7 Jewelry Don’ts!

While I am certainly not one for “rules” in the jewelry and fashion arena, there are still a few things that drive me crazy. So I’m here to share my “just don’t do it!” list for you.

1. Total lack of jewelry

Aside from sleeping or working out, you should always give some thought to your jewelry ensemble. Heck, even when I donned my “going to the grocery store” outfit today I still carefully selected a nice pair of earrings, a few slim stacking rings and my watch. I mean really, who knows who you’re going to meet when you’re out — from your boss to your arch-enemy to your potential soul mate? You want to make a great impression, right?! Make an effort, girlfriend!

2. Matchy-matchy jewelry

I know that decades ago you had to match your bag to your belt to your earrings. But seriously, these days are long gone. As Stacy and Clinton always said, “Things have to go, not match.” So when you’re confronted with the matching set of bracelet, earrings and necklace, please take a pause. Even if you do purchase it, consider splitting the set to mix and match the pieces with other items.

matchy matchy sets
3. Over-doing holiday jewelry

It’s true that during my 8 year stint as a third-grade teacher I had quite the elaborate collection of holiday jewelry. And if you’re a teacher or grandmother, I totally get it. But for the average Jane-about-town, there’s really no need for the elaborate holiday get-up. (case in point: battery-powered jewelry) There are so many tasteful ways to wear holiday jewelry (perhaps your grandmother’s vintage brooch on your coat during December) This is what not to do.

Christmas jewelry
4. Excessively noisy jewelry

Unless you work from home, nobody wants to hear the banging of your bracelet stack or necklace with the bells on it all day. It’s annoying to everyone around you, so please be aware of this. A musical tinkle from bracelets are just fine, but if someone can hear you from another room, then take heed.

5. Earrings that are too heavy

We’ve all done it — worn earrings that are too heavy for our pierced ears. And if you do it enough, then your hole will eventually lengthen and tear a bit. Continuing to wear heavy earrings just isn’t a good look. I suggest either looking into the cosmetic procedure which will minimize your piercing, or select earrings that are lighter or in a style that won’t highlight the sagging hole.

heavy earrings
6. Wearing jewelry that you don’t like.

I’m sorry, but life is way too short to wear jewelry that you don’t like, let alone love. I don’t care if it was a gift from your aunt from France or your best friend who lives next door. Be true to your personal style and wear what you love and what makes you feel fabulous. Period.

7. Ankle bracelets worn under hose

While I think ankle bracelets are “on the edge” in the first place (unless you’re a total bohemian princess and it’s integral to your personal style), then tread lightly. Wearing one on its own can sometimes be OK, but if you wear it under hose, then it’s just all wrong.

ankle bracelet with hose
I’m sure some of you may take umbrage to these rules, and I’d love to hear from you. And perhaps you have some “don’ts” of your own? Do tell!

Julez Bryant: New Bracelets

My car is in the shop this week, and one of the gifts of this is that I find myself walking downtown to do my errands. This gave me the ideal opportunity to stop by the Julez Bryant trunk show at Les Deux Copines on Burlingame Avenue yesterday afternoon as I crossed things off my “to do” list. You may remember that I wrote about her line back in 2011 (where does the time go?!), and I was thrilled to see what she’s been working on. While there were a bevy of beautiful baubles to try on, I was especially taken by a few of her bracelets. First is this cuff with a chain closure — such a clever design! She makes it in a variety of widths as well.

julez bryant bracelet

I, of course, had to try it on! It was so comfortable to wear, and I love the effect with my mixed metals.

julez bryant, michelle watch, gurhan

She was wearing a delicate wrap bracelet, and I must say that I thought it was a great combination of the bar necklace and a bracelet. (Can you tell how creative she is?)

julez bryant wrap bracelet

Finally, though I’m not necessarily a “heart” gal, I still just loved this take on an ID bracelet. The first photo shows it in rose gold, and the second in yellow.

julez bryant bracelet

julez bryant bracelet

She will still be showing in Burlingame today from 12-7, so if your jewelry interest is piqued, then definitely stop by the trunk show!

