Thursday, June 30, 2016

Did you know?

  • Florida is the lighting capital of the U.S.
  • In 2014 alone, there were 10,440 lighting-related homeowner insurance claims in Florida.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Aimee Song's Bracelet Line

In 2015, the young fashion and interior designer, Aimee Song, came up with four bracelet line, which is not even called a collection.
The combination of black and pink and variations of blue colors plays in favor to younger generation divine taste. The stones framed in a pyramid shape, but Aimee has also bracelets with the traditional round bead form, and even from rainbow of colors in textile bows. However, the pyramid studded design of the bangles, they are gorgeous with a touch of edge! The “Song of Style” bracelets The whole point of these bracelets, they add some edge and a pop of color, plus they look really great alone or mixed in with other bracelets! Who does not like the game of mixing and matching! Aimee explained in her own words: “The reason I wanted to work with stones is because when I first started my career in interior design, I worked as a kitchen and bathroom designer and mainly worked with natural stone such as marble, granite, and quartz. I wanted to find stones for my bracelets that were either marble, or that looked as close as marble to tie in my love for interior design and fashion. Just because I have my own line of bracelets doesn’t mean that I’ll stop supporting my favorite jewelry designers!”
Good to know, Aimee! Once again, the inspiration come from visits to the local Library, from a hobby, or use of education in many different ways.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Professor had been spoken: Bracelets

Today bracelets are amongst the most popular forms of jewelry. With the exception of earrings, bracelets are the most popular jewelry in the world. In a way, jewelry is a testament to how history repeats itself! Comparing jewelry from hundreds of years ago to contemporary jewelry, we will notice that ancient jewelry continues to inspire our current styles. “Every kiss begins with…fine jewelry,” says the famous TV ad. From classic sterling silver to colorful woven leather, everyone can string its own story on the array of bracelets.

Exactly when someone first discovered that tying a vine around the wrist made a pretty decoration isn't known, but people have worn bracelets for centuries. The best artisans of many cultures applied their skills to the bracelet designs still worn today by both women and men.
In general, ever since the dawn of human race, jewelry managed to be a constant presence and driving force of many fashion and cultural changes we experienced trough each millennium.  Luminous fairy tales tell us wonder of nature woven with legends.

Professor has been spoken as the bracelets draw attention to the beauty of wrists and hands. Their gentle jingle is a constant reminder of a sparkling presence that turns even an everyday outing into a more festive occasion. Women throughout history, from Cleopatra to Michelle Obama, have worn bracelets as decorative accessories, and contemporary women continue to keep the bracelet tradition going strong.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hattie Carnegie or Business of Beauty

“Beauty is my business!” (Carnegie, 1942) Hattie Carnegie was a fashion entrepreneur based in New York, between 1920s and 1960s.

She was born in Vienna, Austria as Henrietta Kanengeiser, in Austrian Jewish tailor family as a second child of seven siblings. Henrietta Kanengeiser was just a teenager when her family left Austria for the United States around 1900. Upon their arrival, the family settled into New York’s Lower East Side, where they hoped to work in the garment factories. During one of the trips, Henrietta asked a man who the richest, most successful person in America was, and he told her, “Andrew Carnegie.” Some years later, when she was in her 20s, she adopted “Carnegie” as her last name, and the rest of her family, trying to blend into American culture. Henrietta eventually got in with Macy’s as a salesgirl, a position that promised a lot of mobility for a girl of her background. At Macy’s, she became a student of women’s clothing and fashion accessories; her job in the hat department earned her the nickname “Hattie.”

She went from being a destitute Macy's messenger girl who owned three blouses and one skirt to controlling, at its high point, a ten-million-dollar empire. Her five companies included custom and ready-to-wear clothing, hats, perfume, and fabulous costume jewelry. For decades, her personal taste and fashion sense influenced the styles worn by countless American women. While it’s believed Carnegie produced jewelry to complement her clothing, particularly her trademark “little Carnegie suits,” her official line of marked jewelry did not hit the market until 1939. Like Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, Carnegie flourished in the “cocktail jewelry” movement (1935-1960), where pieces like brooches and demi-parures of necklaces, bracelets, and earrings put the finishing touches on outfits.

