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!
Melissa Schmidt: Pyrex Jewelry
Yes, you read that correctly…jewelry made out of Pyrex! Mom and I were strolling through the Sausalito Art Festival over Labor Day Weekend (worth the visit if you’ve never attended — very well curated), and we came across a booth with the sign, “Keep Calm, It’s Pyrex!” Ok, that got our attention. So did this necklace:
Pretty interesting, right? Not only are the glass baubles really intriguing, but so is the chain, with it’s unique links. I was worried about having glass pendants that hang so low as they could possibly get knocked on a table or something when sitting down, but Melissa told us that she has a life-long guarantee on her work. So if something happens to break, she’ll replace it. Now that’s something!
Melissa Schmidt is a St. Louis based jeweler. She is self-taught with her glass blowing and takes inspiration from antique glass buttons. I checked out her Etsy shop and thought I’d share some more images of her work.
I’m glad mom got the long necklace in the first photo. Can’t wait to see how she styles it!
Tahitian Pearl Event at Manika in SF
If you’re into pearls and will be in the San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday, February 4th, or Friday, February 5th, then you must visit Manika Jewelry for a very unique event. They are setting up a “Pearl Bar” in the store for their One Love, One Pearl event, where you can peruse thousands of Grade A Tahitian pearls from Black Market Pearls.
The two-night event begins on Thursday, February 4th. This is “gentleman’s night” from 5-8 pm, complete with a cigar bar, island bites, and cocktails. This would be the perfect opportunity to design a meaningful gift for that special someone in your life.
Then the following evening, Friday, February 5th, it’s time for the ladies. From 5-8 pm you can sip a cocktail, receive a complimentary hand massage and design a one-of-a-kind piece for yourself or someone else. (You know what a big proponent I am of self-gifting!)
Manika Jewelry is located at 645 Market Street, near Montgomery. If this event sounds up your alley, then e-mail [email protected] to rsvp. Enjoy, and I can’t wait to see the incredible pieces to come.
West Coast Craft: San Francisco
Over the weekend, I had had the opportunity to attend West Coast Craft for the first time, held at Ft. Mason in San Francisco. According to their website the fair is, “…a craft and design show featuring carefully selected designers, artists, and crafts people inspired by the mood and aesthetics of the West Coast lifestyle. Cool but sunny, laid-back yet innovative, they represent the best of West Coast craft.”
Though when I spy a jewelry booth, there’s nothing else in my mind except seeing the line. The first one I encountered was Gabriela Artigas, who I’ve been following on Instagram for quite some time. It’s always fun to see things in person that you’ve only seen in a little photo on your phone. Her designs are clean, current, and edgy.
Behind the Scenes at Jewelry Week in Las Vegas
When people hear that I’ll be spending six days in Las Vegas, they instantly assume I’ll be lounging by the pool, seeing shows and gambling. I cannot tell you how far that is from the truth (OK, I did donate $40 to the slots one evening.). This was my fourth year attending Couture and JCK, and I thought I’d give you, my lovely readers, a glimpse into what really happens when I’m there. WARNING: There will be no beautiful jewelry showcased in this post. SECOND WARNING: If this is TMI and not quite your cup of tea, then I won’t be offended if you skip this post and wait (eagerly, of course) for my next article, which I promise WILL showcase beautiful jewelry.
So for me, it all starts weeks in advance, when I realize that I, the girl who is used to the cool temps in San Francisco, need about 10-12 Vegas-worthy, photo-ready outfits. Not only do I need to stay cool in 104 degrees (yes, that’s how hot it got this year), but I know that the countless photos I’m in with designers and jewelry industry peeps will be on the internet forEVER! No pressure there, right?!
If you know me, then you’ll know that black is my color of choice, but it’s a bit challenging to make that look resort-worthy. Oy vey…all I can say is that Eileen Fisher saves my a** in situations like these. Some of you may be asking why I can’t re-wear certain pieces and mix-and-match them. And I will tell you, that 104 degrees combined with peri-menopause does not bode well for re-wearing. You get my drift.
And then there’s the shoes. Given that I will be walking miles a day, flats are the only option for me. While #VegasShoes took on a life of its own on Instagram, I believe I was the sole woman that went for flats only. And yes, there were Birkenstocks in the mix. It’s OK–think what you must. I can deal with it.
My fellow image consultant, Jennifer Bressie, was (as always) my accomplice for the first few days of the show. Not only is she instrumental in interviews, but she is also a guest blogger for this site. Though we did manage a few hours of shopping right after we landed, we were soon immersed in the land of jewelry.
One of our first missions was to attend the JCK Talks session, The Power of Blogging. I was honored to be there to support my fellow jewelry bloggers, Monica Stephenson (iDazzle), Barbara Palumbo (Adornmentality), Danielle Miele (Gem Gossip), Katerina Perez (KaterinaPerez.com) and moderated by Diane Warga-Arias (Jewelry Activist). It was great to hear their perspectives on our niche space — they really represented! And as an added bonus, Robyn Hawk of A Fly on The Wall was seated right next to us!! (Not only is she completely in the know in the industry, but she was fabulous with introductions. Grazie!)
