WHITE bIRD was on my must-visit list when I was in Paris. I’d heard it mentioned for quite a few years by several jewelry designers I know here in the States, so I was excited to finally visit in person! They opened in 2010, and represent 50 different designers. Needless to say, I knew I’d have to spend some quality time here.
Located just a block off the famous shopping street Rue Saint Honore in the 1st Arrondissement, this charming store is on Rue Du Mont Thabor. Though it’s near the hustle and bustle of many of the big design houses, this street has a much more intimate feel. When you walk in the shop, it has a very light, airy feel. There are three main areas. Here’s the middle part of the store, where you enter.
Here’s a view from the far left of the store. The painted exposed beams really add to the ambience of the shop.
And off to the right, there’s a section with an inviting couch where you can really get serious about your jewelry selections.
The store houses many of my favorite designers, as well as quite a few that were new to me. Showcased in the window were various pieces from Dorette. I was drawn to the designer’s use of color, as well as that “eye” in earring on the right. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the designer, Catherine Levy, was inspired by her extensive travel in India. That “feel” definitely comes through in her designs.
I’ve been a big fan of Pascale Monvoisin for quite some time, but this was my first time getting to try on her work. Out of the big tray of pieces, I decided this black ring was my favorite.
I was also unfamiliar with the work of Orit Elhanati. How fabulous are these opal rings?!
Having spent weeks traveling and seeing exquisite jewelry in museums (and wanting to wear a lot of what I saw in the glass cases!), I saw these Karen Liberman necklaces, with their ancient coins and thought voila! — how to get the historical look in a modern way.
I want to thank Isabelle and Jennifer for all their time and expertise while I explored the store. It was a real treat! And for my readers, should you find yourself in Paris, definitely make a point to stop in. I dare you to leave empty-handed. I know I couldn’t!
Have I told you before how much I love being a jewelry blogger and a wardrobe stylist?? It makes it all the more fun when I travel, as I get to scour new cities for the best stores and unique merchandise. Case in point was when I was in Paris this summer, and I visited Galerie Elsa Vanier on the recommendation of a couple friends. This contemporary jewelry gallery features over twenty artists, and I lucked out by visiting during the Esther Assouline exhibition. My jaw pretty much hit the floor when I saw her work. Was it ancient? New? It looked like it could be in a museum, yet it was so modern at the same time!
This necklace is perfectly imperfect, with its ancient Etruscan metal from the 6-8th Century BC, combined with woven gold and rubies. Spectacular.
And take a look at this one — a true work of art, combining old and new. The way Esther can create a perfect balance of materials so that it hangs effortlessly demonstrates that she has some mechanical engineering talents as well.
These two smaller necklaces utilize earthenware pendants with gold and gems. I can see them easily worn on their own or layered with other necklaces.
Esther doesn’t limit herself to just neck adornments. This bold 18K ring with diamonds and pearls is a showstopper.
This pair of 22k and pink tourmaline earrings are a bit more refined, yet they’re still true to her style with the texture of the gold, the irregular edges and the differing lengths. I’d wear them in a heartbeat. How about you?
Although this exhibition only ran through the end of July, I highly encourage you to stop by the gallery if you find yourself wandering the delightful streets of the 6th. (one of my favorite areas to shop in Paris for unique boutiques)
Hello!! I know it’s been quite some time since you’ve heard from me, but if you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you know I’ve spent most of the summer in Europe. Now it’s home and back to reality, which includes going through the hundreds and hundreds of photos from my adventures. No surprise, one of my favorite things about travel is discovering new boutiques and designers that have never crossed my path before.
Case and point happened the second day of my trip, as I was very jet-lagged and ambling along the quaint streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. I walked by a window filled with jewelry, walked a few more steps, and then had to backtrack to really take a good look. Holy moly — there was a necklace that absolutely took my breath away! I had to investigate.
The designer is Marlene Juhl Jorgensen, a veteran jewelry designer from the city. As I entered her cozy boutique, my jet-lag suddenly seemed to disappear. There was a whole case of signet rings, with a wide range of vibes, from contemporary to more vintage.
Interspersed were pieces with coral (which floats my boat!), including this huge object d’arts hanging on the wall.
