Uncategorized

The Rule of Three: Celebrating (Through Swear Words) Adornmentality’s Third Blogiversary

My junior year of high school – year three – was both my favorite year as well as one of my hardest. It was the one time I had ever not aced a subject – Physics – and while only failing one semester, it crushed, scared, and disappointed me, but even more importantly, it woke me up. It was also the year I broke free of the nerd label by going from ugly duckling to… well… bleached blonde guidette swan, I guess. And finally, it was the year I lost my virginity, though I don’t ever consider that situation as being good or bad, it just sort of exists, though if I could turn back the clock, I think I would have waited just a little longer and for someone who gave a flying wang about my well-being.

I think, however, it was my teachers that I remember most about that year of high school. Ms. Anna Votta, my political science and sociology teacher and one of the kindest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, paid for me to attend my prom because my folks were too strapped to buy tickets for me to go. “You deserve to go to your prom” I remember her saying. It was an act that changed how I viewed the world. And Mr. Sandy Apa, whom I still call my very good friend, I recall his making calculus exciting because he taught it from a place of humor and laughter. And the wonderful Mrs. Jennifer Hack, who was as eloquent as she was gorgeous, had convinced me that my extremely high grades in English class would serve me well throughout my life, no matter where I lived or where I came from, and that I should keep writing poetry and expressing the pains of my upbringing through the written word, which she said, was my gift.

I don’t believe I’ve thought about my junior year much since I left it behind. It’s nice to ponder it now as I reflect on the first three years of this blog’s life. I owe a lot of who I am, what I am, and how I write to those who shaped me during those critical years of high school, and for that I’m ever grateful to the people who make up the pieces of my personal puzzle – as hard as it sometimes is to figure out – and as lost as some of the pieces have been over the years.

Having said this, however, it’s time to have a celebration. Adornmentality is now three years old, and there’s a little looking back and a lot of looking forward to do.

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Conclave has come and gone and Vegas has come and gone and New York has come and gone and you’ve barely heard a peep out of me. No “Tales From the Strip” series highlighting the usual shenanigans (yet). No feedback or comments about my unsolicited nomination for a WJA Award for Excellence (but thank you to whoever nominated me! HUGE honor!) No talk of summer baubles, trends of the moment, or which Pantone colors will reign come 2017. No, my friends, I’ve been quiet for a while, but mostly just because I’ve had a plate as full of itself as Donald J. Drumpf. But thanks to my editor – aka – the man who impregnated me with redheaded babies (twice!), I was reminded that on August 8th, Adornmentality turned three.

So… what have I learned over the last three years of this blog’s life? Well, plenty. Let me elaborate.

3year1I learned, most importantly, that no matter how few posts I publish per week/month/year, people understand that I won’t half-ass my work, and they’ll wait to see what I have to say because they know that I say it thoroughly and with heart and/or facts to back up my opinion.

I learned that Millennials in the jewelry industry are smart, dedicated, and hardworking, and that they don’t deserve the lazy labels often applied to them by people who need someone/something to blame because those people can’t figure out a way to stay current or successful in their businesses.

I learned that politics still rule this industry, sadly, and that if you’re not warming up to the “right people” it could really screw up your advantages. I learned it, but that doesn’t mean I live it. To hell with politics. To hell with the old way of thinking. To hell with complacency. I’m in this to change the game, give voice to the voiceless, and bring awareness to the things we think about but don’t dare discuss. If those ideas makes me an outsider, so be it. Two of my favorite quotes about writing freely come from Salman Rushdie. He said, “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.” And also, “What one writer can make in the solitude of one room is something no power can easily destroy.”

I learned that the Swiss, on the whole, can be a fun group if you know which parts of their bodies are ticklish.

I learned that figuring shit out on your own will garner you a much better reputation than asking everyone’s opinion on every move you should make.

I learned that being an underground sensation is better than openly having your ass kissed.

I learned that the jewelry industry produces some really, REALLY tall women.

I learned that for black-tie events, I can buy floor-length designer gowns at the local “rich lady” consignment shop for the same price I would pay for a temporary gown from Rent the Runway and then RE-CONSIGN the dresses at the shop’s competition a mile away in order to get half of my money back. It’s called creativity, people. A writer’s gotta eat.

I learned that the people who attend the AGS Conclaves are overall some of the greatest people on planet Earth.

3year2I learned that if you hit someone in the face with a mini bottle of single malt scotch during a presentation they won’t complain because they now have a bottle of single malt scotch.

I learned that not working for anyone but myself means that I can say “fuck” more. FUCK. FUCKITY FUCK FUCKER FUCK FUCKWAD. I threw the “wad” part in for good measure.

I also learned that being a woman and saying “fuck” doesn’t mean you have less class. It simply means that you have more guts.

I learned that a title, while being overall worthless, still gives a person all the feels when they see it written on their business card for the first time.

I learned that no matter how good I think I am at the English language, I need my editor, and not just to kill spiders and change the oil in my car.

I learned that a Fairfield Inn by Marriott can feel like a Ritz Carlton when you’re paying your own way to be somewhere for an article you’re writing but when you’re working for someone else and have a company credit card you would never be caught dead in one.

I learned that truly creative and talented designers who are just starting out in this business need more financial breaks and fewer requests of “send it to me on memo.”

I learned that watches are for everyone no matter if you have a penis, a vagina, or both.

I learned that sexual harassment in the workplace still exists and should be discussed more openly in our industry. I also learned that I don’t stand alone in my thinking.

I learned how to polish a diamond thanks to Evert Botha.3year3

I learned that if a watch company has a name like “Ball,” the written jokes are endless. ENDLESS.

I learned that everyone wants to throw an extra “a” into my blog’s name. Once and for all, folks, it’s ADORNMENT (like a piece of jewelry) and MENTALITY (like your way of thinking) combined. ADORNMENTALITY. Not, “AdornAmentality”; I am not a Christmas blogger.

And finally, I learned that people like Brandee, Bern, Amanda, Alexis, Anna, Ben, PJD, Denise, Jason, Marc, Byron, John, Jim, Ashley, Michael, David, Jen, Jay, Sabrina, Marla, Hannah, Wendy, Jennifer, Wes, Lauren, Nicole, Britt, Rebecca, Scott, Bill, Des, Adam, Payal, Michelle, Monica, and so, so many others, are going to be the people who are the changemakers in this business. These are the people whom I want to always be surrounded by. These are the voices that may not quite be the loudest, but in my mind these are the ones that will forever be the clearest.

Now, as far as looking forward goes, here are my plans for the future of this blog.

I intend to write a combined piece about the 2016 AGS Conclave as well as what to expect at the 2017 AGS Conclave in Hollywood. This was a promise I made to Ruth Batson and I would never go back on something like that.

I also still intend on writing a Vegas recap. Unfortunately I didn’t see many of my jewelry friends in Las Vegas as I was largely covering watches during the show, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t stories to tell, moments to rehash, or spouses to get in trouble.

I intend on covering designers, taking on tough topics, and occasionally talking about life outside of jewelry.

