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September 4, 2014

Will You Ring Me?

Rothschild Diamond, Ruby, and Enamel Gimmel Ring

Rothschild Diamond, Ruby, and Enamel Gimmel Ring

As an avid antique and period ring collector, I was overjoyed to find out that I would be seeing, touching and trying on some of my favorite rings, I had only seen in jewelry books up close and personal and these rings would be for sale (one can dream) at the the upcoming exhibit and sale “Cycle of Life: Rings from the Benjamin Zucker Family Collection” On public view together for the first time and for sale, it is being held at Les Enluminures’ New York gallery from October 31 through December 6, 2014.

The exhibit features over 40 exceptional museum-quality rings from the celebrated private collection of Benjamin Zucker, who, on two occasions I had the pleasure of interviewing for articles and to hear and witness first hand, his expertise, breadth of knowledge and exquisite taste in precious colored stones, Jewish wedding rings and diamonds.



My favorites of favorites, which I know will be on display and for sale is a Gimmel (from Latin gemellus- twin) ring ,which is is composed of two hoops that are fitted together. These rings became popular during the Renaissance and were given as love tokens and as marriage rings.

Personally I own two gimmel rings from the later Victorian Era for their sentimentality and meaning. But, none compared to this artistic and wondrous specimen. This one has a Burmese ruby (my most treasured gemstone) and diamond. The double hoop, engraved with the Latin inscription translating to ‘What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder,’ confirms that it was worn as a wedding ring The shoulders of the ring, hands clasping red enamel hearts support the bezel and the insides of the hoops are inscribed with the names of the couple: Jacob Sigmund von der Sachsen and Martha Wurmin, with the date 1631 engraved on one of the bezels. It was originally part of the Rothschild collection. Says Zucker, “Of course I see a beautiful ruby and diamond, very clear in color, and then the intricacy, but what tops all that is the philosophical statement made by this ring that life does not continue forever, and it’s sound to think of one’s last days throughout one’s life.”

The display, spanning from 3rd century A.D. through to the later part of the 19thCentury will represent that rings were the only type of jewelry worn continuously through the ages but more importantly that that they have held many ceremonial facets and functions throughout history. Les Enluminures, Zucker and all of the experts and historians associated with the exhibit, sale and catalog, decided that rather than present the rings chronologically; they would be displayed in sections organized according to timeless themes that form the cycles of life: birth, love, betrothal, marriage, mourning, and death. Included in these themes will be Signet rings, Ancient Roman friendship and engagement rings; medieval Posy rings; Renaissance and Baroque wedding rings; Jewish marriage rings from the 17th-19th centuries, and memorial and Death’s Head memento mori rings from the 17th-19th century.

Rothschild-Diamond-Ruby-and-Enamel-Gimmel-Ring  2nd photo

Rothschild-Diamond-Ruby-and-Enamel-Gimmel-Ring 2nd photo

The exhibition will explore the distinctive role of rings as the most personal forms of jewelry, by shedding greater insight about the beliefs, sentiments, status, and practices of their former owners according to Zucker, “if you follow the rings, they are really like compasses leading you to lots of intellectual discoveries.”



All but a few exceptions have been on loan to the Walters Art Museum, MD, since 1985. Provenances date back to generations of Europe’s most prominent families, Another one ring that makes my skip more than one beat is the de Clercqs Roman diamond Ring. Roman Empire, 3rd-4th century. And there are more from famous collections: Dame Joan Evans, Ernest Guilhou, Ralph Harari, and Melvin Gutman.

I literally am waiting on baited breath to for the opening and to try on the rings that I could continue to dream of owning.







A little background:

The accompanying catalog will also be divided into the four “cycles of life” and will consist of detailed descriptions of every ring; an essay by Benjamin Zucker, “My Rings in the Journey of My Life“; an introduction by Sandra Hindman, “The Cycle of Life and Finger Rings”, and an extensive Bibliography.

Les Enluminures was founded in Paris in 1991 by Dr. Sandra Hindman in association with the Chicago-based business, and opened its New York gallery in May 2012.Keegan Goepfert is VP and Director of the New York and Chicago Galleries

The gallery offers jewelry for sale dating from c. 300 to 1650 A.D. including a wide range of rings from the Early Christian and Byzantine, Early Medieval, Gothic, and Renaissance and Baroque periods.



July 28, 2014

Give Me A Sign


photo 1

Buccellati Bracelet at M.Khordipour



When the doors opened at 1PM on Friday I was one of the many jewelry aficionados inside the New York Watch and Jewelry Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC. I made a beeline for M.Khordipour –a collection I haven’t been able to stop by and see in a while and fell immediately in lover with a Buccellati bracelet of flexible platinum spun by hand into the lightest of intricate “honeycomb” lace, one of the main patterns for which the house is known. Anyone who has read my blog posts or my book “My Charmed Life” knows of my affinity for this generational Italian jewelry house. M. Khordipour scores some incredible finds but I rarely see Buccelllati’s flexible bracelets in platinum (more of the cuffs in the brocade patterns and the diamond and yellow gold classic lace are around are around) I instantly asked the price and realized that it would take me the next 50 years to pay it off, so I slowly, very slowly and achingly put it back on display. I also found a French Art Deco bracelet, signed Cartier Tutti Frutti earrings and a Fouquet brooch. What I began to notice as I walked the show floor and tried on various pieces of jewelry was that these looks signaled the trends at the show: Signed jewels, amazing Art Deco and Art Nouveau pieces as well as a major showing of yellow gold from all eras in larger statement pieces.





