Noticeably Nice: Kataoka

Yoshinobu Kataoka is a master jeweler from Tokyo, whose work crops up in the most unusual places (ABC Home, for example) but also shops like Catbird and YLang. 1602-kok-1-1

After working for his family’s company for years, Yoshinobu Kataoka struck out on his own to create his own jewelry from conflict free materials. The result is Kataoka.

We find these pieces to be a little bit Victorian, but so much more delicate than what you’ll actually find from the era. We’re particularly taken with the bands inspired by branches.

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This is fine jewelry (with the prices to match) and there is a production time if you order it straight from the shop, but these are true heirloom pieces.

Our pick: This beautiful necklace for $1,870

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Review: Vrai & Oro

Casper for mattresses, Everlane for clothes, M. Gemini for shoes … the list goes on and on. And that’s because the idea makes sense. Buy direct and avoid the mark-up. Designed and manufactured in L.A., Vrai & Oro also commits to ethical manufacturing and transparency around pricing – not unlike the Cuyana for leather goods.

It’s always hard to balance shopping and eating well with the price these necessities sometimes cost. The best most of us can work for is balance.

So what do we think?

Packaging: The boxes and note cards are beautiful. We also saw on Instagram that they did these cute Mother’s Day packaging (center image).

Quality: We’ve spoken several times on this blog about how gold filled jewelry and gold plated jewelry sit side by side with our fine jewelry. Vrai & Oro maintains 14k gold standards for all their jewelry, making this an incredible value for the highest quality.

Designs: I loved the pieces I ordered and purchased a second piece as a gift. They are minimal and delicate. The collection is fairly small and is similar to pieces we’ve seen elsewhere. That being said, I’d been wanting a rose-gold solitaire bracelet and had been holding out because of the prices. At $165, this piece fits the bill perfectly.

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Patina Jewelry

Buenos Aires based Sibilia Jewelry is a mashup of Georgia O’Keefe and modern design that we discovered at Anthropologie last month. Turns out, we’re late to the party – Fernanda Sibilia has been designing jewelry for twenty years.

 

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Credit: Instagram

We are particularly stricken with these patina pieces and the landscapes they create. The $100 price point also makes them perfect for birthday gifts.

Buying Guide: What does Gold Plated Mean?

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Imagine how heavy a solid gold dress would be? 

Some of our most loved pieces are gold plated. Because gold is expensive, a lot of designers – especially young ones, experiment with gold plated to keep their costs low. For the wearer, there isn’t too much of a difference at first glance since both are pure gold on the outside.

If a piece is labeled gold plated, that means the jewelry made of a base metal or sometimes silver that has been finished with a thin layer of gold on top.

Gold plated jewelry will never be worth as much as solid gold, but you can still buy very high quality pieces this way. In our mind, the main deterrent for purchasing gold plated jewelry is that the gold can wear off. This is especially true on high-impact pieces such as bracelets or even necklaces.

How To Know if you’re buying gold plate jewelry:

Look for the following markers:

  • 14KGP: A base metal covered with 14k gold. You might also see other numbers such as 10K
  • Bonded Gold: Just means gold plated.
  • 14K HGE: Stands for 14K Heavy Gold Electroplate, which refers to the process for plating the metal called electrolysis.
  • Vermeil: Is usually found on older vintage pieces and refers to gold plate over sterling silver, instead of the more common copper.

How to Prevent Swollen Hands on a Flight

For some reason this has been the winter of travel for us – mostly for work, some for fun. Perhaps it was the combination of salty food and too much altitude, but for the first time in our lives our hands ballooned making it almost impossible to take our jewelry off for several days!

Not only was it incredibly uncomfortable, we couldn’t change out any rings, which would have been fine if we hadn’t been wearing a large cocktail ring that kept ripping holes in our clothes.

To make the swelling go down we soaked our hands in a hot bowl of water and drank a ton of water, but in an effort to keep our hands a normal proportion our next flight, we polled our friends who fly the most for tips on keeping our hands and jewelry friends.

Tip #1: Don’t wear jewelry. Just keep it in your bag when you go through security.

Tip #2: To keep your hands their normal shape, compression gloves are unglamorous but they really work. Especially on flights more than a few hours, these have saved my hands more than a couple of times.

Tip #3. Don’t eat salty snacks or food the night before.

Tip #4: Keep your body moving. Go to the bathroom, flip a magazine or tap your leg just to keep your blood flowing. 

