Monday, February 25, 2013

Understated Jewelry Looks Top Style On The Oscars 2013 Red Carpet

Charlize Theron symbolized the understated luxury jewelry styles worn on the Oscars 2013 Red Carpet:  The actress wore unassuming but large Harry Winston diamond stud earrings and multiple diamond bracelets on both arms, Wonder Woman style.

The luxury jewels magnificently showcased her white Dior strapless gown featuring a peplum embellished with crystals.  She didn’t wear a diamond necklace.

Understated and subdued luxury jewelry looks were the predominant jewelry style worn by most Oscar nominees and presenters walking the Red Carpet. Fantasy diamond jewelry and colored gemstone jewels were rare.

 The actresses'  evening gowns were the focus not the luxury jewels this year. Hollywood jewelry styles for the Oscar Red Carpet in 2013 seemed to be on minimalist side.

Jennifer Lawrence wore a waist-length diamond necklace switched around to her back to accentuate her strapless Dior white satin embossed gown.

Halle Berry eschewed diamonds altogether and wore simple Onyx teardrop earrings to accessorize her Versace Art Deco style black and silver, sequin stripe, gown.

Kerry Washington was sparkling in a Miu Miu gown with a heavily bejeweled and sequined bodice and red satin skirt. I didn’t see any visible earrings on the E! Channel broadcast but she wore a huge Fred Leighton diamond statement ring.

Sally Fields was the other lady in red, wearing a chiffon ballgown.  She wore simple drop solitaire earrings and carried an evening clutch embellished with huge crystals.

Little 9 year old Quenzhane Wallis walked the Red Carpet in an Elizabethan style ocean blue gown with a straight empire neckline and huge puffy sleeves.

Wallis' hair was adorned with a crystal studded headband. The nominee for the ‘Best Actress’ Oscar also carried a whimsical puppy purse.  Queen Elizabeth I also carried a little puppy when strolling…a live one …snuggled into the huge sleeves of her gown.

Jacqueline Durran Wins Oscar for Anna Karenina Movie Costumes

Jacqueline Durran won an Oscar last night for her costume design work on the movie 'Anna Karenina'.  Ms. Durran's Russian Imperial era costumes included multi-million dollar Chanel luxury designer gemstone jewelry for the 2013 movie's main character, played by actress Keira Knightley.

Not Just For Night: Everyday Bejeweled Bedazzling Evening Bags

Gemstones on framed evening bag
Jeweled frame evening bag designed with black pleated fabric

A certified, bonafided "Bad Girl" once masqueraded as a clerk in our office.  But she shockingly revealed her true nature one time at lunch when she pulled a tiny, pink jeweled and beaded clutch out of her basic black tote.

I remember wondering 'What type of woman carries an evening bag as an everyday purse for work?'

Floral ruffled evening bag with chain
Floral ruffled evening bag

Pearl handle evening bag
Pearl handled evening bag

Red crystal heart shaped evening bag
Heart shaped evening bag

I learned alot from the Bad Girl and you can too.  Have you updated your evening bag lately?

Take a fresh look at some of the newer designs for evening bags with huge gemstones, swarkoski crystals, big pearls, colorful feathers and stunning beadwork. 

Beaded multi-color evening clutch

 Look for fresh  new designs from Mary Frances, Pucci, Prada and others.

Whimiscal bejeweled evening bag designs shaped like red lips, insects, fruit, birds, furry animals or other objects are collectible treasures.

Then try the Bad Girl's trick at lunch sometime with your beaded evening clutch when you want to shock someone.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Look South For African Design Inspiration In Jewelry and Other Arts

South African Bashuthu home design
Basotho or Bashuthu exterior paint design

 Whether you create bead jewelry, knit sweaters or paint fine art, South African designs offer a wealth of inspiration. The designs convey sensations of  movement, harmony and energy: All at the same time in living color!

Kruggerand coin design
South African Gold Kruggerand Coin

Notice that the antelope or kruggerand is in motion, not static.

