Archive of ‘Jewelry’ category

Settling into fall

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces

After the long lazy days of summer, I’m slowly settling into fall. Slowly, but surely getting back to creating some new pieces for upcoming fall shows.

Recently, I’ve been very  drawn to this palette of black and gold. It feels very rich and decadent.  In my own wardrobe, I tend to different bright colors but  it is true that black goes with everything so…

I suppose it helps that while the beads I’ve been using are black, they still have that all important splash of color. These earrings for example, these dangly earrings feature a great pair of Venetian wedding cake beads that feature the adventuring swirl and the pretty pink flowers that are hallmarks of wedding cake beads. They feel festive and fun!

Or have a look at this other pair. This next one is a Venetian fancy trade bead dating back to the 1800s. Yes, you read that right– these are 19th century beads. And they’re in remarkably fine condition too which is rare for these kinds of beads. Usually, the decorative trailings are worn away from long usage.

 Both these earrings would go fantastically with this bracelet. This one features a black Moretti bead from the early 1900s with gold leaf.

Of course, the jewelry box wouldn’t be complete without a necklace. And this new one features early 1900s Venetian wedding cake beads and delicate pink satin glass from  Bohemia.

All these pieces will soon be available in the eshop!








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A match to make your day

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, remember these earrings?

After I finished this pair I was left with two of these pink and silver foil beads. At first I thought I would make another pair of earrings but I wasn’t convinced by this idea. I want my jewelry to be unique and one of a kind so another pair just wouldn’t do.

So I put them away. Then  I remembered that somewhere in my bead box was a lonesome silver foil bead that was the only one left after I finished a necklace. Now this little orphan bead is a really pretty bead with lots of silver foiling that has remained intact over the years. Just like the pink and silver beads, this one dates back to the early 1950s. In no time, this necklace was born…

I love how these lonesome one-of beads suddenly found themselves together to make a beautiful new piece.

And look how well the necklace goes with the earrings!

The earrings are now listed in the shop and the necklace will soon be added!

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One necklace for different looks

| Beads, Fashion, Jewelry, New pieces

When I make something, I always try to imagine it slipping into my jewelry box and getting along with everthing else that’s there. I also like it when the piece goes with lots of different looks. After all, we work hard, do different things so we want our jewelry to be equally versatile. That’s why I’m so happy with this new necklace.

Today’s piece is a simple enough necklace composed of multicolored crystal rondelles.  These rondelles date back to the early 40s and have clearly lived other lives. They’ve been well loved as evidenced by the missing crystals in each rondelle. When I saw these in Paris, I knew immediately that I wanted to make something with them. Yes, they aren’t perfect but I couldn’t bear to just throw them away. As it turns out, it goes with a  number of different looks. So far, I’ve come up with three looks to give you ideas on how to wear this beauty. 

If you’re feeling casual, it’s the perfect accessory to jazz up a shirt. Throw it over a tee, or in this case, a turtleneck since it’s still cold, and you’re good to go.

It’s also great for layering. I love it with another long chain over a simple black shirt.

This last look may yet be my favorite. When you want color and layers, it’s totally possible with this piece.

How would you wear this necklace? 

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Soaking up the sun and finding inspiration

| Fine jewelry, Jewelry, Scenes from our travels

A few days before the close of 2016, we had the pleasure of spending a few days in the sunny island of Puerto Rico. It was a welcome break from the snow and cold and a chance to soak up the sun and recharge.


 We were greeted by blue skies and the blue green waters of the Atlantic. We could feel ourselves immediately relaxing. The island was first settled in 1509 by the Spanish led by Juan Ponce de Leon. The present site of San Juan was founded in 1510 and was  given its formal name  of Puerto Rico de San Juan Bautista in 1521.  It is the second oldest European established capital in the new world, the first being Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The remnants of its colonial past is evident in the walls of the city and its two forts that stills stands guard over the city. In days past, the forts constituted the first line of defense against hostile powers who would storm the city and take its riches.

Nowadays, its a popular spot for those who want to take a stroll, and take in the magnificent views of the sea.



By day, we shared the historic downtown with the numerous daytrippers from the many cruise ships that make this port, a must stop in the Caribbean. All of us were walking around holding our cameras and phones in front of us, trying to capture the vibrant colors that adorn the traditional colonial houses and buildings.

Blue, yellow, violet and pink, every hue was present and it was fun trying to capture that.

Business establishments are on the first floor while families still lived in its upper floors.

At night, once all but the few who chose to stay the night were gone, it was possible to catch glimpses of the families that still live behind the wrought iron balconies and lace covered windows.

The best surprise of the trip was discovering a strong local and thriving artistic community. Yes, there are a number of American style malls but there are also a good number of stores carrying only local artists and featuring only local and handmade crafts and goods.

Take this store which proudly refuses to carry anything other than their own handmade Panama hats…

Or this one store which carried a number of pretty bags, among other things. On the day we were there, we got to meet the artist.  Its a big family undertaking, she told us. Her mother and daughter help her make the bags and her other daughter sells them in the store.


 Here is a small sampling of her work.

img_7989One gallery I loved featured art work  showing the wonderful old doors of San Juan.


But my favorite discovery was a tiny shop that also housed a jewelry school.  Nothing touristy about this shop. When I stepped in, I was among residents who were having their jewels cleaned or repaired. This picture is a small sampling of the work of either professors or students of the school.  Their work features gems and stones, silver, gold, and even enamel


 Needless to say, this was the place to find the perfect souvenir to take back home.


Flashback Friday

| Jewelry

A favorite client recently set a photo of herself wearing her latest acquisition chez nous and I’m really happy to see it amongst other pieces of her jewelry box. Its exactly what I strive for, jewelry that blends seamlessly with what you already have.

