Announcing the Fairy Tale Wedding Collection, S/S 2011...

I'm very excited to share some of the key pieces from my Spring/Summer Wedding Collection, inspired by fairy tales, the rich embroidery of the medieval and Rococo eras, and the architecture of Versailles...
{click photo caption to be taken to the jewelry}
{Climbing Rose Earrings}
{Diamanta Post Earrings}
{ Dulcinea Earrings}
{Melilot Earrings}
{Yseult Crown Brooch}
The Climbing Rose, Dulcinea and Melilot Earrings were inspired by the golden and pink colors of the inspiration board in this post, while the Diamanta Earrings and Yseult Brooch drew their inspiration from this silver inspiration board.

I'll be adding more designs to the collection in the coming weeks, including some rich necklaces and a hair ornament or two, but I thought there couldn't be a more auspicious date to launch a collection of fairy tale-inspired jewelry than on the day that a real fairy tale royal wedding is occurring :)

Royal Wedding Jewelry: Catherine Wears Cartier & Robinson Pelham

The royal wedding jewelry shining from Kate Middleton (now Her Royal Highness Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) was an understated display of elegance, grace and delicate diamonds.

The Tiara:

The subject of MUCH speculation, Kate 'borrowed' the Halo Tiara from The Queen's coffers, which was made by Cartier in 1936. The Queen's father, then the Duke of York, bought the bauble for the Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York (still with me?), who then gave it to her daughter - then Princess Elizabeth - on her 18th birthday.

Set in platinum, the priceless jewel is made from old and baguette-cut diamonds, with the upper part forming a range of lotus flowers and the lower 'zig-zag' part forming a removable piece that can be used as a bandeau.

No word yet on whether or not Catherine gets to keep it for her own collection - or if it's just a loaner. Stay tuned!

The Earrings:

Kate's understated earrings by Robinson Pelham were a gift from her parents - and were specifically designed to match her tiara. Nice touch.

According to Today Show blogger, The Windsor Knot, the earrings are diamond-set stylised oak leaves with a pear-shaped diamond drop and a pavé-set diamond acorn suspended in the centre.

Inspiration for the design comes from the Middleton family's new coat of arms, which includes acorns and oak leaves. Cool.

The Ring:

Kate's wedding band, which ALMOST didn't make it on her ring finger (nice work, Wills) is a rare band of Welsh gold by Wartski, who also crafted the Welsh gold wedding bands for Prince Charles and Camilla.

Prince William famously declined to wear a ring because he 'doesn't have a taste for jewelry'. It's a happy day. I'll leave this as a rare "No comment".

Overall, we witnessed a delicate diamond display that's in keeping with Kate's understated jewelry style. We'll see how long that lasts now that she has access to The Queen's stash!

Royal Wedding Fashion: Kate Wears McQueen!

I'm over the moon. As I had hoped, Kate or CATHERINE Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, I should say, wore a dress by Sarah Burton, creative director of Alexander McQueen! From Lady Gaga to the future Queen of England, it doesn't get any better for this designer.

"Miss Middleton wished for her dress to combine tradition and modernity with the artistic vision that characterises Alexander McQueen’s work," Clarence House officials released in a statement.

The design includes hand-cut lace flowers hand-engineered onto ivory silk tulle that incorporates rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock silhouettes. French Chanitlly lace and English Cluny lace were used in the Irish Carrickmacross needleword tradition, according to the release.

Catherine also wore an ivory silk tulle veil held in place by the Cartier ‘halo’ tiara, lent to Miss Middleton by The Queen. (more on the tiara soon).

She's Audrey Hepburn meets Princess Grace! G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!

Week 17-Dancing Leaf Necklace

This necklace is my version of a spectacular silver piece in Sharilynn Miller's new book Wire Art Jewelry Workshop. She calls hers the Dancing Man necklace. Since mine was constructed to showcase a gorgeous lampwork glass leaf by Jacqueline Parkes of Gems in Bloom on Etsy and I stink at thinking up clever names, I think I'll call mine Dancing Leaf necklace. :D My necklace is made of bronze wire with paraiba quartz and labradorite as the main stones. It's accented with smaller gems of paraiba quartz, iolite, pearl and chrysoprase that pick up the colors in the leaf.

Week 16-A Bit of Bollywood

Nothing too complicated for this week but I like the bright colors. I think they give these a bit of Bollywood feel. They’re made of bronze wire, purple and red hydro quartz, and peridot briolettes. I used LOS to oxidize them.

Featured in Kentucky Bride Magazine...

