Melissa Kaye is a New York-based jeweler who works with 18K gold, diamonds, and precious stones. I was very pleased to meet her at the Couture show in Las Vegas, and I was immediately taken with her earrings. Now this is certainly not to say that her necklaces, bracelets and rings aren’t fantastic (which they are!), but for this article I want to focus on the earrings. Here’s a shot of a woman wearing three of her designs in a perfectly harmonious combination.
Don’t you just adore the shape of the hoop, with its elongated, pointed shape? It’s her Cristina earring, and it comes in three sizes. Her Catherine earring is another take on the hoop, and I’m always looking for chic variations on this classic.
Melissa has a background in finance, but she’s had a life-long interest in jewelry.(#preachingtothechoir) She attended FIT, and now has been in business over two years. She describes her line as, “modern edge to classic shapes.” I think that’s a perfect description.
She has a variety of long, dangling earrings with great movement. Here’s a few I saw at the show.
Speaking of studs, this line has it going on! Here’s 9 different styles I was drooling over at the show. I seriously could not choose my favorite one…perhaps the one on the lower left? As Melissa told me, “It’s a lot of detail in not a lot of space.” So true — it’s like a whole little universe in each earring.
She also has an array of ear climbers which are perfect to mix and match with all her designs.
This is just the tip of the Melissa Kaye iceberg, my friends! If you want to see more, then check out her website, or see her work in person at these retailers.
Thanks, Melissa, for introducing me to your line — it was an absolute pleasure!
I also want to thank all of you, my lovely readers, for your dedication to my blog. I am going to take the next couple weeks off to enjoy the holidays, but you can still get daily doses of bling on my Facebook page and Instagram feed. I wish you and your families a joyous holiday and I’ll see you in 2017!
When Earthworks retired and closed their doors on Main Street in Los Altos, CA, I know I wasn’t the only one who was bummed out and wondering where to go for stylish jewelry in the area. Well get excited, as Sethi Couture has taken over the space and opened a sumptuous showroom! Carrying an array of designers, walking into this showroom is like walking into a bejeweled haven that I just didn’t want to leave!
The perfectly worn rug, the light wood floors, the Murano chandeliers — I was taking interior design inspiration for sure. As I strolled around the cases, I was pleased at the variety of designers. If you like delicate designs, you’ll be happy to see the collection from Wwake.
If you love color and pieces with a more exotic flair, then check out Arman Sarkisyan.
Perhaps work in bold silver is your cup of tea. Then you’re surely going to love the work by Jill Platner.
And of course, there is NO shortage of diamonds and sparkle from Sethi Couture themselves.
This is just a few of the many designers featured in this chic showroom. In addition to the jewels, there is also a lovely selection of lifestyle treasures, just as pottery, aromatherapy and bags by Basil Racuk.
By now, I’m sure you’re wanting to visit this new destination, right? Well mark your calendars for this Sunday, December 11. They’ll be having a trunk show with some extra holiday cheer. Hope you can make it!
Today I want to share with you a fabulous website, Treat Yourself. This site it definitely more than just a gift guide; it’s a curated collection of jewels, hand-selected by Third Coast Gems (Benjamin Guttery) and DiamonDoodles (Hannah Becker) — truly a virtual store. I’ve gotten to know both of them the past few years, and I can certainly can vouch for their eye and discerning taste.
Before I dive into the gems themselves, I first need to tell you how much I adore the name: Treat Yourself! If you’ve been following me over the years, you’ll know that I’m a HUGE proponent of self-gifting, especially when it comes to the holidays, my birthday, heck, even a random Tuesday. (I explained the origins of this 5 years ago in my article entitled “The Boyfriend Gift.”) So don’t look at this site as only a gift guide for others, but for yourself as well.
Ok, so back to Treat Yourself. There are currently 23 talented jewelry designers represented, 15 of which I have met personally and seen their work up close and personal. (Note to self: meet the other 8 designers in 2017!) There is a wide range of price points available, including various options starting in the $300-ish range, on up.
I want to highlight some of the pieces from the site, but there’s absolutely no way that I can pick my favorites. To solve this dilemma, I thought it would be fun to do it within my Jewelry Box Basics paradigm. This is where I’ve defined six different personal styles: The Lady who Lunches, The Bohemian, The Rock Star, The Minimalist, The Romantic and Trendy Gal. With these categories in mind, I’ll show you one possible piece that would likely suit each one very well. Granted, no one falls 100% into any one category, but you may find yourself gravitating to one of these styles as you read on.