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On wearing beads

| Beads, Fashion, Jewelry

During shows, I’ll sometimes get comments or question on how to wear beaded jewelry. Some people think it’s difficult to incorporate in daily wear. Some people think it’s too new-agey or too much of a throwback to the 70s. 

To this, I say, beaded jewelry can be as modern as any other accessory we have today. It can be worn singly, simply or in layers.  It’s all in how we want to wear it. 

For example, I like to wear bigger pieces under a collared shirt, for days when I want to have a more serious look but still have that special element. This one is an easy look to pull.  And I like to layer thinner necklaces around, but these are optional.
Other days, I like a more minimal look like this. Simple but sparkly.

I love that these antique beads have enough character and beauty to stand alone, worn simply on a chain but the best way I think, is when you can layer it with other pieces you already have in your jewelry box as I’ve done with this antique Georgian pendant.

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Perfect for summer

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, today I wanted to share with you a special piece that’s perfect for these hot summer days.  I created this piece using a silver chain and the prettiest sky blue and white latticino Venetian beads dating back to the early 1900s.  Latticino is a special Italian glassblowing technique using colored glass canes.  The beads in this necklace features delicate white lines.  Its a unique yet classic piece that would make a wonderful addition to your jewelry box!  Get in touch with us to purchase this piece.DPMskyblue

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ASJRA conference recap

| Jewelry

Hello friends, I hope your week is off to a rousing start! Today, I’d like to share with you a recap of my first ever jewelry conference.  A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon the website of   the Association for the Study of Jewelry and the Related Arts or ASJRA.  According to its website, it is an organization devoted, (as its name implies), to the “advancement of jewelry studies as well as the dissemination of knowledge to anyone interested in the history of jewelry”.  I was intrigued by such a group and signed up to join right away. Then to my great delight, I learned that the group’s annual conference was on  Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry, which in turn is the subject of  Maker and Muse, the fantastic jewelry exhibit currently running at the Driehaus Museum (read all about my visit to that exhibit here and here).  I was especially excited because I loved the exhibit and two of the speakers–Elyse Karlin and Yvonne Markowitz, had written jewelry books I really enjoyed.

Upon arrival, I got my first surprise of the day, I got to meet two fellow Instagrammers —Gem Gossip and Bell Flower Bay.  These two ladies have an amazing feed and it was such a pleasure to meet them!

I’m happy to report that the conference was as interesting and absorbing as I could have hoped for.  The speakers were clearly all experts in their respective fields and I certainly came away with a more in depth knowledge of the topic. Of course I took this opportunity to ask some of them to sign my books. Pictured below is Yvonne Markowitz, the first ever curator of the fabulous jewelry department of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts.



What was even more cool about the conference was seeing all the fantabulous jewelry being more by the attendees. And since it was a jewelry conference, it was perfectly acceptable to admire the jewelry and ask to take pictures of them. Fortunately for me, everyone I asked agreed and now I can share them with you all.

I started with these fabulous rings from Daniele of Gem Gossip and Jenn of Bell Flower Bay. Aren’t these rings lovely?

This next lady is actually a descendant of Edmund Bokor, one of the silversmiths of the famed Chicago Art shop whic had its heyday during the early years of the 20th century. The jewelry she’s wearing were made by him.   

I loved the matching bracelet with its massive amethyst. 


This next lady had on a fabulous Art Nouveau horn pendant made by Elizabeth Bonté, whose delicate work is also featured in the Maker and Muse exhibit. She was very much inspired by Lalique and was one of the few jewelers specializing in the use of horn. These pieces of Elizabeth are quite rare now and it is very difficult to authenticate her signature. 

Another lady came all the way from Australia to attend the conference. She and her husband are passionate collectors of jewelry and collectibles from the British Arts and Crafts movement. Of course her necklace of choice was  a pretty silver and amethyst necklace from that period.



This pretty pearl piece is from the Boston School of Arts and Crafts and was made in 1910 by Josephine Hartwell Shaw. Pearls featured greatly in the Arts and Crafts movement but those chosen were chosen more for their aesthetic value rather than their intrinsic value. As such those that were asymmetric or irregularly shaped found their way to the jewelry of this period.


Another lady’s necklace featured the curved lines and enamel work that was very characteristic of the Art nouveau movement.  This piece dates back to 1890.

But I’ve saved the best for last. One lady had on a fabulous Henri Vever pendant. Vever was one of the prominent jewelers in Paris during the turn of the century and he wrote what is probably the definitive work on 19th century French jewelry. He was also a collector of art, notably of Japanese art and prints. I’ve only ever seen his work in pictures or museums so it was a real treat to see one up close. Alas, I dared not ask to hold it. But I did manage to take a photo.  It was a superb piece.


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Maker and Muse Part II

| Jewelry

Hello friends, its been pretty quiet on the blog front but I wanted to make up for it with this second post on the Maker and Muse exhibit. Part I featured jewelry from the British Arts and Crafts and the French Art Nouveau movement.

Today, I wanted to feature the Jugendstil movement from  Germany and Vienna, the jewelry of Louis Comfort Tiffany and the Arts and Crafts jewelry from Chicago.

Jugendstil or Youth style drew their inspiration from the movement that was sweeping Britain and France.  Its goal was to integrate the different disciplines of architecture, fine and decorative arts into a cohesive and elegant whole.  Similarly to their French counterparts, women could not establish themselves as artists and designers as successfully as the male designers.  German and Austrian societies were still very much patriarchal ones.  And because industrialization didn’t hit Germany and Austria as quickly as it did in Britain, the adoption of the Arts and Crafts principles were more on the aesthetics rather than its guiding philosophy.

Creations from this movement are characterized by their clean, pure lines.  There is hardly any superfluous or unnecessary detailing.

