Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hot Pick: Hayden-Harnett Joey Cuff

Come on, we dare you to name one thing that Toni Hacker can’t design really, really well. Because while some emerging artists stick solely to their chosen specialty, she just can’t stop expanding her Hayden-Harnett line (in collaboration with husband Ben) into all corners of the industry. In addition to dresses, separates, outerwear, wallets, belts, and every type of bag under the sun, the Brooklyn-based designer recently rolled out a stellar line of boots.

From day one though, Hacker loved leather cuffs, presenting them with heavy hardware and belt-style closures. Her newest creation, the Joey, is more traditional, but no less stunning, pairing metal studs with textured leather (above is the tonal brown whipsnake).

Available at the Hayden-Harnett Web site.

Monday, November 10, 2008

t.kahres jewelry by Teresa Kahres

There are some people who pride themselves on cultivating a mammoth Facebook friend list, and then there is you…the fiercely loyal pal, who’d rather have five amazing comrades, then hundreds of meaningless acquaintances. But you’re steadfast about everything, unequivocally committed to the things that really count, and letting the rest roll right off your shoulders with no regrets. And with jewelry, you’re the exact same way, opting for special pieces, instead of dabbling with passels of frivolous throwaways.

Silversmith Teresa Kahres veered towards enameling to widen her color palette, enabling her to dance more deeply with her botanical and oceanic inspirations. Ruffled flower earrings, dotted with pearls, are streaked with rich hues, as are lengthy crumbled leaves forming an asymmetrical necklace centerpiece. Enamel shells, glistening white and cupping grey pearls, are a perfect winter resort adornment. For the fall season, we covet the flower drop earrings (above), drenched with blue tones and dressed up with gothic pearls.

To view styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Web site.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hot Pick: Kimberly Baker Indian Chief Ring

Much like the estimable clothing designer Wendy Mullin, silversmith Kimberly Baker has always drummed to her own authentic beat regardless of what’s happening in the marketplace. Her jewelry line certainly has its loyalists, who recognize that her pieces can be worn for years and years and never veer out of fashion.

Yet – there is something definitely instep with her latest designs which are drenched with Native American inspiration, from the layered feather cuff bracelet to the gathered arrow locket necklace. We especially adore the Chief Joseph ring, a chunky sterling silver adornment that makes a hearty statement, and can be worn with love each and every day.

Available at the designer's Web site.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Lingua Nigra

Most of us say one thing, but really mean another, but that's just because we all tightly scrutinize things through our own personal microscope. Which explains why some see beauty in small imperfections, and others cite them as unequivocal flaws. But perhaps everything is a dual-sided entity, with interpretation not determined by which side the wind is kicking, but on the threshold of forgiveness in our hearts, and how far our minds will let curiosity wander.

Take for instance the reticulation of brass, a melting process that elevates the copper, imprinting the metal with intervals. What was once smooth is now imperfectly rippled, yet far more complex. This texture evolution is the blueprint for Alicia Goodwin’s jewelry line Lingua Nigra. Some circular elements are heavily manipulated to reveal repetitive patterns (disc necklace above), while others are given a lighter hand to encourage free-form results, such as a drop pendant earring with a curved end resembling a worn book page corner.

To view styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Web site, which currently forwards to her Etsy shop.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hot Pick: Lark and Lotus Damballah Necklace

I'm a Voodoo Child baby, I don't take no for an answer.
(Jimi Hendrix)

Because snakes know how to shed skins, and redirect their cause, slithering covertly to strike when the moment is just right. And so one must tread carefully and not believe every skillful twist of the tongue.

The Damballah necklace from designer Suzannah Murray's Lark and Lotus line is a spirited homage to the mighty serpent, flaunting an uncoiled 14k gold pendant, textured and set with a deep garnet stone.

To purchase, visit the Lark and Lotus Web site.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Brilliant Everyday: Unearthen Necklaces

The Brilliant Everyday series spotlights jewelry pieces perfect for everyday wear.

If ever there were two groups historically on opposing sides, despite sharing outsider status, it’s the punks and the hippies. After all, one faction encourages harmony and friendship, and the other just wants to live fast and die young.

And yet, as much as peace and love doesn’t usually mix well with anarchy and destruction, designer Gia Bahm has found a moderating voice, enabling both sides to shake hands in agreement that optimism and pessimism can indeed reside on the same page.

Bahm’s Unearthen necklaces are perfectly emblematic of the dichotomy existing within all of us, flaunting rough-cut, sparkling quartz crystals stuffed into .38 and .22 bullet casings. The pendants, available with a wide range of colorful stones (ruby crystal is featured above), are hung from 14k gold chains at a 22” length.