Ndebele multi-color home color design
Ndebele home exterior painted design

The black and white borders in colorful Ndebele home designs are a quick intarsia knit sweater project.

South African Bashuthu home color design
Another Basotho home color design

There's great color harmony in this Lestho design from South Africa! I think that the window looks like a faceted gemstone.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Celebrate African Ethnic Jewelry Designs During Black History Month

Masai tribal jewelry, beads, metalwork
Masai tribal jewelry design motifs

I’ve been vicariously exploring Africa’s ethnic cultures all these years through the tribal jewelry that’s produced on the different parts of the Continent.

Masai Tribal Designs

Masai tribal jewelry is my favorite ethnic jewelry. The Masai people are largely domiciled in Kenya and Tanzania on the Horn of Africa.  Their colorful trade beads woven into collars, bracelets and headbands have been a mainstay of my jewelry stash for years. 

Layers of long necklaces of trade beads look especially chic when paired with summer clothes.

Masai, shukkas, Indian Ocean
Masai gent at the beach

When an African garment is in order for events during Black History Month, I always wear my version of the traditional Masai red blanket-like garments called shukkas:  I wear an extra large red chiffon shawl over simple black or dark brown clothes.
If you look closely at a  shukka, you can see that they are the original Greek toga!

I love all African tribal designs!

The jewelry design elements include  woven  trade beads, metalwork, carved wood, gold pendants or glittering gemstones.


 Where To Find African Tribal Jewelry

The following shopping resources have some of  the largest selections of African jewelry:
  1. Online stores at Ebay or Etsy
  2. Jewelry Shows at exhibition halls
  3. Art Fairs
  4. African Import Stores

As an African-American I have the great privilege of choosing my African tribe. I celebrate African design elements from all over the Continent or “hiding in plain sight” throughout the United States and the Americas.

Studying tribal motifs in African ethnic jewelry is a great way to learn about the diverse people living in countries throughout Africa.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Compelling Art Jewelry Now More Visible Online

Niemeyer Museum, modern architecture Rio de Janeiro
Niemeyer Museum of Contemporary Arts in  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Are you tired of trekking through art fairs to find that one-of-a-kind piece of handcrafted art jewelry that will make your day?  Well, there a new boutique where jewelry designers can sell their wares. 
That place is actually online at galleries.

The online collection of art jewelry galleries is a new spinoff of, a web marketplace for over 4,000 professional artists and photographers. Professional jewelry crafters will be featured on both Artspan and Jewelspan.
Like artists at an art fair who have their own booths, jewelry artisans on will have their own domain names.

The handcrafted jewelry and fine art featured on both websites is very compelling.  When I visit the websites, I wonder if I am looking at the next era of museum quality works by a new generation of  artists and jewelry designers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grammys 2013 Red Carpet Jewelry Review – Kelly Rowland, Carrie Underwood

Kelly Rowland arrived on the Red Carpet for the 2013 Grammy awards wearing huge emerald rings designed by luxury jeweler Lorraine Schwartz.
Kelly, best known for singing with  BeyoncĂ© in the girl group Destiny’s Child, also sported emerald and onyx Art Deco style earrings together with a marble size emerald solitaire ring on one hand and a 3 stone emerald ring on the other hand. 
Kelly wore a very classy black gown designed with cut-outs which begged the question “Is she or is she not?” wearing underwear. The gown, the humungous emerald rings and Art Deco emerald earrings created the vision of  a polished  “Old Hollywood” glamour look.
The black gown was the perfect backdrop for the green emerald rings when Kelly stepped to the mike to present a grammy award.

Kelly gently folded her hands for all to see the stunning gems. From all appearances they seemed to be the color of top quality Colombian emeralds.