Most importantly, however, I intend to keep this blog sponsorship free. Is my husband happy about that? Not particularly, as he knows how much money I *could* make if I were to go the route of advertorial. But there are, in my mind, some things that are sacred. You know, as my readers, that when you read this blog, you’re getting a relatively unbiased opinion. I say “relatively” because yeah, I might include the designs of people I like over the designs of people who have treated me like shit, so I guess you could call that a little biased. But you know what? Sue me. I want to always have this blog as my outlet. I want it to always be around for me to use when I want to tell a fun story or express my anger about an unjust act. I wouldn’t want my “sponsors” getting pissed or threatening to withdraw their ad dollars. That’s not what this blog is about. It’s never been what it’s been about. I get the whole advertorial thing. I get it. And I have done it and may do it again on my separate watch blog, but not here. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

On that, on this day, on this anniversary, you have my word.

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Uncategorized

#50DesignersofJewelry: A New Adornmentality InstaSeries (With a Disclaimer)

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It’s been a while since I’ve done an InstaSeries, but with Jewelry Week in Vegas behind us, I felt the time couldn’t be more appropriate, so starting tomorrow, on the @adornmentality Instagram page (as well as on the Facebook page) I will highlighting one designer per day for the next fifty days. But I have a few things to say about this series and every series henceforth before this one begins.

First thing’s first, this series is based on one person’s opinion: mine. This is neither a contest nor is it an award. It’s simply an opportunity for me to give a shout out to some smaller jewelry designers who I feel need it and deserve it, mainly because they’re doing awesome things but they’re not in Big Box retailers, and not always on everyone’s lips, minds, or fingertips.

The reason (or actually, “reasons”) I have to make the disclaimer above is because I actually caught shit from folks during my last two InstaSeries’. That’s right, I caught shit for trying to highlight fifty high-ranking women in the jewelry industry who are often overlooked, and for highlighting fifty young jewelers/designers/retailers/editors who are making a difference in our industry. People are f*cking bananas, aren’t they? Let me elaborate a little on what exactly I went through:

During #FiftyWomenofJewelry I had people pressuring me to include certain women who I needed to “pay my respects” to because they were of the hierarchy and had been around a lot longer than some of the women executives I had already highlighted had been.

After #FiftyWomenofJewelry I had people upset with me for not including a woman they “would have included” or that they “felt should have been included.” I have five words for those people if they’re reading this right now: Make Your Own G*ddamned List. Just like I did, folks! Don’t like how the system works? Create your own system. WordPress isn’t expensive. Create a domain name. Buy your website. Start your own blog, and go for it.

During #50MillennialsofJewelry – and this one was the most astonishing one yet – I had a Millennial WHO WAS ON THE LIST complain that they hadn’t been highlighted as well as some of the others on the list. Jesus Ephing Christ, people. Really?

Also during #50MillennialsofJewelry, I received messages and emails from people afterward asking why they weren’t included. For serious. Can’t make this shit up. Entitled much?

And lastly, I had some folks soliciting others who they knew were friends of mine to ask me to include them on the list. That’s not cool, people. That would be like me asking my friends to nominate me for a WJA Award or a GEM Award. There are just certain things one mustn’t do. If your work is solid enough, you’ll eventually be recognized. Take it from me… it took twenty years in this industry to get a nomination for anything. It will come. Just have patience. It will come.

So, with that being said, here is my plan for this series which really was no different than my plan in any of the others: I want the underdogs/the lesser-knowns/the one-woman or one-man operations to get some attention. This series isn’t going to include the David Yurmans of the world, (BEFORE I CATCH MORE SHIT I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST DAVID YURMAN, PEOPLE) meaning, David put his time in and caught his break, but these folks, well, they’re just not there… yet. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t be, or they won’t be, which is why I’m choosing to highlight them now.

If you’re one of these designers I’ve described and I don’t include you this time around, it’s cool, okay? I’m nobody. Really. Don’t get hurt. Don’t get offended. Just know that, for me, 50 is a number that works. There are thousands of you out there and I would love to get to you all someday. If not today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year. Or maybe some other bloggers will take the initiative and get to you. In the interim, keep working hard, smart, and most importantly, WORK TRUE.

Peace out, people. Peace out, and read on, and stay the course, and don’t do drugs.

Layteh.

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OFF TOPIC

OFF TOPIC: One Man (Whom I Happen To Love) Writes His Story of Orlando

For a while now I had toyed around with the idea of creating a category specifically for non-jewelry related topics. When my husband came home from work yesterday – distraught after a day of reading headlines, watching videos, and listening to podcasts about the mass shooting in Orlando this weekend – and said to me, “I need to write. I don’t know what else to do. I have to write.” I knew the time had come.

The story below is one man’s story. One man, who was born and raised in the city on everyone’s mind today. One man who danced on sweaty nightclub floors next his multitude of friends – gay and straight alike – who is wounded, sickened, and torn apart by the events that took forty-nine innocent lives at Pulse.

The only thing I was able to do for him to help heal his pain was give him a platform. I ask that you read it, and share it, and feel today that you, too, are Orlando.

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I am Orlando. 

maptodd

Circle Number 1 is where so much of it begins for me. As a matter of fact, it is where it all began for me. You see, I was born there right on Circle Number 1, way back in the mid-60’s. As was my sister. What is now Orlando Regional Medical Center was once known simply as Orange Memorial Hospital. Of course it was called that, right? There are fewer orange trees in the City limits Orange Memorialtoday, now mostly limited to someone’s vanity orange tree (or tangerine, tangelo, or kumquat tree – if you’re from my hometown, you know what I’m talking about), in their backyard. Maybe it doesn’t even give fruit that you’d want to eat, because you haven’t really taken care of it, but my, it certainly looks pretty through the kitchen window, doesn’t it? My hometown was a lot different then, although in many ways I still recognize it every time I return to visit.

Circle Number 1 is where most of the victims of this weekend’s shootings were taken for treatment. And it is where some of them, if we are to believe the reports of the conditions of several of the wounded, will die. They will die where I was born. They will take their last breath where I took my first.

Circle Number 2 is where my mother went to elementary school, when it was called Delaney Elementary. It’s now the Beardall Senior Center, Delaneyand this is where the families of the victims were taken yesterday to be cared for while they waited on word on the fate of their friends, loved ones, children, lovers, sisters, brothers, and coworkers. I try to imagine what it must be like for them to sit in a building that is nearly 100 years old – that oozes the perfume of the breath of so many children who were taught how to read, and write, and listen, and love – and have to simply wait…

Circle Number 2 is where so many will have to start to learn to love again, after they learn to live with loss. Many may never learn to live with it. But it will all start right here, again, for another group of Earth’s children.

Circle Number 3 is where my mother went to Junior High School (back before we had invented middle school, at least in the South). Good old Cherokee Junior High. They closed this one down too – we used to joke that my mother had a real knack for forcing the closure of fine institutions through the city – and it is Cherokeesomething else entirely now. It’s the farthest as the crow flies from the epicenter of the horror everyone is talking about, but when you are talking an extra half mile, it isn’t really that far at all.

Circle Number 3 closed down when I was in between 7th and 8th grades, and many of my good friends for the rest of my Junior High life then came to Howard Junior High, joining me as we figured out organized sports, pizza parties, and kissing girls. Howard was a magnificent building, originally Orlando High School, and far too grand for the likes of us 12-year-olds roaming its corridors. I was now connected to the kids from that part of town. Of course, what seemed like a million miles of distance between our neighborhood and theirs was really just an illusion. The highway that bisected the neighborhoods only made us feel like we were far removed from one another; on a map we were just a mile away.

