Jewelry Box Basics: Gifts for Grads

Oh…tis is the season for graduations! 8th grade, high school, college…these gals are ready to take the next step in life! And there’s no better way to mark these amazing milestones than with a piece of jewelry. Trying to find the perfect gift for someone can be a challenge, but I think if you consider their personal style then it might make the decision a bit easier.

During my 6-part series, Jewelry Box Basics, I discussed what jewelry each person should have in their jewelry box, based on their personal style: the lady who lunches, bohemian, rock star, minimalist, romantic, and the trendy gal. Now trust me, these personal styles can develop early, so just use your keen eye to determine where your grad might fall into the spectrum. Once you determine this, then you have a clear direction of where to start shopping. Here are some of my recommendations based on each personal style.

The Lady Who Lunches
You can never go wrong with pearls with this personal style. But given that the graduate is younger in age, you don’t want to select a pearl piece fit for her grandmother. I love these earrings by San Francisco designer, Alana Leigh. The baroque pearls and the unique setting are so versatile — from jeans and a t-shirt to a cocktail dress.

Current and classic!
Current and classic!

The Bohemian
When the bohemian woman is building her jewelry collection, she is undoubtedly going to build up quite the wardrobe of statement rings. Selecting a gorgeous ring with an organic feel would be perfect. Case in point is this druzy ring by Peppina jewelry. It’s simply stunning.

A perfect, daily statement
A perfect, daily statement

The Rock Star
Even if your grad isn’t part of a rock-n-roll band, her style definitely reflects an artistic quality. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s covered in tattoos or multiple piercings, but she still has that edge. In which case, this amazing bangle by Alexander McQueen would be spot-on for her.

Subtle skulls
Subtle skulls

The Minimalist
Granted, the minimalist won’t necessarily be expecting a piece of jewelry for her graduation. In fact, she might not even know what to do with it at first! So the key here is to give her a piece that incorporates itself so easily into the minimal pieces that she already wears, that it becomes one of her must-wear pieces. Given the popularity of initial jewelry, choosing a simple, clean initial necklace by Jennifer Meyer is the perfect choice. It can easily be layered with other necklaces, or simply be worn on its own.

Simply elegant
Simply elegant

The Romantic
The woman with the romantic personal style typically has quite a sentimental bent. So giving her something with special meaning, like a birthstone piece of jewelry, would definitely warm her heart. I recently discovered the shopNBC.com site. (Who knew!?) and fell in love with this opal ring. (Happy birthday, October!) And a cool side note, this site offers something called “value pay” on certain items, where you can split your payment into monthly installments.

I love the fire in opals
I love the fire in opals

The Trendy Gal
Only the latest and greatest will do for the fashionista grad. Since you of course want to be on time for her appointments, the perfect gift for her will be a brightly colored watch to keep her on track. This stylish aqua watch by Kate Spade fits the bill perfectly.

Colorful, yet classy
Colorful, yet classy

I hope that you all enjoy this graduation season, and I send my very best wishes to all you grads out there!

Substantial Layers: Jewelry Judge

I was wandering around the Los Altos Rotary Art fair on Sunday with my mom. We always enjoy this fair, and I think I like the people watching just as much as the art on display. Well this woman had it going on! She is another example of how age doesn’t have anything to do with style.

heavy layers

Her simple, black outfit was the perfect backdrop for her somewhat weighty, yet harmonious layers. She didn’t even have to utter a word, and I already felt like I knew so much about her. I imagine that she would have traveled the world, I’m sure she’s a good story-teller, and I have a strong suspicion that she has an optimistic outlook on life. I could, of course, be wrong, but this is really an example of how your personal image talks without you opening your mouth.

I urge you to really think about your personal style and what your outfit and accessories are saying about you. You never know when I might snap a photo of you!!

Creative Necklace: Jewelry Judge

While strolling along the charming streets of Carmel, California, I came across this stylish 60-something. She was wearing a simple white tee, black pants, and a teal sweater. While a fine outfit in its own right, it was her creative necklace that really set her apart from the crowd.

Not your average necklace!
Not your average necklace!

In chatting with her, it turns out that wearing a statement necklace has really become her jewelry signature. Love that! Just goes to show that fabulous jewelry knows no age! Jewelry Judge gives the thumbs up!

