Over-the-top Jewelry: Pinterest Board

While much of the nation seems to be wiling away countless hours playing Candy Crush, my big time-suck is Pinterest. If you are on it then you know how addictive it can be, and if you haven’t yet tried it then get ready for a slippery, yet visually delightful slope. For your viewing pleasure today, I wanted to share 10 photos from my “over-the-top jewelry” board. (Click here if you’d like to see more!) I’m sure most of these were photographed for editorial use or on a runway, yet they just go to show the lengths to which some designers go. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think!

zaha hadid celeste necklace

eye jewelry

eina ahluwalia


face jewlery

delfina delettrez fendi

jean paul gaultier

stephanie bila


bracelet with spikes

If you have some cool boards that I should check out, please leave a link to them in the comments below — I’d love to see them!

Into the Jewelry Box: Merna

So how many of you just love watching those reality shows were you get to tour people’s homes and get an inside peek into their closets?! Or even a spread in Architectural Digest or In Style magazine that shows you how the stars live? Well I just love them, but I always wish they’d spend a little more time in the closet, and more specifically show me what’s in their jewelry box. I don’t care if it’s Oprah or someone I’ve never heard of, it’s just my curiosity about wanting to see what pieces are important to them. That’s how I came up with this new series, “Into the Jewelry Box.” Throughout the year, I’ll be visiting people’s homes and getting an in-depth look at their collection. I can’t wait see what I find and share it with you!

My first visit was to see Merna, a stylish 61 year-young woman with a background full of fashion. With a cropped blond pixie and twinkling eyes, she seemed very excited to show me her treasures. In fact when she opened the door, she was wearing her first diamond, which she received at 7 months old from her grandmother (who was also her godmother) for her baptism. Jewelry has clearly been part of her life from the start, and she joked, “I teethed on Vogue!”

baptism necklace

Still in possession of her first jewelry box from 5th grade, she has been a collector and receiver of many gifts throughout her life. In fact, her collection has pieces dating back over 100 years.

first jewelry box

I asked her to show me her favorite piece, and she couldn’t limit it to one. The first was this sunburst pendant/pin from Taxco, which was made by one of Spratling’s students. Just beautiful workmanship!

tasco sunburst pendant

Another favorite is a large sterling cuff of her mothers from 1949. She used to own its mate, but sadly it disappeared at a photo shoot. (I hope whoever walked off it with is at least enjoying it!)

1949 silver cuff

Finally, this sea shell, which she found during a photo shoot at Stinson Beach, is a sentimental favorite. Ironically a couple years after she started wearing it, she was flipping through the pages of W magazine and saw that Yojii Yamamoto did the exact same thing in sterling silver! (for $4500!)

shell necklace

Merna’s collection is housed in a large rolling tower of drawers, and we spent a good amount of time opening little boxes and peering inside silk pouches. (It felt like a treasure hunt for me!) My jaw dropped when I came across this exquisitely detailed pre-WWII Chinese dragon bracelet. She also has the matching ring and earrings which she received during college, as she was born in the Year of the Dragon.

dragon bracelet

These silver filagree bracelets from the early 1900’s also demonstrate amazing detail.

silver filigree bracelets

When I asked how her personal style has changed over the years, she talked about how she has shifted more from the small, delicate pieces (unless worn in stacks or layers) to bolder pieces. She likes the juxtaposition of the the bold pieces with her tall, small frame. Case in point are these wide Armani bangles, purchased from the Armani store in SF back in the 90’s.

armani bracelet stack

I will say, though, that I was drawn to her vintage pieces. It was like being in a jewelry museum, but you could actually try things on. Take a look at this silver and amethyst Art Nouveau set from around 1900.

art nouveau jewelry

And being a Downton Abbey-o-holic, I could just picture Merna’s mother wearing this 1920’s pearl necklace out on the town in her flapper-esque dress…

1920's pearl necklace

If you like vintage watches, then you’ll definitely like this Longines timepiece from the 1930’s, which is completely original inside and with a new strap.