Circle Number 4 was where my mother graduated from high school. If not for the intentional gerrymandering of the school Booneboundaries by the wealthy folks south of the expressway around the time I was in junior high, I would have graduated from there too. But the area I lived in had the “projects.” Laughable to use that term because if you picture the projects in your head you don’t picture these projects. The projects in Orlando were, well, kind of like most other things in Orlando: a bit whiter than average, a bit cleaner than expected, and just not quite gritty enough to be called projects. But alas, when “those kids” were swept out of Boone’s district, I floated away right along with them. It never really bothered me, beyond missing out on the opportunity to graduate from the same school as my mother. Life is made more interesting by those simple coincidences. I ended up at Boone’s biggest rival in town, so things did stay pretty interesting after all.

Circle Number 5 is where my mom lived growing up. There was no bridge across Lake Lucerne back in 19xx (she’d be quite upset if I lucernetold her age), and no high-rises to the north. Where the grand old house she called home once stood is now a parking lot. At some point decades ago that house came down for something else – an office building, I think – and they just never got around to putting something back up. You can still see the walls that surrounded the yard if you look closely. Which I do every time I go home. I always chuckle when I think about the people who park there and wonder “Why the hell would someone build this ugly old parking lot and then take the time to build these beautiful and sturdy brick walls around it as decoration?” “Because they weren’t decoration, because they were there for a reason.” That’s always what I imagine I’d say to them.

Circle Number 5 is where my mother learned to love everyone. It’s where she was taught to teach everyone with respect, no matter their skin color, or religion, and – I like to believe, anyway – where she learned subconsciously that the orientation of ones sexuality was another characteristic to be added to the list of inconsequential things. It’s largely why I feel the way I do about everyone who is different than I, and especially those who I know struggle with feeling different than all others.

And we end up at Circle 1 again. Where it all began, all those years ago. My grandmother was in the first graduating nursing class of Orange Memorial in the late 1930’s. Her picture hangs on the wall in the basement, right there for anyone to see who might pass by, or wonder what nurses looked like way back then, or who accidentally hit the wrong button on the elevator. I tell people I’m “Old” Orlando, and inside the walls of this hospital hangs the proof.

I believe that if my grandmother were alive and working this weekend, she would have rolled up her sleeves and tended to the injured, and stayed as long as it took to give comfort to the fallen, and shown them that they were loved, and cared about, and in good hands. That they were valuable in her eyes and that she would see to it that they were given all the care that all of us deserve. No matter what color, or age, or religion. No matter what side of the interstate you happened to live on. No matter how much money you had or whether you had even enough money in your tattered wallet to pay for the bandages she held against your injuries. No matter who you loved.

I look at the map at the top of this page, and I see my mother’s lifetime within these Circles. Birth, school, work, kids, and beyond. I think of all the memories that were made inside these few square miles of Orlando real estate. And I am in awe of how far her journey took her, and how her journey helped me start my own, right here way back all those years ago.

I hurt for the people whose stories ended inside this circle. I hurt for my mother’s memories, darkened by the senseless act of a madman, a criminal, a tormented human with no thought for others; with no compassion for the Circles he broke this weekend. I hurt for my own innocent memories of what growing up in Orlando meant to me, and I am as confused as any other as to what can be done about it, what can be done to fix such a wound in the geometry of my life. And the lives of all others. But I’ll go on, like we all must, and like we may always have to. And in the meantime…

I. Am. Orlando.

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What's On the Brain

“What’s On the Brain?” May 2016 Edition: (Even More) Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

You know I couldn’t let y’all down, right? You know I’m not that kind of blogger. I’m here for you, people. I’m here to deliver the goods that you’ve been promised: the laughs, the cringes, the eye rolls, the smirks, and the occasional shocks to your system. I’m standing (technically sitting) here, guns (keys) a blazin’, fully prepared for backlash, but knowing that deep down, you really do want the stuff that’s bad for you. So I’m happy to be your fried food, your candy bar, your mistress, or your fourth martini. Maybe I won’t make you feel great about yourself later on when you step on the scale or notice the overabundance of middle-aged acne, but I sure as sh*t can handle being what makes you feel good right now. So with that being said, for the third year running (if you missed the previous two, go here, and here to read ‘em), I bring to you a non-traditional Mother’s Day Gift Guide in the form of what you should consider buying for the woman in your life who now pees her pants when she coughs or laughs because your head was so g*ddamned enormous at the time of your birth. This is the 2016 version of Jewelry Fo Yo Momma

Connected Mom

Altruis Gold and White StoneLet’s be honest with ourselves here, is there a mom out there right now who’s not a “connected” mom? Raise your hand if you’re a mother who’s slept with your cell phone under your pillow or taken your iPad into the bathtub. Yeah. Thought so. But the unfortunate thing about those instances is that being electrocuted not only makes your hair frizzy, it also causes your life to come to a halt, which is why Vinaya – a London-based technologies company – introduced an affordable line of connected jewelry called Altruis. And while there is no shortage of connected jewelry lines available right now, I was drawn to the esthetics of the pieces in the Altruis line, particularly the Cleopatra ring which is made in white ceramic and rose gold-plated metal. Now your mom can look uber-chic while knowing just how many times you never call her per day, per month, and per year.

Erotica Reading Mom

I know. I knoooooww. You don’t want to think about the fact that your mom has an original copy of The Story of O on her night stand. I know it nauseated you when you found her entire Lords of the Underworld series in a cardboard box next to the washing machine marked “BIBLES FOR THE POOR” (and they weren’t dusty). And I know marla aaron locksthat you nearly spewed your skinny chai latte across the table last Mother’s Day when your father tried to present her with the hardback version of Fifty Shades of Grey (though you secretly smiled when she responded to him with, “While I love you for the thought, dear, I wouldn’t own that sh*tty book if you hired John Hamm to act out each of the scenes that Hugh Jackman was hired to read to him. However, this silk scarf is lovely, thank you.”) But while you’re doing your best to deny the idea, your mom is still a sexual being, so why not give her a little wink and a nudge by gifting her with one or more of Marla Aaron’s super fashionable jewelry LOCKS. Available in everything from sterling silver to green gold, with gemstones or without, Marla’s LOCKS will give your mom not only the idea that she can somehow use them on your dad during “play time,” but will also provide her the variety she’s been looking for in life without having to visit LionsDen.com so often.

“My Kids Are Grown So I Adopted Nine Cats” Mom

fitzroy the cat necklaceOh boy. Okay, so, um, this is an interesting mom, to say the least. Yeah, she’s your mom, and she’s really sweet, and we get it, but dude, she’s bordering on f**king weird these days, I’m sorry. I mean, three cats? Okay, I see it. Four? Well, maybe she’s just really, really, REALLY lonely. But NINE?? Aren’t you afraid she’s going to ingest too many hair fibers? What if they all go into heat at once? WHO COULD STAND THAT SOUND FOR MORE THAN TWO MINUTES??? Plus there are an odd number of them! Do cats even have threesomes? Okay, fine. She’s not my mom so I’ll just go ahead and do my job of suggesting what you could get her as a present. Let’s see now, she already owns seventeen kitten sweaters, has a two-year subscription to Catster Magazine (formerly Cat Fancy), and had her name legally changed last month to Furball McFluffytail. What do you get a woman who has all of that and way too so much more? A-HA! I’ve got it! A FitzRoy the Cat necklace from designer Wendy Brandes would be PURR-fect! (Yeah. I went there. Sue me.) FitzRoy is not only an Instagram sensation, but this version of The Cat in The Bowl is made in 18K yellow gold with orange sapphires and he’s holding the most beautiful opal in his paws. Furball will think this is such a MEOWvelous gift that she may just wear it with that skullcap she knitted last December using what I can only imagine were remnants from the various pet brushes scattered about the apartment. No thanks needed, pal. I’ve got your back.

