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Archive for September, 2010

New School

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Moritz Glik

A few weeks ago, when I was with a friend whose daughter was starting kindergarten, I was reminded that I’ve always loved “back to school shopping.” While we were checking off  her list — friendship bracelets, pink tops, a Hello Kitty lunch box and colorful composition books–it evoked  the  smell of freshly sharpened pencils, the newness of the change of seasons, and that, during this time of year, I  still search out the perfect pieces of jewelry, sweaters, handbags and even notebooks.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve anticipated the first nip in the fall air so I can wear my brand new clothes and accessories.

My niece, who just started high school called before Labor Day and excitedly described her shopping spree– jeggings, skinny cargo pants and ultra long cardigans and her wood bead and charm bracelets that “go all the way up her arm”   Her enthusiasm  had me waxing nostalgic for my own youth: the dual function of Angora sweaters: super soft and pretty in pale colors  (minus the  little fluff balls that would fly around and tickle my nose), they also always made my breasts look way larger and proved to be a real boy magnet in junior high.

While I’ve switched from Angora to cashmere which reveals my true B cup, many of the trends I owned back then return a big way this season, like the revival of clogs, which I had in every color. My jewelry styles of choice were large stone rings (moonstone– a favorite), long magnifying glass pendants and ethnic cuff bracelets. Similar pieces have become the popular looks to work with the more covered up styles of fall/winter 2010 fashion. Happily this gives jewelry lovers like me more options than usual to wear with long sleeves, higher necks and sweaters.

-Pendants on ultra long chains can be draped over a belted cashmere tunic or on a lighter weight  turtleneck layered under a chunkier long cardigan or three-quarter length sweater coat worn open.  Some great finds in this look– Moritz Glik’s sapphire crystal with blackened silver overlay and diamonds, Dawes Design’s rock crystal pendants that have the look of a magnifying glass, Melissa Joy Manning’s amulet style drops in every gem you can think of, Leslie Greene’s irregular cuts stones in rutilated quartz, Megan Thorne’s cabochons with delicate swirls of fabric like trim and Laurie Kaiser’s drusy pieces sprouting with floral blooms. All of these longer pendants work to add femininity or personalize this season’s menswear looks as well.

-Wide bracelets in every material imaginable also work with fall fashion: wrap a leather style over the wrist of any long sleeve, especially those that have a hint of sparkle such as Mizuki’s black leather and black diamond wrapped leather cuffs or Emily Armenta’s brown leather with gemstones and diamond motifs. There is also a return of bakelite and some of the best of these looks come from Mark Davis when accented by insets of round gold bezels with tiny colored faceted stones. Bochic also does a great job with Bakelite with blackened silver and diamonds and Monique Pean’s buffalo horn provides another alternative to the more precious materials usually associated with fine jewelry.

-This is also the year to pull out those hand me down Brooches that have been sitting in your jewelry box. Or go for an antique look: Bernard Nacht & Company has some beautiful pieces from Victorian through Art Nouveau and Art Deco to attach to a wide ribbon and wear tied around your wrist to create your own wrap around bracelet style or try the same brooch on a long piece of suede to create a one of a kind belt. You can also fasten the larger styles to a cashmere shawl or scatter a mix smaller versions on the top left or right hand side of a cardigan or simple dress or on the pocket of a suit jacket. Anywhere but the expected lapel.

-Statement rings can definitely be worn year round and in fall, its a perfect time to go with rough or refined stones. Moonstone in blue or rainbow cabochons  look great in simple and more detailed styling such as Pippa Small’s hand cut versions or Temple St. Clair’s bold yet elegant looks. Suzanne Kalan’s confetti of stones is also a great style when searching for a larger stand out ring and Cathy Waterman’s gemstone styles are natural beauties in refined settings but hold their own when worn with many of this fall’s fashions.

So as you feel the first crisp breeze of fall  brush  your bare skin, throw on a sweater and head to your favorite jewelry store to invest in some old school turned new school designs.

