Janeos Jewellery

From around the world, Janeo Jewels presents today's hottest celebrities and budding fashion mavens wearing costume jewellery from 925 sterling silver, necklaces, bracelets and earrings with Swarovski crystals. They are setting the standard for fun and affordable fashion jewellery including leather wrist bands, men's stainless steel jewellery and women's charm bracelets. Janeo takes you center-stage to the juiciest news and hottest trends to hit the costume jewellery industry in years.

Thursday, 30 April 2009

Unbelievable of Inevitable? The Flu-Ready Fashion Trend

The latest fashion trend to hit the streets of North America has a fairly good argument for its inevitability. For the past week or so, every media outlet available has been voraciously covering developments of the swine flu. From questionable death counts to ominous alert ratings issued by the World Health Organization, questions of closing borders and banning travel to calls for folks to remain calm, the coverage has been chaotic at best. In hard-hit places and areas of high risk, people are being urged to stay home from work and school, and to avoid crowded public places. But many city slickers know how to keep themselves protected if going out of doors amidst the pandemonium and possible infection threat. It's a little device employed en masse by Asian populations back when SARS was wreaking the sort of havoc --at least, in terms of journalism-- that we're seeing today with the swine flu.
That's right, we're talking about the good old surgical mask. Once confined to the realm of operating rooms, these thin paper face-huggers have become a first response measure for the public when reports of outbreaks make breathing others' air a bit sketchy. But with the increasing prevalence of these outbreaks, the surgical mask is fast threatening to become a bonafide accessory. Yes, a fashion accessory. As people around the world are finding out, just because you're donning a ho-hum piece of cloth in the name of good health doesn't mean you have to look ho-hum yourself. In this creative spirit, many surgical mask wearers are beginning to truly accessorize their pieces, most notably with paints.
We're not so sure which paints are best, though there are likely issues pertaining to breathability and even toxicity (we don't recommend slathering a mask with magic markers just prior to putting one on, at any rate). But several health-conscious citizens have either researched or disregarded their way to success, producing some pretty interesting mouthpieces. One especially popular theme, despite being a bit foreboding given the slightly panicked environment, is skulls.

Back in Asia, where the surgical mask popularity stirred up its origins, at least one artist has been dreaming up elaborate and attractive designs for the accessories. Perhaps someday soon we'll see the mass production or designer lines of surgical masks, leaving us to wonder whether we'll be able to match them to our bags, shoes, jewelry, and other accessories, too. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll see surgical masks strung up in the sparkling beads and bright finishes of costume jewelry, which would likely be a lot of fun, even if it required an entirely new (and humongous) sort of jewelry box.

For now, plenty of celebrities have been spotted donning shamefully unadorned masks, including TV pair Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag. And of course, who could forget Jacko's bold appearances with mask in tow? As the hubbub over swine flu continues, we're anxiously awaiting to see how creative vity dwellers and celebrities alike approach the artistic opportunities of the surgical mask.

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Swirling Sensation

Sometimes it seems that the old standards always get the spotlight. In the world of jewelry and accessories, focus lies heavily on the kinds of pieces brought to mind when one envisions strolling through a Tiffany's outlet or beholding the glitter and glitz on head and hands of a glamorous woman. But jewelry has a long and rich tradition of traveling to other parts of the body, as well. From anklets to ornate body chains recalling the mystique and fashion of the Near East, to adhesive gems and toe rings, jewelry knows its way around the human form in more ways than which we normally give it credit. Seemingly even more left waiting in the wings for a chance to shine is the belt buckle. An utterly adorn-able fashion item, the belt buckle tends to stand out in the minds of the general public as something conferred to rodeo stars or heavyweight champions when dolled up. Yet the belt buckle has a story to tell about the way in which women's fashion can be highlighted, punctuated, and complemented with a small, structural big of pizazz.
The belt buckle as a fashion piece is confronted by the same challenges as faced by more common items such as earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Namely, it must convey its message within a very limited space, and make itself noticeable without overpowering the onlooking eye. Of course, the belt buckle has a bit more area to work with, and tends to have a uniform, flat surface, allowing for many artistic opportunities that other jewellery pieces lack. Belt buckles range from the plain and modest to the truly ostentatious, with every shade of statement in between. And though we have a few favorites on either end of the spectrum, our love affair with belt buckles is centered squarely in their marriage with Swarovski crystals. The glittering facets and clean, vivid colors of these stones along with their versatile size allows for range of designs that add the perfect touch of glamour to a whole host of outfits.