But let’s get back to the necklace… it’s part of her Nairobi Punk collection, which she launched in 2013. The collection, “encapsulates the underground atmosphere and the contrasts that prevail in Nairobi….(it) balances between the classic and the modern — cool elegance with an edge.” It’s hand made in her shop, as is all the jewelry. It’s made of gold-plated silver with champagne rose cut diamonds. I completely resonate with the feel of it. It’s almost like you can’t put a date stamp on it, and its style is so singular.
Speaking of style, I couldn’t help but admire what she herself was donning around her neck.
Even on a super creative day, I don’t think I’d have ever put this combination together. And on her, it’s completely awesome and in harmony with her personal style; eclectic in all ways — color, texture, old and new. Style notes taken!
I’m thrilled that my wandering took me by the shop. I guarantee I’ll be back one day. And if you find yourself in Copenhagen, you must stop by. So many of her pieces are one of a kind, so you really have to visit in person to get a full perspective of her work.
I’ve got to be honest — London is a bit of an overwhelming city for me. It’s absolutely ginormous, and there’s so much to do, see and eat. But I want to share an itinerary for jewelry lovers that will make this big city feel all cozy and sparkly. My first stop is always Liberty. (I actually visited three times on my last visit!) Not only do they have an incredibly well-edited collection of clothing, but there’s the fabrics, the home area, and of course…the jewelry department.
Isn’t the vibe just too cool with the dark beams, the greenery, and the ultra-modern cases? You’ll find a wide array of jewels here, but I spent quite a bit of time in the Annina Vogel area. This gold-centered line includes both vintage/antique and it’s combined with her own designs. I always have a soft spot for old meets new in the world of jewelry.
I was VERY partial to this diamond and gold necklace… (Where’s my bottomless wallet when I need it?!)
By this point in the day, I’m always ready for lunch, and eating at the Arthur’s Restaurant at Liberty is a real treat. Once your stomach is satisfied, you can walk to Browns, which is completely different than Liberty, but equally enticing. Browns is a large split-level boutique, and you’ll find fabulous merchandise at each turn. I’d been following Browns on Instagram, so I did a little happy dance when I got to the jewelry department.
Depending on how your schedule (and wallet) are doing, you can also pop into Grays Antiques, which is just around the corner from Browns. Although I warn you, this place could easily take up the rest of your day! And if that’s the case, enjoy!
If your spending limit has been hit, then this is the perfect time to cab over to the Victoria & Albert museum. While there are always numerous exhibits to see and enjoy, being that this is a “jewelry day” I’d head straight to the jewelry room, where your jaw will seriously hit the ground!
While of course it’s wonderful to drool over the collection, it’s also fun to try things on, right?! Down in the V&A gift shop, they’ve got a diverse jewelry section with all sorts of modern designers, many of which were new to me, which is always fun.
By this time, your feet will likely be in need of a rest, so take a load off and enjoy happy hour! Hope you’ve enjoyed this little bling-filled tour of London. Let me know if you have any favorite jewelry spots in the comment section below — I’d love to hear from you!
When I was planning my trip to Scotland, I was under the impression that I’d stumble across countless antique stores — I mean the country is SO old compared to the USA. Alas, my desires didn’t quite materialize. But you know how they say quality over quantity? That, I did find to be true. I’ve already shared Joseph Bonnar in Edinburgh with you, and now I want to share my discovery in Inverness, William Morrison Jeweller.
I actually came across this this shop, founded in 1902 by a Jewish immigrant named Isaac Finkelstein, completely by accident. I had just gotten some cash out of the ATM, and the rain started up. So, I dashed into the nearest door, which was the entrance to the Inverness Victorian Market, a small arcade of shops and eateries.
Not only was this a nice respite from the rain, but when I spied the trays of antique jewelry in the window, I knew I had to investigate further. The shop is not large, yet very well organized and brimming with merchandise. I love how in Scotland the antique jewelry is called “second hand.”
Time flew by as I tried on different pieces and chatted with William, the owner. His father was friends with Isaac, which is how he ended up now owning the store. He delighted me with tales of the store being haunted — and how feathers often appear overnight in the shop, even though there are no openings to the outside. (Yes, I ate these stories up!) He showed me a photo of Isaac and even a receipt dating back over 100 years.
