BJEWELED

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Archive for the ‘Experience Jewelry’ Category

Give Me A Sign

 

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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

 

 

 

 

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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?

An Ear Full

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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.

 9780764345166ahttp://www.amazon.com/Love-Those-Earrings-Popular-History/dp/0764345168/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398169798

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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.

 

 

 

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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.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/17/fashion/For-the-Jeweler-of-JAR-Joel-A-Rosenthal-All-That-Bedazzles.html?ref=

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

Also please see my previous post http://www.beth-bernstein.com/2013/09/12/a-first-for-everything-the-grand-jewels-of-jar-come-to-the-met/

 

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Over the Moon Earrings-JAR 2010

10. Camellia Brooch 2010_JAR

Camellia Brooch 2010_JAR

DESIGNING SOCIETY

David Webb gold shell bag with emerald and diamond starfish

Seven months ago, when my closest friend was moving, I snapped up his rent stabilized 1700 square foot UES apartment. It is more than two times the size of my old space on a famous and quiet tree-lined block in the heart of Greenwich Village, where I lived, worked and redecorated four times  for twenty some odd years. Although I am now nine blocks from a Staples, pay $6 for an iced tea, miss all West Side subway lines and need to cab to a 24 hour Korean grocery, my new tonier address provides more perks than square footage (read: dining room and second bedroom turned office space.) I live directly across from the entrance to Central Park and The Met, where I can now be on time for all 9AM press previews. More importantly, I live closer to some of my favorite and renowned jewelry houses: Fred Leighton, Stephen Russell and Buccellati where I can browse, try on and just peek into the windows whenever I need a fix. Dubbed a jewel-a-holic by a designer friend, I am by career a longtime jewelry editor, writer and purveyor of all things sparkly.

My new digs also offers a different idea of street style –which now means riding the elevator with women who sport Seaman Schepps, Verdura and vintage Cartier to grab a morning coffee.  Each day, I can be transported to a fantastical world where culture, history and celebrity meet. Yesterday was one of those days.  I had the treat of being invited to the David Webb atelier for a preview and discussion about the upcoming exhibition being unveiled at The Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach (Jan 2014-April 2014) as well as a tour of the atelier. I was whisked up from the boutique on the ground floor to an elevator, which opened to showroom and behind the scenes workshop.

Since David Webb opened his first shop on East 57th street in 1950, two years after he launched his collection, all pieces were and continue to be produced on his premises.

I was first introduced to one of David Webb co-owners, Mark Emanuel, who along with Sima Ghadamian and Robert Sadian, acquired the company in 2010 and moved the business to its newest location at 942 Madison Avenue. He spoke enthusiastically about the expansion of the company, the archives with approximately 80,000 original molds and over 40,000 color pencil sketches. He took us around to meet the foreman and the jewelers, many who have been there at least since the 1970s, who still retain and display reverence for the technique and legacy of this eponymous house.

I had heard of the American visionary David Webb as a young girl from my mother, my own style guru who closely followed the fashion of the sixties and seventies. She owned one David Webb piece, a rock crystal cuff with a center gemstone, which is perhaps why the rock crystal bracelets are still one of my favorite pieces to this day and why trying one on in the workshop that had still yet to be set and finished, sent my heart a flutter.

If only it could be mine.

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Photo of part of the David Webb workshop

Emanuel took two other visitors and myself on a tour of the factory, where I met a jeweler named Ray who spoke proudly of being with the company since 1965 and pointed to photos of himself and some of the rest of the staff when he was 20 years younger.  I took my camera out and began snapping away—

Jewelry finisher Ray who worked in the David Webb workshop for 48 yrs

Jewelry finisher Ray who worked in the David Webb workshop for 48 yrs

Jeweler working on multi piece bib necklace

The 18K gold pieces that were cast and then hand-hammered were laid out to be connected into a bib style necklace akin to  body armor. “Do you see yourself wearing this?” Emanuel asked.  I answered that it might be slightly more of an overstatement than statement for my small chest, but I then immediately saw a color drawing of a pair of ruby, diamond and emerald earrings and said, “Those. I would definitely wear those.” Turns out they were an original sketch of a pair of earrings Jackie Kennedy owned and that were being recreated for the new collection.  I then went on to covet a carved emerald and gold necklace that was being pieced together. “This is very similar to the one The Duchess of Windsor owned,” Emanuel explained. “We are changing the shape of the center stone and some of the other details,” he continued, as I positioned the pieces, the sketch and the jeweler for a quick photo before having to move on to the next part of the experience.

