Friday, May 30, 2008

Balboa Jewelry

This year is the year. The one where you check things off your list, set things right, and buy what you need and adore, instead of gorging on sales that often reap regrettable purchases that can’t be returned. Yes, you’ve decided, this is the year. You’re going to own a swimsuit that fits and a beach hat that wasn’t borrowed from your boyfriend. And finally, you’re going to buy a versatile necklace that you can rotate with your work outfits, casual weekend attire, and hitting-the-town evening ensembles. A tall order, indeed, but Jane Pope’s necklaces from her Balboa hit the mark perfectly.

Like many designers out there, Pope uses vintage elements as the main ingredient in her designs, but the difference is that her pieces are streamlined confections heeding to the mantra “less is more” where many of her counterparts pile on, and on, and on. The result is genuinely successful, imparting a signature feel to the designs that breathe femininity and easiness. Necklaces dangle pretty pendants, but nothing too girly, and earrings have an heirloom vibe to them. The best part? The pieces are all reasonably priced, with many of her earring selections around $50.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lizzie Fortunato Jewels

It's amazing really, that a piece of jewelry can actually inspire you to conquer the world outside, but then again, that's what the best items do. Inspire you at the last minute to drop by a midnight party that an acquaintance casually mentioned, but you never thought you would truly attend...inspire you to convincingly walk into a bar knowing your ex will most likely be there too...inspire you on a weeknight to hit the hottest nightspot in town overflowing with sexy men and great music. Yes, a jewelry selection can inspire a can-do lifestyle, if, and only if, it is brimming with all the right elements.

Lizzie Fortunato Jewels, a kicky line of jewelry created by twin sisters Elizabeth and Kathryn Fortunato, is overflowing with beautifully crafted pieces that embody a good-time attitude, but with a decidedly grown-up flavor. Whimsical necklaces flaunt hand-sewn leather and silk elements adorned with antique chains and precious gemstones, and include fanciful touches like gold skulls and vintage buttons. Previous collections are still very relevant and wearable...check out their Fall 2007 collection, which pairs porcupine quills and shark's teeth with Peruvian opals.

To view styles, visit the designer's Web site. To purchase (including the necklace above with hand-sewn chiffon rosettes), visit La Garçonne.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Pade Vavra

For some, it's a cathartic experience...toes dipped in sand, salty air kissing your face, and the soothing sound of lapping waves. For others, it's a lifestyle filled with indulgent freedoms, from tossing your shoes aside to letting your work become a distant memory. And then there are those who see it as a reminder of what's pure and essential, and commit themselves wholly to the power of nature. But that's the beauty of the beach, there's always a staunch personal connection, and a level of unwavering devotion that can never be matched by any urban structure.

Los Angeles designer Pade Vavra has indeed created a passionate homage to the beach with her collection filled with sparkling seahorse locket necklaces, and bangles inset with coral. Vavra's gold vermeil jewelry flaunts precious and colorful elements, such as turquoise, pearls, and gemstones such as Peridot and Iolite. Her serpent necklace, a pendant adorned with opals and sapphires is a decadent piece, but it's her shark tooth necklace that makes the most majestic statement, dangling a hefty fossilized tooth from a double chain with tiny pearls (her Prehistoric Mako Shark Tooth in her fine jewelry collection is even more dazzling).

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

Friday, May 23, 2008

Daughter of the Sun

You left it in the dust years ago…a frantic lifestyle brimming with sharp edges and one-upmanship. These days you’re calmer, more in sync with yourself, less in tune with what everyone else is doing. Sipping on iced peppermint tea, casually paging through The Secret of the Golden Flower, while Eva Cassidy serenades you through your ear buds…yeah, if this isn’t the good life, than someone has deceptively pulled the wool right over your eyes. Either way, your compass has been set just perfect, with your instincts never more in focus, your choices especially discriminate.

Native American artistry is on vibrant display with designer Amy Woodruff’s Daughter of the Sun line, a collection of hand crafted leather jewelry with a vintage flavor. Staying true to her ancestral Chocktaw and Cherokee roots, Woodruff’s pieces are hand-cut, tooled and dyed, and flaunt intricate nature landscapes. Each necklace boasts adornments such as feathers, bells or brass pendants. Our favorite is the macramé necklace (above), woven with brass beads, and tooled with an Art Nouveau design.

