If you’ve been following me here on the blog or on social media for some time, you know that I’m a huge fan of Bay Area designer, Lauren Wolf. I can’t recall where I first met her, but through visits to Esqueleto (her fab store in Oakland), seeing her at various trade shows, and at local WJA events (Women’s Jewelry Association), I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her.
I find my love of her jewelry has increased as time goes by; seeing a designer’s passion for their craft somehow increases its attraction. She began by studying silversmithing in San Miguel, Mexico, at the Sterling Quest School. She then went on to get her degree from FIT in New York City, and from how she describes it, she hasn’t looked back since!
Lauren absolutely LOVES diamond buying, where she hand picks all of her stones. She treasures her long-standing relationships with her vendors. All of her jewelry is designed and made in house in the east bay. Nice, right?
I have shared this particular three stone diamond ring before, but I must admit, to this day it is my most coveted piece of hers. The color combination, the weight of it on my hand…I’ve actually dreamt about this ring! Perhaps one day…
She has countless options in the three stone category, which I happen to find very chic. On my last visit to the store, I tried on this lovely, with dark grey diamonds. While this certainly can fall into the alternative bridal category, I think it’s equally wearable as a right hand ring, don’t you? She is a queen of unconventional diamond rings, that’s for sure.
Just recently, she posted these diamond eternity bands on her Instagram page. I honestly cannot decide which color is my favorite. What about you? Light grey? Champagne? Or dark grey?
Another show-stopper from Lauren is this six-diamond star ring. It has a cosmic vibe fit for an urban princess.
I also have to mention that Lauren makes a variety of stud earrings, which are ever-so-useful in ones jewelry box. I bought this tourmalinated quartz pair a few years back, and they are featured heavily in my earring rotation.
I am SO looking forward to visiting Lauren’s booth in Las Vegas at the end of the month to see all the latest and greatest creations! If you’d like to check out more of her line, you can visit one of her stores (Oakland and Los Angeles) or enjoy a cocktail and peruse her online shop while sitting in the comfort of your own home. (You can see what I do with my free time!) She’s also carried at a variety of retailers across the country.
I’m definitely having a moment with all things celestial — stars, the moon, constellations, etc. I’ve clearly got my head in the clouds! And there are SO many great options out there to satisfy my celestial cravings. I wanted to share 11 items with you which I absolutely adore. In no particular order, here they are.
These “written in the stars” rings from Sofia Zakia are just amazing. You can pick two different constellations, and she’ll combine them on one band. How cool is that?! I can picture them as wedding rings, friendship rings, or even one combining one’s parent’s or children’s constellations. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.
I admit that while I covet this jacket from L’Agence, even the large doesn’t fit me. *drats* BUT…I was able to fulfill my fantasy through my client, who looked absolutely stellar in it. She’s pairing it with everything from a camouflage slip dress to a tee and jeans. Super versatile.
Rails has quite a few styles of shirts with stars on them, but I think this shirt jacket with star patches is my fave. When I’m not in black, grey or white, army green is my go-to color.
Sirciam has been a long-time favorite with their rose gold celestial pieces. This particular ring is a real winner in my book. Even though it’s a larger scale ring, it works perfectly for every day. And yes, I have yet another client who will attest to that fact.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I buy myself a “boyfriend gift” for various occasions. I mean really, why should I have no boyfriend AND no jewelry?! I can’t control the boyfriend part, but I can certainly buy myself jewelry! I await the arrival of my own Samantha Knight pendant with my lucky number 13 on it to celebrate the holidays.
Luckily, I did find the perfect pair of star jeans that actually came in a size 16. Score! Loving my new Mia star print jeans from Kut. I put them with a distressed over-sized light blue chambray shirt and felt awesome.
Honestly, this is just the tip of the starry iceberg. There are SO many options out there in clothing, jewelry and accessories, I could go quite crazy. What about you? Do you have any celestial cravings? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.
These past few days, as the weather is finally turning to fall here in northern California, my mind has been focusing on neutral tones and feeling cozy. I think it’s a combination of all the craziness going on in the world and the cooler temps that has me wanting to hunker down and feel grounded. This starts by deciding what gems I want on my body, and what colors and fabrics give me this feeling. My current answer? Grey. It’s soothing, serene, and full of depth. I absolutely adore grey diamonds, and I long to have more of them in my life. Here are a few grey diamond rings that truly call to my soul.
