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Why I Love Chrysoprase [kris-uh-preyz]

 

The meaning of Chrysoprase comes from two words, chrys being the Greek for 'gold or yellow' and prase from the Greek for 'leek', referring to the green coloring of it. 

I've always gravitated towards shades of aqua, specifically shades of the ocean. Growing up with a twin sister our parents would sometimes dress us the same but we were given the option of color.  I always remember picking out a shade of blue!  These days I tend to wear a lot of neutral colors but I love a pop of color with my accessories. It's an easy way to add some personality without fully committing my entire outfit. 

Chrysoprase, a rare seafoam green/blue variety of chalcedony quartz has always been one of my favorite stones! the color varies varies from apple green to seafoam to deep blue. I still remember happening upon it at my first major gem show in Tucson 9 years ago. It was love at first sight!  

Here it is in all it's glory, raw and uncut. How gorgeous is this! When I see beautiful gems like these  I immediately start designing new pieces in my head. Stones for jewelry designers are like fabric for an interior designer; they are often a source of inspiration and a wonderful starting point for a new project.  

 

                                                       Chrysoprase Raw Stacked Stone

 

 

Here are some of the original strands of beads I purchased in Tucson. I'm too in love to part with them! 

Chrysoprase Bead Strand

SCIENCE 

The darker varieties of chrysoprase are also referred to as "prase" or chorite included quartz. One of the reasons that chrysoprase is so rare is due to the fact that it is a cryptocrystalline, this means that instead of being formed by large six sided crystals, the size of the crystals are extremely small and invisible to the naked eye. This sets it apart from rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, and the other varieties of crystalline quartz which are basically transparent and formed from easily recognized six-sided crystals.This attribute gives is much rarer in nature, as well as more beautiful. Unlike emerald which owes its green color to the presence of chromium, the color of chrysoprase is due to trace amounts of nickel compounds in the form of very small inclusions.

 

HISTORY

Chrysoprase has been known to man since ancient times.  It was valued and formed into cameos and intaglios by the Greeks and Romans. Ancient Egyptians also saw the value of this fine gemstone and it was part of decorations that adorned the pharaohs.

During the Middle Ages Europe used Chrysoprase in jewelry and it was extremely prized and valued. It was mined in Silesia which is now present day Czech Republic until the supplies were exhausted. Peter Carl Faberge created many works using this valuable gemstone.

Besides it being used as ornamental jewelry, it was said to have many mystical and medicinal properties. For instance, during the Middle Ages it was used to reduce internal pain, as well as to strengthen vision. It was also used to mend broken hearts and help one concentrate or meditate. For astrology aficionados, Chrysoprase is given as a gift to Gemini’s, Libra’s and Cancer’s.

HEALING

If you are drawn to stones for their healing and spiritual powers it is thought that this gem brings through the vibration of divine truth, and promotes joy and happiness, while healing the heart of energies of depression and anxiety. It is said to have metaphysical properties for healing as well as being a stone to attract new love and abundance and prosperity.This stone will empower you to understand more deeply, the concepts around divine truth, as you center yourself within your heart. It promotes feelings of love and of forgiveness, and releases ego based negativity associated with co-dependent relationships.

SHOP OUR CHRYSOPRASE PIECES

 

                                                                                

18K GOLD VERMEIL SETTINGS

                        

                                                  

                               

                                               

 

STERLING SILVER SETTINGS

                           

                            

                            

                                                     

18K ROSE GOLD VERMEIL SETTINGS

                                                        

 

                                                                                                                                                         

 


Protect Your Jewels Ladies!