Plus one tip on what to do if everything you try doesn’t work and you arrive with huge hands, one of our friends tried this: Wrap a piece of thread around your finger tightly around the finger with no gaps between the thread. Then, release the thread slowly. Your finger will be compressed and the ring, with a bit of vaseline might just come off too. 

 

 

 

 

Polka Dot Jewelry

On Instagram the other day we saw the most beautiful brass jewelry ring. The caption was in Japanese, the account was in Japanese, and the best internet scouring has produced not so much as a clue.

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With or without the fantom ring, we’ve had polka dots on the mind. Looking through our jewelry box we found this classic Kusama Louis Vuitton bracelet (which you can still find on second hand sites on the web) from a few years back.

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We also stumbled across several other polka dot styles we love.

Marc Jacobs Steel bracelet, $92 at Yoox  (bottom right)

Vintage Italian bracelet, $9,800 at 1st Dibs  (bottom left)

Our biggest discovery is John Hardy, whose dot collection has some pieces we love.

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John Hardy drop earrings, $795 at Bloomingdale’s

Dot bangle by John Hardy at $670 at Neiman Marcus

 

 

How to Wear A Scarf with a Brooch

It’s no secret in this office that we love scarves. Especially around the Holiday season when you often have to dash from event to event wearing the same clothes you wore at the office.

This year, we’ve been loving scarves with brooches – which can run from glamorous to campy and make a cocktail dress more appropriate for an afterwork drink.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite combinations, but we think one of the best places to find brooches are vintage shops, Etsy, and EBay. The prices are usually very reasonable and you’ll get something really unique.

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Marni broochChanel brooch DSquared brooch Marni broochVintage brooch  

Shopping Abroad: French Ecommerce Store L’Exception

French girl charm. Literally.

L’Exception is worth a visit if you’re visiting Paris. One of the few shops we always try to visit. The design and layout is more like a premiere shopping experience, but the prices are approachable and a great place to grab gifts for friends.

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The whimsical side of French fashion is in full force at L’Exception which mixes 325€ Nicholas Theil condom pendent necklaces with Dajczman leather bracelets (available in beautiful autumnal hues) for 190€.

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We love how sculptural these heart studs are by Miss Bibi (150€)  and the shop has probably the largest selection of jewelry headbands for (perfect for weddings) we’ve ever seen.

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So how does shipping work? They use DHL – which based on our experience has been pretty reliable. The one catch (which wasn’t a problem when we ordered) is that they only make two delivery attempts. So probably best to ship to an office if you can.

ps. we love their Instagram, where their stylish staff and regular customers show off outfits.

 

Splurge or Save: Turquoise Studs

Turquoise is popping up everywhere lately, and the fact that it continues to resurface in fashion every few years suggests the popularity of this stone will only continue to resurface.

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If you’re not used to wearing blue jewelry, or are unsure if the stone is too trendy, stud earrings are a subtle way of testing the waters.

Turquoise is actually a pretty soft stone, but it takes on a wonderful polish and, when you’re buying the real thing, you often finds flecks or veins of gold or other metals and minerals. Depending on your taste, this can be either desirable or not. Personally, we love the imperfections for how it brings more character to our jewelry.

Though there are a lot of sophisticated ways to copy turquoise (many involve dying white stones) most imitations are simply cast plastic. If you’re not sure (or not ready) to invest in turquoise, these humblechic studs are only $24. Slightly smaller, these Ippolita studs are the definition of Italian refinement. But at $795, they are closer to an investment piece.

We love turquoise in earrings because it brings some color around our faces without looking unnatural. But you tell us, would you wear turquoise studs? And would you spend almost $800?

 

 

The Best of Jewelry Abroad: Foe and Dear from Canada

Foe and Doe may have started in Brooklyn, but designer Katherine Huie is Vancouver, Canada based now.

If you’ve ever been to Vancouver, you know it is one of the most beautiful places in Canada – if a bit gray – and Huie’s jewelry has the same muted, natural aesthetic – with a few pops of sparkle.

 

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If you order from her site, all of the packages come in the brightest gold bubble envelope, making them great gifts.

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We particularly love this opal ring, with it’s giant claw setting.  It is a perfect cocktail ring that is also casual enough to wear for a dinner out – plus at $90, it’s a great price.

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These earrings we love for the holiday season – the bright rose gold druzy is totally modernized by the oversized claw setting.

Foe and Dear is available on Etsy,in shops, and on their site.