Alexis Russell always wows me with their combination of bands and stones.
And what do I want to wear with these rings? Well given that it’s that seasonal transition time, I want to make some white J Brand crop flared jeans work with the cooler weather. Yes, us Californians DO wear white after Labor Day! To do this, I’d trade my summery tops for a chunky grey cashmere turtleneck (this one is Barney’s own line), some distressed Marsell boots (one of my go-to shoe brands) and top it off with a Faliero Sarti scarf. Yummy, right? And the boots don’t have to be the same exact tone of the sweater — just neutrals that blend.
So back to some more grey diamond rings. Communion by Joy has been on my jewelry lust list for quite some time. The design of the settings, the textures and the stones are so unique. Here’s their Royal Guardian Rustic Diamond Ring.
Oh, and a couple tips from the wardrobe stylist about the Golden Goose sneakers — I’m addicted to them. (I have three pair!) BUT, I hate the sole insert they come with. They have a very raised heel and are uncomfortable for me. So, I toss those and put in a pair of Superfeet insoles. And voila, they’re perfect. AND…since I don’t like going sockless and those little ballet flat peds never stay put, I swear by Hue’s hi cut peds. They work perfectly, and the high profile on the top works just right with sneakers.
So now you know what’s been on my mind. I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek inside my thoughts. Now, I’m going to spend the rest of the day getting my closet ready for the season — packing away my linens, sandals and summer items, and pulling out the boots and flannel. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for the change!
I spent my birthday this past February down in southern California with my bestie — my mom. We pile all our things in her light green mini van and take a road trip about once a year, hitting all our favorite towns and shops up and down the state. This year, I added a very special jewlery store to my birthday agenda, and boy am I glad I did!
I have been following August on Instagram for quite some time, drooling over their well-curated collection of designers. Their cohesiveness in style, yet breadth of designers has quite literally left me breathless on more than one occasion. I was thrilled when Bill Hermsen, the owner of August, let me know about a new collection they picked up, Rallou Mindfulness. August is, in fact, the first place in the United States to carry the Greek-based line from designer Rallou Katsari. Needless to say, I knew if this line was going into August, there was no doubt that I’d love it as well.
I asked Bill what drew him to this line and he replied, “Rallou’s work is deceptively simple and executed in luxurious materials. There’s something very compelling about that combination.” I couldn’t agree more. As I scrolled through Rallou’s Instagram feed, a feeling of calm came over me, and it really make me think about how powerful her clean designs are.
Each of the designs has a carefully selected name and meaning. Take, for example, the drop rings, in which the drop is a “physical representation of present moment.” Throughout Rallou’s “Seemingly Solid” collection, “The drop is used as a physical representation of the present moment and works as a mindful reminder to live, to flow, to simply be here and now.”
Rallou’s whole concept is that of mindfulness — being present in the here and now. This ethos is very evident on the quotes on her Instagram page.
As I looked through this line, I was particularly drawn to some of the earring designs. Here is the minimal and elegant “Now” stud, which creatively sits on the ear unlike any I’ve seen before. Its meaning is, “right Now life unfolds, notice.”
There are also various permutations of the earring, including this one which I love, the “Connection,” which reminds us of our connection to nature.
The “Will” earring (which also doubles as a brooch) encourages “the Will to bring peace inside and outside yourself.”
There’s even an earring which doesn’t require any piercings — the “Joy.”
This article wouldn’t be complete without also showing you the “Moment” ring, with its fluidity coming to life in gold and diamonds. It reminds us to “bring attention to this moment.”
Isn’t it just dreamy on the hand?!
As Bill told me, “Rallou is for the woman that appreciates subtlety and restraint, but it can also be layered beautifully with other collections.” Personally, I’m just dying to visit August again to try on this line in person and see how it effortlessly combines with other lines they carry. In the meantime, I’ll continue to gaze longingly at August’s Instagram feed and enjoy exploring their online store. With Bill’s background in textiles, jewelry, and interior design, I’m always assured a beautiful treat for the senses.
