Archive for the ‘Fashion Jewelry’ Category

Links Of London – Charms, Bracelets, Rings, Cufflinks And More

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Links of London is a jewelry company based in the UK (as one would assume from the name). The company got started on what can best be described as a whim: in 1990, founder Annoushka Ducas designed some fish-shaped cuff links to be given as Christmas presents to the top customers of her Mothers’ fish business. After the holidays, she still had a number of them left, so she went into the luxury London department store Harvey Nichols and asked if they would be interested in selling them. They said yes, but only if she designed an entire collection, and Links of London was born.

Ducas started the company together with her husband John Ayton in 1991, and it became a huge success and recipient of many awards. In 2006, the couple sold Links of London for £50 million to Greek jewelry company Folli Follie, and in 2009, Annoushka Ducas started a new jewelry business – “Annoushka”.

Links of London continues its success story: their products can now be found in over 300 stores across the globe as well as online; the company was recently asked to create the official London Olympics 2012 jewelry line; and their pieces are worn by many celebrities, including Kate Middleton (or the Duchess of Cambridge as she is known these days) who wore their “Hope” white topaz earrings in the official engagement photos.

Two new collections are released each year, and there are currently 10 different lines of jewelry (each with a very distinct look), in addition to watches, a bridal collection and various gifts (frames, bags, bag charms, etc.):

The Links of London Jewelry Collections

Sweetie
The Sweetie line consists mostly of bracelets (but there are also a few necklaces, earrings, ringsand a watch) and the signature look here is rings stacked to form a bracelet or as part of one.

Friendship
As you would assume, this line consists of friendship bracelets, made from sterling silver and threads in various colors. There are single and double-wrap versions, most have silver “pins”, some have other silver designs like hearts, strawberries, and a tad startling, skulls. One really fun one that caught my attention is the Wimbledon Tennis Ball Friendship bracelet, which is made from tiny silver tennis balls woven together by thread in that neon yellow-greenish color of tennis balls.

Effervescence
This collection is made up of silver and gold “bubbles” and includes some really substantial bracelets, a few friendship ‘bubble bracelets” (my favorites), rings, earrings and necklaces.

20/20
The 20/20 line consists of interlocking rings in various designs and sizes.

Hope
The Hope collection is designed to emulate stone shapes and includes earrings, rings, pendants, a charm, and bracelets.

Camden
Camden is all about skulls – woven into bracelets, as pendants, charms and cufflinks.

Signature
The signature collection is one of the most understated and consists of charms, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and a ring in shiny silver with moonstones in gorgeous shades of orange and grey.

Silver Palm
Another discreet collection, this one inspired by bamboo. It’s all sterling silver and includes necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings.

Love Note
Love note features hearts, hearts and more hearts in white, yellow and rose gold, and the charms have amethysts and amazonites.

2012
The 2012 collection features the Olympics jewelry – charms, bracelets, necklaces, cufflinks, key rings, earrings, charm beads, rings and more – most celebrating Britain and/or sports in some way.

Feed Bracelets
A new line of friendship bracelets called “Feed” was recently launched. The bracelets are made from different colored cords with a single sterling silver bead in various shapes (water drop, dove, heart, etc.), each supporting a different hunger-fighting program through the FEED foundation. And if you happen to be in London, you can get your hands on one design with an 18k gold heart that is sold only at Harrods and supports food for kids in high HIV/AIDS areas.

Links of London for Men

Cufflinks
As you would expect from a company that got started thanks to a pair of cufflinks, the men’s jewelry include a quite extensive cufflink collection in fun, unusual and manly designs :-) such as skulls, moustaches, barbells, etc. The moustache cufflinks were created specifically for “Movember” – a yearly worldwide charity event that help raise money for research specific to men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, etc. – and 10% of the sales proceeds are donated to Movember.

The Men’s collection also include several friendship bracelets, rings, necklaces, watches and accessories (wallets, collar bones, etc.).

Links of London for Kids

There is also a line for kids, which includes jewelry (sterling silver charm bracelets sized for babies and young children), gift items (keepsake boxes, etc.), and these darling little miniature animal couples, each with the most adorable names: Harry and Helena Hedgehog, Percy and Patricia Pig, Orlando and Olivia Ostrich, etc. Too cute!

Links of London Charms

And last, but not least, there is of course their extensive collection of charms – which currently consists of around 350 designs. The charms are made from sterling silver and 18k gold, many are enameled, some have precious stones (diamonds, topaz, sapphires, etc.) and the designs range from cheeky to chic.

All photos: Links of London USA

All content © Charms Guide


Sundance Charm Necklaces And Bracelets

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

I have always loved pretty much everything I see in the Sundance catalog (and have been the lucky recipient of many a birthday and Christmas present from there). I just got the latest one in the mail and was extra delighted to see that there are more charm necklaces and bracelets than I have seen from them in one catalog before. There is definitely a trend going on right now with personalized jewelry in general, and charm necklaces in particular, and there are some of those in this catalog as well.

For those who haven’t heard of them before (oh, are you in for a treat!), Sundance is a jewelry, clothing and home decor company in Utah, founded by Robert Redford (yes, the actor) in 1969. What started as a small local store has grown into a major mail order company (but they still have three stores: one in Utah, one in California and one in Colorado). The first catalog was sent out in 1989 to a small group of people – today the company publishes 35 catalogs/year and they are sent out to millions of customers. And the Sundance Group now also includes the film festival, TV channel, a resort, Sundance Cinemas, and the Sundance Institute.

