Fashion runways are an interesting phenomenon, and I’ve been privileged to be “in the tents” in NYC for the shows. For the fall 2014 shows, various designers had models sauntering down the runway in one earring, from Louis Vuitton to Celine.
And now that the pre-fall issues of all the fashion mags are hitting the stands (I know, while you are just breaking out your bikini and hitting the beach), it seems that the editorial staff is really promoting this look. While reading the July issue of Vogue, here are some of the images that were in their spread. (Definitely admire the quality of these photos that I took of the magazine pages–ha ha!)
So here’s the thing…just because we see something on the runway and in a fashion mag, does it mean that it’ll translate to the general public? And if so, will it be in such a dramatic fashion, or will the interpretation be more of a watered-down version, with a minimal earring worn on its own? I’d love to hear your opinions on the matter. Would you wear it? Do you see it as a viable trend this fall? And if so, will it be just a flash-in-the-pan? Spill.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard a lot of “pearl words” thrown around…South Sea, cultured, freshwater, etc… but what do they all mean? Well I’m here to break it down for you, so that the next time you’re shopping for pearls, you’ll know what you’re looking at.
First of all, there are natural pearls and cultured pearls. Natural pearls are VERY rare; so rare, in fact, that you’ll seldom see them for sale in the marketplace. You’re more likely to find natural pearls at antique stores and auctions. Cultured pearls, on the other hand, means that man has played a role in the pearl’s creation. This happens when a little mother-of-pearl bead or piece of tissue (called the nucleus) is inserted into an oyster. Since the oyster looks at this as an irritant, it develops a pearl sack around it as a defense mechanism. As time goes by, layers of nacre grow around this bead, and eventually, a pearl is made. Pretty cool, hm?
The next thing to know is that there are saltwater pearls and freshwater pearls. In the saltwater category, there are: Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian. Freshwater pearls are a category unto themselves. And just to complicate matters, Keishi pearls can be found in both fresh and saltwater. So let’s start with the saltwater varieties.
Akoya pearls are what you typically are thinking of when you imagine the traditional strand of pearls. They are by far the most popular of all varieties, and they were made popular by Mikimoto at the beginning of the 20th century. They are a smaller pearl, usually ranging in size from 2mm-10mm, and they are usually from Japan and China. Here’s a helpful chart to help you get an idea of pearl sizes.
Akoya pearls typically come in white and creams, though they can branch into blue, silver, and even sometimes black. (chart from americanpearl.com) They are known for having the best luster of all the types of pearls.
South Sea Pearls
These are the most valuable of all the pearls, and they come in the largest sizes, ranging from 9mm-20mm. They come from Australia, the Phillipines, and Indonesia. They are produced in the silver and gold-lipped Pinctada Maxima, giving them their silvery and golden colors.
While the name might give you the impression that these pearls only come from Tahiti, that’s not entirely true. They come from the black-lipped Pinctada maxima from the French Polynesian islands, including Tahiti. Traditionally called black pearls, these pearls can come in a range of colors as well, from purple to green to grey. (chart from americanpearl.com) They range in size from 8mm-16mm.
Now, let’s move from saltwater to freshwater.
Here’s an example of a pink freshwater pearl necklace. These types of pearls are usually from the the lakes, rivers and ponds of China. While some may confuse these pearls with Akoya pearls, upon closer inspection you can usually tell that they are not nearly as lustrous. These pearls have a much lower price-point, making them very popular on the consumer market. In addition, they come in a wide variety of sizes (2mm-16mm), colors and shapes.
As I mentioned earlier, these small Keshi pearls can be found in both fresh and saltwater. They are actually a mistake from the whole culturing process! They occur when an oyster spits out the implanted bead. (I’d like to see that happen live!)
Now that you’ve got an idea about the main types, sizes and colors of pearls, there are a couple other things you should be aware of when shopping for pearls. The first is the luster, which I’ve already referred to. This talks about how much light is reflected from the pearl. In the case of Akoyo, the most lustrous, you can often see reflections of objects right in the pearl! This visual from pearlparadise.com really puts it into perspective. The more lustrous a pearl, the higher quality it is.
