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Sunday, 28 November 2010

Christmas Part IV - Rings

Parts I - III

Because you don't have to be popping a special question to impress with a ring box this Christmas, here's my top choices for some original rings from even the smallest of budgets...

Over £200 - Ca & Lou

Rose gold, Art Deco influence and smokey coloured crystals - these pieces could have just about every trend going in one little ring. I think the gorgeous vintage look will prove pretty timeless, however, and the subdued glitz makes them nicely festive, too!


From www.luisaviaroma.com, featured rings £215 - £270

£100 - £200 - Katie Rowland

Tough but polished, the sculptural simplicity of these rings makes them just so perfect for presents and everyday wear. Katie is such a versatile designer (from the cheeky 'ring me' pieces to her sublime platinum work), and is a name any jewellery aficionado would be thrilled to own a piece by.

Rings £110 from www.liberty.co.uk

Under £100 - Selda Okutan

Made by a jeweller in Istanbul (possibly my favorite city in the world), these sterling silver 'diamond' rings come in all sorts of sizes, styles and stone colours to suit everyone - there's even some heart shaped pieces if you're feeling romantically inclined.

Selda also creates pieces with tiny human figures, ram heads and angel wings, ranging from sweet to darkly gothic. Her attention to the tiniest detail is remarkable - see this? That's the bottom of a ring.

From www.etsy.com/shop/SeldaOkutan, selected rings £25 - £32

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Fantasy Payday - Daniela Villegas

You know those gorgeous Bottega Veneta beetle rings with a metallic green sheen? Well, suddenly they pale into insignificance when compared to this amazing conquistador ring by Daniela Villegas;

The choice and use of stones is just incredible. The gloomy opal with flashes of fire is perfect surrounded by smokey alexendrites - and the diamonds add almost more to the texture of the piece than to the sparkle.

Of course, if more glitter was needed, the stone-studded Medieval ring would be a more than acceptable alternative...
I really like Daniela's work - her Mexican roots shine through in the designs but her style is still so individual and modern. Even at her high end of the market she's not wary of using materials such as feathers and leather, with just as luxurious results as when she uses gold and diamonds.

Plus, I think she might be the only jeweller I know of to have made stick insect jewellery - beetles may be super trendy but this insect choice is just downright quirky - which I love!

So, my fantasy choice for this month's splurging would definitely be from Daniela's engaging collection. A glittering beetle for a Christmas party talking-point, and a pair of gold-feather earrings for everyday. Perfect!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Elke Kramer

I'm really drawn to these cuffs by Elke Kramer - they make me imagine a luxe shopping centre or wonderful balcony railings somewhere in Paris...

There's so, so much flat, laser cut acrylic jewellery about at the moment, so I love that Elke has taken the designs into tactile 3d with resin walls and inlay detail.



Plus, I think the black hexagonal box the bangle comes is fab; it's a different shape and the simple motif-based branding is great. It may be a small thing, but detail is everything;


Pictures copyright www.openingceremony.us

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Like? Try... II

Part One
Love the graphic lines and bold feel of Zoe and Morgan's pendants, but just can't justify treating yourself this close to Christmas? To keep you happy in the meantime, try a sweet little pinwheel or honeycomb pendant from Stone and Honey;

Like... Zoe and Morgan 'Jett/Stardust' Pendants, £135 - £313


Try... Stone and Honey 'Honeycomb/Pinwheel' Pendants, $65 - $70

Pictures and pieces www.zoeandmorgan.com, www.stoneandhoney.com

Friday, 19 November 2010

The Evening's Lustings...

Two pieces in particular really caught my eye during yesterday evening's browsing; an incredible vintage YSL modernist necklace and a beautiful druzy ring from Robindira Unsworth's new collection;



While one is high-end costume and the other precious metal, I think they'd look incredible worn together. In each, it's the gorgeous textured gold that makes it something special - warm and tactile. This ring really is a great design - the contrast between the spiky, glittering druzy and the smooth, glossy beading gives so much interest; I just want to pick it up and run my fingers over the different elements, tilting it in the light to admire the glinting reflections on the stone and metal.