Some of the examples on view include the following:

A gorgeous collection of brooches made variously with silver, enamel and rhodocrosite. The big silver and green object to the right is actually a spoon, literally a silver spoon!

DSCN4505  I particularly liked this pretty necklace circa 1914 by Hans Bolek (and manufactured by Oskar Dietrich) made with yellow gold and gemstones.


I don’t wear brooches but given the number of really beautiful brooches on display, it’d be hard not to wear them! Just look at this wonderful mermaid brooch made with gilded silver, coral and pearl.  This one by Karl Rothmuller and dates back to 1900.


From Germany, the exhibit makes its way to the shores of the new World. We start with Louis Comfort Tiffany, the son of the founder of Tiffany and Co.  Louis, didn’t start out with jewelry. In fact, he started making jewelry, 20 years after he had already established his own reputation in the decorative arts. After his father’s death,  he finally joined the firm and he found a well developed studio system of design and manufacture.  There were a good number of women workers and designers employed by the firm.  Even though they were never formally or publicly credited with any of the jewelry, they were recognized as integral to the success of the company. Julia Munson, was appointed head of the new jewelry design department when Tiffany finally came on board.  Tiffany had one rule when it came to the women designers–they could stay as long as they stayed single.  Julia Munson, who was his chief designer for many years finally had to leave when she got married and Meta Overbeck another lady took over her post. Together, Munson and Overbeck designed  some of the most spectacular Tiffany pieces.

The first thing you see when you walk into the room is this stunning gold cross which Tiffany designed for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  It was commissioned by Tomas R. Keator in memory of his wife who was a member of the congregation of the all Angles Church in New York City.  Hidden at the back of the base of the cross is a small secret compartment containing a photo of the late Emily Keator to whom the cross is lovingly dedicated to.


This glass cabinet contained what is easily, three of the most spectacular pieces of Tiffany  & Co.  The gold filigree necklace designed by Julia Munson uses 18 k gold, pink sapphire for the clasps and plique-a-jour enamel. It is magnificent!


This fabulous 1908 green and gold necklace makes use of jade, pearls and of course high karat gold.  It is both striking and elegant.

Then of course there is this stunner of a necklace composed of the bluest blue Zircon I’ve ever seen, platinum, diamond, demantoid or green garnet, chrysoberyl and amethyst.



From New York, the exhibit takes us to Chicago where there was a thriving community of women jewelers.  In 1906, Chicago was at the peak of the Arts and Crafts movement.  At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, there were more women than men. More importantly, the decorative arts were considered as suitable employment for women.  The four  most celebrated pioneers of the movement were Madeline Yale Wynn, Leonide C. Lavaron, Bessie Bennett and Jessie M. Preston. Another woman,  Elinor Evans Klapp was the only female artist who exhibited at the Paris Exhibition under her own name.  She went on to found a successful and lucrative jewelry business.

In 1900, the Kalo Shop was founded in Chicago by 6 recent graduates  of the Art Institute with the goal of creating objects that were Beautiful, Useful and Enduring.   It was so successful that it allowed several silversmiths of the Kalo shop to open their own shops.  What was striking about the work produced by the Kalo Shop, indeed of the Chicago movement was their determined used of materials that were previously not considered rare or expensive.  Materials like pearls and semi-precious stones were considered for their aesthetic value rather than intrinsic value.

An example of such a piece is this necklace composed of gold and Baroque pearls.


And while there was a good number of pieces that used innovative materials like the Baroque pearl necklace pictured above, other pieces used more traditional fine materials like this beautiful gold and coral brooch.


Other stand out pieces included this fabulous gold and black opal necklaces by Frances M. Glessner who made jewelry but never sold them.  Instead she gave away her pieces to friends and family.

Another piece of Ms. Glessner is this fabulous gold and yellow stone necklace which is now housed in the Chicago History Museum.





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Maker and Muse (Part 1)

| Events, Jewelry


Over the weekend, I had the immense pleasure to view Maker and Muse, the new exhibit on Women and Early 20th Century Art Jewelry at the Richard Driehaus Museum.  I can’t tell you how wonderful it was.  The words sumptuous and gorgeous, among many superlatives come to mind when trying to describe the 250 pieces of Art jewelry that is on display.  The exhibit is spread out over 5 rooms in the museum (which by the way, merits a separate visit) and is divided into 5 themes–British Arts and Crafts, American Art Jewelry represented by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jewelry as Art in Germany and Austria represented by the Jugendstil movement, French Art Nouveau and Chicago Arts and Crafts Jewelry.  These different movements were unified in their rejection of  industrialization and their desire to return to the artisan and the handmade.  More importantly, they made extensive use of materials like silver, semi-precious stones and enamel that were previously considered not good enough for fine jewelry.

The exhibit is particularly resonant for me because it celebrates the work of some of the first women to work in the field of jewelry.  Prior to the early 20th century, making jewelry wasn’t considered proper work for women.  It took a significant cultural shift before it became acceptable for women to work in this field. As a jewelry designer, I owe a great deal to these pioneers.

Fortunately for us, the Museum allows photos to be taken as long as it is without flash so I can share with you some of the highlights.  The exhibit will run until 2016 so if you have the chance, to see it, I highly recommend that you do so, you will not regret it.

Here now are some of the pieces on display. As this is a picture heavy post, please read on after the page break…


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Too much of a good thing?

| Jewelry

Hello friends, how is your Monday so far?
Remember my red eye chain from the bead bonanza ? I was wondering what to do with it when I remembered that I have an eye tree charm that I got from Turkey. I guess I like this design very much because I’m thinking of putting them together.


What do you think? Is it too much?


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A long weekend

| Friday links, Jewelry

IMG_6408.JPGHello friends, its a long weekend in our part of the world and I know that for many, its the last hurrah before buckling down to school work.  I hope wherever you are, you’ve got wonderful plans ahead of you.