You also need to take into account the quality of the pearl’s surface. Is it spotted, bumpy, or wrinkled? Are there any abrasions? All these can affect the quality and value of the pearl.
Finally, there are numerous shapes that pearls come in. Though it’s certainly a matter of personal preference, the round pearls are the rarest and most valuable. (photo from bestcutgems.com) Though I know quite a few people who prefer baroque over all other shapes.
When you do select the perfect pearl necklace for yourself, I also advise having it strung with knots between each pearl. Not only does this protect you from losing all the pearls should the necklace break, but it also keeps the pearls from scratching each other. Look forward to a future article I have coming on how to care and store for your pearls!
Did you receive your August J.Crew catalogue in the mail today? I did, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’ve launched a fine jewelry collection! While I’ve been a long-time fan of their costume statement pieces, I think they’re very fashion-savvy to bring some fine jewelry into the mix. I mean let’s face it — that’s how most people dress, right? Mixing up the high and low?
I think they’ve done an excellent job curating a nice selection of 14K gold and precious gem jewelry which includes some of their own designs, as well as capsule collections by some pretty big names in the world of jewelry. Their own designs are very clean and classic, such as this rectangular signet ring and gold hinged bangle. Most of the items are perfect for engraving as well.
Catbird, one of the Brooklyn-based jewelry stores on my bucket list to visit, has some great items available. I think these “ballerina” earrings would be a cool look to wear in lieu of studs or small hoops.
From the look of things, it appears these baubles are only available online, but I can envision that changing if it becomes really popular. I wouldn’t be surprised, as just while writing this article, the signet ring sold out in sizes 6 & 7! Please let me know if you decide to made an addition to your jewelry box — would love to see what you choose!
Right now my mind is drifting to the beach (as it often does), and I’m picturing Jane Bohan out in the waves on Fire Island. I think this talented designer loves the beach as much as I do, and she often finds her inspiration there. In fact, a surfboard was the thought in the back of her mind when she designed this turquoise necklace!
These necklaces are part of her Barcelona collection, with inspiration coming from the famous Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi. Here’s an example of his architectural style.
Jane has done a fabulous job interpreting the line and design of his work into her jewelry.
I tried on one of her bracelets from this collection, which features three stations with green quartz and mixed metals.
Jane started her hand-fabricated line back in 1983, when she was working with mostly brass and sterling. She has now transitioned to gold and precious stones. She thrives on creativity, and ideas come to her when she’s out and about in her daily life. Clearly her time by the sea was inspiration for her opalescent waters collection. The depth of the labradorite in this ring summons a feeling of diving down into the sea.
Pearls are most definitely one of Jane’s signatures. While speaking with her at the Couture show, I was admiring this new bracelet, made of south sea pearls, and oxidized silver fishbone chain with 18K gold accents. Delicious!!
Jane described her line as, “…sensual, sophisticated, and feminine,” and I couldn’t agree more. There were so many soft blush-colored tones in her pieces, which would flatter a wide variety of skin tones. You’ll notice the texture on these rose gold and diamond earrings. Texture, is in fact, extremely important to her.
The junipers in her back yard were the impetus for the texture on these rings I tried on.
It was an absolute pleasure meeting Jane and trying on all her goodies! Her line is sold at various high-end retailers around the country, so you can go try on for yourself. (Click here for a complete list of stores.)
I knew that title would get your attention! So the other day I found myself with a little time to kill between appointments in Union Square. So what’s a jewelry blogger to do with this time? Well… I decided to visit Neiman’s and take myself on a virtual shopping spree, where I could pick out the top five pieces I’d like to own, and with an open-ended budget — the sky is the limit! (It’s a great fantasy, right?!) I was so happy that Lea Kushnir, my go-to sales associate, had some time open as well, and she loved my idea! So off we went, and here’s what I picked out. (in no particular order of preference, by the way)
Chocolate and black diamond ring by Bessa, $13,750
I was at a poolside party in Las Vegas when a beautiful girl walked up to me.
“Is that dress by Figue?”
“Why yes it is — how do you even know it?” (Figue is a tremendous line, but it’s sold only online, at its boutique in NYC, and at two seasonal pop-up shops.)