A big thank you to Kentucky Bride magazine for featuring some of my jewelry in their Spring 2011 issue! 
 I was thrilled to have my Lys necklace and earrings included in the 
above article on Bridal Fashion Trends of 2011!

The magazine is available through their website and newsstands throughout the state.

Kate Hudson's Engagement Ring Details!

Bling, baby bumps and now - Mrs. Bellamy? Kate Hudson's engagement ring made its dazzling debut with Matt Lauer on the Today Show this morning - and boy is it a doozy. reports the ring is likely a 9-carat rock - which isn't in the Mariah Carey (17-carats) or Beyonce (18-carats) stratosphere, but it's certainly of a caratage befitting the A-list.

The center stone appears to be an emerald-cut gem (actually, it looks a lot like Beyonce's engagement ring) with baguettes on either side set in a white metal - which for this crowd means platinum. One of my favorite Tweeps, Jean from Francesca Fine Jewelry tells me it's worth an estimated $200,000!

Will be on the lookout for more specs, but it's surprising to see such a 'traditional' look on Hudson, who is known as the queen of alternative fashion and boho chic.

Click here to see a video of the big ring reveal.

Kate later told Lauer that wedding plans will be taking a back seat to all things baby, as she's expecting her second child with hubby-to-be, Matt Bellamy, in the next few months. 

Babies, bling and betrothal! Now that's a triumvirate worth babbling about!

What's the 'Key' To Mother's Day? Jewelry

Mother's Day has a  tendency to 'sneak up' on us, right? No matter how much we love our mums and how often we think of them - somehow the Mother's Day holiday comes along and catches all of us, well, empty-handed with no idea what to get the woman who started it all.

So here's a little helper. Get her jewelry instead of that last-minute flower delivery that costs more than starting your own nursery.

Yes, it's my business to talk up the jewelry world, and yes - you've often heard me blather on about how baubles are better gifts than sweater sets and perfume and the like. But, darn it! I'm right!

Jewelry is a lifetime treasure that just means more than a vase full of petals, people (no offense to flowers - you're lovely creatures - all of you).

To that end, I give you the KEY to Mother's Day.

It's trend-worthy (keys are a hot silhouette in celeb circles these days), it's mom-friendly (note, the Mother/Child design element) and it's budget-friendly ($49.95 on JewelClub's Daily Deal today).

Click on the picture for more details. And you can still get FREE SHIPPING in time for Mother's Day (which is MAY 8TH, MAY 8TH, MAY8TH).  Did I mention Mother's Day is Sunday, May 8th?

And if Mom isn't a key kinda gal - here's a link to an entire Mother's Day Sample Sale for your ticket to her good side.

Have at it, jewelry hounds!

Princess Diana's Wedding Jewelry - A Surprise Guest

Forgive me as I dive headlong into a Royal Wedding blogfest this week. I already teared up at the snippet of Barbara Walters' interview of Elton John on Good Morning America this morning - I'm going to be a mess come Friday.

While the rumor mill is buzzing about the guest list (Elton John and the Becks made the cut), the dress designer (Kate, herself, is now in the running) and the honeymoon spot (Lizard Island, Australia) - my heart belongs to the jewelry buzz - of course.

One tear-jerker of a jewelry morsel I uncovered was news that Princess Diana's sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, will wear the late princess's wedding earrings to William and Kate’s big day. The royal stunners each feature a central pear-shaped diamond surrounded by almost 50 smaller diamonds.

According to Today Show blog, The Windsor Knot, the diamond drop earrings were the “something borrowed” worn by Diana to marry Charles and were seen in all their glory when the couple kissed on the Buckingham Palace balcony 30 years ago (they were owned by Diana's mother, Frances Shand Kydd, who died in 2004).

The priceless jewels were flown back from America, where they were featured in the exhibition Diana: A Celebration. Now at Union Station museum and gallery in  Kansas City, the display also includes the late princess's wedding dress and other items from her life.

While all of the Spencer family, including Diana’s other sister Lady Jane Fellowes and brother Earl Spencer, will be attending - royal watchers were shocked to learn that none of them will play a visible role in the ceremony.

A snub of royal porportions? Or a tasteful way to make the day just about William and Kate?  I'm going with the latter. Let's not rub salt in old wounds.

The Types And Significance Of Eternity Rings

Among all the jewelry ornaments, rings stand out because they symbolize the decision of two lovers to step into a new phase of commitment. This is why all rings right from the ones girls receive as fiancées to their wedding rings and even the eternity rings have their own connotation of love and admiration. What is interesting to note is that traditionally, the inexpensive sterling silver jewelry can express what even the most expensive and valuable necklaces and earrings cannot. Such is the value of receiving a ring from the person you love!

