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Posts Tagged ‘Gold’

Stoned Love

Lika Behar

Recently I attended a jewelry trade show in New York City and was holding a pair of turquoise and gold earrings up to my ears, when a colleague told me how they brought out the blue in my eyes. I suddenly had a flashback to when I was 12 and was watching my mom get dressed. She said exactly the same thing, while dangling her Zuni turquoise and sterling earrings close to my face. It was during the early seventies, after she and my dad got divorced. She was reading Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, going to EST and doning clothes and jewelry that represented the youth culture (read: everything that I too was wearing). She was also dating a younger gorgeous French Canadian artist, who also wore turquoise: in beads knotted with leather cording around his wrist. I was pre-teen in a time when this particular stone represented freedom, feminism, left-over hippies and moms who were finally putting aside Dr Spock parenting to live out their own youth.

My first piece of turquoise was given to me two years earlier, when, in fifth grade, a boy asked me to go steady with a sterling silver and turquoise ring. Three weeks later, after it turned my finger green, the boy broke my young heart when he changed his mind, took back the band, and gave it to one of my closest friends instead. Recently, while hearing stories from my nephews, I remembered that this is actually how long relationships last when you are pre-adolescent. Somehow this knowledge didn’t help back then.

Later in high school, American Indian jewelry was back in style as were early ’60s fashions: peasant shirts and rainbows motifs, which I artfully embroidered on my left Levis jeans pocket (thankfully 501 boot cut rather than bell bottoms). I owned two cuff bracelets with chunks of greenish turquoise and a pair of deep blue and silver chin length dangles.

I started making body chains in college with tiny little turquoise beads and delicate chain that would sit between my waist and my hips. One would think I was going out belly dancing rather that to a Disco, where they played songs like It’s Raining Men.

The next time I wore turquoise, I was turning thirty. My boyfriend, a humorous but barely-scraping -by writer, handed me a small box. At this point I knew the relationship would not last–not because I would have preferred an engagement ring– not because he re-gifted a band his college girlfriend gave to him–but because it was almost the exact same inlaid style that I received from the guy in fifth grade. Not only was I choosing similar men. They were giving me the same jewelry.

< Not long after, I dated a guy who said that my eyes were the color of turquoise and that he could see forever in them. Forever came a week later, when I found out he was seeing a woman with whom he worked and whose eyes were the same hue as…smoky topaz.

I have had very mixed emotions about turquoise. I’ve learned that it’s one of the earliest protective amulets from various cultures and ranges in meaning from luck, good fortune, friendship and courage. But, you can understand why I might be a little skeptical: my experience with the stone represented failed relationships with more than one guy. In addition, fine jewelry enthusiasts couldn’t help but equate turquoise with the same 70s I grew up in, conjuring up caftans and artist communities and for me, personally, the days of my parent’s divorce, my mom’s dressing like me and snagging a cuter boyfriend than I had.

Since then,the only time I pulled out my American Indian jewelry was when I found out, last-minute, that I’d be trick or treating with my niece and nephews (then 10, 7 and 5, respectively). I had to come up with a costume on the fly and grabbed a suede skirt, denim shirt, old Tony Lama boots, and accessorized with my Zuni earrings, cuffs and a turquoise tipped leather lariat I found. Okay, the small Stetson that was part of my youngest nephew’s everyday playacting didn’t hurt. But I am convinced that my cowgirl Halloween outfit was made by the jewelry.

When I finally began to perfect my own style, I realized that I did like certain pieces laden with these stones. I preferred the Victorian looks of turquoise pave set hearts and sentimental styles: lockets and posy rings accented by tiny cabochons. I also realized that the warmth of gold imbued turquoise with quite a different feeling then I had known.

Then, around ten or so years ago, I started noticing designers such as Cathy Waterman, Loree Rodkin, Cathy Carmendy and Ten Thousand Things were showing turquoise with gold from the most delicate of dangling beads to more substantial stones with diamond accents. It was a look that had antique or ancient inspirations, which I found intriguing in the real thing, but with a new modern spin. These designers helped give turquoise a complete makeover from what it had come to represent in the US.

Not long after, companies with a spiritual or meaningful slant such as ME&RO, Satya Jewelry and Dogeared used small turquoise beaded necklaces to dangle symbolic pendants and discs. And of course there were power beads. Everywhere.

Although individualistic designers never stopped including the soothing hues of this gem in their collections, the major trend towards turq quieted down, But it seems to be back in a big way. Pantone deemed it’s PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, as the Color of the Year for 2010. So, it’s definitely time to resurrect your antique or contemporary pieces , your pendants on beads if you have them, or go out purchase some original looks that combine the best of vintage, ancient and modern.

