Be good.

In the last week, we had some family in town. Some of that family is young and small. Thus, we took in a lot of family-friendly sights and activities. Twice, we ended up at an aquarium. I guess that stands to reason in San Francisco, what, with all that water. One of them was the impressive aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences. It was there that I spotted some information about coral.  Coral, as I am sure everyone knows, is often used in jewelry.  That, as the California Academy of Sciences explained, is not a good idea for our precious underwater ecosystems.  For more on this, there is this little piece from the amazing designer and all-around jewelry goddess, Temple St. Clair, whose name I only utter in hushed tones.

Declaring Coral Too Precious to Wear — by Temple St. Clair.

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

While we are at it, check out this fun, beaded play on coral!

Faux Coral Beaded Necklace with Matching Bracelet

Beaded faux coral by Threadsandpins on Etsy.

This doesn’t hurt anyone.  This is better.

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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.

Confession

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!

Guilty Pleasure

I’ve found a place in this blog to confess some things about my taste and sometimes my character.  It seems it is time for another one.  While I am not one for a lot of clutter or silly characters, I love garden gnomes.  Just for the record, I loved them before they became cool in that ironic sort of way.  I have a collection of garden gnomes figurines given to me by my dear husband.  And, hear this, I own this collection in a decidedly non-ironic way.   That’s right.  Like somebody’s grandma.  I’m even a garden gnome snob … to be in my collection they have to adhere to illustrator Rien Poortvliet‘s gnome aesthetic (see above).

I must not be alone in my obsession because there is a growing availability of, yes, gnome jewelry.

Here’s a little sampling of what is available by the reliably creative Etsy merchants.

Then, inexplicably, there is this – an interesting enamel gnome charm by Juicy Couture.  I sort of love it.

It does not appear that the charm is available anymore from Juicy but there are a number of them out there on the internet for sale.  The photo here was from Polyvore.

“There’s a certain shade of limelight …”

(Extra credit to anyone who can name the movie from which I took this post’s title.)

When I first got engaged, I would come home and report in what light my ring looked best.  I experimented for a while but, as it turns out, it was the elevator in the building where I was working at the time.  It had that low-bright light of a good jewelry store.

The memory of my early engagement got me thinking about jewelry photography.  While I am sure that there are people who specialize in photographing jewelry, I am not informed in that regard.  So, I will have to leave the topic of famous jewelry photographers for another day.  Instead, I would like to talk about some of the things I like to see in photos designed to sell jewelry — the information I think the pictures should impart.

As the pictures below make clear, I think jewelry should be modeled on a person.  As I have mentioned, as far as I am concerned, the fact that it is worn is what makes jewelry a special art form.  It is an extension of the human body like nothing else.  Secondly, when photographed on a person, the jewelry’s scale and proportion becomes clear.  Of course, the up close, magnified shots are useful to show quality and I understand why jewelry designers take them — it is damn hard to make a piece of jewelry and one wants to the show the detail.  But, at the end of the day, that is not how we truly experience jewelry.  We experience it on people and in the world.  Movement.  Light.

Silver Custom Initial Ring by Soo on Etsy.
English Rain Necklace by Sarah Rock on Etsy

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!