Treasures for body and mind

03 December, 2012

Going to Atlanta Soon?

For the first time, Titanic, The Artifact Exhibition, is exhibiting jewelry found on the Titanic.  The exhibition runs in Atlanta for two months from November 2012 and is located at Atlantic Station Exhibition Center, 265 18th St., Atlanta, GA.  After the show finishes in Atlanta, it will move to Orlando, FL, and Las Vegas, NV.

Watch these clips and try not to be moved.  Human skin once warmed these personal, precious objects.  Perhaps those who wore them loved their sparkle and were emotionally invested in them.  No other recovered artifact could more forcibly direct the viewer toward the person behind the item. 

It is an odd collection for a purser to stuff into a bag, a collection of mostly smaller Victorian and Edwardian items, some better made than others.  It seems that if it was the contents of a safe, there would be more and of larger/better quality- considering the passengers of the Titanic.  What is the story of the person who packed the bag?  Did he grab the most important papers and other items and as an afterthought grab a few jewels as an act of charity during crisis?  Did he opportunistically grab a few peices he thought no one would miss?  Let us think well of the dead.

29 November, 2012

Island Time

...trying to transition to Island Time...not measuring my self-worth by crossing things off of lists or working harder, but by creating and developing, by play and rest as well.  This is harder than it sounds. 

Pause, and hear the surf...

The Paysage d'Opale Clip evokes mellow endless summers with a 100.11 carat opal with diamonds and sapphires.  From Van Cleef's California Reverie collection- and speaking of creating and developing, look at the piece's back.  Notice the mandarin garnets surrounding the sun and the diamonds on the backs of the palm fronds?  Dude!
Both photos from Van Cleef and Arpels.

28 November, 2012

A Midsummer's Night's Dream

The youngest and I are to the theatah tonight to see A Midsummer's Night's Dream.  We're pretty excited...she is wearing a sequined sheath and devastating youthful bloom.  I would not say no to wearing one of these iconic lovelies from Van Cleef and Arpels' A Midsummer's Night's Dream collection.

Caresse d'Eole Fairy Clip

Folie de Pres Fairy Clip

Two interesting rumors are related to Van Cleef's emblematic fairies.  It's rumored that Tinkerbell inspired the first fairy back in the 40s- it's a fun story even if the dates don't quite match.  The other rumor relates to the ballerina clips that predated the fairies; their rose cut diamond faces are rumored to be from the Spanish crown jewels.  Could these fairies' faces be from the same? 

Peaseblossom aside, Shakespeare's fairies do more than decorously lounge and dance with flowers.  In their honor, the Spinel Nereide Clip from the L'Antlantide collection would be my first choice for the evening because of her wild face and nonhuman body.  (And the girl loves her gems- all women are from the same tribe.)

Spinel Nereide Clip, white diamonds, white gold, yellow sapphires, rose gold, and a 7.21 carat orange pink spinel

20 November, 2012

Mon Jasmin Noir

Mon Jasmin Noir's tag line is "The Essence of a Jeweler."  Ewwwww!  But then I saw the diamonds!  Ah...THAT jeweler...Bvlgari... One thing led to another and that led to the following movies.  The perfume provided an excuse for movies about gorgeous, glamorous, over-the-top Bvlgari jewelry.  Enjoy!

The Bvlgari lion gave the Cartier panther a run for it's money.  If you haven't seen the panther's movie, here you are...It's so easy to forget the power of these beautiful animals, but the strength in their feet gives them away.

 BTW- the perfume is fantastic! It is definitely on my Christmas wish list.

17 November, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

The Christmas carols before Halloween were excessive and irritating but many of our family Christmas traditions occur before then.  The first present is usually purchased in July, spirited home, and lost until April the next year.  The Fruitcake from Hell is made in September.  Also in September, Mom warns us that she is "not doing much for Christmas" (a gift extravaganza follows), and we have a serious family discussion about budgeting and not going overboard (as if).  Then, in October, the Victoria's Secret catalogue with the Fantasy Bra arrives! 