Original sketch of Jackie Kennedy's earrings for which a jeweler is working on a new pair for the collection

Original sketch of Jackie Kennedy’s earrings for which a jeweler is working on a new pair for the collection

An carved emerald and gold necklace being designed in the style similar to one The Duchess of Windsor owned

An carved emerald and gold necklace being designed in the style similar to one The Duchess of Windsor owned

I thought about how I had previously traced David Webb’s work: the pieces worn by silver screen actresses of the early to mid sixties in sweeping, weepy melodramas such as Susan Hayward in “Backstreet”, Lana Turner in “Portrait in Black” and later on in “Madame X” and Doris Day in “Midnight Lace”. He captured the essence of the characters these actresses played in film and then went on to help define the look of two decades in American cultural history and win the hearts of renown women of those decades including Jackie Kennedy, The Duchess of Windsor, Diana Vreeland, Elizabeth Taylor, Nan Kemper, Gloria Vanderbilt and a veritable roster of who’s who of social and style fame.

Before even speaking with the curator of the exhibition and the director of the museum, I was drawn to the notion that Webb—whose style was bold, powerful and colorful and whose technique sometimes included 18 steps in production—represented the spirit and mood of today’s customer. He pioneered the way for jewelers who fulfill the desire for one-of-a-kind pieces that are as much art as they are jewelry and that meld imagination with heart, soul and intriguing motifs and materials. He worked in enamel, coral, jade, carved crystal, gold, a vivid palette of gemstones and pearls. David Webb would be as groundbreaking today as he was throughout his prime.

After my tour I did meet with the curator of the exhibition aptly named David Webb: Society Jewels, David Albrecht and Hope Alswang, the director of The Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach.

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David Webb pieces on display in the showroom

Albrecht explained that there would be 80 pieces from the Webb archives and private collectors and that the exhibit would showcase a comprehensive look at the style and designs. It will include archival sketches, Vogue layouts featuring Lauren Hutton and Marisa Berenson shot by Irving Penn wearing Webb’s jewelry as well as photos of his broad range of celebrity clients. “We have mounted this show to display the breadth and context of Webb’s work.” He explained.

While listening to Albrecht speak about the jewelry, I was able to see some of the pieces that would be on view up close and personal, hold them, try them on and not want to part with them.  “You get a sense of how Webb captured the cultural revolution of the later sixties and seventies as well as creating official gifts for The White House.”  Albrecht explains, “I see 1968 as his turning point, when all his major influences came into play—his travels and mixing elements of distant lands, his play of earlier Cartier animals of the twenties and Chanel costume jewelry which he re imagined in the most exquisite of materials, his passion for exoticism and recapturing the Art Deco movement for which he had a true affinity, always with his distinctive wit and humor and his own very unique and bold aesthetic. This why so many of the important women of that time period adopted him as their jeweler.”

Hope Alswang adds to these thoughts. “David Webb could look at the hippie styles of the sixties and the disco styles of the seventies and translate this ‘street style’ into high-end luxury. He chose to do it in a freewheeling, playful, stylized but not ladylike way that says I want to be seen! This isn’t jewelry that is part of a women’s outfit—it is what your outfit should be built around.  It sets the stage for the powerful women to become clients and friends.”

Albrecht adds, “Jackie Kennedy referred to  him as “a modern day Cellini” and The Duchess of Windsor called him “Faberge reborn.”

I was almost sad to have to leave. I could have spent the rest of the day looking through jewelry, sketches and discussing each of these famous women’s purchases.

Upon leaving, I took a photo of the windows and entranceway, knowing now that I live only five blocks away, I can visit whenever I want a little fantasy and the magic of the rich history and to visit the rock crystal cuffs until I can make one my own–and ride my elevator with “the other” Madison Avenue ladies– in style.

David Webb entrance at 942 Madison Avenue

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David Webb Shop Window

Snake Charmers

The Three Graces Victorian Double snake rings

Long before I knew the history of  the betrothal rings Prince Albert gave to Queen Victoria,  two serpent rings, entwined together to symbolize an eternal life together, snakes represented true love for me. At 10 years old, I’d walk through my backyard to meet a boy name Max  on his swing set after school. I knew it was undying devotion, when, after traipsing through the tall grass I found a garden snake slithering around my leg.

