Trends for Spring: Flower Power

Floral designs can be sophisticated and chic
Floral designs can be sophisticated and chic
I have to come clean. I can’t hide it any longer. I have a bad, bad case of Spring Fever! We’ve had a couple of 60 degree, sunny days and I am completely ready to bring out the sandals and shorts! I’m getting way ahead of myself because spring doesn’t really start for another week or so. In some parts of the country there’s still a ton of snow on the ground. Well, just because it’s not quite yet spring officially, doesn’t mean that you can be ready for the warmer weather when it comes to your neighborhood.

Year after year one of the hottest trends for spring is floral inspired looks. This is kind of a no-brainer since flowers are out everywhere at springtime. To be honest, I generally think floral jewelry is for two kinds of females – older women and young girls. However, let me be the first to say that I have been proven wrong (yet again) with this sophisticated and chic flower ring. First of all, it’s just $65. This is a great price for a seasonal piece of quality jewelry. Uniquely elegant, this delicately crafted ring combines contrasting tones of precious metal. That means you can wear it with white and yellow gold, platinum, or silver jewelry – very versatile! A graceful floral design is gorgeously rendered in sterling silver and yellow gold. It’s even kinda sexy!

You don’t even have to give a second thought to, “what earrings will I wear with this ring?” That’s because this ring comes has a matching pair of sterling silver and yellow gold floral earrings. Just like the ring, these striking earrings are unique and very stylish. Delicate floral two-tone silver and gold earrings are a gorgeous combination for any outfit.

Together the ring and earrings combine to create a perfect spring look.

Fashion Advice From: Teachers

Teachers don't have look like schoolmarms!
Teachers don't have look like schoolmarms!

Next to parents, teachers may very well be the most important people in our kid’s lives. They care for them five days a week for almost 10 months out of the year. Teachers can teach us a thing or two about a professional yet easy care style.

I recently sat down with my teacher friend Robin (she’s 37) and asked her about her casual chic style. Here’s what she shared with me:

What’s one piece of jewelry that you think is a “must have”?
Other than my wedding rings, it has to be earrings. I think it’s good to keep earrings classic and simple. I generally stick with smaller diamond or pearl earrings – nothing too dangly or flashy. I want to be taken seriously by parents and co-workers. More conservative jewelry helps me do that. I have a pair of sapphire earrings my husband gave me for my birthday one year that I wear all the time!

Do you ever feel that you slip into the “schoolmarm” look?
Ha! Teaching is fast paced and you have to be ready for anything. So expensive and fancy clothes will just get ruined. No high heels here! I think that be taking fresh fabrics and a more sporty approach keeps me from looking like a fuddy-duddy.

What about necklaces?
Well, long necklaces are problematic. If you lean over students to check their work, you can hit them in the head with a long necklace! I wear a diamond solitaire pendant a lot. It has a shorter chain that keeps it out of the way. I also wear a shorter pearl necklace a lot too.

What about the kids? Do you see any fashion trends popping up in what the kids wear to school?
Well, I am constantly surprised at what parents let their kids wear to school! Seriously, they must be really busy in the morning or have given up the fight. A lot of kids are wearing bright colors and lots of stripes – both are not good for me! Of course girls still love flashy costume jewelry and I have to ask them to put it back in their book bags all the time. I think what I like best about working with young people is their fresh attitude. They mix things up and see the world with optimistic eyes. It’s really the best part of my job – the kids.

3 jewelry essentials for this season

A chunky watch will come in handy this spring. The runways have been full of floaty dresses and pastel prints, but the jewelry that’s poised to become popular in the coming seasons is anything but subtle.

Here are three essentials that every girl should outfit herself with before heading out to frolic in the sunshine.

1. A long statement necklace. You know that we have been singing the praises of statement necklaces for a while, but a long, grounding chain will be key for any ladies who don’t want to look like they wandered off the set of a Disney movie in one of the season’s girlish frocks. Go for a simple thick chain or spice things up with a long layered necklace embellished with gemstones.

2. A chunky watch. We prefer gold watches, because it’s coming back in a big way and has a vintage charm, but if you’re a silver or stainless steel girl, go for it. Just choose a timepiece that will add a hip edge to your more feminine pieces.