I’m embarking on a big solo adventure this summer. Being the jewelry-a-holic that I am, as soon as I booked my flight, I started planning my jewelry wardrobe before anything else. I was browsing the Ylang 23 website (I’d hate to admit how many hours I’ve spent window shopping on this site!), when I came across this “dream” charm from Foundrae. I got tears in my eyes as I read the symbolism of the piece, “The divine triangle is associated with pyramids, arrowheads & sacred mountains. It represents the journey of self-discovery, revelation and ascension. The arrow represents powerfully launching forward and the star provides energy and divine guidance.” There it was — the perfect talisman for my adventure.
Since receiving it, I’ve been playing around with how to wear it. First, I tried it on my Marla Aaron bracelet.
But let’s get back to Foundrae, the jewelry brand launched just a year and a half ago by Beth Bugdaycay and her husband, Murat. It was the first day of the Couture show, I walked down the middle aisle, and there was Beth — my very first stop! And no, I didn’t plan it that way. Just kismet. Yay! I introduced myself, and once again I got a bit teary telling her why I bought her charm. I felt an instant connection with Beth, which of course makes me love the line even more.
I had the opportunity to ask Beth some questions about her jewelry, and here’s what she had to say.
I’m fascinated by your transition from the fashion world to the world of jewelry. What prompted this shift?
I wanted to do something more personal to me-jewelry was natural for me because I have always defined my personal style by jewelry.
How did you come up with the symbols for your original collections?
We came up with the symbols first, before we designed any of the jewelry itself. We refer internally to the symbols as “the Foundrae lexicon” and we still haven’t used all of them yet! They are symbols that I consider “found” from different cultures, different eras, and then I mixed them together. All of them were symbols that I was already familiar with and wrote down from memory.
At the show, you debuted your new collections: Passion, True Love and Resilience. Can you share a little bit about these?
They are all chapters of our With Every Breath collection. Where the Core Collection is about self-recognition and self-discovery, this second collection, With Every Breath, is about creating beauty in our lives by following our hearts. It celebrates the connections we make and the possibilities we create when we not only discover our passions, but find the confidence to embrace them fully and without apology.
And yet in this collection is also the recognition that it is also a perilous journey, one whose joy is often punctuated by vulnerability, darkness, and doubt. But it is this duality, these extreme highs and lows, that make life not only worth living, but meaningful and beautiful.
The materials in With Every Breath reflect this twinned darkness and light, with a moody, intense palette—black, bordeaux and blush champlevé enamel—and a vocabulary of powerful iconography inspired by fantasies and ancient mythology: just-bloomed flowers, crossed arrows, wings, and thorns.
The surrender to passion is not a single moment; it is a lifelong process, with steps forward and back. These pieces are meant to be your companions on your journey, and even, to encourage you to move forward when the path seems most daunting. A life lived in pursuit of your dreams is never easy…but then, nothing rewarding ever is. The phrases that repeat themselves across the collection—If not now, then when?; With every Breath—are reminders of this most challenging and thrilling journey of the heart.
WITH EVERY BREATH chapters and symbols: Passion
Crossed arrows: Two individual arrows, cross to form a new whole. A union of friendship, of love, that didn’t exist separately.
Wings: Unbridled exuberance. With wings we are creatures of the limitless skies; with wings, we can climb as high as our dreams allow.
True Lovers knot (also known as Bowen’s knot): represents the connectivity of true love
Spark: It just takes a spark to begin a lifelong journey
Thorn: the risk we assume when we try for something we love. You can’t separate the thorn from the blossom.
Dark Blossoms: Blossoms bloom even in darkness. Resilience.
I love the horseshoe ring I tried on at the show. Can you tell me about the symbolism of this piece? I know it’s part of your Abundance chapter
We haven’t fully shown this chapter yet. The horseshoe ring and necklace were sneak peaks. The horseshoe is for abundance. We don’t need luck. It’s about gratitude and recognizing the abundant lives we already lead; it’s filled with diamond flowers.
Diamond Flowers: Wild, abundant, and untamed, these flowers are fed with passion
Do you have certain pieces of jewelry that you wear everyday?
For about the last year and a half I’ve worn the strength cigar band on my right pinkie plus a thin band and a gold vintage signet. On my left hand I’ve worn a gold signet with a “B” that says “light and divine guidance,” my diamond eternity vintage wedding band, a dream wide band, a blue thin band w/ my kids names on it, and I recently added the diamond baguette “if not now then when” band and 2 black “with every breath” thin bands.