Rock Climbing Mom

Laurie Kaiser ear climberAh, the adventure mom. Buns of steel. Thighs of high. Abs of Fab. This is the mom I wish I had time to be. She lives in Colorado, and New Mexico, and Wyoming. She is naturally tan without looking like she’s been visiting the same salon as Donald Trump and John Boehner. Her hair is long and sun-tinted; her hands, calloused yet ultra-feminine. And man, does she know how to live life to the fullest. If this is your mom, don’t let the lack of rings and bracelets fool you; that’s only because they’d be in the way while she was free climbing the Black Canyon above the Gunnison River. She’s fit and fearless, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be fashionable, so I’m recommending this pair of earthy-feeling diamond ear climbers by Laurie Kaiser as her gift this year. She’ll love the fact that you got her something that not only “climbs,” but that will refrain from getting in the way of her helmet straps when she goes out snowboarding. Cowabunga, mama!

Just Got Engaged For the Fifth Time Mom

I kind of dig this mom. This is one non-settling mother. She’s ballsy, confident, and has been heard quoting Madeline Kahn as Mrs. White in the movie Clue: “Husbands should be like Kleenex: soft, strong, and disposable.” Yet while she’s Jane-Taylor-B923F-hook-bracelet-with-blue-topaz-and-diamonds-in-white-goldnever killed off any of her exes (that we know about) she’s accumulated plenty of spectacular jewelry pieces along her marital journeys, which is why you’ll need to be creative when thinking of a present to get her that she can wear on this wedding day or even on her wedding days to come. This blue topaz and white gold hooked bracelet from designer Jane Taylor’s “Rosebud” collection is as versatile as your mother’s wedding planner and costs a lot less money. It’s the perfect “something blue” for a woman who should absolutely not be wearing white, and I’m sure she’ll love it a lot longer than she’s loved any of her previous and possibly future spouses.

Legally Married Thanks To the Supreme Court Moms

hattie rickards flipWhile your friends all thought you were the coolest girl on the block growing up because you were the only one with two moms, you knew that the impending arrival of Mother’s Day meant that you had to work an extra shift at the Pizza Hut because you always had two bouquets of flowers to buy. But now that you’re grown up, well-adjusted, successful, and happily married to Tim (the podiatrist), Hattie Rickardsyou’re looking forward to this Mother’s Day since it’s the first one that your moms can celebrate as a married couple in the eyes of the law. Matching multi-colored sapphire kinetic flip rings by London jewelry designer Hattie Rickards would be a wonderful way for you to show your moms just how much you appreciate their love, still. The rings are made in 18K Fairtrade yellow gold and are a load of fun to toy around with as they flip and spin thanks to hidden mechanisms. They’re colorful, playful, and responsible… just like your moms.

Full Time Writer Mom

COOMIHey look, you know I usually throw in one for me, right? Not this year, though. All I’m hoping to get from my family this year is their continued support as I embark on this new journey and do the thing I’ve wanted to do since I was in high school. That, and one of those rad Antiquity collection necklaces by COOMI. But if they can’t do both, just the COOMI necklace will do. I’ll get the support I need elsewhere. Maybe Facebook or something.

That about does it, loves. Now go make your brunch reservations, call 1800-Flowers, and invest in some fine Swiss chocolates, but whatever you do, DO NOT FORGET THE JEWELS.

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Uncategorized

An Oscar Jewelry Post for Those Who Don’t Give a Crap About the Oscars or Jewelry

They say, in book writing, that a good title can pull anybody in. Let’s see how that works today.

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Look, I know that the Academy Awards isn’t everybody’s cup of Jameson-laced herbal tea. I realize that there are people out there who look down their noses at those of us who huddle around six forms of technology simultaneously so that we can be the first person to tweet about some likely overpaid, undertalented E! “news” correspondent because she remembered who supplied her stylist with the jewelry that she’s now wearing even though she pronounced the designer’s name wrong. (For those unfamiliar with the English language, what I just wrote would be considered the poster child for the “run on sentence.”) And to be perfectly frank, if I didn’t love what I do so much – meaning love working in an industry that not only makes people feel good, but that also combines talent, art, culture, craft, and history in a single genre – I might find myself being one of those people who snobbishly thinks that their time is worth too much to waste on the Hollywood elite and “who they’re wearing.” But fortunately for my readers, I’m not. However, I also understand that many out there are not me. They don’t think like I do, like the things I like, or hell, come to this here page only for the entertainment factor, so today, I’m writing an Oscars recap for those folks (while slipping in some jewelry info as well).

FOR THE POLITICAL JUNKIE WHO HAS BEEN WORKING THE PHONES FOR BERNIE SANDERS

joe-biden-oscars-2016-1Dude! Did you see Joe Biden?! Wasn’t that awesome?! Wasn’t HE awesome?! I mean, you love Joe Biden. Who doesn’t love Joe Biden, right? That man’s teeth are as white as pretty much every gemstone we saw adorning the ears of every A-lister walking the red carpet, including his wife, Second Lady, Jill Biden (who, by the way, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, master’s degrees from West Chester University and Villanova University, and a doctoral degree from the University of Delaware. Slacker.) Dude, how about when old Joe got that standing ovation? That was nice, wasn’t it? We’re going to miss his Scranton, PA charm, aren’t we? What’s that? You need to go make a phone call because it’s Super Tuesday? Okay, well, have fun. And, uh, good luck with that. Hope it works out for ya.

FOR THE SPORTS DAD WHO IS PISSED THAT HE MISSED A BASKETBALL GAME OVER THIS

635922888759062240-88th-Academy-Awards---Knap960x0-1Aaron Rodgers is DA MAN, YO. And his girlfriend is SO. FREAKING. HAWT. I mean, it’s just like when we were in high school, isn’t it? The quarterbacks are still getting the hot chicks. What’s her name, Olive or something, right? Nun? Numm? MUNN! That’s right, Olivia Munn. Man, he must be getting some serious you-know-what, especially after buying her that badass diamond Forevermark bracelet designed by Jade Trau. Wait, what’s that? What do you mean he didn’t buy her that?? The guy’s worth millions! He’s a five-time pro-bowler and has a damned Super Bowl ring for eph’s sake. He can’t buy his girlfriend a diamond bracelet? Freaking fraud. You should have TOTALLY watched that basketball game instead, man. At least those guys own their own jewelry.

FOR THE AFFECTED HIPSTER ELITIST WHO ONLY USES THE COMPUTER AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY

(While reading this, be sure to insert ‘upspeak’ at the end of every sentence.)

