K/ller Collection @ Sucre in NYC

When I’m looking for new boutique to visit, I have a strategy. I usually start by picking a designer I love; in this case (while I was in New York City) I chose Raquel Allegra, a clothing designer that I have a very hard time finding in the SF Bay Area. My thinking is that if a boutique carries this line, then surely they’ll have other things that will interest me as well. So far, this strategy has worked out pretty darn well, and I end up discovering lots of places I normally wouldn’t have stumbled upon.

One of the stores that popped up on this recent search was Sucre in the West Village, and it wasn’t a far walk from where I was staying in the Meat Packing area. It’s not an overly-large space, but it’s chock full of goodies! And I’m sure you won’t be surprised, but this case of jewelry is what really got my attention.

k/ller collection jewelry
The mixed metals, the slightly bohemian flair..it just spoke to me. I learned that it’s all from a line called K/ller Collection, from Brooklyn-based designers. You can read their story here. And just today, I learned that they are the Grand Prize winners of the 2014 CFDA/Lexus Eco-Fashion Challenge, sponsored by Lexus. Congrats!

The first necklace I tried on was this one. It’s made from three hand-cast brass porcupine quills.

k/ller collection  necklace
I also had a hard time taking off this more dramatic design.

k/ller collection necklace
You know what a fan I am of horns, so these necklaces definitely made me smile!

k/ller collection necklaces
Look at the detail in the carving!

k/ller collection necklace
I’m so glad that I discovered this shop and this jewelry line. If you’re lucky enough to be wandering around the West Village, definitely stop in!

Orange is The New Bling

I’ve been inundated with the color orange as of late, between Halloween, the San Francisco Giant’s being in the World Series, the leaves changing outside my window…pretty much everywhere except in my jewelry box. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I rarely see jewelry with orange stones. Why is that? Is it a color many don’t prefer? Perhaps it’s because there aren’t as many varieties of stones with an orange hue? (In fact, how many can you name?) I’m really not quite sure.

At any rate, I took myself on another of my infamous virtual shopping sprees with no budget (like the one I took with green stones this past March). Before I knew it, hours (yes, hours!) had slipped by, but I had found some stunning pieces in so many different shades of orange. Here are my fave finds, in no particular order. Enjoy!


Orange coral was one of the first things that jumped into my mind when I thought about orange jewelry, and this pair of earrings by Annette Ferdinandsen are just beautiful.

annette ferninandsen coral earrings
Ray Griffiths designed these with a lovely orange harmony in carnelian and amber.

ray griffiths earrings
Sethi Couture also has a lovely ombre effect in these diamond linear drop earrings.

sethi couture ombre multi-color linear drop earrings
Geodes are always a favorite of mine, and Kimberly McDonald used a stunning pair in these earrings.

kimberly mcdonald geode and diamond earrings
Mary Esses designed a party for your ears in gold, diamonds, and carnelian.

mary esses earrings
For a style with more angular lines, then these by Kothari are pretty amazing. It reminds me of photos I’ve seen of the sun’s surface!

kothari elements drusy quartz earrings

The traditional cameo was another image that popped into my head as I thought about jewelry with an orange hue. Amedeo takes the cameo to a whole new, modern level, as shown in this “see no evil” pendant.

amedeo see no evil cameo pendant
Jes MaHarry created an uber-cool necklace, with a wheel of coral, gold, diamonds, and a silver chain. its’ a very chic bohemian look, which I would layer with other necklaces in a heartbeat.

jes MaHarry necklace
This orange crystal and diamond necklace by Jacquie Aiche would be another great layering piece.

jacquie aiche twin orange crystal necklace
For more of an orange punch, then I’d go for this druzy agate pendant by Peppina.

peppina teardrop orange druzy agate pendant

Vaubel is a master with color in his designs, as demonstrated in this chunky bracelet.

steven vaubel bracelet
Nak Armstrong is another designer with impeccable use of color, this time with mandarin garnets.

nak armstrong mandarin garnet bangle
For a skinny layering piece, this orange garnet bead bracelet by Joseph Brooks makes me smile.

joseph brooks orange garnet bead bracelet
And let’s not forget adding the color orange in the form of a watch. I’d never say no to one by Hermes!

hermes heure h watch

Jane Bohan designed a substantial ring with citrine and diamonds.

jane bohan citrine and diamond ring
Mandrel Studio’s orange rustic diamond ring is so luxurious!

mandrel studio orange rustic diamond ring
I like the idea of adding a skinny stack ring with a pop of color, and Yossi Harari’s orange sapphire band would certainly fit the bill!

yossi harari orange sapphire ring
This Mexican fire opal and diamond ring by Jamie Joseph has intense complexity of color.

jamie joseph mexican fire opal ring with diamonds
Pomellato has a very sleek, modern design, also with a fire opal, complemented by rose gold.

pomellato fire opal ring
And last, but certainly not least, this intricate coral ring by the talented Cathy Waterman.

cathy waterman coral ring
Do you have any pieces to add to this list? Do you wear orange often? I’d love to hear all your opinions on the matter.

