What To Do With Rings That No Longer Fit?

Have any of you ever asked yourself this? I know I have. I’m sure the first thing that popped into your head was “have them sized!” And this certainly is a fair response. In fact, I just sent a ring back to a designer which I purchased 40 pounds ago. (I can’t wait to start wearing it again!)

But while out and about recently, I came across another very clever solution. This lovely woman had strung some rings her husband had given her, which didn’t currently fit, onto a thick leather cord. Combined with the pearl pendant, it really makes a striking combination.

using rings as necklace pendants
Even better — these rings, which are so meaningful to her, are now worn right next to her heart. I think it’s downright cool. Here’s another shot, closer view.

using rings as pendants
I think the heavy leather cord really shows them off, as opposed to putting them on a small-scale chain, where they wouldn’t be laid out as nicely. So…just wanted to share this with you. What do you think?

Selling Fine Jewelry on The RealReal

Back in May, I wrote an article about my attempts to sell jewelry which I no longer wanted. (Click here if you missed that post.) I thought I’d give you an update to let you know how it all went. I did manage to sell quite a bit of my costume jewelry on Threadflip, but that site is sadly no longer in business. (Do any of you have a lead on where to sell costume jewelry?)  The RealReal, on the other hand, is going strong and I had a 100% success rate! Every single piece I gave them sold — both jewelry and clothing/accessories. I’m SO impressed!

In the envelope with my most recent commission check from them, there was this insert:

the realreal
I checked it out, and there’s currently offices in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Chicago (San Francisco coming soon) where you can make an appointment to bring in your items for a free appraisal with no obligation to consign. Pretty cool, right?!

Granted, you don’t have to utilize one of their offices for an appraisal. I live in a city where a team member picked up all my merchandise I wanted to sell. The jewelry was appraised by them, though I did give them a list with the original purchase prices (not that this is necessary — I just keep detailed records). I knew my name brand pieces (Tiffany & Co. and David Yurman) were a sure thing, but I wasn’t confident about my non-branded items. I sold jewlery such as a pair of 18K gold hoops with diamonds, a white gold chain with a circular diamond pendant, and an 18K chalcedony pendant. Everything was swooped up. I was overjoyed!

They have a list on their website of accepted brands for jewlery and watches, but you can see they also accepted some high-end, non-branded jewlery. I did have one ring I submitted which was not accepted due to the poor quality of the diamonds. I promptly had it returned, with no issues.

The RealReal is not paying me a dime to write about this, but I thought it was worth sharing the information. I will definitely utilize them again when I want to sell. Please let me know your experience with the site if you’ve used it, either as a seller or a buyer. And perhaps this post will motivate you to clean out your jewlery box! No sense in keeping items when you can get money to buy something you love.

Mom’s Diamond Gets a New Life!

My mom was married back in 1963. She and my dad spent countless weekends camping, but that didn’t bode so well for her wedding ring. Within the first year of marriage, her ring somehow was lost at a campsite. (I completely think some squirrel picked up the sparkler and hauled it back to his home in a hollow tree where it still lives today, but that’s just my theory.) At any rate, mom lived the next 25 years with just her wedding band…no diamond.

Then one night in Carmel, dad surprised her with a new diamond ring for their 25th wedding anniversary. He had spent SO much time and effort researching just the right stone for the ring. To say she was surprised was an understatement. I remember her calling me on the phone, and she was so in shock she could barely speak!! Originally it was set in a traditional prong setting, but years later, she had it reset into this platinum design.

mom's diamond ring
mom's ring
Mom hasn’t worn her ring for a few years now, and it was just collecting dust in her safety deposit box. Then something wonderful happened. My brother met the woman of his dreams, his true partner and soulmate, and found himself in need of an engagement ring. Well hello, diamond! What can we do with you?!

You may remember reading about Atelier Gigi a while back, and I knew she was the woman for the job. The first step was sending the diamond down to the GIA to have it appraised. Gigi then gathered photos of various ring designs. She wanted to find out what attributes my brother liked, and what he didn’t like. Using this information, she started sketching. She came up with a few options, but my brother and I both fell in love with this one.

ring sketch by atelier gigi
With the clean, modern setting and the two half-moon diamonds on either side, it was just perfect. I knew my sister-in-law to be would swoon! Gigi brought in some choices for the side diamonds, and I was able to help select the ideal set, as my brother doesn’t live locally. I’m impressed how we were all on the exact same page throughout this process.