Anyone who has read my blog or who knows me understands that I have a slightly neurotic fear of any creature that crawls, lands on me or slinks around, unless it is a delicate butterfly or ladybug or made from platinum, gold and/or gemstones. But Max captured my heart for three weeks out of my fifth grade existence until I found out he was more of a frog than a prince, when he kissed my best friend at recess.

Around fifteen years later in my mid-twenties, I owned anacondas and pythons. I wore them. They were fashioned in to handbags, shoes and even a very cool mini skirt, long before all the controversy over the sexy skin and about twenty years before I had to fill out forms at the Prada store in Milan to return to the States with a pair of snake ballet flats.

And, so I turned my attentions to serpent motifs in jewelry with their sensuous lines, intricate textures and meaning in various cultures. I fell in love with the jewels in each Cleopatra film and pieces that slithered around my neck, wrapped up my arm and coiled around my finger.

So. 2013 is going to be a favorite of mine in jewelry. The Year of the Snake in the Chinese Zodiac coincides with Victorian jewelry and all it’s sentimentality and symbolism, becoming the hot trend to watch.

My personal collection includes two Victorian snake rings—one with two snakes entwined which means a communion of love or the coming together of two life forces and another, which has alternating diamond and rubies in the eyes. I have a pendant that wraps around into a circular shape, which is said to mean eternal love. I have one bracelet and two pendants, which in different cultures represent meanings such as fertility (at my age, let us not get hung up on that one), rebirth, immortality, infinity, wisdom and transformations. They are accented by mine cut diamonds, turquoise, enameling and garnets.

I have also collected contemporary designer’s snakes such as Kathy Rose’s for RoseArk’s cuff in yellow gold, which is delicate and can be worn stacked with other bracelets. (She has since designed it in black rhodium plated white gold with diamonds) Arman  Sarkisyan’s elongated snake ring in high karat gold with tsavorite garnets and a black diamond in the mouth as well as a less stylistic serpent ring from Vibes and an ultra cool snake encasing a sapphire crystal and diamond pendant from Mortiz Glik

But like Eve in the Garden, I can be tempted quite easily and have seen quite a few new offerings by designers on both sides of the Atlantic as well as some amazing antique jewelry at trade fairs and auctions.

Back in 2001, twelve years before during the last Year of The Snake, I was dating an Italian guy, Paolo, who lived in Rome at the time. After the show, we stopped, at a pawn shop on the outskirts of Trastevere and I found a snake ring that was ancient going for a price that was too good to resist. It had meaning and was Italian, like him. I told the shopkeeper I would think about it, took Paolo outside under the pretense of needing his advice.  “So, I think the price is great. It’s in its original condition and I love the way it slides around my finger.” He kept nodding his head.

“Go for it then. I really don’t think you can go wrong,” he said

I walked back in and bought it for myself.

Holding me in his arms before he fell asleep, he admitted he didn’t know why he could not buy me the snake ring, except that it had connotations of more. “In the Italian tradition you don’t buy a woman a ring until you are ready to marry her.”

After six years, Paolo was never… ready… and I finally let go of our relationship. But I still have hopes for a life entwined with a man of rare quality with whom I can share transformations, an intricate connection and eternal love.

Until I find him, I will continue to purchase my own snake jewelry, although I will never allow one to wrap around my leg again.

Here are some great serpent motifs, archival, antique  and new for you to check out…

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Renee Lewis snake pendant

Blue enamel and diamond snake bracelet photo courtesy of Christie's

Blue enamel and diamond snake bracelet photo courtesy of Christie’s

Ileana Makri turquoise and ruby snake earrings

Ileana Makri turquoise and ruby snake earrings

Sotheby’sPlatinum-Topped-Gold-and-Diamond-Serpent-Brooch-Circa-1910

Boucheron serpent ring

Boucheron serpent ring

kathy rose roseark

Kathy Rose for Roseark 18K black rhodium and diamond cuff

Carvin French Snake Necklace

Carvin French Snake Necklace

Adin Victorian snake brooch

Adin Victorian snake brooch

Borgioni snake bracelet

Borgioni snake bracelet

HOPE IN A JEWEL OR JAR, OR BOTH

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Vibes pearl earrings

Today, I’ve tried on the glow of gold, the magic of tourmaline and the luster of pearls. Usually, I clasp precious metals and gemstones around my neck, slide them on my fingers or dangle them from my ears (especially the-dangle them from my ears—bit)– to add a little sparkle around my face (as per my grandmother’s directions). However today, I am wearing these jewels, crushed and mixed into serums and potions that promote such attributes as rejuvenating the circulation of the skin, creating a youthful, iridescence and/or acting as a natural exfoliate.