longings watch, 1930's

She says that she rarely edits her jewelry, as she has been given so many lovely gifts and she only buys what she loves. With so much diversity in her jewelry box, I asked her what was on her jewelry lust list. Here’s her top items:

1. There are always some Hermes pieces that she has her eye on
2. A gold pearl necklace and matching stud earrings (which would complement her hair perfectly!)
3. A single stone aquamarine pendant
4. Brown diamond stacking rings

I’m sure, like me, she’ll add things to her list. And sometimes you don’t even know when your heart will be pulled by something sparkly as you walk by the window of a random shop. Though whatever she does end up acquiring, either for herself or as a gift, I know it will have a story. There was not one item we found that didn’t have a story to go along with it, and in my eyes, that makes her collection all the more special.

Thanks for opening up your jewelry box for me, Merna! xo

Diana Broussard Necklaces @ Crimson Mim

You may know the name Diana Broussard from her work at Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and Gucci. While she is certainly famous for her shoe line (she used to design shoes for Gucci under Tom Ford), she is also the designer of some fabulous necklaces, currently available at both the Los Altos and Palo Alto locations of Crimson Mim. (Gotta love when you find cutting-edge fashion close to home!) Her feather-light resin chain-link necklaces are the perfect centerpiece for this spring’s minimalist look.

diana broussard necklaces

Handcrafted by Italian artisans, they come with just the links or with an added padlock pendant, and range in price from $275-$375.

diana broussard padlock necklaces

Here’s Miroslava Duma, the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Russia, modeling one of the necklaces.

miroslava duma

They are selling like hotcakes, so if this rings your jewelry bell, then definitely rush to Crimson Mim and give them a try. It might be the perfect go-to accessory for your spring wardrobe!

Gintare: Designer

You know when you meet someone and they have this sort of ethereal, other-worldly aura about them? Well that’s just how I felt when I met the talented Gintare at the Couture show. Chicago-born, yet with both parents from eastern Europe, Gintare now resides in southern California. She realized what a strong energetic connection she has to Lithuania when she visited her mom’s farm back in 2008. This farm is in fact a sacred place in the country, which explains quite a bit about her. This line is steeped in culture, with a strong spiritual (though not religious) tone.

Gintare is most famous for her Karuna rings (meaning crown in Lithuanian and compassion in Sanskrit). She makes them in green, white and rose gold, embellished with diamonds. They can be stacked in countless ways, and easily combined with baguette bands.

gintare karuna rings

This is three rings stacked together.
This is three rings stacked together.

Her “illuminated messenger luminous shield” pendant is also based on the Lithuanian culture — it’s the symbol for independence and freedom. (Love that!) It’s crafted in 18K green gold with blue sapphires.

gintare sheild pendant

One of my favorite pair of earrings at her booth was this pair, made from green gold, yellow tanzanite, and hand-cut clear crystal. Simply beautiful!

gintare mergele earrings

She loves the color white, and this theme carries on with this beautiful necklace. She got the idea for it when she saw the reflection of diamonds while peering through a piece of quartz. She kept playing around with it until she got it just right. The result is like seeing diamonds underwater, though instead of looking through water, you’re seeing them through quartz phantom crystal. Isn’t that just so cool? This really speaks to my water-loving pisces soul.

gintare water clear optical quartz pendant

She also has this ring, called the “frozen waters ring” for obvious reasons. It evokes the depth of color from some of the amazing photographs I’ve seen of glaciers.

gintare frozen waters ring

This fluid pair of earrings would be a welcome addition to someone’s jewelry box as well!

gintare earrings

I left my interview with Gintare feeling so peaceful and happy. There was such a luminous energy about the whole experience, and I think she really nails this feeling with her line. I can’t wait to see her new creations at the next show.

AICI Conference in San Francisco: Jewelry Judge

As a certified image consultant and wardrobe stylist, I need to earn a certain number of CEUs (continuing education units) each year to maintain my certification. I love attending conferences where I stay current with the latest teachings in the world of fashion and image. I spent last weekend attending the AICI (Association of Image Consultants, International) conference here in San Francisco. While I was of course taking copious notes, I was also snapping pics of jewelry that caught my eye on fellow attendees.