What I really like about their products (aside from how beautiful they are in their rustic, slightly rough and bohemian way) is that most are handmade by (amazing) artisans. And you can read their bios on the Sundance website, so you get to know a little bit about the person who made your piece of jewelry.

Anyway, here are some of the gorgeous charm necklaces and bracelets from the latest catalog that are definitely going on my wish list (which you can set up right on their site and then share with potential gift-givers. :-) )

Collage: Charms Guide
Photos: Sundance Catalog


The New Thomas Sabo Charm Collection

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

The new fall/winter 2011 collections from Thomas Sabo Charm Club – “The Exotic Issue” – is, as you would expect, heavily Asian-influenced. The new designs were presented at cocktail parties in 18 cities across the globe in early August, complete with Asian food and drinks, and even TS-branded rickshaws!

The Seasonal Collection includes new pendants, bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings and charm carriers, and according to Thomas Sabo, it “scintillates with enigmatic lightness, Far Eastern poetry and comic-inspired elements” and ”The positive karma of the Buddhist Great Blessing symbols… overarches the entire collection”. The Asian influence is seen in many of the pendants: fans, Chinese dolls and symbols. My favorites are the pink and white heart and the red fan pendants.

The Classic Collection mixes “boudoir style and cosmopolitan elegance with imagery of the1930s” and includes feathers, masks, and winged hearts in oxidized silver and dark stones. Favorites here include the white cubic zirconia drop and the crown pendants.

The Rebel at Heart is another Asian-inspired collection and is described by the company as “high Asian culture meet urban dandyism and transform Kung Fu fighters into extraordinary gentlemen”. Hhhm. Again, there are winged hearts, feathers, crosses, swords, skulls, Asian fans, dragons and symbols. In this collection, my favorites are the Lantern and locket pendants.

New charms include a bunch of different animals, an adorable globe (which I think is also a little bit funny, it looks like total Thomas Sabo world domination) :-) , a couple of cute high heel clogs, several Asian-inspired charms, and lots of cartoonish designs. My favorites here are the little brown bag and the adorable Westie in a bag.

And, for soccer fans, there is a new Bayern Munich Collection, consisting of charms and small pendants with the club’s slogans and logo.

All photos: Thomas Sabo

For more, also see my Thomas Sabo Charm Club and the Even More Trollbeads and Thomas Sabo Charm News post.


New Charms (And More) From Tiffany & Company

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Tiffany and Co have released their fall and holiday collections, and as usual, there are lots of gorgeous items in all categories, from cute holiday charms to luxurious leather bags and clutches:

Venezia
This is the beautiful new Paloma Picasso collection, and it consists of scroll-like pendants and earrings in gold and silver (“Luce”); earrings in gold, amethyst and diamond as well as heart pendants in gold with diamonds (“Goldoni”); and star-shaped pendants, bangles, and a gold, diamond and deep blue enamel ring (“Stella”).

Era
A 60s-70s-inspired little collection of sterling silver squarish bangles, a ring and a pendant, with a cutout letter on each side, spelling out LOVE.

Charms
There are three new charms, all in sterling silver with Tiffany blue enamel, and all holiday themed: a reindeer, stocking and hat.

Locks Bangles
These are three solid bangles in silver and gold in different widths, two with cutout lock images, and one with a cute little lock charm in silver and rose gold.

Conique
Gorgeous and classic gold, diamond and red spinel necklace and bracelet by Jean Schlumberger (for those with a generous jewelry budget – they sell for $275,000 and $125,000, respectively).

Diamond Hoops
New from Elsa Peretti, a delicate and understated necklace and bracelet, both in relatively thin gold wire with a diamond at each end.

Platinum & Diamonds
The Soleste is a platinum ring set with diamonds; the Grace is a set of platinum earrings and a pendant, all with diamonds, and (this one is my favorite) there is an absolutely stunning new platinum pendant with diamonds and a large sapphire. I’d put it on my Christmas wish list, but I very much doubt I get it – it sells for $500,000…

Bags
I know this is a blog about jewelry, but I can’t resist mentioning the absolutely adorable clutches in the new leather collection. The whole bag collection is fabulous, but the clutches… oh so cute! My favorite by far is the “bracelet clutch” in deep red velvet with a bracelet-like handle (and it’s a relative bargain at $995).

All photos: Tiffany


Charms, Charms And More Charms – A Directory Of Artists, Manufacturers And Designers

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

For quite some time now, I have been “collecting” names of artists, designers and manufacturers of charms and charm bracelets. Then it dawned on me: perhaps others could also benefit from this list, and find new favorite designers and styles? I asked a few friends, who all said YES! so I decided it would be a good idea to share it with you all.

You will see that it is a wide variety – everything from famous fashion designers to relatively unknown artists working out of their home studio. The list is constantly growing and I keep finding new and exciting designs all the time. However, I don’t put “just anyone” on the list – only original designs and I have to like them. So I guess you can say it’s a “curated list”.

As I mentioned above, this list is by no means complete, and I will keep adding to it on a regular basis. If you have a favorite designer you think belongs on this list (from anywhere in the world), please contact me and I will check them out and if I like what I see, I’ll add them.