“Well that’s the dress I used on my cover model for my latest jewelry campaign!”
Clearly we have similar tastes, and I was so excited to find out that she, Jessica Hendricks, also founded a jewelry line that is really making a difference in our world. After spending time in South East Asia, she was just devastated by the way so many Cambodian women are being victimized by human trafficking. In addition, the Cambodian culture is still recovering from the country’s genocide in the 1970’s. So in 2012 she decided to take action, and created The Brave Collection, where all the jewelry is 100% hand-crafted by Cambodian women who come from underprivileged backgrounds. Jessica has used, ” ..her passion to use fashion as an avenue for activism, empowering women with job opportunities, spreading awareness, and donating 10% of profits to the fight.” Bravo!!
These hand-woven bracelets and necklaces are lovely on their own, or easy to layer with other pieces.
Here’s a shot of one of the artisans carving the metal piece for a bracelet.
And the finished product.
The latest collection, called the Limitless Collection “..reminds us to draw strength from the bravery within to explore our dreams, without limits. The motif on this bracelet is inspired by the Buddhist flag, representing wisdom and compassion.”
Worn and supported by celebrities such as Olivia Wilde and Sara Bareillis, and featured in press from Lucky Magazine to Vogue to The Huffington Post, I’m really excited to discover this line. For more information on this amazing endeavor, please take 3 minutes to watch the video below. (If it’s just a black box, then click here to watch it online.)
And to just think, that if I hadn’t been wearing that particular dress at that particular party, I would have missed the opportunity to meet Jessica and learn about how she’s making a difference in the world through jewelry… In addition to having an online shop, you can also click here to find other retail locations.
I was at the jewelry counter at Neiman’s the other day working on a story, and up walked this lovely woman, clearly on a mission. And given that she was holding a necklace, I knew it was one of my favorite types of missions — finding earrings to coordinate with her necklace. Lucky for me, she was open for my assistance in process. Here’s the necklace she brought, with beautiful beads accented by a large polki diamond bead.
I inquired about the necklace’s designer, and she explained that friends of her daughter, Lauren, had made the necklace. Once I explained that I was an image consultant and jewelry blogger, she quickly picked up the phone to ask Lauren the designer’s name. NO surprise to me, it was made by The Woods, who I l-o-v-e, and who I interviewed a while back. (Click here to read that story.)
Vicki, the woman-on-a-mission, was going to wear this with a natural linen-colored outfit to an event up in Napa.
“So I think that a simple diamond hoop would be great with this, don’t you think?”
“I’ve got those, and they just don’t work…”
“Are they too refined for the style of the necklace?”
“That’s exactly right! Too refined!”
She was going for a coordinating, yet not overly-polished look for the earrings. Some oxidized silver with diamonds hit the perfect note, and we certainly knew the right designer’s case to find them in, that of Irit Design, another over my total faves! (Click here to read my interview with her.) And there they were, just waiting to be tried on.
The mix was perfect. The earrings were a compliment to the necklace, but they didn’t overpower it, so the focus is still on the necklace. Since the hoops were a modified shape, they really add some interest, and it’s not a shape she currently had in her jewelry box. In addition, these will be a great choice for her everyday options, as they’re great on their own when just running around the city. This gives them great cost-per-wear. If they were some big, fancy earring that could only be worn for special occasions, they wouldn’t have been nearly as cost-effective.
So not only did this encounter involve two of my most loved jewelry lines, but it was great to meet Vicki, and I have a feeling that I may be lunching with her and her daughter sometime soon! Hope that she had a great time at her event!
I may not be married, engaged, or heck, even boyfriended, but that certainly doesn’t stop me from going to try on some of the most gorgeous wedding rings out there! I mean really, isn’t this the JOB of a jewelry blogger?! I definitely think so. With the upcoming bridal event happening at all three SF locations of Gallery of Jewels, I was psyched to go check out the rings and give them a try today!
The event will take place July 11-27th, and it’ll feature over 20 different designers. Today I learned that many are debuting their first bridal line, such as Sakura Haru (shown in the photo below) and Corey Egan.
