Jane Taylor Fine Jewelry

I don’t know about you, but right now I can use a bit of a pick-me-up. Between the weather and the general unease seemingly omni-present in our country, I just want to smile and be happy. Jane Taylor Fine Jewelry is exactly what the doctor ordered! Not only does a smile come to my face when I think of Jane and her daughter, Cleo, the dynamic duo behind the brand, but the color in their jewelry is just fantastic. Trust me — about 500 words from now you will be feeling much more positive.


Got color?!
Got color?!

First, let me introduce you to Jane and Cleo. Jane has been obsessed with jewelry since childhood. Her dad brought her to antique shows while growing up, giving her an introduction into the world of jewelry. Her passion was so great, that she left art school when she was 19 and began her career, working in the diamond district in NYC. When her daughter, Cleo, came along, she began making baby jewelry for her. Jumping ahead to 1994, Jane officially launched her own line. Cleo joined Jane in the business full time after college in 2010. They truly make a great team; Jane focuses on the design and manufacturing, while Cleo is the mistress of PR, marketing and public relations. And did I mention they’re totally fun to boot? (I bet you can clue on that from their smiles in the photo below.)

jane taylor and cleo zancope
I just may have visited their booth more than once during the Couture show, and each time I tried on something different. There’s a reason they call their jewlery “totally everyday.” (I apparently took this literally.) First up was this show-stopper of a cuff, with a multitude of different gems set in ruthenium plated sterling. I was definitely having a Wonder Woman moment with this thing on my wrist!

jane taylor cuff
On another visit I was more into the stacking bracelets, which come in all colors of the rainbow. These are from their Cirque Collection.

jane taylor bracelets
One reason I made sure to see this line at the show was that I had seen these darling little opal studs on their Instagram feed. And yes, they just might now be living in my own jewelry box…maybe.

jane taylor opal stud earrings
Showing the great range in their collection, here are some dazzling earrings that are pretty much a party for your ears!

jane taylor earrings
I was just e-mailing with Cleo, and she shared this image of a new pair of earrings. The peridot cushions (the “greenery” color of the year) are really set off next to the pink sapphires, don’t you think? Very cool color juxtaposition.

jane taylor peridot earrings
I also enjoyed playing with their trays of rings. I stacked up a bunch, then just tried on a single — both equally inviting.

jane taylor rings
jane taylor ring
If you’re into bolder looks, then perhaps you’d select one of these two rings? The first is composed of quartz, amethyst and topaz, while the second features citrine, beryl and zircon.

jane taylor the sword swallower ring
jane taylor fireworks ring
If you’ve been enjoying the bar necklace trend, but want to branch out into a new version, then you’ll enjoy these two necklaces. Which one could you see yourself wearing?

jane taylor necklace
jane taylor necklace
Now I have to ask — are you smiling yet? Did I hear you mutter “wow” or perhaps “that’s gorge!” I thought so. Wishing you a VERY happy day.

Nancy Newberg: Jewelry Designer

I’m a big fan of chainlink bracelets, especially those which have an interesting texture, perhaps some mixed metals, and if you throw in some diamonds, I’m IN! So when I started seeing bracelets from Nancy Newberg on Instagram, I knew I had to meet her at the Couture show!

nancy newberg bracelet stack
I may have been hyperventilating a little bit when I tried on this stack. Can you believe how good it is?! (I want them all!) Interspersing some of her bangles really made the combo “pop.” Take a look at the stack of bangles she was wearing…

nancy newberg bracelets
Nancy is a Los Angeles-based designer, about 5 years into her business. With a background in fashion (her fine fashion line was carried in many stores), Nancy found herself with grown children and ready for a new chapter in her life. I’m so glad she chose jewlery as her new avenue of creativity!

nancy newberg cuff
Nancy sketches each piece, and they are all hand-crafted and hand-set in Los Angeles. She uses 14k gold and oxidized silver, accented with diamonds and pearls. She doesn’t use any colored stones, but rather sticks to a neutral color palette. (Like my closet!) I enjoyed trying on her diamond ball rings, which come in three colors.

nancy newberg rings
She also has necklace versions.

nancy newberg necklaces
If these images have you wanting to see more, then click here to see more of Nancy Newberg’s designs.

I’m so glad we were able to meet, Nancy! I definitely have one of your link bracelets on my “jewelry lust list.”