How do you store and travel with your jewels? This was a bone of contention of mine for a few years so I set out to design a storage piece that would do the trick. Since it would be used for travel I also wanted it to be multifunctional. Meet the Wanderlust Jewelry Bag! 
Here is a quick 40 second visual guide/video to walk you through all that it does. 
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Wanderlust Jewelry Bag
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I wanted to the piece to also double as a clutch and a cross body bag. Take the removable pages out and you have a piece you can use for a night out or during the day shopping.  The lining of the bag has all your wallet essentials with compartments for your smartphone, credit/debit cards, cash and a secure zippered section. 
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Now onto the storage component of the Wanderlust Jewelry Bag.  I wanted to create pages large enough to hold a lot of jewelry but small enough so the bag would easily fit into a carry on or hotel safe. The pages are roughly the size of a mini ipad.  They're double sided to maximize storage and the compartments vary in size to fit all your larger statement pieces and smaller dainty ones. They are lined with super soft microfiber to prevent scratches and the covers are clear so you could browse your collections without having to take a bunch of pieces out. 
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As I mentioned before I always dreaded unpacking my necklaces. This storage page was certainly a priority. It has 4 snap loops at the bottom and top to hold your necklaces in place. No more tangles! It also has a soft leather snap in bar to keep all your rings together. 
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Next was earrings! Earrings are like socks; I'm always losing one! This page holds up to 18 pairs and like the necklace page has a full size storage page on the outside of it for larger pieces. 
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Just like your holidays, your jewelry varies too. I wanted to make sure there were different configuration of pages for smaller simple pieces and full size pieces for larger statement ones. Also because the pages come apart with the Wanderlust Jewelry Bag you have the choice to bring one, two, three, four or all pages for shorter or longer trips. It's your choice. If you choose you can even just bring the pages and leave the outer shell at home. It's up to you!  The pages snap together and stack so if you're on the go or at home they're organized and protected. 
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Because I wear primarily sterling jewelry I know that anything air-tight will keep your pieces looking brand new and will prevent tarnish. I keep as many pieces as I can in my pages when I'm at home. Also the handy clear pages allow me to look through what I have without having to take everything out to get at one piece. 
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When you purchase the Wanderlust Jewelry Bag you also receive a complimentary cotton monogrammed dust bag to keep it looking brand new. 
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So that's the Wanderlust Jewelry Bag in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy the functionality and design components that went into this piece. I'd love to hear your thoughts so please email us at info@sopretty.ca! 
Here are some recent reviews from So Pretty customers. 
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Wanderlust Jewelry Bag

Your Silver & How to Care For It.

When you're at a department store or boutique do you pay attention to what the pieces are made of? I'm continually surprised at how many brands don't provide this information and the variety of highly prices pieces sold with a description of color but not "metal type".

If you're looking to invest your hard earned dollars in an investment piece it's really important to ask all the right questions and then know how to care for your pieces properly afterwards. With care,  sterling pieces can last forever and be handed down to your loved ones.  Hopefully I can help you navigate through the process. 

Sterling is one of the most popular metals for jewelry but as the price of sterling rises more brands are turning to brass and gold filled (gold plated onto brass) materials to make their pieces.  I've always been a big fan of sterling; I adore it. Silver itself doesn't cause reactions and is widely regarded as one of the best materials to prevent this. It has a weight and quality to it unlike brass (gold filled) and other non-precious varieties. Just make sure to buy "nickel free" silver pieces. Allergies to nickel occur in approximately 10% of the population, and nickel is the most common metal to cause an allergic reaction. Make sure to ask for nickel free sterling. 

Also purchase 925 silver pieces which consists of 0.925% pure silver. There are a couple steps you can take in ensuring that your sterling silver jewelry is the real thing. Most commonly sterling pieces (including SO PRETTY) have the 925 symbol stamped on each piece. If it doesn't have the stamp the easiest test to do is to use a magnet. Precious metals, such as silver, gold and platinum, are non-ferrous materials, meaning that they are not magnetic. Take a piece of "silver" jewelry and place it near a magnet; if it is attracted to it, then it is not sterling silver. It is stainless steel that is highly polished to look like silver. 

 

925 Sterling Stamp

 

When looking gold or rose gold but don't have the money for a solid piece "vermeil" is a good option. To be categorized as "vermeil" fine gold or rose gold must be plated (at least 2.5 microns thick) on top of solid sterling silver. There are a lot of gold filled products on the market. This is gold plated on brass.  Make sure to ask if it is gold vermeil or gold filled. 

CARING FOR YOUR SILVER JEWELS

Many factors can influence the condition of your sterling jewelry.  To keep your silver sparkling, new and tarnish free store it in an airtight, cool, dry place away from natural sunlight and heat. Our Wanderlust Jewelry Storage Bags are perfect! Please do not store your jewelry in your bathroom. The humidity will tarnish your pieces sooner than anything else. If you don't have a jewelry box or bag you can also use a clear ziplock bag. They aren't fancy but they certainly do the trick. 