The Lady who Lunches
This is certainly not to say this woman only goes to lovely lunches — in fact you’ll often find her on the board of local charities and in charge of events in the community. She likes luxe looks while she makes a difference. This Daria de Konig necklace gives that exact punch she would love.
With the warm breezes of Bali in her heart, the bohemian yearns for jewelry with color and movement. These opal and aquamarine earrings from Margery Hirschey fit the bill.
The Rock Star
No, she doesn’t actually have to be in a band, but her heart has that rocker vibe and her closet likely houses both combat boots and a lot of black. Skulls are a perfect motif for her jewlery, as is this Crystal Coffin Momento Mori ring by The Moonstoned.
While the romantic is often a lover of antique jewlery, that’s not to say she doesn’t love new sentimental designs with stars, hearts, etc. and an extremely feminine flair. Sara Weinstock’s diamond earrings (which come in three colors of gold) would certainly make her heart sing.
The Trendy Gal
This woman subscribes to all the fashion mags and visits Net-a-Porter daily to see the latest and greatest in the world of fashion. Knowing that bold color and oxidized silver are hot, hot, hot, she’ll surely want these Delphine Leymarie rings tied up with a sparkling bow.
Now that I’ve piqued your interest, have fun exploring the offerings on Treat Yourself! And don’t forget to self-gift this holiday season!
One of the things I love about my mom is her creative, artsy style. One of her style signatures is typically wearing some sort of statement necklace. They don’t have to be expensive, but they’ve got to have that “wow” factor — and trust me, she’s got quite an eclectic collection growing. The problem? They are not the easiest thing to store. Traditional jewelry boxes are definitely not an option. And though we did try to convert the top drawer in her dresser into an organized system, it just didn’t work. The necklaces didn’t play well together, and they didn’t want to stay in their compartments, if they even fit in the first place.
Inspired by some ideas we saw on Pinterest, we decided to make use of some unused space in her closet. The cabinet-maker who had outfitted her garage built three vertical, pull-out peg-boards. They fit perfectly into the under-utilized space. Here’s a couple shots of them after they were installed.
We went with plastic Hook Style Pegs . White just fades into the background, letting the focus be on the jewelry, not the hooks. I also thought that plastic would potentially be less damaging than metal, which could possibly scratch some materials.
Before transferring all the necklace from the drawer to the new system, we first had to lay them all out on the bed to take stock of what she has. She opted to get rid of a couple she didn’t love anymore. Then we organized them by color to get an idea of how we wanted to hang them in the closet. Here’s a quick video of this part of the process.
Next, it was quite quick and easy to pop in the hooks and hang everything up. I like the versatility of this system, as you can add/move hooks so easily, as opposed to those on walls, which can leave nail holes when you move things. Click on this short video to see the finished product!
Mom is pretty darn psyched for her new necklace organization, and so am I! What do you think of it?
With the Thanksgiving holiday almost upon us, I know that many of you are in that whirlwind of “busy” — preparing the food, your home, or perhaps traveling. Knowing that reading a long, wordy blog post would probably not fit into your schedule his week, I thought instead I’d give you some eye candy to scroll through.
I recently came across Artemest, an absolutely incredible website co-founded by the well-known jewelry designer Ippolita Rostagno. Ippolita and her team have scoured Italy from north to south, east to west, to bring us the most amazing collection of home decor, jewelry and fine art, all handcrafted in Italy by immensely talented artisans. I will admit that I’ve gone through every single product they offer more than once. (And there’s over 1,600 pieces featured on the site!)
In the jewelry category they have all price points, including both fashion and fine jewlery. The styles also cover a wide array of personal styles. I truly believe there’s something for everyone among their offerings. Without further ado, here’s a selection of pieces that caught my eye.
Do any of these pieces have your heart singing? If you need a break from the holiday stress, I highly encourage you to head over to the Artemest site and enjoy the view. And if you’re so inclined, you may get a head start on your holiday shopping.
Over the past few years, antique jewelry has really made an entrance in my life. And with it, I’ve been experimenting with some ways to style antique necklaces so that they look current and express my personal style. I certainly don’t want to look like a “fashion don’t” when stepping out the front door! I want to share two different ways to utilize antique necklaces. The first is layering, and the second strategy is using one necklace as a focal point.
So let’s start with layering necklaces. With this, you can layer various antique/vintage necklaces, or you can mix old and new together. Doyle & Doyle recently shared this photo on Instagram, which is a fantastic example of how to layer with panache.
I’ll share what I did with them two days last week. On Monday I looped the long antique necklace around my neck twice, creating a choker effect, and paired it with the non-antique necklace.
