Treasures for body and mind

28 February, 2012

Green, Glorious Green!

Oscar jewels were ice and green this year.  Lots and lots of ice- but the green was the best.
Anna Paquin's art deco earrings have a lot of color, but the green flashes beautifully.  

Viola Davis' earring have it all.  They may be the singularly most interesting pieces of the evening.

Berenice Bejo's earrings are classics.

A jade and diamond classic- not sure of the metal. 

Ghost Mask

Made of silver and the stone argillite, Ghost Mask was carved by Marcel Russ, of the Haida Nation.  It's beauty is haunting, but only the person to whom it calls should purchase it.  It waits at

24 February, 2012

Cross My Heart

The granite and Tahitian pearl pin with 14 kt gold by Shaw Jewelers is a quiet and strong statement piece.  It can also be worn as a pendant.  What statement does it make?  That is for the lady to decide.

23 February, 2012

Gates and Bunnies

Mimi So's pink sapphire slice and 18 karat gold Gate B9 earrings can be purchased at Betteridge.
Mimi So's Gate B9 collection was inspired by an extended layover at the Milan airport where she "felt bound to the space, particularly to Gate B9."  Her restlessness inspired her to sketch edgy shapes (probably to keep from slugging someone or crying) which developed into her Gate B9 collection.  

At extended layovers, I feel edgy and bound to the gate too...before long it feels like this. 

Rodin's Gates of Hell
When faced with first-world madness like extended layovers, I think about the ocean,  jewelry, and/or bunnies.  Yes, bunnies.  Bunnies are adorable.  Funny enough, Mimi So carved opals into bunnies, matched them with precious stones, and made adorable, exquisite rings. 

Available at Betteridge.  And look, he has Mimi So flowers...
Can you feel your blood pressure dropping?  Ahhhhhhhhh...

22 February, 2012

Ash Wednesday- Faith and Courage

Aurora Lopez Mejia's Faith and Courage Ring (18 kt gold, 1.75 carats of diamonds, 8 carats of chalcedony), is available at  Her web site states that she was the first to make the written word a design element in its most recent, modern incarnation. 

21 February, 2012


Larkspur and Hawk's jewels are crafted with foiled colorless topaz- clear topaz backed by colored metal foil encased with silver across the stones' backs.  This gemstone treatment dates as far back as 2000 BC and was common until the late 1800s.  Great gemstone discoveries in the New World and Africa and new styles of stone cutting changed expectations so that jewels were to have naturally matching stones blazing with their own light.
Larkspur and Hawk's Celeste One Drop Earrings are made with white topaz and 22 kt washed sterling silver-  the back encloses the foil.  When viewed sideways, the purple of the foil reflects through the clear stone. They are available at Larkspur and Hawk. 

Here are Larkspur and Hawk's Celeste One Drop earring made with 22 kt washed sterling and amethysts.  The description does not say if their foiling is purple or white.  The amethysts are more expensive and do not shine as brightly.  

Precious stones' beauty depends on their interaction with light.  Foiling enhances the light  reflected from within a stone.  Before brilliant cuts optimized internal reflection, before clear stones were relatively common, skilled jewelers and craftsmen coaxed more light from their stones by covering the stones' backs with highly reflective foils.  By carefully coloring foils, jewelers and craftsmen whitened yellower stones and matched colored stones of different shades.  Without foiling, jewels were less beautiful, so foiling was legitimate and desirable.

Pink topaz and chyrsoberyl, 18 kt, cannetille gold cross, made in the 1830s, available from  
Expect some antique jewelry to be foiled, especially from the Georgian and Victorian era. Victorian garnet jewelry was often foiled (or backed with gold) so that the stones had a fiery glow.
Victorian Bohemian garnet earrings, sold by The Three Graces, The Three Graces.
By the end of the 1800s, better stones were available, and the practice of foiling was used primarily to unethically disguise stones of lesser value.  Buyers should beware of buying stones that are set in closed backs, even antiques.  If purchasing antique jewelry with closed backs, ask about foiling or other treatments.  Modern foiled jewelry disclosed as such is legitimate and can make beautiful, affordable jewelry.       


20 February, 2012

Mardi Gras

Every year, I give up jewelry for Lent.  I don't wear anything other than my wedding ring and don't buy any either.  Laugh if you like; it's hard!  The few days before Ash Wednesday become a bling-a-thon, a frenzy of style and combination experiments. 
Saturday I asymmetrically hung a gold, sword-shaped toothpick from a hoop earring.  My husband liked it so much he spent most of a Metro ride trying to get a good picture.  It must have looked good for him to notice, much less comment or photograph.  

Sadly, I'm not in New Orleans this week.  Mardi Gras with native NOLA residents is where it's at (shout out to Rachel and David).  Me?  I'll be in DC, preparing for Shrove/Fat Tuesday's church pancake supper, which I will attend dripping in jewels. 

19 February, 2012

Wishing for Spring

I hate snow.  It's beautiful when it falls, but it should disappear as it hits the ground.  Because we're anticipating snow,  let's talk about spring...and spring jewelry.  

Bright colors feature in every Spring 12 list.  Last fall, blue was expected to be the "it" color this spring, but gloomy winter is working its magic, and yellow and green are showing up.

Irene Neuwirth's jewels are hot on the red carpets right now.  She uses big, colorful stones like turquoise, chrysoprase, quartz, and lapis accented with diamonds to provide a pop that will last well past spring.  These are turquoise and chrysoprase in white gold with diamonds and are available at  
Larkspur and Hawk's Annabell Riviere, made of sterling silver and green and blue foil backed topaz, is a modern piece modeled after Georgian perfection, available at  
Another Spring 12 trend, not so much talked about as seen, is a reinvigoration of Retro's mechanical fluidity reworked to look forward, making a sci-fi statement that avoids geekery.