Ugh. So, like, you know who Rooney Mara is, like, riiiight? Well, she like, *totally* gave a major “screw you” to the establishment by pretty much, like, being, like, ‘I will totally wear my hair to the Oscars like I’m a character in a Tim Burton film’ and like ‘Diamonds are for cutouts, people, not wearing as jewels because baby elephants in Africa die every time a diamond is mined’ and like, she was so badass without ever saying like a word or even smiling. She’s so true, you know? She’s like, sooooo against what Hollywood stands for, you know? She’s like real. Not that you watched it because, like, I know you sold your T.V. last year for a basket of gluten-free, vegan corn muffins made with corn grown on the High Line, but, I wanted you to know that like, if you, like, *had* watched it, you would have like totally been all, like… ‘yeah.’

cf4d00be2cf454e76ea286a1522a190c39962042145a0b4c9d3b6a8abbd8e8a0-1FOR JADA PINKETT SMITH

Can we move on, now, JPS? Or did Chris Rock piss you off even more? Come now, girl. I mean, Will is good and all, but he ain’t “Denzel” good. He ain’t “Jamie” good, either. I mean, I love the man… he’s my hometown boy (West Philly, representin’! Although Will grew up in the nice part of West Philly while I was eating welfare cheese, but that’s for another post.). But come on, Jada, let’s just say you made your point, and you’re right, racism does still exist really strongly in this country and in Hollywood as well, and so does sexism. But boycotting did nothing but make you the butt of the joke. Wanna change Hollywood? Play a great part in a great movie that isn’t a sequel to The Nutty Professor. Can’t get cast? Write your own movie. Can’t get backing? Back your own movie. Be the change you want to see, and be in their face. Not showing up just makes you forgettable.

FOR THE FRAT BOY WHO HAS HAD FOUR TOO MANY BEERS THIS MORNING

Charlize-Theron-Oscars-2016-Red-Carpet-Fashion-Christian-Dior-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-1-1THERE WERE SO MANY AWESOME BOOBIES ON THE RED CAAAAAAARRRRRRPET!!!!!! BOOBIES ARE THE BEST!!!!! Oh my g*d. Oh my g*d. Bro. No joke. Charlize Theron had that diamond thingy on and it was all hangy and stuff. But like, bro, her boobs? NOT HANGY. Totally real, man. That jewelry piece had to be real too. I think it was from Harry Winston, so, you know, they’re like ballers. HAHAHAHahahahah. Man, OH! OH MAN, and Olivia Wilde, bro. SHE WAS LIKE ALMOST NAKED. People were talking about some Neil Lane choker and I was all, “WHO’S LOOKING AT HER NECK, BRO?! Y’all are FOOLS.” And bro… bro… Kate Blanchett… I mean, first, she’s pretty much the hottest MILF alive (no idea how three kids came out of that body) and then… then she makes a movie where she’s making out with a GIRL. I mean, is Hollywood kidding me with this? Radical. HAHAHAHAHAHahahahha. Lol.

FOR THE STRUGGLING MUSICIAN WHO DOESN’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SH*T BECAUSE HER AGENT IS GOING TO CALL ANY MINUTE

screen-shot-2016-02-28-at-10-05-07-pmOkay look, I know you don’t have time to read this. I get it. I know. I know. Your agent’s going to Skype any second so you need to make sure that the line is free. But… you missed Dave Grohl singing “Blackbird.” I KNOW!! I know that’s your favorite song. I know, and I really hesitated to…

…okay, I’ll hold.

(waiting.)

(waiting.)

(waiting.)

Wasn’t him? Okay, so anyway, I really hesitated to tell you because…

…yeah, I’ll hold.

(waiting.)

(waiting.)

Still not him? Oh, it was your mom? Tell her I said hi. WELL NO I DIDN’T MEAN RIGHT N…

You know what, I’ll just call you later.

(Click.)

Hope y’all enjoyed this year’s unconventional Oscars Red Carpet recap. Thanks, as always, for reading and following along on social media, and be sure to stay tuned for my new female-friendly watch blog, WhatsOnHerWrist.com, launching next week.

Peace, bro.

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The Day Our Industry Wept: Why There Will Never Be Another “Jewelry Biz Guru”

cindy2a

Vegas, 2014 – Cindy and those who adored her

Cindy Edelstein was hard on me.

She didn’t coddle me. She never blew smoke up my ass. And she was quick to tell me when I said something or did something that she felt was wrong.

For a while I struggled with knowing what she thought of me or about me. She kept me guessing, which kept me on my toes, but as I reflect on our relationship, I think that was her plan all along.

Cindy Edelstein was exactly what I needed at a time when I had no idea what it was I needed.

And today, her family, our industry, and I mourn her passing.

*********

I had seen her face and read her name in a thousand articles I’d viewed over the years I’d been in the business, so in the summer of 2013 when she walked up to the SJTA trade show booth I’d been working in, I knew exactly who she was.

She was there, at the Atlanta Jewelry Show, to teach a course to those in attendance. I had just started writing Adornmentality and to my surprise, Cindy already knew of me. Her daughter, Remy, and husband, Frank, accompanied her on her road trip, and so I gave Remy some pointers on the cool neighborhoods to visit around Atlanta, as well as the areas she’d be able to find vegetarian restaurants. I remember looking at Remy – a not-so-shy high schooler with a unique sense of style and vibrant character – and thinking about my own daughter. My mom wasn’t a cool mom. She didn’t let me do funky things with my hair and hated that I was into The Cure and The Smiths, but Cindy seemed completely comfortable with Remy’s path. She seemed to not only be content with the daughter she’d raised, but encouraging of her individuality. That… that earned my respect well before I ever knew all she had done for the industry and for countless jewelry designers in it. That holds my respect and will continue to for a long, long time to come.

From that point forward, Cindy and I were part of one another’s lives. We saw each other at trade shows, shared drinks at Women’s Jewelry Association events, and co-tweeted many an awards gala red carpet, but I still couldn’t figure “us” out. Where did I stand in Cindy’s mind? Did she think I was another false industry prophet? Another “come out of nowhere” superstar whose flame would die out long before ever reaching orbit? I couldn’t get a read on her, or what she felt about what I was doing. But the more I thought about it, the harder I tried to get her attention through how hard I was working and what I was saying.

Cindy, by all accounts, was “no bullshit.” And I think she eventually saw that I was “no bullshit,” too.

cindy1

Post Atlanta Jewelry Show Dinner at SOHO in Vinings

I’ll never forget the day she emailed me to ask me about spearheading an Atlanta chapter for the WJA. We went back and forth via email and spoke on the telephone several times regarding who we knew and what could be done. When I told her that I was more than happy to help out in any way I could, but that with the amount of travel I did for my job, plus the blog, plus trying to be a mom to a three-year-old and a seven-year-old child, I wasn’t able to take on the role of President, she tried to convince me otherwise. “If anybody can make this happen, you can. I know you can.” It was the first time I felt like she believed in me, which made it all the more heartbreaking to have to still tell her I just couldn’t. I thought I had killed my only shot of earning her respect, but that’s not how she worked, and wasn’t who she was. She was hard but still very soft; guarded, but just as open. She had her passions and her muses but I promise you, she watched us all. That’s probably one of the best ways I could describe Cindy Edelstein: she was a watcher. She watched, and she listened, and she knew more than any eyes, ears, or brain in this biz. That alone set her apart. That alone will make her irreplaceable.