To view styles and browse store listings, visit the Unearthen Web site.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Danielle Pittman

Yes, a soft-spoken demeanor often does belie a tough-as-nails interior, but it's not as if being disingenuous is on the agenda. Some people just subscribe to the belief that if you want to rule the world, an iron fist in a velvet glove is a more palatable approach. Determination after all, doesn't come in just one aggressive flavor.

Designer Danielle Pittman has an appreciation for nice girls that say please and thank you, but insightfully recognizes that it doesn't mean they are relinquishing anything, not even close. Her pieces are simultaneously tough and pretty, influenced by nature's sturdier creations, such as pinecones, hickory, and sand dollars. Even delicate petals are translated into robust forms, appearing hearty and twisted. The honeycomb selections, necklace pendants and earrings mingling enamel with gold, are stalwart pieces, worthy of attention.

To browse styles, visit the designer's Web site. To purchase, shop Bird in Brooklyn.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rediscovering the Chain Store

Just like the local pharmacy, which has become the bargain hunter’s destination for make-up essentials, the chain store is well positioned to become a well for jewelry box refreshment, if for no other reason than the affordable price points.

But some chains have interesting offerings, including Urban Outfitters which recently launched a collection in collaboration with Bing Bang’s Anna Sheffield. The line, called Bee 23, flaunts the designer’s signature style, including this sweetheart necklace (above), but are easy on the wallet. Old Navy is currently selling cozy sweater bangles reminiscent of Elizabeth Yarborough’s hot creations from last year, but for less than ten bucks. And Forever 21 is always a treasure trove for up-to-the-minute looks for less, including a vast selection of cocktail rings that hover around five dollars.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Best of Etsy: Knee Highs & Pigtails Jewelry

This series highlights noteworthy jewelry selections available on Etsy, the mammoth online marketplace for handmade goods.

Camille and Sara, best friends since they were wearing knee high socks and sporting pigtails in their hair, re-work vintage findings into pieces that would be at home in grandma's jewelry box, if, of course, her life was drawn from the same cloth as Anaïs Nin’s.

And while many crafters dabble with found elements, we appreciate that these selections were created with a consistent sensibility. All too often, you see a little of this, and a little of that, but no threaded vision, especially as price points dip lower and lower. Predominately produced with raw brass treated to darken over time, the super affordable necklaces and earring sets are sprinkled with colorful Czech beading in dusty hues.

To view styles and purchase, visit the Knee Highs & Pigtails Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Etten Eller

Designer Cristina Bloom is a master at transforming watch gears into pretty, pretty jewelry. After all, most pieces flaunting mechanical parts are clunky and masculine, with their gritty appeal rooted in the Steampunk movement.

But Bloom’s Etten Eller line takes a deliciously different turn, presenting ethereal selections that are airy and refined, with a decidedly feminine twist. Vintage pocket watch hands are dangled from draped vermeil necklace chains, a single circular gear is paired with a contrasting oxidized necklace chain, and a bronze plate pendant in a crescent shape displays spacious cut-outs.

The Etten Eller collection is available at Barney’s CO-OP, but check out the designer’s Web site (launching soon) for updates.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


The thing about die-hard New Yorkers is that only a handful were actually born and raised here. But home is where you feel most comfortable in your own skin, regardless of whether it was adopted deliberately or arrived at inadvertently, and solidifies a sense of belonging that no other relationship can ever adequately equal. And New York City does indeed cast a spell on people, with its unmistakable fullness, lifting energy, and historical prominence.

BYLU designers Ken Leung and Dana Chin understand the joy of discovering a place that beckons your heart and stirs your soul. Heralding from Maine (Dana) and Hong Kong (Ken), both now embrace New York City as home, and their Compass Rose collection plays homage to the complex labyrinth of its city streets, as well as the calm botanical oasis at its center.

Mixed metal pieces are imprinted with vintage city street maps, from round necklace medallions to threaded earrings that dangle embossed chips. Found quartz from Central Park is hand-cut and paired with metal map charms in refined arrangements. Dual-faced disc earrings are printed with a compass rose design and street map sections, with one flipped so that both images are represented forward and back. We especially adore the stackable rings (shown above), textured with street maps and available in a variety of metals from 18k green gold to oxidized sterling silver.

To browse styles and purchase, visit the BYLU (pronounced BLUE) Web site.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Best of Etsy: Jill K Davis House Jewelry

This series highlights noteworthy jewelry selections available on Etsy, the mammoth online marketplace for handmade goods.

Certain obsessions are super easy to live with, like an addiction to Kiehl’s lotions, or Carmex lip balm. Other infatuations can be more complex, but no less satisfying, like the one designer Jill Davis has with diminutive houses. Her tiny homes collection boasts sterling silver charms that sit on rings, dangle from chains and French ear wires. Often she includes a tree, because every house should have a yard, and sometimes multiple dwellings are nestled close, such as the Neighborhood Ring shown above.