Laura Bohinc's Solar Eclipse bracelet, rose gold vermeil?  Plate?  The site is not clear.  It is a huge, gorgeous thing, available at

Dannijo's Zsa Zsa necklace is also not for the faint of heart- oxidized brass and sterling with Swarovski crystals. The crystals give it happy colors for spring and later.  Available at

Another overall trend this year is to go either large (or tiny), or go home.  There is no room for conservative sizing.  Layer delicate pendants and you'll totally be in style.  Collar necklaces remain on point.
Silver Service's tiny bone butterfly on a sterling chain will flutter along with other charms that mean spring for you.  Available at has a large collection of dainty items to be worn together, as does
Eddie Borgo silver plate, yellow turquoise, and hematite collar necklace for sale on  Yellow turquoise can be a number of things, none of which are chemically turquoise.  It is often found in turquoise mines but has a lot of iron, making it a yellow color.  Sometimes it is a mixture of quartz, jasper, and serpentine.  Dyed howlite is another possibility, but probably not from Eddie Borgo.
If you are longing for flowers, florals are big this year.  These aren't your grandmother's florals...although those are nice too.
Lapis, pressed coral, and gold plate earrings (earring, shown twice- grrr) by Lei Van Kash at  Sigh,  skulls are STILL with us this year, but these, with their flowers and celestial blue, are more delightful than most.  They'll look fantastic throughout the spring, through summer, and into fall. 

Alexis Bittar's Grey Gardens floral pin shows that pins are in this spring!  Fantastic!   
Prickly Pear blossoms on a gold and diamond 1960s pin at, still fresh and new!
Let it snow- spring will follow soon enough.  Everything has it's season, and the season for these goodies will soon come.

18 February, 2012

"Basic" Bracelets

These have texture, heft, and movement.

John Iverson,

This one could be from an archelogical dig.  Those pretty stems look like they are tucked under and down, but would they snag on things?  

17 February, 2012

Without the Weight

This bracelet, designed by Judy Geib, has the beauty of gold interspersed with the allure of opals and silver.  Unlike the others this week, it's slightly fragile looking, due to its filigree.  It's a beautiful example of how gold filigree is becoming a more common design elements, probably because of the insane price of gold.
Available at


15 February, 2012

Two Obsessions in One

These gold bracelets are magnificent, not only for the amazing heft of the 18 kt gold but because the designer, Cresta Bledsoe, incorporates petrified shark teeth into them.  I'd wear either one of these every day!  These are totally me!  Find them at

14 February, 2012

Obsession- Gold Bracelets

I want a gold bracelet...not a thin, jangling bangle, but a thick gold band that completes every outfit.  In honor of my desire, the rest of the week will feature gold bracelets that make me drool. 

I like these two because they are a matched Victorian set.  During the Victorian period, many bracelets were made in pairs, one for each arm.  Over time they've been separated from their mates.  In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd wear these two together on one arm, luxuriating in their color, texture, and combined rarity.  They're available at

08 February, 2012

Really Cheesy!

What do you call a fake noodle? An im-pasta! 

Like these earrings from Dolce and Gabbana's Spring 12 collection:

There is a fantastic DIY to make real pasta earrings like these on the blog Honestly...WTF at   

If that terrible joke made you smile, pass it along!

04 February, 2012

Les Enluminures

Les Enluminures, a Parisian gallery, handles highly specialized and exceptionally rare works of art of museum quality from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including rings.  They also have earlier rings, like this beautiful sardonyx and gold 2d or 3d century Roman ring.  While ancient, it looks no worse for wear than items found in our grandmother's jewelry boxes.  Who wore it? What was his or her story? Stories? How did the ring survive all of those years?  

Ring after ring at Les Enluminures lead you to daydreaming.  This amethyst bead and gold granulation ring from the Byzantine Empire, 1100-ish, should have some very special tales. Imagine how this ring reflected the status of its owner.  It's center stone is a repurposed amethyst bead, a reminder of a time when amethyst was one of the most precious, rare stones and stone beads were products of time intensive labor, a time when light only came from the sky or fire.   

And why, exactly, did medieval people give their rings (more precious and rare then than now) to St. Blaise, hanging them on his arm's wood and gilt reliquary at Braunschwieg from 1050 until the 1500s?   St. Blaise is the patron saint of wool combers and is invoked for assistance with sore throats and sometimes sickness in general, so did these people suffer sore throats?  Were they burghers who earned their riches in the wool trade?  Did they give away their rings as supplication or in gratitude for cures?  Did they get their throats blessed on 4 February, St. Blaise's feast day? 

According to Les Enluminures, the rings have stayed are where they were hung, the changes in their styles showing the years passing but faith remaining.  The reliquary is not for sale, but rings similar to and contemporaries of the saint's rings are.  

And the more time you spend, the more treasures your encounter.  What a wonderful site... Les Enluminures.      

03 February, 2012

Whew- what a week!

I've started a new job- a job that a friend of mine refers to as "a bobsled to hell."  It's all consuming at this point, so my blogging has been sporadic- I'm sorry.  

While the job is a lot of fun and I learn more every day, the pressure will turn me into a diamond before I'm done.  During the day, I return to my happy place where gold, glorious gold, soothes and relaxes me.  
Bison ring by Whitney Abrams

Pearl, diamond, and gold earrings by Whitney Abrams- are these waiting for me?

Victorian agate and 9 kt rose gold earrings on 1stDibs

 Thank God I don't have time for retail therapy!  I'd put us in the poor house!