Jewelry Box Basics: The Minimalist

Welcome! We’re on article number four of a six-part series highlighting the basics you need in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. So far we’ve covered the lady who lunches, the bohemian, the rock star, and now the minimalist. You still have the romantic and trendy to look forward to. (I know, you are on the edge of your seat waiting for these!) I will re-state that I know most people have a personal style that incorporates aspects from different genres — no need to worry — embrace it! Use these articles as a medium to inspire you and lead you to your local jewelry store with an open, yet focused eye. Don’t let the price tags on the items I write about discourage you. Take the idea and find your own incarnation, with the look and price that you’re comfortable with.

Now let’s focus on the minimalist. I have encountered many of these women during my years as a stylist, and also among my close, personal friends. Being a minimalist doesn’t mean that you don’t have style. (think Audrey Hepburn!) Rather, you have such a carefully curated wardrobe that you know what works, you don’t need a myriad of options, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time each day deciding what to wear. It’s uniform dressing at it’s best. When it comes to the jewelry, it needs to be classic, fuss-free, and lifestyle appropriate.

Choosing a classic watch in the most flattering metal color for your skin tone is imperative. No need for a big trendy statement. Instead, focus on simple elegance, as shown in the Cartier tank watch.

Works everywhere from the home to the office
Works everywhere from the home to the office

Pairing your versatile watch with a stylish bangle is key. Stay away from bracelets that are too “blingy,” make noise, or compete with your outfit. Choose a comfortable-fitting bracelet that will take you anywhere. Hermes nails this assignment with thier clic-clac bracelet.

A subtle, yet stylish statement
A subtle, yet stylish statement

If you’re up for a cuff, then this slim bamboo cuff by John Hardy is a wonderful choice.

Love it!
Love it!

Again, the minimalist needs a ring that doesn’t interfere with her life, whether she’s trying to feed her child at the park or signing a major real estate contract. So don’t opt for anything with stones that protrude or pieces of metal that may catch on things. This ring by Anne Sportun has a whole lot of style, along with a bit of sparkle.

Easy enough to wear 24/7
Easy enough to wear 24/7

Another option that works beautifully for the minimalist is a ring with a bit more of a sentimental bent — the monogramed signet ring. Perhaps this has been inherited from a loved family member, or it’s one that you buy yourself, such as this one from Ariel Gordon. It’s streamlined and fabulous at the same time.

Simple yet luxe
Simple yet luxe

Studs are the definitely the basic go-to earring for the minimalist. Whether it’s a pearls, in metal, or diamonds, there are bound to be at least one pair of studs in the minimalist’s jewelry box. Being the sparkle-lover, I would opt for either diamonds or CZ for your first pair. I love how Bony Levy offers them in a variety of sizes.

How can you go wrong?
How can you go wrong?

Don’t be surprised to find out you’re not the only one who puts on your necklace and then never takes it off. I’ve seen it many times — it’s on in the shower, in bed, and on the beach. Therefore, it needs to be lightweight, unobtrusive, short enough that it doesn’t tangle, and chic. The easy choice here is Tiffany’s diamonds by the yard necklace. (These come in a variety of metals and price points.) Personally, I like taking off my jewelry at night, but hey, to each his own!

Classic glamour
Classic glamour

So are you a minimalist at heart? I clearly am not. (You only need to look at the size of my jewelry armoire to know that!) Though I really do admire this personal style and believe it or not, I do strive to be a bit more minimal when I travel. I’d love to know what minimalist pieces you love to wear!

Metal Earth Studios

It’s certainly trunk show season, and I have been having lots of fun making new discoveries in the world of jewelry! One I particularly enjoyed was meeting Rebecca Longenecker and Meghan Zimmerman, the dynamic duo behind Metal Earth Studios, at a recent trunk show at Manika Jewelry in San Francisco.

Meghan, Amy and Rebecca
Meeting the designers!

Meghan and Rebecca became friends when Rebecca moved in across the street from Meghan about nine years ago. Both having small children at the time, it was a natural connection. Fast forward about seven years, and their Oakland-based jewelry line was born. Rebecca had more of of the jewelry background, and Meghan has talents in art and photography. Combining all of their strengths, they started hand-crafting beautiful, organic, and bohemian jewelry.

They use green gold, ethically mined diamonds and sterling silver. “Each piece is created to help women feel connected to the earth, its elements, and the feminine creature,” Meghan told me. They do all the forging and finishing work themselves in their home studio. Wow!

metal earth studios
The women hard at work

I love the mixed metals in this necklace.

metal earth studios necklace
The diamond really is a special touch!

And this necklace is beautiful on its own, or layered with other pieces.

metal earth studios
The chain on this is fabulous as well

Since I have tiny wrists, I was very happy to see that they make bangles in small sizes too!

metal earth studios bangles
Perfect for stacking!

The designers are so inspired by the metals they design with, and they clearly have a talent for working with them. Take a look at these beautifully crafted rings.

metal earth studios rings
Very versatile design

If this line appeals to your sense of personal style, I definitely recommend you check it out!

Made Her Think: a New Discovery

During my week working in NYC last month, I had the opportunity to scour the shops in numerous areas. While on Madison, I was pleased to visit the Yigal Azrouel store. Aside from the fact that he’s super hot (I’ve met him before) and has an incredible line (predominantly made in NYC), it was the perfect respite from the sudden downpour.