Art Deco Bracelet at M.Khordipour

Art Deco Bracelet at M.Khordipour













I first noticed these directions last year and then again at the various winter shows and in Las Vegas but it was pervasive at this particular show. While Georgian and early sentimental Victorian jewelry is usually more my personal taste (along with Buccelatti pieces and select designs by masters of Art Nouveau and Art Deco) —I could not help but try on the bold flexible buckle bracelet (a retro revival of an earlier Victorian style) at Jacob Estate & FineJewelry, The cuff bracelet at D.K. Bressler with the diamond star pattern at D.K. Bressler was another favorite in the gold category as were the Victorian chains and fringe style Etruscan Revival Necklaces at Pat Novissimo/Lowther Antiques, although I could not help myself from trying a much earlier Witches Heart ring at Pat’s where I have found some of my favorite Georgian and early Victorian rings.


Cuff Bracelet at DK Bressler

Cuff Bracelet at DK Bressler






Tiffany & Co bracelets

Tiffany & Co bracelets

Buckle Bracelet at Jacob's Diamond & Estate Jewelry

Buckle Bracelet at Jacob’s Diamond & Estate Jewelry




A range of Early antique gold pieces at Lowther Antiques

A range of Early antique gold pieces at Lowther Antiques





photo 5










Names like Renee Bovin, Suzanne Belperron, David Webb, Tiffany &Co, Cartier, Fouquet, Boucheron Lalique, Van Cleef & Arpels and yes, Buccellati punctuated the show at dealers such as La Gallerie Parisienne, D.K. Bressler, Hays Worthington, Diana Singer, Steven Neckman. Robin Katz (Robin Katz Vintage Jewels) was a in rare form at this show. She has a beautifully curated collection of signed pieces, gold from the early nineteenth century through the 60s-80s (which are on very much on trend in fashion and are becoming more and more coveted by jewelry collectors) such as deisgns by Solange Azagury-Patridge. The one-time creative director for Boucheron, Patridge launched her own collection in 1987. Katz featured this amazing enamel moon and diamond star ring, which was up there with my top pieces at the show.

A range of signed jewelry at La Gallierie Parisienne

A range of signed jewelry at La Gallierie Parisienne



Solange Azagury Partridge at RK Jewels

Solange Azagury Partridge at RK Jewels






Cartier Cases

Cartier Cases


Witch's Heart Ring at Lowther Antiques

Witch’s Heart Ring at Lowther Antiques



One of my all time favorite gemstones with gold is turquoise, whether antique or modern but those of which are my favorites are Victorian styles like those I saw at Lenore Dailey, Melody Rodgers and Pat Novissimo/Lowther Antiques. A great find for another smaller well-curated dealer’s collection is Prather Beeland.


Turquoise and Gold at Lenore Dailey

Turquoise and Gold at Lenore Dailey





Pendant Earrings at Prather Beeland

Pendant Earrings at Prather Beeland












I might not wear the outsized gold chokers or ultra wide cuffs as my statements tend to be a more delicate approach –layered and piled on—but I can appreciate the bolder looks and definitely the changing attitudes about women purchasing their own higher ticket items and the thrill of the hunt and love of collecting, all which was top of mind after I attended a Fashion Group seminar with some of the top jewelry curators/authors Sarah Coffin of the Smithsonian (Set in Style: The Jewelry of Van Cleef & Arpels) and Jane Adlin, Associate curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Jewels by Jar) as well as Mark Emanuel, co-owner of David Webb.


To note: For those in the industry -check out Fashion Group International’s  website for upcoming events. And if you are not already a member of WJA (Women’s Jewelry Association) or ASJH (American Society of Jewelry Historians), what are you waiting for?

April 22, 2014

An Ear Full


Book Jacket

Book Jacket

When I received my review copy of I Love Those Earrings; A Popular History from Ancient to Modern by Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup, I was excited to get into the history of these jewels.  At the  age of five, I became obsessed with earrings and when I  turned seven,  could no longer imagine having bare earlobes and concocted a intricate and master plan to get my ears pierced. The plan  revolved around going over my mother’s head to my grandmother—who went along with the scheme, when she could no longer go watch  me scotch tape paper cuts-out of flowers and leaves to my lobes.


While my mother had a thing about infections and alcohol swabs, my grandmother believed in “never leaving the house without earrings and lipstick” to add a little sparkle to your face because you “never know who you are going to meet.”


Published Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., the book is a not only a timeline of the history of various periods of earrings but is  a tome rich in the romanticism that comes with as author Janie Merrill refers to “the women of history”, and explores the jewels of royalty, celebrities and collectors throughout the ages.

Although I felt compelled to read all about the  earrings that ranged from Byzantine through contemporary designs and wished I could try on and play with many of the styles that illustrate the book, I was most taken by Merrill’s own relationship with her earrings. I loved reading about how she began collecting earrings and the changes she witnessed in society. Her time in Paris was enchanting as was a peek in to her jewelry box. She explains, “When I look in my jewelry box, which is filled with earrings of eras and styles, it’s like going to a museum of decorative arts.”  Merrill takes us through cultures and customs and in one one of my favorite chapters gives us a glimpse of  of other women’s connection to earrings. “Woman Talk About Their Own Earrings,” include short stories, poems and anecdotes by friends, family and women in a diverse range of careers who  talk about their favorite earrings, the time they got their ears pierces and other tales of earrings lost and found. It was a refreshing and authentic addition to the book and a truly fun read.


