Teeny, tiny, little lapis pieces.

I am often in awe of jewelry that is not necessarily right for me. When it comes to picking out jewelry for myself, I go for the miniature and impossibly delicate. That’s kind of sad for me because I also love all things lapis. That gorgeous stone — like pieces of the night sky.  I never tire of looking at it.  Lapis has a funny habit of being invited into bigger and bolder pieces. (Perhaps, that is because it is a fairly soft stone and it is more durable in bigger chunks.)

This last weekend, my husband and I made a stop at the Union Street Festival in San Francisco.  There, among the many booths of handmade goods, food, and services, I found this little gem:

Beautiful Lolabean lapis bracelet.

Beautiful Lolabean lapis bracelet.

Tiffany Rodgers Bean of Lolabean makes many sweet, delicate items and it is worth checking out her other work.  With this piece, I love being able to have my favorite stone showcased so simply and in just the right amount.

What can I say?

Here, I so often try to find new things to say about design elements that speak to me. Sometimes, I just want to just share something I’ve found and say, “Hey, I love that. I would wear that.”

But, really, shouldn’t I say more? Shouldn’t I say why? You know, it’s just not that easy. It’s easier to speak of lovely technique or innovation but it’s harder to say why something just strikes a chord.

Among the lines of jewelry that cause words to fail me is the work of Erin Jane.

White Jade NecklaceLong White Jade Necklace

So, about this, I can scare up a few words.  As I’ve said before, one of the things I most appreciate in jewelry design is when the designer really makes necessary components do some of the aesthetic heavy-lifting.  Jane has done this here with the silver band connecting the pendant to the chain.  With this little maneuver, she’s cleverly elevated the design from what could of have been a much more forgettable necklace.

Gold Bracelet with White Topaz (2)Gold Bar Bracelet with White Topaz

Nice. Clean. Simple.

Chocolate Diamond NecklaceChocolate Diamond Three Stone Bar Necklace

I didn’t write fast enough.  This has sold.  It’s beautiful, though, and maybe she’ll make more.  I love dots.  I love mixed metal.  This is no brainer.  Love it.


Hello All:

I had meant to announce the hiatus of the B + C blog.  I really had.  But, like so many things, it got away from me.  I just didn’t write anything for weeks and weeks with no explanation.  So, now, with great delay, here is my story.

In my other life, I am an attorney.  I work in California but I am licensed in Ohio.   My current job, for various reasons, does not require a California license.  Nevertheless, I got it in my silly little head to become licensed in California.  So, over the last several months, I invested a great deal of time, energy, and sanity that I could ill afford to spend to take the dreaded California Bar Exam.  I won’t know until November 16th if it all has paid off.  Wish me luck.

All that said, I have missed this activity and all that it represents for me — the looking at jewelry; the thinking about jewelry; the writing about jewelry; and the making of jewelry.  It is my life-line to the creative world.  Soon new, full blog posts will be coming.  In the meantime, check out these fun Etsy finds!

Concrete Facts

DrCraze is doing some amazing things with an unusual jewelry material — concrete.  By filling in his pieces with pigmented concrete, he creates an effect that is somewhere between enamel and mosaic.  The results are clean, colorful designs.

Golden Orange Bracelet

Olive Green Concrete Teardrop Necklace

Pink Ruby Heart Necklace

These and other pieces are available in the DrCraze Etsy store.

The Year of the Dragon

The Chinese New Year was on January 23, 2012.  This year is powerful in the Chinese zodiac — the year of the Dragon.  In honor of this, I went on a hunt for an elusive beast — tasteful dragon-themed jewelry.  Fortunately, I am happy to report that it exists!

So, to all my dear Dragon friends, Happy New Year — make it a great one!

A Man and His Jewelry

Ok, so I’m going to out myself.  I think it’s healthy if I just go ahead and say it.  Here it goes: I am obsessed with Russell Brand.   I am not proud of it.  I am not proud that, at 36 years old, I am obsessed with a celebrity like a teenager.  But, I tell you this, if I had a locker, it would have his picture on it.  Recent events, have put him in the news all the more and, while I am sad for him and his marriage, it has served to feed my obsession.

(To my dear husband, I love you and I am sorry about all this.)

I could go and go and about what I like about Russell Brand (for one thing he’s incredibly bright) but I won’t.  I will get to the point.  Russell Brand is a man who wears jewelry.

Here’s Russell Brand in a People magazine photo. A man and his jewelry.

I’ve attempted to do a little research into the designers that he wears but the information is spotty and dated.  So, rather than take the risk of misinformation, I will allow Russell Brand’s jewelry-laden style to be the inspiration for a post to showcase some awesome jewelry for men that can be found on Etsy.

Mala Beads

I’ve decided to mine the area of spiritual and religious jewelry for posting topics.  As I sat down to consider this, I realized that there was much to say — anything from rosary beads to the spiritual uses of semiprecious stones might qualify.  But, one thing at a time.  I’ll enter this topic area with mala beads and the mala makers of Japa Mala Beads.

“Mala” is most simply defined as a string of beads used in praying or meditating.  Typically, a full mala is 108 beads and, therefore, long enough to be worn around the neck. The smaller ones, that can be worn around the wrist, typically consist of 27 beads — a quarter of a full mala. The beads are used to count prayers or mantras during meditation and to assist in focus.  Japa Mala’s website provides some useful information about how to use a malas.

We have seen mala bracelets worn as accessories for some time.  The newest wave of this trend started about 10 years ago.  However, malas are spiritual tools first; spiritual reminders second; and jewelry last.  I suspect, although I don’t know, that malas were initially worn around the neck or wrist as a way to simply carry them around.

