Flash Tattoos: Just a Flash in the Pan?

When spotted from across the room, I was wondering what this woman had around her neck. It wasn’t moving, so it couldn’t be an actual necklace. What was it? A flash tattoo.

flash tattoo necklaces
Flash Tattoos, a company founded in 2013 by Austin, Texas-based Miranda Burnett, has become a very hot trend, especially among the under-30 crew, and the beach community. It’s really quite clever, as you can get the look of a metallic tattoo or jewelry without the commitment to a life-time tat. (And no needles!) They last about 4-6 days if you take care of them properly.

It’s easy to mix them with your own bracelets.

flash tattoo bracelets
And there’s so many options, from body chains to finger nail accessories.

flash tattoo body chain
The gal wearing the flash tat necklace also had a subtle leaf on her neck.

flash tattoo leaf
So what’s your opinion? Have you tried wearing them? Would you? Do you think this will be a long-lasting trend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Tips to Getting the Gift You Really Want

Now that the holiday frenzy has subsided, I’ve been catching up with friends — lunching, taking a hike, or whatever suits us. There have been various conversations about what they received from their significant other for Christmas/Hanukkah. Many had received a pricey piece of jewelry, yet it wasn’t what they would have necessarily picked for themselves. Now trust me, they are all very appreciative, and they were so grateful that their partner went to the effort of picking something out for them. As the old saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” Right? Well…yes…but why can’t there be an even better solution: the thought combined with getting what you really want? It’s a win-win situation!

No one can read your mind, so I think it’s extremely helpful to tastefully give suggestions about what you might like. I’m not talking writing, “I want an Hermes wrap watch with an orange band” in red lipstick on his bathroom mirror. Instead, here are some ideas that will give him some direction, yet still give the gift-giver room for choosing the actual item. So here goes…

1. Create a Pinterest board

Personally, I have a Pinterest board entitled “My Jewelry Lust List” where I pin things I’ve seen that make my heart race. Trust me, if I were to receive anything from this board, I’d be doing a little happy dance!

my jewelry lust list
This is a public board, so it would be a very easy place for someone to see what I’m jonesing for without having to ask me for ideas.

2. Have a Style File

Not everyone is a lover of tech, so then go old-school. I have a decorative file folder which lives prominently on my desk, and it’s chock-full of things I covet (Yes, I’m a total sinner!), from jewelry to bags to shoes.

style file
It would be oh, so easy, for someone to peek into it and see what my heart’s desire was. It’s accessible, but not too” in-your-face.”

3. Create a wish list at your favorite store

Pretty much all my fave local stores have the option for someone to create a wish list from their merchandise. Even though I’m single, I still have wish lists going at different jewelry stores. I know you’ll be so *not* surprised, but I’m always popping in shops and trying things on. Of course, my credit card does have a limit, so I can’t buy everything I love. So instead, I pop it on the list. Here’s an Arik Kastan ring that’s currently on one of my lists.

arik kastan labradorite ring
When the day comes that I’ve got someone shopping for me, he’ll be sure to know which stores I love to frequent. Then, he can stop by at his leisure to check out my list, and see if any of the items are something he’d like to give me. Again, it gives him options without being pushy. Plus, there’s still an element of surprise for the recipient.

4. Contact the wardrobe consultant

I always know it’s December when I start getting messages from my clients’ husbands. I just love it! They know that their wife and I have a very close shopping relationship, and who better than me to give them some gift suggestions for their wives? I know everything in their closet, their jewelry box, what sizes work, and what’s on their needs/wants list. Even better, I can go purchase the item, wrap it, and deliver it to the house. How much easier can it get? So if you’re someone who works with an image consultant, be sure that your partner has their contact information!

5. Tell a friend

If you were a Sex in The City devotee like me, then you’ll remember the episode where Aidan proposes to Carrie. Though Carrie thought she knew the (bad) ring she’d be getting, Aidan had the smarts to enlist the help of one of her besties, Samantha, to help pick out the (fabulous) ring that she knew would knock her socks off. (Although it annoyed me that she wore it on a necklace instead of her finger. Commitment issues, anyone?!)

