Treasures for body and mind

27 July, 2011

Fantasy Necklaces

These are out of fairy tales.  What story goes with them?  Who would wear them? 

Van Cleef and Arples, Kingfisher Necklace

Ana de Costa, Crystal Gazing Necklace, at

Queen Vee, Angel Stinger Necklace, at

Goo Goo Dolls

Yaaaaaayyyy!!!! Finally saw The Goo Goo Dolls in concert, last night, one of the items in my bucket list!  They were very good, and I look forward to seeing them again.  Here are some of last night's photos...  

I did not get the pewter Goo Goo Dolls necklace, but I got t-shirts for everyone in the family.  Ann, yours will be in the mail soon!

As a bonus, here is the best photo I took of U2 a month ago...
That's Bono in the smokey light.
My jewelry was the one concession I made to dressing up last night.  It was HOT, so I wore as little as possible- running shorts, a wicking t-shirt, Tevas, and the fabulous diamond studs my love gave me.  Minus the diamonds, I've worn the same thing kayaking before.  I was terribly under dressed...never again.  At least the diamonds kept me from being a total ragbag.  And I was comfortable, even when there was a puddle of sweat in my seat.

More jewelry tomorrow.  I promise.

22 July, 2011

These are not new, but I've loved them since I first saw them.  All are available from St. Klida, at

I love snake jewelry because my husband was born the year of the snake.  I also like dogs, dragons, and sheep on my jewels because those are my girls' and my, respectively, zodiac animals. 

Yeah, I'm a sheep.  Baaaaaah. 

21 July, 2011

Something Beautiful

Yesterday's post provoked more conversation and thought than any other jewelry about which I have posted.  Wearing different forms of dead animals forced questions about why do you wear jewelry and how do you want to feel when you wear jewelry?  I am really curious about your answers.  Fearless readers, please let me hear from you. 

I am not sure about you guys, but I'm still grossed out from yesterday's post- and feel bad that I may have passed that feeling on to you.  That's not how I want you to feel and especially not how I want this blog to make you feel.  In apology, let me offer you something beautiful from The Three Graces,
My blood pressure goes down simply looking at it.  Here is this lovely thing's description:  
“Magnificent rings have a certain air about them but truly exceptional ones can leave us breathless. From stem to stern this 20th century specimen fits that definition. The shining star of this creation is an outstanding diamond of six sides. Although visually most would perceive five sides, in actuality there are facets in the middle top with a slight angle from the center point which creates a six-sided gem. Approximately 1.15 carats (K-L color; VS1-VS2 clarity) and almost a portrait diamond, it has a large planar top and a minimalist yet glittering facet structure setting it apart from its brethren.
A surround of nineteen (19) French cut and shaped natural sapphires perfectly accents the central diamond both in configuration and with contrasting color. An additional estimated .85 carats of thirty-five (35) transitional and hand cut single diamonds adds just a touch more to the rapturous beauty. Superb attention to details includes delicate mille grain decoration and fine azuring.”


20 July, 2011

Would You Wear Dead Bugs?

Marta Mattsson designs jewelry that pushes people's buttons.  The jewels she designed in college focused on curing people of their phobias and closely exposed people to the things that scared them-necklaces made of eels and earrings made from polished fingernail clippings were examples of her work. 

Her current collections are also disturbing.  Her leather items have kept their hair; cubic zirconia sparkles from the abdomens of beetles.  Some of her pieces feature fetal/baby mice.  She also uses taxidermied animals. 
Goatskin brooch
Copper electroformed beetle and CZ brooch
I don't want to touch these, much less wear them.  I wear leather all of the time, almost every day.  How does a hairy brooch change the medium from familiar to gross?  Beetles and bugs do not bother me but bisected bugs stuffed with gemstones do.  These items make me wonder unkindly about the jeweler and those who wear them.  "Morticia? Is it you?"  Do they cross a boundary of acceptable uses for the dead, even dead animals, indicating a possibly unhealthy misalignment with societal taboos by the artist and her patrons, or are they simply aesthetically gross? 


19 July, 2011

This Just In...Diamonds Aren't Forever...17 July 2011

Evaporating a diamond, by Mildren

"(  Associate Professor Richard Mildren and his colleagues from the Macquarie University Photonics Research Centre discovered that diamonds evaporate under exposure to light.  'Although this type of light-induced evaporation has been observed in some materials, this is the first time it's been shown to occur for diamond,' Mildren said.