A few weeks later, the ring was ready. Mom and I went up to the city to pick it up. It turned out even better than I could have imagined! Here are a couple photos Gigi took with her iPhone….

diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi
diamond ring by atelier gigi
Has your jaw hit the floor yet?!

Mom transported the ring up to my brother’s house, and he had to hide it for a whole week. I can envision him opening the box that week and peering into its depths; I know he could barely wait for the proposal to take place.

Fast forward a week, and my brother and his soon-to-be bride were off to Tahoe for a surprise over-nighter. I must say, she was NOT expecting to be proposed to on the gondola in Heavenly…but she said, “YES!!”


Scott + Tricia!!!
Scott + Tricia!!!

Just writing this story brings tears to my eyes. My family is extremely blessed to have Tricia and her son in our lives. I wish her, my brother and their three children a lifetime filled with love, happiness and adventure. Can’t wait for the wedding!! xoxo

Rebecca Overmann: Turning Unworn Jewelry Into New Treasures

I love weeding through my clients’ jewelry boxes. It’s amazing what one can uncover when you get to the far corners, pulling out items that likely haven’t been seen in years. When you start making a little pile of singular earrings that are missing their mate, perhaps a wedding ring from a former marriage, or something that is just SO not your style anymore, things can stack up fast. This is exactly what I did with a client a few months ago, and here’s the handful we ended up with.

unworn jewelry
Knowing we had some great diamonds and gold in hand, we headed to Rebecca Overmann’s studio in San Francisco for a design session. The possibilities were endless, and Rebecca took to her notebook to start sketching out some ideas.

rebecca overmann designing
rebecca overmann
The first decision we needed to make was what to do with the large, round solitaire diamond. My client spends countless hours a week out on the tennis court, so we thought a bezel-set pendant on a simple chain would be ideal. It wouldn’t get in the way of her backhand, yet it would certainly add a little glitz to her tennis whites. Boy did it turn out beautifully!

rebecca overmann diamond necklace
Not only is it elegant on its own, but it layers so easily with other necklaces.

rebecca overmann layered necklace
My client has also really gotten into stacking rings, so a couple new ones were definitely in order. Here’s a great shot of the first one off the bench.

rebecca overmann ring
The second one she made is a bubble design, shown paired with the ring above, on her middle finger. So fun!

ring stacks
Here’s another combo I spotted her wearing. (The larger ring is Tap by Todd Pownell.)

rebecca overmann ring stack
Finally, my client was in need of a pair of diamond studs that would also be great for her athletic lifestyle. Rebecca did not disappoint.

rebecca overmann diamond earring
So now, instead of old, unused items gathering dust in her jewelry box, my client has a new necklace, two beautiful rings, and a pair of earrings that she will wear all the time. Thanks for everything, Rebecca!

How Can I Sell Jewelry I Don’t Want Anymore?

This is a question I am often asked, and one that I’ve thought about a lot lately. I’ve been doing some MAJOR purging the past month or so, in both my closet and my jewelry box. I’ve become increasingly clear on my personal style, and I realized that so much of what I own isn’t resonating with that style. I keep asking myself, “Would I buy this today?” More often than not, the answer is, “No.” So out it goes. I’m striving to have an extremely edited wardrobe, with way fewer pieces that are the best quality I can afford, and things that I absolutely love. I relish having so much space between hangers in my closet, and empty areas in my jewelry box.

While I’ve traditionally used a brick and mortar consignment store for my clothes, bags, and shoes, I haven’t really known what to do with my jewelry, aside from giving it to friends and family. It’s not like I’m getting rid of super fine pieces from Cartier or Bulgari (since I don’t own anything like that!). I’m talking more fashion jewelry, from J. Crew to Tiffany & Co. (Side note: I have sold a couple pieces on Craig’s List, but I don’t like all the work it takes and having to set up a time/place to meet the buyer.) I want to share how I’m going about selling my purged items. First up, I took each piece I wanted to sell, put it in an individual baggie, with a sticky note with the designer and purchase price.


