium plated sterling silver with diamonds
While all three of these pieces are substantial in size, they were very comfortable to wear! If you’d like to see her work in person, then click here for a link (and scroll down a bit) for a list of stockists.
Yep, it’s true, Christmas is less than two weeks away. As you scan through your “to do” list and your stress level starts rising, don’t forget that jewelry can always make for a great gift, be it for a friend, family member, or even yourself. (You know that I’m the queen of self-gifting!!) I’ve done a little cruising through the web, and I’ve come up with 13 ideas that won’t break the bank. I hope you like them, and let me know if you have some great ideas as well!
Tai bracelet — The perfect neutral with a little sparkle that’s lovely on its own or layered.
I have been hearing about the clothing store Betty Lin (in the Sacramento Street shopping area) for a while now, and I finally was in their neighborhood this week, so I got to pop in. I love a little field trip between client appointments! The stylish owner, Betty, was there manning the shop, and I couldn’t help but stare at the delicious ring she was wearing.
“Oh,” she said, “This is by Lebanon-based designer Rosa Maria.” And wouldn’t you know it, but she had a whole tray of these hand-forged beauties.
This one was a definite favorite of mine, and wow, what a statement!
I also think this would be a perfect everyday ring for my left hand.
She designs many rings with a high profile, so you can easily stack them with other rings.
This design, with an open center surrounded by diamonds, is really unique!
Betty was just as excited about the line as I was, and we had fun “playing” with all the rings. I was also so impressed how quickly she picked up on my personal style, as she went over to the sale rack and pulled out a perfect coat for me — great color, cool fit, and at a deep discount. Sold! I will definitely be adding this boutique to my list of “rounds.” Thanks, Betty!
I was invited to an event at a private (gorgeous) home over the weekend, which featured many different vendors, from handbags to make-up to jewelry and more. But I must admit (and I know you’ll be shocked!), that the real reason I went was to see the jewelry line Muse Refined. While I had seen their website, I wanted to see the goods in person and try them on. I was definitely not disappointed, and I think this delicate collection is quite lovely. The line’s founder, Sophie Kwon, told me that her family has been in the jewelry business for 30 years, and she finally launched her own business this past year. Here are my 5 favorite items I tried on.
I think so many of these items are ideal for layering, though they are so pretty on their own as well. I particularly liked the double chevron ring and the claw cuff ring worn on my pinky. While this line is not currently available in stores, you can see it at private trunk shows or by private appointment. Click here if you’d like to contact them or sign up for their mailing list.
My client and I popped into the Lucky Brand store recently, and we found this cool layered necklace. At first, we thought it was a couple necklaces on the same display, yet it turned out to be one, with three different layers.
What makes this design ever-so-clever, is that each layer is on individual hooks, so that you can select which layers you’d like to wear that day. So perhaps you just want the longer two strands? No problem. Or maybe the shortest and the longest, and then you’ll layer in one of your other necklaces? That works too.
Looking through the necklaces on their site, it turns out that there’s many different styles with the same, convertible design. Here are a couple more.
I know many readers have asked me how to keep layered necklaces from tangling, and this design is a great solution! And don’t delay–they’re having 30% off right now!
What’s better than a gracious, handsome Italian gentleman with a twinkle in his eye? One that designs incredible jewelry! That exactly describes Sergio Antonini, the designer of the venerable Milan jewelry line, Antonini. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Sergio at the Couture show, and he gave me a tour of his lovely line.
Founded by his grandfather in 1919, where he started in dealing loose stones, the line has steadily grown. Sergio, an architect by trade, took over in 1989. It’s clear that his training in architecture and his love for the islands in southern Italy were instrumental in his Vulcano collection. I was quick to try on a this diamond ring. Fabulous, right?!
The finish on these pieces is very unique. It’s made from gold over rhodium; it’s carved under heat, so that the black shows through. You can really visualize the flow of lava in each and every item. I tried on one of the cuff bracelets.
Another cuff I was wild about is from his Aurea collection, inspired by the Latin word for gold. Its sinuous, organic shape was so comfortable to wear. And who can resist the sparkle of the pave diamonds?
When Thanksgiving rolls around, a time for family and friends, I start to pull out some of my more sentimental pieces of jewelry. One day it might be my Nonie’s engagement ring, with its center stone of deep blue glass, weathered with her years of hard labor keeping up the house and garden. Or maybe it’s my mother’s childhood locket, layered with some other necklaces. Whatever the case may be, these pieces hold a very special place in my heart. Clearly Luika, who I’ve known my entire life, feels the same way, as her jewelry box is filled with meaningful treasures. In this third installment of “Into The Jewelry Box,” I had the opportunity to explore some of Luika’s wonderful memories. The first ring that jumped out was this stunning, large citrine cocktail ring with a delicate gold setting.
As is often the case with jewelry, this ring had a story. She and her husband attended a very special Christmas party at the Kennedy Center in 1997. Each year, a different embassy would host the party, and that year it was hosted by the Ambassador of Brazil. After the main program, select guests were invited to a formal dinner, beginning at 11pm. (Late!) The ladies in attendance, including Luika, were given a special gift from the Ambassador — in this case, this lovely ring. How generous!
She also has a collection of many colorful rings, modeled by yours truly.
The top one in the photos is a vintage jade ring — the color is really exquisite. The next one is a beautiful blue star sapphire set in white gold. This was a birthday gift from her husband back in ’62 or ’63. I was really intrigued with the blue star-cut ring. While the blue star itself is a manufactured stone, it’s surrounded by 5 small diamonds in white gold. It belonged to her mother, so I would place the ring to be from somewhere in the 1930’s. It’s so fun! And finally, the double amethyst, which was designed by H.Stern and bought on vacation while in St. Thomas.
This next bracelet is just so cool, and it was a wonderful gift from her husband. He had it made for her, and it’s gold-dipped pennies from 1957, which is the year they first met and had their first date. How romantic is that?! It was one of their customs to always throw pennies in fountains for good wishes, even after they were married. I think my eyes may have gotten a bit misty hearing this story.
Another very meaningful set for the two of them is this marcasite necklace and earrings, which was her bride gift on the day of her wedding from her loving groom.
Luika was born in September, so her baby ring is set with a sapphire. I think the setting is fantastic. Clearly she was an elegant baby!
Her Benrus evening watch is a classic. This NYC-based watch company was hot, hot, hot in the 1900’s. I wish I could hear the watch tell stories of where it has been.
And finally, I saw these two cameos, which belonged to her mother. Such beautiful detail!
As you can see, looking through her collection is like taking a walk down memory lane. Do you have pieces like that in your jewelry box? Perhaps some of your Thanksgiving companions will be wearing bits of history themselves– you may want to inquire about what they’re wearing, as there may be a great story behind it.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you’re likely aware that searching for sea glass is one of my favorite pastimes. Sea glassing is a seasonal thing, and you really need some good storms to churn up the sand and reveal the real treasures. With California’s on-going drought, there’s been a corresponding drought in sea glass on our beaches. I think that’s what got me started on my new collection…small rocks (found along the beach, rivers, or lakes) that have a thin-lined complete circle on them.
When I posted this image on Instagram, one of my followers told me that her family calls these “wish rocks,” and for each full circle, you get to make a wish. I love that! This got me to thinking that if I find these rocks beautiful, then surely there are some jewelry designers out there who must make some fabulous rock jewelry as well! Well, I was right, and I want to share some of the creative designs I found while searching online.