Before leaving, I wanted to share a few fun links…

Here’s a list of a couple of good Labor day reads.  I’m very excited about Amy Bloom’s new book, she’s one of my favorite authors!!

Speaking of books, I love trilogies, well-written ones at least.  Nothing like a good trilogy to lose oneself in.  Here’s a list of some great trilogies.

And just because this post is shaping up to be all about books, here’s a list of wonderful books coming out in the fall. Marilynne Robinson, William Gibson and Margaret Atwood are just some of the authors on this list, so its really something to look forward to!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Learning a new skill

| Jewelry, New pieces, Uncategorized


Hello friends, I hope you all had a wonderful and serene Easter break. Its back to work chez nous as well so I thought I’d share with you something new I’m working on. Despite working with beads for quite some time now, I haven’t actually had time to learn the stitches that are so important to beadwork.  Peyote stitch, right angle weave, herringbone stitch are just some of the stitches that serious beaders learn to create beautiful and intricate works that incorporate hundreds of beads.  I’ve always used the bigger beads and so never saw the need to do these stitches.

But I finally decided to take the plunge when a class in bead work came up with a focus on the peyote stitch.  Let me tell you that it is quite a challenge. First, as with any other skill, you are trying to learn, it takes a long time to get the technique down pat. Secondly, it will take hours and hours of work (much more than what I am accustomed to) before I can have the final (beautiful) finished product. You can see my fledging efforts here.

Learning this new weave requires patience, dexterity and precision, miss a step and the whole pattern is shot.  You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve had to redo this part (which is only just the beginning) in order to finish it. And its not quite perfect yet either! 20140423-093806.jpg


There is no easy gratification to be had with this kind of work. It’ll take a long time before I can get it to look like one of the the cuffs pictured here below.  And I’m impatient to get to it and start doing more projects. But, as my teacher is so fond of telling us, there is no short cut to get there just the old fashioned way of working away till it gets done.  20140423-094041.jpgI think the results will be well worth it though.

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Pretty in pink

| Beads, Jewelry, New pieces


This morning we are blessed with sunny blue skies! Hooray for spring! I looked over my new selection of jewelry and it seems that my palette is dominated by pretty pinks and lavender. I suppose its my way of thinking myself into spring?

This morning’s selection is mostly earrings and two bracelets.  The first bracelet (pictured above) features vintage French beads from the 50s decorated with gold tone caps. I love this combination of pink and gold, its rich without being brassy.  I especially love the two carved beads, they’re a lovely shade of pink that recalls rose quartz.

I had a hard time capturing the lavender pink shade of these earrings.  Its almost opaque and because it is quite simple in style, goes with a lot of things.  These are Czech glass beads from the 50s as well.


I think it goes quite beautifully with this next bracelet.  This one features vintage violet Czech beads but what makes it stand out are the little crown beads interspersed between each bead. These are French beads from the late 30s and were used to decorate women’s clothes.  They’re quite rare now and I was pleased to have found some.


If I were forced to choose my favorite piece of jewelry, I’d have to pick earrings. I almost never leave home without a pair. Whenever I’m not feeling particularly creative, I find that making a pair of earrings will bring me back on track.

This pair of silver pink earrings are vintage foil glass beads from France and they date back to the 50s.  These beads are interesting because one can see through the base of the bead itself.  This makes me wonder about the person who made this bead.  Was this deliberate or was it accidentally made like this and left as is?


And finally the last but not the least, a fun pair of pink crystal drop earrings.  You put this one on and you are good to go!20140331-113536.jpg



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A selection of new jewelry

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, it may not look it (as I write, its snowing yet again!) but spring is upon us! What better time than now to refresh our jewelry wardrobe?  With that in mind, I’d like to share some new pieces that’s sure to brighten up your spring wardrobe!

This first one is in a cool palette of sky blue and pale pink.  The focal bead is very special. It’s a big Murano bead with hand painted gold, pink and white trailings. It dates back to the 60s.  This necklace is a long sautoir style one and comes with a matching pair of earrings.


This second necklace features two beautiful elbow shaped  Venetian trade beads from the late 1800s.  Elbow shaped beads are difficult to find in good condition and these two are in near mint condition.  It features a red and yellow checkerboard pattern and to break it up a little, I decided to put a big vintage red and gold French pate de verre focal bead.  This necklace sits higher up on the neck so its perfect for those button down shirts.


If you prefer to add a bit of whimsy to your wardrobe , then this next one is just the thing to wear. It features a delightful vintage dragonfly charm from the 40s and vintage green and brown glass beads from the 50s.


And for all those upcoming weddings and parties, here is my version of the festoon style necklace.  It features a gorgeous filigree charm from the 40s and the little dangling glass pearls are from the late 40s as well.    DSCN4257

Did you notice that two of these necklaces have matching earrings? I quite like making matched sets when I can!


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The intersection of Fashion and the Automobile

| Fashion, Jewelry

IMG_3917Hello friends, remember my show last February?  I didn’t have much time to go around and check out the other booths. But during a lull, I took a quick look around and what immediately caught my eye was a lady in green with a gorgeous vintage Czech glass necklace and a pretty 1920s hat.  I just had to go up to her.  We got to talking and it turns out that we both share a love for vintage Czech jewelry.  It was so interesting talking to her that I spontaneously asked if I talk to her further, maybe even interview her later on.  Fortunately she agreed.

Lynn is actually part of a trio of ladies who curate Fashion and the Automobile, a touring exhibit that showcases a unique intersection between fashion and the automobile and the changes wrought in them by popular culture. The exhibit is composed of 10 eras with authentic clothes and accessories to reflect each decade.  The automobiles are rendered in fine art paintings, photographs and renderings.

