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 Ana├»s 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.