To view styles and purchase, visit the designer’s Etsy store. For more information, visit the designer’s Web site.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


There’s nothing in your rules of conduct about throwing down the “play it safe” card. After all, boring is as boring does, and you’d much rather be the life of the party, than sit upright with your legs properly crossed while making polite small talk. With a stiff drink in one hand, you’re a fearless mischief-maker with a special blend of smarty-pants wit and dry intellect that would have even Dorothy Parker beaming with pride. And so, of course, you relish jewelry pieces that match your spirited nature...bold and energetic, but still thoughtful and feminine.

Designer Laila Aitken was bitten by the fashion bug early own, growing up in her mother’s NYC store Samson and Delilah, which catered to a range of adventurous clients from Alice Cooper to David Bowie. And as if it was all meant to be, she became very passionate about vintage accessories, so much so, that after a stint selling pieces to boutiques, Aitken decided to launch her own jewelry line that would winningly blend the past with the present.

Inspired by the Art Deco movement, Aitken’s Delaila line is filled with wearable, modern pieces that are crafted from brass metal, Plexiglass and Swarovski crystals, and then color-coated. Many of the pieces flaunt fan-shaped elements, and are offered in stirring colors, from fuchsia to bright orange.

Visit the designer’s Web site to view styles, browse a store list, or shop online.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Jacqueline Sanchez

It’s the unlikely pairings that always seem to create magic together…Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith, Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin, Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort in the 1971 movie classic Harold and Maude. Because the best collaborations don’t cross each other out, or compete with one another, but define something new, something fresher, something powerful.

With her Forever Young jewelry collection, designer Jacqueline Sanchez introduces an unpredictable, yet perfectly balanced threesome -- modernist plastic squares resembling Lego building blocks are encased with sandblasted silver and adorned with sparkling diamonds. The range of rings, earrings and cuff links are offered in a plethora of eye-popping colors, from primary red to magenta.

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

Monday, May 19, 2008

Vesper Jewelry

Never one to live life as a spectator sport, you categorically define optimism, bouncing from one adventure to the next with smiling authoritative glee. And your friends, well they love you to pieces, thankful for a genuine cohort who’s up for anything, day or night, rain or shine. But don’t paint you with a brush dipped in sticky sugar, because you’re no one’s fool…just someone who’d rather not get her hands dirty with self-centered drama. So unsurprisingly you favor jewelry pieces with an infectious playfulness that radiate your live-it-up lifestyle.

Working in collaboration with her main squeeze Jason Sho Green, Seattle designer Jessi Frenkel crafts a light-hearted collection that proves jewelry doesn’t have to be grim to be taken seriously. Let others corner the skull and crossbones market, because Frenkel’s joyful robots, angry totem poles, and delightful storm clouds are right-as-rain objects to adore (shown above are the peacock feather earrings). The sterling silver and copper pendants are created using a production process that entails toner resist etching and roll printing, and then hung on complimentary chains or ear wires.

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

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Natural Historie

Color is derived from nature after all…iridescent puddles following torrential rains to fading sun-streaked skies smeared with blending hues. And no matter how many acrylic paint tubes you empty onto a canvas, or recreate graphically on a computer screen, artificial color is always going to be second best. Which may answer our fascination with geodes, always romancing us with beguiling shapes, fascinating textures, and alluring colors.

Jenny Vorwaller is a painter and a photographer, but first and foremost, she is a world traveler. And along the way, as she explores exotic locales, she collects arousing elements, such as colorful geodes from Uruguay, and incorporates them into beautiful jewelry designs for her Natural Historie line.

The sliced geodes are electroplated in silver or gold and then hung in different arrangements, some with faceted crystal beads hung in the cavity, others with pearls dangling on either side. Each geode is one-of-a-kind, boasting its very own color palette of rippling bands and interior bursting crystals, and is hung from a 14k gold chain.