To view styles and purchase, visit the JDavis Studio Etsy shop.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hot Pick: Nola Bella Brass Chain & Pearl Necklace

Perhaps designing jewelry is no different than mixing a potent cocktail to perfection…a little of this, a little of that, but nothing too sweet or head-shaking strong. If so, than Jill Scharmen knows exactly what she is doing, integrating chunky brass chains with oversized mother-of-pearl drops that are draped in an asymmetrical fashion. The necklace, titled Grandma’s Pearls, is visually stunning, yet lighthearted, as if elegant Nana, dressed to impress in her Chanel suit, had an impish tryst with a dirty downtown hipster.

Available at the designer’s Web site.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hot Pick: Bonbon Oiseau Woods & Fields Collection

Bonbon Oiseau's Autumn collection, entitled Woods and Fields, was inspired by Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and is overflowing with exquisite elements, such as 1920s mold-pressed, reverse-painted and foil-inlaid glass.

Flaunting antique etched glass and vintage brass leaves, the Feuilles de Rubis Rouge earrings, one of favorite pieces from the collection, sweetly marries a 24k gold pear charm and a freshwater pearl at the bottom.

Available at the designer's Web site.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Winifred Grace

One wouldn't have to twist your arm twice for you to spill the beans and fess up to being a die-hard romantic. Yes, you're an old school glamour gal, addicted to sentimental movies and the occasional bodice-ripping novel. And in the corner of your mind, you fancy yourself a modern day Garbo, veiled in mystery with beauty to spare. Slipped into a fluttering silk blouse and dripping with Winifred Grace jewelry, you're armed and ready to navigate the town in vintage style.

Lovely everyday pieces have always been designer Winifred Grace Gundeck’s specialty, but her Autumn 2008 collection proves that she can equally guide women through the evening hours as well. The 1920s-inspired selections, with looped rhinestone fringe and oxidize chain, have a magical antique quality, much like treasures found in an ancestor’s jewelry box. The flowing necklaces and elongated earrings may be perfectly in step with this season’s clothes, but thankfully they are not costumey, ensuring that the adornments can be worn for years and years to come.

To browse styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Web site.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Brilliant Everyday: Jacquie Aiche Evil Eye Necklace

The Brilliant Everyday series spotlights jewelry pieces perfect for everyday wear.

Oh yeah, the Evil Eye, the ultimate good luck charm, staring back at the world to ward off pesky devilish spirits. Is there a better choice for an everyday piece than one guaranteed to keep you out of harm’s way? We think not. And this gold vermeil rendition from Jacquie Aiche is divine, encrusted with sparkling stones and dangling from a perfect 18” length.

Available at Madison Los Angeles.

In the mood to splurge? Check out the diamond and sapphire version at Kate Boutique.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

wear-and-tear Jewelry

If only life's biggest decisions were as black and white as a mathematical equation, with no shades of grey caught in between, and no ideological questions to ponder. Then, it might be possible, just possible, for all of us to reside on the same page, working happily in sync to accomplish greater goals for the common good. Sadly right answers are generally subjective, which forges otherwise smooth processes critically out-of-whack. But what if the solutions actually existed in the chaos? Twists and turns, after all, only remind us that nothing worth having comes so easily.

Similar to the transformation of a sheet of paper from a flat piece to a crumpled ball, Cheung Lik squeezes once harmonious chain links into erratic 3-D silhouettes. Some of the irregular shapes, presented in necklace and bracelet arrangements, have lopsided effects, others are more balanced, but all make a statement. Lik, who previously created amazing jewelry with the Daydream Nation team, has launched her own label, wear-and-tear, to showcase these pieces, along with her signature weaved fabric tape designs.

To browse styles and purchase, visit the designer's Web site.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rachel Leigh Jewelry

Rachel Bravman's playful line has always been a go-to favorite for costume jewelry, but her latest pieces raise the bar a bit, resembling authentic renditions of vintage glamour girl adornments. The cocktail designs, all with adorable old-lady names like Estelle, Millie and Edith, are heavy on the glitz, flaunting pearls, rhinestones and braided chain trims.

Available at ShopBop.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zoe Catherine Kendall

It’s the dream, no? To wave your freak flag as high as you can without sacrificing a lick of coolness. After all, there is definitely a distinct difference between being downright scary, and just weird in a good way. Which is what sets apart Zoe Catherine Kendall’s eccentric Precious Creatures collection from other creepy jewelry. Featuring twisting oxidized silver worm pieces adorned with enameled eyeballs, the necklaces, earrings and rings have a surreal beauty to them, much like the world presented in Pan’s Labyrinth. Bizarre, yes, but oh so perfect.