Hangin' with Nancy
Hangin’ with Nancy


Vintage Silver: Jewelry Judge

I know it’s been months and months since my last Jewelry Judge post, but I was just waiting to find the right subject…and I think it was worth the wait! I was recently lunching in Palo Alto, and this woman’s jewlery really caught my eye. While her outfit (pants, fun shoes, silky top and jacket) was lovely, it’s her jewlery that spoke volumes without her even having to say a word. Here’s the bracelets adorning her wrist.

vintage bracelet stack
vintage silver bracelets
In speaking with her, I learned the wider cuff was made by her mom when she was in high school during the 1940’s. Believe it or not, jewlery making was an actual class she took at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Jose, CA!! Say what?! The exotic bracelet it’s paired with was purchased by a distant relative (a cousin of her husband’s grandfather) on a trip to Asia in the 1950’s. She was a world traveler and her dad co-designed the Ellis Island Immigration Station — too cool.

Then, there’s the necklace she was wearing. She purchased it as a high schooler while in Copenhagen during the 1970’s. She and one of her BFFs were on a summer-long trek around Scandinavia visiting relatives. Oh, how I would have loved to be doing that at her age. (Or even now, for that matter!)

vintage pendant from copenhagen
So here she was, in a very modern outfit, wearing jewelry that was 40-75 years old. And the result? I wanted to get to know her. Her jewlery choices showed she had stories to tell, she was confident in her own personal style and it all just worked. She told me, “I have many jewelry treasures from far-flung places, family and friends. Wearing them provides happy reminders of treasured memories and dear ones, in addition to showing up in something uniquely mine.”

The Jewelry Judge definitely gives this woman two thumbs up! It also inspires me to take a close look at my jewlery box and see if I can put some vintage items back into the rotation.

Swedish Bracelet in the Mix!

So earlier this month, I wrote an article about Swedish Sami bracelets. Apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks these are the coolest, as I’ve gotten lots of comments and e-mails about them. (Thanks for that — I love hearing from my readers!)

Well one reader even went a step further. She realized that her darling fiancee, Russ, wore one of these every day!

Masculine mix!
Masculine mix!

He purchased his at the Hostfest Scandinavian Festival in Minot, North Dakota. (looks like a pretty, darn fun festival!) He combined them with two Mexican silver bracelets, for an uber-cool look. He wears them daily, and I’m sure it adds a lot to his outfits — really expressing his personality via the accessories.

Love it!
This really shows his personal style

Thanks for sending in the photos and demonstrating how these bracelets rock for both women and men!

Swedish Sami Bracelets

A few years ago, as I was preparing for a cruise on the Baltic Sea, I was thrilled to find out that we would be starting the journey in Stockholm, Sweden. Why, you ask? I’m sure the answer won’t surprise you, because it involves jewelry. For years, I had been seeing these amazing leather bracelets with woven silver on them, and I finally found out that they are made in Sweden! (Surely the prices of these treasures would be lower there, right?!)

My cousin wearing a Sami bracelet, paired with a sea glass bracelet
My cousin wearing a Sami bracelet, paired with a sea glass bracelet.

With a little research, I learned that these bracelets were originally made by the Sami people, who are an aboriginal people from northern Sweden. Dated as far back as the 16th century, they braid pewter, mixed with about 4% silver, into intricate braids and mount them on bracelets of reindeer leather. The button closure is traditionally made of shed antlers. Many designers now also incorporate copper and silk in their woven designs, taking them to a whole new level.

You can find them in all colors and widths. Eva, a jewelry designer in Sweden, has a great website showcasing the range that Sami bracelets come in.

Love the colors!
Love the colors!

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve also discovered a talented designer, Erika Honig. She is based in Mill Valley and you can find her lovely bracelets at Gallery of Jewels.

Bracelet by Erika Honig
Bracelet by Erika Honig

Oh, and you might be wondering how my shopping quest went when I was in Stockholm…fabulous, of course! I was a woman on a mission, and I managed to track down quite a few bracelets that I brought home with me. One of the reasons I love them is that they stack so easily with other bangles. Here’s a little stack with two of my Swedish purchases.

My stack
My stack

My only regret is that I didn’t buy more of them. Why didn’t I get a couple really wide ones? And why did I shy away from color and just go for the neutrals? Well, I guess I have another shopping mission next time I find myself in Stockholm!

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!