3. Bold earrings. If you prefer chiffon or silk ensembles, large earrings with enamel embellishments in floral designs will be the perfect complement to your style. And this season, you can feel free to go as bold as you want (within reason . . . if they’re bigger than your fist you might have taken things a little too far!).

Will Alice in Wonderland inspire a rise in girlish jewelry?

Fans of Alice in Wonderland may sport jewelry similar to that of the heroine.Many moviegoers are excited to see the latest Tim Burton film, Alice in Wonderland, on the big screen.

The director’s stylized take on the timeless tale is sure to inspire the fashion world, and we’re betting that this spring will see a rise in simple and girlish jewelry as a result of the film.

The film follows 19-year-old Alice (Mia Wasikowska) as she makes her way down the rabbit hole for a second time and finds herself embroiled in a subversive plot against Wonderland’s cruel and greedy Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter).

Alice is the epitome of Edwardian grace and simplicity, and as such we expect that she might inspire a few clean-cut and simple ensembles accessorized with classic pearl earrings, a delicate gold locket or a sweet and simple charm bracelet.

In the film itself, Alice sports a sparkling gold charm on a thin gold chain.

If there are any garden parties or casual soirees in your future, channel the sweet and chic literary character’s style for a totally fresh look.

Athletic girls need bling too! Jewelry tips for an active lifestyle

Venus and Serena Williams always look stylish on the court. As the spring approaches and the weather changes across the country, athletes will begin to emerge from the gym and take to the streets, outdoor tracks, tennis courts and golf courses to enjoy the sun and get some fresh air.

If your warm-weather routine involves heading straight from the office to the activity of your choice, it can be a frustrating to fit all of your athletic gear and your work stuff into one bag.

To make things simple for yourself, wear jewelry to work that will look great during the day but be comfortable during your work out.

Because chunky items may get annoying if you jog or play an active sport, stick to delicate necklaces with small charms, so that you won’t have to stick one of your favorite statement pieces in your pocket and risk losing it.

If you plan on burning some major calories in your accessories, it’s best to stick to pieces that are pure silver, gold or platinum. Fillers like nickel may eventually irritate skin, especially if you put in a rigorous workout.

Locket Jewelry Hers and His!

Sterling silver polished locket cufflinks - a great gift!
Sterling silver polished locket cufflinks - a great gift!
The one piece of jewelry that is so incredibly personal to anyone that owns one is a locket. Lockets have been around for hundreds of years and during all that time they have been used for many things. Lockets are generally associated with pendants that are worn on a chain (it keeps the charm close to your heart), but lockets were often used on a ring as well.

Today even men can wear lockets – as cufflinks. Timeless and sophisticated, these elegant cufflinks show of the classic beauty of sterling silver to perfection. Gleaming silver is exquisitely crafted into a dramatically simple design that requires no outside adornment to take away from the pictures he chooses to place inside.

In the past a locket was used to carry around small things that had some value to the wearer. Medicine could be kept inside them as well as poison! Lockets were also used by those who held certain beliefs in herbs and like charms to ward off evil and sickness. The hair (a lock!) or ashes of loved ones was often kept inside a locket as one of many items kept as a keepsake.

Lockets were often used to put a miniature hand painted picture inside. These tiny images of the person inside were very tedious work, but done by an expert artist the result was a beautiful work of art. In the past hundred years or so is when the most popular use for lockets developed so to speak. Placing photographed pictures inside them became their most common use and photos could be had by almost anyone.

The Victorian era was an extremely popular time for the locket. They used the locket for a jewelry piece as much as for their storage capacity. The heart locket was very fashionable. These lockets were made in some very elegant ways. Monogramming a locket was one way to personalize the piece even more. They could be set with gemstones or pearls and the finest metals were used for making them. Although in the past lockets had been made from all sorts of metals such as copper, brass, platinum and silver amongst others. Antique and vintage lockets are very collectible for jewelry lovers.

Lockets are still widely available today and can be bought in many styles. The techniques used for making lockets have improved over time, but they are still delicate, which really only adds to their beauty. They still make as lovely a gift for someone you love as anything you could give them in the way of jewelry.

What’s better than a blanket with sleeves?

Cute Red Enamel Heart Pendant
Cute Red Enamel Heart Pendant
Goodness! This February sure has been a rough weather month for many parts of the country. You may very well be reading this today from the comfort of you home and enjoying a “snow day” from work. Considering all this cold weather, this Valentine’s Day you may be tempted to give one of those “blankets with sleeves” that strangely have sold like hotcakes this year. Well, save your money! Nothing warms the heart and soul like a thoughtful gift of jewelry for Valentine’s Day.