Kara Ross: Designer

Kara Ross, who opened her own storefront on Madison Avenue in NYC this past fall, is a designer I was so excited to interview at the Couture show in Las Vegas.

Amy and Kara
Amy and Kara

Kara’s love of gemstones began early in life, when her parents let her buy a tourmaline during a trip to Africa. When she returned home to the States, she designed her own ring, setting the stone in gold with diamonds. What a generous and creative opportunity to give a young woman! Clearly, this sparked a life-long love of stones and design, and I am blown away by her collection.

Most specifically, I was mesmerized by the Pangea ring. First of all, take a look at some images of the ring, and then I’ll tell you all about it.

kara ross pangea ring

kara ross pangea ring top view

kara ross pangea ring side view

Pangea is the land mass on our planet that existed about 300 million years ago, consisting basically of all the Earth’s continents melded together in sort of a puzzle formation. Plate tetonics then spent the next couple hundred million years separating the land into the seven continents that we know today. Here’s a neat visual to show how this happened.

pangea visual

Using this concept, Kara designed this ring as a tribute to the world we live on. Made of 18K gold (in yellow, white or rose), the jagged diamond-encrusted rows, “…reflect the shifting continents beautifully fusing together, and despite the drift all the pieces remain enveloped in one mass, continuing to come together and forming a harmonious whole.” Making each of these rings takes 10-11 weeks, and utilizes the expertise of 7 different craftsmen. Just drilling the hole through the large cabochon “Earth” is incredibly difficult. One little error, and the gem will shatter.

On the sides of the rings, you see a mosaic of hand-cut gemstones with angular pave diamond boarders, “…which represent the cultures and ethnicities of the world all living peacefully together.” The intricacies of these rings, along with their powerful message leaves me breathless — it’s truly a work of art and a labor of love.

This ring is the centerpiece of her Petra collection, which has over 100 pieces. The overriding design element seen across the collection includes jagged zig-zag motifs. Here are a few more pieces from this collection.

kara ross large petra mosaic earring

kara ross petra contour cuff

kara ross petra split pendant

I just adore the juxtaposition of the raw rubellite and the polished amethyst in this last necklace, don’t you?

Kara also has both a fashion jewelry line, Kara by Kara Ross and a sterling silver line. I’ve tried on some of the sterling pieces in various shops, and they’re quite spectacular. Here’s a sterling cuff with black mother-of-pearl and black sapphires.

kara ross wide maze cuff

And this pair of earrings has a modern Art Deco vibe, for sure.

kara ross triple geo arrow drop earrings

Kara has a huge celebrity following, and includes the Obamas among her private clients. She made pieces for them using the wood from a fallen magnolia tree from the White House garden. These coveted pieces were made for the First Lady and are also given as unique gifts to visiting heads of state and other important people. How cool is that?

Made for Michelle Obama
Made for Michelle Obama

I cannot fail to mention Kara’s gem-tastic handbag collection, either, which includes everything from clutches to day bags. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Lizard with hematite and mother-of-pearl inset
Lizard with hematite and mother-of-pearl inset

And because a pop of celadon is hot for spring…

Ostrich with hematite clasp
Ostrich with hematite clasp

I hope that you are as intrigued by this designer as I am. If you want to see some of her things in person, she sells at various retailers across the nation, as well as having her online shopping site. I cannot wait to see what she brings to Couture this spring!!

Silver Combination: Jewelry Judge

Hitting all the stores we could find, my cousins and I found ourselves in the Eileen Fisher store in downtown Seattle during our girl’s weekend. Though the clothes were lovely, I was more interested in the cool silver combination that one of the sales women was wearing.

silver layered necklaces

silver jewelry

I love how she paired such a delicate necklace with a more substantial piece. And the main pendant is in perfect harmony with the print of her shirt. Then with the addition of the extra-long chain earrings, the edgy glasses and the mussed-just-so pixie cut, I thought she just looked fabulous. What do you think? Thumbs up?