This year's Floral Fantasy Bra Gift Set was designed by London Jewelers and features nearly 5,200 precious gems, including amethysts, sapphires, tsavorite, rubies and white, pink and yellow diamonds, set in 18-karat rose and yellow gold.  It includes the bra and a matching belt with two removable diamond flower pins and a centerpiece that includes a 12.5-carat diamond and a 20-carat white diamond.  If the relationship is not ready for lingerie, get your significant other a $500,000 bottle of perfume, the Bombshell Fantasy Fragrance, encrusted with white, pink and yellow diamonds, sapphires, tsavorite, rubies, a 10-carat white diamond, and a hand-carved tourmaline butterfly.

Yay!  Christmas!  38 days left!   

31 October, 2012

Post- Hurricane Storm Sandy Memento

Get yourself something nice, like the Coomi Eternity diamond ring at, for riding out the storm. 

Hope all are well; we're fine.  Thank you for the timely piece.

29 October, 2012

Hello Sandy- Goodbye Fall!

Hurricane Sandy may not be a hurricane any more, but the beast howling around outside is NOT friendly.  We are blessed to be warm and safe and together.  Dear Lord who creates hurricanes, watch over your children as this monster prowls and growls up the east coast.  Amen.

And back to Gem ID before we lose power, probably for days!  Sandy's knocked down all of the autumn leaves, so enjoy this lovely Tiffany necklace, on  Wouldn't you love to know this piece's provenance?
(Good advice for coffee fiends- if you expect to lose power, prepare a pot of coffee ahead of time and put it in a thermos to stay warm, just in case.)

19 October, 2012

Black Friday- Old Is New Again

These Handcrafted Leather Cuff Bracelets from Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry in collaboration with Eugene Lee are recycling at its finest- stylish, well made, old into new, edgy with a respectful nod to the past.  Good leather, well constructed, with platinum and diamond vintage buckles, will get better over time.  Think how fabulous these would look with jeans- and even better with a LBD or evening gown; wear them to the coffee shop or to the opera!

To learn more, please email
Or contact concierge at (650) 503·3054.

Handcrafted Leather Cuff Bracelets
Roll on to zoom in


Handcrafted leather cuff bracelets with vintage diamond and platinum buckles; our first collaboration with designer Eugene Lee


15 October, 2012

A Pick Me Up for Monday

The Delphi Necklace by Suzanna Dai is perfect.  Each appliqued section is beaded with gunmetal bugle beads, blush pearl beads, and rhinestones.  The necklace is backed in grey suede.  As a statement necklace, I love what this one is saying.


12 October, 2012

Black Friday

The blogiverse is a-twitter critiquing Jennifer Aniston's new engagement ring, seen in this  blurry photo.  It's too big; it's too gaudy; it's too whatever...Who died and made these people Goldilocks?  Opinions are like bellybuttons.  Everyone has one, and a lot of them should not be on display.   
Yup, a gazillion carats- an idol somewhere is missing an eye! From People

Repeat after me...All brides are beautiful.  All babies are beautiful.  All engagement rings are beautiful.  That is, unless they look like this...
Black Cat Ring by Abrakadabra,
Good manners would require positively responding to this ring too, "In Britain, black cats are good luck!" or, "He knows he likes your kitties."  Have the, "Are you sure he's the one?" conversation later.  (For fun, post what you would say to a friend who received this statement piece as her engagement ring.)
Diamonds are great, and are best from someone you love who loves you back.  Ms. Aniston received a monstrously huge ring that she seems to like from a guy she loves.  Even funky kitty rings are good from someone you love who loves you back.  Embrace the gesture and move on!

11 October, 2012

How to Stretch Your $500 Part IV

Here's where I waffle like a lawyer.  These strategies will not get you a Cartier panther watch for $500.  Or even $50,000.   They will help you get a few hundred knocked off a fine piece or maybe even $1,000 here or there (if shopping at a gem and jewelry show), and they might help you acquire pieces otherwise beyond your price point.  Perhaps they will help you think of your jewelry as a coherent whole, a collection, that expresses your aesthetic vision and extends beyond what you hang on your body. 

