Few things are as symbolic of Christmas in American culture as Santa traveling across the dark winter sky in his sleigh pulled by reindeers. He supposedly travels from the North Pole and delivers packages all over the world, although his home base varies depending on where you live: in Denmark, everybody knows he lives on Greenland, in Finland, he calls the mountain Korvatunturi home, and a few years ago, a Swedish company determined that Kyrgyzstan would be the ideal location for him, based on the rotation of the earth and where the majority of people are located.
Although in Sweden, he doesn’t arrive by sleigh at all; he walks, knocks on the door and comes in and hands out gifts in person. And in Holland, Sinterklaas arrives by boat from Spain. Regardless of what you believe, the image of Santa and his sleigh is a compelling one, and for today’s post, I have selected some of my favorite sleigh charms:
Everyone is releasing new items and holiday collections this time of year, and Pandora is no exception.
Their new holiday collection is all about glitz and glam, and I really like it. New beads include five new Pave beads – round beads pave set with glittering cubic zirconias in different colors (clear, blue, black, brown and pink), and a sterling silver Christmas stocking bead. (more…)
As usual, autumn is zipping by at the speed of light, and it’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is only a week away… Time to get gift lists in order and start shopping!
Trollbeads released their latest holiday collection, and I have to say, it’s one of my favorites to date. There is a little bit of everything – cute, gorgeous, blingy and fun.
The new glass beads include 2 limited edition collections, one in traditional red, white and green and one in a more subdued white, gold and black color scheme. There is also 1 new glass diamond bead, the “ice blue” – acrisp aqua with 13 cubic zirconias, designed by Lise Aagaard.
And these (below) made me smile the first time I saw them: adorable dangle Christmas ornament glass beads – how cute are they?! I could see putting a base bracelet in a gift box and tying one (or more – they are sold both as single charms and in sets of three) of these to the ribbon. Wouldn’t that be a great gift presentation?
Sterling Silver Beads
The new silver beads include the round “winter snow” and “Christmas rose” beads, cute penguin and polar bear beads, both with babies, a bead with a family of seals, the “pebbly” winter berries bead, the (in my opinion) rather oddly shaped Bougainvillea bead (which also comes in a gold version, with diamonds), the softly shaped heart and the adorable Christmas Tree bead (which is assembled in quite a clever way).
They are also introducing their first bangle bracelets, which come in sterling silver in four different sizes, and I know is something many have been waiting for.
A nice new collection, and, as is most often the case with Trollbeads, pretty affordable as well (perhaps with the exception of the gold Bougainvillea bead). Happy shopping!
Trees have held a special meaning for people since ancient times, and bringing evergreens indoors during winter is something that has long been practiced in many cultures. In some countries, they were thought to keep evil spirits, illness and ghosts at bay; in some they were symbols of deities, and in others, they were simply a reminder that summer – and another growing season – would return.
The Christmas tree as we know it is thought to have begun in the southern parts of 15th century Germany, where people brought fir trees indoors and decorated them with apples. The trees were an important part of the Winter Solstice celebration, and they were believed to keep evil spirits away (who were supposed to be particularly active on Christmas eve). Apples later turned into ornaments, and Martin Luther (the Protestant reformer) is credited with contributing the tradition of adding lights. The custom spread through Europe, but did not reach the US until the early 1800s, and even then, many here regarded them as pagan symbols. It wasn’t until the early 1850s, when a slightly doctored print of of Queen Victoria and her family (in order to “Americanize” them, Prince Albert’s mustache and the Queen’s tiara were removed) with their decorated Christmas tree was published in the US that the Christmas tree became popular.
There is also an interesting variation on the story on how the Christmas tree came to be: the story of St. Boniface. St Boniface was Christian missionary in Germany in the 600-700s, everyone agrees to that, but the thoughts on his impact on the Christmas tree tradition varies. Some say he cut down fir trees in the woods of Thüringen and used their triangular shape to demonstrate the trinity, and the people in the area started bringing the trees indoors, although they hung them upside down from the ceiling. Some claim that when St. Boniface returned to Germany after an absence, he found that the locals had revered to their pagan winter celebrations, which included the sacrifice of a young man under Odin’s oak tree. Enraged, he cut down the oak with a single blow of an axe, which impressed and scared the people. As the oak fell, it had narrowly missed a small fir tree, and when the frightened people asked St. Boniface how they should celebrate, he pointed to the fir and told them to bring such a tree, which symbolized immortality and peace, into their homes.
Today, a Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday in many countries across the world, even some that are not mainly Christian. They certainly add an unmatched coziness to the celebrations, and every time I walk into a home with a decorated and lit Christmas tree, I feel like a child again – that happy excitement and expectation you always had for weeks (or even months) leading up to the big event.
Now that we’re properly educated on the subject , here are some recent favorite Christmas tree charm finds:
Trollbeads just announced their new winter collection which is very much inspired by the upcoming holidays.
The collection consists of:
6 new beads – a mistletoe (which comes in gold and silver), a gold bead with interlinked hearts, a silver teddy bear, a blue glass bead with cubic Zirconias, and a tiger eye glass bead
1 new clasp – sterling silver with a small 18k gold heart
Two limited edition glass bead sets, one blue, gold and white and one in red, gold and green.
The company also recently released two new additions to their Universal Uniques line – one black and one white glass bead, each set with 13 cubic Zirconias.
There is currently a contest going on, where you can win beads from the winter collection by sending postcards (real ones, not virtual). It does involve quite a bit of work: to enter, you need to register for the contest at Trollbeads Universe, you will then get a special ID number (and a lottery ticket) and the addresses of 5 other Trollbeads fans. Then, you have to go to a Trollbeads store and pick up their official Christmas cards, write a greeting and your ID on them, and send them out to the 5 people whose addresses you received when you registered. So others will be sending you cards as well, and every time you receive one, you need to log onto Trollbeads Universe and record the ID number of the person who sent you the card. This will get you additional lottery tickets. A nice idea since getting cards and letters in the mail is getting increasingly rare.
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:
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”).
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.
There are three new charms, all in sterling silver with Tiffany blue enamel, and all holiday themed: a reindeer, stocking and hat.
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.
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).
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…
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).