Available at Kabiri.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Stone & Honey

Transcendent first acts are hard to follow…just ask Liz Phair. But every now and then, someone follows up an alluring debut with a second chapter that is equally compelling. Such is the case with Portland designer Teresa Robinson who launched her smallthings designs jewelry line six years ago and instantly won the hearts of many with her charming stained glass pieces. Over time, she broadened the collection but stayed true to the idea of capturing the simplicity and beauty of diminutive objects.

Artistic people with ideas, however, need to change course to keep their creative juices flowing. So rather than continually extend smallthings and risk losing cohesiveness, Robinson has introduced Stone & Honey, a brand spanking new line with its own identity and Web-based store. Inspired by the intricacies of honeycomb and pinwheels, Robinson creates silver and gold necklace pendants in varying arrangements mirroring the silhouettes. For a bolder look, these pendants are layered on top of ringed Brazilian agate stones in dazzling colors, from vibrant pinks, blues and greens to earthy browns and moody grays. Shown above is the Heather necklace with swirled magenta and violet hues and tumbling silver pinwheels.

To view styles and purchase, visit Stone & Honey.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wendy Brandes

If you've learned anything, it's that laying everything on the line immediately is never a good idea, and full disclosure will always put you at a distinct disadvantage. Nope it's always better to keep a few tricks up your sleeve, to be revealed at the right place, ideal time, when opportunities are plentiful and the rewards rich. Let others make the mistake of taking you lightly at first, because in the end, they undoubtedly will learn that you are indeed quite clever, and have mastered the game extremely well.

Crafting a line of adornments flaunting concealed objects, designer Wendy Brandes digs deep in the past for inspiration. An acorn nut necklace, when pried apart, dangles an interior squirrel, a token of immorality often used in antique mourning jewelry. A black diamond pendant brandishes a skull when opened in homage to Juana "La Loca" who peeked at her husband’s coffin remains. A tribute to English Empress Matilda manifests itself as an elaborate sword necklace that can be pulled from its gold scabbard. The collection also boasts many stealthy lockets and poison rings, as well as intriguing pieces that dramatically twist into several shapes providing alternate looks.

To view styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Web site.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hot Pick: Danielle Gori-Montanelli Felt Necklaces

Marrying the frothy coziness of a wrapped scarf with the delicate beauty of a jewelry piece, Danielle Gori-Montanelli’s felt flower train necklace is a terrific change of pace. Tossed over a jacket or a cocktail dress, it’s whimsical, but elegant, and deliciously different. Hand-cut black and grey wool felt flowers are sewn together in a link arrangement, and falls at a long length.

Available at Artful Home. Additional color and shape selections available on the designer’s Web site.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Farrah Dragon Jewelry

You've always been insanely picky about your wardrobe, prioritizing longevity, yet never dismissing the importance of personality. Channeling the essence of you, after all, has nothing to do with being ahead of trends or on point with them, but more in line with assembling a thoughtful grouping of beautiful, quality items to lovingly be worn again and again. But that’s part of growing up, understanding that fads come and go, and arrive again, but timeless pieces always look relevant.

Which is why Farrah Dragon's designs are so appealing, a collection of fine jewelry with a relaxed spirit, but still striking a heady chord in terms of visual enchantment. Flaunting organic shapes, such as fern leaves, lotus petals and exotic flowers, the precious metal pieces are crafted from recycled materials or gathered from environmentally friendly sources, so you feel good about wearing them. The insect rings, moths and beetles, are easy everyday pieces, but we also favor the pendant necklaces dangling fluid orchids in an array of compositions, such as the slipper necklace (above).

To browse designs and view store list, visit the designer’s Web site.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hot Pick: Jewelry Suspenders by Bless

Suspenders, adopted once again by the young fashion set, are showing up in stretchy solid tones, reawakening visions of skinhead punks and New Wave/Ska boys. Madonna, early in her career, also wore them with everything. But translating any item directly is tedious, even if you weren’t around for previous iterations.

Thankfully Bless deviates from the past, delivering a high-energy twist on the classic suspenders. Intermingling mixed metal chains with metallic elastic the piece is modern and elegant, and can be worn in full view, or under a jacket to reveal a hint of sparkle.

Available at Ooga Booga.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Leather Wrapped Jewelry

Lambskin leggings might be popping up everywhere, but leather is snuggly wrapping itself around jewelry as well, recently debuting in numerous collections. The result is tough, but luxurious, with a dash of mystery that can only be derived from touchable hidden textures buried underneath the hide.