In my typical black, I liked how they looked with my harem pants and sandals. I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian” and I thought this ensemble was true to my style.
Then on Wednesday, I wore a dress over a pair of cropped, frayed-hem jeans. I wore the 57″ necklace long, layered the new necklace. I’d never worn a necklace so long! But once I figured out how to maneuver it (and not get it stuck in the seatbelt), I felt pretty swishy! It’s true that I don’t necessarily look like anyone else on the street, but in my book that’s a good thing.
Now let’s take a look at just using one necklace as a focal point. While I was at the Hillsborough Antique Fair a couple weekends ago, I spent quite a bit of time with the charming Lenore Dailey. I photographed two different necklaces to use in my examples. The first one is a Victorian 18K and silver necklace with rose cut and old European cut diamonds. At first glance, you might think, “Oh, this is gorgeous, but certainly best worn for a dressy occasion.” I feel the complete opposite. I think it would look just amazing worn during the day. Don’t worry…I’ll give you some ideas how in a minute.
The second necklace that caught my eye in her booth was this Georgian 15K gold flower chain with the most amazing clasp — check out the cabochon turquoise. What workmanship!
So yes, of course you can wear these necklaces with a cocktail dress. But how cute would they look with a t-shirt, jeans, boots and a biker jacket? Or what about this — a simple pencil skirt, a pull-over sweater, and funk it up with some Golden Goose Sneakers. (yes, I might be just a wee bit obsessed with these sneakers).
If you add one of these necklaces to the sporty chic look, it’d be awesome! I like how the turquoise would look against the raspberry color. Not too “matchy-matchy,” if you know what I mean. And the juxtaposition of the diamonds with sneakers would be so cool — not a combination someone might typically come up with while getting dressed.
The bottom line is I want you to know that it’s much easier to incorporate an antique necklace into your look than you might think. Try it on with unexpected garments, and you might be very surprised at how original and unique it looks. And with any item you purchase, remember that the more it costs, the more you should wear it so that the cost-per-wear goes down. Never save anything “for good.” Now venture forth into your jewelry box and your closet and have some fun! Send me pix of what you come up with.
OK…I’m going to show you two images from Ananda Khalsa’s website and I want you to think about the feelings they evoke. Think about adjectives to describe them. Are you ready? All right, here they are:
What words came to mind? For me, adjectives such as feminine, colorful, organic, and fit for a bohemian goddess popped into my head. Although I first started becoming familiar with Ananda’s gems on Instagram, I was lucky to meet her in person and play in her cases at the Couture show. All I can say is that the line was even better in person!
I actually got to try on the vibrant tourmaline necklace from the second photo above.
And what about this stellar trio of rings, the middle featuring a delicious boulder opal?
Seeing all these incredible designs got me thinking about how I’d style them. (After 18+ years as a wardrobe stylist, this is the default setting in my brain!) Given that the line definitely has a more bohemian vibe with a nod to ancient jewelry, I thought it’d be fun to share how I’d incorporate Ananda’s jewelry into a whole look. Spring/summer would be easy — a Grecian dress, gladiator sandals and layers of jewelry to start. But what about now, when it’s getting cold outside? For a great, casual everyday look, I’d start with a feminine blouse, perhaps with some lace detail and a killer suede jacket. This ivory Rebecca Taylor blouse and wine-colored suede moto jacket from Capulet set the tone. (FYI, wine is a HOT color this season, and it looks great on a variety of skin tones.)
Given that jeans are a staple, I’d go one of two routes. The first option is a skinny jean tucked into tall boots. I picked a pair of jeans from Good American, as they just debuted two weeks ago, and they come in sizes 0-24. (Can I get a “hallelujah” on that extended size run?!) I ordered a pair for myself, and I can say that I give them a thumbs up. They are built for curvy girls, they are high-waisted (no muffin top!) and the stretch is fabulous. They are clearly flying off the shelves, as the style I ordered isn’t even available anymore! I like the scrunchy vibe of these Steve Madden boots to go with them.
Ananda also has another very unique collection in her line which I can’t help but mention. She paints small watercolor pictures and then sets them under crystal. They have either gold or silver bezels and many have gemstone accents. Have you ever seen anything like it? This girl has #talent! If you go to her website and click “painting” you can see she has 17 different themes to her painting jewlery, from koi fish to ravens to willows.
