Tej Kothari was born into the world of jewelry in India — his mother was an antique jewlery aficionado and developed her own successful business. Though Tej studied molecular biology in college, he began designing jewelry in 1997 and launched his brand in 2009. Kothari is a Bay Area based company. (I am once again amazed by the wealth of talent we have locally!) I can definitely see the influence of his science background in the line. Take, for example these polki diamond dish earrings, which come in two sizes. They are like bejeweled cells in a way!
If you know me or have been following me for a while, then you’re aware that the ocean and jewelry are two of my favorite things in life. When you combine the two, I’m in heaven, which is exactly how I feel about Dezso by Sara Beltran. The first time I saw images of her pieces a few years ago, I tracked down where they were sold, because I had to see them in person! While on vacation down in Santa Barbara I made a side trip to a boutique in a nearby town who carried her line. They did have two of her rings (which unfortunately didn’t fit me), but I was on the quest for her colorful Mexican bracelets, which is what she first became known for.
Though Sara began her career as a stylist, she made the full-time switch to jewelry designing in 2009. While she was studying fashion merchandising, she started making necklaces. One of the first times she was noticed for her jewelry was when photographer Bruce Weber spotted her wearing one of her own designs and wanted it. Nice!
Her line is inspired by the ocean, and her travels around the globe to different beaches surely provide her with endless ideas. She prefers to use natural materials, from fossils to shark teeth. This one-of-a-kind necklace is made from a boar tusk with polki diamonds. Notice the shark fin detail carved into the gold. This is a motif seen in many pieces in her collection.
If you’d like a glimpse into her exotic life, you may enjoy following her on Instagram. I love her artistic photographs and catching a peek into what inspires her. And of course…seeing the jewlery.
Dezso by Sara Beltran is sold in various stores around the globe. (Click here for a list of stockists.) If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, I know that Angela in Menlo Park also just started carrying some of her work. I’ll definitely be stopping by to see what they have!
I was at the jewelry counter at Neiman’s the other day working on a story, and up walked this lovely woman, clearly on a mission. And given that she was holding a necklace, I knew it was one of my favorite types of missions — finding earrings to coordinate with her necklace. Lucky for me, she was open for my assistance in process. Here’s the necklace she brought, with beautiful beads accented by a large polki diamond bead.
Vicki, the woman-on-a-mission, was going to wear this with a natural linen-colored outfit to an event up in Napa.
“So I think that a simple diamond hoop would be great with this, don’t you think?”
“I’ve got those, and they just don’t work…”
“Are they too refined for the style of the necklace?”
“That’s exactly right! Too refined!”
She was going for a coordinating, yet not overly-polished look for the earrings. Some oxidized silver with diamonds hit the perfect note, and we certainly knew the right designer’s case to find them in, that of Irit Design, another over my total faves! (Click here to read my interview with her.) And there they were, just waiting to be tried on.
So not only did this encounter involve two of my most loved jewelry lines, but it was great to meet Vicki, and I have a feeling that I may be lunching with her and her daughter sometime soon! Hope that she had a great time at her event!
Welcome to the second installment of “Jewelry Box Basics.” In case you’re just joining us, this is a 6-part series about what basics I recommend that you have stocked in your jewelry box, based on your personal style. I’ve come up with six different personal styles: the lady who lunches (who was featured last week), bohemian, rock star, minimalist, trendy and romantic. Again, I know that virtually no one fits into just one style box, so read this with an open mind, seeing what appeals to you. Also, don’t let the price point bother you — just take each piece as an example of a look, and then shop at the price point where you’re comfortable.
I’m pretty psyched to write this article, as it’s definitely where my heart lives. From the Navajo necklace my father bought me when I was 6 years old (yes, I still have it!), to the orange tie-dye dress that I lived in (against my mother’s wishes…orange really wasn’t my color), I’ve always had some version of the boho tune singing in my head. The interesting thing about this personal style is that it has a real range! It varies all the way from Haight-Ashbury hippies to what I call “luxe boho.” The examples I’ll showcase in this post definitely veer more towards the later look.
The chic bohemian still loves her bling, yet is a bit more casual than the lady who lunches. This watch by Brera really hits that note. The leather strap and visible screws have a great juxtaposition with the diamond-encased watch face. And the strap is interchangeable with other colors, so the boho girl can really mix it up with her bracelets.
Speaking of bracelets, the bohemian woman is the queen of stacking bracelets and bangles. There’s no doubt that “basics” in this category range from beaded, elastic bracelets to jewel-encrusted bangles. This polki diamond bangle from Ross-Simons is a fabulous basic. The raw, organic feel of this type of diamond is the perfect representation for this style. And don’t worry if your metals don’t match. With the eclectic combinations created, it all comes together harmoniously.
There is no room for a minimal ring for the Boho girl, unless it’s part of a big stack of slim rings. Rather, a large statement ring is her basic. I’m loving this teardrop quartz ring by Peppina. It’s the perfect neutral to blend with any outfit, and it really resonates with the natural feel of this personal style.
Once again, hoops are the basic go-to earring of choice. In comparison to the lady who lunches, the bohemian’s hoops are likely to be even larger in scale. A varied array of metals and embellishments are sure to be found in her jewelry box. These slim, yet large hoops by Jennifer Meyer (love the singular diamond station!) are fabulous.
This is where things get a little complicated, as the bohemian style really doesn’t lend itself to just one necklace. Layering necklaces is really intrinsic to this style, so her basics will likely include at least two necklaces. One should be a bolder, long piece, and the other a daintier necklace that can be worn harmoniously with the other one. This shark tooth necklace by Givenchy (yes, it’s on my jewelry lust list) would be a very versatile choice.
If you pair this with a shorter necklace, like this pyrite and natural diamond one by Jemma Sands, then you’ve really created quite a look. And of course, either necklace can certainly be worn separately.