Purged jewelry, all organized
Purged jewelry, all organized

j.crew necklace
stephen dweck necklace
You may wonder how I knew the purchase price of each item. Believe it or not, I’m so OCD, that I actually have spreadsheets of everything I own, with their original purchase price. I update this twice a year. I also keep all the receipts in a binder, in separate sections for each category. (i.e. kitchen items, linens, jewelry, art, etc.)  If you aren’t as nuts as I am, you can easily find out what items sell for with little online search.

So now that that (very long) project was done, where to take them? For the majority of the items, I’m utilizing an online resale site called Threadflip. This Bay Area-based company, which was referred to me by a fellow image consultant, has been a breeze to deal with. Once they received all my items, they went through them, photographed them, and added a detailed description, including a rating of the condition of each item. Then, they are all placed in my virtual “closet,” which I named Amy SF Stylist. Click here to take a peek inside! (And of course, feel free to shop if something is calling your name!)


A snapshot of my "closet"
A snapshot of my “closet”

It’s such a clever melding of social media and consignment, as I get “followers” who like what they see, and then people can also “like” individual items. (Boy, there are certainly a lot of people who’ve “liked” my Mulberry leather bracelet!) When an item sells, or “flips”, I can see where it’s going and track progress. When the sale is complete, money is automatically put into my Threadflip account, which I can then transfer to my own bank. How cool is that? The commission rate depends on the selling price of the item. The more expensive the item, the higher percentage you receive, up to 80% of the selling price for items selling for over $75. I’m only about 10 days into this process, and at this time, I’ve flipped 15 pieces. I assume that the more followers and traffic I get, then the more quickly I’ll sell things. I really enjoy checking in each day to see what’s happening in my “closet.”

Now for my designer jewelry (that with a brand name, such as David Yurman and Tiffany & Co.), I’m giving The Real Real a spin. I don’t have much jewelry in this category, so I just had a few pieces to give them. This site also does a fabulous job photographing the items and writing a description. Here’s an example of one of my Yurman bracelets I sold.



I must say, that my items are selling very quickly on this site. They pay out once a month, via either a check or direct deposit. I gave them my jewelry at the end April, and they were having a special commission rate for jewelry that month (lucky me!), so I’m getting 70% of the sale, instead of the normal 60%. Both of these rates are definitely higher than I’ve gotten in the past from consignment stores.

With both of these sites, if items don’t sell, you can request them back or have them donated. In addition, if there are items submitted that don’t fit their qualifications, you can get them back as well.

While I was purging, I also came across a small handful of old sterling earrings from the 80’s. I decided to head to a local family-owned store, Numis International in Millbrae, and just sell them for their weight in silver.

silver earrings
They were so friendly and efficient. Though my earrings were hollow (therefore they didn’t weigh a whole heck of a lot), I still got about $8.50 in cash, which means a free lunch for Amy! I definitely got a good vibe at this store, and if I have gold, silver or coins to sell in the future, I’ll definitely go back.

So that’s where I am with my current jewelry-selling experiment. So far, I think I’ve earned about $1,100, so that’s not all bad for just over a week! Hopefully sales will continue. Have you had any luck selling your fashion jewelry? Any tips or sites to share? If so, please let me know in the comment section below.

Now…off to take a peek into my relatively empty jewelry box. Fewer things, but things that I actually wear and that bring me joy. Yay!

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.

jennifer montana's key to the stadium necklace

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.

jennifer montana event
Now I have to say, that this necklace is certainly a conversation starter. (There’s a key chain as well.) Jennifer Montana Designs is a jewelry business with a BIG heart. It helps support economically challenged people by providing jobs for the women who make the necklaces, and it donates 80% of their net profits to charity.

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.

A display of the key necklaces
A display of the key necklaces

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.

One of Jennifer's vintage pieces
I loved the sparkling clasp on this necklace.