In a world where everything seems increasingly digital and fleeting, there’s something to be said for holding an actual book in your hands. I love the weight of it, the smell of “new book” as you turn the pages, and being able to linger over the images for as long as I want, knowing that they’ll still be there for years to come. I saved Jeweler: Masters, Mavericks, and Visionaries of Modern Design for my annual family beach trip to Pajaro Dunes in Northern California. I must say that this book is a delight, and reading it while hearing the waves crash outside was pretty much a perfect afternoon.
In the introduction, Stellene writes, “A piece of jewelry, whether I am wearing it, buying it, or writing about it, always means infinitely more when I know who made it and, more importantly, why.” With this sentiment in mind, she highlights 17 different jewelry designers, “…a group of jewelers working today on what I believe are the collectibles of tomorrow.”
While I was familiar with some of these designers (and I feel privileged to have met a few of them), there were also names that were new to me. With each turn of the page, I got a glimpse behind the jewelry, and feasted on the delicious images accompanying each profile.
I learned that Elena Votsi sees her work as small sculptures. She even has some pieces on display on her coffee table! I read about the Bakelite creations form Mark Davis, who relishes that the material is indestructible. (Who knew?) Since it hasn’t been made since World War 2, he’s always on the hunt for Bakelite so he can fashion them into his luxe, yet not-too-serious jewlery. (photo from p.49)
I especially enjoyed the segment on Judy Geib; her jewelry has been on my “jewelry lust list” for quite some time. I’ve always admired that her work is perfectly imperfect. I was pleased to read, “I love the awkwardness and intimacy that each piece has because of how we make it, but I don’t ever want it to be ‘gallery jewelry.’ I want people to wear it.” This completely jives with my own view of her work. (photo from p.119)
Seven Bicakci is one of the designers who has achieved legendary status in my mind. In fact, I recall once at the Couture show I found myself in an elevator with him. I was so star struck, I couldn’t get a word out! (#epicfail) In his profile I was surprised to learn that he left school at only 11 years old and began to work for a goldsmith in his home town of Istanbul. I can see how the local architecture, such as the Blue Mosque, serve as endless inspiration for his intricate work. He has mastered the technique of inversely engraved instagios, as seen in the Stella Maris Ring. (photo from p. 155)
The index at the end of the the book is an added treat; each designer has a page showing their work featured in their profiles.
I began my trek back through jewelry time in July, when I published the article What is Georgian Jewelry? This was the first in a series exploring the different eras of antique jewelry, including Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco. It’s now time to delve into the fascinating genre of Victorian jewelry, which hails from 1837-1901. Some major historical events occurred during this time, including the conclusion of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the middle class, the American Civil War, and gold being discovered in a few countries, including right here in California. You may ask, “Why is it even called Victorian?” Well, it’s all from the time period when Queen Victoria sat on the throne of Britain. Pretty amazing to think that this one woman had such a profound influence on jewelry during her reign!!
Personally, every single item of antique jewelry I’ve purchased has been from the Victorian period — how strange is that?! It’s simply what I’m drawn to, before even knowing much about it. Here’s three examples of Victorian turquoise from Erica Weiner, Studio Collections and Metier. (It also doesn’t hurt that Victorian jewelry is generally much more affordable than Georgian jewelry!)
The Victorian era can be separated into three different segments. The first, called the Romantic period, was from 1837-1860. Queen Victoria was young and in love, and her jewelry reflected this. Sentimental motifs of flowers, clasped hands, and hearts (to name a few) were all the rage. Even snakes were extremely popular, as they represent wisdom and eternal love. In fact, Victoria’s engagement ring was a snake with emeralds, rubies and diamonds. (photo from aboutgemstonejewelry.com)
When Queen Victoria’s husband died in 1860, everything changed. Gone were the whimsical and light-hearted themes. In its place was dark jewlery, both in feel and color. This time is called the Grand period, and lasted for the next 25 years. Mourning and memorial jewelry were abundant, and stones such as onyx, Whitby jet, and garnets were very en vogue.
Things began to lighten up in later Victorian times — this third part is called the Aesthetic period, and took place during the last 15 or so years of Victoria’s reign. There was a return to more delicate designs, with more of a feeling of prosperity and optimism. This period also overlaps some other jewelry movements, such as Arts & Crafts.
Not only did styles of jewelry change during the Victorian era, but so did production methods. During the Industrial Revolution, both stamping and electroplating were invented. So while in the first part of the Victorian period all jewlery was handmade, in the second half it was often machine-made. In addition, in 1854 Britain made it legal to use lower karats of gold in jewelry, thereby really opening up the world of jewelry to the growing middle class, where once it had been reserved for only the very wealthy. Silver also became available in the mass market, making jewelry much more accessible.