I  am both jewelry and beauty product junkie, so I am sold. Plus I had a birthday last week. My skin needs a little pick me up. Okay,  perhaps– a lot of help– and what better gift to oneself than a pair of earrings that detracts from the crow’s feet expanding from the corners of my eyes.  I am sitting by the computer, after indulging in a beauty regime (okay—it just became a regime today) of washing with OM Aroma’s Elixir de Perle Organic Cleansing Cream, which is a concoction for sensitive skin and as the literature reads: “pearl micro-particles restore skin’s luminosity and clarity by sweeping away impurities. This non-drying cleanser stimulates circulation and revitalizes skin for youthful radiance.”

Next I try Dr. Brandt’s Time Arrest Crème de Lux for “aging, mature skin” which mine has definitely become. There are tourmaline crystals mixed in with the other ingredients that I have been told will add a “dewy, fresh, healthy and energized finish.” Got to love that description.  But, somehow, I still look the same. Ah yes, I realize it doesn’t work on the first try. But my Vibes lustrous pearl earrings with little flowers—feminine and fun—do… as does my Jemma Wynne watermelon tourmaline necklace all outlined in the glow of gold.  They make me smile, which always lights up the face

I will give the beauty products a chance. But this season, I saw quite a few dazzling pieces in all of forms of pearls, multi-colored tourmaline jewels at the AGTA awards as well as throughout the designer showrooms and studios.

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Jemma Wynne Pendant

But with the staggering prices of gold, I am wondering if I have to purchase my18K in little bits of crushed powder mixed in with a host of other ingredients rather than wear a solid medallion representing some form of good luck around my neck. Nah. I think I will go for that glimmer of hope in a jewel rather than a jar. Or, at this point in my life, maybe both. It couldn’t hurt.

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OM Aroma Pearl Cleanser

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Dr Brandt Time Arrest Creme de Lux with tourmaline crystals

A Jewel in The Crown

Chanel Diamond Tiara

Fred Leighton’s windows with magical tiaras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was six years-old and shopping in Bloomingdales with my mother to find “something pretty” after I had an appendectomy, I spotted what I knew would transport me from the girl with a scar on my stomach that rivaled the one on Frankenstein’s head to a beautiful princess. It was a glittery tiara-like headband that dripped with rhinestones from every angle. I just had to have it. To get me out of the store without a tantrum (and what I later found out my mom found to be an ostentatious piece) she explained,  “I am so sorry but this is reserved for a duchess from a far away land and we will need to find you something else worthy of your beauty and grace.”   She was good! So good, that the sales people were in awe.  We found a smaller floral seed pearl version of a tiara, which was more suited to my pint size frame. And, since that time I always believed what my mother said as we walked out of the store—“honey, you truly have royal taste.”

So for me, and all other women who still have the princess living someone inside, this has been a big year. I might sit at the computer in sweatpants, but since I write about jewelry and regal gems, I get to see them up close and I am lucky enough to try them on, more often then most.

This year was focused on ornate pieces with history. There was the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this summer that turned into an exhibit at Buckingham Palace, which ran through Oct 7, 2012 and presented a range of enchanting pieces from England’s monarchy. There were the galas, award presentations and fall 2012 ready-to-wear and Couture shows, which had actresses and models crowned in tiaras and draped in gemstone laden jewels.

Last Tuesday, October 9, 2012, there was the launch of  Chanel’s latest fine jewelry collection and a celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the first one Chanel designed in 1932, “Bijoux de Diamants”.  Today, there is even a tiara in the new collection, which will be on display with the other jewelry in a special space MoMA has created, replete with it’s own planetarium.