A few of our favorites include Annie Costello Brown’s heavy weight chain necklaces enveloped with leather and arranged in intriguing knot formations, and Belgian designer Natalia Brilli’s horse head pendant necklace that resembles a chess piece (above). Also notable is Wendy Nichol’s collection of studded cuffs and earrings now swathed in leather for Fall.

Our only complaint? Everyone is dabbling in black leather, which is striking, but there are other shades on the color wheel that would vibrantly elevate the pieces.

Natalia Brilli is available at Erie Basin. Wendy Nichol is available at Ravinstyle. Visit Annie Costello Brown’s Web site to view styles.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Karen Karch Engagement Rings

Sure, there must be some women out there that genuinely covet Harry Winston engagement rings, but frankly we do not know any of these people. Instead, we field questions from suitors who say that their better halves want something different…a ring that doesn’t scream traditional and flaunts an artistic vibe. And always, we point them in the direction of Karen Karch, a fine jewelry designer who crafts exquisite, off-the-radar pieces. Incorporating stones like black and cognac diamonds into settings resembling vines or upside down tiaras, most of Karch’s collection is one-of-a-kind, and many of her clients work personally with her to create customized designs.

If you are in New York, drop by her jewel box store in NoLita, or visit her online site to view selections.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deka Ray

It’s always the little things that make the biggest impression, which is why mom always warned us to do a “lipstick on teeth” check before every job interview, and of course why Frank Lloyd Wright is known the world over, and always will be. Yep, the devil is indeed in the details, and if you’re clever enough to master them, without being a total control freak, than you’ll always have the upper hand.

Exposing the finer points of objects isn’t foreign territory for designer Eugenie Huang, who holds a Masters degree in architecture, the mother of all detail-oriented professions. Her Deka Ray jewelry line is a collection of concept pieces, with each selection contributing to an overall theme rooted in organic process and technological advancement. But there is zero pretentiousness in her designs -- they are completely accessible in an understated manner, and most importantly, cool.

Multiply, an arrow pendant collection plays with sequenced arrangements on rings, earrings and pendants, including a waxed sterling silver and 10k yellow gold necklace (above). The DeathStar Debris series has a sci-fi vibe, and features oxidized chain necklaces with tumbled cage pendants, and Outland, inspired by the woods of North Carolina, flaunts mixed material pieces crafted from wood, waxed linen twine and shipping rope.

For more information, visit the Deka Ray Web site. To purchase, visit Gargyle.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rising Trend: Unisex Jewelry

There's nothing innovative about women wearing menswear, from skinny ties to tailored vests...it's all repurposed from decades past. And yet, slouchy boy-cut pants seem fresh after an avalanche of matchstick jeans over the years, and now unisex adornments are on the rise too, perfect for women who want to tone things down, and embrace a rugged, less-obvious look.

Giles and Brother, Philip Crangi's diffusion line, serves up a bevy of unisex styles flaunting heavyweight brass hardware elements. We love the railroad spike cuff, a curved bracelet with a gritty appearance available at Kabiri. A similar version, wrapped in leather with bolt ends (above right) is available at Barney's CO-OP.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Molly Mendenhall

There are many ways to skin a cat, as the saying goes, and while the exact task of course is an analogy, and not to be taken literally, the sentiment does ring solidly true. Do things your way, instead of mimicking the traditional path. Order a meal like Sally Albright with everything on the side, or take world-class photos with a cheapie instamatic like Terry Richardson. And when it comes to fashion, it's all about individualistic style, or at least it should be. And if you wear jewelry, than by all means slip something around your neck that hasn't been mass marketed to death.

Heralding from the beautiful state of New Mexico and clocking in at a mere 19 years old, designer Molly Mendenhall draws on her surroundings to create multifarious pieces that are bold and earthy. Leather necklaces are intricately beaded and embroidered and adorned with feathers, gemstones, and shells. Some pieces are dyed by hand, and others incorporate copper and antique brass elements. Each design is one-of-a-kind, making each selection a collector's item.

The designer operates two Etsy shops, one called Hokaiye, which stocks her elaborate beaded pieces, and another called ChanteDesign which features lower-priced designs, such as pretty painted stone necklaces.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hot Pick: T.Cyia Plum Pearl Necklace

Pearls, yes, they are radiant jewels of the sea. And if tailored, preppy clothing is all the rage when the weather once again dips cold, will the classic string of pearls soon follow suit? But then again, even if they do reign supreme, there are far more interesting variations than the standard ivory, such as T.Cyia’s iced plum pearl necklace. Interspersed with brass skulls, the decadent piece is 108” inches, lengthy enough to swaddle the neck many times over.

