your link to what every woman should know about the finer points in life, love and expressing yourself with jewelry

Archive for July, 2010

Too Hot to Handle

Lauren Harper

I usually like it hot. In winter, I sleep in cashmere and hang out in down “booties” style slippers that might be suitable for Alaska.  Yes, I am a sight, but at least I am cozy and warm in my Manhattan apartment. One winter, I remember it being so cold both inside and outside that I thought I would have to re-size all of my rings because they would fly off of my fingers every time I moved my hands. Instead, I went ring-less that year, which for me, is like going without lipstick or mascara for most women.

This summer, however, when I walk out the door, Manhattan’s heat wave feels as if I walked into a pizza oven, with humidity that makes Florida look arid.   Yesterday, I headed from my Greenwich Village apartment to Union Square and then to Soho and my fingers swelled up so much that they were twice the size and there was no way of getting them free from the bands that bind.  No amount of lotion, cream, running water, ice, or holding my hands it in front of the air-conditioner, (or all combined) released the grip that was blowing up my right ring and left index finger and turning my them a purplish cast.

And, no way I was winding up in emergency room on a Saturday night with the explanation of being strangled by my rings. No intern was slicing a few of my favorite styles (some were eternities–another, an 1880’s emerald with an engraved shank), which even the best of trained jewelers would be hard pressed to put perfectly back together.

Eventually I cooled down, literally and figuratively, woke up in the middle of the night, and although they didn’t exactly slide off my fingers, the swelling was somewhat down and I eventually got them off.

Moral of this story: when it’s sweltering outside, there are still some hot styles and a few tips when wearing rings in summer:

-Cut your stackables to half the amount you usually wear or chose one statement ring for summer instead.

-Don’t wear looks that are too wide all-around, as there is no room to maneuver these as your begin to notice your fingers blowing up.

-Keep antiques for a different time. You don’t want to have anyone mess with these, should you not be as lucky as I was.

Katie Diamond

Once I was able to bend my knuckles again, I thought of some rings that have a big, bold feeling in the front but have a tapered or thinner shank and also seasonless and lighter weight than they appear:  Katie Diamond’s rose gold garden motif, which has a feminine cluster in front, Lauren Harper’s triangular morganite style with diamond accents, Nam Cho’s round moonstone cabochon with pave diamonds, Temple St. Clair’s oval opal with small sapphire accents and Jamie Joseph’s pave diamond looks.

Oh, and I found that as wonderful as lush lotions with essential oils  (Kiehl’s, Sabon, L’Occitane, and Molton Brown–I tried all) are for creating soft, smooth hands upon which to wear your jewels, there’s nothing like pure olive oil  (any brand will do) for slipping out of your too tight rings.

Coveting Continuity

Alberian & Aulde

I am a creature of habit: I’ve been getting my hair cut by the same person for 17 years, and from various photos, I notice the actual style hasn’t changed for the same amount of time. I keep my doctors till they retire, some boyfriends, long past our expiration date, and have loved all shades of purple since I was six. I have long time friendships, perhaps older than some of my new friend’s ages and I don’t give up on family easily.  But I wouldn’t describe this as being set in my ways or myself as someone who can not move forward– I prefer to think of it more of an appreciation of continuity, rather than an aversion to change.

So when I see that certain symbols in jewelry are continuous in their lifespan, sometimes going out and coming back into style and other times taking on different meanings, it makes me happy, especially if they represent longevity and enduring friendship or love. I am not talking about the smiley face or any other symbols that have to do with the seventies, a particular time period in which my mother was rebelling and borrowed my jewelry and….bell bottom jeans…and looked better in them than me.

I get excited when jewelry has sentiment and significance attached to it–a story to be told –and I usually prefer if it’s not spelled out in words but shows up more discretely in a motif or a silhouette. And, I appreciate it even more when the piece is anything but basic, representing history yet evoking the original sensibility of the designer creating it.

The circle, for example has been an endless source of inspiration for jewelry designers, showing up in more variations than I can count, reflecting permanence and a symbol that cannot be broken

One of my personal favorites, which I’ve kept in my jewelry wardrobe but continues to sell and should not be missed is Alberian & Aulde’s delicate 3-D Gaia pendant with vitreous glass enameling and tiny diamonds and sapphires. Each time I wear it, I discover another detail about it, some element that I didn’t notice the first time, that surprises and delights me, much like the way I’d like relationships to go and grow.

When I am feeling a bit more nostalgic, I reach for John Apel’s pendant that reminds me of an antique eternity band like the one  my dad gave my mom, and that I have worn for years. It’s a geometric pattern of marquis and round shaped rose cut diamonds in platinum and is understated and discrete in its beauty.