Here are the three ladies decked out in all their finery!


All three ladies share a passion for automobiles. Victoria says that this touring exhibit idea is the fruit of her lifelong fascination with cars and her interest in fashion.  Early on she recalls being brought by her mom to look at cars as they whizzed by.  Elaine, the third member of this talented trio (who left before I could take her picture!), co-owns with her husband over 20 vintage cars!  Lynn supplies the wonderful clothes and jewelry but is herself a lover of cars. She is a proud parent (as she calls herself) of a 1965 Herbie the Love Bug beetle.

What started out as 2 seemingly separate interests for the trio is married beautifully in an exhibit that is rich, varied and interesting.  Automobiles and fashion, as with all other objects, exist within a context of its times and this undeniably influences and changes it.   One example I could cite — when cars started to be more common and women started to drive more, they couldn’t very well get into these cars in those voluminous clothes of the 18th century.  By the time Ford was  mass producing his T-Models, women’s clothes had lost most of their bulky underpinings and waistlines were dropped. I’m sure this was a more comfortable way of tooling about in the T-Model.

From its beginnings in the Anton Art Center, the exhibit is a continuously evolving process for the three ladies.  They are constantly looking for ways to make it more interesting and rich for its audience, which is a growing one.   Now, they have people coming up to them and donating vintage gloves and hats and on one memorable occasion, a beautiful wedding dress from the 30s.  Their enthusiasm is contagious and one senses a palpable love for what they do.  They genuinely want to share the knowledge they’ve accumulated and its amazing how far they will work with grassroots museums all over the state.  They will happily set up the exhibit, give fashion presentations and even do a full on fashion show such as the upcoming Roaring Twenties Fashion Show that will be held on March 30 at the Lorenzo Cultural Center.

Oh and did I mention that there is a book?! Yes, all the years of research is going into a wonderful book that will accompany the exhibit.  That’s something I’m really looking forward to.

I’ve taken the liberty of sharing some photos of previous exhibits in order to show you their work.

Here are two beautiful Victorian gowns on display at the Ford T-Plex Museum, one of their first exhibits.fashionauto2

Lynn and a vintage Packard car from the 1920s at the Packard Proving Grounds car show.fashionauto5

A gorgeous bias cut 1930s gown with a 1934 Chrysler Airflow series car at the Chrysler Museum


And finally, a sweet 50s red roses sweater and skirt set with a vintage Chrysler  also from the 50s.


It was such a blast talking with these ladies!  Oh and I haven’t even talked about the jewelry yet! That’s a whole other post which I can’t wait to share with you all soon!


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Oscar jewels

| Jewelry

Hello friends, I trust your weekend went well?  As you may have heard, last night was the Oscars, Hollywood’s biggest night.  While the ceremony was a tad long, it was definitely fun checking out the sparkly dresses and even sparklier jewelry.   There was no shortage of eye candy last night! To start off the week, I thought I’d share my own list of outstanding jewelry.  Photos are courtesy of Vogue and the Guardian.

Most of the stars chose to go the classic route with diamonds with karat figures in the hundreds.

Best actress winner Cate Blanchett’s Armani dress was in a shade only she could pull off but it was her earrings that had me in awe. Now, those are doorknockers!  They were by Chopard and is composed of opals, white gold and of course diamonds.

cate blanchette oscars

Jennifer Lawrence chose to wear her Art Deco 100 karat diamond necklace by Neil Lane over her back. Now, there’s a casual way of wearing your diamonds.  From the front, it looks very simple but its when she turns around that you can see it in its full glory. Not bad, but I was thinking that if she was going to do that, then maybe she should have chosen a longer necklace and that the back of the dress should have shown it more.  I like this idea though. No reason why the back of the dress shouldn’t be as adorned as the front!

Jenniferlawrence oscar


Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts both wore black and dazzling jewelry. Charlize Theron’s necklace by Harry Winston is a cool 15 Million Dollars! I guess she had security people following her around the whole night?


Julia Robert’s choice was more interesting.  Her earrings featured baguette and round cut diamonds and emeralds. Plus she had a fabulous vintage Bulgari bangle from 1955. I loved the bangle!


JuliaRoberts oscar


And finally there was Amy Adams, who was one of the rare stars to go with something other than diamonds. Well, her earrings by Tiffany did have diamonds but it also had some gorgeous Lapis Lazuli, Turquoise and even Rhodocrosite.  Her gorgeous ring was a fire opal. I thought it was cool that some other gemstones were on show last night.  Totally proves the point that they could dress up an outfit just as well as diamonds!

Amyadams oscarsAnd so there you have my totally subjective list of outstanding jewelry looks from last night. Which ones were your favorites?


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Throwback Thursday

| Jewelry


When I first started, I didn’t take any pictures of the earliest pieces. When I finally started to have a bit more inventory, taking pictures became a good way to keep track of them. It is even more important when the piece sells before I can properly include it in the inventory. I was going through my pictures when this one caught my eye. All the pieces in this frame sold last year. And now that I check the inventory, it turns out that I didn’t have the chance to record two pieces here–the red flower charm necklace and the blue pendant necklace. I guess this was a lucky grouping and I’m lucky to have this picture as a keepsake!

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Gifts list

| Jewelry

Well friends, I’ve just about wrapped up all my 2013 shows and Christmas is almost upon us. Everywhere I turn, I see people looking for presents and hurrying to find that perfect gift. This reminds me that I too need to start wrapping up gifts!

But before I do that, I thought I’d put together a little list of Petites Merveilles jewelry that could make someone very happy!

For the person who wants something rare how about these gorgeous red wedding cake earrings? These beads date back to the beginning of the 20th century!