Available at the designer’s Web site.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Hot Pick: Soixante Neuf Heart Earrings

Heart jewelry usually can be described as a giant sugar-rush, transforming women into little girls who absentmindedly forget that eating too much candy does indeed make one sick to their stomach.

Fortunately designer Joie Jager serves up an alternative, draining the heart of its gushiness, and infusing it with some well-placed gypsy mojo. Her heart-shaped wood earrings from her Soixante Neuf line are intricately hand-carved with floral detail, maintaining a sense of femininity, but without heavy-handedness.

Available at the designer’s Web site.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rheanna Lingham

You’ve never been a Saturday night kind of woman, saving up all of your good-time energy and blowing it on one evening. Nope, you prowl the town on your own terms and timeline, be it smack in the middle of Wednesday afternoon, or the wee hours of Friday morning. After all, if you obey all the rules, you bypass the adventure. And British designer Rheanna Lingham’s jewelry confections are the ideal partner in crime for the woman who doesn’t just spring out her fancy gear for one night.

Lingham’s Feather Your Nest collection encompasses her trademark feather designs, from ball-shaped necklaces layered with Pheasant, Partridge or Peacock feathers to chandelier necklaces that dangle white feathers on lengthy gold-plated chains. As radiant as her feather pieces are, Lingham proves she isn’t a one-trick pony, presenting an equally fluid collection of gold-hued inspired designs, including an embroidered double wreath necklace.

Limited selections available at PixieMarket. For more information, visit the designers Web site.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hot Pick: SURevolution Studded Bangle

Too often bracelets are relegated to second-tier status, almost as if they are the bastard children of the jewelry world. Lately necklaces have taken front-and-center position, and statement earrings will soon be at the head-of-the-pack. And rings, well they have had their resurgence and them some. Yet, the cuff, the bangle, and other bracelet styles always seem to be the additional adornment, never the main event. It’s certainly not for a lack of options, that’s for sure.

We’re big fans of SURevolution, who bring you hand-crafted goodies from around the world, and they always have an amazing array of bracelets in their collections, from woven metal bangles to mosaic coral cuffs. Our current fave is a dark wood bangle embellished with rows of copper-hued brass studs.

Available at Vivre.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hot Pick: Aurora Lopez-Mejia

At least one piece of inspirational jewelry usually finds its way into every woman’s collection, whether it’s a rubber LiveStrong bracelet, or a Jeanine Payer necklace received as a special occasion gift. But for us, Aurora Lopez-Mejia’s designs are the gold standard, brandishing empowerment messages on chunky, modern shapes, such as handcuff bracelets and cigar rings.

Each piece is hand-stamped with an antique letterpress and many of the words were selected from 18th century English dictionaries. We love her pebble gem rings swirled with phrases on the front and back.

Available at the Aurora Lopez-Mejia Web site.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eva Gozlan

Yes, you’re sweet, but thankfully not that sweet. So, sure you sometimes wear pink, and adore gooey lip gloss, but you balance it out with a choppy haircut and steel gray nail lacquer on your toes. Which is why you adore Eva Gozlan’s jewelry pieces, which are equally sweet and left-of-the-dial cool.

The French designer works primarily with brass adding dainty pearl and gemstone touches, and her collection is deliciously cohesive, transforming girly touchstones (like purses and butterflies) into modern statements. A bracelet with a sculptured form on a closer glance resembles an angel’s wing. A leaf charm earring, to be worn on its own ala 80s style, dangles pearls on oxidized chain. A lengthy necklace flaunts a glass jar pendant revealing miniature brass butterflies.

Her collection is available online at Manjoh.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Mifflin Jewelry

You grew up a long time ago, swapping Bukowski for Philip Roth, eliminating cigarette breakfasts, and eradicating whiskey shots from your Saturday night activities. And so when you buy jewelry, you’re no longer in the mood for trendy knock-offs from Urban Outfitters. Instead you opt for distinct pieces that elevate your wardrobe without defining it entirely.

For her Mifflin Jewelry line, Brooklyn designer Staci Leatherland avoids large scale pieces in favor of adult selections that are whittled down to promote a solitary statement. The Lost Time necklace (above right) flaunts a barren clock disk in sterling silver, with another version dangling the pendant cracked in half. A series of gold-plated necklaces and rings boast single coins embossed with Pomona, the Roman goddess of the gardens. Antique buttons, cast in silver, swing alone from thin bangle bracelets and chains.

To view styles and browse a store list visit the designer’s Web site.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Margaux Lange Deconstructed Doll Jewelry

Whether Margaux Lange is deconstructing Barbie Dolls as a feminist statement, or simply taking us on a whimsical trip down memory lane is open for interpretation, but in the end it really doesn’t matter, because her jewelry pieces are just flat-out fun. Eyes and lips peek out from colorful resin frames in necklace and earring arrangements, with some in repetitive patterns. And on occasion Ken even makes an appearance, and lovingly cups Barbie’s plastic face.