The shop basically hasn’t changed at all since its founding, and the original grandfather clock still marks the time.
While I spent quite a bit of time pouring over all the jewelry…
…I couldn’t resist leaving without this rose gold snake ring from 1914. William was kind enough to look up its hallmark, which hails from Chester. I wonder who it originally belonged to?
I’m so glad that fate (and the rain) brought me to this store, and I really enjoyed speaking with William.
I spent a few nights in Inverness, and one of the main reasons I wanted to visit was so I could see the Culloden battlefield and the standing stones at Clava Cairns. (Any other Outlander fans reading this??) Since I was traveling by train, I decided to hire a private guide for the first time in my life. Man, did I luck out. I found David Laidlaw, the owner of Scenic Routes, online. He was extremely responsive over e-mail before my trip (I had actually hired him for more than one day), and as soon as I met him in person, I knew I had made the perfect choice.
Not only did David take me to these places on my list, but being born and bred in Inverness, he had many other special places to show me as well. Oh, and when you get hungry, two restaurants I really enjoyed are Hootananny and Black Isle Bar, which has quite amazing pizza in addition to their beer selection.
When I began planning my adventure in Scotland, I naturally asked all my friends for advice on where to go. A friend of a friend said I HAD to visit the Isle of Iona, as it was a completely magical place. OK…so I got out the map and located it. Hmm…it was part of the Hebrides Islands, a little isle off the coast of the Isle of Mull, off the coast of Oban. It didn’t sound like the easiest place to get to, but I was determined to make it happen. And, it turned out it wasn’t as difficult as I originally thought.
To get to Iona, I purchased a full day, round trip tour from West Coast tours. I bought my ticket almost 6 months in advance (not that you have to), and I lucked out big time on the weather — cool and sunny! We departed Oban just before 10 in the morning and enjoyed a scenic 50 minute ferry ride to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. From there, I hopped on a bus and took an hour and half drive across the ruggedly beautiful Isle of Mull. The driver gave an informative and sometimes humorous commentary during the journey.
Then it’s just a a 15 minute ferry ride over to Iona. Once I debarked in Iona, I just started walking. I knew the main thing I wanted to see was the Abbey, but you never know what you’ll encounter along the way. And what did I find??? An incredible jewelry gallery, Aosdana! Honestly, this was about the last thing I ever thought I’d find on this remote island.
Aosdana “derives from an ancient Gaelic word and is the collective term for the bards of old whose role was to record the histories and genealogies of the land, through poetry and music.” It all started with local jewelry designers, Alex and Euphemia Ritchie and Iain McCormick. In 1996, Iain gave a young female relative, Mhairi Killin, the wealth of his expertise and designs. In 2003 Mhairi opened Aosdana, where she showcases this work, as well as the work of many other Scottish artists. I was extremely impressed by the gallery, both in its clean displays and breadth in style of work. Here’s a peek inside the gallery.
I was very drawn to this zoomorphic ring with a dark finish. Its pattern was so much more complex than any Celtic design I’d seen before, and I learned it symbolizes renewal of life and eternity of spirit. Love it even more!
I was also intrigued by the green stones in many of the pieces, such as in this charm bangle. I discovered that these stones are often referred to as “St. Columba’s tears” by the locals, and they sometimes carry of piece of it in their pockets to ward off drowning. It’s a mixture of serpentine and white marble, and it naturally occurs in shades from lime to dark green.
As I strolled around the gallery, I couldn’t help but admire a large statement necklace hanging on the wall by Kelly Munro. This “creel” necklace is made of brass, rubber and wood. It could easily function as a piece of art if displayed when you’re not wearing it.
I also think the handcrafted silver work by Susan Macleod is quite lovely. Here’s her Sweet Pea & Pearl necklace.
Another artist who uses wood in her jewelry is Cristina Zani. I think it’s so pretty how she carves the wood and then uses paint and gold leaf to make it an organically beautiful centerpiece.
Grace Girvan uses pebbles from the beaches of Iona in her designs — here’s one featuring two stones with fascinating patterns.