The meaning and symbolism of earrings depicted throughout history and how they related to the styles of dress, adornment and even portraitures of earlier times was intriguing as was the renowned houses who created famed earrings for the legendary women featured in the book.   See below,  pages from the book  with earring styles from various time periods.



March 27, 2014


The green wristband for Ben Ben Byrd's class

The green wristband for Ben Ben Byrd’s class


Note: Rarely do I stray off jewelry on this blog. I have written about , exercise, health, family, dating and relationships for magazines and now I combining some of these topics into one blog on a subject I feel very passionate about. I did throw a line or two about jewelry or else it wouldn’t be bjeweled.





A recent article in the New York Times (The Pros Who Help You Move To The Music, March 16, 2014) spoke to the resurgence of the dance cardio craze in New York City and cited various instructors throughout Manhattan.


Upon reading it, I realized that there is something more to these workouts then whittling waists and growing more toned, tightened and taut.  Like everyone else who has ever taken a rigorous class, I too want four-pack abs, muscles rather than flab defining my triceps and curves rather than love handles moving towards my hips. But, there is something in addition to the burn and having your body worked tirelessly that makes an instructor a pro. It is the unique combination of dance training and the building, not only of the body, but the strength of commitment to seeing students grow in all aspects of our lives, the community of friends the instructor brings together and the consistency they provide. Ben Byrd is this pro. Approximately100 other active regulars seem to feel this way, at least 60 of whom I see every Saturday and Sunday at his Alvin Ailey Zumba classes. 

No one else could get me to wear my two least favorite colors as bracelets: neon green and neon orange for a double Sunday class.  These are the wristbands that I must sport for two hours with my Cartier Love bracelet and my Victorian Locket bangle to get into the jam-packed sessions. This not my idea of piling it on or stacking it up the arm.

No one else can me out of bed that early on weekends with a huge smile to face the intense and high impact yet accessible dance moves that Ben choreographs for his classes.  His single Saturday and double Sunday classes have been sold out since I have been taking them for the past three and a half years. Yet, I found out two weeks ago from a friend and class go-er, that Ben was unilaterally let go as an instructor from Alvin Ailey with no explanation (after being the first instructor to have more than two classes per month and after six and a half years of helping to grow the Extension program). All of the regulars as well as anyone who has ever taken Bens class were confused and enraged. We organized as a group. In numbers, we thought we would be strong. We wrote letters. We asked for face-to-face meetings. We had conversations with the powers that be.  It fell on deaf ears.

Ben will be leaving on March 30th.


Under any circumstances, Ben being fired is ludicrous for numerous reasons: the amount of people he brings in to his classes, his passionate teaching style, so many who attended his classes will be leaving Ailey since he is the reason they are there.


But for me, someone who gets anxious at the thought of changing manicurists, it goes even deeper. Forgive the mixed metaphors, but Bens forced departure, at present, is akin to taking my life raft, leaving me stranded in the middle of an ocean in a storm. I recently left my job at a magazine  after 5 ½ years, I am apartment hunting for the first time in 23 years and I seem to be having some type of when you turn 50 memory lapses. I forget what I walked into the other room to do.

What I need most in my life is the routine, the balance, both physical and mental that Bens classes provide, along with the friendships, laughs, and letting go.  In the face of lifes challenges, Ben teaches me to challenge my body and let my mind rest, while having tons of fun.

 No stranger to dance, I took ballet and modern when I was a child and it pulled me out of my shy phase. In my room I did the monkey and pony when I found out my parents were getting a divorce. I hustled my way into the hottest clubs during the early 80s while procrastinating college exams.  I then went on to work off stress by ripping my sweatshirts in true Flashdance style in the clubs and the gym. When both my mom and dad died way too young in the 90s, I got back into the rhythm and blues of Aretha and Ottis and danced around my room once again. Upon entering the era knows as my forties, I realized two things: I needed a power nap if I wanted to go dancing at a club at 11PM and that the only cardio I had partaken in for years was schlepping overstuffed luggage through customs and power shopping in Italy


 It was time to get back to a gym. I signed up at Crunch and spent seven years clinging on to Cardio Strip, Latin Grooves and Belly Moves until my two favorite instructors and dance classes were ditched for Pilates and forms of yoga.  Not for me. Dancing, whether at the gym, around my house or in clubs is my way of letting loose, facing adversity and dealing with change.

I met Ben Byrd in 2010. I loved the idea that Zumba mixed moves and beats from various cultures from around the globe. Ben ramped it up with a combination of kickboxing and fancy footed salsa, Samba, meringue, cha cha, swing as well as some sensual strip style move I had done before.  Yet, five minutes into his first class, I was out of breath. By the second class, I could keep up as long as tripping over my feet was acceptable. Soon I learned how to fake what I didnt know. Eventually I got the hang of how to do figure eights, with sexy arms swaying my hips, popping my booty, all while extending my torso, until my abs were sore.

I love this class.


I was also impressed by the varied demographics, women andmen, twenty-something through sixty-something of all ethnic backgrounds.

Perhaps it is Bens teasingly testing us when we are half asleep if we know right from left, his infectious spirit and love of dance and his offbeat sense of humor that keeps me coming back. Friends in class have been there longer than me, many for six years.

Most of us still get there a half hour earlier to wait outside to procure a spot.

Bens Zumba saw me through my metabolism going on a prolonged peri-menopausal strike after being the same weight for 14 years. I punched and kicked through grieving my grandmothers death and sang loudly to the cool down song by Adele Someone Like You after the end of a long-term relationship. 