All of the interest is in high karat gold. Some of my favorite looks are the long teardrop earrings and bold irregular shaped turquoise pendant with the serpent motif at Lika Behar, the large oval rose cut turquoise extra long bezel set pendants and simple cuffs at Dawes Designs, the Gobi turquoise pieces at Gurhan, which are ultra rich looking in 24K gold, the delicate bezel set delicate turquoise cabochon necklace at Katie Diamond in varying lengths.. Erica Courtney showed beautiful turquoise rectangular shaped earrings that are held by more delicate crown pave prongs. Anzie does an entire collection with the stones as the focal point in simple gold settings.

Personally, I believe that all color –in high-end, fine pieces –is seasonless. If the fashion industry could get women to wear white before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, I stand firm about wearing turquoise year round as well. For me it’s a stone that will always make my eyes seem bluer and remind me that life is a series of experiences that when you glance back, might make you smile and remind you of how you can change.


Cathy Waterman

Katie Diamond

©2010B-Jeweled. All Rights Reserved.

Au Natural

Arman: Vibes: Shaill

I’m a nature girl at heart.  I love exploring gardens, forests and woods, although I do prefer the ‘objects’ I find to be made of precious metals, able to be worn, and completely inanimate. Recently I had a friend  (in a relatively new relationship), who told me, that for a romantic weekend, the new love interest asked her to go camping.  The last time I’d gone, I got bitten by some sort of exotic bug. It snuck up on me in the middle of the night and left welts that lasted for an entire month all over my legs.

“Wonderful idea,” I said. Perhaps the sex in the sleeping bags under the night stars that I mentioned to her was compelling enough to calm her fears that ranged from smelling like “OFF” to cute outfits for hiking to the more pressing topic of how many moisturizers and makeup you can weigh your backpack down with.

I remember going to sleep-away camp and felt nostalgic this past weekend when many of my friends were dropping their kids off ‘at the bus.’ This warm feeling waned when I recalled that they were  being led to bunks with mice, one outlet for every blow dryer in the entire place, and swimming in the lake with all kinds of creatures that would keep any sane kid treading water as close to the top as possible.

The beginning of first letter home from camp  to my mom when I was 11, read:” Camp sucks.  (Sorry I mean stinks).  I can’t believe you did this to me.  Remember the bug juice at day camp, which you explained was really just like Kool Aid, well here, it has real live flies in it.  Okay, they aren’t really alive. They are just kind of floating on their backs. I half expect them to be sipping out of mini straws.”

I was the one who woke up with 30 mosquito bites and had a mouse scurrying up my leg when going on overnight outings with boys and pretending to enjoy the whole thing.  It was during one of these times that I found out I was highly allergic to bees or yellow jackets. I never bothered to find out the exact species of the creature as I was going into anaphylactic shock. It was embarrassing enough when my throat started closing up and my lips grew to the size of a blow fish. So while I find bees an interesting motif, I feel like I need to bring my EpiPen, even when looking at 18K gold versions.

I do have an affinity for the open weave of the web as a motif for jewelry like in Borgioni’s ring. Yet, I  freak out, when, for instance, I see a spider on my NYC apartment ceiling. I usually call in my doorman to remove it before it somehow lands on my head or worse, on the couch and then crawls around only to appear on my shirt.

So, with the exception of spiders and webs, I am not really big on the creepy crawly motifs. I do like ladybugs and the memories that come from making a wish and blowing them to their next destination. I am more drawn to dragonflies, particularly Elyssa Bass’ stone set styles (same goes for butterflies such as Leila Tai’s Art Nouveau-inspired plique-a-jour versions or Mallary Mark’s Japanese inspired beauties) and when they are mixed in with stones, wood  as in the designs of Wendy Yue or in the three-dimensional garden motifs of Shaill.  Speaking of three-dimensional, I will take an occasional bug in the magic fairytale jewels of Vibes. Her collection is like a traipse through an enchanted forest with 18K white and yellow gold flowers blossoming, vines winding and creatures landing on her baroque pearls, raw and rose cut diamonds and newest rock crystal. A fan of H. Stern, the limited “Alice In Wonderland” collection developed in partnership with Disney and inspired by the spectacular creatures of Tim Burton’s Wonderland is magical (particularly the rose ring– and you don’t have to fall through a rabbit hole to find it).

I am completely enamored by various snake motifs and I own serpent rings from the 19th century and most recently, a contemporary version in high karat gold with colored gems on its head and black diamond in its mouth from Arman that I allow to climb up my finger as well the and the winding snake bracelet from Kathy Rose for Roseark that slithers around my wrist. But, you couldn’t catch me in 10 feet of the real thing.