To view styles and purchase, visit the online shop SuperMarketHQ. To learn more about the Natural Historie collection, visit the designer’s Web site.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Diamonds, pearls, sparkling gems…that’s never been your style. You live fast, skirt confining traditions, and spend your time off at the corner brewery where cold mugs, bratwurst, and British Jazz-Funk music rules. And yes, try as you might, jeans and camisoles always seem to be your uniform, so when you can add a spark, while staying casual, you’re all for it.

Wooden cuff bracelets from Tivi are crafted from ebony, zebrawood, maple and walnut, and then hand silk-screened with distinctive prints that have charming names such as Orange Junegrass and black coneflower (shown right). Each cuff is finished with a satin lacquer for resiliency. Tivi’s designers Ryan Wither and Paul Lewin enlisted artist Sari Gunderson, a fibers and mixed media specialist, to collaborate on the line, which also includes laser-cut flat veneer wood bracelets.

To view styles and purchase, visit the Tivi Web site.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Renata Mann

Your personal soundtrack has always been a moving target, a little PJ Harvey, a dab of Coralie Clément, a good dose of Nina Simone. So it's no surprise that paired with your perfect ladylike shift dress are your bad girl Camilla Skovgaard pumps...but it's your Renata Mann necklace that keeps things interesting, an intriguing centerpiece that mixes hard with soft in a thoroughly convincing manner.

Mann’s hand-knit necklace collection serves up visually arresting arrangements of chunky stones, shells and glass beads encased in colorful yarn. Woven bib necklaces flaunt draped quartz clusters…mosaic shell discs are layered in a pyramid sequence…strands of glass beads are twisted to achieve a rope effect. Each piece is offered in a variety of colors, and is custom produced.

To view styles, visit the designer’s Web site. The collection can be purchased at her Etsy store.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kate Cusack

There’s no definitive age when a woman crosses over from being wholly interested in wearing what’s hip to embodying her own natural style. But at some point we all wise up and realize that owning what everyone else is buying isn’t all that much fun. And the moment you turn that corner is when you start to build a wardrobe filled with classic, quality pieces, and a jewelry box stocked with truly artistic adornments.

Some designers are drawn to classic jewelry materials, such as metals, gemstones, enamel and glass, and then there is Kate Cusack who abandons that conventional path entirely and fashions her collection entirely out of metal-teethed zippers. Her one-of-a-kind pieces are fluid, flaunting kaleidoscope patterns that spiral in unexpected, playful directions. Some pieces sport complex circular arrangements that resemble beehives, and others have streamlined asymmetrical drops.

Her necklaces are understandably expensive, but she also offers flower-shaped zipper pins in a variety of colors at a wallet-friendly price. To view styles visit the designer’s Web site To purchase, email Kate at

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Elke Kramer

You'd love to fill your apartment with bright white accoutrements and Florence Knoll furniture, but the reality is, it's a challenge to even get the dishes done, let alone find time to organize and decorate your humble abode. But the thing is, deep down you're a minimalist who hates clutter, and in a heartbeat you'd swap everything you own for one perfect Pierre Paulin orange slice lounge chair. You shop for personal adornments in the same manner - opting to own one amazing piece, than cram your drawers with a bunch of mediocre stuff.

Australian Elke Kramer spreads herself across many creative mediums, from graphic design, illustration and art direction (she did the backdrop artwork for the Holly Throsby and Joanna Newsom tour) to textile design. But it’s her role as jewelry designer that we love best, producing artistic pieces that are infinitely wearable yet deliciously off-beat. Her limited edition collection of necklaces and earrings flaunt abstract elements that are laser-cut from plywood and then laminated. Evocative of insect forms, Aztec motifs and clockwork mechanics, the shapes are hung from copper-plated chains.

To view styles and purchase visit Style-Scene.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Glamour. For you it's about wearing saucy lipstick when no one is looking, ordering a sparkling Bellini with breakfast, and slipping into vintage stilettos for a trip to the corner deli. But it's a lifestyle after all, not just a state of mind, and so it's the little splurges and guilty pleasures that count. And of course, your secret weapon is your jewelry choices, utilized cleverly to make even a simple jeans and t-shirt combo, look nothing short of spectacular.