I want to share some of the popular styles for this time period. With some, you’ll see some overlap with that of the Georgian period, such as in mourning jewlery and hair jewlery.
Brooches: These were especially popular when the fashion was wearing high necklines. It was much easier to don a brooch instead of figuring out how to have a necklace lay properly over a high collar. Not only is the bow a key motif of the period, but the engraving and the cabochon turquoise were very on trend as well. (brooch via antique jewellery company)
Cameos: They were most popular during the Grand period, and often were in onyx, coral and amethyst. These cameo earrings feature Roman centurions, and the agate is surrounded by seed pearls, another popular Victorian design detail. (earrings via Lang Antiques.)
Hair Jewelry: As you saw in the Georgian period, using a loved ones hair in jewelry was all the rage. It could be simply to honor a living person in your life, or it could be in memorial of someone who had passed. (brooch via The Rusted Anchor)
Mourning Jewelry: This piece of hair jewelry is clearly also mourning jewelry. The initials RC are on the outside, and “mama” is engraved on the $1 gold coin hanging from the ring. (ring via Gold and Silver Brokers)
Portrait Jewelry: In my mind, this is sort of an expansion of the Lover’s Eye lockets from Georgian times, which just showed a painting of the eye of one’s lover. In Victorian times, it was popular to wear small portraits of loved ones. In this example, you’ll once again see pearls being used as an edging. (brooch via Doyle & Doyle)
Posy Rings: I find these to be so charming. Posy comes from the French word “poesie,” meaning poetry. In posy rings, you’ll find short inscriptions. This particular posy ring was a wedding ring, inscribed with “A hope fulfilled. 18th March circa 1880.” (ring via Lucy Bedeman)
Acrostic Rings: These are pretty darn cool, I have to say. Basically, stones are chosen for the ring in which the first letter of each stone spells out a secret word. This one secretly says “dearest” with diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and topaz. Pretty awesome, right?! (ring via Erica Weiner)
Mizpah jewelry: Though I’ve seen mizpah jewelry here and there, I honestly had no clue what it was until I did research for this article. Mizpah signifies an emotional bond and means “watchtower” in Hebrew. It’s given to a loved one when separated by distance. How romantic! This mizpah ring is extra-special, as the word is hidden behind a hinged buckle. (ring via Erica Weiner)
Bracelets: Braclets, from bold to matching bangles to stacks, were very stylish in the Victorian period. Here’s a couple examples of popular styles. First is a snake (there’s that theme again!) with rubies. (bracelet via Lang Antiques) The second is a wide silver and gold overlay bangle with sunflowers. (bangle via the Antique Jewellery Company)
Lockets: With photos, hair, and sometimes even teeth inside, lockets were key in this period. This one also has enameling, which was also very of-the-day. (locket via Metier)
Etruscan Revial: More and more people started traveling during this time, so it makes sense that fascination with ancient time periods rose. You’ll find evidence of Egyptian and Greek motifs, as well as the granulation seen in the Etruscan Revival pieces. (earrings via Butterlane Antiques)
Out of all these different styles, which would be your first pick? I think if I were living back in Victorian times, I’d definitely be wanting an acrostic ring from my lover. And I’m definitely warming up to the idea of snake jewelry…sorry, mom!
Tej Kothari was born into the world of jewelry in India — his mother was an antique jewlery aficionado and developed her own successful business. Though Tej studied molecular biology in college, he began designing jewelry in 1997 and launched his brand in 2009. Kothari is a Bay Area based company. (I am once again amazed by the wealth of talent we have locally!) I can definitely see the influence of his science background in the line. Take, for example these polki diamond dish earrings, which come in two sizes. They are like bejeweled cells in a way!
The polki diamond theme also translates beautifully into these bracelets.
This particular pair of earrings really spoke to me. Again, I’m seeing the design as something we’d see in nature — the diamonds like dew drops on a frond.
Kothari is now moving into more color. I was blown away by the pieces made of agate and jasper with inlaid diamonds. The single cut diamonds enhance the natural patterns in the stones, which are all hand-picked.
Being ever-attracted to the moody palate of blacks and greys, I would SO wear this petrified Alaskan black coral and diamond necklace. It’s truly a melding of nature and luxury.
I also want to share their kAuge Collection, which features sterling silver or 18k gold in streamlined designs. I’m totally into it!
There’s a nice selection online at Twist if you’d like to take a closer look. Wonderful meeting you at the Couture show, Tej! I appreciate your time and talent.