Jewelry Box Basics: The Trendy Gal

I cannot believe this is already the final article in my six-part series “Jewelry Box Basics.” Talking about what jewelry you should have in your jewelry box based on your personal style, I’ve covered the lady who lunches, the bohemian, the rock star, the minimalist and the romantic. Now, it’s time for the woman who’s all about the latest trends. You may notice that some of the pieces I feature in this article could easily fit into one of the other categories. This makes perfect sense, as each season there will be jewelry trends that appeal to different personal styles. For instance, when I wrote the article about this spring’s big spike trend, you just know that the rock star is all over that one! Please remember that no one fits into just one box. We are each unique, and it’s wonderful to explore the different facets of our own style, from clothing to jewelry. Don’t worry about the price tag on the pieces — just use the item as a springboard for your own interpretation at the price point that’s comfortable for you.

I’m writing this particular post from a personal perspective. Since there are SO many jewelry trends out there, I decided to chose things in each category that are on my own wish list — things that I would actually love to wear. Some items have a bohemian edge, others a little rock star…enjoy.

Watch
There’s nothing truly “basic” in a trendy fashionista’s jewelry box, right down to her watch. The past couple years we’ve seen white ceramic watches become increasingly popular. I like Michele’s interpretation, which of course is bedazzled with some diamonds.

Chic and on trend!
Chic and on trend!

But seeing that color, especially in the neon range, is hot-hot-hot, I’d also have to add this day-glo watch by Marc Jacobs. What a great pop of color with a neutral outfit!

Fabulous!
Fabulous!

Bracelets
I have to say that I’m getting a little obsessed with bold cuffs. I actually think this trend will easily transition into fall, so picking up a nice one might be a good investment. When I was at Barney’s the other day, I tried on this stunner by Celine. The mixed metals, the rounded studs, and the weight of it were just divine. No, I didn’t get it, but it’s currently #1 on my jewelry lust list!!

Yes, I'm coveting this!
Yes, I’m coveting this!

I’m also loving this metal and horn creation by Maiyet. I can easily envision one on each wrist with an all-white outfit.

Strong design!
Strong design!

Rings
There is definitely a growing trend in multiple-finger rings. The key to this trend is not to just grab any old rings out of your jewelry box and pile them on, but rather curate a handful that has a similar theme. Many designers are now selling a set of 5 rings, one for each finger! Balenciaga is one such line that has a stunning group. I’ve yet to see them in person, but they’re everywhere in the media! I wish I knew where to check them out — not even their website offers them….they are elusive…

Uber-cool
Uber-cool

Earrings
A couple trends are beckoning to me this season. The first is all about color. Colored and painted crystals are showing up everywhere from H&M to Neiman Marcus. This pair by Dannijo is cited as their “mohawk moment” — love that!

Punk meets vintage
Punk meets vintage

I’m also really enjoying the “new” shape of chandelier earrings. They have a long, thin silhouette, as opposed to the wider designs of a few years ago. This diamond and chain pair by The Woods is a perfect example of this. It can be easily worn with jeans or a cocktail dress. Boy would they look great in my jewelry box! šŸ˜‰

SO versatile!
SO versatile!

Necklaces
I’ve got to come back to the colored crystal trend for the necklace choice as well. The Courtney Lee Collection has designed some trendy, yet very wearable pieces this season. Take this necklace, for instance. Style it with a denim shirt and white jeans, and suddenly you look completely put together. Just one key piece of jewelry can really make an outfit.

The crystal/chain combo is genius
The crystal/chain combo is genius

J.Crew always has a great selection of on-trend jewelry as well. Here’s one of their necklaces with a similar feel.

Great color combination
Great color combination

Here’s what you have to be really careful about when you are a trendsetter. You need to strategically think about the cost-per-wear of each piece before you buy it. Some trends will be just a flash in the pan. If you spend tons of money on something like that, then it may not be a wise investment. But if it’s something that truly makes your heart sing, works with the majority of your wardrobe, and you can see it lasting or being mixed with other pieces in the future, then it may be a wiser expenditure. These sorts of pieces really can end up being your jewelry signature, so it’s worth it. Do you think you’ll be investing in any trendy jewelry this season? Do tell! Inquiring minds want to know…

Jewelry Box Basics: The Romantic

Spring is here and romance is in the air (at least that’s what I’m hoping for!!)…and this fifth installment of “Jewelry Box Basics” focuses on jewelry for the romantic personal style. Ooh la la! During this six-part series, I’ve covered the lady who lunches, the bohemian, the rock star, the minimalist, and now the romantic. Based on these different personal styles, I’m recommending the type of basics you should have in your jewelry box. While the pieces I select might not be at the price point that you feel comfortable shopping at, please don’t let this dissuade you from following the general theme and finding what makes your heart happy.