On my neck, I wear the 15” extended clip necklace with a large 28mm initial medallion as my base. Then I add different medallions to it, usually protection, dream, and then a few initials in champleve enamel or diamond flowers. I’ve kept the same base for over a year but change the medallions.
On my left ear I wear a pair of petite orbit earrings on the 1st and 3rd holes, then in the middle a diamond(esque) thorn earring — I’m pretty sure it’s costume or silver, I can’t remember but I’ve had it for years. (It’s a different shape thorn than the one we just made-it’s like the thorn on a rose stem) My right ear I tend to change daily — either a bunch of small earrings or a few hoops in a variety of sizes.
What would be your dream for your line in the next 5 years?
I want to build a business that can offer good benefits and salaries to the team.
From this inside look into the line, you can see that this really is a jewelry collection rife with meaning and symbolism. Through the pieces you choose, you are showing your own life, dreams and passions via jewlery. I absolutely love it…even moreso now that I’ve met Beth in person and felt the energy she radiates. Beth, thank you for your time, knowledge and creativity!
Artist? Style Inspiration? I know this title may be a bit confusing, but I think I’ll be able to clarify it for you. Just read on…
It all started at the beginning of the Couture show last year in Las Vegas. I was walking along the hallway between ballrooms, and I saw this woman with an intriguing outfit on — one that really made me think to myself, “Wow — that is something I would love to wear!” Granted, this is an extremely rare thought for me. As a professional wardrobe stylist, I’m constantly surrounded by the latest styles, but very few resonate with me personally. I don’t normally dress like the typical gal out there; I describe my personal style as “urban bohemian,” as I like combining caftans with combat boots, and camouflage with silk and diamonds. When a guy in my town commented, “You don’t dress like people around here,” I took it as a huge compliment.
So here was this woman, looking effortlessly chic in pants, fab jewelry, and a jacket of various shades of white/tan with embellishment that certainly must be haute couture, as I had never seen one like it before. I had to approach her and compliment her look (not knowing that it was Bibi van der Velden). And guess what I found out — she MADE that jacket herself!! Each day I’d see her at the Wynn (where Couture is held), and each day she looked equally unique, wearing some sort of statement jacket. On the last day I was at the show, I finally was able to officially meet her and see her jewelry line (don’t worry — I’ll get to that in a bit).
Do you see what I mean? Her jacket just makes her whole look (along with the necklaces, of course). From what I saw of her during the show, her jackets are integral to her style signature. Bibi has no idea, but taking note of her style has really influenced me. For anyone who knows me, black is my go-to color, along with denim. But suddenly, I started looking for unique, statement jackets to incorporate into my wardrobe. Jackets that suited ME. I didn’t copy her look, but I adapted it to my own aesthetic. And you know what? It’s really been fun! I’ve found quite a few that suit my coloring and personality, and I feel really happy when I wear them. My closet is SO different than it was just a year ago.
So this should explain the “Style Inspo” portion of the title. Now, let’s get to the artist part. Bibi van der Velden is way more than simply a jewelry designer. You already know she can design and sew clothing, but I also learned that her field of training is sculpture. In fact, her mom is the accomplished sculptor Michèle Deiters. They work together creating truly unique works of art. You can learn more about their work on BibiMichel.com. As I looked through the gallery on their site, I could really feel the strong and creative mother-daughter bond. (photo by Rahi Rezvani)
Not only is she a seamstress and a sculptor, but this mother of two is ALSO a jewlery designer. (Does she ever have time to sleep??) And let me tell you, her jewelry is as special as she is. I could have spent hours in her booth, trying on each and every piece. The group that first pulled at my heart is her Galaxy Collection. Having a life-long affinity for celestial themes, I tried on this Galaxy Dome Ring, where the gems are pinned under a hand carved rock crystal and surround by rose gold. I couldn’t stop staring into its sparkling depths.
Take a look at the colors, materials and detail in this big Galaxy Opal Ring. You can see why her line is aptly named “Wearable Works of Art!” This ring is truly sculpture for your hand.
I would wear these Galaxy opal earrings in a heartbeat, with everything from a cotton sundress to a black tie gown.