But I am just one of the many who have stories to tell about the generous instructor who has encouraged so many of us to grow. We all have our tales. Mine is small compared to some of the more profound stories of the women I have met. Maria Zoccoli, who has been a student of Bens for six years, explained, We have celebrated engagements, weddings and birthdays, and grieved parents deaths. Ben has been a leader, not only as Zumba instructor. When one of his longtime students was going through a bad divorce and had her fifth bout with brain cancer, he helped us coordinate her care.  He strengthened another classgoer after a heart attack.  I have seen women achieve their goal weight. Ben has made us all laugh at ourselves, work hard, step fast, drop lower and sing louder, along with Christina Aguilera and Pitbull to Feel This Moment, hitting the high notes of Oh Oh Oh Oh while lunging in place.

My personal favorite times are those when, during the three weekends leading up to Halloween, Ben plays Thriller and he teaches us the choreography from the music video. There are also those few times when we are all Sandy and Danny in Greases Summer Lovin during cool down. Ben has a goofy side,  and these are the type of moments that make him all the more human, one of us, the head of our family and a Pro.  The only thing I wont miss is the mix of vivid green and orange in combination and in paper rather than gold.

Ben will be at Alvin AileyOn Saturday March 29th 11:30AM

On Sunday March 30th,10AM and 11:30AM

Please follow him on FB at Ben Byrd Fitness

His website: for a schedule of his new classes and locations

And on twitter: @BenByrdNYC



Ben's Saturday Class

Ben’s Saturday Class

Ben's Sunday Class

Ben’s Sunday Class







January 29, 2014

Antique Jewelry Addition: Best Way To Cure The Manhattan Cold

Sue Brown's Georgian Regard Heart

Sue Brown’s Georgian Regard Heart

Two antique shows in New York City last weekend. I could not think of any better way to spend Manhattan’s deep freeze (aside from catching up on old movies or seasonal series I’ve missed) than perusing and scouting out the best that the Winter Antiques Show (running January 24-February 2, 2014) at the Park Avenue and 67th Street Armory… and  the Armory Antique Show, 69th Regiment Armory, Lexington Avenue at 26th St had to offer.



As an avid antique collector, I was “browsing” for myself—Earlier Georgian pieces to Art Deco styles and I was awed by the vast selection, holding on to my credit card, which seemed to be as taken as I was. This  not  only provided shelter from the cold  but a peek at some jaw dropping pieces that I had to calculate over and over again in my head, why, I could not afford them—and if I could,  had no where to wear them, except on very special ocassions. My advice to friends is to buy jewelry you don’t have to “save” for some ocassion. Invest in ‘wear now” unless you plan on having a shop or a  museum showing of your own. I of course, do not take my own advice and have jewelry that sits waiting for the right ocassion to come along much in the way I approach dating.



But with that said, I  do have a jewelry collection, Estate of Grace Fine Jewelry so I had an excuse for at least scouring for iconic symbols, predominately Victorian that I could repurpose into modern looks.

Glorious Antique Jewelry Georgian emerald cluster ring (I now own)

Glorious Antique Jewelry Georgian emerald cluster ring (I now own)



    At the Amory Antique Show I did find some great deals on items, I have already sent to  my jeweler to incorporate into the collection, but, I also made a purchase for me– a Georgian ring that stole my heart and tugged at my purse strings at Glorious Antique Jewelry.



I refuled with hot chocolate and Early Grey tea and wore six layers on both Saturday and Sunday. I shuttled back and forth to both shows as well as a pit stop at the Manhattan Antiques Center to visit and check out  good friend, long time dealer Melody Rodgers, whose store I have never left without purchasing something (for 15 or so years) She is good at sales and there is always something that makes my heart flutter. Same with Gray and Davis on 47th Street. By Sunday evening, I was pooped and snuggled up with Dontown Abbey season 4.



Just FYI, the Winter Antiques Show, as you will see from my photos, is like entering a museum. Pieces are truly exceptional finds, many of them signed pieces at heady prices.  Sometimes I felt like I had to be quiet  or whisper, while eyeing at tiara or signed Falize, Lalique and Faberge pieces at Wartski or a  case full of various rare pieces at James Robinson or a the perfect pair of Art Deco black enamel and diamond earrings at Kentshire Gallery. I was awed by the Giuliano pieces at Shrubsole and mesmerized by the rest the show had to offer at Macklowe Gallery. All of these have shops in NYC but here you can see the selection under one roof and out of the cold.


Giuliano at Shrubsole at Winter Antiques Show, 67th Street and Park Ave Armory

Giuliano at Wartski at Winter Antique Show, 67th Street and Park Ave Armory

Shrubersole at Winter Antiques Show

James Robinson Selection

Lalique at Wartski at Winter Antiques Show

Lalique at Wartski at Winter Antiques Show

Boucheron at Kentshire at Winter Antiques Show, 67th Street and Park Ave Armory

Boucheron at Kentshire at Winter Antiques Show, 67th Street and Park Ave Armory




















If you are still in Manhattan or plan to be before heading off to the Miami  Antique shows this is a must see.



At the Armory Antiques Show—pieces were more affordable and finds abound


My favorite stops were Glorious Jewelry where owner Gloria Karp has a beautifully curated collection from the more and more rare cut steel through the Georgian period, VIcotrian , Edwardian, Deco –but all are pieces that she has hand picked based on her impeccable style.