But the gems also had the ethereal internal glow of Zambian emeralds. This glow was very visible on the broadcast.
Other notable jewelry looks on the Red Carpet at the 2013 Grammys included Adele and Janelle Monae both of whom rocked vintage 1960s style earrings.
 Adele wore ruby and diamond cluster earrings, while Janelle sported vintage-looking diamond earrings in a pincushion setting.
Carrie Underwood wore the most costly luxury jewelry: A 381 carat diamond and platinum collar necklace.  Numerous news reports put the price tag for the necklace at about $31 million.
Comedian Al Walser sported the most unusual gold accessory:  His helmet. The helmet was the accessory for his spacesuit attire. Yes, that's spacesuit as in outer space.
I couldn’t tell if Walser was clad in authentic NASA gear on the the E! Channel’s broadcast of the Red Carpet event. (Note: You can buy supposedly authentic used NASA gear online.)
 But on a real astronaut's helmet, a thin film layer of gold is used on the visor to reflect solar radiation in outer space. Read more about this:  Here's the link to NASA’s Page on Gold Coatings.

Nasa Spacesuit and Helmet
Real NASA Astronaut Ed White, not Al Walser, during the 1st American Space Walk: Photo-NASA

Shahs of Sunset Season 2 Finale – Gold Highlights

A raucous food fight was the closing scene in The Shahs of Sunset’s 2nd season finale on Bravo. Asa, the “Persian Pop Princess”, put on chic ethnic Persian jewelry to perform her “Persia Palooza” dance and song act.
In her trailer afterwards, the cast congratulated her for keeping Persian culture alive with her performance art.
GG was missing in action-partying elsewhere. But at the theatre, the rest of the group trashed Asa’s trailer.

Gold Jewelry Highlights In The Finale

  • Asa had on a gold and amber bodice/body chain, plus a gold headband and a gold bracelet-ring “thingie” for her performance in Persian Palooza,
  • Asa also wore a gold pendant that featured a rare Persian turquoise focal bead,
  • MG sported a couture designer gold bowtie choker,
  • Lilly, the Persian Barbie, wore a gold Egyptian style collar necklace with dangling amethyst pencil point crystal beads,
    Amethyst, Pencil Point Crystals, February's Birthstone
    Amethyst Pencil Point Crystal Beads
  • GG didn’t change-she was still wearing her gold medallion statement necklace.

Iranian Revolution

There was a vaguely serious discussion of what the1979 Iranian Revolution meant to the lives of Iranian women.
Asa first  appeared onstage in a black jibab which she quickly removed.  Underneath she had on antique Persian jewelry, a gold and black polka dot spandex pant outfit, all accessorized with Nike high top athletic shoes!

Be In The Pink With Your Valentine's Day Jewelry Gift

Purple pink bicolor sapphire solitaire
Vivid Violet-pink bicolor sapphire gemstone ring with diamonds
 If you want to give a serious Valentine’s Day jewelry gift, but not a diamond gift just yet, consider giving pink sapphire jewelry.




Pink sapphire color shades range from vivid African Songea fuchsia and hot pink tone gemstones to the ubiquitous pale baby pink gems from mines all over the world.

Here's a tip:  Look for your favorite Crayon color, there's sure to be a sapphire gem that matches it.
A color-shifting sapphire is a special treasure that changes color depending on the type of light illuminating the stone.



Sapphires are at their very best at 1 carat or larger. Smaller gemstones don’t have the dazzling, colorful light play of larger stones.  Also small carats of lightly tinted pink sapphires can look very pale and lifeless.  
A solitaire, one carat or larger is vastly more impressive than a multiple gem setting of five 0.2 carat stones.
Buy pink sapphire jewelry without accompanying diamonds to save money.


 Don’t spend your hard-earned money on manmade stones.
 Choose naturally-mined stones instead.  They are widely available and value priced. Color saturated, orange-pink sapphires from African mines are truly a great buy now.
 Of course, most sapphire stones are color-enhanced and heated.  More and more, sapphires are enhanced with bulk diffusion which uses radiation to improve color and enhance clarity by removing perceived imperfections.


