Monday, December 14, 2009

060. Baubles, bangles, and the like.

I can't believe I've gone this long without dedicating a post entirely to Iosselliani. In one of my very first posts, I showcased a ring of theirs. Their product line continues to prosper - it's sold at Barneys Co-Op, among other high-end stores and online boutiques - and I'd really like to mention the brand more in detail.

What I really like about Iosselliani is that it pretty much stays true to form from year to year. That's why jewelry lines can be nice: they don't succumb as easily to trends. Iosselliani falls into the "trash = treasure" style category. The jewelry is a little bit raw, a little bit clunky. Often pieces are combined, and one single ring is a combination of several rings fused together. Iosselliani does not try to segregate gemstones into separate "expensive" and "inexpensive" pieces, either. One of my favorite rings is one that combines a garnet, a river pearl, and several different striations of metal together.

But pictures speak louder than words, so here are a few samples of Iosselliani jewelry:

I'm sure there's jewelry in there somewhere. (below)

Their e-store isn't currently working, but you can still purchase jewelry from their line on websites such as ShopGinny, BonaDrag, and Tobi.

Monday, December 7, 2009

059. Cruise control.

I am rather infamous for visiting online boutiques I've never heard of before and trusting them enough to purchase something there. I suppose I'm lucky in that I've never suffered any negative consequences. I have a good feel for what's good and what's bad--what's quality and what isn't.

Perhaps I'm bragging. ;) But the fact is, I am very good at estimating what size I'd be even though I'm not able to try the item on; I somehow know this without understanding how I know it.

Jewelry is more difficult because quality is difficult to assess. Unless you are buying from a known manufacturer or designer, you have to go by the stock photo and the description of the item to determine whether the purchase is worth the risk. There are plenty of relatively unknown jewelry merchants online that I'd like to take a chance on - but don't have an opportunity to because, well, I don't have the money to risk it.

I did end up getting a necklace from one website, LuShae Jewelry. It features a cluster of flowers, each containing a tiny CZ stone. (PHOTOGRAPHY MY OWN)

This greatly added to my jewelry collection because, honestly, I have no feminine necklaces - this is something I could actually wear to a formal affair. As opposed to the hummingbird skull, glass dragon's tear, and ceramic owl pendants I keep on my necklace tree. Not to mention the enormous collection of serpent jewelry I possess. This piece is milder (in color, too) but well wrought. The chain is of good quality, as is the bouquet, which is coated with 14k gold, rose gold, and rhodium bonded white gold.

Also, I ended up liking the jewelry box immensely. I know that sounds silly, but it's awesome. It is so crisp, it looks like the edges were cut with a laser. And I am all for expensive-looking boxes. I mean, nobody wants to be presented with their engagement ring in a JCPenney cardboard box, you know? But I just like fancy boxes for things in general. It shows that a decent amount of money went into each stage of production. (PHOTOGRAPHY MY OWN)

As for the rest of the website, I pass a positive verdict. I think the promise rings are pretty easy on the eyes--better than most rings on the market these days. The earrings section had a few winners, including the Once Upon A Star earrings. But I just got my ears pierced (!), so I'll have to wait before buying anything ear-related.

The Pendants section is up and down. There are some creative and unusual color/stone combinations, but there are also a few tacky designs, such as the Pave Piggy Pendant. In conclusion, I liked my choice, but it's likely that each person would pick a different piece since this collection varies significantly in style from piece to piece.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

058. Shoe shopping is always in season.

There is a lot to be said for Jeffrey Campbell shoes. Notwithstanding the fact that they are primarily knockoffs of very high-end shoes, they are comfortable, creative, and reasonably affordable. And might I stress again that they are comfortable. That actually matters to me when picking out a shoe, believe it or not.

The interesting thing about Jeffrey Campbell shoes is that they have spread to the darkest corner of online shopping boutiques worldwide. And no boutique possesses the same exact collection of shoes; in fact, each seller has a rather unique collection of Jeffrey Campbell. (This is very frustrating when you're price-comparing and only one or two stores have a particular pair.)

A few pairs I like as of late:

Jeffrey Campbell Posh Shoe, $146

Jeffrey Campbell Michelle CT Heel in Purple Suede, $105

Jeffrey Campbell Legal Zip Wedge Boot, $185

And now, from some similarly awesome shoe designers, a further collection of commingled crown jewels of the shoe kingdom...

Tristan Blair Sarah Studded Boots, £285

Alain Thigh High Leather Boot, $286

Lovely People Piper, $140