Available at the Margaux Lange Web site.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Brilliant Everyday: smallthings designs Stained Glass Necklaces

The Brilliant Everyday series spotlights jewelry pieces perfect for everyday wear.

Designer Teresa Robinson has a devoted fan base who covets her precious jewelry pieces, and buy from her again and again. Her smallthings designs line, which boasts nature-inspired sterling silver images backed with colorful stained glass has stretched over the years to include additional collections, but her classic designs still sell amazingly well.

Robinson recently updated her original selections with a fresh palette of colors, including marigold, salmon, steel blue, forest green and lavender. We couldn’t be happier, as her necklaces are the perfect everyday adornment, and now it’s even easier to select a hue that will fuse effortlessly with your wardrobe.

Available at smallthings designs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Best of Etsy: Neile Butterfly Jewelry

This series highlights noteworthy jewelry selections available on Etsy, the mammoth online marketplace for handmade goods.

Nature on its own is so color-streaked and full of life, that imitation is not always the best form of flattery. After all, why take the humdrum route, simply casting butterflies in silver, when you can preserve them in full tinted winged glory?

Stained glass artist Neile extends the beauty of the butterfly by recycling their wings (after natural death), and placing them under glass. The pendants are offered in different arrangements, with some clustered in circular shapes, and others dangling a single crescent. All flaunt a dazzling array of colors, from the Monarch’s golden orange hues to the deep purple shade of the Graphium Weiskei butterfly (above). Each pendant is framed with silver alloy and hung from a sterling silver chain.

To view styles and purchase, visit the Neile Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Amy Tavern Limited Editions

There’s a genuine thrill in buying a special piece that no one else owns, which has always been the appeal of vintage clothing. Metalsmith Amy Tavern gets this, launching her first limited edition collection this month, a set of five sterling silver pendants, each shaped differently and wrapped in cotton embroidery floss in varying shades of green-blue.

The necklaces, inspired by the Aegean Sea, are numbered and available exclusively on her Web site until the end of July (or until they sell). After that, new one-of-a-kind pieces will be listed each month as part of her ongoing Jewelry of the Month series. Upcoming sets will incorporate vintage wallpaper and sewing, and feature collaborations with other designers who specialize in mediums such as glass and clay.

Available at Amy Tavern.

Photo courtesy of Hank Drew.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Nugaard Designs

You've always instinctively recognized that living life to the fullest doesn't necessarily translate to packing in as much activity into a day as humanly possible. That's just running (run, run, run), and to you, a busy life is a blurred one. You'd much rather take your time, enjoy the journey, and dismiss the never-ending checklist that can clog the mind and soul. Yes, taking time to stop and smell the flowers isn't a cliché, but a way of life...a healthy, full, rewarding one at that.

Nugaard Designs keeps you connected to the world outside, blending nature's creations into their jewelry designs. The brainchild of Erica Pacey and Alessandra Feio, the line plays with the fusion of recycled metal and earthy elements, dipping bamboo bangles in silver, and coating dehydrated leaves with gold for dangled earrings and pendants. The selections from their Camp collection are inspired, sprucing up gold jewelry with golden grass from the northwest of Brazil, such as a cuff bracelet with a circular centerpiece.

Available at Nimli. For more information, visit the designer’s Web site.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Rising Trend: Knotted Jewelry

Mastering the rope knot isn’t to be taken lightly, as any sailor, rock climber, or Eagle Scout, will tell you. The reef knot, the sheet bend knot, the clove hitch knot, the sheep shank knot, the bowline knot…there are many, many knots that can get you out of a jam, or at the very least make life easier.

So it’s unsurprising that the functional art of the knot has now become a focal point of design, inching its way into necklaces, earrings and rings. A few of our favorites include a black rope necklace from Lanyard, a chunky knotted ring from Adeline Cacheux, vintage brass knot earrings from 1.4.2. (above right), and a feminine necklace from Sunday’s Best sprinkled with knots.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hot Pick: BauXo Surpass Necklace

Leather jewelry imparts a nice textural contrast when layered over pieces like a linen shift dress or metallic-threaded tunic top, and also lends a casual flavor, never looking overdone. The surpass necklace from BauXo owes its bohemian essence to its earthy brown color, but the circular elements veer it into mod territory, blessedly straying the wearer away from a categorical look.