Instead of feeling like I was in the land of the traditional solitaire (absolutely NO offense if that’s your personal style), my eyes were darting from case to case wondering what to try on next! Here’s some of the rings which really caught my eye (and finger…just sayin’).
Now trust me, you don’t need to be engaged to attend this event. I have (no surprise) purchased a ring or two for myself at this event in past years. If you’re into beautiful rings, then stop by one of the locations, regardless of the status of your dating life! I promise you won’t regret it!
It’s amazing to me how some people have a gift of knowing something is hot, even before the rest of the world is in on the secret. This is one of the many talents that jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche possesses. Back in 2009, Jacquie made her first finger bracelet, with a singular diamond. 5 years later, this is a full-fledged trend here in the US, and Jacquie was most definitely ahead of the curve. She now has multiple versions, such as this one with 13 diamonds.
This bohemian goddess is the mother of two, and began designing on the side about 15 years ago. She knew she was on to something when business just flowed in, and pretty soon her entire garage turned into her jewelry studio.
She was showing some stunning knuckle rings which span a few fingers. I tried on a labradorite one — amaze-balls!
Here’s a display from her case at the Couture show, which has one in shades of green.
It’s really hard to describe the instant bond I felt with Jacquie, but it was as if I’d known her for ages. She is one of those people who glows with happiness from the inside, and I truly believe she sees the beauty in everything, from each and every stone she hand-selects for her pieces to the flowers in her garden. Life just makes her happy!
Body chains are another of Jacquie’s specialties, and she described them to me as, “..modern day lingerie. They can be worn under your bra, just for you, your boyfriend, husband, whatever..”
No longer a solo operation in her garage, Jacquie is now so grateful to have 12 people on her team, and each piece is still made right in Los Angeles. One of the items she spent quite a bit of time introducing me to are her Blesslev amulets. When she met with a spiritual mystic 5 years ago, they were inspired by the concept, “When you concentrate on the core of who you are, and the true blessings you’ve been given, finding your inner joy and peace comes easy.” So these special amulets house a gratitude list and a Kabbalistic mantra in a beautiful shagreen pouch.
While also famous for her ear jackets, where part of the earring is suspended below your earlobe, she’s also now focusing on adorning the feet. If you want to see more, you can find some of her line, many items at lower price points, on Shopbop, in addition to the retail portion of her website.
Basically, when I left Jacquie’s booth, I felt like I had just taken a trip to a bejeweled, inner realm of happiness and optimism. While I don’t necessarily look like the woman in the photo below, it’s how I felt in my heart. Many thanks for the time you spent with me, Jacquie.
Sometimes the universe is just brilliant — how you can cross paths with someone at just the right time, without any planning or forethought. That’s just what happened yesterday. I was checking out the latest and greatest at Gallery of Jewels in Union Square (I know…shocker!) and once again eyeing this particular ring by Sakura Haru. I’ve tried it on more than once, and I love everything about it, from the mixed metals, to the weight and comfortable fit on my finger, to the sparkle of the diamonds.
Well wouldn’t you know it, but in walked Sakura to the boutique!
Though I clearly must have been keeping her from the mission that brought her into the store in the first place, she had a sense of ease and happiness as she let me barrage her with questions about her and her line. It turns out that she’s from Japan’s southernmost island, Okinawa, where the climate resembles Miami. (Who knew?!) And for Sakura, her line is inspired by this tropical island and “fun in the sun.”
I tried on a couple more pair of earrings…
The texture in this last pair of earrings is SO unique — part of her Paleo collection. That’s when I found out why she was actually there (drum roll…) to bring in her new body chain from this collection. How fun! You can wear it over a dress, under a tank, with just a hint showing… just use your imagination!
Designing the line for 8 years now, this San Francisco-based designer makes each and every piece herself. Her work is ethically made with recycled metals, conflict-free stones, and low-waste studio practices. She was fortunate to have an amazing art teacher in high school back in Japan who introduced her to jewelry making. Clearly, she was an effective and inspirational teacher, as Sakura’s line is just beautiful. As she says, her jewelry “appeals to women who embrace beauty in natural forms.”
Here’s a shot from her website, to give you more of a feel for her work. Definitely go check it out in person if this gets your jewelry heart pumping!