The diamonds were exposed to intense in the UV-C band (the harsh filtered out by the ), and small pits in the diamond surface were visible after only a few seconds. The rate of mass loss in the diamond fell notably for lower light levels but the etching process still continued - albeit at a slower and slower pace, Mildren said.
But before diamond lovers around the world start to panic, he is quick to note that the rate of evaporation is very small and not noticeable under normal conditions. In fact, even under very bright UV conditions, such as intense sunlight or under a UV tanning lamp, it would take approximately the age of the universe - about 10 billion years - to see an observable distance, he said.

The findings not only provide clues about the long-term stability of diamonds, but also have broad implications for future research.  'It's a very practical discovery and we are now looking at how we can exploit this,' Mildren said.  'If we can make structures in the diamonds that enable us to control the position of the light within a very narrow filament in the diamond, that's the first step to making smaller and more efficient such as those used in and high performance lasers.'

The discovery may also have implications as far reaching as the prospects for finding diamonds on the surface of other planets, Mildren said.
More information: Mildren, R. P. et al. Opt. Mater. Express 1, 576-585 (2011).  Provided by Macquarie University"

This makes sense.  We've been laser etching names and numbers on diamonds for decades, so of course they break down under UV light, just a whole lot slower...10 billion years of slower.  However, appraisers will probably say that's close enough to forever for insurance purposes.  

18 July, 2011

Shere Kahn Does a Good Deed

Joanna Lumley was photographed by John Swannell wearing the £500,000 Shere Kahn tiger necklace auctioned by the Born Free foundation on 17 June 2011.  The necklace, designed by Catherine Best, weighs almost a kilo, and is sculpted out of gold and sparkles with 182 diamonds and precious gems.  Named for the tiger (and villain) in Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book, the necklace features 11.9 carats of diamonds, 7 carats of emeralds, and each tiger holds a gemstone heart in its paws. The female tiger holds a 4 carat heart-shaped tourmaline and the male a 27 carat rubellite. The tigers' black stripes are enamel.   
There are 3,500 wild tigers left.  The Born Free foundation's website says that the purchase of this necklace made a significant contribution to tiger conservation. 
More on ethical jewelry to follow...

15 July, 2011

Accio Jewelry!

With the last Harry Potter film opening today, let Michael Spirito supply all of your Order of the Phoenix/ Death Eater jewelry needs.  Made in sterling silver, gold, and precious stones, these are nice enough to horde at Gringotts, but you'd want to wear them instead.

If you are Dumbledore's, through and through:

If you've done your time at Azkaban and stand with The Dark Lord:
If you show up wearing these, I'll sit on the other side of the theater. 

(It is the end of an amazing narrative trajectory that shaped a generation of kids.  Ask one who is close to you what Harry Potter means to him or her- the answers are fascinating.)  

13 July, 2011

The Platonic Form of the Whitby Jet Necklace

A bit of historical loveliness today...

Hand carved, Victorian whitby jet necklace- those links are carved through one another.  It's gorgeous.

11 July, 2011


Another brush with surrealism...This is Sale 6990, Lot 52, from the 20 July 2011 auction to be held at by Christie's in London, South Kensington.
A diamond ring and a pencil

Lot Description
A diamond ring and a pencil
Of odeonesque form, with central concealed-set princess-cut diamond domed section within pavé diamond border, accompanied by a pencil finger size N
Saleroom Notice
Please note that this lot is accompanied by a pencil.
What in the world...?  Was this some bizarre requirement in a will?  An irritated intern's prank?  Does Christie's pass messages for clandestine organizations?  And why is there no information about the pencil?  Is it a #2 Ticonderoga or does it have My Little Ponies on it?  I'd feel cheated if it was a nub with no eraser or was chewed to bits.  
Seriously, if there is an explanation for this buffoonery, please come on line and let me know what gives!

08 July, 2011

For Mona

Remember Edward's ring in Sense and Sensibility?  Made of the conniving Lucy's hair, it was similar in color to Elinor's, creating doomed optimism for the Dashwood ladies.  At least Lucy took it back when she jilted Edward and married his brother.  When Austen wrote at the end of the 1700s, hair was not just used for memento mori jewelry to remember the dead, but was also given by the living to those they loved.  Like Lucy gave Edward when she "appeared everything that was amiable and obliging." 

Georgian hair ring from
But during the Victorian era, when Goth was fashionable and called "mourning," men and women wore hair jewelry- usually from dead people.  Some of it was sweet, and some of it was pretty. 
Victorian hair necklace or set of bracelets,

At the turn of the century, hair jewelry ceased to be popular.  Oddly, for something that had been so popular, it completely disappeared from public view or even respectability.  It was terrible timing, really, with WWI right around the corner.  Perhaps that much death took the fun out of mourning. 

Hair jewelry became a collector's oddity.  A few Victorian historians and re-enactors kept the craft alive as well, usually adhering to historically accurate forms although this one is like none I have ever seen before. 
Modern hair bridal tiara- I agree with Mona in this one- yuuurrrgggggg.
Hair jewels do not have to be freaky.  Hairlooms, based in Australia, caters to horse people and uses horse hair, but will also make jewelry from human hair in line with modern sensibilities too.  Hairlooms also makes jewels with impressions of hair- for those who can't get over the bleeecchhh factor of wearing actual hair.
Hair and silver ring, available in gold,
Gratuitous kitten shot- imagine the hair these two could contribute!



07 July, 2011

Jewels In The News- Foreign Policy Magazine

Talk about blood diamonds!

Morning Brief: Pakistani nuclear chief says North Korea bribed officers for technology

Posted By David Kenner

Top story: Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, released documents that he said proves that North Korean officials paid millions of dollars to top members of the Pakistani military establishment in exchange for nuclear technology.
One of the documents provided by Khan included a North Korean letter dated July 15, 1998, which reported that $3 million had been paid to Jehangir Karamat, then the chief of staff of the Pakistani army. The letter also stated that $500,000, as well as three "diamond and ruby sets," had been paid to Lt. Gen. Zulfiqar Khan. Both officials denounced the letter as a fake.

From Foreign Policy Magazine at

Only $500,000 dollars and three diamond and ruby sets?  Those had better be some fired up diamond and ruby sets (VC&A? Cartier? Chopard? Tiffany?).  Since they're from North Korea, they are probably synthetics and CZ.  I hope so! 

Who knew you could sell out the world for so little?


06 July, 2011

Hapa Girls Make Me Happy!

The Hapa Girls have great floral treats.  Treats they are, carved and forged from silver and copper.  The website only shows new silver and pink jewelry; do these turn black and green as they oxidize?  That would be lovely too.
Three cherry blossom bangles, silver and copper
I've loved cherry blossoms since I lived in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and cherry blossoms are one of the splendid things about living near Washington DC. Even six million tourists cannot blunt the beauty of six million blossoms scattering in the wind. Every woman's jewelry box should have cherry blossom jewelry for spring.
Carved silver lotus blossom
Lotuses are symmetrically wonderful.  It's hard to mess up a lotus; they are beautiful and retain an exotic allure.  Mass produced lotus jewelry is everywhere, but that's because its pretty!  Lotus jewels won't enlighten you, but the Hapa Girls' lotus jewel won't lighten your wallet much either.    They have some sweet heart stud earrings too...

04 July, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

For sale by Christie's Auction House in France, on 7-8 July...given by President Washington to the Marquis Lafayette, it contains both his and Martha's hair.  It's expected to net between $2,500- $3,500.  

(Everyone in my family has said "Yuuuuuggghhhhh" to the idea of a ring with hair in it, even historical hair.  I think it's an amazing jewel.)  

02 July, 2011


Let the countdown begin!

The auction of Liz Taylor's jewels begins 13 December 2011 in New York at Christie’s Rock­e­feller Cen­ter.  Prior to the sale, there will be what Christie's describes as a “ten-day museum-quality exhi­bi­tion of her jew­elry, fash­ion, acces­sories, dec­o­ra­tive arts and mem­o­ra­bilia.” The first evening of the sale will begin on the 13th and con­tinue on the 14th. 
VC&A white and yellow diamond and chrysophrase daisy necklace
While most of us cannot go to Christie's for either the exhibition or the auction (although the exhibition is traveling, and may visit your city), the Christie's catalogue for that auction will be a keeper.  I can't wait to see her treasures!
Diamonds- all hers!
My thanks to for this information!

01 July, 2011

Happy Times at the Beach!

Some beachy items, channeling sun, surf, beach umbrellas, bright towels, salt water taffy, ice cream, tanning lotion, and skin on the edge of a sunburn...all from  All in 18kt gold and precious stones, all full of happiness. 
Delicate bracelets

Tiny gold charms on tiny gold necklaces

Dainty gold and precious stones on very small necklaces