Cathy Waterman


Suzanne Kalan

Mark Davis

Pippa Small

Megan Thorne

Rough Cuts

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Todd Reed red diamond ring in 18K gold and paladium with rough and brilliant cut accent diamonds

Part Three of Three Part Blog:

Like most young girls I was attracted to all things sparkly: rhinestones, crystal beads and anything glitzy that I could try on and finagle my mother into buying me at the Five and Dime. I was swathed in more bling than found on the red carpet, but back then, I was more about Princess Barbie then Lady Gaga.

Then sometime during my late high school years and into college, while other girls in my class were wearing one carat studs in each ear and sizing up potential engagement rings, I rebelled against the colorless perfection of diamonds. I didn’t own or have desire for a classic solitaire necklace, a tennis bracelet or anything else that might have been considered the least bit conventional.

I also wrote poetry, while chain-smoking until the wee hours of the morning, went out dancing in cropped tops and belly chains (my favorite piece of jewelry at the time) and, just for fun–took a summer course in existential philosophy– if that helps put those years into better context.

I went from my younger days of learning the words to “Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend,” to walking around spouting the famous line that Audrey Hepburn brilliantly delivers as Holly Go Lightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: ” Personally, I think it’d be tacky to wear diamonds before I’m forty.” Back then, I thought forty was old (shoot me now) and could no more afford them then the Holly Go Lightly character.

In my late 20s, I stopped penning poetry (a relief for friends and writing groups who had to sit through my “readings”) and began writing about style fashion and jewelry And, although I started to learn about the four C’s, I still wasn’t a fan of the perfect D-flawless. Instead, I fell for authentic antique English jewelry from Elizabethan through Edwardian eras and most prominently Georgian. I loved  the imperfections of the mine , table, cushion and rose cuts diamonds with their natural flaws that give them character and presence. I was also mesmerized by the effect of briolettes, reflecting and refracting the light like little chandeliers.

When I finally did hit my forties, Breakfast at Tiffany’s continued to remain one of my favorite films. And, I couldn’t be happier that the old cuts of diamonds I’d been wearing in period pieces were being re-fashioned in India for a modern generation of women. Add to this, flat cuts and natural colored diamonds and pioneer Todd Reed’s rough and raw cuts in cubes and colors of champagne, gray, brown, red, cognac and pink and I was in heaven. I could wear contemporary diamonds and still possess my own individual style. As these looks grew in popularity, they marked a turning point for women who want jewelry that is anything but basic. Since then, almost every designer I know has some version of these cuts in their collection from pendants to bridal rings as well as various diamond beads:  A few of the best: Coomi, Me & Ro, Anaconda, Ruff & Cut and Just Jules.

More recently, black diamonds just like the LBD  have come to offer women a versatile staple for their jewelry wardrobe. These are being shown in everything from beads to brilliant and rose cuts and  delicate pave. (check out Catherine Angiel and Phillips Frankel)

I finally own a version of the tennis bracelet: an ultra thin black diamond one, which I mix and match with my colored diamond bangles, all from Sethi Couture and my small pave looks on leather and thin chain and silk cording from Mizuki and Zoe Chicco. I also have a favorite modern stud: black rose cuts, outlined by micro pave. And, my all time loves: my large gray diamond ring and floral motif ring with petals made from tonal rough cuts by Todd Reed.

Like all relationships, mine with diamonds changed over time. I got older and wiser. They got more interesting. Perhaps we have grown together. I will always appreciate their natural beautiful, personality and their flaws.

Coomi Black Diamond cluster rose cut studs with white diamonds

Todd Reed Floral rough cut diamond ring

Manak Jewels Pink Diamond beads

Me & Ro Rose cut Earrings

Anaconda rose cut pear shape studs

Sofia Kaman for Kamofie Designs black dia rose cut pear shaped pendant

Phillips Frankel black diamond bracelet