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.

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

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

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

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

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.

Hawaiian Bangles

If you follow my Jewelry Fashion Tips Facebook page (and if you don’t, “like” it right away — there’s tons of goodies on it!), then you know that I was enjoying myself in Hawaii last week. I was staying with friends who live there, so one of my first stops was the local grocery store to stock up on my fave foods. The cashier’s wrists caught my eye right away, adorned in traditional gold Hawaiian bracelets.

Traditional Hawaiian Bracelets
Traditional Hawaiian Bracelets

Known as Hawaiian Heirloom Bracelets, they are inscribed with names and sentiments just for the person who wears them. They first became popular back in the 1860’s, and their popularity certainly doesn’t seem to have waned. I saw them all over Oahu on wrists of all ages!

During my stay on the island, I noticed yet another Hawaiian bracelet trend — lovely slim bangles, either in silver or gold, enhanced with a single charm. I saw charms ranging from shells to Tahitian pearls to sea glass. While in Sand People (a popular beach-themed chain store on the islands) in Kailua, I saw these lovely examples with Tahitian pearls designed by Oahu-based Beach Girl Jewels.

Simply elegant!
Simply elegant!

I was also on the lookout for bangles by Hula Hoops, which is a Maui-based designer, as this is where my friend Jeanette found some beauties! When she stacks a bunch of them together, here’s how it looks.

Jeanette's "simple" stack
Jeanette’s “simple” stack

When she takes it a step further, incorporating other bracelets, the result is simply stunning!

Totally unique and fabulous stack!
Totally unique and fabulous stack!

I must admit, that I did come back to the mainland with a singular bangle. (Aren’t you immensely impressed with my restraint?!) I’ve decided that I will add additional bangles on future trips. Meanwhile, I look forward to adding my new “addition” to some of my creative bracelet combinations. Aloha!

Stacked Bangles with Style: Jewelry Judge

It’s on those rare days when the escalator is down that I find myself in the elevator at a department store. But today, this unexpected detour gave me the chance to see some chic arm candy.

The perfect mix
The perfect mix

While her over-all image is very cosmopolitan and refined (right down to her Prada bag) the stack she put together has a little bit of a global vibe, which really adds dimension to her appearance. I think I could tell a lot about her without even exchanging words. Well done!

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!

Emily Armenta: Designer

As a long-time fan (and collector) of the Armenta line, I was just thrilled to spend some time with Emily at the Couture show. She was everything I thought she’d be and more! With her long, dark hair and fair complexion, she was just what I’d envisioned as the creator of such beauty. Both her and her line have an almost other-worldly quality to them, with nods to earlier times in history.

Emily Armenta and Amy Roseveare
Emily is truly a visionary in jewelry!

Born into an extremely artistic family (mom paints and sculpts, dad is a writer and sister is a poet!), Emily told me she began to sketch jewelry as soon as she could hold a pencil. Though she did go the route of working as a trader for Morgan Stanley, she knew it just wasn’t the right fit for her. While in business school she created the plan for her jewelry business, and she launched in 2002. From the sounds of it, she did everything in her power to make it work! One of her money-making ventures was buying cars at auctions and then re-selling them. She dumped every cent of profit into building her business, and I’m so glad she did! Not only that, but her whole line is hand-crafted right here in the USA. Brava!

Inspired by the Spanish poet Fedrico Garcia Lorca, Emily learned of duende, which is “…a spirit of unpredictable passions that surges within us, and how it manifests itself as a creative force.” Black and gold are a big part of her signature, and here’s a perfect example of how she expresses herself in large, statement rings.

armenta rings
Quintessential Armenta rings

Personally, I also just adore her bangles. I long to have a collection of them, stacking them with other bracelets I already own. The creative combinations would be endless with each bangle added to the group.

armenta bangles
Opal bangles — delicious!

Working with 18K yellow and rose gold, oxidized silver, and incredible stones, she also launched a “New World” collection in 2011. This group is made of sterling silver with a platinum wash. I asked her about how she finds stones with such amazing colorations. Turns out that she often fuses two stones together, which are called doublets. For example, she’ll fuse boulder opal to sandstone. Not only does this create fascinating hues, yet it also creates a stronger stone. Who knew?! Here are some rings from her New World collection.

armenta new world collection
Just lovely!

If you read fashion magazines, you may well recognize this following photo from her current ad campaign. In addition to her jewelry, she also has started a handbag line! Made of exotic materials such as crocodile and python, many of the evening bags have removable straps. Her wrap leather cuffs actually clip on to the evening bags for an ultra-chic wristlet look. How creative!

emily armenta jewelry
A modern take on historical themes

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and you are intrigued by this line, then it’s your lucky day! This Saturday, September 8th, Emily will be making a personal appearance at her trunk show at Neiman Marcus in Union Square from 10-5. This is a rare opportunity to meet her in person, so don’t miss out!

Miriam Salat: Designer

Gypset…it’s a term some of you may not have heard about before. This is a term used to describe the gypsy, jet-setter lifestyle. (There’s a actually a beautiful book that delves into this theme.) This embodies a life full of adventure, color, luxe travel and joy. Miriam Salat’s line is designed with this woman in mind. When the gypset woman is out embracing life, she clearly needs to be adorned in beautiful jewelry.

Officially founded in 2010, this line is primarily composed of resin, sterling silver, and 18 K gold vermeil. Though her pieces are extremely on trend with the whole color story, that’s not what intrigues me. More it’s the feeling that I need to be shopping at the bazaar in Istanbul when I wear her pieces.

Here’s a beautiful set of her bangles. Worn together or intermixed with bracelets you already own, I’m just loving these!

miriam salat bangles
Sweet stack of bangles

This gorgeous pair of earrings would pair perfectly with a breezy white linen sundress.

miriam salat earrings
Blue beauties!

And this ring gives you the look of stacked rings all in one. I actually own this ring in camel, and it’s really become a go-to ring for me.

miriam salat ring
There's another silver layer on the other side

With Mother’s Day approaching, Miriam Salat (in cooperation with Fever Tree, DRY Soda and Vosges Haute-Chocolat) is donating 15% of sales to Water For People, which is an international non-profit organization that aims to bring access to safe water and sanitation to those in need. This event runs May 8-13th, so be sure to take advantage of this! It applies both online and in her store, located in Columbus Circle in New York City.

You gotta love jewelry that gives back….