Remove jewelry before going to bed or participating in physical activity. Avoid contact with humidity, extreme heat, chlorinated water, salt water, lotions and perfumes and use your So Pretty silver polishing cloth to make your piece sparkle and shine. When traveling use the So Pretty microfibre pouch and drawer style box provided free of charge. They will prevent the pieces from scratching and will limit wear and tear on each piece. If you have one of our jewelry bags you can travel with multiple pieces with ease! 

I hope this information helps! 

Happy accessorizing, 

Cara Cotter

 


A Happy & So Pretty New Year


Thank You | Year In Review

2014 was a wonderful year; I couldn't have done it without you! 
THANK YOU for cheering me on and supporting my business. I appreciate you!
  
As the year comes to a close I can't help but reflect on all that happened this year.

  • 2 model campaigns. 
  • 3 collections launched.
  • Created 360 Degree photos for my website/online shopping. 
  • I attended the JKC Las Vegas & Hong Kong Gem & Jewelry Shows.
  • Participated in the EDIT SHOW (my first crack in front of US retailers).
  • My Wanderlust mini jewelry bags sold out. Stay tuned for an improved version in 2015! 
  • Designed brand new packaging including suede touch boxes and jewelry bags.
  • Debuted into the US/International market into 6 new stores. 
  • Signed a major deal to be announced in early 2015! 
  • Celebrated my 10 year wedding anniversary.
  • My boys Jack & Ben turned 5 & 7! 
  • Oh and I enjoyed my newly renovated studio (mom cave) a lot & got myself a "lob"!

Below are some photo highlights and my most recent campaign video.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS & A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES! 

Refueling - So Pretty On Vacation

 

It's always important to have some down-time. Besides enjoying a much needed vacation with my boys and husband it does wonders to recharge my creative batteries. This July we headed to sunny Phoenix, Pasadena, San Diego and L.A. for a month of pool side relaxing, "best of" foodie stops, soccer games and Disneyland.  Here is a list of our top spots along with some tidbits.

 

PHOENIX

Little Miss BBQ - The best BBQ we've ever had. Served by weight, cooked using oak, pecan & mesquite on a massive offset smoker. The owners dad honeymoons as their pit master and took time to chat with us while we were in the long line. Get there early before they're sold out for the day! 

Sweet Republic | Artisan Ice Cream - Fresh local ingredients, made from scratch and named best ice cream in Phoenix. Try the salted caramel shake or in-season Cherry Yuzu Cream Cheese ice cream. Yum! 

Trader Joe's For Cookie Butter - Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter is really just ground up cookies mixed with sugar and oil but it is DELICIOUS. A big thanks to my sister in law Lori for introducing us!  We'll be packing this in our suitcase on the way home from our annual Phoenix trips! 

 

SAN DIEGO

Tower23 Hotel -  Derives its name from the lifeguard tower 23 positioned on Pacific Beach by the hotel, this mid century modern boutique hotel is the perfect mix of cool meets coastal. Since it's located ocean side I was able to have my morning coffee out on our cabana and set the boys up with some virgin mojitos and their iPads after our day of touring - all while watching the surfers and tides roll in. We loved it!  Also the exclusive resort community of La Jolla is just north of the hotel. 

The Baked Bear  |  Custom Ice Cream Sandwiches - Pick your own flavour of ice cream and two cookies, brownies or waffles (baked in store). My boys went straight for mint chocolate chip ice cream, brownies and red velvet cookies. They also had snickerdoodle and "funfetti' cookies. Worth the line up! 

USS Midway Aircraft Carrier - Explore a floating city at sea and relive nearly 50 years of world history aboard the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century. We spent the better part of an afternoon here with our boys (ages 5 & 6); we enjoyed it so much we walked through parts of it twice. 

C-Level Restaurant - Located on Harbour Drive (only a few minutes from the USS Midway) you can enjoy lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We loved their fish tacos and for a nice change their kids menu had a 3 oz filet mignon. #toomanyhotdogsonthistrip!  Also their pinapple upside down cake was heaven. Covered in a pool of rum-caramel sun-dried cherry sauce & topped with cardamom ice cream.