YSL - Susan Caplan Vintage at www.matchesfashion.com, Robindira Unsworth at www.astleyclarke.com

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Christmas Part III - The Statement Necklace

So, sentiment is not what you're going for this year - forget charm necklaces, you want to give an utterly cool present that will impress a dedicated follower of fashion. For real effect, the trend for collar necklaces is one worth investing in - instant impact for any outfit.

Over £200: Mawi



It just sort of had to be Mawi, really. For fashionable, statement neckwear their designs are unbeatable. Immediately recognisable and still totally unique despite the rash of copy-cats, their comprehensive design style includes something to suit everyone - from punk to glam to vintage.

From http://www.mawi.co.uk/, selected pieces £245 - £432

£100 - £200: Sequin


A little bit vintage and a little bit tribal, Sequin's necklaces combine gorgeous gold, interesting shapes and great materials in pieces both sculptural and fluid. Plus, with prices starting from $60, their pieces are only really tipped into this price bracket by the postage from America. Practically a bargain!

From www.charmandchain.com/, featured pieces $98 - $140 (plus $35 p&p)

Under £100: Vintage

If you want to get something really special, something 'wow', the prolific high street faux pearl and gem encrusted takes on the collar and bib necklaces are just not going to cut it. If you look in the right places, choosing vintage can mean you get the originality and impact of more expensive costume pieces but without a designer price point.

Babushkas Vintage Clothing has a carefully edited selection of great pieces, and this coloured crystal necklace is a real find - but being vintage, there's only ever one, so when you find something you love make sure to snap it up. For other pieces, try a search for 'collar necklace' on Etsy.com - quirky vintage pieces of all prices abound.

From www.babushkasclothing.com, featured necklace £30

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Winter Turquoise

Turquoise is a stone and shade I pretty much exclusively associate with summer - its cool, bright hue seems too 'sun and sea' to wear with anything winter-y...

But these photos from the current issue of Elle might just have made me change my mind. My eyes were immediately drawn to the two looks on the page simply because their jewellery - in shades of teal and turquoise - just jumped off the page;

Brix Smith-Start's Lucy Hutchings necklace is magnificent, the gold and teal peacock hues vibrant against her black dress. And even in the tiniest picture on the page this Swarovski intern's H&M turquoise pendant is immediately striking.

Against dark and autumnal tones this colour offers an unexpected contrast - I think I may just be converted...

Scan from Elle UK December, YSL ring at http://www.net-a-porter.com/, Loree Rodkin Cuff at http://www.brownsfashion.com/

Monday, 15 November 2010

Dominic Jones

I like these earrings for a number of reasons - once again they're a piece that walks the tough/pretty line perfectly.

Hearts and rose gold are all very sweet, until you look a little closer and realise they're bear traps... Nice size too, perfect 'quietly edgy' everyday wear for when you don't want to look like you've tried too hard.

From www.net-a-porter.com

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Like? Try...

With so much beautiful, clever design in jewellery at the moment, it can sometimes be disheartening to realise you can ill afford the object of your desire... However, without resorting to either theft or plagarism (buying fakes is a whole other rant), I've got some suggestions for designs you might also like when the original piece is out of your budget...

Like... Solange Azagury-Partridge 'Shooting Star' Skeleton Ring (£4,200)


Try... Links of London 'Flutter and Wow' Ring (£140)


Photos and pieces; www.linksoflondon.com, www.net-a-porter.com

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Christmas Part II - Cuffs

Part Two of my suggestions for avoiding the high street drudgery and giving some more inventive Christmas presents this year...

It was a good couple of years ago now that cuffs were heralded as the hot new trend, and their popularity hasn't dwindled yet. Cuffs give impact and confidence to any outfit, I've got one I designed for my final year collection at Uni that makes me feel a little bit like Wonder Woman every time I put it on. They're perfect for the party season and an on-trend gift, but will certainly be a key piece for seasons to come.

Over £200: Nuit No 12


I love Nuit No 12's pieces - they're Art Nouveau with a dark, rock and roll finish. Skulls continue to be hugely popular in jewellery and accessories, but here they're included in a less predictable way. These cuffs are just gorgeous in real life; I for one would be a very happy lapin to be given one of these!

From http://www.liberty.co.uk/, featured pieces shown £260 - £280


£100 - £200: Holly Fulton

From Art Nouveau to Art Deco. A Holly Fulton's cuff would add a sculptural, modern block of colour to a crisp outfit, and she's a fast becoming a designer name anyone would be delighted to find under the tree - but for a tenth of the price of one of her dresses.