Since charms come in several styles these days, I have created a little style “key” so that you can easily find the types of charms you are looking for:

European-style = bead charms
Vintage = no longer in production, but can be found at auctions, etc. Traditional-style charms unless noted otherwise
Traditional = Regular charms (with jump or split ring attachments. NOTE that traditional does not necessarily mean traditional looking bracelets; it just describes the type of charm
Clip on charms = Traditional charms with a clasp attachment
Italian charms = Modular link-style
Craft = mini charms suitable for scrap booking, etc.
Kids = charm bracelets for children
Rings = interchangeable charm or bead rings, or rings with charms attached
Earrings = interchangeable charm or bead earrings
Necklaces = interchangeable charm or bead necklaces
Mobile = cell phone charms
Pre-made = already assembled charm bracelets, usually with the charms soldered on. Pre-made in parenthesis means it is the only type they offer, Pre-made on its own means they offer that in addition to separate charms
Slide = slide charms
Watch = charm watches

A
Aaron Basha – Traditional (kids)
Accessories & Beyond – Traditional (pre-made)
Accurist – watch (European-style)
Adamantus – Clip on
Affinity - Clip on
Ajda Lampwork – European-style
Alengio - European-style
Alex and Ani – Traditional (pre-made) bangles
Alex Monroe - Traditional & Pre-made
Alex Woo – Traditional (pre-made)
Alia Jewelry – European-style
Altruette - Traditional & Pre-made
Amore & Baci – European-style, Kids
Amore La Vita – Clip on
AmuletGifts - Traditional & Pre-made (lucky charms)
Analece Design – Traditional, Clip on,
Anna Rose Jewelry – Traditional & Pre-made
Anna Sui - Traditional (pre-made)
Annika Bertilsdotter - Traditional, Clip on
Annina Vogel – Pre made (from vintage pieces)
Anson - Vintage
Archive Jewelry – Traditional (pre-made), Vintage
Art-Charms – Traditional (custom made from kids art)
Ashley Pittman – Traditional (pre-made)
Assya - Traditional (pre-made)
Astley Clarke - Traditional (pre-made)
Aurélie Bidermann – Traditional (pre-made)
Avindy - Traditional (pre-made)
Avon - Vintage
Azendi - European-style, Traditional
Azuni - Traditional (pre-made)

B
Baby Phat – Clip on, Pre-made
Baci Beads – European-style
Bacio - European-style, Kids
Badgley Mischka – Traditional (pre-made)
Baglady - European-style, Traditional, Clip on
Barbara Bixby – Traditional
Basch - Traditional (pre-made)
Bates & Klinke – Vintage
Beau Sterling – Vintage
Bell Trading Post – Vintage
Belleek Living – Traditional (pre-made)
Bellina Beads – European-style
Betsey Johson – Traditional (pre-made)
Betty Design – European-style
Beverly K – Traditional (pre-made)
Beyond Words – Traditional
Biagi beads – European-style, Clip on, Kids
Bill Levine – Traditional
Bing Bang - Traditional (pre-made)
Birdland Creations – Traditional (pre-made)
Blee Inara – Traditional (pre-made)
Blossom Copenhagen – Traditional
Boho Soho – Clip on
Bombay Duck – Clip on
Bongo - Traditional (pre-made)
Bon Bon Charms – Traditional
Bonn Bons – Slide
Bottega Veneta – Clip on
Boxing - Italian
Boucheron - Vintage
Breadner - Vintage
Brighton Charms – European-style, Clip on
Bruno Zanetti – Italian
Bugard Studio – Rings
Bulgari - Clip on, Pre-made,
Burberry - Traditional (pre-made)

C
Carl Art – Vintage
Carolee - Clip on
Carolina Bucci – Traditional (pre-made)
Carolyn Pollack – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Cartier - Vintage, Clip on
Casa d’oro – Italian
Cassandra Erin – Traditional (pre-made)
Cath Kidston – Traditional (pre-made)
Catherine Canino – Traditional (pre-made)
Catherine Michiels – Traditional
Cathy Dailey – European-style, Traditional
Cathy Waterman – Traditional, Pre-made
Cellini - Traditional, Vintage
Chamilia beads – European-style, Kids
Chanel - Vintage, Clip on, Traditional
Charity Charms – Clip on, Pre-made
Charles Horner – Vintage
Charm Barn – Craft
Charm Factory – Traditional, European-style, Pre-made
Charm It – Clip on (kids)
Charmco - Traditional
Charmed Memories – European-style
Charming by Ti Sento – Clip on
Charming Life - Traditional & Pre-made
Charmology - Traditional (pre-made)
Charms UK – European-style, Clip on
Charmworks - Traditional
Chelsea Taylor – European-style, Clip on
CherieO - European-style, Traditional
Cherished Time Designs – Traditional, Pre-made
Chim - Vintage
Chloe - Traditional (pre-made)
Creed - Vintage
Christie Martin – Traditional
Christy Lea Payne (CLP) - Traditional & Pre-made
Chrysalis - European-style, Clip on, Necklaces
ChuBo Beads – European-style
Clogau Gold – European-style, Clip on, Traditional, Pre-made
Coach - Traditional (pre-made), Clip on
Coloured Rocks – European-style, Clip on, Pre-made
Coro (Corocraft) - Vintage
Courtney Simmelkjaer - Traditional (pre-made)
Cousin Claudine - Traditional (pre-made)
Crea - Vintage
Crystalbead888 - European-style