For her Spring '08 collection, designer Melissa Draugsvold pairs her signature vintage brass chains and findings with pale pink, peach and lilac gem stones which give the heavyweight pieces an infusion of lightness and femininity. Sculpted antique glass beads and printed Lucite drops add intrigue, as does a well-placed green Egyptian Scarab.

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Madame Fortuna

Everyone has perennial, hard-and-fast rules when it comes to dressing, but in your book, unoriginality is the only cardinal sin. But that’s the gypsy in you, the free spirit who may get caught up in the quest for the jean du jour, but ultimately settles on clothing and accessories that are anything but ubiquitous renditions. Pieces that meow, whisper, coax and captivate.

Guaranteed to be the most novel jewelry selection you’ll ever own, Madame Fortuna’s Relic necklaces capture personal artifacts within dainty hand-blown glass globes where they can be treasured forever and ever. Allison Nowlin Ward, the designer behind the Madame Fortuna moniker, fills the pendants with bits of moss, colorful feathers, pearls or Victorian lace, but will custom produce the piece with a customer’s chosen keepsake…a lock of your child’s hair, a lover’s note, sand from your favorite beach…you decide. The globe dangles on a 24” gold-filled chain, and fastens with a spring ring clasp.

To purchase visit the designer’s Web site.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Elisa Solomon Jewelry

Reinvention is a wonder to behold. Someone, not just anyone, sees beyond the expected and boldly rearranges what everyone else saw as expected and true. Philippe Starck interpreting the martini glass as a chair or Hendrix transforming Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower from an obscure acoustical ditty to a Hall of Fame guitar assault. Of course, retranslating is not the hard part. The magic trick is to astutely preserve the critical elements, and alter the ones that could survive a creative shake-up.

By taking gemstones, and smashing them to pieces, designer Elisa Solomon presents an intriguing reinvention of the traditional jewel pendant necklace. Sparkling rubies, brown diamonds, emeralds, sapphire, and earthy turquoise, are cracked into small nuggets and then encased within a glass frame, presenting a shaking visual, much like a tipping sand hourglass, except bolder and chunkier. The “shake” pendants are then hung from 14k solid yellow gold chains.

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

Friday, May 2, 2008


Sass and spirit, yes they can reside on the same wavelength as sweetness and light. Genuine sunshine, after all, can take many forms…a wicked smile, a contagious laugh, an inclusive whisper. Which is why flowers, the ultimate token of beauty, should never be mistaken for a one-trick pony reserved for perky girly-girls. They are in fact, best suited for complicated women who dabble in shades of gray, but are smart enough to count their blessings.

For her Fenton line, designer Dana Lorenz has created a series of heirloom quality pendants handcrafted from fossilized ivory, that flaunt intricate floral designs using the scrimshaw technique (the picture is first skillfully etched and then filled in with ink). Harmoniously mingling modernity with old world beauty, the dreamy and feminine pendants are hung from sterling silver chains.

To view styles and purchase visit Dilsey Coal.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Bonbon Oiseau

You carefully weigh every word, because you know that confessions blurted out are often regretted, and can never be taken back. But just because you're restrained, doesn't mean that you're uptight. You'd just rather reveal yourself when the moment is right, because timing is everything, and giving everything away, right away, seems tacky. Which is why you adore jewelry pieces that inspire meandering conversation, rather than ones that can be sized up quickly.

The Le Tour du Monde Nouveau collection from Bonbon Oiseau suits your style perfectly, delivering love-at-first-sight pieces with an arsenal of unfolding details. Deborah Stein, the designer behind the line, is a raconteur at heart, and each selection she creates has a very specific, entertaining story to tell, whether it is capturing the excitement of the racetrack, or imagining the bank robbing adventures of Bonnie and Clyde. Her pieces are precious, adorned with pearls, gemstones, and antique charms, and arranged in thoughtful sequences. Our current favorite is the New York necklace, dressed up with a square glass cabochon celebrating the 7th race at Belmont Track in May 1955.

To view styles and purchase visit the Bonbon Oiseau Web site.