For someone who wants some sparkle, how about this bracelet composed of vintage Swarovski? They are a deep and unusual shade of green. But it shines beautifully in the light!


If green is not your color and red is more your style these two bracelets make wonderful alternatives…

This first one is simple but far from boring thanks to its mix of vintage glass and crystal rondelles.


While the second one has a pretty Murano focal bead with a deep red heart.


For the person who prefers something whimsical and pretty, there is this ribbon charm bracelet. The charm is from France from the 60s and the little glass discs are from the 50s.


And if you really want something sparkly and bright, nothing beats this pair. The picture doesn’t do it justice.


Now, which is your favorite piece?

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Un avant gout

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, today I thought I’d give you a sneak peek of some new pieces that will be at the show.


I just love these vintage Swarovski rosettes. Here they are from a slightly different angle.


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Throwback Thursday:Finding a special present

| Jewelry, Throwback Thursday

DSCN0144At the Clarkston show last weekend, a man came up to my stand and as is my habit, I explained to him what my jewelry is all about.  He was very interested and asked a lot of questions.  It turns out he was looking for a present for his wife.  This was a refreshing change since most of the time, the women look at my booth and the menfolk stand around looking bored.  I was even happier when he told me that he wanted to buy a present because he recognized what a special woman he had in his life.  Isn’t that the nicest thing to hear?

I’m happy to say that he found what he was looking for with this necklace. What makes this necklace special are the pendants that I created from Bohemian glass from the 40s.  I love these faceted rondelle beads. They are so versatile and can really make a piece stand out.  When I find them, I always try to hang on to them a bit, just because they’re pretty.  But I was certainly very happy that this piece found itself a special new owner!

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My first trade beads

| Jewelry, Throwback Thursday


Many years ago, I had the chance to visit the Fabled Rice Terraces in the Northern Highlands of the Philippines. This is a beautiful region of the country, filled with majestic views of the mountains and of course, the terraces which were carved entirely by hand by the Ifugao people 2000 years ago. It’s a breathtaking place and I have beautiful memories of our trip there. I also have fond memories of the kindness of the people there. They do beautiful bead work and colorful textiles but what really caught my attention was the jewelry they wore. They had beautiful glass bead necklaces. Now mind you, this was way way before I had an interest in beads, much less the idea of creating jewelry. Jewelry has always been an abiding interest and they had some pretty special ones. One spectacular piece worn by a village elder had glass beads with real gold embedded inside. There must have been at least 10 beads in the necklace and because it was an old piece, it had the most beautiful patina. Then they explained that their beaded jewelry were family heirlooms, passed from mother to daughter in each family. And that a lot of their beads were made in Itsaly and they acquired them from the Spanish Galleon trade! I was completely fascinated by the idea of these beads traveling on Spanish galleons and making their way to these mountains. Its literally a piece of history. When I asked if there was a necklace or 2 for sale, even the most simple one, they all shook their heads negatively.
Oh well, I thought to myself, I guess it’s not meant to be.
Then on our last day, one of the women, said she might know someone willing to sell me a necklace or two and whether I was still interested. How could I not be?
She then took me to another family’s house where the family matriarch asked me why I wanted their necklace. And I said that I liked them because they were a piece of history and that I would be honored to wear it. I still don’t know why that convinced her but she agreed to sell me what you now see here.
Fast forward to now, after hours and hours of reading and research and other purchases, I know now these beads to be white hearts and simple eye beads from Venice but they will always have a special place in my collection.

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Getting ready for fall

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, hope your week is off to a good start. Today I wanted to feature one of my new pieces for fall. While it still feels like summer, the kiddies are getting ready to hit the books which means fall isn’t too far off now.
This piece is a necklace composed of three Italian trade beads from the late 19th century on a beautiful vintage gold chain (new old stock from Paris) from the 50s. Just look at the focal bead… you can clearly see the different glass canes used in this bead. I love its fall colors of dark red, mustard yellow and brown too!


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Throwback Thursday

| Jewelry, Throwback Thursday

Hello friends, today on Throwback Thursday, I wanted to share a piece that I made over a certain period of time. This necklace started as a simple strand of faceted green and red glass beads from the 60s. When I finished it, I felt that it was incomplete and so I set it aside. A few months after, I went to a brocante and found someone selling bits of jewelry that were used in theatre plays in the 30s. Most of her pieces were big and ornate. But there was also this pretty little pendant that had long lost the necklace it used to belong to. I snapped it up thinking it was really pretty. I excitedly went home thinking of how to use it. I began looking through my beads when I came across the red and green strand I had previously made! Eh voila, this pendant was what was exactly needed to complete this necklace!

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Throwback Thursday:blush bracelet

| Jewelry

A few weeks ago at my last show, a lady took a liking to my bracelets. She bought three of them, one of which is today’s throwback Thursday piece. It’s this lovely blush colored bead bracelet whose beads are from the 50s. I love that i managed to put different shaped beads including the more uncommon spiral twisty ones. And I find it to be quite delicate looking and if I may say so, perfectly suited to the person it came home with!

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Red for Monday

| Jewelry, New pieces

Hello friends, hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Since its the first day of the week, I always like to have something red around, be it a piece of clothing or jewelry. I think it just gives me that extra boost of energy that’s so necessary for Mondays.
Today’s piece started with the little red glass elements that I bought at a little antique store selling all sorts of odds and ends. They were from an old haberdashery store that used to sell supplies for theater costumes. They’re little glass beads with crystal rondelle a from the 30s.