Lovin’ Long Necklaces

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about some of the statement necklaces I saw while out and about in Union Square (aka, “my office”) — these were shorter, statement necklaces, which are great at bringing attention up to your face. I don’t want you to think that long necklaces are not chic as well. They are a cool centerpiece for an outfit, and they can elongate your whole silhouette. Here’s a few I spotted downtown today that caught my attention.

This first one was worn by a young visitor from Denmark. She had just picked it up at Free People for a bargain price of $38, and I think it adds personality to her slub-knit white tee and leather jacket. (I also thought it was appropriately sexy that she chose to wear a dark bra under her shirt, don’t you?)

free people necklace
free people necklace
Not 10 minutes later I saw this lovely lady wearing an interesting layered combination, which includes two long necklaces. I think this is a novel idea on how to make a long strand of pearls, which can sometimes be challenging to wear in a current way, very stylish!

long layered necklaces
Next I just adore this long silver and horn pendant necklace by Pomellato. Since this gal is only 4’11”, she made the brilliant choice to knot the chain, which not only adds interest, but it makes the necklace the perfect length for her petite frame.

pomellato necklace
I think the fact that I wore a long necklace by Irit Design must have put the “long necklace vibe” out into the universe today.

Irit Designs necklace
So what about you? Do you have some long necklaces in your jewelry box? Are they a go-to for you? Or do you stick with shorter styles? I’d love to hear your opinions.

Urban Zen by Donna Karan

It was my last day in New York City before returning to San Francisco, and I wasn’t about to let the pouring rain deter me from hitting all the “must see” stores on my list. First up for the day was Urban Zen, an amazing concept store by designer Donna Karan. (Thanks to my friend, Michelle, for the hot tip!) When I spied this necklace through the front window, I knew I had found the place! This show-stopper is by Anna Srdic of South Africa.

urban zen jewelry
Tucked into a chic space in the West Village, this store is a gift for the senses. I wanted to see, touch, and try on everything! I was expecting simply a clothing line, and I had no idea that there would be home goods, Balinese furniture, and amazing jewelry nearly everywhere I turned. I think I had to do at least three tours of the store before I started taking it all in. The neutral palate was exactly up my alley, and the whole vibe was exotic (yet accessible and wearable), and wildly feminine. Dare I say subtly sexy?

urban zen nyc
There were different jewelry lines, some by individual artists, and others crafted by the team at Urban Zen, using assembled pieces from Haiti. And then other pieces are made in Haiti, with 100% of the proceeds going back to them. Haiti holds a very special place in Donna’s heart. She founded The Haiti Artisan project, which “promotes economic development through job creation and vocational education, helps raise awareness and highlights the creativity of Haiti’s artisans.” (Click here to read more about the story.) Here are some of the statement necklaces from The Haiti Artisan project.

the haiti project necklace

The long beads are mixed media, some of clay, and some from recycled cereal boxes.
The long beads are mixed media, some of clay, and some from recycled cereal boxes.

And these cow horn bracelets are so versatile! I learned that the community there utilizes the entire animal, with nothing going to waste. Amazing.

the haiti project horn bangles
This necklace is also made of horn, though in the form of large beads.

the haiti project necklace
There was a variety of cut leather pieces, all part of the Urban Zen collection.


Made of cut leather!
Made of cut leather!

urban zen necklace
Here’s a close-up of the cut-leather necklace.

urban zen necklace
I think my stand-out favorite from the Urban Zen collection was this leather masterpiece.

urban zen leather necklace
There were also many Anna Srdic necklaces on display throughout the shop. Their architectural genius is the perfect complement for the Urban Zen clothing line. And I must say, that they are surprisingly light, given their large size.

anna srdic necklaces
anna srdic necklace
Taking a look through her collections on her website, you can really get a feel for the whole Urban Zen look, and I have to say…I’m a BIG fan!

urban zen clothing
urban zen clothing

urban zen clothing
I’m going to use everything I saw for inspiration in future curation of my own wardrobe. The way the clothing is comfortable, yet flatters the feminine figure, making bold accessory choices, and being aware of how my dollars are spent — because there’s nothing like fashion that gives back. Thanks, Donna!