And look at this centerpiece on another necklace!

jennifer montana necklace
I can tell you that all her necklaces were flying off the tables like hotcakes! If you’re interested in purchasing one of her 49er necklaces, there are still some available on her website. But don’t wait too long, as they were a limited production, and they’re sure to become a collector’s item one day.

amy and jennifer
Amy and Jennifer

Repurposing Jewelry: 10 Creative Ideas

No matter what the size of your home, there’s bound to be things in it that you no longer use. This even trickles down to your jewelry box. It could be a bracelet (that’s not quite your style) you received for your birthday from a dear friend (so you can’t throw it out, right?!) or an heirloom piece that you don’t wear, but just lies unloved at the bottom of your jewelry box. Or perhaps it’s some sparkly brooches that you wore at your neck during the 80’s or a singular earring, with it’s mate lost on some trip long ago. Whatever the case may be, I’ve got a bunch of ideas for you that might give new life to those items.

Take parts of different pieces to create a new one

If you’ve got a bunch of costume brooches laying around then you might just love Martha Stewart’s idea for creating a brooch ribbon necklace. It’s a simple process, and the result is so unique.

brooch ribbon necklace

Turn unused pearl strands into a multi-strand bracelet

A client of mine did this, and it worked beautifully. She had two matching long strands of pearls that she wasn’t wearing. She used a local jeweler to re-fashion them into a multi-strand bracelet, something along the lines of this:

multi-strand pearl bracelet

The same could also be done with fresh-water strands, to create some great stacking bracelets.

cultured pearls

Use a pearl necklace to make earrings for a group

This idea came from a reader. (Thanks, Monique!) She suggested that you can take apart a pearl necklace and make earrings for each woman in the family — perfect for a significant event like a wedding. She said it, “connects everyone with a thread of beauty.” Love that! Depending on the length of the original necklace, you could likely get many pair of earrings made!

pearl drop earrings

You could even make pearl enhancers for everyone to wear on small hoop earrings.

pearl enhancers

Turn jewelry into decor

If you’ve got a piece of jewelry that you really won’t be wearing (perhaps a family heirloom?), how about framing it in a shadow box and hanging it on your wall? You could even frame various pieces in different sizes and create a montage on your dressing room wall. How girly would that be?

Framed jewelry

There’s such a wide range of frames available now, that you can get any look from sleek and modern to scrolly and vintage. I had my local frame shop frame this antique Central American crown that I found in a Santa Barbara shop. A crown is almost jewelry, right?!

framed crown

Use a brooch on an evening bag

My friend Jen is a master of this. She has quite the collections of both pins and evening bags, so she always comes up with something beautiful. Here’s one she just used during the holiday season.

brooch on clutch

I love how she pinned the brooch right into the center of the bow — great focal point.

Create unique napkin rings

My table is normally set in neutrals, so I decided to spice things up a bit for a recent dinner party. Using scraps of ribbon and some brooches from the far recesses of my jewelry box, I fashioned some creative napkin rings with a pop of color. It worked perfectly with my beige linens and white dishes.

brooches on napkin rings

Create a bridal bouquet

I’ve got to credit Pinterest with this idea. I came across so many lovely brooch bouquets while scrolling through the images!

brooch boquet

Country star Miranda Lambert even used one at her wedding to Blake Shelton.

miranda lambert's brooch boquet

Decorate a package

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the special wrapping on a package is just as memorable as the gift inside. Why not glam it up even more by affixing some jewelry to the present?

brooches on packages

Bedazzle a bottle

Decorative bottles with embellished tops have been quite popular the past few years. Why not add another dimension by adding a “necklace” of sorts? Here’s part of an old rosary around a vintage bottle with a stained glass cross.

rosary around bottle

Make a Christmas Wreath

If you’re looking for a way to make your holiday sparkle even more, then you might just love this bejeweled wreath. Better Homes and Gardens has instructions here on how to make it yourself.

christmas wreath by BHG

So what have you done to creatively repurpose jewelry? I’d love to hear all about your ideas — please send me photos too!

5 Tips for Jewelry You Don’t Want or Need

I hope the impending start of the new year finds you happy, healthy, and busy in your jewelry box! This is often the time when people want a fresh start, so they clean the house, organize the closet, and purge their homes of what they no longer want or need. But what about your jewelry collection??