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Throwback Thursday

| Jewelry

DSCN0211Hello friends, its Throwback Thursday on the blog and I decided to feature one of my pieces from last year.  Last year I happened to buy some beads from an old french jewelry house. It is a small shop specializing in what they call Fashion Jewelry, which is high quality jewelry made from glass and other components. This is what distinguishes them from Costume Jewelry which normally makes use of plastics or cheaper material. This particular house just happened to make their own glass beads for their jewelry.  At the height of their business in the 30s/40s, they employed about 120 workers at the glass making plant. They don’t have a lot left to sell, in fact, the seller was quite reluctant to part with the remaining beads but somehow I persuaded him to sell me a few of them.  These particular beads were made to resemble rose quartz but they embellished the glass with tiny gold beads running in the middle of the bead.  Since the beads were made by hand, you can see irregularities in the small gold beads.  These beads are just gorgeous!   They didn’t need much to be pretty so I just made them into very simple earrings. At my december pop-up store, they immediately found themselves a new owner!


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The finished pair

| Jewelry, Uncategorized

gold twist earring 3

The night before last, I found myself unable to sleep.  A book which normally does the trick didn’t help so I went back to my desk to work on some pieces. I though I would work on some earrings using these pretty gold foil Murano beads. I bought these beads at a Parisian brocante from someone who was selling his mothers things. She was a collector of this and that, he said, and with her passing, he couldn’t keep everything. Amongst the bits and bobs on his table, my eye was caught by these beads. They had a fiery glow.  And luckily there were two of them!

At first I thought I would add an extra bead to them to jazz it up a little. But, I hesitated since the gold beads were already so eye-catching. It didn’t really need jazzing up.  Some friends agreed and voila, here is the finished pair!Gold twist earrings1

Soon available at the etsy shop!



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Tiger earrings

| Jewelry, New pieces

DSC_0103Hello friends, when I made these earrings I had no idea that blue and orange were actually the Tigers colors. That’s the Detroit Tigers, my friends.  I’m happy that they’re significant colors for some baseball loving fans here.

As to the earrings themselves, they are composed of two vintage glass beads with some pretty decorative goldtone caps mounted on a dangling chain. I love these bead caps, they add such a whimsical element to the earrings.  Sometimes I’ll find beads that aren’t particularly pretty (yes, it happens), but when I dress them up with some pretty bead caps, they become pretty neat. I like to think of them as the accessories you use to jazz up an otherwise basic dress. It just proves that accessories are indispensable!

Here’s another look at them. And they are now available in the shop!



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A Moretti bead bracelet

| All things Antique, Jewelry, New pieces

Red Black Moretti braceletHello friends, as promised, here is the bracelet I was working on yesterday. I am especially happy with this one as it incorporates several elements I love– antique beads, semi-precious stones and a newly learned technique!

The red and black beads were a bit of an unusual find for me because I actually found them in a bead shop rather than in an antique shop.  I normally never find anything in bead stores, except for findings and such but this time, Zahia, a really cool bead store in Antwerp, had some stock of old Moretti beads.  Not a lot but enough for me to be really happy that day!

Ercole Moretti et F.lli is one of the oldest bead making companies in Italy. It was started in Venice, Italy in 1911 by a family of glass makers.  They created an enormous amount of beads that eventually made their way to the African continent thanks to the bead trade.  Their most famous work is probably the Rosetta bead (otherwise known was the Chevron bead) though this bead was originally invented in 1480. They are one of the few bead companies that still exist today in Venice.

These particular red and black beads that I did buy from Zahia date back from their 1930 stock.  It belongs to this family of beads pictured below and they are opaque ground beads. Despite their great age, they hardly look worn and the red and black color scheme looks as good now as it did back in those days. Moretti beads 2To mix it up a bit, I decided to use these faceted black spinels rather than more glass beads.  I love gemstones and this is a good way to incorporate them to my usual work.   To top it all off, I used my newly acquired wire-wrapping skill!


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Glass from Gablonz

| Jewelry, New pieces


Hello friends, I hope your week is off to a good start! As promised in yesterday’s post, a lot of lovely new pieces are going to make their way to the Etsy shop but I wanted to tell you more about two bracelets in particular.

When I set out to make jewelry, I started with the basic round beads. They were easy to use  and using them successfully encouraged me to continue with more ambitious projects.   Now, I love the unusually shaped beads because it forces me to think of creative ways to use them. But I’d never actually worked with rectangular shaped ones till I found the beads pictured here in a small brocante. I arrived close to the end of the afternoon and vendors were starting to pack up. Almost at the end of one row of stalls, was a man with boxes and boxes of buttons and tassels.  I didn’t really expect to find any beads because he explained that most of his stock came from an  old mercerie (haberdashery shop).  Sewing is not my strong suit, so I passed up on the  buttons but  before leaving I decided to open one   last box and to my great surprise I found these square shaped beads.

I have to tell you that they are just so beautifully faceted.    I don’t think these pictures do it justice but these beads are faceted almost like  gemstones. And while I try not to have particular favorites with my pieces, the way the all black  bracelet catches the light is just spectacular.   DSCN3493

Of course, I was immediately obsessed with finding out more about them. And it wasn’t  easy to determine their origins.   Black square bracelet 1

After reading a number of books and comparing other similarly faceted beads, I think that they are most likely from Gablonz, a village in Northern Bohemia, in what is now Czech Republic and they date back to the late 20s early 30s. Gablonz was a renowned center for glass making. There have been glass workers there since at least the 18th century.   They were matched only by the Venetians in skill and output and glass production was at its height in the 19th century.  Unfortunately, times have since greatly changed and the industry is sadly diminished.  There just isn’t the same demand for glass beads, production costs have soared and there are cheaper (though lesser quality) alternatives.

Black square bracelet2

I’m afraid that one day the glass makers of Gablonz will close their doors permanently. I count myself lucky to have at least found some pieces with which to make new jewelry. Hopefully these lovely bracelets will find lovely new owners. At least then, this beautiful glass work won’t be totally lost for good.