From http://www.brownsfashion.com/, featured pieces £135 - £190

Under £100: Metalskin

There's a good few pieces I could have chosen from Kabiri for this category, as there's a number of different, edgy wristwear choices for well under £100. But my pick for a great present would be a gorgeous leather wrap bracelets by Metalskin - beautiful muted colours and lovely materials give them a luxurious yet streetwise look.

From http://www.kabiri.co.uk/, featured bracelets £67 - £85

Monday, 8 November 2010

Mice Ice

Certainly the least glamorous jewellery job I ever held was a stint working at a dog jewellery stand at Crufts one year, making up dog-charm necklaces and bracelets in questionable taste for owners who were alarmingly exacting about how their animal's features were rendered in silver...

That kind of pet jewellery is one niche I have little interest in featuring, designing or wearing - especially when there's enough animal jewellery to choose from that's actually pretty cool. I have mice, and if I wanted to celebrate my pet in metal, here's what I'd pick first;

Katie Hillier's classic paperclip bunny looks even sweeter as a mouse. It's such a simple, quirky little piece that I can see it working with both 'grey marl tee, jeans and pumps' looks and 'tried a bit harder' fashion looks - the rose gold would look great against black and leather.

A less straightforward choice, this Emilie Morris skull necklace - one of a series including birds and rodents - celebrates a beautiful creature in a dark, scientific way. Definitely a contender for 'leather jacket jewellery', too!

Pictures and pieces matchesfashion.com and kabiri.co.uk

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Saturday Vintage

I was hoping this weekend to get down to London to visit the CSM final year student's pop up shop, but one glance at my 'to do' list swiftly put paid to that idea - it's amazing how long it takes to catch back up on ordinary life post wedding!

I made sure, however, to visit the weekly flea market, and picked myself up some jewellery - including these fan earrings with salmon coloured cold enamel, and a pretty sunburst bracelet;

Vintage is a great way to add inexpensively to your jewellery wardrobe - the quality can be just as good, if not better, than modern costume pieces, you're unlikely to spy anyone else wearing it, and if you ignore the rubbish you can find some really good, often quirky design. When the label-lusting gets too much, treating myself to some unusual little vintage pieces makes me feel just as cool...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Annouska - Sakura

I've liked Annouska's work since the brand launched; the first piece I saw was an acorn charm necklace in a magazine - which is an autumnal motif I love, so I was drawn in at first sight. A quick Google confirmed that the piece was, indeed, from the newly launched label of the Links of London founder (and, also, sadly out of my price range!), and from then on a month doesn't go by without seeing her pieces featured in the glossy pages.

The new, cherry-blossom inspired range does not disappoint. The range is, for me, reminiscent of some of the Links of London ranges designed under Annouska Ducas; in the whimsical, feminine design, the texture of the metal, the tiny diamond detail and the subtle movement.

While totally different from the look of the Links' collections (I've got Sirens and Watch Over Me in mind, for anyone who knows the ranges), you can sense the work of the same design team in the pieces - there's a strong identity of the designers behind the brand.


It's the little details of the range that I think make it. Take these earrings for example, where the drops slip off the stud - giving you two looks in one, a modern 'night and day' earring. The range also includes a brooch that can be worn as a pendant - although I personally prefer the designs where the flower is in bud. The collection is fluid and streamlined but with a playful, tactile feel in the movement, the texture, the contrast of colours.

But the Annouska brand has impressed me for far more than design. In an industry where it can sometimes feel like you need a degree from Central Saint Martins and a studio in Notting Hill as a prerequisite for success, Annouska's championing of non-London designers is something I applaud. I'd loved the showcase of other designers in store and online as it was, but then when I found out in Liz Olver's IJL presentation that it was a conscious decision to given non-London designer a platform I was even more impressed. I will certainly be covering a lot more of Liz Olver's talk in future posts as it was, for me, the stand out talk of the show - inspiring and insightful.

All pieces and photos www.annouska-jewellery.com

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Starry Starry Hair

December's Vogue - given that it's inspired by all things starry - features even more jewellery than usual, including some gorgeous pieces by Jasmine Alexander and Ana de Costa.