Japa Mala provides a very nice selection of handmade malas — full and for the wrist.  They use a wide range of materials — both in type and scale — and have something to appeal to everyone.

Good Fortune

Did you ever see the show, The Riches?  It didn’t last very long but, in my opinion, it should have.  It had a group of great actors including the hilarious Eddie Izzard and the talented Minnie Driver.  In short, the show is about a family of grifters who find themselves impersonating members of a wealthy family.  For a time, it appears that they are going to get away with it and Minnie Driver’s character muses, “What are we going to do with all this good fortune?  What are we going to do with all this good fortune?”  Under the circumstances, it’s a funny question for the character to ask but, really, it’s a good question for most of us.

Make no mistake, I’m a lucky lady.  I have a wonderful husband; entertaining, loyal friends and family; and beautiful pets.  I had the opportunity to be educated and I have a good job.  I have a roof over my head in the best city in the world, if I do say so myself.  Lucky.  Fortunate.  Still, I spend a lot of time thinking about what I am going after next and what my perfect life would look like.  One of the things that comes to my mind in my afternoon reveries is how awesome it would be to be a full time, successful jewelry designer.  Almost immediately, I start to bargain with the Universe.  “Dear Universe, if I were ever able to live that life, I promise to give back more.  I promise to do something with all that good fortune.”

I went looking for an example of a jewelry designer who has turned personal good fortune into fortune for others.  There are many great examples of corporate giving from jewelry companies and of jewelry artists supporting their favorite charities.  But, in my search, it didn’t take long to find Joan Hornig and her strikingly charitable style.  As her website states:

Her model of giving 100% of the profits on each piece to the purchaser’s charity of choice challenges women to use beauty and fashion in a new way.

Joan’s jewelry is meant to be noticed and talked about as it carries the all important message that philanthropy is beautiful, personal and worth promoting.

Joan Hornig

Joan has turned her obvious good taste and knack for design into a vehicle for good.  Harvard and Columbia educated, Joan knew what to do with all her good fortune.

While we’re at it, let us not forget that Joan Hornig can help her customers support deserving charities because she makes desirable jewelry.  I have to admit that I was not previously aware of Hornig’s work but it is truly something to behold.  She is confident and assertive in her approach to modern design.  There are also lots of nice, little touches that one notices the more that one looks.  Note, for example, the clasp on the daring garnet necklace.

We should all be grateful to Joan Hornig for her good works and beautiful design.

This Post is Not About Jewelry

That’s not exactly true.  This post is a window into my jewelry fixated mind.  I have collected some images of things that, to me, suggest personal adornment (i.e. should be jewelry — but are not).

I realized a long time ago that my mind is always altering what I see around me.  Somewhere in the back of my head, I am always playing with space and scale and imaging how else things might be put together or altered.  I am not saying I do it well — but it happens unbidden all of the time. Often, but not always, that takes the form of imagining how I might wear what I am seeing in the form of, say, a pendant or a bracelet.  It’s just a thing my brain does.

There is something about photographic or scientific equipment that seems so sophisticated in design that it suggests it a sleek, cosmopolitan piece of jewelry. This, for example, I can imagine as the inspiration for a brooch or a pendant.  I suppose, in general, I love clear glass in jewelry.

To some extent, the use of old lenses and pieces-parts of old equipment is covered by the steampunk folks.  I’ll admit to not being the biggest of steampunk fans, although there are some artists out there doing it really well.  To extent that steampunk doesn’t speak to me, that may be because the materials that are often used are put into a context that I find incongruous.  I do understand that that is the whole point.  Conceptually, though, it just hits a wall in my head. The whole distressed, vintage-y thing (the steam in the steampunk) with modern items only goes so far with me.  I suppose I always want to see the modern realized.

I love stripes, polka-dots, and other tight, repetitive patterns.  While all plants seem to be fodder for jewelry designers everywhere — from patterns to actual casts of plant life — there is something about vines and ivy in particular.  I think they speak to me with their closely repeating pattern of leaves.  I find them the perfect inspiration for chains, cuff bracelets, and beaded jewelry.  Nature has a way of creating the perfect rhythm in a pattern — big, small, and just the right amount of variation in space.

I think fire can be strongly evocative of good design.  It has movement and light and interacts with the space around it.  Under good conditions and not destructive ones, it improves the space it is in with warm light.  Good jewelry design, with nicely set stones, can seek to do the same.  It can create movement, catch and reflect light, and make everything more beautiful.

Reflections of Architecture

It is my impression that jewelry designers are frequently influenced by architectural details. I suppose it’s funny that things so different in scale can reflect each other — aesthetic principles at their largest and smallest.  For some reason, though, this interplay does seem to happen.  I, for one, often see an old window and think it should be the setting for a stone or that the contours of a piece of crown molding could be the pattern on a bracelet.

There are lots of great examples of the juxtaposition of jewelry and architecture.  Here are two.  They range from the “inspired by architecture” end of the spectrum to the actual depiction of an interesting building.

Architectural Geometric Bangle - by Kat

This sleek bangle is available in Kat’s Etsy store, aeliodesign.  I see so much in this piece that references architecture, furniture, and just larger space in general.  I see an atrium, a column, and even a funky, retro coffee table.

Amsterdam Necklace - by Laurie Poast

This miniature building, by Laurie Poast, is available in her Etsy store, ARTISANIEeurope.  This adorable piece, of course, is more directly influenced by architecture.  The little building is just beautifully rendered with just the right amount of detail to give it character.