Inexpensive, unique-looking, highly-included sapphires can be a great jewelry gift choice for a woman with bohemian "BoHo" fashion style tastes.
On the other hand, flawless, unheated, naturally mined sapphires can be more expensive than comparable diamonds.
Don’t overlook highly included sapphires with naturally occurring, visibly embedded mineral crystals or “silk”.  These imperfections make sapphires come alive in a wide variety of natural and artificial light sources, in my opinion.



Sapphires are almost as hard as diamonds.  These gemstones require strong settings.  I only buy sapphires in settings that have at least 4 prongs or in a bezel to keep the gems secure.

There’s something very mesmerizing about all sapphires and they are especially pretty in pink.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Amethyst geode slabs, February's Birthstone
Massive Amethyst Geode Slabs

I recently caught a bad case of culture shock. I saw a purple amethyst gemstone countertop along with matching gemstone faucet handles on an HGTV show about luxury bathrooms.
The polished amethyst's highly saturated purple color, with a little lavender, bespoke extreme femininity. This was not your ordinary quartz countertop.
According to, all quartz colors including beige and rose quartz can be used for countertop materials.  If cost is a concern, the quartz can be ground-up and set in resin instead of using polished slabs.
I will never look at February's birthstone  the same way again:  Cut and polished quartz material from amethyst geodes is not just for setting into rings or other jewelry.

Monday, February 4, 2013


Collectible Mardi Gras mask and sparkling beads
New Orleans Mardi Gras costume, mask and beads on a parade participant
Mardi Gras bejeweled masks, glitzy doubleloons and sparkling beads have reached the realm of collectibles. If you will be heading to the “Big Easy” for Mardi Gras this year, keep an eye out for really distinctive sparkling and glittering baubles. 

 All manner of treasure from New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades are sold online at Ebay and Worthpoint stores.
So it may be worth it to bend-over and pick-up something sparkling in the light.  If you don’t want the parade memento, perhaps you can sell the treasure to someone else to use for Mardi Gras design decor.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


New Orleans Superdome Football Stadium sports arena collectibles
New Orleans Superdome and Skyline
 Game Day mementoes like Super Bowl tickets, programs, photos and trinkets are highly collectible.  They make awesome gifts for the sports lover in your life.

If you will be attending a major sports events like the World Series or NBA Championship Games, save your ticket stubs. They are valuable collectibles.

Also, sports memorabilia from specific arenas, like the Superdome in New Orleans are cherished by sports lovers from all over.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Have you considered sending a very clear message with your Valentine’s Day jewelry gift to your heart’s desire? You can spell out your love like this:  L-O-V-E.

Initial jewelry designs may be more appropriate now more than ever.


Finding the love of your life may be a global or multi-cultural adventure. Some traditional Western symbols used in jewelry designs may have little meaning to an individual from another country or a foreign culture.

Other common jewelry designs symbolizing love may be boring to a person from the other side of town or to someone who is just ignorant.

Here are some powerful love symbols frequently used in jewelry, which may not be universally understood by everyone:
  • Heart shapes
  • XOXOs
  • Pad locks
  • Keys
  • Screw heads
  • Crosses


Jewelry made with initials, letters and words on pendants and charms can powerfully express love.  Just about any one can comprehend or translate the letters L-O-V-E engraved on a necklace pendant. That is, if they REALLY WANT TO understand your Valentine’s Day message.


Here comes the new economy we all hoped and prayed for, compliments of Nest, a nonprofit firm co-founded by Rebecca Van Bergen. Nest’s mission is to provide business development services and funding to jewelry artisans and other craft workers. Then Nest connects their clients to major market retail outlets.   
Here’s the website link to NEST’S programs.
PBS News Hour recently  did a report on Nest.
One family that Nest works with is a Kenyan family that produces brass jewelry in their home. Take a look-see at this YouTube video uploaded by PBS News Hour: