Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bracelets and Bangles

Bracelets and Bangles
Bracelet“an ornamental band or circlet for the wrist or arm” 
The history of bracelets is as old as 5000 BCE during the time of the Egyptians. The earliest bracelets were crafted from bones, stones and woods to serve religious and spiritual needs. With time and with the improvement in metal working, arm bands or armulets, and bracelets worked from gold andset with the finest gemstones began to appear.

The origin of the term 'bracelet' is from the Latin 'brachile' meaning 'of the arm', via the Old French 'barcel'.

Bangle“a rigid, ring-shaped bracelet usually made without a clasp so as to slip over the hand” 
Bangles are circular in shape and are worn as a wrist ornament. The word derives from the Hindi word ‘bungri’, which means ‘glass’. Bangles are not flexible like most bracelets. Bangles are made of a variety of materials including glass, metal and gemstone encrusted gold. They are worn in pairs, one or more on each arm by Hindu women as a sign of matrimony. It is a tradition for the bride to wear as many small glass bangles as possible at her wedding, because the honeymoon does not end until the last glass bangle breaks.

Throughout history bracelets have been a popular ornament of personal adornment.

Bracelets dating back to Roman times used motifs that remain popular today. Roman jewelry motifs included balls, knots, snakes and lion’s heads and were hand crafted from high karat gold. The Romans also borrowed traditional Greek motifs including palmettos, fleeing dogs and acanthus leaves in the design of their jewelry. Stones and glass beads and cabochons were often used to decorate the gold. Gemstones were commonly set in eyes, leaf and berry bracelets were heavily adorned with decorative glass, and open bands were cut out to represent a row of ivy entwined with pearls. Wealthy Roman women often owned emerald set bracelets and layered these with their other bracelets as a show of wealth and status.

The Georgian Era (1714-1811) was a period of elegance in the British Empire and bracelets became a very popular accessory. Gold, gemstones, pearls and diamonds were used heavily during this period. 
After 1920 coral became popular and was integrated into the jewelry designs. It was very fashionable to wear many bracelets at once, including wide gold ribbon mesh bracelets, and silk ribbon bracelets.

The Victorian Era (1837- 1911) saw stark changes to women’s fashion. In contrast to the dark, rigid and buckled up look of the clothing earrings grew long and dangled, bracelets were normally worn in pairs and the buckle bracelet became very popular. The jewelry of the Victorian era expressed sentiment, and bracelets were no exception. Bracelets would contain lockets or charms with pictures or the hair of a loved one, and engravings were common. Victorian’s also enjoyed jewelry with hidden meanings. Acrostic bracelets, where the first letter of each gemstone spelled a word of friendship were very popular. For example a bracelet set with Lapis, Opal, Vermeil [actually hessonite garnet] and Emerald would spell Love. 

The Art Nouveau period (1880’s to 1914) once again saw changes to fashion and jewelry. With the dawn of a new century came a reflection back to earlier times and to a celebration of the natural world. 
Chameleons and serpents entwined themselves around bracelets. The mystical Egyptian scarab was found on bracelets and rings. Other popular creatures included dragonflies, butterflies, bees, peacocks, swans, and even bats. 
If jewelry did not depict creatures it depicted flower blossoms or flower buds.

Bracelet styles have become an individual fashion statement and in many case a trend. 

From 1950 to 1970 simpler lines, more flexible designs and delicate and dainty bracelets were vogue. From the 1970s to the present, bracelet fashions have been mixed and varied. Gold has always remained popular, as have gemstones and pearls. Sterling silver has become popular because it was recognized for its affordable price, versatility and wearability. During the twentieth century we saw many bracelet trends.
Do you remember…Charm Bracelets, POW-MIA Bracelets, ID Bracelets, Friendship bracelets, Slap Bracelets, Power Bracelets, Cuffs or Slave Bracelets, and Jelly Bracelets to name a few? 

The hottest trend today......the return of Frienship Bracelets!