This sparkling, swirling belt buckle pushes all our crystal-loving buttons with its incorporation of both clear and dark champagne stones. Set on an absolutely gleaming background of coppery gold, the stones play with form and line as the clear crystals develop a double row of ornate swirls, and their darker counterparts bedeck the backdrop. The buckle is a limited edition piece and is exclusive to Janeo, and we couldn't be more proud of it as a standard for the quality craftsmanship, thoughtful design, and great looks of our stock.

The buckle measures an ample eight by five and a half centimeters, providing the perfect focal point for slacks and skirts of a number of styles, as well as for belted dresses. While it can be incorporated into your own design or a different belt, the buckle comes from Janeo complete with a long, three and a half centimeter wide black belt with several size adjustment features. Let your waistline speak with this magnificent belt buckle, but beware, your neck might get a little jealous.

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Saturday, 25 April 2009

Happy Swarovskanniversary!

To the late Mr. Daniel Swarovski and his company, that is. The famous crystal-making firm's successful couture design house is turning 20 this year, and has kicked off the new Spring season with a celebration of new pieces. Famous around the world for their intense sparkle, vivid color spectrum and easy affordability, Swarovski crystals have become a mainstay of everything from costume jewelry to designer clothes, accessories, and even home accents. But while most people are well familiar with the crystals themselves, having a few sparkling items in their collection or used to seeing the occasional tempting boutique, the story of the original company and its founding father are less known.
Daniel Swarovski, the son of a glass cutter working within the ranks of the Austrian monarchy, was born in the mid-19th century in the Czech Republic, then Bohemia. His principle achievement, likely the result of a youth spent paying close attention to the mechanics of his father's profession, was the invention of a special electric cutting machine which was useful and efficient during the process of creating lead crystal glass facets. In 1892, Swarovski acquired a patent for his invention, and shortly thereafter he founded the manufacturing company we know and love today along with two business partners.

The crystal, used for a variety of applications, quickly became a success, marked by their distinct brilliance and specially optimized refraction of light. The company was able to diversify as a result, allowing it to take on such lofty projects as Kristallwelten --a dedicated theme park in Austria with many exhibits displaying what beautiful heights the crystals can achieve. Today, the tiny sparklers are adored by jewelry fans of every ilk, and carry a notable connotation of prestige and structural excellence.
The Swarovski design house began taking advantage of the popularity of the crystals among celebrities to fashion red carpet-ready jewelry and accessories. The versatility of the crystals themselves allow for a wide range of styles and ideas to take shape, and many stars praise the label for its intelligent use of the classic cuts with modern spins on form and fancy. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the firm has released a spectacular line for Spring, retaining much of the line's original art deco feel while playing up fresh new ideas.
Janeo has a happy and healthy obsession, er, relationship with Swarovski crystals, and offers an array of gorgeous pieces that center on the spectacular brilliance and pop of the stones. From dangling drop earrings to glittering bangle bracelets and brooches, and even super-cute purse charms to hitch to a strap or zipper, stock is rich with items that understand the appeal of Swarovskis. Catching a few facets of light, twinkling forth a serene rainbow, and finishing in a rich original tone, these crystals attract the eyes no matter how they're set or styled. If you've never owned a piece, perhaps it's time to get in on the Swarovskanniversary yourself!

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Friday, 24 April 2009

Our Weekly Winners

The results are in! Everyone below has been chosen as a Janeo winner, and can claim their prize by checking out the prize selection category on-site and dropping a comment on this entry with a link to the item they'd like to receive. Congratulations everyone!


Vivianne Rowan
Andre Warnke
Pauline Cliss
Carolyn Barnett
Sally Singleton
Corrina Buggons
Karen Shaw

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Thursday, 23 April 2009

Seasonal Surprise: Halle Berry and the Breezy Red Carpet

There seems to be little that's capable of stirring up quite as much gossip and glamour as the illustrious red carpet, a Hollywood icon that has captivated the imaginations of movie fans and fashionistas, becoming a mainstay of high-profile events all over the world. In fact, so great is the modern adoration of the red carpet that events like high school proms have started to employ the device, letting dolled-up students experience a lavish stroll down the plush and paparazzi-laden corridor. Fashion is perhaps the biggest topic on everyone's lips when the carpet's rolled out, and the discussions and dissections have become so widespread and diverse as to warrant special dedicated TV shows and magazine columns.
Critics pour over everything from manicures to designer dress trends, costume jewelry and dazzling fine stones on loan from major jewellery houses, sky-high heels and sculptured up-dos, and all that can be scrutinized and studied, in between. And in the vast majority of cases, the fashion on display is as high as it gets outside of a palace or historical reenactment. Clothes specially created to be worn just for the night light up the scenery with luxurious fabrics, sparkling details, and impressive profiles. The formality of the red carpet is one of its most traditional aspects.
Yet not everyone with an invitation to walk the scarlet plank is determined to make a big to-do about it. There are some celebrities who simply don't feel the need to put on the ritz and cause a commotion with high-faloutin' or fancy fashion. Halle Berry is the latest example of this growing phenomenon. Appearing at the premiere of the film The Soloist this week, the highly acclaimed actress --looking radiant and healthy at 42-- startled onlookers by arriving in decidedly casual duds. Sporting a colorful floor-length summer dress evoking the hues of the warm and breezy ocean, Berry opted for thin-strapped flip flop sandals and a no-fuss bun. Central in the easy appearance was the choice of a long costume jewellery necklace, complete with playfully dangling charms.
Though many celebs who make such bold moves on the red carpet meet with scathing reviews when the press goes public, Berry's simple ensemble garnered rounds of applause from critics. It may be the case that, at least in the warmer months, such accessible fashion is becoming more widely accepted. In the wake of one of the most difficult economic periods in modern history, a bit of laid-back fun and realism might be creeping in on old conventions, pushing the pure old traditions of show business to adapt and grow with society at large. As the trend continues to emerge, it's likely that costume jewellery will have a hand in it, as well. Affordability and fun design are the mainstays of costume pieces, and promise excellent aesthetics and easy wear no matter the storms that might come our way.

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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Brilliant Turquoise Brings out Spring Fashion

There are few colors as idyllic and peaceful as blue. Able to span from the tones of high and sunny skies to the dark and broody hues of royal vestments, decorating the robin's egg and subtly diffusing the icy white of snow, blue is an incredibly versatile color. With its power to make a bold or sweet statement for nearly every look and color palette, blue is a favorite color for fashion, though all too often it is confined in the simple format of denim jeans. Of course, colors are welcome in accessories too, and can make the keeping of a basic modern wardrobe easier, incorporating seasonal flares of light and shade wherever it's most needed.
Spring is perhaps the most jubilant season for fresh new colors, reflecting vibrancy in its plethora of florals and in the jubilant sounds of birdsong. It is in this environment where a very special shade of blue lives out its beauty in highest style. Turquoise is a classic blue evocative of tropical waters and serene skies, and indeed of many wonderful and fascinating facets of nature. A stone much beloved by cultures around the world, including many Native American tribes, turquoise has been prized for centuries for its ability to stand out and shine, drawing the eye with a pleasing spectrum of shades.

Janeo's turquoise necklace is a stunning masterpiece, capturing the versatility and beauty as well as the fun of turquoise. Neatly yet freely structured against an antiqued copper chain, scores of turquoise beads in shapes ranging from round to emerald cut create a bold vision that's perfect for draping around the neck of a loved one --or yourself. Starting at the collarbone, a choker-like design gradates from a thin to a wide band, alternating various shapes of beads within a matrix of smaller, dainty seed beads. These lovely stones culminate in a central flower, comprised of delicately pointed oval beads with a substantial round stone in the very middle.
It is beneath this pretty yet powerful flower that the necklace's serene grace is brought to life. A cascade of tiny turquoise beads dance from a central anchor, graduating from short to long strands at the center. These seemingly liquid drops of blue and copper shimmer in the light and slightly move about as the necklace is worn, creating a captivating focal point that accentuates the décolletage. These elements combine and contrast to create a simply wonderful necklace.
Perfect for draping against both flowing and whimsical silhouettes, this necklace is the long-lost bedfellow of airy Spring dresses as well as more elegant evening gowns. But the chameleon nature of turquoise allows it to go just as well with a simple pair of jeans and a t-shirt, making a bold yet casual statement. Bringing out the very best of the season, this turquoise necklace showcases what costume jewelry can do with classic stones and colors, as well as with affordability.

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Sunday, 19 April 2009

Seattle Fashion Week Adds its Credentials to International Style

It seems a whole host of unlikely cities and causes are creating their own versions of the classic new York and Paris fashion weeks these days. Just on our blog here at Janeo, we've covered a fashion week in South Africa as well as one devoted especially to the curvy set. But while some determined purists may view this diversification as a negative thing, watering down the prestige and tradition of the original events, most fashion mavens and industry experts are all for the emerging fashion weeks. In addition to highlighting the local perks and flavors of cities that do not normally garner as much attention in the fashion world, these events tend to be organized and presented on a smaller, more efficient scale. This makes it possible for fans -- and future customers -- to get the full effect of the fashion itself without having to suffer in terms of prices inflated by the costs of a show. Taking full advantage of these benefits, Seattle is the latest city to add its fashionista credentials to the international collective.
Though the event may seem to be a completely new phenomenon to many, Seattle Fashion Week is actually celebrating it's five year birthday. With shows taking place last week and continuing through the weekend, the event is aimed at presenting the Spring collections of the city's finest upcoming designers. Known as a town with a lot of attitude, aesthetic appeal, and penchant for intelligent, efficient production, Seattle's connection with fashion is a strong one. The city's many conservatories and dedicated universities for art and design help the profession flourish among new generations. Of course, the local weather, which maintains a fairly overcast and drizzly demeanor through much of the year, plays a role in the particular manifestations of the fashion muse in this Washington mecca. But this constraint helps give Seattle fashion an extra flair and local sense of personality and identity.
The designs have been decidedly “earthy”; Seattle is, after all, a rather ecologically friendly and conscientious city. As such, a keen attention to structure was wed with organic materials and ideas, fully grounded pieces, and an attention to attractive function. Citing the growing number of big-name businesses making their home in Seattle, many event organizers described the need for fashion-forward duds that, if they didn't launch Seattle to the status of a Paris or a London, would at least address --and dress well-- the burgeoning professional public.
The shows' collections of accessories carry through the natural feel but add a bit of brightness and fun for playing with the themes of the season. Elegant rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets, in materials ranging from sterling silver to swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones graced outfits, and created a strong impression of the marvelous talent of the city's jewelry designers. As their main event turns five and prepares for another year next Spring, these designers are sure to find their pieces, and their city, a bit brighter on the international fashion map.

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Friday, 17 April 2009

Recent Prize Winners - Claim Your New Piece!

As our recent prize winners may have noted in a recent emailing, we've had a bit of trouble with our notification system, and those who have attempted to claim their prizes may have not been accomodated. We sincerely appologize for the error, and are eager to get beautiful new jewelry pieces to each and every one of you. If your name is on the following list, please leave a comment on this blog entry with a link to the item you'd like to receive (chosen from the "prize selections" item category).
We'll send it off in a hurry.


The winners in question are:
Stuart Dunlop
Magdalena Diaz
Joan Rawlings
Alex Setford
Louise Murray
Dave Martin
Allan Cockburn
Willie Scott
Ed Key
Sue Warren
Helen Brown
Robin Hill
Eileen Smith
Sara Poutney
John Harkiss
Gina Vega
Julie Davies
Laura Bray
Lee Gallacher
Gwendolyn Hall Anthony
Natalie Wood
Francesca Lawson
Karly Nakani
Theresa Aspey
Shittu Kehinde
Josh Kinnett
Hashma Azhar
Kanika Hatlwal
Joy Steele
Barbara Bennett


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Full Figured Fashion Week Set to Debut in NYC

Most people associate the highly popular and long-lauded New York Fashion Week with top designers, exciting events, and, in the end, with an endless parade of super-skinny super models. Though fashion models have traditionally been notably thin for several decades, their figures have come under heightened scrutiny in recent years as critics question the presence of eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia among the svelte women. Beyond the medical concerns, many complain that these models fail to represent real women, making it both difficult for many women and especially fashionable adolescent girls to accept their own looks, as well as possibly detracting from the presentation of clothing given the unrealistic frame and size. In answer to these concerns, along with the growing number of women in America who simply don't fit into single-digit sizes, Full Figured Fashion Week is coming to New York this Summer to present its own flavor of design.
An increasing number of American women are plus sized; the retail clothing market for women is comprised of one-quarter consumers who are over size fourteen. They represent about twenty five billion dollars each year in terms of fashion spending, and for a long while their options in terms of designer duds have been severely limited. Full Figured Fashion Week NYC, which has been organized by a diverse team of private label designers, event coordinators, clothing retailers, and professional plus-sized models, will work to cater to this previously neglected demographic. Both recognizing the reality of the female figure in modern America and hoping to increase sales and profits in the meantime, the event is likely to be a hit, even if traditionalists take a bit of offense to the questioning of “proper” fashion design and presentation.
The event is just in time for many clothing retailers and associated industries, as the economic downturn produces steadily declining sales. Rather than produce more of the same, or attempt to overpower extant pieces with as much appeal as possible, the organizers have recognized a basic need -- the need for well-tailored, attractive plus sized women's clothing -- and decided to address it. Though times may be difficult for pocketbooks across the nation, basic quality items like clothing are bound to remain in steady demand.
Whether accessories such as shoes, bags, and jewelry take on their own distinct feel or echo the bold designs and conversation pieces of the “regular” NY Fashion Week remains to be seen. The stunning costume jewellery that paraded with thin models down the runway this season suggested a basic defiance of financial woes, yet managed to remain somewhat subdued and powerful rather than fanciful. This spirit of inner strength is likely to accompany artistic conceptions of the modern plus sized woman, who must embrace and proclaim her individuality and sense of self amidst a world that has, for quite some time, revered a feminine mold into which most simply do not fit.

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A special note to last week's jewelry prize winners!

A few of you have yet to claim your chosen piece so we can send them off! We'd like to get these out to you, whether you're in the mood for something bright and fun or you've been wanting that special engagement item. Select the Janeo piece of your choice and let us know what you've picked in a comment here on the blog (go ahead and leave a link to the item page). We'll make sure it's in your hands in a jiffy. Last weeks winners are:
Nazmeen Akhtar
Barbara Bennett
Joy Steele
Kanika Hatwal
Hashma Azhar

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An Ethnic Bead Necklace For Great Occasions

Every once in a while, as most jewelry lovers well know, a piece comes along which commands an extra special spot in the treasured jewelry box. Though many may cherish a piece handed down through the generations or which is otherwise attached to some sentimental appeal, there are jewelry items that by their aesthetic merit alone can warrant such an elevated status. And though it might seem surprising amidst the hype and hubbub surrounding expensive ice, it's certainly not necessary that a beloved item should burn a hole through the wallet. Costume jewelry achieves the appeal and intrigue of the essential look without demanding a lot of dough -- all the more reason to find a favorite. With the blossoming Spring, bright colors are emerging throughout the landscape, and wardrobes are becoming a bit more adventurous. It's the perfect season for trying something new, and Janeo has the perfect necklace for a tulip-hued adventure.

This bold yet carefully constructed necklace recalls the beauty of tribal adornments, deep in the jungles, rain forests, and plains of the earth's most remote and natural places. Brimming with mystery and hints of far-away lands, the piece is a perfect choice for bringing your own natural spirit to life. The necklace sits attractively on the decolte without being too long or constricting, and goes well with just about any top or outfit. The necklace features a large center stone with carmine red and burgundy tones surrounded by a playful yet elegant metal sculptural scroll. Two deep, ochre-hued cylindrical beads flank this centerpiece, while two beautiful marbled amber spheres complete the series. These elements combine to form a warm and pleasing palate that nevertheless supports the whimsy and international feel of the necklace as a whole.
The “stars of the show” are supported by various complementary beads, ranging from the subtle to the outstanding and eye-catching. Silver-toned beads carved with intricate geometrical patterns and specially antiqued continue the old-world feel and ethnically divers appeal of the necklace, while cylindrical and oval wooden beads bring out the piece's colors with a swirled finish of rich brown and golden tones. Tiny round metal beads tie the piece together and keep everything nicely spaced and punctuated.

The brightness and radiant glow of this necklace makes it a caring gift to give someone special, especially for those who understand the importance of culture and who embrace the craftsmanship and design traditions of people from around the world. The necklace makes a meaningful self-gift as well, empowering the wearer with artistic strength and a sense of broad-mindedness. As the weather begins to heat up and necklines become ever more open to ornamentation, this piece is sure to make -- and receive -- great statements wherever it goes.

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Sunday, 12 April 2009

Lavish Court Fashion Display Calls out to Costume Jewellery Lovers

I remember quite vividly, in my youth, having a faux ruby and diamond ring procured from some mall shop with a few weeks' worth of allowance. When not resting in its special place of honor in my ballerina jewelry box, the ring added some serious weight to my finger as I played out various roles with friends. With a substantial center stone standing out at well over ten carats, surrounded by a double row of seed-sized clear sparkler stones, the piece was nothing short of extravagant, and took me from playing Queen to Empress to mysterious wizardress and well beyond, into the farthest reaches of the imagination.
Though breaking out the playhouse isn't exactly on my to-do list these days, I still enjoy the possibilities a nice piece of jewelry can bring to the appearance and atmosphere of a given look. Of course, I can't quite compete in the market of royal jewel buyers; and even if I found myself exorbitantly stuffed with spending power, I might find it hard to justify the price tags on many modern and antique jewellery pieces of rare and exceptional quality. Luckily for me, costume jewelry achieves all the instant gratification and impressive presence of the real thing while staying sane in terms of price. With the opening of the “Fastes de Cour et Ceremonies Royales -- Le Costume de Cour en Europe 1650- 1800,” at Versailles, France, this week, I suspect many fashion mavens will experience a similar wave of gratefulness for the possibilities of costume jewellery.
The show, which runs through June 28th, features an impressive collection of garments and accessories from royalty throughout Europe during one of its most visually extravagant periods. Pieces ranging from the personal accouterments of Marie Antoinette to robes that once graced the shoulders of nobility from Denmark and Sweden. Fabrics are rich and colorful, showcasing expensive and highly prized materials and dyes, as well as the painstaking efforts and skills of those craftsmen who created the finished products. The splendour is certainly an eyeful as far as the fashions are concerned, though the accompanying bits of jewelry and accessories are reportedly an especially magnificent sight. Louis XV's coronation crown makes an appearance at the exhibition; though it is still an incredible piece to behold in terms of its fine details and design, its antique value has slumped to a considerably low figure since the jewels --representing the full spectrum of those precious stones with which the European world was so in love at the time-- were pried off and replaced with inexpensive substitutes.
Costume jewelry allows modern fashion royalty to display their taste without worrying over such conundrums. Though it may not end up in a museum, an extravagant yet affordable necklace or bracelet lets the dress-up days of youth mature into something bold and beautiful.