Sometimes, a girl has just got to go out and smell the flowers or at least wear them. Laurie Kaiser, who has a green thumb, which she has turned to gold has created some of the most feminine yet bold pieces featuring the earthly delights of pendants with vines wrapping around trellis’ and hoops twisted like branches with blooms of different floral varieties.  Luckily in her garden, I won’t need to carry my EpiPen.

Elyssa Bass: Borgioni: Laurie Kaiser

The Long and Short of It

moritz glik


I remember desperately wanting my ears pierced. In the mornings before 3rd grade (I was 8 at the time), I’d scotch tape cutouts of stars, moons and flowers to my lobes.

“Your teachers will think you’re crazy, worse yet, they will think that I am letting you out of the house like this,” my mom had said.

To which my reply was “then let me get my ears pierced.” I think I stomped my foot for emphasis. The verdict: not happening until I was 14. It was a number she’d arbitrarily come up with and for me seemed like a lifetime.

So I did what any 8 year old would do, I went over her head to her mom, my grandmother. She took one look at the scotch tape creations and promptly took me to a jewelry store near where she lived in Brooklyn. I almost changed my mind and passed out when I saw the “gun” but I made it through. Then, I waited six weeks with the surgical steel studs till I could wear the little twisted wire 18K gold hoops my grandmother bought for me. My mom felt manipulated and decided to scare me into listening to her in the future with talk about infections and other really dramatic stuff that never happened.

By the time high school rolled around, I wanted an asymmetrical look and let some guy pierce one more hole in my right ear and two more in my left with ice and a sewing needle. My mom just rolled her eyes and cautioned me never to wear anything too heavy because that would cause the earlobes to droop and the holes to stretch as I got older. Sounded awful and left more of an impression than the earlier warnings.

But throughout my twenties and thirties, which were in the ’80s and ’90s I was into style over function (not realizing there was a way to have both) and I wore everything from large dangling ethnic styles to over sized gold hoops. But once a chandelier earring got caught on a crochet sweater, I decided to retire the longer, heavier looks for delicate double drops and ultra small pendant earrings, mostly antique styles that were lighter in weight. I began meeting women who went through the ordeal of getting their piercings sewed up and re-pierced again and also noticed the dreaded droop. I was not going to let a fashionable pair of earrings take down my lobes.

Then in 2002, I met Brazilian born designer Moritz Glik, who, in addition to his sophisticated yet playful collection of floating diamond jewelry set between sapphire crystals, creates featherweight longer and chandelier style earrings that literally feel like you are not wearing anything, very contemporary in feeling yet with undertones of antique style and technique. A little over a year ago, I met Sara Freedenfeld who spins gold into a fluid collection of fabric inspired designs for her Amali collection, (sentimentally named after her grandmother). She weaves every piece out of chain herself and her longer looks are also airy and lightweight.

Both designers have allowed me to expand my earring collection, at a time when longer, more fluid earrings with movement are being shown everywhere from runway to red carpet.

In time, gravity would have it’s pull on my ears like it’s having on my upper arms and gluts but I am going to hold out in style until then.

All original content is ©Beth Bernstein 2010. No words may be reproduced with out permission from the copyright holder.
All Rights Reserved.

Jingle Jangle-wearing bangles

marian maurer

I’m embracing the warm days of spring, shedding my layers of turtlenecks, cardigans, cashmere sweater coats and I can’t wait to pile on one of my favorite jewelry looks: a stack of mixed up bangles: textured, gemstones, blackened silver and tri-tones of pink, yellow and white metal with colored and white diamond accents .

But wait, are those my arms that are that are jingly or my bracelets? Seems no matter how many days you work out at the gym, something inexplicable happens to your upper arms in winter.

“Don’t pretend you don’t get it, you’ve been coming here too long,” says Carl, my chisel instructor at Crunch in front of the entire class. You used 5 lb weights all winter and got lazy.” He hands me 10 lbs and I can hardly hold them, no less lift them over my head. I opt for the 71/2’s and get to work.

In embracing spring, I can also accept the fact that parts of my body will never be the same, but when someone is embracing me, I want them to feel a more toned version. And when I go sleeveless, the only part of my arms I want jangling are the piles of bangles that are accessorizing them.

For those of you who feel the same, I recommend a mix of SETHI COUTURE‘s thin natural colored diamond bangles, JUST JULES‘ and MARIAN MAURER‘s varying textures and styles, STEPHANIE ALBERTSON‘s rose cut diamond and colored stone bezel set versions and ARMENTA‘s and ERICA MOLINARI‘s and LAUREN WOLF‘s blackened silver with pops of gold and white diamonds.

And for getting your arms ready for the sleeveless days of summer, Carl’s triceps exercises include three sets of 15 -20 skull crushers, kickbacks and dips.

All original content is ©Beth Bernstein 2010. No words may be reproduced with out permission from the copyright holder.
©2010B-Jeweled. All Rights Reserved.