Those stacks of colored bracelets encompassing wrists fall of 2010 are affectionately called “Friendship Bracelets”. Traditional Friendship Bracelets appeared in the early 1970’s and were popularized by teenagers, and by the early 1980’s by pop stars like Madonna. These early versions of friendship bracelets grew directly out of traditional Central American knot craft and hand weaving traditions. 

According to indigenous tradition, the recipient of a friendship bracelet must wear it until the cords wear out and the bracelet falls off naturally. The idea is that the friend paid for the gift with hard work and it was love that made it. In turn, the recipient repays the friend by honoring the work and the love by wearing it until it falls off. Removing the bracelet before it naturally falls off is a sign that the friendship has gone sour. 

Today these colorful collections of threads, beads and found objects all have a common purpose; they symbolize the love you have for your cherished friends. Traditional friendship bracelets were woven from embroidery floss to mimic traditional Central American textile arts, but today friendship bracelets are made from every imaginable material and can be purchased at every price point. 

Fashion Designers like Juicy Couture and Jewelry Designers like Chan Lu and Links of London have even gotten in on the trend. The charm of friendship bracelets lies in the social exchange and the sharing of affection. Whether you macramé threads, string beads, or knot found fibers create some inspired bracelets for your friends and share the love. 


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Upcycled Jewelry Inspiration

Cleaning out the house to get ready to move I was reminded how many unexpected places one can fine materials for jewelry-making.  There are so many things right in our own homes that can easily be transformed into interesting components.  Here are some interesting images to inspire you.


Brooches or pins are a wonderful accent for a winter coat, hat, sweater or even a handbag or tote bag. A cute example is this good old fashioned zipper transformed into a fun flower brooch.

Zippers come with teeth made of metal or plastic and each style and type of zipper comes with a complete range of colored tapes and colored teeth.

Zippers also come in a variety of widths, with various sizes of teeth and style of zipper pull. All this variety adds interest to this remarkable upcycled material. Also try making rings and necklaces with old zippers.

Another unexpected basement find is the metal washer.  Washers come in a complete range of sizes and are most often silver in tone.  Brass washers can also be found if a gold tone is more your style.

Using decorative papers like wallpaper, origami paper or stamps or vintage fabrics like kimono fabric, lace or even printed silk handkerchiefs you can transform washers into fantastic pendants by decoupaging the paper or fabric to one or both sides.

Several carefully layered coats of Modge Podge or other clear drying coating can be transformational!


Ever wondered if there was something to do with wine corks besides making trivets and cork boards?  If you're like me I have made and given these as gifts over the years.

Now why not make cork beads?  These are a brilliant solution for making one-of-a-kind jewelry.  Try making slices of cork in various widths and layer them with other beads and/or spacers to make fun and easy earrings.  Cork beads could be integrated into other jewelry or home decorating items as well.

Instead of tossing out the puzzles or board games with missing pieces transform them into quirky jewelry. 

Puzzle pieces coated with a clear drying coating like Modge Podge or Krylon Clear Coat make cute earrings, or charms and dangles on necklaces and bracelets. 

The sweet little tokens or tiles from old board games also make great jewelry-making components.  Don't forget about old scrabble tiles and the tokens from Monopoly.


Candy and gum wrappers were a popular medium for making crafts when I was a kid. 

Dum Dum suckers have brightly colored, waxy wrappers that are perfect for folding into links to make retro bracelets like this.

Some sticks of gum still come with shiny metallic paper wrappers that are perfect for making  shiny versions of these old school bracelets. 

I was astonished when I saw this creative use for old colored pencils. 

Carefully cut into beads with tiny holes drilled with a Dremel drill these colored pencil beads are perfect for making fun and funky jewelry.  Not only are these beads good for bracelets and necklaces but imagine how cute they would be as earrings?

Have you ever used recycled or upcycled objects to make unexpected jewelry or jewelry components? 

We love to hear about your creations!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Matching Earrings to Face Shape

Finding the right pair of earrings to complement the shape of your face is like finding the perfect pair of jeans. It may be challenging, but when you find the perfect pair of earrings they will flatter every angle of your face.