This leads to the other important rule, as important as the rule that you should never buy retail.  Never buy crap.  Don't buy junk, not even inexpensive junk, because junk is junk.  "What is junk?" is a fair question, but not to be answered today.  That's an answer that can take a long, long time and has 1,000 pitfalls. 

Today, let's look at something pretty. 

Tiffany dogwood necklace, 1st Dibs I think.  If it is not, someone please correct me.

Art Nouveau pendant of gold, enamel, freshwater pearls, and diamonds,
P.S.  My aesthetic vision apparently is, "Ooooooo!  Shiny!" 

P.P.S  If you want to weigh in on the definition of "junk," please do!

10 October, 2012

How to Stretch Your $500 Part III

Continuing with ideas on how to save your money and grow your collection since you should never pay retail... 

8.  Yard sales are not the bonanza they used to be since everyone sells their gold, but some surprises still surface.  An acquaintance found a VC&A item at a yard sale.  Go at least a half an hour early before the sale starts and take cash.  Flea markets sometime cough up surprises, but go early.  Don't sneer at pawn shops and musty old antique/junk shops.  Local auctions are sometimes worth a look.  Do not turn up your nose at family pieces either.  Clean, fix, size, and, if necessary, remake items lurking in your grandma's, mother's, or great-aunt's jewelry box.  Ask if you can borrow them; usually, family members will loan items if they aren't wearing them.

9.  Birthdays- sometimes family and friends will help you finance a piece for your birthday or a holiday.  Sometimes they are willing to buy it and give it to you as a present on the big day;  my wonderful man is relieved to get me something he knows I will like.  

10.  Sales, including sale sites like Net-a-porter, Gilt, and other designer outlet sites, can help take some of the edge off of designer jewelry.  Designer jewelry is expensive, and in most cases at least half of it is the name (in BogV's case, its ALL the name).  Figure out what you like about a particular style and see if you can find something similar...but avoid direct knockoffs and counterfeits.
Isharya agate, gold plated unknown metal, crystal, and enamel snake necklace from
11.  Gem and jewelry shows are God's gift to magpies, but once you've been to one, you'll never shop at a normal jewelry store again.  "Tucson" is synonymous with an enormous event that lasts a week in February, and Las Vegas has a big one too, but there are localized ones as well.  At the Chantilly Gem Show I purchased items at costs that I blushed to tell people later.  There are some fantastic antiques and old designer pieces as well.  Again, know something before you go, because not all items are a deal and there a few ignorant or unscrupulous dealers. 

I was ordered to put my camera away before I got to the diamonds...
12.  Always bargain no matter the venue.  Sometimes the price will come down with a simple, "Is this the best price?"  If you are better at bargaining, do so.  Remember that retail is absurdly high, at least five to six times times the wholesale cost.

There you have it- tested ways to acquire jewelry for less money than you thought, all of which I have used and worked for me.  Why?  Because you should never pay retail for jewelry.  

09 October, 2012

How to Stretch Your $500 Part II

Continuing recommendations for stretching your budget while still adding to your collection...

4.  Collect a rising artist.  Like an artist at a gallery or on line?  Work with them to purchase their work (most will work a payment plan with you) and stick with them.  A friend of mine says of her Todd Reed ring, "I got it before he was TODD REED.  I couldn't afford it now."  If you must have a particular artist after he or she is established, shop carefully.  Some artists, like Todd Reed, may never be within your price point unless you shop, shop, shop and get lucky (like that unexpected Ylang23 charm).  If shopping for a particular artist, do not hesitate to contact the artist and ask how much to buy directly from him/her.

Diamond acrylic rings by AMT (Alissia Melka-Teichroew) at  (And these are on sale too!!!)
5. Almost anything you want is on EBay, but research before you buy. There are a lot of counterfeits on EBay. If a deal looks too good, it probably is. That said, there is great jewelry on EBay for prices far below retail. Become familiar with the bidding process and how to evaluate sellers, and you will be amazed at what you find. A woman I know got an amazing Hungarian enameled silver set from the early 1800s for next to nothing, and my Victorian jet and pearl pansy pin was an answer to a prayer. If having a "name" piece matters to you, shop EBay religiously until the piece you want appears at a price you can afford. Visiting can be rewarding as well.

6. Shopping on Etsy takes patience. There is a lot of good stuff on Etsy mixed with a lot of junk. Spend some time, and you can find unique, well made items usually for significantly less than retail.

7. Don't be wedded to gold. Silver is much less expensive and is extensively used for interesting pieces. People are also doing interesting things in titanium, stainless steel, and brass. If it looks good on you, don't stint.

Jali rings by Meghan O'Rourke, made of aluminum
More tomorrow.  Remember...don't buy retail.

08 October, 2012

How to Stretch Your $500 Part I

The $500 splurge posts reminded me that jewelry costs money, and good jewelry costs a lot of it.  What's an addict to do?  These twelve steps don't meet the spirit of a twelve step program- but hopefully they'll enable fellow addicts to meet their jewelry needs more responsibly and often. 

1.  Buy American- Native American.  Native American jewelry continues to be one of the least expensive, best quality, hand made, historical, signed by the artist, jaw dropping jewelry out there.  Newer jewelry may have highly treated turquoise in it, but for statement jewelry there is nothing like it.  Buy from a reputable dealer (or the artist) and be amazed at what your money can do! 
2.  Go classic. Most women need a selection of gold necklaces of different lengths, a good pearl necklace and set of earrings, a set of diamond studs, hoops of whatever size flatters them, and a few sets of studs that express personality.  You will never lack something to wear at any age with those items.  Tthese items in good quality can be found at reasonable prices and on sale. has these from companies with solid reputations. 
3.  Go advant garde/ contemporary.  Contemporary jewelry can be expensive and confusing.  However, for every crocheted penis that costs $1,000, there are fun, exciting, original pieces for much less in every medium imaginable.  After I saw John Cogswell's work in a book, I called him and gushed like the fan girl I am.  While I was willing to pay ANYTHING for one of his forged neck pieces, it was ridiculously within my price range.  So he made one that was measured for and fits my neck.  By a silver smith who has work on display in The Victoria and Albert Museum and others world-wide.  Wow.  Look through the Lark books for artists that interest you and shamelessly stalk them.  Try

Cogswell neckpiece- NOT like mine; it's like light made into a solid form.

Cogswell earrings- I did not know he makes earrings! 
More tomorrow- remember...never pay retail.

05 October, 2012

$500 Splurge...Weekend at Barneys

While window shopping at certain places is fun, sometimes it's even more fun to open the door and buy- those designer names, the cache of the rich and famous, the chance to negligently drawl, "This old thing..?"  $500 not only gets you in the door but gives you options! 

Today we're splurging at

Jennifer Meyer gold and sapphire ring

Judy Geib silver and gold earrings
Erickson Beamon jade necklace

Monique Pean horn and gold bracelet

If you crave a famous blue box, Tiffany's has many beautiful $500 items.  Which Elsa Peretti necklace would madam prefer?  The blue and gold one, merci! 

Elsa Peretti Color By the Yard necklace in lapis and gold

04 October, 2012

News From the Dark Side of Globalism

Salman Rushdie's memoir, Joseph Anton,  is amazing.  His beautiful prose starkly contrasts with the ignorance that forced him into years of hiding.  It glows with life- go read it now.  

No Easy Day remains on the best seller lists, morphing into a political cautionary tale.  Since No Easy Day was published, The Secretary of Defense has publicly discussed disciplining Mr. Owens for not honoring his nondisclosure agreement.  Many military writers and bloggers don't meet their nondisclosure agreements because public affairs officers clumsily edit and overwrite, and because the services significantly relaxed their standards over the past 10+ years to leverage soldiers' output for public relations.  Mr. Owen's comments like, "We'd kept this whole thing under wraps for weeks.  Now, Washington was leaking everything, and we were going to get the lecture for it," might have touched a nerve.  The kerfuffle appears partially politically motivated- keep your eye on it.      

The filmmaker behind the anti-Islamic video that recently sparked violence was arrested 27 September for violating his probation, including allegedly lying about his role in the film's production.  A judge ordered Mr. Nakoula detained, citing a "lengthy pattern of deception," adding that he posed "some danger to the community."  He was hiding due to death threats, and HE poses a danger to the community?  He could face up to three years behind bars- if he isn't killed first. 

Piss Christ, the photo by Mr. Serano of a plastic crucifix in urine may be viewed beginning 27 September at the Edward Tyler Nahem Gallery in New York.  Throughout the photograph's worldwide tour, it was vandalized multiple times, and Mr. Serano was threatened.  Seriously?  Isn't it punishment enough to be the dude who takes photos of urine and calls it art?  And tell me how the photo is worse than what we do to Christ daily? 

Everyone in the global village, even the global idiots, should be able to speak freely, openly, and safely.  The proper response to bad ideas and bad art is beauty like Rushdie's writing or scorn and snark, not fatwas and persecution.    

P.S.  Or suing someone for libel...On 12 September, as part of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, the Philippine government made service providers, people who "like" content, and re-Tweeters responsible for any content deemed libelous under antiquated libel laws condemned by the United Nations Committee on Human Rights- effectively squelching free exchanges of ideas on the Internet in the Philippines.  BTW- the law extends to service providers and individuals outside of the Philippines too.  Yikes!  Could this change what you do on the Inter-webs?   

02 October, 2012

$500 Splurge Continues- On Trend, On Etsy

For those who want to spend their $500 on-trend, rutilated quartz is big.  Designers like Nak Armstrong and Cathy Waterman are using rutilated quartz, with its lovely golden inclusions, as dramatic precious stones.  These hand made earrings by Marya Williams have rutilated quartz, sterling silver, and 14kt gold in an original design.  With fashion-forward stones and styling, these sparkling earrings are trendsetters and timeless, appropriate for casual or more formal wear.    
Psst- and they will leave over $150 in the jewelry kitty for the next big splurge! (If you don't have a jewelry kitty- piggy bank- whatever animal works for you- it's a good idea to start one.  That way you feel less guilt when you surrender to temptation...and you can give in more often.)       


01 October, 2012

$500 Splurge- Go Faux

With $500, you can get a gorgeous statement necklace, like these.
Ivory Windsor Necklace by Suzanna Dai

Aurora Borealis Drop Necklace by Nicole Romano
Both and many others are available at Charm and Chain.  Designing costume jewelry must be the most fun job in the world. 

30 September, 2012

Oh the Humanity...

Note to self- don't wear those new rings and to-die-for bracelet to church again.  Their beauty distracted me throughout the service.  Some jewels are like that...

Same day, different distraction...afterwards, my shirt's topmost button fell open and exposed my breasts to a new couple at church.  The wife brought it to my attention.  As I frantically put the girls away, she continued, "It doesn't matter.  My husband is blind."  

Wearing all of it out to dinner tonight.  Plus a safety pin.   


20 September, 2012

A Taste- But We Have to Wait for 14 December

Check out the new Hobbit trailer....  Hobbit Trailer

"Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

In fairness, The Hobbit is about a reclamation of homeland and treasure, not the sacrifice of self for world.  The Arkenstone, or The Heart of the Mountain, is Thorin's heart's desire in The Hobbit. Can't wait to see it.
****Sorry- the link has been closed.  Sorry all.****

Navajo Jewels- for $500

Here's a recommendation for a $500 splurge! 

Isaiah Ortiz hand carved these geometric, futuristic earrings from silver blocks.  An award artist with international following, Mr. Ortiz continues the family tradition of silver smithing by making contemporary pieces. 

The Silver Plume Gallery

Sedona Indian Jewelry

The first sight of Mr. Ortiz' bracelets will make your knees weak...

Sedona Indian Jewelry

19 September, 2012

What Would You Buy For $500?

InStyle, my favorite fashion magazine, polled its readers, the majority of whom said that said that, if they were to suddenly have $500 for jewelry, they would spend it on a major item instead of a bunch of cheaper trinkets.  That got me thinking- what can $500 buy?  Stay tuned for the answers...and if you have any suggestions, post them, and let's all take a look!