Aidan and Carrie
So think about the friends you have that your significant other may go to for gift advice. This friend may even be a family member, such as your sister-in-law or mom. Keep these people in the loop with what you’d like, so they have some ideas if asked.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and jewelry is certainly a popular gift on that day, so decide what strategy may work for you, and go for it. Perhaps you even have some other clever ideas? If so, please leave them in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you!

And finally, if you find yourself single on Valentine’s Day (hello, Amy), then don’t despair! I always use the money I would have spent on “him” to buy myself something sparkly. There’s absolutely NO reason that I should have no boyfriend and no jewels! I can take care of myself, thank you very much.

Tribal Necklace: Jewelry Judge

As I entered one of my favorite restaurants on Burlingame Avenue for lunch the other day, my attention went straight to the necklace the lovely woman behind the counter was wearing.

cary lane neckalce
I loved the mixed media, the angles, the sparkle, and the scale. Then I started to take in the whole picture. I noticed that the cream tones in the rope were a nice blend with the off-white blouse she was wearing. And then my eyes drifted down to her pants, which were a very tribal black and cream print.

tribal pattern pants
The pattern was an echo of the large, brass chevron at the bottom of the necklace, which really created a nice flow to the whole outfit.

tribal statement necklace
I appreciate how she kept the rest of her accessories very clean–no rings or bracelets, and simple earrings. The whole ensemble flattered her natural coloring, and the necklace brought your attention right to her smiling face.

After accosting her with questions (She bought the necklace at Cary Lane in San Francisco.) and my iPhone camera, I finally let her take me to a table. Sometimes talking about jewelry is just more important than eating! 😉

McLees Jewelry Design MultiStrand Clasp

I’ve had quite a few readers contact me the past few years asking for advice on how to effectively layer necklaces without getting them all tangled up.  I’m here to share a solution to that question. I can’t even recall exactly how I first became (virtually) acquainted with Nancy McLees, but it’s likely through my Jewelry Fashion Tips Facebook page. (If you haven’t “liked” it, be sure to, as there’s 1-2 tantalizing images a day!) Nancy is the the designer and patent-holder of the MultiStrand Clasp, which allows you to create your own layered combination, with only one clasp. I was able to try it out recently, with some strands of pearls and aquamarines, made by Nancy. With this clasp, you can hang various numbers of strands, in different combinations. This example has five strands on the clasp.

nancy mclees multistrand clasp
Here’s what Nancy had to say about her invention.

Tell me about how you originally came up with the idea for the MultiStrand Clasp.

The concept of the MultiStrand Clasp began with my gorgeous five-strand necklace of graduated cultured pearls. I rarely wore them, and I thought that if they could somehow come off the clasp, and were “singles” I could wear any number of them together, and free them from a life of darkness!

When I finally came up with the design for the MultiStrand Clasp I realized how it opened up a new way of creating beautiful interchangeable necklaces to wear everyday! My fabulous pearls were free, and the “necklace du jour” is now a part of the “stacking” revolution in the jewelry world!


The five strands of pearls on the MultiStrand Clasp
The five strands of pearls on the MultiStrand Clasp

The strands that work on your clasp have a (jump) ring on each end, as opposed to a typical necklace, which has a ring and a clasp at either end. Is there a way to transform regular necklaces to work on your clasp?

Yes, you can transform or convert most of your necklaces that use a traditional lever clasp (spring ring clasp and lobster claw clasp) and ring. This can be done by adding a closed jump ring to the clasp side, and a split ring to the ring side. These are available at craft and bead stores.

Traditional pearl clasps are not so easily converted…However, if you haven’t had your pearls restrung in a while (or since Grandma wore them), this is a great time to think about having them become a fabulous, versatile part of your wardrobe! They can be stacked with other pearls, chains, and colored beads and gemstones…and all designed by you for whatever you are wearing that day!

So often I will go into shops I frequent, and the girls say, “So, what did you put together today?” It makes them smile…and me too!


This shows traditional necklaces converted to work with the clasp.
This shows traditional necklaces converted to work with the clasp.

You have finished necklaces for sale on your website. Do you ever take custom orders?