 

PASADENA

Langham Huntington Hotel - We were in town for the Manchester United vs L.A. Galaxy exhibition game. This hotel is close to Lacy Park and the Rose Bowl Stadium. We really enjoyed their outdoor pool;  it wasn't too crowded, was really big and there were a lot of loungers with shade where we enjoyed a poolside lunch before the game. 

Rose Bowl Stadium - Check out a Manchester United game when they're in their off-season. Maybe they'll be back next year? We also went to the open training session the night before. 

Old Pasadena - This eclectic old town area is filled with museums, galleries, and music events, as well as movies, shopping, restaurants, and outdoor cafes. If it hadn't been so hot (35 that day) we would have spent more time walking around. A cute area of the city! 

 

DISNEYLAND

Soarin Over California - Their are plenty of experts online about Disneyland so I won't even go there but one ride did stand out. This one was our favorite!  At one point you fly over orange fields and you can smell the scent of fresh squeezed oranges. Beautiful! 

 

 If you're heading to any of these spots for vacation and have any questions please drop me an email at cara@sopretty.ca! 

 

xx

Cara

 


Giveaway | Share My Trunk Show & Win An Intuition Necklace!

I'm giving away a rock crystal and gold INTUITION necklace!

3 WAYS TO ENTER:

FACEBOOK
1. Like So Pretty Jewelry  on Facebook...
2. Share my trunk show giveaway post on your personal Facebook page

OR

INSTAGRAM
1. Follow @soprettyjewelry on Instagram
2. Regram my Instagram  trunkshow giveaway post
3. Make sure to tag @soprettyjewelry and hashtag #IntuitionGiveaway

OR

TWITTER
1. Follow @soprettyjewelry on Twitter
2. Retweet my trunk show - giveaway post

*Do all of the above to be entered 3 times and increase your chances!

Contest runs until midnight on Friday, April 25th. Winner will be announced on my blog on Monday, April 28th.

 

Good luck!

 

Cara - So Pretty Jewelry


So Pretty Spring 2014 Runway Picks & Jewelry Trends

For Spring 2014 runway I was immediately drawn to modern and minimal grey tones. I love the juxtaposition of cool grey incorporated into soft knits at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren and paired with gold at Celine, Sass & Bid, Balenciaga, and Jenny Packham. Grey paired with gold is a big trend in home design in 2014. I love this in women's wear and jewelry too; It's an unexpected partnership! Think regal glam meets modern sleekness. My Fragments Collection plays on this idea of modern meets royal femininity. Linear bar details take a softer edge when gold and rose gold are paired with pink chalcedony, grey agate, Swarovski crystals, gold and blue flash labradorite. For my upcoming model shoot I created a Pinterest board to set the feel for my Spring 2014 collection. I hope you like it as much as I do.
For Spring 2014 runway I was immediately drawn to modern and minimal grey tones. I love the juxtaposition of the cool grey incorporated into soft knits at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren and paired with gold at Celine, Sass & Bid, and Jenny Packham. Grey paired with gold is a big trend in home design in 2014. I love this in women's wear and jewelry too; It's an unexpected partnership! Think regal glam meets modern sleekness. My Fragments Collection plays on this idea of modern meets royal femininity. Linear bar details take a softer edge when gold and rose gold are paired with pink chalcedony, grey agate, Swarovski gold and blue flash labradorite. For my upcoming model shoot I created a Pinterest board to set the feel for my Spring 2014 collection. I hope you like it as much as I do. For Spring 2014 runway I was immediately drawn to modern and minimal grey tones. I love the juxtaposition of the cool grey incorporated into soft knits at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren and paired with gold at Celine, Sass & Bid, and Jenny Packham. Grey paired with gold is a big trend in home design in 2014. I love this in women's wear and jewelry too; It's an unexpected partnership! Think regal glam meets modern sleekness. My Fragments Collection plays on this idea of modern meets royal femininity. Linear bar details take a softer edge when gold and rose gold are paired with pink chalcedony, grey agate, Swarovski gold and blue flash labradorite. For my upcoming model shoot I created a Pinterest board to set the feel for my Spring 2014 collection. I hope you like it as much as I do. For Spring 2014 runway I was immediately drawn to modern and minimal grey tones. I love the juxtaposition of the cool grey incorporated into soft knits at Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren and paired with gold at Celine, Sass & Bid, and Jenny Packham. Grey paired with gold is a big trend in home design in 2014. I love this in women's wear and jewelry too; It's an unexpected partnership! Think regal glam meets modern sleekness. My Fragments Collection plays on this idea of modern meets royal femininity. Linear bar details take a softer edge when gold and rose gold are paired with pink chalcedony, grey agate, Swarovski gold and blue flash labradorite. For my upcoming model shoot I created a Pinterest board to set the feel for my Spring 2014 collection. I hope you like it as much as I do. 