Amidst the lust-worthy racks of garments, there was a tasteful display of jewelry. Made Her Think collaborated with Yigal for his autumn/winter runway show, which is why it was available in the boutique. Well I loved it, especially the thorn cuffs.

made her think thorn cuff
I bought a small and a larger size to layer together

They came in a variety of metals in both widths. It was hard to choose! The designer, Meredith Kahn, “designs each collection with a playful irreverence, flirting with darkness as she combines sentimental historical contrasts that long to inspire.”

Here’s photo of some more of her work, though I didn’t get the opportunity to see these in person.

made her think jewelry
Streamlined, chic, tough, and also feminine

Looking through their website, I learned that they’re also made in the USA, which gives them 10 points in my book! Now that I’m aware of this edgy, seemingly punk-inspired line, I hope to run across it more often.

Petra Class: Designer

The first time I met Petra Class and saw her beautiful line was at the American Craft Council show in San Francisco. (She’ll be showing there again this coming weekend, August 3-5!) Her line had a very modern aesthetic, with clean lines and delicious gems. I was delighted to once again see her at the Couture show, and I had a chance to chat more with her (loved finding out that she’s a 2nd degree black belt in Aikido!) and really explore the line.

petra class jewelry
Two curly girls!

Petra was born and raised in Germany and started designing right out of high school. She adores sitting at the work bench working on her designs. All her pieces are made right here in San Francisco, and she only uses recycled gold.

petra class jewelry
Hard at work on something (undoubtedly) gorgeous

Here is a stunning ring. The blue-green hues elicit the feeling of the Mediterranean. I can almost feel the sun shining down on me…

petra class ring

This bracelet really showcases Petra’s perspective. As she told me,”I like crazy in a structured way.” Well, I certainly believe she achieved it with this creation!

petra class bracelet
A rainbow for your wrist

I thought this pair of pearl, gold and diamond earrings had a particularly feminine feel, though combined with a modern edge. Nice juxtaposition!

petra class earrings
Organically beautiful design

Aside from at various shows, you can also find some of her line at Gumps in San Francisco. Personally, I really hope to make it to the ACC show at Fort Mason this weekend and see her latest work. If you’re in the SF Bay Area, hope you can make it as well!

Bountiful Bracelets: Jewelry Judge

While browsing the shops in Los Altos, CA over the weekend, I was completely impressed with the way this young woman stacked her bracelets! The way she combined earth tones of vintage and new created perfect harmony and visual interest. The one furthest up her arm belonged to her mother, the gold bangle in the middle she received in 5th grade, the woven one is by Tai, and the one closest to her wrist is by DanniJo. Bravo!

stacked bracelets
An inspired combination!

Scale: How Big or How Small?

You may have noticed that over the years, the scale or size of jewelry goes up and down. I remember the huge plastic jewelry of the 1980’s and the petite chain and crystal necklaces from the 1990’s. (Think Monica and Rachel a la Friends) Currently, jewelry seems to be fairly large scale, though there are many choices when you go shopping. So how do you choose what to buy?

First of all, you need to get a basic understanding of what large, medium and small scale jewelry looks like. Here’s an example shown in necklaces.

large, medium, and small scale necklaces

This same guideline applies to all types of jewelry, from the thinnest of gold bands to the chunky cocktail ring…from simple diamond studs to shoulder-grazing chandelier earrings. Once you can identify the scale of a piece, you next need to decide what would work best on you.

Think about your physical being and how much “space” you occupy in the world. Are you tall? Short? Somewhere in between? And think about your skeletal frame. Just because I’m quite tall, I actually have very small bones, as shown in my tiny wrists and ankles.

Finally, think about the scale of your facial features. Do you have large eyes? A small button nose? A smile to rival Julia Roberts?

Knowing how you visually come across will help you in determining the most inherent jewelry scale for you. By inherent, I mean the scale that is most naturally pleasing and complimentary to you. For me, I can carry pretty large scale jewelry due to my height and the size of my facial features, but I need to mix it with some medium or small scale to balance out my small bones. Often, I can achieve this by layering necklaces and bracelets of different scales. (I will elaborate on how to do this in a future post.)

Now keep in mind that this is how to get an inherent look. You can also create drama by selecting a scale that you wouldn’t normally choose. For example, picture some five foot tall gal who constantly wears large, oversized necklaces–and she looks fabulous! This is because she’s making a dramatic statement with her necklaces. Plus, it may very well be part of her jewelry signature. Here’s a perfect example of creating drama with a large scale necklace:

creating drama with a large scale necklace

So take all this information and look at your jewelry with new eyes. You may get an “ah ha!” or two…

Bracelets: Charmed, I’m sure…

About 10 years ago, my mom made the comment to me that all the rich girls she knew growing up had charm bracelets. She, on the other hand, was the daughter of two loving, but poor Italian immigrants. Of course, I decided then and there that my mom had to have one too. Heck, waiting 60 years was long enough, right?!

The more I thought about it, the more I realized what a special thing charm bracelets are–they literally are a history of your interests, your family, and your life. They speak volumes about you, yet in such a subtle way. She just had to have little birthstone booties to represent each of her grandchildren, a starfish to remember our annual trips to the beach, and a cruise ship to commemorate our first voyage last summer. Each holiday, she can count on one more memory to add to her bracelet. It’s almost like scrapbook for your wrist.

mom's charm bracelet

I do like charm bracelets better than those charm-keeper necklaces that were popular back in the 1980’s. With those, the charms were always so squished together that you couldn’t see each one. With charm bracelets, they are nicely spaced out so you can appreciate each one. And just the subtle jingle of the charms make you smile.

If you’ve got your own, or one passed down to you from a family member, take a close look at it. If jewelry could only talk…