Speaking of Chanel and lavish jewels, Next month, Tolstoy’s sweeping epic novel will hit the silver screen and bring us back to late 19th century high society Russia. Adapted by Joe Wright, with costumes designed by Jacqueline Durran, Chanel Joaillerie has provided the opulent jewels for Keira Knightley  (in the leading role) including a pearl sautoir and a diamond necklace with a camellia motif..

Luckily for women who want these regal statement looks at various price points, there are many designers taking their cue from the cultural influences which have shaped this past year: Penny Preville, with her Mogul India inspired and Imperial Russian influenced collections, Faberge’s new collection of egg-shaped pendants, Jacob & Co. larger than life pieces, Yewn and Wendy Yue’s fantasy one-of-a-kind baubles, featured at Fragments, Emily Keifer and Karen Karch’s tiara rings, as well as one that I made for my collection Bethany B jewelry. There is also a host of “fashion jewelry” that will turn you into a ‘duchess from a faraway land’ at a more accessible price point, including the collaboration between Durran, Focus Films and Banana Republic which recently launched its Anna Karenina collection exclusively at Banana Republic North America retail locations and online.

So for all of you women, who still covet tiaras and would love to be dripping in gems, may you always be in touch with your childhood and the young princess inside of you…and may you always have the opportunity to show your own “royal taste.”

Kiera Knightley in Chanel/Anna Karenina

Faberge Egg Pendants

Bethany B diamond Tiara Ring

Karen Karch sapphire and diamond Tiara Ring

Penny Preville Diamond and Sapphire Earrings

Kiera Knightley in Chanel/Anna Karenina

Jacob & Co. Ruby and Diamond Earrings

Revisiting Gatsby Again

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Still from The Great Gatsby

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M. Khordipour

Back in March, I wrote this post on one of my favorite novels, “The Great Gatsby” and the Tiffany & Co. jewelry and Prada costumes in the remake of the film. Since then “Gatsby-style” jewelry has been written up and shown in consumer magazines, reported on in different media outlets and is being shown at various price levels. I also found out that the film’s release date is being pushed from the originally scheduled Christmas time to the summer. While i have been looking forward to seeing the Baz Luhrmann remake with it’s Tiffany jewels, this gives us all time to stock up on our jazz-age jewelry. So whether you want faux long strands and strands of pearls or the real thing, long deco-inspired earrings and an armful of diamond bracelets–it’s all out there for you to try on and mix into to your own style of thoroughly modern jewels. Please see my original post for the first blog, entire story and previous at  http://bjeweled.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/revisiting-gatsby/

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Bernard Nacht Under the Crown

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Bring on the Bling

As a senior editor for jewelry magazines and a stylist for personal clients, I try on many designer’s jewelry, when I am not sitting around my house on the computer (like now) in my sweatpants, hair in a disheveled pony tail and sans makeup and sadder still, sans anything that sparkles.

I’ve had a casual conversation with Stephen Webster while he nonchalantly slipped a bracelet around my wrist, which was ablaze in diamonds and had him laughing when I completely lost my train of thought. Todd Reed spilled out 100 carats of raw diamonds on a table, which I gingerly helped him get back into the plastic bag, when he realized he forgot the scooper to pick them up. I have accumulated stories and some amazing pieces over the years.

But a recent “editor’s day” at Jacob & Co last week was truly special. It transported me back to when I was younger and it was like playing dress up and fairy princess all over again. Oh the shimmer and shine of the twinkling gems. Editors got to pick out everything they liked, try it on and then have a ‘glamor photo’ taken with Sophie Elgort (a wonderful photographer in her own right and Arthur Elgort’s daughter)

I was offered professional makeup. Being sensitive to an array of beauty products and just a tad self-conscious about every new line and crease that appears overnight on my face, I don’t trust people with big thick powder wands. I don’t think this creates magic. I am steadfast in the belief that the more makeup you use the more you bring out the wrinkles you are trying to hide.  Understanding of my neurotic fear of foundation, they matched a color lipstick to my lips and tried to hide the dark circles under my eyes. A quick look in the mirror and I was ready for the jewels. I now felt less like a Disney Princess and more like a red carpet celebrity choosing my pieces for the award I was about to receive. Anything is possible among diamonds, emeralds and sapphires, oh my.

Unfortunately coming from three other appointments on a rainy day I was in a uniform of a black sweater white shirt and black trousers. After holding a few gems up to my neck, I nixed the white shirt.