Why Bags?

I recently started chatting & posting pictures about my new So Pretty Jewelry "Bags" on Facebook and Instagram.

So Pretty has always been about jewelry. So why bags you ask? To be honest it didn't start with handbags at all. While on a much needed hiatus from jewelry making I purchased a 3 month pass for hot yoga. During a difficult pose I got to thinking about how I wanted to solve my personal jewelry frustrations! I know you’re supposed to clear your mind in yoga but as a self proclaimed entrepreneur this is almost impossible. I own a few jewelry boxes, none of which prevent my silver pieces from tarnishing.I somehow manage to store a room full of tarnish free silver supplies in my workshop for my jewelry making but fail when it comes to my own pieces. I also hate traveling with my jewelry! Inevitably at some point of my trip I’m untangling necklaces, cursing the new scratches on my rings or bends in my earrings.

If I have these issues surely my customers do too! Countless times over the last eight years I've been asked how to store silver pieces to prevent tarnishing and how to travel with jewelry to avoid damage. It was time to come up with a good solution!

I set out to create a travel friendly, air tight and compact jewelry storage system. I decided on a page format in varying configurations to accommodate jewelry of all shapes and sizes. Each page has a plastic cover with a zipper opening to keep an air tight seal.

These pages would then stack and snap on top of each other. The clear plastic while air tight also allows for easy viewing of pieces; you can flip through to see your collection much like the pages of a catalogue. Next I had to consider the size of the pages and what the outside cover/holder would look like. Stay tuned.......

Jewelry Page Configurations

 

 

 


Fab.com For Valentine's Day

I love Fab! Not just because they`re selling my wares starting Jan 10th and are on Forbes top ten list of tech companies in 2012 but because I've been a customer of theirs since last summer!

Last year I received a wedding invitation from a long time friend of mine Kendall Barber - the brains behind City & Dale & co-owner of Poppy Barley. I was thrilled but a bit puzzled on what to get Ross and her. What do you get a couple that is brilliant, stylish & fun at heart......the list goes on? Besides home design, fashion and travel we both really love good food. Who doesn't? After swapping stories about hunting down the best restaurants in the cities we travel to I started my search for the perfect gift. Getting a whisk or a new cookbook just didn't seem right! When I stumbled on Fab I was hooked! In a short time was able to find two molecular gastronomy kits from "Molecular Foods". Both the cocktail and cuisine kits looked really cool and so UNIQUE! Perfect for my "difficult to buy for foodie friends".  I also purchased monbento boxes for my boys. It's truly a cool place to shop online!

It got me thinking that I should contact them to sell my jewelry. What did I have to lose? In early December an email from one of their accessories buyers landed in my inbox. Merry Christmas to me and a big thank you to Fab!

Fab is a place to find unique items that are well curated. They celebrate good design (both big and small brands) and bring it to the masses. Some interesting facts about Fab!

  1. Just 18 months after launching their business they have 10 million members.
  2. They sell in 26 countries.
  3. Work with 7500 Designers and had 15 000 products in their store in 2012 making them the largest design store in the world.
  4. They`re not afraid to sell anything and everything as long as it`s FAB!
  5. Fab exists for one simple reason: To make you smile.
  6. They scour the world for great design. 90% of Fab products are not sold on any other major websites.
  7. Modern, colorful, quirky, passionate. They are FAB!

Thank you Fab for choosing So Pretty Jewelry for Valentine`s Day!