Over the years that followed our first encounter, Cindy had asked me to help judge a couple of design competitions, and involved me in various WJA and industry discussions and gatherings, and that gave me the sense that she was cool with what I was doing. I think Cindy could read that I wasn’t the type of person who needed to be coddled. There are plenty of those types out there, but she sensed that I required mentors with balls (figurative balls, not literal balls) and so she did her fair share of reprimanding and head-shaking as it pertained to things I did. But see, I need that in my life. I would vomit if I was constantly told how awesome I was and rarely heard how I could improve. I don’t want that in a mentor nor would I be that in a mentor. NO ONE is that awesome. We should all be improving, every damned day. Cindy not only understood that fact, she lived it. She lived it, and taught it, and has left it with us to nurture in her memory.

To the hundreds if not thousands of designers whose lives and livelihoods were enhanced and improved because of their association with the late Cindy Edelstein: I offer you my sincerest condolences and can only suggest to you that you do what Cindy would have done. Think, “WWCD”… What Would Cindy Do?

To Cindy’s jewelry family (her WJA sisters [and brothers], fellow writers, trade show associates, and those she mentored): we are feeling your loss with you. She was the kin who always showed up to the reunion with a couple of bottles of tequila, and we’re all greatly missing her presence, already.

Finally, to Frank, and to Remy: No one knows the pain you are feeling right now. No one feels the heartbreak you do. But, if there is anyone who might come close to knowing, be comforted in the fact that it is not just one person, but an entire world. The jewelry world loved, adored, emulated, admired, respected, valued, and needed your Cindy. She was yours. She was ours. And now, she is her God’s.

Rest in peace, Cindy. Watch over us all. We’re counting on you.

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The Luxury of (a good) Time: What One Woman Did with her New York Minute

“Time/He’s waiting in the wings/He speaks of senseless things/His script is you and me boys”

Time by David Bowie

The aircraft was eerily quiet on this trip in from Atlanta. No babies babbling. No toddlers whining. No tourists yapping. The peace I was feeling as I stared out over the Brooklyn Bridge before raising my eyes upward to catch a seconds-long glimpse of the Empire State was greatly needed and grandly appreciated. The silence beckoned me into my own conscience; a place I had been avoiding over the last day or two. Yet once there, and settled in, I heard them – all of them – the voices of the darkened past reminding the voices of the brightly lit future to tell the voices of the confused, frightened, and insecure present that all was going to be okay. That things would be fine and that they had nothing to fear. And as the conversations dwindled, the aircraft shook, the rubber burned, and the wing flaps raised.

Wheels down, New York City. Wheels down, deep thoughts. There are people to see and places to be, and heaven knows I don’t have much time.

“I look at my watch it say 9:25/and I think ‘Oh God I’m still alive’/We should be on by now/We should be on by now/La la la la la la la la”

*********

Day One

(texting)

Friend: “How goes the drive?”

Me: “Cinco minutos.”

Friend: “Okay, heading down.”

Me: “Bring a gun with you. (Pause.) Never mind. I’ll just go ahead and have that heart attack.”

Friend: “No, wait, I want to have one with you.”

If you’ve ever taken an Uber in Manhattan and the drive lasts longer than forty minutes, you can sympathize with the above textversation, I’m sure.

I hadn’t seen this particular person in, well, what felt like EVER, so I was happy that they agreed to a mid-workday scotch with me before I had to head off into the social sunset of GEM Awards weekend. We hit a local bar near their place of work and settled our asses onto the two corner barstools. The building seemed old and the space had that good veteran pub feel to it; lots of wood, tile floors, and several bottles of brown-hued alcohol. I opted for an Oban 14, neat, because I promised my friend Dave Bindra I’d have an Oban 18, but frankly I just couldn’t afford to. Sorry Dave. Everyone has to settle for something other than what they really want once in a while. C’est la vie, amigo. C’est. La. Vie.

The conversation and company left me with a warm, comfortable feeling about how the rest of the trip was going to go. Or maybe it was the Oban. Could have been, but that’s cool, too, because the bottom line is, scotch is great. And once my (hiccup) drinking partner left to head back to the office I stuck around for a quick pinot noir with my new best friend, Millennial Bartender.

MB: “So why do you know so much about sports?”

Me: “Brothers. And, lots of Trivial Pursuit growing up. And I met my husband on a game show.”

MB: “I don’t believe it. That’s not true. Picture, or it isn’t true.”

Me: (scrolling through phone) (scrolling) (now scrolling through Instagram) “Ah, here’s one. See?”

MB: (Looking, in disbelief) “I don’t even know what to say right now. Are you serious?”

Me: “Yup. He’s hot, too. And we made pretty redheaded babies. Oh, and I just got this email an hour ago from Royal Caribbean (showing him email) asking if he and I want to star in their South American cruise ads next month.”

MB: (Looking at me, disgustingly) “You see now… you’re the reason why people hate us white people.”

It’s *so* going to be an awesome day.

“Goddamn, you’re looking old/You’ll freeze and catch a cold/’Cause you’ve left your coat behind/Take your time”

After the painfully long Uber back to my heartbreakingly dismal Marriott Courtyard, I freshened up, packed a purse with NYC essentials (metro card, mints, ID, mace, extra socks) and quickly headed back out to a meetup of jewelry industry women put together by the great connector herself, Liz Kantner.

We arrived at Winnie’s on west 38th one by one. Some of the industry’s most talented designers, marketing directors, and editors had assembled to shoot the shit in a relaxed environment, as we knew that there would be no possibility of in-depth conversation at either the GEM Awards or the 24K gala. I was thrilled to see Cleo of Jane Taylor Jewelry (whom I owe like fifty apologies to – she knows why), Malak of Zaiken, Rebecca of Communique LA, Marla Aaron, Delphine Leymarie, Jennifer Heebner, and Michelle Graff. Thankfully, I would also see three of these women at the following morning’s whiskey breakfast, because my liver and I have a love/hate relationship.

The clock struck eight which meant it was time for all of my organs and me to leave for my 8:30 p.m. dinner plans down in the East Village. The weather in New York oddly was warmer than it was in Atlanta, so I put the back window down and stared, blurrily (because I’m too vain to wear my glasses) at the sporadic lights beaming from Stuyvesant Town. I felt… alone. Probably the most alone I had felt in a while. The week had presented me with some not-so-unexpected life turns, and this was the first real moment I had to think about what I was going to do.

I looked up at the big, old, brick towers before me. They reminded me so much of my home. Home, meaning Philly… where as a child I survived the unspeakable; where as a young adult female I made it through the unimaginable. But in my loneliness I concluded that I was as tall as these towers, and as hard as their exterior; that I wore my age as well as they, and that I was in no way ready to be torn down. There was life in me – beautiful life – just as Stuyvesant contains beautiful lives within its walls. I smiled at the lights as I thought of the artists and writers who call the towers home, and I grinned even more widely when I thought of the artist and writer living inside of me. My loneliness turned to rejuvenation which in turn became determination, and for the rest of my ride I thought about how nice it was going to be to have dinner with one of my oldest and most loyal jewelry friends.