The round face is as wide as it is long, with the greatest width falling at the cheekbones.

The Earring 
Long and streamlined styles work best with the round face shape.

Round faces are naturally youthful and soft and are ideal for wearing long, vertical styles--especially dangles, drops, narrow chandeliers and ear threads. Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and choose rectangles, trapezoids and other long, vertically angular designs. Any style that draws attention to a strong vertical line will be flattering for a round face. 

The oval shaped face has a forehead that is the same width as the cheeks and then narrows to the chin.

The Earring 
Almost anything, though it is best to avoid earrings that dangle past your chin as this makes your face appear too long.

Oval faces can wear almost any shape or style of earring, if the designs are in proportion to your face. Avoid styles that are overly long, as they will lengthen the oval face. Echo the oval face with hoops, hoops in circles, chandeliers and other soft, curving designs using open link chain, teardrops and go-gos--or dramatically set off the oval face with triangle-shaped earrings.

The heart shaped face has a forehead that is wider than the cheeks and narrows to the chin.

The Earring
Shaped opposite the shape of your face -- wider on the bottom than the top.

With a distinctive shape and killer cheekbones, heart-shaped faces require earrings with more detailing at the bottom than at the top. This face needs jewelry that adds width at the level of the chin, so use horizontal lines of hoops, teardrops, curves, triangles and other dangling space-filling designs. Avoid small posts and any long narrow earring styles.

The diamond shaped face has a forehead and chin that are both narrower than the cheekbones.

The Earring
To complement the natural beauty of your cheeks and jawline, go for earrings that are wide.

Diamond-shaped faces can wear almost any shape or style of earring, if the designs are in proportion to the face. Add width to a pointy jaw line with dangling earrings with teardrops, pear-shaped or triangle drops. Echo the diamond-shaped face with dramatic and angular styles using triangles or soften the look of the diamond-shaped face with hoops.

The square shaped face has a forehead, jawline and chin are about the same width. 

The Earring
Earrings that are round or with curved edges or multi-tiered earrings.

The square face is ideal for wearing large oval hoops, long drop and narrow chandelier earrings. Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and choose long narrow designs. This face needs jewelry that adds length and camouflages its width, so any styles that create an illusion of length will be flattering for a square face. Avoid short post (button) style and wide chandelier styles.

The rectangular shaped face is similar to the square shape, but is longer in overall length.

The Earring
Thick or wide earrings with rounded edges like hoop earrings are a great choice.

Since the rectangular shaped face is naturally elongated with an angular jaw button, fan and round earrings are excellent choices to help widen your face.  Keep in mind that opposites attract for this face shape and chose large rounds, curves, crescents and other wide, space-filling designs. This face needs jewelry that adds width and camouflages its length, so any styles that create an illusion of width will be flattering for an oblong/rectangular face.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

All About Earrings Styles

Stylish earrings are essential for putting the finishing touches on your wardrobe. Whether you prefer a simple stud or a dramatic chandelier, earrings are a simple way to accessorize your wardrobe. Because our faces are our communication centers it is important to think about how to draw attention there. 

Using earrings to draw attention to your face helps focus attention.  The four basic earring styles are the Stud, the Drop, the Chandelier and the Hoop. 

Stud Earrings

Stud earrings are a timeless, versatile choice with a decorative element that appears to float on the front of the earlobe. Any element can be attached to a post that goes through the ear. 
An earring back is used to hold the earring in place. Clip on earrings can be used to achieve the same look when the ear is not pierced.  


Drop Earrings

Regal and feminine, drop earrings dangle straight down from the ear. This style of earrings can vary in every imaginable way.  

Dangle earrings can vary in material, style, design, and can even range in length from an inch to nearly shoulder length.  Dangle earrings suspend from the ear with one of a variety of types of ear wires.   

Chandelier Earrings

This style of earring is elegant, feminine, and boldly dramatic. This Chandelier earrings hang from the earlobe with several levels cascading to a point an inch or two (or more) below the ear. 

Chandelier earrings can be all metal or can be embellished with a variety of beads, gemstones, pearls or other materials. Design and style choices are endless.