Green Gems: My Top 20 Picks

I try not to discriminate in the world of gemstones, but I must admit that emeralds have never been one of my favorite stones. (I guess it’s lucky I wasn’t born in May.) So I thought I’d give myself a challenge this St. Patrick’s Day and delve into the world of green stones, from emeralds to green diamonds to tourmalines and beyond. I decided to send myself on a virtual shopping spree, with no budget constraints and see what gorgeous green gems I could come up with. Folks, I was definitely NOT disappointed, and I now have a completely new appreciation for lovely baubles in all shades of green. So here goes, my top 20 picks.


First up is this amaze-balls pair of earrings by Sutra.

sutra emerald drop earrings

Next I started drooling over these oval cravellit earrings by Armenta.

armenta oval cravellit earrings

With the bar necklace trend still fresh in my mind, I expanded further by adoring these bar earrings by Jennifer Meyer. Though they are made of opals, they definitely read “green,” don’t you think?

jennifer meyer opal bar studs

For a classic tear-drop with a twist, take a look at these chrysoprase earrings by Irene Neuwirth.

irene neuwirth earrings

And taking a more yellow-green approach, I think Anne Sportun has a lovely design in green garnets and diamonds!

anne sportun green garnet earring


Moving down the body, I started looking for green ways to adorn my neck. And oh, what lovelies did I find! First, I fell in lust with this tourmaline and diamond necklace by LFrank.

l frank tourmaline & diamond pendant

For a truly dramatic look, Irene Neuwirth nailed it with this emerald necklace.

irene neuwirth columbian emerald necklace

I also explored the world of vintage jewelry, and I fell in love with this antique “Mogul” emerald and diamond pendant. The emerald was carved 1695 — so pretty!

antique amogul emerald & diamond pendant

Back to a simpler design, I think this green diamond paisley by Sethi Couture is beautiful.

sethi couture

And finally, this pendant necklace by Emily Amey would be great in creative layers.

emily amey


Taking us to the wrist, I was loving the array of choices in which you can adorn yourself in green gemstones. This ombre look in chrysoprase and green quartz by Mary Esses is phenomenal.

mary esses bracelet

Since I am a fan of stacking bracelets, I thought this bangle by Nak Armstrong would be a fab addition to my jewelry box. I love how the emeralds are such an unusual hue — veering more toward the aqua-green side.

nak armstrong bangle

I am often seen wearing my Hermes click-clack bracelet, and perhaps one in green would be just the right way to add a punch of color to my oft-neutral ensembles.

hermes H bracelet

This delicate cuff by Jemma Wynne made of Zambian emeralds, gold and diamonds is perfection.

jemma wynne bracelet

And given that this exercise gave me an unlimited budget, why not go for this tourmaline and diamond bracelet via Sotheby’s?

sotheby's  tourmaline and diamond bracelet


Lest we forget our fingers, I kept on the search. The first ring to catch my eye was this emerald slice and diamond stunner by Monique Pean. The stone has such a smoky quality to it — love it!

monique pean

For a much more organic, boho look, I’d opt for something like this adventurine and sterling silver ring from Circle & Square.

circle & square adventurine ring

Given my penchant for stacking rings, I know that I could incorporate some of these skinnies by Suzy Landa into my collection.

suzy landa green tourmaline rings

I think this opaque green diamond ring by Sethi Couture would look amazing with my skin tone.

sethi couture green diamond ring

And to end with another vintage piece, I think this emerald and diamond ring from the late 1800’s/early 1900’s via Bonhams is exquisite. I’m actually shocked that it sold for under $3K.

emerald & diamond ring late 18th century

So what do you think of my virtual shopping spree? Do you see some pieces that you’d like as well? Wishing you a fabulous St. Patrick’s Day!