The absolute stand out, however, is this Shooting Star Tiara, created for the magazine by Solange Azagury-Partridge. Her angular star motif is reworked to striking effect - simple, minimalistic and strong.

I love stars worn in the hair almost more than anywhere else on the body - I think it stems from my falling in love with this Edward Robert's painting when I studied art at school;

There seems nothing more alluring than a sprinkling of glittering stars worn around the head....

Maybe all I'll need to dazzle at the Christmas party rounds this year will be a Louis Mariette Midnight Stars headband, or a smattering of vintage rhinestone hair pins.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A flash of colour as the days grow darker...

Today I added a flash of scarlet nail polish to liven my usual palette of grey and navy, which cheered me up no end every time I caught a glimpse of my fingernails.

I love choosing dark, simple colours for my clothing, but when the weather is turning increasingly dusky it can be nice to brighten things up with a bit of colour - and how better than with some multi coloured jewels? Here's my pick of some cheery pieces I'd love to add to my winter wardrobe...

1. Mark Davis Bangle:

Such a gorgeous, glossy colour, and a very modern mixing of materials - bakelite studded with the prettiest topaz.

2. Erikson Beamon Necklace:

Net-a-Porter suggest wearing this stunning necklace with an evening dress, but I'd just sling it over a black or white tee and instantly feel like I'd made an effort. I can't stop looking at this piece - all the individual elements come together so perfectly.

3. Pippa Small Ring:

I adore this Pippa Small ring - I have serious plans to own some of her work one day soon! The stone is so, so vibrant, and I love the scalloped edge. Lapis always feels like a summer colour, but I think this gold ring would lift my navy winter coat beautifully.

4. Marc by Marc Jacobs Earrings:

Finally, for a more affordable splash of colour, these sweet Marc by Marc Jacobs studs - in almost the same colour as my nails - would probably make me smile every time I caught a glimpse in the mirror.


Pieces and photos from brownsfashion.com, net-a-porter.com, astleyclarke.com

Monday, 1 November 2010

A More Creative Christmas...

There's less than two months to go until Christmas, and the likes of Pandora et al must be gearing up for another unstoppable year, churning out charm bead after charm bead to slavish consumers totally bought in to the glossy marketing messages.

I'm afraid I find this type of jewellery entirely devoid of personality, and far too trend driven for a present potentially so meaningful - you can guarantee that in a few more years wearing a Pandora or Chamilia will seem as dated as wearing a scrunchie on your wrist (giving myself away as a child of the eighties there...)

Instead of following the crowd this season, wouldn't you like to send your Christmas pennies in the direction of the many independent designers and retailers who are working the trends in more innovative, creative ways?

I'll be featuring some gorgeous alternatives to the high street over the next few weeks, at price points to suit all. And I may as well start with charms - a prolific trend that I'll be happy to indulge in if it's from one of these clever designers...

Over £200: Annina Vogel

Charm necklaces are the sophisticated, bohemian alternative to a bracelet, and no-one does them more beautifully than Annina Vogel. Recycled antique components, romantic motifs in old gold, rose cut diamonds seed pearls, and each piece utterly unique. The gorgeous stud bangles are also perfect for buying into both stacking bracelets and charms in an individual way...

From www.anninavogel.com, featured pieces £295 - £495

£100 - £200: Zoe and Morgan

I do love Zoe and Morgan, and there's quite a bit of their work I'm adding to my Christmas list. This gorgeous necklace is the kind of piece you secretly hope someone will chose for you un-hinted, but that you'll probably end up buying for yourself...

If you wanted to make your present even more personal, the classic padlock clasp bracelet would look great with a vintage charm or two strung on it - pick up quirky examples at etsy.com and eBay.


From www.zoeandmorgan.com, featured pieces £60 - £140

Under £100: Giles and Brother

Giles and Brother's tiny charm necklaces are delicate and perfectly detailed, down to the sweet little horseshoe clasp and tag.

I'd choose the suitcase charm, which I'd take on my travels in the coming year and cluster it with trinkets - a tiny glass evil eye or a gemstone bead, perhaps.

From http://www.kabiri.co.uk/ and http://www.net-a-porter.com/, featured pieces £57-60
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