So the romantic is a style that is extremely feminine. Often lace, floral prints, family heirlooms, and sheer fabrics can be found in her closet. Just as with the bohemian style, there is a wide range in this genre — from just a few girly touches here and there to someone who channels the look from an era gone by. I’ve spotted some great examples of this while at vintage clothing and jewelry fairs. The underlying theme is delicate and feminine, often with a nod to the past.

Watch
I recommend that the romantic select a watch that’s not too over-sized, such as this one by Kate Spade. Instead, think of a refined watch in your most flattering metal or with a slim leather band. Perhaps you even have your mom’s or grandmother’s watch in your jewelry box? This could definitely be a basic for you!

A lovely, sweet watch
A lovely, sweet watch

Bracelets
More than any other personal style, the romantic is the most likely to have, love and wear a charm bracelet every day. Charm bracelets pair beautifully with a watch, and can be stacked with a simple bangle as well.

Perfect whether it's new or an heirloom
Perfect whether it’s new or an heirloom

Rings
Floral motifs figure prominently for the romantic, so choosing a ring with some sort of flower is certainly fitting. This delicate creation by Cathy Waterman is a beautiful way to achieve this look without looking “too too.”

Gold, platinum and diamonds
Gold, platinum and diamonds

Necklaces
Vintage or vintage-inspired jewelry is spot-on for the romantic. This necklace by 1928 Jewelry incorporates this look, along with the flower detail we just mentioned.

I like the mixed metals in this design
I like the mixed metals in this design

Lockets and cameos are two other types of necklaces that would be a great basic for this personal style. Many times cameos are made to be worn on a chain or as a brooch, which make them even more versatile.

I have one from my grandmother
I have one from my grandmother

Earrings
You know my penchant for hoops, yet each personal style will have slightly different versions. For the romantic, I love these hoops by Armenta, with their unique shape and scalloped detail. And really…how can you go wrong with a few diamonds thrown in?!

Romantic hoop design
Romantic hoop design

For a non-hoop option, these drops by Judith Jack are right on the money.

A nice neutral earring
A nice neutral earring

So what do you think? Does your personal style include any of these romantic aspects? Remember, people don’t typically fit into just one style box…

Jewelry Box Basics: The Lady Who Lunches

This is the first article in a 6-part series about what basics you should have in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. In my many years as an image consultant, I’ve spent countless hours working with clients and their jewelry, helping them to carefully select the pieces that really enhance their outfits and express who they are. I’ve come up with six different personal styles: the lady who lunches, bohemian, rock star, minimalist, trendy and romantic. For those of you who are wondering where the creative style is, don’t think that I’m neglecting you. Instead, I’ve learned that there really aren’t any “basics” for the creative type! This personal style likes each piece to be a work of art.

Granted, no one fits exactly into one “box,” but hopefully these articles will at least give you a framework of where to start in building your jewelry wardrobe. Personally, though my own style definitely veers towards the bohemian esthetic, there are elements from each style that I love (and have in my jewelry box!). In each article, I’ll be showing an example of each item, but don’t let the price point bother you, whether you think it’s too high or too low. Just use the example as the general “look” and then shop at the price point that you feel comfortable with.

Ok, so here goes…”the lady who lunches” is very prevalent here in the Bay Area. Active with their children’s schools, always involved in various charities, and with a booked social calendar, this woman needs jewelry that will take her everywhere.

Watch
I recommend a high quality watch in the metal that looks best on you. You may even decide on one embellished with diamonds, if your style and budget support that. I think this one by Philip Stein is very versatile, and I love the unique shape of the face.

Just the right amount of bling
Just the right amount of bling

Bracelets
Three to five bracelets in the same metal color as your watch are perfect for stacking. They can be worn on the same wrist as your watch or on the other arm. Personally, I’m a big fan of Ippolita. Her bangles come in just metal, or embellished with diamonds and semi-precious stones. The bangles don’t need to all be by the same designer, either. Just look for harmonious design elements in your grouping.