If you find yourself on the Isle of Iona, you definitely have to visit the Abbey. (It’s just up the road from Aosdana.) It was founded back in 565 AD, and it’s still in use today. Can you imagine going to services in such an ancient building? There was moss and ferns sprouting from the interior walls — truly a mystical place!
When walking back to the ferry landing from the Abbey, you’ll pass Aosdana, and shortly thereafter come upon the Iona Heritage Centre. I found this a perfect spot for an alfresco cheese toastie for lunch. (translation: grilled cheese sandwich)
As I waited for my ferry back to Mull, I couldn’t help but get lost gazing into the crystal clear and frigid waters.
I’m so grateful that I followed the advice of my friend of a friend to visit this charming isle. If you find yourself visiting and you’re looking for a great place to stay in Oban, I highly recommend Greystones. This immaculate, modern boutique hotel, run by Mark and Suzanne, has five rooms. It’s the former private home of the director of Kimberley Diamond Mine. (Quite perfect for a jewelry blogger, don’t you think?!) I can’t rave over the views enough — and the yummy breakfast!
For drinks, enjoy the outdoor area at Oban Inn (established in 1790!), and then have a delicious seafood dinner at Eeusk.
As I sit to write this article, I find myself desperately missing Scotland and a wee bit jet lagged as well. I have just returned from a month in the UK — three weeks in Scotland and a week in London. It was a most amazing solo adventure, and I’ve discovered lots of goodies to share with you. First up, I have to tell you about Joseph Bonnar, a truly amazing antique and period jewelry store in the New Town section of Edinburgh. I had the pleasure of visiting the store twice during my week’s stay, as I just didn’t take in enough the first time.
Entering this establishment feels like being in a well-curated jewelry museum where you can actually try on and BUY the artifacts! Just incredible. Many of the pieces come from local families, so Joseph can actually trace the heritage of many items. Here’s just one of the cases of antique Scottish jewelry. This store has the best selection of Scottish pieces that I came across on my entire trip.
Merchandise is very clearly labeled with information and price, which makes shopping very user friendly. I was drooling on the cases in the “gold” section. Both the variety of snake rings and this huge oval pendant (it must have been over 2 inches!) were screaming to go home with me. Alas…
As I chatted with Joseph about various pieces, he would suddenly pull something extra-special from the back for me to take a look at. We were discussing the resurgence in popularity of riviere necklaces, when he handed me this leather box from 1860. Take a gander at what’s inside! *gasp*
On my second visit, I was fortunate to see this paste crown and pin from the 19th century. It’s Central European and ended up in Edinburgh as the owner married a Scot. I wonder who she was…
A particularly lovely ring I saw is this Georgian silver and gold cushion cut diamond ring with enamel details. Isn’t it just exquisite?
The ring that stole my heart, and just happened to fit perfectly on my pinky finger, is this sweet Georgian citrine ring. I needed a pinky ring, right? I thought so.
I could have spent the whole day in this store, and I thank Joseph and his lovely staff for all their time and expertise. They do show quite a few products on their website if you’d like to get a more in-depth look at their collection. But personally, I say it’s worth an in person visit!
If you find yourself in Edinburgh, I’m sure your antique jewelry shopping will work up an appetite. I wanted to share a few recommendations with you, as I tried out many restaurants during my time there. For lunch, the restaurant at Harvey Nichols (Harvey Nick’s, for locals) was both delicious and had a stellar view! It’s only about a 5-10 minute walk from Joseph Bonnar.
For dinner, I found two excellent choices. Both of these are in the Old Town, not far from Edinburgh Castle. The first is Howies on Victoria, the brightly-colored street that leads down to the Grassmarket area. While they had me at the elderflower gin fizz, the warm bread and salmon with tempura fried anchovies truly won me over.
The other dinner I really loved was at The Outsider, which came with a view of the castle. It’s not often that I enjoy pan fried stone bass while gazing at a frickin’ castle!!
Edinburgh… I will be back. That, I can promise you.
Part of my job as a personal wardrobe stylist is packing my clients for trips. I seem to be doing a lot of this lately, and when it comes to the jewelry, there are quite a few things to consider. I thought I’d share some of these points to ponder with you, as you may find yourself packing a suitcase for a trip of your own this summer!