So, instead of frumpy lounge wear, get your sweetheart a gift from the heart. A red enamel heart pendant is just the thing. At just $50, it won’t break the bank either. The round cut diamond on this heart pendant add a special sparkle to any outfit.

The one thing Jewelry and the you-know-what have in common is that they’ll always be the right size (although it is possible that your lady may think the gemstones and diamonds should be bigger!) Do yourself a favor and cross the “will it fit” worries off your list. If your sweetheart has a more sophisticated style, take a look at this freshwater cultured pearl and carnelian bracelet. This chunky bracelet is perfect for daytime wear but will add a touch of sexy red to an evening ensemble too. Can we say “Date Night”?

For the ultimate red jewelry for Valentine’s Day, you have to go for rubies. Get in good with a gift of this ruby sterling silver heart pendant. With 20 bright red rubies, this pendant shows up a dozen red roses any day.

Leaf-shaped jewelry: a fresh look for any season

Leaf-shaped gold jewelry is the perfect addition to your winter ensemble. Leaf-shaped jewelry has been a popular trend in recent months, and for good reason. There are a variety of gorgeous leaf-shaped accessories out there, and they’ll go with your style whether you’re a casual hippie chick or a fierce fashionista.

The unexpected and organic shape is a great way to mix things up if you usually sport traditional hoop earrings or diamond studs, but earring-fanatics are sure to like this cute style as well.

Leaf-shaped earrings look especially great on long-haired ladies, because the metal will flash a bit under your hair, though short-haired girls can choose these to be their statement pieces.

Our favorite kind of leaf jewelry is the uber-realistic gold variety that’s cast from real leaves. They boast tiny, delicate veins and thin, fragile edges. Others cool options have a more solid shape and come in silver, platinum or bronze.

In addition to leaf earrings, look for leaf-shaped embellishments on everything from pendant necklaces and bracelets to belt buckles.

They’re pretty all-year round, but these pieces are the perfect way to add a touch of summer to your wardrobe if you feel stuck in a winter slump.

Combine silver and gold for an edgy look

Silver and gold can be worn together if you like the look. Bear with us here: silver and gold might be the new black and brown. A formerly abhorrent combination that just suddenly looks so right. Kind of like Amy Winehouse and Blake Fielder-Civil.

If you have divided your jewelry box into silver and gold days, now is the perfect time to integrate some of your favorite accessories. Trust us, it will be liberating. Matching all of your jewelry suddenly seems really stuffy and old school, and not in a good way.

We especially like rose gold combined with platinum or silver: it looks funky, warm and like you’re not trying too hard.

For mixing novices, search for a single accessory that combines silver and gold. The one purchase should work with almost all of your other pieces and will hopefully allow you to branch out a little.

For maximum impact, make sure that your mixing looks deliberate. For example, pair a small gold locket with another silver necklace, or wear two bangles in different metals.

The Midal Touch – Cleaning your gold

Dear Leslie,
Is there a difference in the way one cleans white gold from the way one cleans yellow gold?
Toby in Wisconsin

Toby, that depends, to some extent, on whether you are referring to white gold or platinum. To the untrained eye, the two may look similar, but they are different and must be cared for differently.

Wedding RingPlatinum is one of the strongest and most enduring of all metals, it is also one of the heaviest. The production of platinum requires very complex processing techniques that were not available until the end of the 19th century. Moreover, the high melting points of platinum made it very difficult to work with it. It was only with the development of new refining techniques that platinum was made more widely available.

To create white gold, yellow gold is alloyed with other metals, and therefore the gold will always keep the yellowish shade. To give it the “white” look it is dipped in a rhodium liquid chamber that covers it with a white rhodium coat.

Gold RingGTherefore, to fix scratches and cover up dirt on white gold, often all that is needed is a re-dipping, a process of less than three minutes which can be done at most professional jewelers.

In general, however, you can care for white gold and platinum in the same way you would care for normative yellow gold. Grease can be removed with rubbing alcohol, but I would recomend a commercial cleaners and the soft chamois cloth found in hardware stores.

For certain gold jewelry, an ‘ultrasonic’ cleaning machine, available in retail stores, may be appropriate