 

xoxo

 

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Monbento™ Original bento box - blue

 

 


Fall Fashion

Besides jewelry I love all things fashion! My favorite time of year is fall. Every year I put together a "Fantasy Wish List". Some items I don't risk selling out and get right away. Other's I'm forced to wait for a good sale. Regardless I love all these picks for this year! I hope you do too. xoxo

 


My Creative Process

 When I work on a new piece I always do a brainstorm session in my head and then do a quick sketch on my computer. My drawing skills are atrocious! I thought I'd share one of these before I go about making the piece. Later this weekend I'll show you the finished result. I love the idea of mixing cools colors with warm tones. This statement piece will include warm gold mixed with cool metallic grey pyrite and light pink opal. The gold pendant has an Ikat pattern and I'm going to use soft brushed teardrop beads. I think the mix of hard and soft will create something very unique and I'm excited to get into my studio tonight!

xoxo

 


EARRINGS

I fell in love with these candy colored gems for fall and making earrings with them was so much fun! Green, teal and shades of blue will be popular during the next season so I focused on those shades but I also snuck in some pops of yellow and pink. I only made one of each so get them before they're gone! I hope you love them as much as I do. xoxo

 

 

Gemstone Addict

 

I'm a self diagnosed gemstone addict! Besides making jewelry I love finding new gems; I'm always on the hunt! Today my studio is filled with new materials and I'm thrilled. I thought I'd start sharing my "gem finds" with my wonderful customers.
 
These beautiful and rare “Phosphosiderite” stones have a vibrant opaque purple color and are derived from phosphorous and iron oxide. The variety I found was mined in Brazil. I can't wait to get working in my studio! I hope you love them as much as I do. xoxo
 


Orange Revolution

While Pantone selected orange tangerine tango as the color of the year for 2012 so too have the "fashion powers that be". I have to admit, I love it as well!  This color brightened the runways for spring and summer and is also strong heading into fall. If you're not sure if you're quite ready for a pair of orange hued denim or a bright summer dress why not try a piece of jewelry! It's a good way to add color to your wardrobe without diving in completely! What do you think of the orange revolution? Check out all my "ORANGE REVOLUTION" pieces!

xoxo

 

Getting Married in Ravello, Italy!

Congratulations to Kendall & Ross on their big day and to Jenifer Schaefer for the amazing pictures!

I was honored to work with Kendall to create her jewels for the big day. She has amazing taste and style so it made my job very easy. I love that she wasn’t afraid of color! Getting married while overlooking the coastline of Ravello, Italy inspired the seafoam green chrysoprase, aqua blue chalcedony and pale green prehnite briolette bracelet. The gold teardrop dangle detail was her idea and I love the way it turned out! Mirroring this detail in the earrings I used the lightest green prehnite I could find. It’s almost looks clear but catches the slightest bit of color in the sunlight.


 The perfect gems for the perfect bride! Best wishes to you two! xoxo

 


Coup {Garment Boutique}

If you haven't been to Coup {Garment Boutique} yet what are you waiting for?!

This week I picked up this new Laura Vela - Jill leopard /black leather bag. This is precisely why I shop here! I love to support local but I also like to bpieces that you can't find everywhere.

 
 
 
These days I'm about quality not quantity so when I pick something out I want it to last. I know when I go to Coup Boutique I'll find just that. With brands like Philip Lim, Iro, Raquel Allegra, Tibi, Smythe, Mother Denim, & Mason (just to name a few) I feel like I'm stepping into Barney's without the plane ride!

Yes they also carry my jewelry line but even if they didn't I'd be spreading the word. We're lucky to have them! Plus when you shop there you can stop in at other 104th street gems like  Credo Coffee, 29 ARMSTRONG, Dauphine Bakery and Bistro, & deVine Wines.

Sounds like a perfect shopping day to me!

Fresh From The Studio! One piece Worn 4 Ways!

These leather & beaded pieces transform from a necklace to a wrap bracelet and are reversible.
 
One side of leather is a neutral black, tan or python and the other pink or purple etc. Shown here are the single strand thin versions.
 
There is also a double strand wide cuff version. Available in stering silver, rose gold & gold vermeil and black oxidized silver.
 
Stay tuned for more! Color and metal combinations taken upon request.