D
D for Diamonds – Traditional (pre-made) for kids
Damas Jewellery – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Danecraft - Vintage
Dangerous Goods – Traditional, Clip on
David Andersen – Vintage
David Yurman – Traditional
DaVinci Beads - European-style
Dazzlers - Clip on
Dazzling - Traditional (pre-made)
De-ani, Inc. – Clip on
Deffego - European-style, Italian
Diddi Design – Traditional (pre-made), Clip on
Dinky Fingerprint Company, The – Traditional, Pre-made, European-style
Dinny Hall – Traditional (pre-made)
Dior - Clip on & Pre-made
Disney Couture – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Dogeared - Traditional (pre-made)
Dolce & Gabbana – Traditional (pre-made)
Donatella - European-style, Traditional
Doriwallace Jewelry – European-style
Dower & Hall – Pre made & Traditional
Dyrberg/Kern – Traditional (pre-made)

E
Edblad & Co – Traditional (pre-made)
Ecuus Designs - European-style
Elco - Vintage
Elle Jewelry – Clip on
Elsa Peretti (for Tiffany) – Vintage, Pre-made
Elsa Schiaparelli - Vintage
Embracelets - Traditional, Pre-made
Erickson Beamon – Traditional (pre-made)
Essenza Beads – European-style
Ettika - Traditional (pre-made)
Evolve New Zealand – European-style
Extasia - Clip on

F
Fabergé - Vintage
Femme Metale – Traditional & Pre-made
Field & Rose (Laura Love Rose) – Traditional & Pre-made
Fiorelli - Traditional (pre-made)
Florenza - Vintage
Formia Design – Traditional (custom made from kids art)
Forstner - Vintage
Fort of Providence – Vintage
Fossil - Clip on, Pre-made
Free People – Traditional, Vintage

G
Garold Miller – Traditional (pre-made)
George Jensen – Clip on, Vintage
George Shiebler – Vintage
Gioielli Italy – Mobile, Italian
Giorgio Martello – Clip on
Glassbeadstudio - European-style
Glitzy Girls - Traditional (pre-made) for kids
Good Charma – Traditional (pre-made), Necklaces, Kids
GP Firenze - Italian
Granchelli - European-style
Gucci - Traditional (pre-made)
Guess - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)

H
Halia - European-style
Harrods - Mobile
Heather Moore – Traditional, Pre-made
Helen Ficalora – Traditional
Hellobead - European-style
Henry Dankner & Sons – Vintage
HighChi – Tradtitional & Pre-made
High IntenCITY – Clip on (kids)
Hilla Design – European-style
Hint Charms - Traditional
Hot Diamonds – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Hultquist-Copenhagen – Traditional (pre-made)

I
Ideal Jewelry Manufacturing Company (trademark Theda) – Vintage
Individuality - European-style
Intercast - Vintage
Ippolita - Traditional

J
James Avery Charms – Traditional
Jay Strongwater – Clip on
Jayposon - Vintage
Jemma Lulu – Traditional (pre-made)
Jennifer Zeuner – Traditional (pre-made)
Jessica Elliot - Traditional (pre-made)
Jewelart Sterling – Vintage
Jewellery Tree, The – Traditional (custom made)
Jill Schiff - Traditional & Pre-made
JM Fisher Company - Vintage
Jo for Girls – European-style, Traditional (pre-made) for kids
Joan Rivers – Traditional (pre-made)
John Hardy – Traditional (pre-made)
John Lewis – European-style (pre-made)
Jon Richard – Clip on, Pre-made, European-style
JouJou - Clip on
Joulberry - Traditional (custom)
Joy Everly - Traditional, Pre-made, Kids
Juicy Couture – Clip on
Just Divine – Traditional (pre-made)
Just J – Clip on

K
K&Company – Craft
Kalassmycken - Clip on, Pre-made (kids)
Karen Foster Design – Craft
Karen Hill Tribe Silver – European-style, Traditional
KC Designs – Traditional (pre-made)
Kelly Waters – Traditional
Kieselstein Cord – Traditional (pre-made)
Kinney - Vintage
Kirks Folly – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Kit Heath – Traditional (pre-made), European-style (their own version, only fits their chains), Kids, Clip on
Konstantino – Traditional (pre-made)
Kranz & Ziegler – Traditional

L
La Vie Parisienne – Traditional (pre-made)
Lacey Ryan – Traditional (pre-made)
Lagos - Traditional (pre-made)
Landmark Beads – European-style
Lauren Sigman – Traditional (pre-made)
Les Néréides – Traditional, Pre made
Leslie MacInnes – Traditional (custom made from kids art)
Lilyme - Traditional
Links of London – Traditional
Linx & More – Tiny charms to go in their lockets, Italian
Liz Claiborne – Traditional (pre-made)
Lois Hill – Traditional (pre-made)
LOLA of Paris – European-style, Clip on
London Road Jewellery – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Loop Collection, The – Traditional (pre-made)
Louis Vuitton – Clip on
Lovelinks - European-style, Kids
LovingTheBead - European-style, Clip on, Rings, Earrings, Necklaces
LTD Art Glass – European-style
Lucky Brand – Clip on
Lulu Guinness – Traditional (pre-made)
Lunch at the Ritz – Traditional (pre-made bracelets)
Lutrick - European-style
Luv Links – European-style

M
M & B Vintage – Vintage, Traditional
Magdalena Ruiz Pasieka – European-style
Maisel’s Indian Trading Post – Vintage
Maloa - Traditional (pre-made)
Manolo Blahnik (for TOUS) – Traditional (launches in March 2011)
Marc Jacobs – Traditional (pre-made)
Marcus Max Design – Rings
Mark Poulin - Traditional (pre-made), Necklaces
MarMalaid – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Martick - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Maryann Wilkin Designs – Traditional & Pre-made
Mathot Design – European-style
Me to You – Traditional (pre-made) for kids
Medical Alert Link – Italian (medical alert bracelets)
Mercedes Salazar – Traditional (pre-made)
Mi Lajki – Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Michele Baratta – Traditional & Pre-made
Mikey Jewellery – Clip on
Milly - Traditional (pre-made)
Molly Brown – Traditional & Pre-made
Monet (aka Monocraft Products Company) - Vintage
Monica Rich Kosann - Traditional, Necklaces, Pre-made
Monserat de Lucca – Traditional (pre-made)
Moritz Glik – Traditional (pre-made)
Muano - European-style
Muru - Clip on

N
Nagara by SeaZen
– European-style
Napier - Vintage
Nelle & Lizzy – Traditional, Pre-made
Nick Hubbard – Traditional, Pre-made
Nicky Vankets – Traditional (pre-made)
Nina Designs – Traditional
Nina/STHLM – Traditional (pre-made)
Nomination - Italian
Nuvo - Vintage

O
Oh la la – Traditional (pre-made) using ribbons instead of chains
OHMBeads - European-style
Ole Lynggaard – Traditional & Pre-made
OneJewels – European-style for their own line of rings and necklaces
Oriana Jewelry – European-style
Oscar de la Renta – Traditional (pre-made)
Otis Jaxon – Clip on
Oxxo Design – Traditional, Clip on

P
P & B Sterling – Vintage
Page Sargisson – Traditional, Necklaces
Pandora Jewelry – European-style
Pastiche - Clip on
Paul Morelli – Clip on
Peace of Mind
- Traditional
Pearl Affection, The – Clip on
Pearls for Girls – Clip on
Pedro Boregaard – Traditional
Penny Preville – Traditional
Perlamore - European-style
Personality - European-style
Personalized Boutique – Clip on
Peruzzi - Vintage
Pia Jewellery – European-style, Clip on
Pianegonda - Clip on
Pick Up Sticks Jewelry Co. - Traditional
Pilgrim - Clip on, Traditional, Necklaces, Earrings
Playboy - Traditional (pre-made), Mobile
Pnut Jewelry – Traditional (but very unusual!), Pre-made
Polkadot Magpie - Traditional
Privileged - Traditional & Pre-made
Pugster - European-style, Italian, Clip on, Traditional
Puzzle Collection – Italian

Q
Queen Baby – Traditional (pre-made)

R
Raymond Yard – Vintage
ReFlorence - Italian
Rembrandt Charms – Traditional, clip on
Reller - European-style, Traditional
R.L. Griffith – Vintage
Romano Passavinti - Italian
Rosecraft - Vintage
Royal London - Clip on
RYLDesigns - Traditional
RYRY - Italian

S
Sacred Charms
– Traditional (pre-made), Clip on
SarahDipiti – Traditional
Saskia Rose Design – Clip on, Pre-made
Satya Jewelry – Traditional (pre-made)
Scribble - Traditional (pre-made) for kids
Seidengang - Traditional (pre-made)
Serena’s Beadery – European-style
Shane Co – Traditional (w option to add clip on)
Shanti - Clip on, Pre-made, European-style
Siena Jewellery – Clip on
Silver by Mail – Clip on
Silverado - European-style, Kids
Simstars - European-style
Slane & Slane – Traditional (pre-made)
SNÖ of Sweden - Traditional (pre-made)
Sparkling Sage – Traditional (pre-made)
Spencer - Vintage
Spinning Jewelry – European-style, Rings
Stella & Dot – Traditional
Stephen Einhorn – Traditional, Pre-made
Storm Jewellery – European-style, Clip on, Necklaces, Pre made
Storywheels - European-style
Stuller - Clip on, Traditional (pre-made)
Style Naturale – Traditional (pre-made)
Sundance Catalog – Traditional, Pre-made
Suuz Design – European-style
Svane & Lührs – Clip on
Swarovksi - Clip on

T
Talexia - Italian
Talkatoo - Clip on (recordable!)
Tarina Tarantino – Traditional (pre-made)
Taxco - Vintage
Tedora - European-style
Temple St.Clair – Traditional, Pre-made
TerraCast - Traditional
Terranova - Vintage
Thea Grant - Traditional (pre-made)
Theda - Vintage
Theo Fennell – Clip on
Thomas L Mott – Vintage
Thomas Sabo Charm Club – Clip on
Three Sisters Jewelry Design – Traditional
Ti Sento – Clip on, Pre-made
Tiffany & Co – Traditional
Timebeads - European-style watch beads
Tina Tang – Traditional
TLM (Thomas L Mott) – Vintage
Tous -Traditional (pre-made), Toric joint
Trifari - Vintage
Trina Turk - Traditional (pre-made)
Troll beads - European-style
Truth - European-style, Clip on, Necklaces, Kids (“Truth Cutie”)
Tur-Agamo - European-style

U
Unodomani - Italian

V
Van Cleef & Arpels – Vintage
Verdura - Vintage, Pre-made
Viva Beads – European-style
Våga - Clip on

W
Walt Disney Productions – Vintage
Walter Lampl - Vintage
We Three Designs – Traditional, Necklaces
Wells Sterling – Vintage
WellsWare - Traditional & Pre-made
William Ruser – Vintage

X
Xenox - Clip on, Pre-made
Xixis Beads – European-style
XOXO - Traditional (pre-made)

Z
Zable - European-style, Earrings, Necklaces
Zoppini - Italian


Costume Jewelry Made From Recycled Materials

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Costume jewelry can be so many things; expensive designer as well as very affordable “no-name” pieces. Most often when we hear the term “costume jewelry”, we think of classic designer pieces from the 1920s to 1970s – Chanel, Miriam Haskell, Trifari, etc.