Your destination should determine what jewelry you bring
Are you going to a luxury resort on the French Riviera? Then perhaps you’ll need to up your glitz game! Are you going to visit the rainforest in South America? Then a waterproof sport watch and stud earrings may be all you really need. I always advise bringing the fewest number of pieces necessary no matter what your destination, especially if you’ll have to cart around luggage to multiple locations.
Think about the security of where you’ll be traveling
In the example of a high end resort, there’s likely to be a safe in the room or at the front desk where you can store your unworn jewelry. On a more rustic trip, I wouldn’t risk bringing any superfluous items; perhaps stick to one look that you’ll wear everyday, or perhaps complement it with some inexpensive necklace that you wouldn’t mind “losing.”
Consider the message your jewelry is sending
I have one client who brings 4 carat CZ stud earrings no matter where she goes. Sure, these earrings don’t necessarily cost a lot, but they are still flashy. And honestly, no one knows whether they are “real” or not — I think she’s tempting fate. When you think about your destination, do you want to draw attention to yourself? Or blend in? I recall a time in my 20’s when I was at the train station in Naples, Italy. A local approached me and said I shouldn’t be wearing the jewelry I had on, as it was tempting to thieves. And what did I have on? Simply a pair of $18 silver hoops, a few silver rings and a silver bangle. Interesting. In my book, this was a very low key (and inexpensive) look, but I never considered that the image I was projecting to those in the train station might be read differently.
How are you going to transport your jewelry?
First and foremost, your jewelry should travel on your physical body or in your carryon. Absolutely NO jewelry in your checked luggage…EVER!! I had one client who was traveling with just a few inexpensive necklaces. She ignored my advice and put them in her checked bag. I was not surprised to hear that when she arrived at her destination, not only was her jewelry missing, but a few other items as well. When the baggage handlers see jewelry in a bag, they don’t know if it’s valuable or not. Why tempt people??
My latest find is a travel jewelry box I picked up for $19.99 at the Container Store. It’s the mini lidded stacker in mink, and it’s been working like a charm! I like that it’s a solid box, so I don’t worry about jewelry getting bent in a jewelry roll. It’s small enough to tuck into my purse, and the lid stays very securely snapped closed. I use the ring area for my earrings as well. The only downside is that it doesn’t accommodate bangles, but I can work around that.
What about the jewelry you leave at home?
This is a VERY important thing to consider in these days of social media. Even though security experts advise you not to post any travel photos on social media until you are back at home, that’s pretty darn hard to do. If you’re gazing out at the most spectacular sunset over the Grand Canyon, I dare you not to press the “share” button on Instagram! In addition, everyone’s address is public knowledge. So if you post, thieves will know you’re gone and they know your address. The solution? Keep all your jewelry under lock and key, either in a safe (bolted to the ground or in a wall), your safety deposit box, or off the premises entirely. I know this sounds extreme, but I think it’s crucial. In addition, make sure your jewelry insurance policy is up to date. (For more info on this, refer this article from 2016.)
I know this is a lot to think about, but in my book, planning your jewelry is just as important as planning your clothing. I’d love to hear any other tips you have on this topic in the comment section below. And if you’re going away this summer, I wish you an amazing journey!
Also, I won’t be blogging regularly for the month of July, but I’ll be back full force in August. Know that you can always get your dose of bling on my Instagram and Facebook page.
Summer is here, and it’s time to travel! One of my clients is taking a fantabulous trip with her two young boys. The itinerary includes Paris, London, Italy and the south of France. (Who me? Green with envy?!) While she’s not limiting herself to a carry-on bag, we also don’t want to have a monster-sized bag that she has to lug around from place to place. So the key is to have outfits that will definitely do double or even triple duty. This striped maxi dress by Vince is a great starting point.
Now I know many of you might be saying, “But, Amy,…don’t you know that horizontal stripes are universally unflattering?!” I hear ya, but I’m going to call you on it. This is an old rule (like not wearing white after Labor Day), and it’s not always true. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with many striped outfits over the years that look totally hot. And remember, the outfit will be broken up with other items and accessories, so that is also a big contributing factor.