I like using bangles in odd numbers
I like using bangles in odd numbers

Rings
A colored stone, worn in the largest scale that you’re comfortable with, really goes a long way. It’s appropriate during the day, and can also add a lot to a cocktail outfit. This blush colored sapphire ring by Jill Alberts is lovely.

Subtle, yet still a statement
Subtle, yet still a statement

Earrings
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I think hoops are about the most versatile earring on the planet. I’ve yet to find a person, no matter what their personal style is, that doesn’t resonate with the perfect pair of hoops. For the lady who lunches, I really think she needs at least two pair — one, in her metal of choice, and then another with diamonds. (Can you tell that this is a pricey personal style to have?!) Of course, this look can easily be achieved with cubic zirconia as well. This pair by Roberto Coin is just lovely.

I have a cz version of these
I have a cz version of these

Necklaces
I find that various strands of pearls in different lengths, colors, and textures, are definitely a basic for the lady who lunches. Now these are NOT your stuffy, old-lady pearls we’re talking about. Instead, imagine multiple layers, various scales, and even interspersed with metal chains. No need for real pearls, either. There are plenty of man-made pearls at various price points. Here’s a very cool take on a multi-strand necklace by Alexis Bittar.

I love the metal & sparkle details
I love the metal & sparkle details

With these five elements in your jewelry box, you’ve got a good base on which to build. A jewelry collection takes time and money to create, so just enjoy the process. Invest in pieces that you LOVE and that really appeal to your personal style, and you can’t go wrong.

Spring 2013 Trend: Spikes

Now I know that when most of you think about spiked jewelry, your mind likely goes to a punk-rock sort of look, complete with black nail polish and a black leather biker jacket. But spiked jewelry has really morphed into a mainstream phenomenon this spring, with looks ranging from rocker to more refined. In addition, there’s quite a variety in the type of spike, from the long, pointy ones to those that more resemble a little pyramid.

Take a look at this ensemble. While it is a bold use of spiked bracelets, it comes across more feminine when combined with the teal skirt and the lady-like chain handled bag.

This is an ecclectic way to incorporate spikes
This is an ecclectic way to incorporate spikes

Here’s another, more subtle way, to wear the trend with bracelets. This gal was at the Trina Turk store in Burlingame, and she combined some of her Trina Turk enameled bracelets with her others for a lovely look.

Subtle "edge" to this stack
Subtle “edge” to this stack

So sport an avantgarde look in the realm of spikes, this bracelet by RK New York would certainly do the trick.

Luxe alligator
Luxe alligator

If you want to add just the “tiniest” bit of this trend to your outfit, then you might like this simple, yet versatile cuff by Vita Fede. Who knew spikes could be so sweet and delicate?!

Great scale cuff for stacking
Great scale cuff for stacking

This trend is not limited to your wrists. There are a wide array of spiked earrings out there. This lovely rose gold and diamond pair by Majolie would be a more sophisticated way to explore the trend.

Rose gold is also very hot!
Rose gold is also very hot!

Not quite minimal, yet not overly “spiked,” is this pair by Viv and Ingrid.

Spike Thread Earrings
Spike Thread Earrings

Whereas this pair by Topshop is definitely more of a statement.

A bolder earring choice
A bolder earring choice

But don’t let us neglect the neck! Necklaces galore are showing their spikes, such as these two layered necklaces by Pamela Love. Instead of a rocker or refined look, it veers more towards the bohemian vibe.

Love these!
Love these!

And if color is your thing, then you’re in luck too. Spikes are combined with every color of the rainbow this season! Here’s one by Sara Designs.

I like the color combination
I like the color combination

As you can see, this is a trend that may appeal to many different personal styles! You can find pieces at virtually every price point, so have fun exploring, and send me photos if you find the perfect piece for you!!

Repurposing a Brooch: Jewelry Judge

While browsing the boutiques in Carmel one recent sunny afternoon, I spent more time chatting to a gal in the shop about her eye-catching necklace than I did trying on the merchandise! Turns out that her necklace is made from a vintage diamond and emerald brooch. (Way to work the Art Deco trend!) Her now-husband bought it for her as a wedding gift, and she wore it in her hair for the ceremony. Now, it happily resides around her neck, really showcasing her personal style and adding some bling to any outfit she decides to wear. Love it!

vintage broach
A necklace with a romantic story

Ippolita: Designer

Ippolita has become one of my “go to” lines for years now in my personal shopping business. Silver, gold, rose gold, gunmetal and gems galore — how can you go wrong? I now have an even deeper appreciation of this stunning line after spending some time chatting with the designer, Ippolita, herself.