I noticed a few trends going on. First was layered necklaces. Here are various layers I spied….

Diamond leaf layered with raw diamonds
Diamond leaf layered with raw diamonds

Rock 'n roll with camo
Rock ‘n roll with camo

Here’s a close-up of the key pendant, by Jennifer Montana’s jewelry line which donates 80% of its proceeds to charity.

jennifer montana key necklace

Each of her pendants had sentimental meaning
Each of her pendants had sentimental meaning

Stunning tassel and rose gold accents
Stunning tassel and rose gold accents

Stacked bracelets was another trend that was definitely going strong.

Eclectic stack
Eclectic stack

And here’s a bold mix from Marilyn Weller.

Ethnic and refined at the same time
Ethnic and refined at the same time

And I want it to be noted that there was no shortage of bold rings as well.

Amazing grey pearl ring with a silver cuff
Amazing grey pearl ring with a silver cuff

Love the organic design!
Love the organic design!

Can’t wait to see what you all come up with next!

Valentine’s Day Gifts (For Yourself)

I think I may approach Valentine’s Day differently than many women. True, I don’t currently have a love in my life to share it with in the way that Hallmark intended us to, but that really doesn’t make me sad. I feel complete with myself, and I think this holiday is another perfect opportunity to gift myself with a heart-felt token…no, not chocolate (though that’s not off the table), but with jewelry of course! With the overabundance of catalogues and e-mails flooding my mailboxes, I came across many items that would definitely bring a not-so-obviously-valentine-sy smile to my heart.

The first is this heart pendant by Mizuki. The word “love” is subtly spelled out with pave diamonds. (Thanks to my friend Jen for modeling it while we were shopping at Red Bird.)

mizuki love pendant

Again, liking the subtle reference to the heart theme, I thought this bracelet by Zoe Chicco would be so cool in a big bracelet stack. Though you would know you were wearing a self-love gift, most people would just admire your bracelet collection as a whole.

zoe chicco heartlink bracelet

I know there are some of you that would rather have a more obvious sentiment. Meeting in the middle, these 14K gold hearts with white diamonds featured in the Arhaus catalogue would achieve this.

beloved diamond earrings

I adore this ring by Workhorse, and if you’re a Francophile, you undoubtedly will as well. Perfect on its own or in a creative stack, I “heart” it.

workhorse callula ring

If you want to be more incognito, then how about this cuff by Coordinates. You can have the coordinates of a special occasion engraved. This doesn’t meant it has to be where you were married or where you first fell in love, but how about where you were born or where you had some other significant event happen in your life, just for you?!

coordinates cuff

And last, but certainly not least, perhaps you are inspired by the colors associated with Valentine’s Day — from pink to red. If so, then these amazing sea glass rings by Aloha Sea Glass are just perfect.

aloha sea glass rings

I wish all of you a wonderful Valentine’s Day. May you fill it with whatever it is that makes you happiest, be it a special dinner with your love, a luxurious massage, or your favorite cocktail and a little trash TV. Cheers! xo

Pade Vavra’s Guitar String Rings

I introduced you to Pade Vavra back in November. (Click here if you missed the article.) She’s an edgy jewelry designer, who I just learned is also a passionate musician. (This SO does not surprise me!) In her words, “I wanted to be a musician, but for the last 19 years, jewelry is my music. Like the bass of a drum or strum of a guitar, it strikes an emotional chord in me.”

She has melded her two loves perfectly with her guitar string rings.

guitar string rings

They are not made of actual guitar strings, which are much too stiff, but rather of solid sterling silver diamond cut chain. She makes them with rose or yellow gold plate finishes, as well as gunmetal black rhodium or polished silver.

pade vavra guitar string rings

I tried on the yellow gold in the regular and midi-sized rings.

pade vavra guitar string rings

I was so impressed with how light, malleable and comfortable they are! Pade says, “…measuring 2 millimeters in width, they are sleek, smooth and most importantly, do not get in the way of playing your instrument.”

