BJEWELED

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Archive for March, 2012

Revisiting Gatsby

Still from 2012 Remake of The Great Gatsby

When I was reading the Great Gatsby in high school, one of my all time favorite novels from one of my all time favorite authors, it was the ’70s and as I turned the pages,  I was wearing Elsa Peretti’s sculptural cuff for Tiffany & Co. which  I received for my sweet sixteen to match the long swirling open heart pendant she had designed.  I was pleased to learn that Catherine Martin, costume designer for the 2012 Baz Luhrmann remake of the 1974 film, (based on the book and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan) had raided the archives of Tiffany & Co., which signifies each decade so well.  Martin went to the renown house to recreate the platinum, diamond and pearl jewelry that evoked the era of opulence of the elite social set.

While reading the book, I wished I was I was dancing the night away at one of the parties on Long Island in a shimmering cocktail numbers that shimmied when I moved. I loved being transported away to a different place and time, due to my preadolescent sleepovers at my grandmother’s house when we’d dress up in a mix of her long strands of glass beads, tassel earrings and authentic art deco bracelets while she taught me the Charleston and we pretended ginger-ale was champagne, which we drank out of her best crystal.

I am a big fan of authentic art deco jewelry and the less costly costume versions mixed together as well as the roaring twenties fashion –beaded and slinky slip dresses, handkerchief hemlines and the more dramatic fringe styles

It also isn’t surprising that the international spring runways were filled with 1920′s inspired looks, from the more geometric patterns at Caroline Herrera to the prohibition silhouettes at Marc Jacobs, the speakeasy styles at Marchesa and the pull-out -all -the-stops modern revivals of the Jazz Age at Ralph Lauren.

Lauren, in a sense, played homage to himself since he created costumes for the for the 1974 adaptation of Fitzgerald’s novel for the big screen when he outfitted Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

His show was chock full of swinging earrings, elongated chains and pearls and feminine dresses, brimming with the right accessories–cloche hats and small headdresses.

The rest of the designers gave us their own takes on flappers and thoroughly modern women a la Josephine Baker, Collette and Coco Chanel.

Fine jewelry designers are creating pieces that range from straight-line bracelets and multiple necklaces to swinging earrings that have various cuts in softer and more geometric forms. Ivanka Trump has a vast assortment of styles for the lover of art deco inspired-styles, as does Penny Preville.   Smaller designers such as Emily Keifer and Sofia Kaman for Kamofie are all getting a little jazzy this season.  I have dusted off my high school copy of The Great Gatsby with it’s yellowed pages and plan on reading it, while sipping ginger-ale in champagne glasses and hanging out in ropes of diamonds and pearls.

Kamofie Earrings

Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Runway

”Marchesa

Ivanka Trump Cuffs

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 runway show

Ivanka Trump Earrings

Still from the 1974 Film, The Great Gatsby

Ralph Lauren Spring 2012 Runway

AGE DEFIANT

Penny Preville 18K, moonstone and diamond earrings

There it was in my email in box again. The same press release I received a couple of months ago with a headline touting “Anti-Aging” jewelry.

I may be a pushover for jewelry with a message or meaning, gems with symbolism and I am just superstitious enough to wear a neck-full of charms when I fly to ensure that the plane land safely (and I do believe it is the talisman given to me by friends and family rather than trained pilots and high-tech control towers that allows my feet to touch the ground). I have been known to wear amulets to ward off evil and bring good luck. I sleep with a rose quartz under my pillow for love, wear a lotus leaf for new beginnings– and being single– every time I see a full moon, I think about taking off a moonstone earringand putting it in my mouth “to bring my lover to me” (wherever or whoever he might be).

But there is no way, I am buying into the marketing strategy of jewelry that helps with anti-aging. Sorry.I just can’t imagine any piece of gold or silver is going to smooth out the furrows deepening on my forehead and you are not going to get me to believe in pendants or bracelets to get rid of  those crepe paper like creases around my eyes. I’ve put my trust in the more brilliantly packaged age-defying creams and serums. Bottles of which have now spread to fill up my shelves in my small NYC bathroom but have not filled in my frown and laugh lines.

It took me around five years longer than the average person to think of Botox as anything but the same “formula” that came in dented soup and vegetable cans that I was told to look out for every time I had to feed my brothers when I was young. Shooting botulism into ones head seemed as appealing as mistaking Mr. Clean for lemonade.

But I was finally able to come to terms with the syringes that would raise my friends eye brows and freeze their frown lines as a medical miracles, just as I have marveled at how other fillers and injectables help retain a youthful, if not Barbie-like appearance every time I turn on an awards show. Figuring out who had what done has become as much of a sport for me as betting on the jewelry being worn in the red carpet.

I am also a devout believer in the power of strength resistance training. Toning your biceps goes a long way in gaining confidence that it’s your bracelets jangling rather than your upper arms. Unlike the press release (I have just re-read) will have me believe– it’s not the other way around–in no way are my bracelets firming my arms.

Nor will necklaces or layered pendants bring back the once swan like neck that overnight seemed to have transformed into chicken skin.

Jewelry, while magical, just does not have that particular power.

Creams, lotions, potions and oils with water from the Adriatic sea and natural floral concoctions–maybe?–or at least the texture of which could make you feel and think you are smoother as you slather it on.

But when I receive a press release that basically tells me a company

has created a line of anti-aging amulet jewelry “to make you feel young without the costly creams or injections.” I really have to question how an Evil Eye bracelet and Hamsa hand pendant can help you retain the texture of your skin around your eyes when you are wearing them on your wrist and neck?

My suggestion for this company is to go back and talk about  what these amulets were originally used which was protection from bad luck. This I might fall for and invest in–just  like my “in flight” charms, rose quartz and moonstones  and this new facial mask my friend just sent me from Japan.

But please leave the “anti-aging” marketing to the beauty experts and dermatologists — I want a potion for my wrinkles and something that sparkles for my superstitions.

TIME and TIME AGAIN-( guest blogger, Jeff Volan)

Yet another guy seems to know more about jewelry and…women then I might  have given him credit for. (and is a pretty good writer for a business entrepreneur) So with my data on my crashed computer “just” recovered–and deadlines keeping me up all night–I am turning one more week’s post over to another guest blogger. But, hey..if you are having  as much fun reading the guys as I am, please feel free to write in and ask for more!

Guest Blogger-Jeff Volan

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ID Bracelet

BINGO, my Mom seemed to shout as she rounded up another well to do Jewish widower. Marv was my second stepfather and he popped the question on the first date!  Seriously? Another new Dad already? I can’t completely recall, but my Mom must have been a real looker. However I do remember Marv. Medium height and build and a bit on the geeky, nerdy side, he drove a Lincoln Continental, when they were huge and made of solid Pennsylvania steel.

It didn’t take long for Mom to become used to the finer things. Tickets to the NYC Ballet, Symphony and Opera were weekly ventures, which I managed to stay out of. Instead, she dragged me on all day shopping sprees and out for high noon tea. But as a thirteen year-old boy, I knew I had better things to do, like play football and kiss as many girls as possible. It was the age of the I.D. Bracelet and the presentation to the opposite sex represented that we were “going steady”. It took a lot of thought before offering this hunk of metal, with my name etched into it in CAPITAL letters, with a heavy duty chain that slide into the end until it clicked shut. The standard practice was to get it back after the inevitable break up three weeks to a month later.

Around the same time I began asking girls to go steady, I also began to observe how deeply Marv cared for my Mother and I learned a few things about women. A couple of times a week, he’d show up with flowers “just because” and quite often strolled through the front door with jewelry. Once with Marv in NYC, I stared blindly into the cases in a small shop where silver, gold, diamonds and gems were displayed.  This was all new to me,   big time stuff with big time price tags. While in the store I was struck by a girl around the same age as me. She was playing with a large heart shaped pendant set with two beautiful Ceylon sapphires that were the color of her eyes. The girl, like the pendant, was perfectly arranged, dazzling yet spoke silently and mesmerized me.  Although surrounded by precious gems, I so wished I had my ID bracelet with me. I would have wrapped it around her wrist right then and there, without a second thought.  We began to share some smiles then stories, and with the counter person looking on  the girl handed me the pendant dangling from a chain. It had texture, substance and character. It felt like I was touching something much more than just a necklace. As the girl and I exchanged names and continued to talk and laugh, I finally understood Marv’s instant proposal to my mother. And,I quickly leaned over and kissed her.

  

I’ve traveled to a few places since my younger years, from the gold souks in Dubai to hunting for fresh pearls under the sea. I once wore a Saint Christopher around my neck, until it completed its promise to protect me. These medallions only work once, so I didn’t push my luck. It remains somewhere in a country far, far away.

 

Today, I stand with no watch, no ring, no bracelet or anything (and sound a bit like a Dr. Suess rhyme) but I can attest to the power of adornment. Recently while visiting my Mom, she showed me some of her jewelry collection. An eclectic mix that she received as gifts and even a few self purchased pieces. She told me stories that went with each and I could see in her eyes that these were much more than material possessions. This jewelry was a part of her life and her history: cameos past down from my grandmother and a vintage fob watch owned by my great grandfather. It was a great opportunity to get to know my Mom a bit better.

 

During our visit, my mom was still dragging me shopping, and I saw her walking towards me on the street — the girl who had held the pendant in the store 39 years before.  I could never forget her or how she captured me the first time. And, she is still most beautiful, still has the prettiest “sapphire” eyes I’ve ever seen. She remembered me too, hugged me warmly, like no time had passed, and in that moment, spoke to me silently.  I felt mesmerized all over again.