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.