 Carnegie’s designs, whether it was hats, clothing, or jewelry, were adored by Hollywood stars and other American celebrities including Tallulah Bankhead, Joan Fontaine, Norma Shearer, and Joan Crawford. Carnegie seemed to have a sixth sense about the taste of American women, flying to Paris on a regular basis and then returning home to adapt the latest look to U.S. sensibilities.

 In the 1930s and 1940s, her clothes were considered smart, neat, and tailored. She particularly excelled at the little black dress. In contrast, her jewelry designs were downright wild, giving a touch of flair to otherwise conservative outfits. She commissioned a wide array of talented jewelry designers to work in a variety of styles, but in general, Hattie Carnegie pieces tended to stay away from all-paste copies of gemstone fine jewelry. She employed plastics, enamels, and gilt metals. Her brooches became iconic in the 1950s.

 One of her more popular jewelry collections is the Oriental line, inspired by Far Eastern and Indian motifs. This includes elaborate metal human figures detailed with tiny rhinestone and faux pearls that can stand up of their own, as well as things like a figural elephant carrying a howdah and a snuff-bottle pendant.

 Other collected Carnegies' include the animals in her menagerie of stylized brooches, which took inspirations from the African art that influenced Paris fashion in the 1930s. These figures, produced well into the 1950s, were made of Lucite in bold colors like red-orange, emerald green, ivory, and turquoise blue, and were trimmed with rhinestones, colored beads, and gilt metal. Collectors covet the fish and long-horned goats, but the anteater is the most prized of all.

 Some of Carnegie’s top jewelry designers included Kenneth Jay Lane, her protege Norman Norell, and Nadine Effront, a French sculptor and one-time student of George Braques. Years after Carnegie’s death in 1963, Effront designed a popular Greek-themed collection for Hattie Carnegie jewelry, using atypical materials such as terra cotta, tortoise, and hammered gold.

Lane, meanwhile, served as the creative director at Hattie Carnegie jewelry before he struck out own his own in the ’60s with a wildly popular line of giant plastic earrings adorned with rhinestones. His creations were eventually worn by Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Bush, and Nan Kempner.

 Carnegie jewelry, whether animal-inspired or abstract, is noted for its attention to detail and creativity. For example, a gilt-metal apple has a tiny slice cut out. The jewelry line also has a traditional, romantic side, with necklaces and bracelets made of double- and triple-strand crystal, glass, and rhinestone beads, graceful chokers with trailing chains, and large brooches with giant shimmering stones in rich colors.

 Carnegie died in 1956, so the Hattie Carnegie jewelry that was designed before then, under her direction and requiring her approval, is most valued by collectors. These items, usually ranked highly in costume jewelry guides, are worth collecting, even if they are damaged or are missing rhinestones.

 Hattie Carnegie's early jewelry was designed to complement her clothing line. Her jewelry is usually marked “Hattie Carnegie” or “Carnegie.” A less frequently used mark is “HC” within a diamond, inside a semi-oval. Hattie Carnegie's hair ornaments and cases are sometimes marked “Pooped Pussy Cat” or “Pooped Poodle.”

 Larry Josephs took over the Hattie Carnegie firm in the late 1960s, and in the 1976, the company was acquired by Chromology American Corporation. The Hattie Carnegie brand was still being used in the late 1970s, particularly on designer lines like Yves Saint Laurent for Carnegie (1978), Anne Klein for Carnegie (1979), and Valentino for Hattie Carnegie (1979).

 Today, Hattie Carnegie's jewelry is what has lasted, showcasing the full range of designs, from glamorous rhinestone bracelets to exotic oriental pins.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Ruby, July's Birthstone

The Ruby represents love, passion, courage and emotion. For centuries, this gem has been considered the king of all gems. It was believed that wearing a fine red Ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner. Rubies have been the prized possession of emperors and kings throughout the ages. To this day the Ruby is the most valued gemstone.

The color of a Ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable color of Ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red color with a slight blue hue. This color is often referred to as “pigeon blood” red, a Ruby color only associated with the Mogok Valley mines in Myanmar. The color Pigeon Blood Ruby red, of course, is not associated with the color of a pigeon’s blood, but rather the color of a white pigeon’s eye.
Recommended list for reading and discussion:

Ethan, Eric. (2011) Rubies. – Gareth Stevens Publishing. – 24 pages. (Gems: Nature’s Jewels)
Ward, Fred. (2003) Rubies & Sapphires: 4th/ed. – Gem Book Publishing. – 64 pages.