Unlike the popular belief, eternity rings are not just meant for two lovers. Instead, they can even be given to each other after marriage while celebrating a milestone. The basic idea is to let the other person know that you are still as true to the commitment as before and would like to renew it for the days to come. In many instances, couples have chosen these rings instead of the conventional bands the bride and groom exchange at their weddings. Their simple elegance and class make them a timeless gift that carries beautiful memories along with them.

These rings generally come in two styles. One is called the full eternity ring style in which the stones cover the whole outer side of the band. This option is good for people who can afford so many stones. However, a much cheaper alternative could be sterling silver rings which have been made into eternity rings. You can also select a more affordable gemstone like zircon, which is available in every color and can’t be told apart from a diamond by a layperson. The disadvantage of the full eternity ring design is that it cannot be given for resizing unless it is remade from scratch. It is, however, considered a much deeper connotation of love than the half eternity ring style.

As the name suggests, in the half eternity ring style, only the top part of the outer circumference of the ring is covered with stones. The available free metal space can be used by the person to have it altered to fit their own size, if need be.

When it comes to professing your love, whether for the first time or at different stages of your relationship, rings and particularly eternity rings cannot be matched. Although other jewelry items like necklaces and earrings are a good gesture to show that you care, they cannot match up with rings when it comes to celebrating intimacy.

Royal Wedding Fever: A Jewelry Cure

Jewelry hounds! The royal wedding countdown is reaching a fever pitch - with rumors swirling, photogs shoving and royal security teams working on overdrive - it will be a miracle if we all survive this phenomenon unscathed.

I am already trying to get a head start on my sleep so I can Live Tweet the proceedings from my spot on the royal sofa at 4AM PST on Friday morning the 29th. You should join me just to keep me from nodding off! Be sure to use #royaljewelry to join the morning mayhem.

But like the rest of the world, I'm just so darned excited for this shindig. With gas prices rising, wars escalating and Donald Trump's hairpiece getting way too much air time - we really need this celebration of true love to lift our spirits, right?

So how do we stop our temperature from rising when new tidbits about Kate's dress designer make the rounds (my money is still on Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton) or the bride herself is spotted buying eyeshadow on the streets of London or The Queen....raises a pinky finger in any direction?

Gawk at jewelry. And royal-inspired jewelry, no less.
Many jewelers have already capitalized on the Princess Diana/Kate Middleton engagement ring phenomenon - but one place, in particular, has already curated an entire assortment inspired by the sapphire stunner heard 'round the world.


Here are few of my favs but you can click here to see their entire stash. - many that look just like Kate's rock.

And feel free to page through some of my previous royal posts featuring crown jewels from around the world. The Swedish Royal Wedding is one of my favs.

Ok then, jewelry hounds and royal watchers. Seven days and counting. Stay with me next week as I post all the jewelry and fashion-related royal wedding tidbits I can get my paws on. Because reality is underrated.

Bronze Bracelets and Patinas

I've had some questions about how to patina the phosphor bronze wire that I now carry in my Artfire shop. Here are three different Viking knit bangles that I made showing three different options. I love all of these finishes so it's really a matter of personal preference. The first one is the shiny bright wire just as it comes off the coil. I really didn't even need to run this through the tumbler.

The second bracelet with the squiggle clasp got a light patina using JAX Brown-Black Darkener although I'm sure the Midas brand that Rio carries would work the same. This solution is clear and the color develops slowly so it's possible to have much more control than with LOS. When using this type of patina it's important that your metal be well cleaned first to remove any oils that might interfere with the patina. One of my metalsmithing instructors insists on cleaning hers with a toothbrush and soap or scouring powder. But I've found that a run through the tumbler with a little dishsoap or burnishing powder does the job as well. I left this one in the solution until it got a slightly aged look, then rinsed it. I didn't use any steel wool or remove any of the patina.

The third example uses LOS which works beautifully on clean bronze. This got quite dark as you can see in the crevices and I did use 0000 steel wool to buff off some of the patina from the high spots.

Week 15-Bronze and Turquoise Earrings

I finally had a chance to sit down and actually make something with my supply of bronze wire. The lacy edging on these earrings was inspired by Yati Salem. The brios and dangles are turquoise and they're topped with a 4mm pearl. I haven't added a patina to these but I kind of like this wire shiny.
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