And while hanging out in the hallway afterwards, I was psyched to meet Danielle (from the panel) and Jean-Noel Soni, gem-cutter extraordinaire, from Top Notch Faceting. Though I’m “virtual” friends with both of them, it was our first face-to-face meeting. This is one of those times when I’m so thankful for social media, as we probably wouldn’t have met if not for that. (Side note: It would have been even better if I hadn’t been inhaling a sandwich on the sidelines while all this was happening, just sayin’, but a 3:00 lunch is late for me, and my blood sugar was plummeting!)
Thursday night of Couture is the big opening night party, and that’s always one of the highlights of the trip. They have a cool band, yummy food, and it’s a chance to reconnect with jewelry peeps and make new friends. Thank the lord that Jen’s selfie stick did not fit into her clutch!
This year they had acrobatic tree climbers, and Fitz and the Tantrums were the headliner.
This brings me to a pertinent point — why I’m even at the shows. These shows are not for the public to go buy jewelry. This is where stores go to place their orders for their establishments. I’m there as editorial — interviewing designers, interpreting the trends, etc. I’m there to write, which I love. My goal is to share the world of jewelry with you.
The majority of the remaining days are spent seeing collections, trying on gems (someone has to do it!) and interviewing designers. Most of my time I’m wearing my reading glasses, with pen, notebook and iPhone in hand. (Many people comment about how old-school I am with my lined notebook.) I bought an extra-pretty one this year, as it will live on my desk, and I like to look at something that makes me smile.
It’s not as glamorous as you may think…but it’s damn fun! One day I interviewed for 7 hours straight! Yes, there are the deodorant breakdown times, such as on the shuttle between JCK and Couture, but even on those rides you’re bound to meet some interesting people.
Sadly, this is what the desk in my room looked like the last morning. I you know what an organizing maniac I am, you’ll know this was painful for me to look at.
So now, for those of you who want to see the BLING, let me get to work on that. I know that I have months of articles to come that will not disappoint!
WJA Designers by the Bay
This is the second year I’ve attended the Women’s Jewelry Association’s big event, Designers by the Bay. This event is truly a visual feast, held in the Shreve’s building near Union Square; it’s where Bay Area fine jewelry designers showcase their latest work. There was unfortunately no way to have an intimate look at every case during the time I was there, but there were four designers that really got my attention, and I was able to take a closer look at their lines.
Tura Sugden was a new kid on the block (It was her first show!), but she is going places..quickly. She is based in Noe Valley in San Francisco, where she designs and makes each piece herself. I was taken by the unique settings and stone shapes — look at this spectacular pair of diamond earrings!
WJA Jewelry Night Out
Last week I hopped in an Uber car and made my way to downtown San Francisco for WJA’s Jewelry Night Out. The Women’s Jewelry Association had a national party, celebrating those in the jewelry business. I loved seeing all the photos on Instagram from chapters across the country! Not only was it a wonderful opportunity to visit designers I knew and meet new friends, but I couldn’t help but drool over the amazing bling in the room. I want to share some of my favorite pieces from the night. (In no particular order.)
Beautiful earring/ear cuff design by Altana Marie
Jennifer Montana’s Key to the Stadium
If you live here in the San Francisco Bay Area, then there’s a high likelihood that you’re a 49er’s football fan. Though I, myself, don’t know too much about the sport, I was certainly excited to see jewelry intersect with our home team.
Last week I attended a jewelry launch hosted by Jennifer Montana (with Joe there rooting her on) at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto, CA. Jennifer created this “key to the stadium” necklace as a wearable way to raise money for the 49ers Foundation and their own foundation, the Four Rings Montana Family Foundation, as well as commemorate the historic opening of the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.
The mission of this company is to, “create high quality, casual yet elegant handmade jewelry that inspires people to be positive — simultaneously providing underprivileged individuals with economic opportunity and support.” Her team at Harbor House, a non-profit community center in Oakland, upcycles keys into “chain reaction” necklaces, inscribed with one of ten different inspirational words, such as love, courage and hope. Each piece is handmade by the women at Harbor House.
Jennifer also likes to get into the creative process, and she had quite a few of her own designs for sale at the launch. She likes to frequent vintage and antique stores, where she sources jewelry that she, herself, then re-works into original designs. Many of her finds come from New Orleans, where she goes to visit her son, who attends Tulane University.
Bridal Event at Gallery of Jewels in San Francisco
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.
Todd Pownell (featuring inverted diamonds…how unique!)
Bloomingdale’s Bedazzled Football Helmets
I can tell you that football fever is hitting new heights here in the San Francisco Bay Area! With the latest win over the Panthers, we’re one step closer to the Super Bowl. New York is also psyched for the game, as this is the first time the Super Bowl will be played in the New York area. In honor of this momentous occasion, Bloomingadale’s has teamed up (no pun intended) with the NFL Foundation and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CDFA) for a very fashionable fundraiser. Who knew that sports and bling could go hand in hand?!
48 top fashion and jewelry designers have created over-the-top football helmets to be auctioned off starting Wednesday, January 15. Starting bid will be $248 for each helmet, and I can only imagine how high the bids will go during its run through February 5th.
Most of the world will have to view these helmets online, but if you’re in NYC then you can see them on display in the windows of Bloomingdale’s 59th street store starting today.
For a full list of participating designers, from Donna Karan to Alexis Bittar to Yigal Azroel, click here.
Happy bidding, and go Niners!!