The ceiling of Pylos is covered in terracotta pots. The restaurant is small, dark, and cozy, and it’s as legitimately Greek as any place I’ve ever eaten. To be there with one of my closest confidants and biggest supporters was uplifting. We ate wonderful fish and shared a 2008 Megas Oenos Skouras before heading off to our individual temporary housing for the night. I mean, I had a big morning planned, so there was no way I was going to stay out late getting drunk if I had to get up early in the morning to get drunk. Which is the perfect segue into…

Day Two

snapseed-03Who knew whiskey at breakfast would be so popular? I mean, seriously?! It was a hit! Props to *THE* Ben Smithee for recommending Pershing Square as the place we’d be able to get a scotch on the rocks at 9:30 a.m. All in, we were a group of ten, and what a group of ten we were. Still recovering from a stint at the Boom Boom Room the night before were the aforementioned Smithee, accompanied by his partner at LUXE Intelligence and fellow Aries badass, Dallas Selsey. Seated on my immediate right was the infamous Rick Bannerot (YAY, RICK! WE FINALLY MEET!). And going around the table we had our three gals from the previous evening – Rebecca “can I get a DD up in heyaa?” Moskal; Delphine “WAIT. Let me take a ‘Delphie’” Leymarie; and Marla “I follow the rules and look good doing it” Aaron. There was my friend Jackie Cohen of Timeless/My Story; my wonderfully wonderful Peggy Jo Donahue; and last but not least, (because you can’t have a scotch at breakfast unless you have an official Scottish person at your table) the recently hitched Maeve Gillis of MaeVona. Ho. Leeeee. Shit, y’all. This was one killer whiskey (or whisky – for Maeve the Scot) drinkin’ crowd. And these folks ordered properly, too. The bourbon, scotch, and Irish whiskey flowed as freely as my swear word usage on this here blog.

Somehow I wound up at the male end of the table. (What exactly makes a table have a male end and a female end? Is one end pointy and stubborn and the other concave and naggy?) I’m not really surprised about it because my life is one big Boy Scout outing these days. But once the brown liquid consumption began, things started getting a little… shall we say… politically incorrect?

“I’m amazed that we wound up with two straight guys with this group of women.”

“You mean three.”

“Oh. Crap. Sorry.”

———-

“So this girl says to me, ‘You’re a really sexy Asian.’”

“Hmm. Funny. I don’t usually like Asians but…”

“Wow, that’s a really racist thing to say.”

“NO!!! NO, YOU DIDN’T LET ME FINISH!!! I MEANT FROM A LOOKS STANDPOINT, THEY’RE NOT USUALLY MY TYPE, BUT I WAS GOING TO SAY…”

“I mean, seriously? You actually just said you didn’t like Asians. I’m going to tweet that.”

“NO! Please don’t. I was going to end my statement with ‘BUT YEAH, DUDE, YOU’RE A PRETTY SEXY ASIAN.”

“You’re dead, woman. No going back. You realize that, right?”

“Yup. My career is over.”

———–

“Did you know he’s part of that pedophile program thing?”

“WILL YOU STOP SAYING IT’S FOR PEDOPHILES! IT’S CALLED BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS. I’M A BIG BROTHER, YOU DOPE!”

“Whatever.” 

While I wished desperately that “Whiskey Breakfast” could have lasted forever (and props to Josh with Kretchmer for showing up at the tail end), I had “Beer Lunch” to get ready for and needed to find some ice to put on the part of my liver that I had cut out with a coffee spoon so that I could spare it from being tainted. Goodness knows I’d need it by the evening.

Off I went in my chariot of yellow and black to the same bar I met Michael Schechter at just three-hundred-and-sixty-five days earlier. I walked in to find our table the same, our server the same, and my dread the same. Man, I hate beer. I haaaaaaaate beer. But I write this off as my yearly charitable donation and I suck it up for the good of our friendship. Plus, keep in mind that last year’s beer lunch coined the term, “layer of penis,” so who knows what goodness would come out of this year’s, right? 

Mikey was late because he has no respect for his elders but that’s okay; I’ve learned to accept him for who he is, which is also why I wasn’t surprised about his excitement at their newest beer on draft called, “More Cowbell.”

“I can only drink a Hefeweizen.”

“You should go for a porter.”

“Nah. Can’t. Too chewy.”

“What about an IPA?”

“I don’t do hops.”

“You’re the worst.”

“Thank you. The hatred is mutual.”

For as masculine as I can be at times, there are moments when I look at myself and think, “Christ, Barbara… stop being so goddamned prissy.” I mean, here I was trying tastes of different beers so that I could make sure I had something that wouldn’t offend my palate the way Gwen Stefani’s voice offends people who are able to carry a tune. And for what? One beer? Once per year? Grow a pair, woman! Toughen up and drink a brew! And why are you ordering the salmon, for God’s sake? Get a burger! And pick up that blood! (Anyone?)

I couldn’t make it through half of my drink, which naturally made my lunch companion shake his head in both disgust and silent glory.

At the end of the meal, I’m sorry to say that no anatomy layers were mentioned, nor was a phrase coined for the year, nor did I ever get that burger. But I’m really looking forward to next year’s, Michael. And thanks again for lunch; always a blast, especially when you pay.

I headed back to the hotel knowing that I needed a good solid three hours to get ready. Yes, that’s what I need. I have a lot of hair, require a plethora of makeup, and use a buttload of “equipment” to get myself into those gowns, and all of those things demand time. Sensing a theme, here? Congratulations. You have a pulse. Now let’s get down to the main reason I made this trip in the first place…

GEM AWARDS 2016

I remember the 2015 GEM Awards as clearly as I remember my middle name. The images of Monica and me getting naked dressed in our hotel room, and of the camaraderie of #PowerTable48 are still wonderfully loud and vivid and in my brain. I was sad to hear that The Daz wouldn’t be making the trip this year but I was determined to make my fellow Vegas Gems and her proud by leaving an impression. That impression started in a small vintage clothier in Atlanta, which is where I found my gown.

snapseed-01Recently I joked on Instagram that I own about thirteen floor-length gowns that I really can’t wear again because I don them around the same damned people in the jewelry industry. This dress was a definite one-time-only wear, and that’s okay, because it served its purpose. It was part Daisy Buchanan, part Alexis Carrington, and part Katniss Everdeen with a touch of Maleficent thrown in for good measure. And thanks to that SEXY ASIAN, Ben Smithee, I had the perfect earrings and ring to match, courtesy of designer Katerina Maxine, and the kind folks at LUXE Intelligence. My shoes and bag were sequins as well, and my makeup smoky and sparkly with a pale lip to contrast the dark eyes. As a last minute decision I went with a tightly pulled back knot for my hair which allowed my jewels to take center stage, because let’s face it, this is the GEM Awards, after all.

My partners in glamour as we entered the gates were the lovely Jennifer Heebner, who was dripping in Tara pearls and opera length gloves; the stunning Michelle Peranteau, who was gorgeous in a full-length black gown and diamond Baume et Mercier watch; and the exquisite Bernadette Mack, who wore a variety of jewels by Alex Soldier and Rina Limor.

This year’s awards were the first to officially focus on watches, nominating Cartier, Piaget, and Roger Dubuis in the category of Watch Design. Cartier took the prize with its North American President and CEO, Mercedes Abramo, accepting. The Media Excellence category showcased the talents of Rachel Garrahan, Kyle Anderson, and Rob Bates, with ROBYYYYYYYYYYY BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATES taking the award despite Kyle’s awesome hair and Instagram following. (By the way, Rob, if you’re reading this… I called it.) And the Jewelry Design Award went to Temple St. Clair (which was presented by Stephen Webster who is seriously in the wrong business. The man is a comedic genius and needs to get his own reality T.V. show. THIS IS NOT A LIE. He’d make millions) who was nominated alongside Sevan Bicakci and Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele.