Horizontal Bar Necklaces

Ok..so horizontal bar necklaces are definitely having a “jewelry moment.” Although they’ve been spotted on everyone from Reese Witherpoon…

reese witherspoon necklace

…to the Kardashians…

kardashian horizontal bar

I have a feeling that Clare, from the Bachelor (damn was I wrong about Juan Pablo!!), has really driven the trend home. I guess when you watch someone wear the same necklace for weeks on end, then it’s bound to creep into popular culture.

clare the bachelor necklace

I’m not sure who designed Clare’s necklace, but it says “creer” (“believe” in Spanish). I’m glad that she had enough sense to ditch Juan Pablo at the end, and I think her necklace may have brought her some luck. She chose to believe her inner truth and tell him exactly how she felt. Yet I digress…

You can find many different designs of bar necklaces. I particularly like this one by BaubleBar for only $28.

baublebar pyramid arc pendant

This one by Gorjana Griffin is also quite sparkly.

Gorjana & Griffin necklace

You can also go very high-end with this trend — here’s Jennifer Meyer’s take.

jennifer meyer bar necklace

One thing I like about these necklaces is that they can be easily worn on their own, or incorporated in a layered necklace ensemble. So talk to me — is this a necklace that you’ll be adding to your collection? Or perhaps you already own one? Do tell!

Essenza: Fab Seattle Boutique

I recently returned from a girl’s weekend in Seattle with my cousin Rachel and my “cousin-to-be” Megan. We had a blast, despite the rainy weather, exploring this beautiful and friendly city. Since they were hanging with me, a professional shopper, I know that they weren’t surprised when I pulled out my page of hand-written notes on all the shops I wanted to visit. And bonus, Megan had a rental car! So off to the Fremont neighborhood we went, which is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Seattle.

Rachel, Amy and Megan
Rachel, Amy and Megan

One of the shops on my “must see” list was Essenza, which is a unique combination of jewelry, bath/skincare products, sleepwear, and some kid’s items. I knew I liked the store before I entered, which was painted in a pale aqua-blue (my favorite color).

essenza, seattle

And my thoughts were confirmed as I entered this charming store, with a central fountain surrounded by beautiful cases of jewelry.

Rachel checks out a case of baubles
Rachel checks out a case of baubles

So many of my favorite designers were represented, from Megan Thorne to Rebecca Overmann to Sarah McGuire.

Peering into the cases from Zoe Chicco and Jamie Joseph definitely brought a smile to my face!

Zoe Chicco
Zoe Chicco

Jamie Joseph rings
Jamie Joseph rings

I was excited to find a new men’s jewelry line, The Blue Hound. It’s so rare that I see a men’s line represented at a store like this, and I loved it! It was very industrial, and had a great price point. Here’s some bad-ass skull cufflinks and a couple edgy bracelets.

the blue hound cufflinks

the blue hound bracelets

If you’re in the Seattle area this coming week, then it’s the perfect time to stop by the store. They will be hosting an Anne Sportun (oh, how I love her and her line!) trunk show. Here’s the details on the show.

anne sportun trunk show

I hope that the next time you’re in Seattle, you’ll make the effort to visit Essenza. I met Wendy, the owner’s sister, and she was just charming. And in a typical small world style, it turns out that she used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area and knew tons of people in common with my cousin. Go figure! I love how the universe keeps connecting us all in that special way.

Boho Chic: Jewelry Judge

During my recent girl’s weekend in Seattle, I finally got to visit Les Amis in the Fremont neighborhood. Just reading the list of clothing designers that they carry which I love (Gary Graham, Pas de Calais and No.6 to name a few), I was psyched to walk in their darling front door. So I guess that I shouldn’t be surprised that one of the cool sales gals rocked my boho world with her jewelry choices. First of all, I loved her statement necklace by Annie Costello Brown worn with a simple cream top.

annie costello brown necklace
Then, as she began writing up my receipt (because you just KNOW I went home with a couple amazing tops!) I was mesmerized by her eclectic ring combination. It takes an expert to combine a midi ring, a couple oversized rings and a wedding ring set with such panache.

les amis ring stock
I thought that this gal did an amazing job at expressing her unique personal style. In addition, she was the perfect fit for the store (perhaps she was the owner?? didn’t ask…). It has inspired me to take a closer look at how to combine the rings in my jewelry box, for sure. What do you think of her choices?