I love designing custom pieces! Nothing makes me happier than a client who has a necklace they need made new. Often they will hand me a sack of broken assorted strands of vintage beads, several generations of loose pearls, or a bag of of beads they purchased at a bead show (they were going to learn how to string them) and well….they’re still in the baggy with the receipt!

Bridal is another area of design work that I do and love. Brides and bridesmaids are happy people who want to have fun and look fabulous! Often, the bride has given a great deal of thought about her wedding day, and how it all should look!

I am happy to work long distance (with help from photos and a tape measure).

The world of “stacking” has been easy for rings and bracelets. Not so for the necklace! Too many clasps on the back of the neck bunching, and tangling is not a good thing. The MultiStrand Clasp is the solution for liberating your beautiful necklaces, and I would love to help!

I often wonder if Coco Chanel would have thought this was cool idea… I hope so…


Here's an example of a custom order.
Here’s an example of a custom order.


A different combination of strands.
A different combination of strands.

JK Findings, who manufactures the MultiStrand Clasp, created a helpful video to show you how the clasp works. (By the way, if you’re reading this on an RSS feed, and it looks like a black box, just click through to the actual blog post to see the video.)

I’ve enjoyed seeing this invention at work, and I’m going to give it a try with some of my own necklaces. If you’d like to find out more, then visit her website. Thanks, Nancy!

mclees multistrand clasp

Delphine Nardin: Sea Glass Jewelry

I’m sure it’s no surprise that after my pre-Christmas sea glass find of a lifetime (click here if you missed the excitement!), that I’ve spent a bit of time looking at sea glass jewelry online. There are so many talented artists, but one I came across, Delphine Nardin from Paris, really takes it to a whole new level by incorporating diamonds in her designs. I’ve never seen the two combined, and I think the result is fantastic!

delphine nardin bracelet
Love these rings, with their delicate bezel-set diamonds.

delphine nardin pebble rings
The color combination on this circle pendant is most definitely unique — not your typical blues, greens, and aquas you often find in sea glass jewelry. Don’t you think it’s sophisticated?

delphine nardin ring pendant
Not all of her sea glass pieces include diamonds, but they are equally as lovely. This necklace is one of my favorites. It’s so ethereal and goddess-like.

delphine nardin necklace
Guess I better sign off and go pack up my wetsuit and booties. Going to hit the beach tomorrow again in search of the ultimate treasure. I hope your 2015 is off to a great start!

10 Red-Carpet Worthy Evening Bags

The awards season officially opens this Sunday, with the Golden Globes. For me, the Red Carpet is usually more of a draw than the actual show (but shhh…don’t tell the actors!), as I sit perched on my couch with my cocktail and notebook in hand, awaiting the elegant gowns and jewels…or the ensembles worthy of a fashion citation. But it’s not only the actual jewelry that is sparkling, but also the evening bags and shoes. In my book, they count as a whole other category of jewelry. Don’t you agree?

With that in mind, I went on a virtual shopping spree to find some bejeweled and sparkling bags that are definitely worthy of the Red Carpet. Some are a major investment, while others are not. Here they are, in no particular order. (And if you’re interested in finding out more, then just click on the blue links for each one.)

Diane von Furstenburg

diane von furstenberg 440 stardust envelope clutch

marchesa lily medium python oval box clutch
Edie Parker

edie parker flavia confetti acrylic clutch


milly aztec gold frame clutch

gucci broadway beaded leather clutch

maiyet embroidered venus clutch
Whiting & David

whiting & david gia crystal & bead clutch

glint ombre crystal clutch

rauwolf labyrinth minaudiere
Judith Leiber (various colors and monograms available)

judith leiber couture monogram crystal slide-lock clutch
When you find yourself getting ready for a fancy night out, don’t forget that your bag is an important part of your outfit. I encourage my clients to make sure they have a few great selections in their closet, so that they are never left with having to ask their husband or significant other to carry their phone and lipstick in their sport coat.

Speaking of which, definitely think about what you need with you on a night out, as that will determine the size bag you need.  For instance, if you need an epi-pen with you at all times, make sure to have that with you when you shop, so you can make sure it fits in your evening bag. And also consider if there are any prongs or other things that may catch the delicate fabric of your outfit. You wouldn’t want that to happen!