Ippolita and Amy
Psyched to meet Ippolita!

Though the trunk show was absolutely packed, she easily spent fifteen minutes or more casually chatting with me. We seemed to quickly bond, covering topics from how to deal with our (mutually) curly hair to our love of Italy. (Granted, she was born there and I am only half Italian, but still…) It’s amazing how much she has done in her life already. She received a degree in sculpture in Italy, a degree in English literature, founded a dance company, and oh, yeah…started an incredible jewelry line in the 1990’s. Never mind that she’s also a mother and involved in countless other things. How does she do it?

One of the things that I love about her line is that it appeals to a wide range of personal styles among my clients. I’ve got classic gals, more bohemian women, and sporty chics who all incorporate pieces from her line into their jewelry wardrobe. Her pieces don’t become dated, either. They will be as beautiful and stylish the day you buy them as they will in ten years. That’s always a selling point, as it really lowers the cost-per-wear. (Not that you need a reason to buy a new bauble, do you?!)

Here’s a close-up of some of her bangles. She designs the bracelets in a rainbow of colors and metals. They easily can stack with bangles you already own.

Ippolita bracelets
Bangles galore!

This silver link necklace will take you from boardroom to a cocktail party, depending on how you style it. Now that’s jewelry bang for your buck!

Ippolita silver necklace
Silver Ippolita Necklace

I’ve written about choosing jewelry metals for different skin tones before. These mother-of-pearl earrings work on a wide range of skin tones. I’ve tried them on clients with both cool and warmer skin, and they just sort of reflect back in a flattering tone. Since she designs mother of pearl pieces in both gold and silver, all you have to do is pick what metal color best suits you, and you’re sure to have a winner.

Ippolita mother of pearl earrings
I want these!

The Neiman Marcus chain will be doing a “Silk Road Dream” Ippolita show in mid-February. She won’t be making a personal appearance, but you can still view the collection. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you can see it in San Francisco on February 10th and in Palo Alto on February 15th.

If you have a few minutes to surf around her website, I highly recommend it. It’s much more than just a jewelry site. In particular, I like the “Three Things” and “Salon” segments, so click away. You needed a little break right now, didn’t you?

5 Tips for Buying Jewelry as a Gift

Black Friday is right around the corner, so you may be thinking about what to buy certain people for the holidays. Though many people think jewelry is too personal of a gift to pick out for someone else, I disagree. It’s definitely doable with some careful consideration to certain points. So here goes:

1. Think about the personal coloring and skin tone of your recipient. Do they have warm, golden skin and cool blue eyes? Then a mixed metal necklace might be just the ticket. A cool, creamy complexion with jet black hair may just adore some striking sterling silver earrings.

2. Think about the scale of the person’s physical features. This includes taking note of the size of their eyes, smile, and how tall they are. The most inherent jewelry for a person will be one that’s in harmony with their own scale. I guess the exception to this rule would be diamonds…they can never be too big, right?!

3. What’s the personal style or jewelry signature of the giftee? For people who know me, they know that they can’t go wrong with a piece with a bohemian luxe vibe: horns, tassels, buddahs, polki diamonds, etc. Someone who really thought about it would never think of giving me a necklace with a pink crystal bow on it — it just wouldn’t be me. Really think about the jewelry the person already wears, and try to picture if what you’re giving her would work seamlessly in her collection.

4. What’s their lifestyle like? A mom with babies or toddlers will love to look at those gorgeous dangling earrings, but really, when would she wear them? Just not practical. So think about what activities (sports, travel, work) the person is involved in and choose accordingly.

5. Finally, think about the “noise” factor and snagability. This piece of advice really goes for all jewelry purchases, not just when giving it as a gift. Certain pieces just make too darn much noise, like earrings that jingle every time you turn your head. Can we say annoying?! Even more so if one works in a quiet environment. Also, think about what would happen if the piece of jewelry rubs against a delicate knit or silk chiffon. Prongs that stick out, rough stones and the like may wreck havoc on the wardrobe.

So keep these tips in mind when heading to the mall on the November 25th. Bring those, patience and parking karma, and you’ll be all set to find the perfect gift for that special someone in your life.

The gift of jewelry!