The first item is...Ylang23 has a limited edition charm by Todd Reed for $480.  Made of 18 karat gold, sterling silver, and three tiny, rough diamonds, it measures little more than a half an inch across- perfect for a dainty necklace or a charm bracelet.  It is the least expensive Todd Reed piece you will ever see, and the proceeds for its sale go to charity, celebrating Ylang23's 25 year anniversary. 

Ylang23 Todd Reed charm

18 September, 2012

Shout Out!

Yesterday, a young woman at the grocery store was wearing a Heart of the Ocean necklace with jeans and a graphic t-shirt.  The crystals flashed a zillion rainbows, and it was a jawdroppingly beautiful piece of flash.  She obviously loved her necklace, and she ROCKED it.  I'd have taken her picture, but she was a little shy of the stranger (me) who stopped to tell her she was doing it right!  Her happiness and sparkle made her look better than Kate Winslet.     

Kate Winslet in Titanic
BTW- the Heart of the Ocean is a fictional stone made up for the movie.  After the movie, Asprey and Garrard made a saphire and diamond version, and Harry Winston made a Heart of the Ocean with a blue diamond unlike the movie's necklace.  Ms. Gloria Stuart, who played the older Rose in Titanic, wore it to the Oscars when she was nominated for best supporting actress.

Gloria Stuart wearing Harry Winston's Heart of the Ocean with a blue diamond.

17 September, 2012

Lost Summer

Gentle Reader, thank you for your continued patience.  This has been a busy, transitional summer. My eldest prepared for and went to university at Virginia Tech.  My youngest went to summer camp, adapted to being an only child, and began junior high.  My wonderful man had unexpectedly dramatic minor surgery that shut down a month.  We have not been to the beach.  We have not been to the pool.  We've sailed and kayaked locally because we have not left the area except to prepare for college and go to the mountains over one weekend.  I've swivelled my attention from my job to retiring; the process is more like dealing with a cancer than ripping off a band aid.  I'm in the resume, job hunting process and started my final Graduate Gemology class.  This summer was lost...but I am finding myself laughing again.  It promises to be an exciting fall!

In honor of this transitional season, I offer summer/fall transitional colors.  I've just discovered Iradj Moini, and my inner magpie is blown away.  His motto seems to be "Go Big or Go Home."  I'm in love.

Aquamarine, moonstone, and citrine

Citrine, emerald, and turquoise since more is more.
That slurping sound is me drooling; I'm dehydrating. 

16 September, 2012

Riots in the Middle East

The world is at the table of ideas like it never has been before. That's the good thing.  The bad thing is that violent incidents like this week's riots and terrorist attacks will continue until the world is free from those who leverage religious belief for their political gain. That will only come with more free speech, not less.  In the meantime, we shouldn't hate Islam, Muslims, Jews, bad movies, peaceful purveyors of bad ideas, or free speech.  Save that for those who use violence to respond to ideas they dislike.         

14 September, 2012

Back In Black! (You Knew That Title Was Coming...)

For Black Friday, the last two items in the bejeweled back series...   

Are these fallen stars worn by a space princess or a noose and barbed wire?  Mandy Wu's compelling piece confounds and alarms at multiple levels.  

As different as day is to night, Alexa Leigh's sweet rhodium and diamond chain will decorate your front and the back simultaneously, sparkling coming and going, attracting attention to the nape of your neck and the delicate ringlets at your hair line.  

Hopefully, this week's obsession helped you rethink the jewels in your collection.  Tie your opera- length beads into a knot and drop them down your back, suspend a pendant between your shoulder blades, hang a chain where no chain has gone before.  If you like the results, send me a photo at, and I'll post it later.    

13 September, 2012

Back Again!

And here are enough necklaces and brooches (and the one by Arianna Cerrito is both) to last a week.  Look at how different they are from each other!    

Anna Molinari



Theresa Brar

Zorah Rahman

Ivana Spoljaricpravinakit

Arianna Cerrito