Start with choosing a a bag or two in versatile neutrals (which may include a metallic) that will mix and match with your wardrobe. It’s an investment that many don’t consider when building their wardrobe, but it’s an important one. Many people just leave their bag as an afterthought, which I don’t recommend.

I, myself, recently found a great, simple black one on clearance during the holiday sales. It’s patent (which is now a year-round material), with a neutral metal long strap, so I can go hands-free. Yes, it still cost a pretty penny, but I then came home and got rid of all my old “prom-y” looking ones. I know I’ll get great cost-per-wear with this one, and I feel much more confident having a stylish choice in my closet, instead of having to weed through bags I don’t particularly love, while I’m trying to get out the door. In fact, I’ve already used it three times since purchasing it in December. Not bad, right?

Hope this article got you thinking about the evening bags in your own closet, and if you watch The Golden Globes, enjoy the fashion show!

Toby Pomeroy: Designer

I believe one of life’s greatest gifts is when a person finds their true passion in life, and then can make a living pursuing it. This is exactly what happened to Toby Pomeroy. Gracefully allowing me to interview him during his lunch break at the JCK show in Las Vegas, Toby described how he discovered his love for jewelry design. He was in medical school, but signed up for a jewelry making class as an elective during his senior year. His professor, Max Nixon, could clearly see he had a talent, and gave him a key to the jewelry lab so that he could work any time he wanted. Toby was hooked (He said he practically lived in that lab!), and he never looked back.


Amy and Toby
Amy and Toby

Toby has a gentleness about him and a sparkle in his eye! He was so open and eager to tell me about his work. One of the things that he’s world-known for is his commitment to environmentally sustainable, socially responsible jewelry. He explained to me that his real focus is on the impact of the mining industry, and he says it’s up to jewelers to request ethically sourced materials. He, himself, goes down to the mines in Columbia and works directly with the miners, staying with families there. He told me how they’re so proud of what they do, and they never thought that they’d be recognized for their hard work. This is amazing to hear! Here are a few photos he shared with me, including the mine entrance at the Canada mine, and a couple images from La Llanada. What a gold nugget!

Cart at Canada mine entrance
La Llanada molino
La Llanada gold nugget
Due to Toby’s efforts in refining re-claimed metals in cooperation with Hoover & Strong refiners, he launched EcoGold and EcoSilver in 2006, which has started a new revolution in sustainability in the world of jewelry. Toby sets the standard with True Gold, which is described as, “…TRUE GOLD™ jewelry uses completely traceable gold, platinum, diamonds and gemstones, showing complete authenticity from mine to market. When you purchase source certified TRUE GOLD™, you are supporting Fair Trade and Fair Mining efforts, conflict-free diamonds, and environmental responsibility.”

Now that you’re surely excited about the materials, let’s take a look at Toby’s beautiful designs. He’s most famous for his Eclipse hoops, which I first saw at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco. Toby described them to me as, “..an elegant marriage of form and function.” This photo shows a style with a shiny finish and diamonds.

Toby Pomeroy Brilliant Eclipse Community
I loved this Orchid cuff I tried on at the show. Its blackened EcoSilver with a dash of diamonds is just lovely!

toby pomeroy cuff
Another shape, which is a modification of his classic Eclipse, is the Oval Eclipse collection.

toby pomeroy oval eclipse jewelry
The texture on his pieces are all hand-forged, with the help of his wonderful crew, Hank Hermansen and Rachel Richardson.


Rachel and Hank
Rachel and Hank

Imagine the work that goes into pieces like these, from the Oasis collection.

toby pomeroy oasis two-tone earrings
Or in these delicate Ginko earrings..

toby pomeroy ginkgo earrings with diamonds
Toby also incorporates colored gem stones into some of his creations, such as in these earrings from the Comet Collection.

toby pomeroy comet earrings
While every piece is produced at his studio in Oregon, you can find his line around the globe. Click here for a store locater guide. It was an absolute pleasure to meet Toby and learn about the positive impact he’s making in the world!