In the last year, I started being attracted to Celtic-inspired infinity motifs again. The first time one was ever purchased for me was by an Irish lad from Dublin, who I was seeing in my late ’20s and who explained that “it stood for our eternal love,” which all would have been grand, if he wasn’t engaged to someone else. For years I shelved the pendant– and that motif–not only because of my personal experience (although that weighed heavily) but because many of the interpretations weren’t very interesting to the fine jewelry lover, when re-created in oxidized Mexican silver.

But, last September, I saw Damiani’s Victorian version, an entwined knot of pavé diamonds, made with the Italian traditional of craftsmanship–and fell for this newer translation, sort of in the way I moved on from soulful lilts to the curled vowels of a Milanese man.

True to my heart, my feminine tastes and my affinity for all things enduring, I found Penny Preville’s diamond Infinity pendant makes a great self purchase item (for me), a meaningful gift for friends, and a thoughtful bridal party present.

Change is always good if it moves you forward, but it’s always nice to find comfort in the things around you that continue to endure.

All original content is ©Beth Bernstein 2010. No words may be reproduced without permission from the copyright holder.

©2010B-Jeweled. All Rights Reserved.

Penny Preville


vibes: ila & i: christine mackellar: stephen webster

Recently, at one of the jewelry trade shows in Las Vegas, as I was doing a little personal shopping (as in, for myself–not for other people) one of my favorite designers and friends dubbed me a jewel-aholic. He caught me in the act of both seriously reviewing and also perusing a neighboring collection, trying on different rings and checking the upside down price tag . He knew, from that moment that I was going to buy one of the pieces and my new title seemed to be confirmed.

I’d never thought of myself as having an addictive personality. I gave up smoking three and half years ago, cold turkey, after a two pack a day habit. I never replaced it with food, just an over load of exercise till the cravings wore off. The only exception was perhaps my shopping sprees at the three B’s, Barneys, Bergdorf’s and Bendels. I can easily make a case for everything I bought back then: When it was chilly, I needed cashmere, for dating: La Perla lingerie. And, my closet was like a shelter for all black pants and LBDs. No style was turned away. Hey, I live in NYC.

Yet, I can now walk past a pair of shoes, (even with 40% off sale going on) and leave handbags hanging, unless you count the two times a year I travel to Italy. Oh, and if we are being totally honest, I am no longer attracted to unavailable men, (unless, you once again count the two times a year I travel to Italy…and see my ex).

But as far as baubles bangles and all things sparkly go, I must confess, my name is Beth and I AM a jewel-aholic. Have been since I wouldn’t let the tiara go without a major tantrum in Saks Fifth Avenue when I was six. The denial stops here.

I have given up all other fashion vices to accommodate my jewelry habit. I don’t think I qualify for a 12 step program unless some of those steps include buying antiques (as they appreciate with time), only wearing real gems since CZs just doesn’t cut it and…well… “God grant me the serenity to know”… when trends change and which of them will last.

Here are a couple I’m coveting for summer and beyond.

Going Natural: Christine Mackellar’s naturalistic bangles in 18K gold and blackened silver and gold mixed with rough and polished stones can be worn three at a time in this mix or one two or all can be combined with additional bangles in your existing jewelry wardrobe

Enchanted Gardens: Vibes rough gray diamond, set in a feminine motif of flower sprays and accent diamonds, can take you through warm sunny days but is also truly a collector’s item.

Modern Heirloom: Stephen Webster mixes old world Victorian charm with Rocker Chic in this bold silver and gemstone pendant and the contrast is just right for wearing with the new menswear-inspired looks and well into the future.

Keeping It Simple: The rough and refined look that is being shown by fine jewelry designers is translated with a more dainty feminine flair at Lika Behar in this bracelet with flexible diamond line front and silk cord, finished by a high karat gold and pearl clasp.

Sentimental Journey: ila&i’s blackened silver and 18K gold locket with center rose cut stone is both current and reflective of earlier times. It’s a sentimental keepsake to hold loved ones close to your heart with an edgy contemporary slant.

Budding Trends: Studs continue to be one of the items to purchase this season in fine jewelry. Rebecca Overman’s 18K gold freeform rose with a diamond center offers a simple elegant approach to the look.

Take A Dip: Alberian & Aulde’s rose cut sapphire station chain which doubles as a lariat offers a subtly sexy look when it dips down to the decollatage. Best feature about this piece is its unstudied appeal, allowing the wearer to bring their own personal style to it.

lika behar: alberian & aulde: rebecca overmann