At only $49 dollars each, everyone from Rhianna to Steven Tyler to Hayden Panettiere have been wearing them. And I can just picture Pade rocking them as she drums on her 1972 Ludwig Vistalite drum kit. Rock on!

Repurposing Jewelry: 10 Creative Ideas

No matter what the size of your home, there’s bound to be things in it that you no longer use. This even trickles down to your jewelry box. It could be a bracelet (that’s not quite your style) you received for your birthday from a dear friend (so you can’t throw it out, right?!) or an heirloom piece that you don’t wear, but just lies unloved at the bottom of your jewelry box. Or perhaps it’s some sparkly brooches that you wore at your neck during the 80’s or a singular earring, with it’s mate lost on some trip long ago. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you that might give new life to those items.

Take parts of different pieces to create a new one

If you’ve got a bunch of costume brooches laying around then you might just love Martha Stewart’s idea for creating a brooch ribbon necklace. It’s a simple process, and the result is so unique.

brooch ribbon necklace

Turn unused pearl strands into a multi-strand bracelet

A client of mine did this, and it worked beautifully. She had two matching long strands of pearls that she wasn’t wearing. She used a local jeweler to re-fashion them into a multi-strand bracelet, something along the lines of this:

multi-strand pearl bracelet

The same could also be done with fresh-water strands, to create some great stacking bracelets.

cultured pearls

Use a pearl necklace to make earrings for a group

This idea came from a reader. (Thanks, Monique!) She suggested that you can take apart a pearl necklace and make earrings for each woman in the family — perfect for a significant event like a wedding. She said it, “connects everyone with a thread of beauty.” Love that! Depending on the length of the original necklace, you could likely get many pair of earrings made!

pearl drop earrings

You could even make pearl enhancers for everyone to wear on small hoop earrings.

pearl enhancers

Turn jewelry into decor

If you’ve got a piece of jewelry that you really won’t be wearing (perhaps a family heirloom?), how about framing it in a shadow box and hanging it on your wall? You could even frame various pieces in different sizes and create a montage on your dressing room wall. How girly would that be?

Framed jewelry

There’s such a wide range of frames available now, that you can get any look from sleek and modern to scrolly and vintage. I had my local frame shop frame this antique Central American crown that I found in a Santa Barbara shop. A crown is almost jewelry, right?!

framed crown

Use a brooch on an evening bag

My friend Jen is a master of this. She has quite the collections of both pins and evening bags, so she always comes up with something beautiful. Here’s one she just used during the holiday season.

brooch on clutch

I love how she pinned the brooch right into the center of the bow — great focal point.

Create unique napkin rings

My table is normally set in neutrals, so I decided to spice things up a bit for a recent dinner party. Using scraps of ribbon and some brooches from the far recesses of my jewelry box, I fashioned some creative napkin rings with a pop of color. It worked perfectly with my beige linens and white dishes.

brooches on napkin rings

Create a bridal bouquet

I’ve got to credit Pinterest with this idea. I came across so many lovely brooch bouquets while scrolling through the images!

brooch boquet

Country star Miranda Lambert even used one at her wedding to Blake Shelton.

miranda lambert's brooch boquet

Decorate a package

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the special wrapping on a package is just as memorable as the gift inside. Why not glam it up even more by affixing some jewelry to the present?

brooches on packages

Bedazzle a bottle

Decorative bottles with embellished tops have been quite popular the past few years. Why not add another dimension by adding a “necklace” of sorts? Here’s part of an old rosary around a vintage bottle with a stained glass cross.

rosary around bottle

Make a Christmas Wreath

If you’re looking for a way to make your holiday sparkle even more, then you might just love this bejeweled wreath. Better Homes and Gardens has instructions here on how to make it yourself.

christmas wreath by BHG

So what have you done to creatively repurpose jewelry? I’d love to hear all about your ideas — please send me photos too!