When inspiration strikes

| Jewelry, Uncategorized



So far I’ve been very lucky in my bead hunting. I’ve found some beads in pristine condition, while others are in great condition. This is a miracle given their age and the often dusty conditions I’ve found them in.  Sometimes though I’ll find some beads that are irresistible but  upon closer look are not the easiest to work with. One example is this group of trade beads that I found in a small Parisian brocante. They are pink and green with a sort of silvery streak and the bead core is white.  Several beads were very badly chipped and a lot of the colors had rubbed off.  But I hadn’t seen this combination before and I finally brought them home. Once home I did some research and it turns out that this kind of bead dates back to the 19th century, the early half of the 19th century! I was happy that I took a chance with them.  Unfortunately,  it was a disaster when I tried to work on them. Several beads lost even more of their colors  and a few even broke. I stopped at that point and thought that I’d save them for my collection of loose beads.  That was a year and a half a go.

Fast forward to a a few weeks ago– I took a trip and found myself buying a vintage Uzbek coat with a gorgeous color palette of dusty pink and green.  Then somehow I got a strand of faceted pink topaz and I started thinking how beautiful these colors were and how well they worked together. I woke up this morning thinking suddenly of those green and pink trade beads from awhile back.

And somehow (perhaps my beading stars were aligned right), those pink topaz beads, little as they are, fit perfectly over the trade beads.  The happy result is this bracelet. It certainly took time to put this one together but the result is well worth the wait.

pink and green trade bead 1




Learning something new

| Jewelry

wirewrap beads


My path to jewelry making was never a planned route.  In a way this non-traditional path has enabled me to experiment and create a bit “out of the box”. I did a lot of things that I probably could’ve (or shoul’dve) done another way if I had proper training.  Today, I want to talk about learning something new in my craft.

I just realized recently, that one technique, I should’ve learned, is the wire-wrapping technique.  This is a particular technique which secures beads onto findings.   Now it sounds like simple enough idea to wrap a bead but as with everything else there is a particular technique to it. In fact, its not as easy as it sounds. It requires a certain dexterity and  patience because sometimes the wire doesn’t do what I want it to do.  So the whole of yesterday was spent  learning and trying to master this technique.

After the umpteenth try, I began to get the technique but I realized too that the real challenge lies in being able to execute the technique flawlessly and consistently.  Before I gave up for the night, I wire-wrapped this pair of beads that eventually, I want to turn into a pair of earrings.  Its not a bad outcome for a day’s work, but you can see too that I need to work on proportions and making them the same size. wirewrap earrings

Oh well, learning new things is a way of bringing freshness to my work. It opens up possibilities!

What about you dear friends,what new things have you learned recently? Is there a new skill you want to learn? I’d love to hear from you.

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| Jewelry

I was just thinking that cliché or not, Mother’s Day brings out all sorts of emotions in everyone.  For the lucky ones, it is a day of celebration and thankfulness. For some others it is a more difficult day.  One thing is for sure though, despite whatever relationship we have with our mothers or even our own relationship with the idea of motherhood, none of us would be here without her.  That’s a good enough reason to mark this day.

So, I made a little gallery of pretty things you could offer your mom. Or why not yourself if you’re a mom. I hope you like it.

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Klimt inspired

| Jewelry, New pieces, Uncategorized


Hello friends, today I wanted to share with you one of my more serendipitously paired pieces.  I found this magnificent bead (its the big focal bead of the necklace) during one of my bead trips and was just immediately taken with it. It is a Murano bead from the 60s and I found it so dramatic with its black and gold color scheme. More importantly  it reminds me so much Klimt and a field of flowers.  It is a little on the big side so I thought it would be perfect as a focal bead.  And since I found it so pretty, I wanted another one like it.  Well the seller didn’t have anymore…exactly like it… DSCN3633


But as he rummaged around his box of beads, he fished out the little brother or sister of the first bead!! I hurriedly bought them and hurried home, anxious to get started on a piece.

Since I wanted the beads to be the main focus of the pieces, I kept the necklace and matching bracelet really simple. I added a few vintage black faceted Czech beads  and voila it came together without hardly any effort.





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Add some color to your wardrobe

| Jewelry

There are times when a piece comes together like a piece of cake (no pun intended!).   Other times I have to wait awhile before they fall into place.  With this dramatic red and green necklace, I had no trouble putting the faceted red and green beads together.  But then I thought, it needed a little pizzaz. I checked my treasure box of beads and stuff and nothing was calling. So I put it away thinking, it needs to time.

Then I went to a flea market and came across a lady selling fabric and theater costume pieces. DSC04570

And among the pieces of theatrical costume and in a box of bits and bobbins, I found this pendant all by its lonesome self.  It used to be part of what they call bijoux de theatre from the 30s.  These were pieces that actors used on stage and as it was for the stage, they were often big, gaudy and well, theatrical looking.  All by itself though, this pendant was quite lovely with its original green and red glass cabochons still intact after these many years.  Then I had an Aha! moment. This is exactly what that green and red necklace needed!  I took it home and now the piece was complete!DSC04571



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Matching stuff

| Jewelry, New pieces


I don’t often have enough beads to make matching things. I make from what I find.  And that’s sometimes frustrating because I like to have the earrings that go with the necklace or a bracelet and necklace. Even more so when the beads are as distinctive as these round glass ones! I lucked out though with these as I had just enough to be able to make a pretty set!

I feel in a more playful mood now that we’ve left (fingers crossed) the cold weather behind and I think this set is the perfect thing to wear.

I love how the circles have edges and how the little dangle in the middle makes this piece so much fun!  The red glass circles are french made from the 40s while the little pearls and glass beads in the middle are from the 50s.


Here’s a close up look at the necklace!



If you’re interested in this piece, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

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