Berlin Iron earrings at Glorious Antique Jewelry

Berlin Iron earrings at Glorious Antique Jewelry

Memorial Ring at Glorious Antique Jewelry

Memorial Ring at Glorious Antique Jewelry



Always a fan of  English dealer Sue Brown, whose early period pieces also carefully chosen for their time pieriod rariety and exception condition 

Sue Brown Brooch

Sue Brown Brooch

Sue Brown Lily Pad brooch with natural pearl and rose cut diamonds

Sue Brown Lily Pad brooch with natural pearl and rose cut diamonds



Linda Gump, another English dealer had an array of paste chandelier earrings, one unusual Georgian faith, hope and charity braclet with enamel motifs on a charms of an anchor cross and heart, as well as an assortment of lockets.



Until the next time I am out scouting the antique haunts (perhaps this weekend when my good friend and another antique afficianado, Sofia Kaman/Kamofie is in town).



In the meantime, if you are an antique jewelry addict like me, head down to the Miami and Palm Beach antique shows, where it is also warm and if you are lucky you can scour, shop and find and then get some downtime in the sunshine while you make your escape to the beach.













January 13, 2014

Golden Globes- Time to Shine

Cate Blanchett in Chopard

Cate Blanchett in Chopard

The celebrities at the 2014 71st Golden Globes Awards gave us our first glimpse into the jewelry trends for the year—Antique looks, white diamonds, statement rings (most direction when worn on the pinky), stacks of bracelets both Art Deco flexible styles and wand the warmth of textured gold in bracelets and earrings as well. Big names graced the necks, ears and encircled the wrists and fingers of both small and silver screen actresses—names such as Neil Lane and Fred Leighton for antique jewels, Lorraine Schwartz for statement pieces, Van Cleef & Arpels, Bulgari and Chopard for signed collectibles. As an equal opportunity jewelry addict, hare are few of my picks for the season. My advice is to either to invest in one piece that you will find joy in wearing and that goes with your own style or find versions of the looks that hit a responsive and emotional chord and that fit your budget and go with your wardrobe and then add them in. Either way, it’s time shine in the New Year.




Cate Blanchett is flawless in Chopard green diamond earrings



Zooey Deschanel in Neil Lane

Zooey Deschanel offers a youthful spirit in antique Neil Lane jewelry

Margo Bobbie in Van Cleef & Arpels

Margo Robbie plays up Old Hollywood glamour in these Van Cleef & Arpels earrings


Kerry Washington in Fred Leighton

Kerry Washington does Deco Fred Leighton earrings


Jennifer Lawrence in Neil Lane

Golden Globe recipient Jennifer Lawrence stacks the wrist in Neil Lane bracelets


Jessica Chastain in rows of diamonds

Jessica Chastain rocks rows of diamonds




Naomi Watts in Bulgari

Naomi Watts goes bold yet feminine in a statement necklace and Bulgari bracelet


Amy Adams in Lorraine Schwartz

Golden Globe recipient Amy Adams rocks Lorraine Schwartz gold and diamond ultra long chain with pendant


Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Fred Leighton

Julia Louis-Dreyfus basks in golden antique earrings and bracelet from Fred Leighton


Julianna Margulies accessories her gold accented dress with earrings and a delicate tassle bracelet



Golden Globe recipient Amy Poehler wore gold bracelets, one on each wrist.







December 5, 2013


Victorian Buckle Ring with center mine cut diamonds

Victorian Buckle Ring with center mine cut diamonds

T’is the season to share gifts and the thoughts behind them. This holiday, I wanted to bring you a gem of a guide from some of my favorite jewelry bloggers and freelance jewelry writers– ideas for presents and why they chose them. Collaborating with these style-makers and jewelry connoisseurs is fun, inspiring and offers you varied choices and options. With the help of these  colleagues and friends, I hope we give you some magical items to select for your family, friends and loved ones.

Each year I do this , I have left out my favorite category, which are rings. But this holiday, I am making an exception and going for it. I leave rings out for the simple reason that if ‘he’ isn’t going to pop the question anytime in the next three weeks, then your guy will shy away from this particular category of jewelry. To men, even knuckle and three finger rings remind them of commitment –and if they are not ready—then they turn white and run for the next gift guide that shows them a beautiful pendant or earrings, or… matching team caps.  But don’t despair; this year with the help of four other bloggers included in this post–who also chose rings–we have been able to sneak them in. Some are cutting edge, others classical and one of my picks, just in case…he might get brave…can work as a yes…engagement ring!

 Here’s hoping!

And here are gifts…we hope you will quickly add to your wish list!


Becky Cole, recommends:

“An India Hicks sleek cuff. I can’t imagine any woman not being thrilled to receive this sexy little bracelet. It’s striking enough to stand on its own and simple enough to play well with others in a stack. The diamond-tipped clean lines are both modern and evocative of vintage and antique motifs. Even better for gift givers, the price of this bracelet is much lower than you’d expect for such a high style quotient.” – Available here.


India Hicks cuff

India Hicks cuff


2) “A Victorian slide chain. Originally for watches, these long gold chains each feature a sliding charm and can be worn many different ways. These are an ideal gift for the fashionista who has everything. But unless she’s an antique jewelry aficionado, she won’t have one of these. Perfect for layering or wearing solo, these unique pieces can be found for $70 to $1,000+ depending on the materials. I treated myself to one over the summer and I wear it all the time. Nothing is cooler than when someone admires your jewelry and you get to explain that you’re rocking today’s trends with something more than 100 years old”

Victorian slide chain photo credits: Etsy, Morning Glory Antiques, eBay, and Vera Battemarco.

Victorian Slides

Victorian Slide


Natalie Bos, explained:

3) “One gift that I think is always great for Christmas is a pair of diamond petal and cluster stud earrings – while simple in design, they can be a significant investment and a great gift to splurge on for the holidays.  Diamond studs are a classic wardrobe staple and a favorite choice for everyday earrings.  I received a pair last Christmas and love them, The design is a subtle and pretty twist on the typical diamond solitaires.  You can find them both in vintage and antique variations and these from Tiffany &Co.”

Tiffany Victoria Earrings

Tiffany & Co. stud earrings

Tiffany & Co. stud earrings




Danielle Miele,  chose:

4)“An 18k yellow gold flower and diamond two-finger ring designed by Elisa Solomon was a piece I recently wore in a photo shoot for my blog Gem Gossip.  I fell in love with the ring and hopefully my fiancé got all of my (many) hints I dropped about it being the perfect gift! I hope you will find it as alluring as I do.”

Elisa Solomon 2 finger flower ring

Elisa Solomon 2 finger flower ring

5) “A diamond pave bar ring from Hirotaka is unique and right on trend!  Hirotaka is my current favorite jewelry designer and his background and story are so interesting!  He is based in Japan!”

Hirotaka ring

6) “I always like to receive a good jewelry book for Christmas.  Reading and learning about my field is so important to me, being well educated is my biggest priority in life.  I have a few on my wish list this holiday season! But for everyone out there who loves rings—I highly recommend a book that came out in 2011 and currently is still selling on “ Rings” by Rachel Church.  I just finished reading it and I loved it!  Every ring collector needs to have this book in their library as it chronicles many of the rings in the Victoria & Albert Museum!”

The book “Rings” by Rachel Church


Monica Stephenson, confides:

7) “I’ve been in love with this finger bracelet from Jacquie Aiche since I saw it at the Couture Jewelry Show in Las Vegas in the summer.   It would make a tactile, sexy gift on its own, and layers seamlessly with other jewelry. I like the fact that it is precious, but not too serious.  It looks delicate, but I’ve worn mine everyday, while writing and doing yoga.  There’s a variety of price ranges, depending on how many diamonds are sprinkled along the chain, from around $575 retail for 14K gold.”





8) “This pair of Facet studs by Delphine Leymarie takes sculptural to a whole new level and reflects light from every angle.  I love the fact that I can see the artist’s hand in the design—Delphine herself carves her pieces in wax.  This silver version retails for $125, and would add just the right amount of edge and sparkle for a gift or holiday outfit.”

Delphine_Leymarie_facet stud earrings

Delphine_Leymarie_facet stud earrings


Amy Roseveare, talks about finding the perfect gift:

9) “My mom, was living alone for the first time in her life after moving my dad to the Alzheimer’s home. It was a massive life change. When I discovered the “she believed she could” bangles by California-based Show the Love, I instantly knew that I had found the perfect gift.  Crafted from recycle silver, 14K yellow gold, rose gold or with a ruthenium plate, they are perfect on their own or stacked with other bracelets and wonderful for any women who needs a little inspiration to muster up her inner strength everyday.



show the love bangle

show the love bangle


10) “While I get great pleasure from holiday gift giving, I always make sure to partake in some self-purchasing as well. In fact, I have a long-standing tradition that each holiday I don’t have a boyfriend, I use the money that I would have spent on him to buy myself a piece of jewelry.  Why should I have no boyfriend AND no jewelry?! Top of my list this year is a diamond stack ring by Sethi Couture.  Available in a range of diamond colors from pink to black (I’ve got my eye on the chocolate diamonds), these are the perfect complement to any jewelry box!


sethi couture diamond bands

sethi couture diamond bands


 Tanya Dukes, advises:

11) “If your gift is for a stylish night crawler then these Deborah Pagani earrings are graphic and incredibly chic. Wear them for dinner, dancing and the after party.”


12) “Ana Khouri’s Victoria stacking set of band rings are in simple shapes, which can fit into every conceivable wardrobe, and can adapt to whatever you’re wearing. I love the delicacy of wearing one on each finger of a hand.”

Ana Khouri's rings

Ana Khouri’s rings


Here are my personal picks and I have chose two rings, both of them antique so don’t dawdle. With antiques if you see it and you know the person you are purchasing for will love it, snap it up, (but make sure the store or website has a return policy)

For me, the holidays are a time for sentiment and meaning. So I have selected these pieces this year:


13) A Victorian locket ring. It is English 15K gold and has a secret compartment, once used for a lock of hair or a bit of paper with a saying on it. You can put a small keepsake inside, your own saying and have special date or initials monogrammed on the front and/or on the inside of the shank.

Victorian Locket Ring

Victorian Locket Ring


14) I have also chosen a group of lockets as pendants in different shapes in both rock crystal edged in sterling silver or 10 and 15K gold available through

Lowther Antiques crystal lockets

Lowther Antiques crystal lockets


15) “If you have any inkling that he might be thinking about popping the question and your heart beats double time for an antique engagement ring with a bit of sentiment attached, check this out and start hinting!  While I have seen and own many buckle rings in various shapes, sizes and from different timepieces, this Victorian era gold and diamond buckle ring is amazing. It is18K yellow gold and features a double buckle design with ….a 1.22 carat old Mine Cut diamond in the center. Engraved inside the band are the words: “faithful unto death” in a fancy, medieval style font.

Victorian Buckle Ring with center mine cut diamonds

Victorian Buckle Ring with center mine cut diamonds


16) And, if you love to admire jewels as much as I do, then a jewelry book is definitely the ticket. Like Danielle Miele, I can’t get enough of them -and this year; I am hankering for the double JAR 1 & 2 editions, sold together or separately at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. You can also find them online.

 JAR Volumes 1& 2

JAR Volumes 1& 2


 They make a beautiful gift –but if your budget calls for something more accessible then the Jewels By JAR book that accompanies the recent exhibit at the MET (see my prior blog post) is beautiful and one that any jewelry aficionado will be proud to own


Jewels by JAR exhibition book

Jewels by JAR exhibition book










November 19, 2013

There Are No Jewels Like JAR



1. Poppy Brooch 1982_JAR

Poppy Brooch 1982_JAR


Back on September 12, 2013, I wrote an advance blog about the Jewels by JAR exhibition, to offer a glimpse of the first time that the magnificent jewelry house would not only have a retrospective in the US but also the first time Metropolitan Museum would devote an exhibit to a contemporary artist of gems.

And it is well deserved. At the press preview yesterday, for Jewels by JAR, which opens to the public today (November 19, 2013) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I expected to be overcome with awe, swept away by the magic of the splendor, opulence and the wit in which Bronx born and Harvard educated Joel Rosenthal imbues his pieces. But I was more than that—I was transfixed—and rendered speechless, which is not a usual occurrence for me. In my previous blog, I wrote that, although,I have been to many of the ateliers of Place Vendome and the workshops and studios of many famous jewelers, I have never had the excitement of pressing the bronze camellia doorbell to enter the secret and hidden shop of JAR which Joel Rosenthal opened in 1978 with his partner Pierre Jeannet. This is the place, where Rosenthal’s opulent and fantastical, sometimes whimsical and always meticulously crafted jewels are presented and captivate and possess even the most discriminating of collector.





JAR Butterflies from ’80s through present

9. Bracelet 2010_JAR

Bracelet 2010_JA













Yesterday, I too was possessed. I have to admit that I am blind in the dark–not able to see or get my bearings and and need more than a flash light or nigh light,  even at night  in my own house. But, in the dramatic darkened room, I was guided by the twinkle of fluttering butterflies(designed in the 1980s through the present) dancing brilliantly in fearless gemstone combinations and pave settings—the stuff that Rosenthal’s jewelry is made. The jeweler, who is acclaimed for his vivid and boundless imagination, the painterly color combinations and the articulated shapes is equally notorious for keeping to himself. Some say he is shy, others say arrogant, but who really cares except for the fact that he is also quite discriminatory when it come to the press and gives interviews only to very few, hence his absence from the preview. But his essence was all around us.


11. Multicolored Handkerchief Earrings 2011_JAR

There are over 400 of his works on view from his earliest ring—to pieces that he has created just in time for the show. Most of the pieces were lent by private collectors. His range is boundless, his inspirations far reaching from fruits and vegetables to animals to my all time favorites the JAR flowers—which he creates with such precision that it will be difficult to look at a lilac, poppy, camellia, rose or lily of the valley again without thinking of it in a sparkling mix of gemstones and metals that bring these botanicals to life.

But I also can’t resist the folded handkerchief pieces, the emerald and diamond earrings, the majestic crowns and well, just about everything in the show.

The exhibition curator Jane Adlin said the concept of a JAR retrospective was brought to the Costume Institute more than four years ago by a friend of the jeweler’s, but was turned down as the Institute focuses solely on costume jewelry The idea was then brought to the museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, who jumped at the opportunity. Adlin explains, “I think Joel is best known for his technique of pavé. He’s discriminating but indiscriminate in his use of gemstones,” Adlin said. “So he’ll mix very, very fine perfectly cut, perfectly flawless gemstones with some that are not. He will use lesser quality stones. He will use lesser-known stones. But the outcome is this extraordinary piece of jewelry, which if you just put it on your dresser or your coffee table it would in fact be a piece of sculpture.”

The exhibit runs through March 9th, 2014

And, like in OZ, I might never get to meet “the man behind the curtain” but after first seeing a few pieces of his jewelry at a time at Christie’s and Sotheby’s, it was awe inspiring to see the breadth and life of Rosenthal’s 35 years in one place.

Two days before the show, I also read Cathy Horn’s article in The New York Times Fashion and Style section in which she asks Rosenthal whether if he ever thought of selling his company.
“To sell the company would be to betray all the people who have ever come to us,” he said, “because I’m then giving the right to the buyer to sign JAR on a piece that has nothing to do with JAR.”
He added: “People have said to me, ‘Ah, you could buy a palazzo.’ I don’t want a palazzo. I don’t want anything domestic. I like hotels. Leave me alone!”
He laughed with delight and then reflected: “It took me 20 years to convince my friends that JAR would never be for sale. Over my dead rubies, honey.”

And with that classic line—I have to just say—there are no jewels like JAR.

Also please see my previous post



Over the Moon Earrings-JAR 2010

10. Camellia Brooch 2010_JAR

Camellia Brooch 2010_JAR

September 23, 2013

65th Prime Time Emmy Trends- The Statement Spoken Softly


Allison Williams in Fred Leighton

It has become a tradition among friends and colleagues –editors, bloggers, publicists and other jewelry industry professionals to sound off, converse and have some fun together by live tweeting about the jewelry at the red carpet arrivals at awards shows. Tonight it was the 65th Prime Time Emmy’s and it was unanimous on our hashtag #emmyjewelry that “less was definitely not more” –there was a obvious lack of sparkle in the spotlight and I read a lot of snooze comments, gentle and not so gentle sarcasm and some hilarious remarks all in 140 characters. Despite the lack of bling on bare necks and the tiny studs that could hardly be seen in HD on large movie style screens—certain trends did emerge. Personally I prefer a more subtle style in which the jewelry bespeaks the look or style the actress or her stylist is going for and I found quite a few items I coveted as I watched the arrivals, listened for who was wearing who, while typing away on my laptop.