Spinelli Kilcollin Ring

Sometimes a girl has just got to splurge…perhaps a big pasta dinner, maybe a visit to a spa, or in my case, usually in the form of jewelry. I’ve had Spinelli Kilcollin on my radar for a while now, completely intrigued by his linked rings. Now trust me, I was certainly not planning on acquiring one of these beauties, but sometimes the jewelry stars just align, and who am I to fight it?! So here’s how it went down:

-I received an e-mail from Red Bird (fab Berkeley, CA boutique) that they were having a special 40% off promotion on certain items.
-I returned home from vacation and found myself with an unexpected day off during their promotion dates, as a client had to re-schedule. (Hmm…clean the apartment? No fun at all!)
-I figured it was undoubtedly a great idea to just “pop” across the bay to see what I could find, as I do have some fall/winter clothing needs.
-….and there it was.

spinelli kilkollin ring
With its artistic combination of silver, rose gold, a touch of yellow gold, and cognac diamonds, I just couldn’t resist. Can you blame me? And I’m having such a fun time exploring all the permutations I can create. Here’s how it looks laid out.

spinelli kilkollin ring
While I was trying it on, I stacked it with my Polly Wales band. Another shopper liked it so much, that she tried one on as well. (And yes, she walked out with one too!)

spinelli kilkollin rings

I can wear it spread out across four fingers.

spinelli kilkollin ring
Or I can double it up on two fingers.

spinelli kilkollin ring
And there’s no end to the possibilities when stacking it with other rings.

spinelli kilkollin ring
It turns out that the designer, Yves Spinelli, used to ride his trike around the hair salon his dad worked at in Honolulu..and one of his dad’s clients was Karen, the owner of Red Bird. I’m sure she never expected she’d be selling the jewelry designed by this toddler at her own store in California. I just love those small world stories! I also hope that I can one day meet him in person and see more of his work.

Barney’s has a nice selection of his rings on their website. But be warned that they are much more diamond-encrusted (and therefore substantially more of an investment) than the simpler style I got. There are a wide range of styles available on the Spinelli Kilcollin site as well.

If this ring is something that floats your boat, then I encourage you to try one on for yourself! I think you’ll be very pleased.

Nak Armstrong: Designer

My obsession with Nak Armstrong jewelry all started when I tried on this ring at Red Bird in Berkeley last year. (It’s the big one in the center of the stack.) I tried it on mixed with some of my own rings, gazed at it when worn on its own, and I must say that I’ve driven over the Bay Bridge more than once in the time since to visit my oh, so longed-for friend. I kid you not, that if I were to suddenly come into a lot of money, that this would be my absolute first jewelry purchase.

nak armstong ring
nak armstrong grey rustic and white diamond ring
Much to my delight, I was able to meet Nak, the extraordinary designer of this beauty, at a recent trunk show at Barney’s in San Francisco.

amy roseveare and nak armstrong
Nak’s kind, creative, and open personality makes me like his jewelry all the more. He spent a generous amount of time answering all my questions and giving me a tour of his latest and greatest. The first pair of earring that drew me in are these hoops. The clever design has a right and a left, so that they hang just so.

nak armstrong earrings
nak armstrong earrings
This Austin-based designer launched his signature line in 2011, though he has been designing since the late 90’s. (You may remember Anthony Nak, which was a line he co-founded.) Every piece is hand fabricated in the USA. The colors of stones he uses are so intriguing to me — they are very nuanced..deep and moody, with incredible depth. Here’s an array in his classic style of bangle.

nak armstrong bangles
He also showed me some new bracelets, which are flexible and quite fabulous.

nak armstrong bracelets
Nak’s jewelry combines the feel of Roman mosaics with Art Deco. He finds joy in imperfections, and sources inspiration from clothing, textiles and architecture. The result is a “tapestry of color,” as he told me. Take a look at these incredible earring designs.

nak armstrong earrings
nak armstrong earrings
nak armstrong sunstone and labradorite earrings
nak armstrong earrings
nak armstrong mosaic spike earrings
nak armstrong labradorite and quartz earrings
Nak’s wider band rings are perfect worn in stacks. Here’s my friend Jen, wearing two of hers paired with a couple skinnier rings.

nak armstrong rings
You can see the detail in this image of an aquamarine and emerald design.

nak armstrong aquamarine and emerald mosaic ring
There were also some daintier rings at the trunk show, and I tried on these.

nak armstrong rings
When not designing jewelry, you can find Nak and his (delightful) partner having Netflix marathons in their recently renovated home. I so enjoyed seeing some photos of their new space, with its clean lines and well-edited decor. Clearly, his creativity spans many avenues.