I often advise clients to hang on to jewelry, even if they’re not currently wearing it. Not only does it take up a small amount of space, but I often find myself pulling things out from years past and re-incorporating them into my wardrobe. There are times, though, when you really know it’s time to let some things go. Here are some ideas as to what to do with such pieces:

1. Sell or consign your jewelry. There are many businesses that will be happy to take your jewelry off your hands and give you some money in return. Circa is a widely known business for your pricey and name brand jewelry. The Real Real, a company I’ve had great success with for reselling clothing, is also now taking high-end jewelry. I have even used my local consignment store to unload a pair of not-worn-for-ten years David Yurman earrings. Granted, you only get a fraction of what you paid for things back, but a little money in your pocket is better than nothing, right?

2. Repurpose your jewelry. Often, you can repurpose your own jewelry. Turn an old chain/pearl necklace into a new strap for a small clutch. Or clip on some vintage earrings to your pumps for a little sparkle. I also love to pin broaches onto a simple, fabric clutch to really give it some zing. There are also countless jewelry designers who will take your existing pieces and design something “new” and fabulous for you.

3. Give it away. Why wait until you’ve passed away to give some of your precious collection to loved ones? Go for it now and watch the joy in your recipient’s eyes! I can say from experience that it’s quite lovely to be on both ends of this scenario!

4. Donate your jewelry to charity. There are countless women re-entering the workforce, and they deserve to be dressed to the nines! Places such as Wardrobe for Opportunity or the Career Closet, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, are always looking for business-appropriate finishing touches for their clients.

5. Have a swap party. I think it’s a fab idea to have a swap party with your fashionable gal pals. Invite people over for cocktails and nibbles, and have them bring some of their no-longer-worn jewelry. Just because something is no longer right for you, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t just the perfect thing for someone else! Swap away — you might go home with a new favorite!

With these tips in mind, I encourage you to sift through with your collection and see if there really are some pieces that need a new home. Best wishes to you for a happy and sparkling 2014!

Jewelry box
Are there things in your jewelry box that need to go?

Brooch Magnets

I know that all of us have pieces in our jewelry box that go unworn. Each day when you open your box, they are yelling, “Pick me! Pick me!” But as the days go by, they go unchosen. (sort of like being picked last for the kickball team in grade school!) Well Country Living magazine had a great idea for how to re-purpose your unused brooches. Turn them into stylish magnets for your fridge!

Brilliant idea!
Brilliant idea!

Basically, all you have to do is use needle-nose pliers to remove the hardware from the back of the pin, and then glue on a super strong magnet. Voila — you’ve got a chic new way to affix your “to do” list to your fridge! Plus, I’m sure that your brooches will love being center stage once again! 😉

Julez Bryant: Re-designing jewelry

You already know that I’m a huge fan of Julez Bryant and her fabulous jewelry line! In my previous post about her from July 2011, I mentioned that she not only designs her own line, but she also will re-design your own jewelry for you. I thought I’d share some of the incredible pieces that I’ve seen her make.

The first is a project she worked on with me. (I figured I should check out the process, right?!) I brought in a couple small, loose diamonds I had lying around, the diamond ring I received for my 18th birthday, and a couple other odd, unused pieces. I was dying for a chunky diamond and silver ring, and here’s what she made for me. Love it!!

julez bryant rings
My “old” diamonds looked all new!

When I stopped by one of her trunk shows, I was able to see a couple other re-designs she did for other clients. This first necklace is so unique. It’s made from an old gold necklace and broken bracelet from the client’s grandparents. To this, she added an ivory elephant charm she got in 8th grade and a stunning piece of Sleeping Beauty turquoise. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed with the “new” necklace!

julez bryant necklace
Wearing history around your neck!

Finally, here’s an incredible ring Julez designed using diamonds, gold and an untreated pink sapphire. Wow!

julez bryant ring
Custom ring by Julez Bryant

I have a feeling that if you take a look into your jewelry box, you have the raw materials for some incredible new jewelry! Julez has trunk shows popping up here and there, and you should really take advantage of her talents. I often post about upcoming trunk shows for designers on my blog’s Facebook page, so be sure to “like” the page and stay up to date with events in your area!