My personal style has always been turning trendy pieces classic or classic pieces trendy. I prefer delicate and feminine to bold, discreet to glitz, antique to modern and steer clear of any long or chandelier earrings that look like it might take down my lobes lower than they have already fallen in the past few years.

But while I was there, I figured, I’d get out of my comfort zone and at least try on pieces that I had not considered “me” before. Angela Arabo, Jacob’s wife helped me pile everything I wanted to try on into a tray.

I held up a huge diamond centerpiece necklace with more diamonds all around. I tried on a ring that was almost as big as my hand. I had on a complete detachable necklace and looked at cuffs that would climb up to my elbow. I was binging on bling.

In the end, I went for the more dressed up version of me: A long tassel pendant with an emerald cabochon in the center and diamond chain. A spider crawling up my finger with a baroque pearl and a major emerald cut bracelet around my wrist. I was set.  And, now I was among the A-List divas that also play in Jacob & Co’s jewelry box, including Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Hough, Milla Jovovich and Beyonce.

I am still coveting the diamond emerald cut bracelet for the day I can leave my sweatpants and my computer behind, or at least find a way to be able to afford it and have some place to go to wear it.

Jacob & Co. diamond statement necklace

Oversized Garden Jacob & Co. Garden Ring

Emerald cut diamond bracelet from Jacob & Co. that I am coveting

Jacob & Co. emerald and diamond necklace

Destination: Wedding

The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher

Last weekend I felt the first hint of spring as I watched a bride-to-be and her maid of honor scoping out earrings. As they held them up to their ears, they talked about whether the antique style would match the lace embroidered bodice the gown or whether to keep it simple and wear a small pendant instead.  It’s wedding season. It’s the time of year when my email inbox, fills up with countless press releases each day about everything from brand new cuts and colors in diamonds to weather stacking or wide is the new trend in bands. As a single woman living in Manhattan, who has never been married, I am happy to see a beautiful new opaque rose cut center stone-which by the way is just as perfect for my middle finger as it is for someone’s ring finger-but watching all the happy couples around, I sill get a pang of yearning, wondering if it will ever happen for me.

So it was inspiring, as a jewelry editor continually in search of a band of gold to read the comic novel based on a guy who is “always the wedding columnist and never the groom.” Devan Sipher’s new novel The Wedding Beat (NAL/Penguin) is loosely based on his real life experience as the Vows wedding reporter for The New York Times. Sipher nails the guy’s perspective on romance with wit, warmth and insight. I was completely charmed by Sipher’s protagonist Gavin Greene’s plight to date in the not always ‘fair’ city of New York and find the right woman for himself, while interviewing and delving deeply into the relationships of the couples he is writing about for the newspaper he works.

Reading the book in one night, I was in awe by the deft way Sipher infused his characters and the story-with heart, humor, and offered a perceptive handle on what it’s like to be the single person–not just in a city, an event or a room full of doubles– but deep in a career that is all about couples. Some of my favorite parts of the book include Gavin’s date with a soap opera actress, who he takes to the famous NYC Nobu restaurant and finds out her time with him has helped her with her decision to move in the very next day with her boyfriend.  Sipher transports me back to my awkward adolescent years when he writes about Gavin’s twelve year-old self being embarrassed on a bus after the girl got up the nerve to call recorded a conversation of him trying to ask her out. His online dating scenarios are hysterical and so true. The entire novel had me feeling like I was reading the fictional character of a male version of …well…me.

Gavin goes through all the development stages of being a certain age and alone, falling head over heels at chance meetings and suffering missed opportunities until he goes through finding out what he thought he wanted, realizing what he desires now; who he really is and who he is meant to be with.

The Wedding Beat, which hits bookstores and on-line booksellers today, April 3, 2012 is a must read for anyone who wants to laugh, remember their own relationships, root for the guy to get the girl and for romance to win out in the end.

With that said, I am still in search of the left hand ring but for all of you girls out there who have found the ‘right’ man–I’ve been able scour the antique fairs and markets, showrooms and shops and have come up with some alternative engagement and wedding styles whether your perfect match is more traditional, a little flawed and wild or tender and tough. Check out these designers: Megan Thorne, Cathy Waterman, Dawes Designs, and Jessica Fields.

Megan Thorne engagement ring

Dawes Design engagement rings

Cathy Waterman