Hoop Earrings

These retro favorites have come back into style, available in a wide array of sizes and thicknesses. Large, thin hoop earrings exude a young and trendy look, while smaller hoops make a more reserved and elegant statement. 

Hoop earrings can be made with solid metal or strung with beads, studded with gemstones or wrapped with wire or fibers.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Matching Necklaces to Necklines
A Guide for Dressing Up Your Fall Wardrobe

Unique, one-of-a-kind necklaces are must-have items when accessorizing your wardrobe. Whether you prefer bold, chunky, single or layered, handmade necklaces are a very personal way to dress up your wardrobe. If you are not sure which necklace length works best with different necklines this guide is sure to help.

Because our faces are our communication centers it is important to think about how to draw attention there. Using a necklace to compliment your neckline helps create a strong focal point, drawing the eye up to face. Some classic yet contemporary necklines include the button-up collared shirt, boatneck, crewneck, scoop neck, v-neck and the turtleneck.

Boat Neck

Boat-neck tops feature a sharp neckline that goes straight across the collarbone, from shoulder to shoulder. Shorter necklace lengths are flattering with this neckline, especially ones with some substance.

Chunky gemstones, lucite or big wood all lend themselves to jewelry that will accentuate a boat neck top, sweater or dress.


The classic button-up shirt looks great with a variety of necklace lengths and styles. A crisp white shirt is made glamorous by adding a layered metal necklace outside of the collar. A short, scattered gemstone necklace peaking out from inside the collar adds a subtle touch of sophistication. For a more conservative look or for business attire, try a simple pendant on a chain, or a classic strand of knotted pearls.

Crew Neck

Clean lined necklaces are a classic addition to this all-American style. Whether you are accessorizing a crew neck tee or crew neck cashmere sweater accessorize for the occasion. Longer necklaces or layered necklaces work particularly well with this neckline. Remember short necklaces tend to hide behind the fabric of the top, sweater or dress with a crew neck so be sure to match the length to the neckline.

Scoop Neck

This feminine neckline is ideal for delicate necklaces like a simple strand of pearls, or a small pendant on a small chain. Creating your own pendant from a special bead and then suspending it from a simple chain is a wonderful way to dress up a scoop neckline. Dress up exposed skin as simply or as ornately as you wish. Necklace lengths worn with a scoop necked garmetn always look best sitting at the collarbone or just below.

V-Neck and Plunging V-Neck

There are a variety of options for these distinct necklines. Layered strands and necklaces with pendants highlight the neck and collarbone. Longer pieces highlight the cleavage when wearing a plunging v-neck. Longer necklaces, including lariats, are a sexy option for the plunging v-neck as they lead the eye toward the cleavage. Make certain that the necklace lands 1/2 - 1 inch above or below the base of the V, so it doesn't hide behind the fabric.

Tie Front

With its high neckline and whimsical tie at the neck, this stylish blouse or dress has an ultra-feminine feel. Worn alone or with a sweater or jacket this style transitions easily from work to business dinner. Adding a necklace is a quick way to dress up your outfit. Add some dimension to the tie front blouse by adding a long, chunky necklace. Nuggets of gemstone wire wrapped with precious wire make a bold yet super feminine statement.


The turtleneck is a winter favorite that can seem utilitatarian if not dressed up for work or play. The best options for turtlenecks or other high-neck looks are long necklaces and even the ultra-long opera length necklace.  Long layers of chain, long multi-strand necklaces made from natural materials, or even a super long strand of freshwater pearls are fun accents for any turtleneck shirt or high collared blouse or dress. If you're wearing a chunky turtleneck sweater make sure that your necklace has substance so it doesn't get lost in the fabric.

Embellished Necklines

Clothing with lots of detail including beading, ruffles, and lots of draping don’t need any extra embellishment. Avoid wearing a necklace with these styles and accessorize with stack of bracelets or bold earrings. Just remember your jewelry choices, like your wardrobe choices are a reflection of your personal style. Choose things you absolutely love and you will feel confident no matter the occasion.