But it can also be new pieces – Merriam Webster defines costume jewellery as “jewelry designed for wear with current fashions and usually made of inexpensive materials“. And what could be more inexpensive than recycled items?

We are all trying to be good about recycling, re-using and upcycling these days, and some designers have taken this to new levels. All this creativity so inspiring! You’ll see that pretty much anything can be turned into wearable art, and once you’re done reading this article, take a look around your house – you will probably find plenty of potential jewelry supplies that you may not have noticed before.

I’m straying a bit here – these are not all charms or charm bracelets, but I just could not resist sharing them. Here are some of my favorite recent discoveries:

Postage
Chicago artist Betsy Treacy creates necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets from colorful vintage postage stamps from all over the world. Each piece is handmade and unique; no two are identical, and they make for great conversation pieces and gifts (how about a pendant made from a Norwegian stamp for your friend from Oslo?)

Photos: Betsy Treacy/Foxglove Accessories

Spoons
The husband and wife artist team behind The Cottage Path Boutique make beautiful bracelets from old silverplate spoons. The spoons are cut and shaped into two halves, and then connected with chain and rings. Some have charms, some don’t. They also make gorgeous pendants, earrings and key rings – all from old spoons.

Photos: The Cottage Path Boutique

Typewriter Keys
Michigan-based Joy of Joy’s Jewels turns old typewriter keys (as well as old cash register and pay phone keys) into bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings, watch bands and cufflinks. Sometimes the bracelets spell out something, sometimes not. My favorites are (of course) the bracelets with one single key charm – so cute!

Photos: Joy’s Jewels

Coins
Coins have been used as charms for quite a long time. In the 1800s they were often used as romantic gifts or souvenirs and were known as “love tokens”. People would sand one side down and then carve a name or a message into it. Artisan Jessie Driscoll is taking this old tradition to new fabulous heights. Using vintage US coins, she sands one side, create designs by hammering and forging, and shapes the coin into a dome. Some are used “as is”, and on the altered pieces, you will see the original coin on the back. She creates charm bracelets (both loaded and with just one charm), bracelets without charms, necklaces, earrings, pendants, and key rings. I think they’re beautiful, and I’m not alone – her jewelry has been picked up by celebrities like Fergie, Liz Phair, Donna Karan and Avril Lavigne.

Photos: Jessie Driscoll

Plastic Bottles
These stunning pieces by award-winning Turkish architect Gülnur Özdaglar are made from recycled PET bottles. Gülnur started making jewelry (and home decor items) from PET bottles in 2008, and her aim was to create beautiful objects from discarded products, thereby encouraging others to do the same. If I could create things like these from my old bottles, I’d be thrilled!

Photos: Gülnur Özdaglar


Puffy Hearts – The Classic Silver Heart Charm Bracelet

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Today we are going to talk about one of my favorite types of charms: puffy hearts.

Puffy (or puffed) hearts are also known as répoussé hearts (more on that later) and first became popular in the late 1800s. They stayed in vogue until around 1910 when for some reason they lost their popularity, only to re-gain it in the 1930s – 1950s.

Today, vintage puffy hearts are much sought after fashion jewelry pieces. They are priced accordingly, and you can expect to pay quite a bit for a pristine Victorian heart charm or an enameled heart from the 1940s in perfect condition. Unfortunately, there are many fakes out there, some so good that there are times when even the experts are fooled, so if you are shopping for a vintage puffy heart bracelet, it pays to do a little bit of reading and research first.

Puffy hearts have hollow cores and are made either from two halves put together, or one piece of metal folded over. The designs are either répoussé (aka repoussage – a technique where the design has been hammered into the metal on the reverse, the side that eventually ends up as the interior of the heart, and shows up in relief on the front) or chasing (the design is impressed into the front of the heart, creating depressions).

Photo: General Whimsy

Victorian puffy hearts were mostly made from silver (or gold filled), sometimes with beaded edges, gypsy set (= flush with the surface of the charm) with precious, semi-precious or glass stones (cabochons or rose cut) vitreous enameled (the “lucky color” turquoise was especially popular and these gorgeous charms are some of my favorites), and often beautifully engraved. They were hung on rigid bangles or substantial link chains with adorable heart and key padlock clasps. Puffy heart locket charms (and pendants) were also very popular, and held pictures or a piece of hair.

Hearts from the 1930s, 40s are usually silver (the other precious metals were used for products needed in the war), and in the 50s silver or gold. They are most often hung on chain bracelets (thinner than the Victorian ones), sometimes with heart padlocks, sometimes with other clasps.