Available at Candystore Collective. Visit the BauXo Web site for more information.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hot Pick: Tomoko Igarashi

There’s such an abundance of jewelry on the market with assorted spikes and handcuffs and other overused punk rock/biker chick iconography, that one could easily be forgiven for losing interest altogether. Another skull necklace? Really? But yes, somehow Tomoko Igarashi reinvigorates the skull by placing it in a grown-up composition that reaffirms our faith that a thoughtful designer can always do something fresh and interesting.

Available at Min-K. Visit the designer’s Web site for more information.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Best of Etsy: Linda Layden

This series highlights noteworthy jewelry selections available on Etsy, the mammoth online marketplace for handmade goods.

Numerous designers skillfully dabble in scrimshaw, from Dana Lorenz to Black Sheep & Prodigal Sons, but we give high marks to Linda Layden for offering her one-of-a-kind pieces at such wallet-friendly prices. And most importantly, the hand-etched designs are sweet, from heart-shaped ivory pendants with colorful flowers to bluebirds on dangling bone earrings.

To view styles and purchase, visit Linda Layden’s Etsy shop.

Megan Auman

You’re a dyed-in-the-wool minimalist, which means you cleverly opt for one savvy, unconfined effect, instead of piling on a myriad of overly hip items. Label it selective behavior or pickiness, it doesn’t matter, because the heart of the deal is that the objects that take up cherished residence in your world are there for the right reasons, instead of all the wrong ones.

Floral patterns are the focal point of Megan Auman’s jewelry collection, but she impressively sidesteps the usual route by employing welded steel in her designs. The effect is dark, but not dour, with beautifully shaped ironwork leaves sprinkled across long necklaces or taking form as hoop earrings (above). Many of the pieces are artistically adorned with raised silver drops in clustered patterns, imparting a dew-like appearance.

To view styles and browse a store list, visit the designer’s Web site.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Gemma Redux

I’ve been accused of everything, and I’m guilty of most of it.
- Dolly Parton

Yes, that’s you…guilty of walking into a room and stirring up healthy trouble with a swift wink, a cunning smile, and off-the-radar jewelry that will keep the compliments flowing. But you’ve always been comfortable in your own skin, letting the sweetheart and the siren collide into one formidable woman.

With her Gemma Redux line, designer Rachel Dooley creates daring pieces that are premeditated in their messiness, assembling bundles of chain in a tumbled fashion and then nestling chunky stones within the arrangements. The effect is much like a meandering jazz song, vigorous and free, but purposeful. For her Spring 2008 collection, Dooley selected soothing stones like lemon jade and reconstructed green turquoise to offset the hardness of stainless steel and silver chains in her designs. We adore the Ami necklace (above right), which mingles vintage chains with rippled disks of Labradorite.

Visit the designer’s Web site for more information and to purchase.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hot Pick: Cristalette Thunderbird Earrings

Some jewelry designers tend to craft their wares in a bit of a vacuum, imagining the woman that buys their pieces, but never really knowing for sure if their inspiration is in fact their true customer. Designer Cristina Armijo smartly does not play this game, opting instead to fully immerse herself within the Bay area scene that she not only designs for but helps to create. More than a handful of prominent area bands don her playful clothing designs for gigs (Armijo herself is also a musician), but it’s her signature Thunderbird earrings that are all the rage with the locals. The fringe earrings are heavily beaded, and dangle 4” in length.

Available at Bona Drag in sky blue, black and red. You can also visit the designer's Etsy shop.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Brilliant Everyday: Wendy Nichol Bolt & Pearl Necklace

The Brilliant Everyday series spotlights jewelry pieces perfect for everyday wear.

Wendy Nichol, who typically incorporates exotic skins into her jewelry designs, recently launched a collection of minimalist pieces that are light and feminine, but pack a tough-girl punch. Her Sandra necklace, which dangles a black pearl with a gold vermeil hardware nut on a 14k gold chain, is stunning. Day or night, summer or winter…it works.

Available at Bird.

Kimberley Selwood

The thing about you is, that you never really can be pigeonholed into owning a particular look or style...because that's just downright dreary, and certainly no fun at all. Yes, one of the pleasures of being a woman is playing dress-up each and every day, mixing and matching, and adorning. And so you are always on the hunt for special, yet adaptable pieces that will mesh with your revolving moods.

British designer Kimberley Selwood’s jewelry line is a potent, well-mixed blend of uptown sophistication and downtown cool. Her Order in Chaos collection boasts three-dimensional elements pieces that are lacey and delicate, and Tangled Hearts, an oxidized range, flaunts designs that are twisted with airy filigree touches. The Butterfly Effect presents a bevy of interesting arrangements, from mixed metal rings with an open center to wide cuffs with sterling silver waves adorned with resting butterflies (above).

Available at Astley Clarke. For more information visit the designer’s Web site.