But the man of the hour (pun totally intended) was WatchTime Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Joe Thompson, who received his Lifetime Achievement Award to a glorious standing ovation. A highlight for me was when I introduced myself to Joe and said “So many people I respect and emulate have spoken so highly of you.” To which he replied, “And I have heard many, many wonderful things about you.”

Clearly he thought I was Hayley Henning.

snapseed-04And speaking of Hayley Henning, let’s give a huge round of applause to the South African red carpet hostess with the mostesss, shall we? That Hayley. Is she not glamour incarnate? My favorite part was when she interviewed her boyfriend as if they were strangers. Freaking adorbs, both of them. Oh, and yet again, MAJOR props to the incomparable Amanda Gizzi and the entire Jewelers of America team as well as Promo House for putting together another spectacular program. Well done, my friend. Well done indeed.

It was fantastic seeing so many familiar faces. Our table (#PowerTable41… we moved UP!) comprised Bern Mack, Peggy Jo Donahue and her bib, Hannah Connorton (a personal fave), Sexy Ben Smithee and his date, Magen Pastor, then came DUCKFACE MISTRESS Wendy Brandes (who dazzled yet again in red velvet), my longtime industry buddy Jay Mednikow, Marla Aaron and her swoon-worthy glasses and Dries Van Noten dress, and, of course, yours truly in all my Dynasty glory.

I was also able to finally meet, face-to-face, the Zeus and Hera of horological journalism, Jack Forster and Roberta Naas, while also sharing hellos with the likes of Marion Fasel and Maria Canale – two of my #50womenofjewelry. But there was one moment for me that happened, that I had not expected and that I won’t soon forget, and that was during a conversation with the AGS’ Ruth Batson. We were discussing Conclave, the present, as well as the immediate future, and when the topic of my blog came up, she looked me in the eyes and said, “What you write is good… keep on writing, because people are reading. People are listening. We are all listening.” And a wave of emotion came over me (and is again as I type the words right now) as I fought back tears so as not to destroy an hour’s worth of makeup application. Thank you, Ms. Batson. I promise you, and whoever is listening… I’m not going to stop.

After a few final pictures on the step and repeat with my Shelby Ruth, the party started to dissipate, and for the second year in a row, our crew headed over to Whiskey Blue where we found our fellow pretzel sisters in the form of Brandee Dallow, Des Hanson, Fran Pennella, Shelly Schulz, Kristie Nicolosi, and many, many others. Since Bern and I had agreed to run three miles through Central park the following morning, I slipped out at about 12:30 a.m. and grabbed a cab back to my hotel.

It was truly an evening worth attending, and I look forward to doing it again next year, deity willing.

“Breaking up is hard, but keeping dark is hateful/I had so many dreams/I had so many breakthroughs/But you, my love, were kind/ but love has left you dreamless”

Day Three 

(Text received at 5:08 a.m.)

Her: “I cannot make it running.”

“The door to dreams was closed/Your park was real dreamless”

I took my time getting up since I knew I had a day to myself, which is a rare gift whenever I travel anywhere. I decided some weeks back that I wanted to visit The Met and take in their European clock and watch exhibit called, “The Luxury of Time.” It had been twenty-two years since I stepped foot inside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In fact, the last time I had been there it was with one of my best friends from high school and we got kicked out because we found one of the works in the modern art section particularly… well… “stupid” would probably be the kindest word I could use. I KNOW. I KNOW. IT’S ALL ART and art, by definition, isn’t stupid. But bloody hell, this thing was nothing more than a massive piece of canvas painted one shade of blue. I swear on all that is holy, it was one big blue rectangle. In fact, I think the name of it was actually “blue painting” or something of the like. I sh*t you not, people. This is why I struggle with understanding modern art. You know that thing sold to some dimwit for like eight-million dollars, too, don’t you? Well my friend and I were laughing uncontrollably as we thought of joke after joke about how ridiculous some of the pieces were which naturally meant that eventually we were asked to leave. I remember picking up a crushed Coke bottle near a garbage can close by and saying to my friend, “I just made this. It’s art. I should bring it back to the Met. I’ll make billions.” Oh how we laughed and laughed and laughed…

… then I grew up and realized it was probably not cool to say that I had been kicked out of The Met, which is likely the main reason why it took twenty-two years to get back.

God I hope they don’t recognize me.

snapseed-05Thankfully the art on display in the exhibit I went to see was actually something I understood – or at the very least, have been trying to understand over the last eight months or so – watches.

I won’t go into complete detail here as I intend on writing an entire piece about the exhibit on my new female-friendly watch blog called WhatsOnHerWrist.com (coming soon to a browser near you!) but I will say that it was well worth the price of admission as was the cost of the book I purchased to accompany it. If you’re in the city or plan on being so in the near future, I recommend checking it out, but you have to go soon, because it’s over on March 27th.

So… that leads me to the final leg of this trip, which we will officially dub, “The 10K Club Gathering.”

There was a crew of us who didn’t officially have seats (yet) for the 24K Club’s annual dinner and gala at the Waldorf Astoria, but we had been invited to several of the pre-parties being held in some of the suites up on the 4th floor, so we donned our gowns and tuxes, threw on our jewels and watches, and gathered at Bull & Bear to do our socializing and networking. I had invited along watch journalist Syl Tang, who writes for The Futurist and The Financial Times, because I was leaving the next day for home and had yet to meet her in person. Joining us were Smithee, Moskal, O’Connor, Cleo, Kendra, Barry with Jade Trau, Magen, Aly, and… wait for it… THAT KID FROM RITANI!! In fact, I believe it was he who came up with name for our little “island of misfit toys” group of nomads, which wound up being our running joke for the evening. Should we be the 10K Club? Or the 24 Carrot Club? Or the 42K Club? Needless to say every option turned into a hashtag.

snapseed-02I wore a gold Ralph Lauren Evening dress with a gorgeous golden South Sea pearl necklace and matching earrings by Eli Jewels, on loan to me from Mednikow Jewelers. To say the piece was a statement necklace would almost be an understatement. It was a stunning adornment combining the natural wonder of South Sea pearls with the craftsmanship of talented jewelers and topped off with several carats in bright white diamonds. I felt glorious in it, which is what I was supposed to feel in something of that caliber, and I was sad to have to give it back at the end of the night.

The evening went as perfectly as I could have asked for, and while several people texted me to say that there were no-shows at their table and that I should come up and join them, I decided I liked hanging with our crew, and opted for my spot at the bar instead. Although, I did head up to catch a song or two from Aretha Franklin when beckoned enough times by 24K members. (Oh and hey, just want to send a quick shout out to John Carter and Mary Moses-Kinney for the lovely meal picture they sent me. You guys are rad.)

Before the night was over I did some dancing, some Periscoping, and a little more Prosecco consuming. It was somewhat bittersweet there at the end for a variety of reasons, with the main reason being that New York represents so much in my life; good, bad, and otherwise.

As I watched the mist trickle down from the back seat of my cab, I recalled the many moments that I had just written about here. I recalled them, thought fondly of them, sighed deeply about them, and smiled. And that – that one act alone –is what will keep me coming back year after year after year.

New York, I love you. And I thank you for all that you are and all that you remain to be to me.

“Perhaps you’re smiling now/Smiling through this darkness/But all I had to give was the guilt for dreaming”

“We should be on by now [x5]/La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la [repeat]”

“Yeah, time!”

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