For the first look, I’m going for a, “Come on boys! We’re going to spend the whole day wandering the streets of Rome — from savoring gelatos at the Fountain of Trevi to visiting the Sistine Chapel.” Translation fashion-wise: very comfortable shoes, layers, and fun jewelry. I always advise my clients to travel with costume jewelry. No need to tempt a pick-pocket, right?! This cargo vest by Velvet is the perfect day look for over the dress. (The pockets are an added bonus for keeping track of tickets, etc.)
For the sake of comfort and safety, a cross body bag is a must. Adding this one by Marc Jacobs in a bright red-orange hue definitely adds some punch to the outfit.
I definitely prefer when things are not all matchy-matchy. And I hate to say that for this trip, an actual comfort shoe is in order. Now this doesn’t have to mean you have to look like an unstylish tourist — I promise that there are some cute, hip alternatives out there, such as these metallic sandals by Ecco.
These double teardrop earrings and an organic slim cuff finish off the look. This bracelet would also stack very easily with others that might be in the suitcase…or acquired at a street market. (Yes…I’m dreaming of what I’d be doing there!)
Now for the stint in Paris, I know that she is meeting up with some other moms for a girl’s night out, Parisian style. Oo la la! So she much look tres chic, or I’ll be in trouble! So same dress, but let’s go a little more high style. First up, ditch the vest and don this white silk jacket by Amanda Uprichard.
Then leave the flats in the room (with the kids and the babysitter) and strap on these heels by Sol Sana. One reason I like them for travel is that they have a very wide heel base, making it much easier to walk on cobblestones, especially after a few glasses of champagne! The wide straps also give your foot a lot of support, holding you in as you meander to the next stop for the evening.
For a bag, I think a wristlet is the perfect solution, as it is safer having it around your wrist (as opposed to just a clutch), and it can double as your wallet for the rest of the trip, tucked inside the cross-body bag. And you know I certainly don’t want a boring one, so this gold version by Halogen adds some nice shine to the outfit.
Paris is certainly one of the global headquarters of fashion, so I’ve got to make sure she blends in with the locals. (I told her if she gets asked for directions, then I did my job well.) These reversible stud earrings give some edgy attitude to the outfit. Might be fun to wear one with the gold side showing and one with with sparkles up front for an unexpected twist.
To continue this edgier look, I think it’s great fun to bring a set of multi-finger rings, along with a stand-alone ring to mix and match for different looks. Again, advising against bringing fine jewelry while traveling, this affordable ring set by Luv Aj and open design ring by Campbell are cool without the major price tags. These rings will also go great with her more casual looks, and they can be worn in different configurations.
Since Paris is one of THE best places in the world to find amazing costume jewelry, I hope that my client has some time for a little shopping as well. Can’t wait to hear all about her adventures! And don’t forget, if something in this article piques your interest, just click on the blue links for more info. Cheers!
Items that have multiple functions are something I love. Whether it’s a leather motorcycle jacket that can be transformed into a killer vest with de-tachable sleeves, or my hiking pants which can become capris with ease (don’t laugh!), I think it really extends your cost-per-wear on an item.
Dartmouth and Harvard-educated Clara Williams has brought this vision to jewelry, which you know is pretty much one of my biggest passions. With her patent-pended magnetic clasp technology, and over 11 years in business, she has broached (no pun intended) a whole new territory in jewelry. Honored to meet this Chicago-based designer at the Couture show in Vegas, I was so intrigued by her line.
So the concept behind her necklaces is that you choose the main necklace element, be it one or her 14K or 18K chains, or something more exotic, such as pearls. From there, you choose your center piece, which magnetically clasps to the necklace. How brilliant is that?!
With your imagination, the sky is the limit with the combinations you can come up with. Here are some beautiful examples.
Her earrings are also convertible. Different enhancers easily slide on and off the basic earring. I can imagine that this line is the traveler’s dream, with the amount of different looks you can achieve with her jewelry! In addition, once you start “collecting” her line, you can just keep adding different pieces, really creating a multitude of looks.
Though Clara loves spending her time fly-fishing and traveling to exotic locales such as the Galapagos Islands, you can also catch her here state-side. Her line is offered in a variety of retailers, and you can even see it live in Pebble Beach coming up on August 16-19 at Elan at the Lodge. If you ever needed a reason to visit one of the most picturesque places in the Unites States, here you have it!