Bibi’s Scarab Collection was also irresistible. If you can believe it, she uses the actual wings from scarab beetles in these pieces. Now don’t worry, no insects were harmed in the creation of the jewelry. In fact, these scarab wings are considered the “leftovers” after eating a particular Thai delicacy. Bibi prides herself on being eco-conscious, and using these wings is right in tune with her ethos. I tried on a bunch of her scarab rings. The iridescence of the wings is quite spectacular.
This collection is especially popular with jewelry-lovers, and it’s one of her top sellers. I can see why. I adore this scarab and pearl bangle. Don’t you love the adornments on the scarab’s wings?
Also in line with her dedication to the environment is her use of 40,000 year old mammoth tusks in her jewelry. Found under the Siberian permafrost, this material is completely transformed in Bibi’s hands. These earrings are part of her Pop Art collection. I bet that mammoth never anticipated he’d be decorated with various hues of sapphires.
Her Jellyfish Collection was inspired by a white jellyfish she saw while traveling. She perfectly captures the essence of this creature in solar quartz and sterling silver.
Finally…and I can’t believe I’m including this, as I’m DEATHLY afraid of spiders…but here are two spider/spiderweb pieces. Though spiders really do freak me out, I couldn’t help but admire the craftsmanship in this necklace and ring.
Finally, I also have to mention Auverture, which is a one-of-a-kind online jewelry store, the likes of which I haven’t seen before. It features the work of 14 ultra-talented designers — things you likely won’t be able to find where you live. It delves into the story behind each piece. Bibi is one of the co-founders of the site. (Seriously, does she have ANY free time?) For a little more about its story, click here.
I hope I have now clarified the title of this article, over 1000 words later. Have you enjoyed this glimpse into the work of Bibi van der Velden? I can’t wait to see what she’s showing at Couture this year!
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to visit Angela’s in Menlo Park, one of the most chic, well-curated stores in the Bay Area. Angela has such an eye for sourcing the unique. Given that I shop pretty much every day (no joke!), it takes quite a bit to turn my head and pique my interest. This is exactly what happened when I spied her case of Goossens Paris jewelry. Not only was it a brand I’ve never heard of, but I loved it! These two bracelets particularly had me reaching for my iPhone to take a photo. (If you want to learn more about these pieces, you can contact Angela’s at 650-323-7410)
I love how bold they are, and they’re SO easy to blend with any outfit with the rock crystal. (Yes, I’m showing my obsession with rock crystal again!) And the price points? VERY reasonable. I think incorporating fashion jewelry in with fine jewelry is the way to go. Not only does is create a varied, layered look, but it’s much easier on the budget as well.
This got me inspired to take a look online to see what other sculptural bracelets I could find. I discovered many options, and they really suit a variety of personal styles. In no particular order, here’s 10 different designs. Perhaps one will pique your interest?
None of these are fine jewelry, yet I think they all give a pretty big look for the investment. Could you see yourself wearing any of them? Perhaps you’re a long-time bold bracelet aficionado? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.
My obsession with east-west set diamond rings began in August, when I tried on this one-of-a-king diamond ring by Lauren Wolf at the NY Now show. Granted, I’ve never really been fond of the marquis cut for myself, but turned on its side — I was hooked!
This really got me to thinking about how turning a stone on its side, be it oval, emerald, pear, or whatever, really gives the stone a whole new look! Plus, there are quite a few advantages I can see to this style:
easier to stack other rings with it
makes some cuts look “larger” as it takes up more horizontal real estate on your finger
would be ideal for shorter fingers, which may find certain stone cuts set in the traditional way too “tall”
if you wanted to re-design a current ring, it could be a great option instead of getting a whole new stone
unique and outside the box, which is always a plus in my book
With east-west set stones on my mind, I started searching for other examples. Jillian Abboud posted this photo of three antique diamonds, resting horizontally, on her Instagram feed and I started picturing different designs in my mind’s eye. (Which one would you choose?)
And then my dear friend Laura, who recently got engaged, had Polly Wales make her this fantabulous ring!
All of this spurred me onto an afternoon-long search online to see what other intriguing designs I could uncover. I did find quite a few to share with you, although I think this design is still up-and-coming, as there weren’t as many as I anticipated. In no particular order, here’s some variations on the east-west theme:
What do you think of this east-west idea? Is it something you could see yourself wearing? Or perhaps you do already? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below — I’ve love to hear from you!
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!
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.