But I have to go just one step further with what a boho woman would consider basic. One of this woman’s favorite things to do is travel, and she undoubtedly picks up singular pieces along her adventures. It could be a scarab ring from Egypt, a buddah charm on a bangle from Bali, or a piece of history from the southwest, as in this amazing Native American squash blossom necklace.
Whether this jewelry collection made you say, “Yes!!! That’s SO me!!” or, “There’s no way I’d ever even look twice at these pieces!” it’s all good. This is what makes the world go round. The key is to learn what speaks to you and develop that jewelry signature. When you have a solid sense of your style, things just fall into place and shopping gets a lot easier!
I’m sure you all get inundated with catalogues in the mail. Personally, I throw most of them straight into the recycling bin without even opening them. But there are two jewelry catalogues that you just might want to peek through — I know I have found some treasures in each of them.
The first one is the Sundance catalogue, which is a company owned by Robert Redford. Just like many of the characters he has played on the big screen, there is a relaxed, “country” feel to this collection. (Jewelry is just part of it…Sundance has everything from clothing to furniture!) Most of the jewelry has a rougher, rustic finish to it and veers toward a bohemian sensibility. There is a wide range of price points. Here are two different sets of stacking rings that demonstrate this.
Sundance offers jewelry from a wide array of designers, including some I just adore, like Anne Sportun and Love Heals. There are more pieces on the website than in the catalogue, so be sure to check out both.
Now Ross Simons is a different ballgame all together. Truth be told, when I first started receiving this catalogue I thought it looked like a bunch of old lady junk! But if you look carefully, there are definitely some finds mixed in with the other tacky pieces. And they are constantly running promotions, so you rarely have to pay the advertised price.
Recently, Ross Simons has been increasing their collection of Indian jewelry, which includes one of my latest loves, polki diamonds (which are usually erroneously called rose cut diamonds) and other small, natural diamonds set in oxidized silver. Here are a couple things that have caught my eye.
Of course, this bracelet is a big investment…currently $2306.50 down from $3295. But, it’s 4 ct. total weight, which isn’t bad!
Here’s a pair of gorgeous labradorite and natural diamond earrings, now at 57% off for just $2,275. 😉
When shopping on any retail site, don’t forget that there might be some online coupons available. For example, the last time I bought something from Sundance, I first googled “Sundance coupons.” I found one for 30% off one item. Perfect! It worked like a charm. You may not always be so lucky, but it’s always worth a try.
If you come across any wonderful jewelry catalogues, please let me know — I love the tips!
I must confess…Rona Pfeiffer is one of my all-time favorite jewelry designers. Her exquisite creations just sing to my bohemian luxe heart. From the antique beads to polki diamonds and sapphires, her pieces reflect her unique creativity and esthetic.
I first met Rona a few years ago at a trunk show and acquired my first bracelet. Since then, I’ve made it a point to attend all her local trunk shows. I was thrilled to see her in a new venue this past week at In Her Shoes in Palo Alto. I feel this boutique is the perfect fit for her, as all the profits from this store go to charity.
Formerly of the film/tv industry, Rona uses her background in painting to “paint with stones,” as she says. She is one of the only designers I’ve met who actually makes each and every piece by hand herself–no outsourcing, no big company, just Rona. She finds her distinctive materials in her travels, be it from a dark, underground store in New York where she found some vintage ivory, to a shop in London where she discovered a pile of antique beads so amazing she couldn’t pass them up. And that’s one of the cool things about her jewelry…she doesn’t have an unlimited supply of different materials, so once they’re used up, they’re gone. This really ensures that you’ll have a one-of-a kind treasure.
If this line appeals to your personal style, I highly encourage you to check out her amazing jewelry in person. It will easily mix and match with your current collection, be great as layering pieces or on their own.
Last summer, as I sleepily stared out the window on a bus tour of Copenhagen, I suddenly sat upright in my seat. I had spied the most amazing jewelry store, and I vowed to find it on foot as soon as I was through with the tour. Being the jewelry-o-holic I am, I found it and purchased the most beautiful diamond ring. But…it was unlike any diamond that I had seen before. It was not perfect, not even really “cut” and I could see that the clarity was not there at all. The price certainly didn’t reflect what I was accustomed to in the world of diamonds either. Yet still the diamond had subtle luxury, and that’s when I officially fell in love with polki diamonds.
Thanks to Meredith Marks, jewelry designer extraordinaire, I was turned on to this term “polki.” Until then, I had been going under the false assumption that this type of diamond was called rose cut. In fact, in almost every store and catalogue I’ve seen in the United States, these diamonds are mislabeled. (Rose cut diamonds actually look like a rose about to bloom–they look like a diamond which has been cut upside down, creating more of a faceted dome.)
Here is a pair of Meredith’s earrings made with polki diamonds, surrounded by smaller, single-cut champagne diamonds.
Basically, polki diamonds are uncut, rough diamonds that don’t have any of the enhancements found in traditional cut diamonds. They originate from India and are set with Kundan techniques, which don’t involve prongs or claws to set them in the metal. It’s an ancient artform from way, way back in the time of Rhajastani kings. The diamonds are typically a bit larger in size and have a subdued shine because they’re not highly polished.
Personally, I love that these diamonds have a more ancient look. I have seen them set in oxidized sterling with gold, and they truly sparkle in that setting. They most definitely fit in with my “bohemian luxury” personal style. I think this bangle is now officially on my covet list….
I don’t know if it’s that polki diamonds are now on my radar, or that they’re becoming more popular, but I am definitely seeing more of them here in the States. (I’ve even seen a polki eternity band in the Sundance jewelry catalogue.) So keep your eyes open and you may run across a diamond with your name on it!