If you’re interested in seeing more of his work, there are nice selections online at Barney’s, Twist and Ylang 23. Thanks to Nak and Walter for spending so much time with me!

Piling on the Rings in Soho: Jewelry Judge

Shopping in Soho is always one of the highlights when working in New York City. I love the uneven brick streets, the deeelish restaurants, and of course, visiting the boutiques. This trip my client and I stumbled across Zimmermann, a feminine and forward-thinking line from Australia. (Click here if you’d like a peek at the kick-a** dress my client purchased.) But I digress…the other thing that really got my attention was the hands of Ashley, the gal assisting us.

stacked gold rings
Somehow, she was able to select a handful of vintage rings and pile them on in just the perfect way. While they are not necessarily delicate rings, they created a creative statement which didn’t feel heavy whatsoever. She told me that she has a bowl full of vintage rings, and chooses different ones each day. Most are from Awoke Vintage in Brooklyn.

Just a short time later, we found ourselves exploring Melissa Joy Manning’s incredible store. (She also has a store in Berkely, CA.) And here, yet another hand stacked away, this time on Michael. He told me this was a “minimal” jewelry day for him.

stacked silver rings
stacked silver rings
And notice how his wrist tattoo adds to the whole look? I love it! These are both great examples of how to stack more substantial rings, and still make it work. Have you tried doing this? I think I may have to go play in my jewelry box and see what I can come up with.

All Choked Up: The Modern Choker

It all started when I saw this sleek, sculptural piece on a model from the Jason Wu S/S 15 runway show. He had my attention.

jason wu s/s 15 necklace
And then I came across this silver hook choker by Acne Studios while cruising around online.

acne studios chistelle silver hook necklace

Never having tried on a solid choker necklace like this, I was intrigued. And what better place to explore what I think is a hot trend, than during my time working in NYC this past week. My client was totally on board (I love her sense of jewelry adventure!), and we found the perfect rendition for her in the form of a Jennifer Fisher rose gold ball choker at Owen in the Meatpacking district. (The balls can be worn in the back or in front.) Instead of wearing it solo, we paired it with an Efva Attling necklace we had purchased the previous fall. In addition, the mix of rose and yellow gold is a strong part of my client’s personal style. Perfect!

jennifer fisher choker
Jennifer Fisher also shows how you can layer two chokers together.

jennifer fisher chokers
During my week in New York, I saw quite a few different styles. You know how when you’re shopping for a car, you suddenly see the one you want all over the place? I think that same phenomenon was going on with chokers. Here’s an edgy one by Eddie Borgo.

eddie borgo bicone hinged choker
Jules Smith has an ultra-clean design.

jules smith americana choker
If this really seems like something that would work with your wardrobe and you’d like to make more of an investment, then you may like this style by Balenciaga.

balenciaga asymmetrica bow choker
I tried on this Celine necklace while at Barney’s. It’s still a sleek choker, but with an addition of a geometric pendant. It was surprisingly comfortable on my neck, and I keep thinking about it…

celine choker
So what’s your opinion? Is this a necklace design that piques your interest? I’d love to hear from you.

Bling for Your Dog: Limitless Pawsibilities

Though I don’t have a pet, I can certainly appreciate that those who do may want their four-legged friend to sparkle like they do! Limitless Pawsibilities is a Dublin, California-based company that, “…strives to support dog owners in having a positive bond and healthy relationship with their dog through understanding, positive training, and management strategies.” Along with their training services, this month they are launching a new part of their site, which has the perfect dog tags for your pampered pooch. Here’s Echo, modeling one of the designs.

limitless pawsibilities dog tag
limitless pawsibilities dog tag
Certified dog trainer, Julee Samuli (who I’ve known since middle school) is the talent behind this new product. You can select from a variety of tag shapes, different metals, and fun stamps to really express your dog’s style.

tag shapes
design stamps
Then you can even add little decorative charms to make it even more fun.

dog tag charms
dog tag charms
There are so many choices on the site, so definitely check it out. Julee designs both single and double-sided tags. If you’re stumped on what choice to make, then Julee can come up with a “surprise me” design of her choice, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased with what arrives in your mailbox!

limitless pawsibilities dog tags
Please send me a photo of your pet wearing one of these darling tags! And if you’re looking for a unique gift for a pet-loving friend this coming holiday season, this would be ideal.


Julee Samuli and her pals
Julee Samuli and her pals