Photo: Sunday and Sunday

30s-50s hearts are often more “puffy” than the Victorian ones, and have glass or rhinestones, either gypsy set or simply glued in, sometimes engravings (hand or machine), vitreous or cold enamel, and guilloché. This term is often used as a name for a certain style of enamel, but it is in fact the name of the process itself, and describes a pattern or design machine-carved into the metal (and then covered with enamel). It is important to understand this distinction, because you will see many painted and enameled charms erroneously described as guilloché. If they don’t have that machine-cut pattern underneath the enameling, they are NOT guilloché. The machines used for this type of carving are not made anymore, and you won’t find any guilloché charms produced today.

The most prolific charm designer in the 40s and 50s was Walter Lampl, whose catalog at one point consisted of over 750 charms. The charms came in huge variety of designs and were made from sterling silver and 14k gold, often set with pearls, precious and semi-precious stones. The “flower of the month” puffy heart charm series was (and is) extremely popular. Each charm features a guilloché background, enamel, a painted flower and the birthstone of the month set above the flower. The Lampl Company also made amazing movable charms, and the charm bracelets celebrities were given at the end of each episode of “This is your life”.

He was also one of the few who hallmarked his charms, and they are easily identified. If you see WL in a shield (or the more obvious WALTER LAMPL, or LAMPL), you’re looking at a Walter Lampl charm. They are highly collectible and many sell for hundreds of dollars today.

You can also find reproduction puffy hearts from the 70s and on, made with old molds (or molds created from old charms, or just plain copies) but these have little or no value from a collector’s standpoint (yet…). There are many that are quite lovely and beautiful pieces of jewelry in their own right (and honest sellers will label them “repro”, “reproduction” or “vintage-style”), but if you are looking for vintage or antique pieces, it’s good to know that these are out there and be on the lookout for “antique” charms from the 80s…

Also, if you are buying an entire assembled vintage charm bracelet, be sure to inspect each charm, as well as the chain, closely. While some of the charms may be antique, others may be repros. There is nothing wrong with that of course, as long as the seller is up front about it, and you don’t pay premium price for something that is misrepresented to you. How can you tell? As I mentioned earlier, it is not easy. But there are a few clues to look for: anything rhodium-plated is not vintage or antique. Also inspect the embossed designs closely. Victorian ones are crisper, more detailed and deeper than those from the 40s, and modern day reproductions are even less so. Also, many contemporary charms are treated with chemicals to give them that vintage tarnished look. Try scraping lightly with a fingernail, and if the tarnish comes off, it’s a sign that it’s not vintage. This is not a foolproof method however, since you can also tarnish silver with the help of eggs (thanks to the sulphur), which leaves no residue.

But don’t let all this talk about fakes scare you off. Puffy hearts are wonderful little pieces of art, and the more you educate yourself, the more likely you are to end up with a true vintage treasure. To me personally, the more I know, the more I enjoy shopping for them – it almost becomes a sport to “spot the fake”. :-) Happy shopping!


Collecting Vintage Fashion Jewelry

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

Vintage fashion jewelry (also known as costume jewellery) pieces have become increasingly popular collectors’ items over the past few years. It is easy to see why – there is a huge variety of styles to choose from, many are quite affordable, and it’s a collection you can wear and enjoy every day.

A Focused Collection
You can of course buy any vintage jewelry you like, but sometimes it’s easier to focus a collection around a certain theme and zero in on specific pieces, such as fashion jewelry necklaces, brooches, bracelets, charms, cocktail rings, earrings, etc.; a certain material like Bakelite, enamel, stainless steel, Swarovski crystals, wood, etc.; a particular motif such as frogs, elephants, flower baskets, etc.; a specific designer – Chanel, Coro, Miriam Haskell, Dior, Coppola e Toppo (or lesser-known names); a particular decade – you get the idea.

Signed or Unsigned?
For those who are just starting out collecting, the safest bet is to go with signed items (at least for pricier pieces). There is lots of gorgeous unsigned vintage designer fashion jewelry on the market (many pieces are even made by the most well-known and collectible designers), and they can often turn out to be your most valuable finds, but until you have developed an eye for a designer’s style and know that what you are looking at is in fact an unsigned designer piece, investing a lot of money in it can be risky (this advice can obviously be ignored if you have completely fallen in love with the item and don’t care if it’s the real deal or not!).

The best way to learn to recognize vintage designer jewelry is to study designs online, in museums, and in books. Also make sure to visit antique and vintage shops (ideally ones that specialize in vintage fashion jewelry) and ask questions about the pieces.

Parures, Diamanté, Pavé – Some Common Terms
Once you start exploring the world of vintage fashion jewelry, you will come across certain terms again and again, and it is good to know what they mean. Here are some that I had to look up when I first started getting into this:

Apple Juice – a semitransparent, yellow plastic
Bakelite – a type of moldable but sturdy plastic (made from formaldehyde and carbolic acid)invented by Dr. Leo Baekland. Popular in costume jewelry in the 1920s-1940s.
Cabochon – a smooth stone or paste with a rounded dome-like top and flat bottom
Demi-Parure – a set with fewer pieces (2-3), often containing a matching necklace, pin and earrings
Diamanté – diamond imitation made from rhinestone
Gilt – gold plated or dipped in gold
Japanning – a finishing technique that colors metal a dull or shiny black (an imitation of Asian lacquer)
Jelly Belly – a pin or brooch in the shape of an animal with a glass or lucite stone for a belly
Lucite – a transparent plastic (acrylic resin)
Parure - a set of jewelry (4-5 pieces), most often consisting of a matching bracelet, brooch, necklace, earrings and sometimes a ring
Paste – glass that has been cut and faceted to look like gemstones
Pate de Verre – also called glass paste or poured glass. Glass is ground into a paste, sometimes mixed with colors, placed in a mold and fired in a kiln, resulting in a dense frosted glass piece
Pavé – design term for stones placed so close together you cannot see the surface beneath them (it is “paved” with stones).
Pinchbeck – a gold imitation made from copper and zinc, invented by Christopher Pinchbeck
Prong setting – a setting where the stones are held in place by metal prongs (claw-like “fingers”)
Rhodoid – laminated layers of cellulose acetate, invented by designer Lea Stein’s husband in the late 60s
Russian gold – a coppery, matte antiquey-looking gold finish developed by Joseff of Hollywood in order to cut down on reflections from jewelry in films
Vermeil – silver with a gold plate coating

Where To Shop
You can find collectible vintage jewelry in many places – flea markets, yard sales, antique shops and shows, estate sales, online, auctions, relatives’ attics, etc. With the vast amount of vintage fashion jewelry on the internet, it is tempting (and easy) to buy online. But beware – there are lots of fakes out there, and many are even stamped with the supposed designer’s name. When starting out, I recommend buying pieces in person rather than online, Find a reputable, well-renowned dealer in your area (and in places you are traveling to – do your research well ahead of time). Buying “live” gives you a chance to closely inspect each item, and learn more about it from the seller.

Having said that, I would like to mention that an inexpensive piece presented to you as designer vintage costume jewelry does not necessarily have to be a fake. Many stunning pieces are surprisingly affordable, especially those that were mass-produced.

Inspect The Jewelry
Always make sure to examine each piece closely (with a magnifying glass) and be on the lookout for cracks, scratches, missing pieces, fading, and obvious repairs. Is it of good quality or does it feel flimsy? Are the stones firmly set (and how – prongs? glue?) or are there loose pieces? Prong-set stones are preferable to glued, because the glue can dry over time, causing the stones to come lose. Make sure the clasp works.

Maintenance And Care
When wearing your vintage jewelry, be careful with it and avoid it coming in contact with lotions, hair spray, soap, perfume, etc. (not easy, I know). Clean it with a soft cloth and use a q-tip or very soft toothbrush to get dirt out of hard to reach places. Store the pieces in jewelry boxes (one item per box, unless you have set, in which case I prefer to keep them together) lined with acid-free paper.

I hope I have inspired you to explore the world of vintage fashion jewelry. Even if you don’t want to turn into a full-blown collector, it is a lot of fun browsing for it, testing your knowledge and see if you can pick out a certain designer’s work, and finding a gorgeous item to be enjoyed for decades. And they make beautiful gifts.


Collecting Charms

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

Once you start exploring the world of charms, it’s hard to stop yourself from looking for them everywhere and buying more than you could ever use (which I guess is true of any collection).

The great thing about a charm collection though, is that they are small, light, and wearable, so unlike pottery for example, they are not going to take up a ton of space in your home and just sit on a shelf and collect dust. And even vintage or antique pieces can be very affordable. You can start collecting any type you want, of course, but sometimes, focusing on a particular kind makes things a little bit easier.

Here are a few suggestions:

Vintage Charms

Since charms have been around for thousands of years, there are plenty of them out there, ranging in price from a few dollars to several thousands. Costume jewellery from the last century is a very popular, and varied, vintage category. Decide on a theme (puffy silver heart bracelets, movable charms, coins, good luck charms, etc.) or a certain decade and hunt for charms from that period.

Cracker Jack Charms

Celluloid charms were made in the 1920s-1940s and there are tons of them available on the market. They can be plain (a whitish color) or painted and some even have small gold accents. To make sure that what you’re buying is an actual Cracker Jack, look for a “Cracker Jack” or CJ stamp on the piece, and you may also want to consult an expert before you hand over a lot of cash.

Charms by a Specific Designer

Focus on just one designer and build your collection around that brand. You can go with vintage/antique fashion jewelry – there are plenty to chose from (for example Coro, Hobe, Kramer), or a contemporary designer (Juicy Couture, Rona K, Sydney Evan, Rembrandt charms). Some have been around for a long time and are still in production, such as Raymond Yard, Danecraft, or James Avery, which gives you the best of both worlds.

A Particular Animal

I love elephants, and it seems many other people do too, because you can find a huge variety of elephant charms from almost every time period in every material. Pick a favorite animal and build your collection around that.

A Specific Material

Focus on one particular material, like bakelite, silver, copper, etc. This is obviously a huge category, so you may want to narrow it down to for example silver typewriters, or 14k gold charms from the 1950s.

Where To Find Collectible Charms

These days, anything can be found online, but flea markets, antique stores and shows, estate sales, auctions and yard sales, both at home and in other countries can be great sources. If you’re traveling abroad, read up on the history of charms in that particular country, so you know what to look for (and check out our “Charms in Other Languages” post so you know what they are called in the country you will be visiting).

Also, don’t forget to tell everyone you know about your charm collecting hobby! They make perfect gifts, and we all struggle with what to buy someone for the holidays and other special occasions. This way, your friends and family will know exactly what to get you.