Here are some of my favorite looks of the evening—and those I thought made up the most alluring trends for women like me who are passionate about jewelry, indulge in self purchasing and but whose lives are spent dashing for a cab on concrete pavement or scooting down steps to various subway lines rather than walking the red carpet. Those of us who occasionally get out for a cocktail or black tie event when we aren’t at our desks, computers, walking our dogs or getting the kids off to school.

I have an advantage since I peek or perhaps peer in the Fred Leighton windows on my way home from where ever I am –but tonight’s showing of the renowned jewels offered up some of my favorite looks

-Gold cuff bracelets, one on each wrist on Allison Williams who gave a shout out to “Old and Beautiful” for her antique styles.

-A demantoid lizard climbing up the back of Anne Feris’ dress , not to mention her Victorian bracelets of which I wish I could have gotten a good shot


Anna Feris in Fred Leighton

Gold also showed up in bold stacks of cuffs on Connie Britton who wore a long time favorite designer of mine-Cathy Waterman…any and all of these bracelets I would want to own


Connie Britton in Cathy Waterman

Padma Lakshmi who brought home the gold in sculptural earrings and an ultra modern wide cuff revealing the many incarnations that this metal can look current in.


Padma Lakshimi

Another favorite contemporary designer, Irene Neuwirth’s earrings graced the ears of Breaking Bad’s award winning Anna Dunn as well as a number of other celebrities but these pastel confections were by far my favorite Neuwirth designs this evening.


Anna Dunn in Irene Neuwirth

Two other red carpet favorites Neil Lane and Martin Katz did the celebs they bejeweled justice—

Taylor Schilling rocked her gemstone Lane and Julia Louis Dreyfus looked absolutely gorgeous in Katz’s moonstone drop earrings as she picked up her award for the evening.


Taylor Schilling in Neil Lane


Julia Louis Dreyfus in Martin Katz

Some other pieces worth a mention

Kerry Washington’s pink diamond earrings by Fred Leighton, Zooey Deschanel large tourmaline cocktail ring and January Jones’ cluster earrings which, with her hair and dress brought back a true feeling of old Hollywood.

Thank you to all who participated in #emmyjewelry tweeting tonight. If you search the hashtag, you will find some wonderful jewelry critics and enthusiasts! And, I suggest you follow them all!

September 12, 2013

A First for Everything: The Grand Jewels of JAR come to the Met


JAR White Lilac brooch 2001 Diamonds, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection And Lilac brooch 2002 Violet, sapphires, garnets, aluminum, silver and gold Private Collection

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my move to the Upper East Side—where I now reside directly across from the entrance to Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In a blog about my experience at the atelier and workshop of David Webb, I also wrote about being separated from the close community of Greenwich Village yet having the sheer rush that comes with being closer to the shops and studios of some of my favorite renowned jewelry houses Living in this tony land of Cartier Love bracelet clad wrists, retro Van Cleef and Arpels’ invisibly set baubles and Chanel’s modern shooting stars definitely does bespeak the passion for luxury of the women who are bedazzled in jewels to drop their children at elementary school.

It takes me exactly four minutes to walk the half a block to get to The MET, so you could imagine my delight when I discovered that, in a first of many firsts, my “neighborhood” museum is featuring a retrospective of the eponymous JAR in Jewelry By JAR. The will be the first exhibition of JAR in America (the only other major exhibition of Rosenthal’s work was held in 2002 at Somerset House in London). And it will be the first time that the MET will feature the pieces of a contemporary and still living and working jeweler. It will also, most likely, be the first time I don’t have to high tail it to make it to a press preview on time.


JAR Geranium brooch 2007 Diamonds, aluminum, silver, gold Private Collection

 I have been to  many of the famous ateliers of Place Vendome but have never  had the excitement of pressing the bronze camellia doorbell to enter the secret and hidden shop of JAR, which Bronx born and Harvard educated  Joel Rosenthal opened in 1978  with his partner Pierre Jeannet and where Rosenthal’s  opulent and fantastical, sometimes whimsical and always meticulously crafted  jewels are presented and captivate and possess even the most discriminating of collectors.


Collection JAR Butterfly Brooch 1994 Sapphires, fire opals, rubies, amethyst, green garnets, black diamonds, silver and gold Private Collection

The exhibition will feature a selection of over 300 works of Rosenthal’s finest pieces—from jewels in classical flower forms and organic shapes to witty objets d’art, which depict the vivid landscape of  his imagination, the fearless beauty of  pave settings and painterly color combinations and the articulated shapes in his work. These qualities have not just created a following among celebrities but has launched Rosenthal’s own star as one of the most acclaimed jewelers over the past 35 years, placing him among the ranks of history’s greatest jewelers.

Jewels by JAR is organized by Jane Adlin, Associate Curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, to be published by the Metropolitan Museum and distributed by Yale University Press.

The exhibition will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website at



JAR Zebra Brooch 1987 Banded agate, diamonds, silver, and gold Collection of Ann Getty