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Friday, 10 April 2009

South Africa's Fashion Week Plays with Color and Fun

Of all the fashion capitals throughout the world, from the major metropolitan cities of the United States to the cultured and refined relics of Europe and Asia, South Africa may not so readily come to mind when one thinks about modern design and the fashion scene. Closely associated with political unrest and the years of apartheid in the minds of many, the small yet bustling nation at the tip of the African continent has actually been enjoying a significant flourishing of culture, tradition, and progress. The fashion industry is certainly a component of this movement, and the country is fast becoming a notable venue for exotic designs, ethnically-inspired patterns and pieces, and interesting new takes on classic clothing, jewelry, and accessories. South Africa's native penchant for fun and flair in fabric and other materials was on full display last week during the nation's own version of fashion week. An event somewhat similar to the famed shows, parties, and media buzz created in the likes of Paris and New York, South Africa fashion week took on a generous dash of local flavor and both surprised and delighted onlookers with several fresh takes on the Spring wardrobe.
One of the undeniable stars of the event and hailed as South Africa's most successful and certainly most prominent design labels, Stoned Cherrie presented a bevy of exciting pieces that had critics investigating both the aesthetic ideas and historical significance behind the clothes. Claiming that the label is a symbol of abundance and works to represent the power and appeal of plentitude, Stoned Cherrie designer Nkhensani Nkosi led the event with wonderful fashions from head to toe. Pieces featured bright, vivid colors, employing local dyeing traditions and materials; pallates were painted with the hues of Spring, but steered clear of being confined within the season's sweet pastels. Brilliant tones combined to create impressive pops of color and hinted at the African preference for jubilant, energetic clothing. Materials incorporated various fabrics in an array of cuts and crimps, adding a special dimension to the skirts, pants, tops, and dresses parading down the runway.
Nkosi makes mention of being inspired by the Mapungubwe civilization, a group of ancient peoples who lived in southern Africa many thousands of years ago. Drawing from more recent African roots as well as archaeological and cultural details about the Mapungubwe, the Stoned Cherrie line presented a kind of modern historical fiction in fabric and shape, suggesting how the ancient residents might have dressed themselves today. Nkosi and other prominent designers at the Johannesburg show noted that despite global economic woes, their lines were experiencing a flourishing of sales, helping to cement the idea that fun and affordable fashion is never really dead. It's certainly a spirit that costume jewellery lovers will understand.

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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Brilliant Butterfly Choker Brings out the Best of Costume Jewellery

There are few creatures of nature as universally beloved and celebrated as butterflies. From the familiar and bold black-and-orange monarch variety to exotic species that fill the jungles, rain forests, and plains of the world, butterflies have captivated the human imagination and spirit from time immemorial. The intricate beauty and symmetry of butterfly wings are a powerful draw to the eye, appealing to the innate aesthetic sense and delighting viewers with diversity and complexity. But it is not simply the final appearance of the butterfly that makes it so very attractive. Highly symbolic, the butterfly's journey from caterpillar to chrysalis and to its eventual fluttering form is the subject of everything from children's literature to grown-up poetry, and everything in between. The world of fashion and jewelry has enjoyed a long and friendly relationship with the image -- and the concept -- of the butterfly. Seeking to create and accentuate beauty, it seems only natural that the industries should wholeheartedly embrace such a figure of transformation, creation, and glamour. In recent decades, the butterfly has become especially popular as a wearable symbol, whether silk-screened onto a simple garment, embroidered into a fine fabric, or glistening in jewels and metals as a piece of jewellery.

It's this last manifestation of the modern butterfly that seems best able to capture the bright and boundless spirit of the whimsical creature. Portrayed in many different forms, the structure remains recognizable and offers a multitude of options for ornamentation. Costume jewelry is certainly no stranger to butterflies, and exemplifies the fact beautifully in this dramatic yet fun gold-finish butterfly choker. Measuring twenty-eight centimeters long with an adjustable seven centimeter chain for optimal fit, this modern necklace is sure to become a wardrobe staple throughout the warm months or whenever there's a call for something flirty and interesting.

The choker's centerpiece consists of a generously sized butterfly pendant, which, fluttering at the base of the throat, draws attention to the neck and creates a warm and well-groomed aesthetic, perfect for first impressions. The pendant features an array of delicate, multi-faceted Swarovski crystals evoking the ever-changing colors and shimmer of aurora borealis. The center oval-cut stone recalls the rich tones of dark topaz, and serves to pull the piece together into a central pop of color.

The pendant stays put on a unique and attractive series of six gold-toned ball and chain strands, which culminate at the center and form a graduated “waterfall” of sparkle and shine. Creating vibrant twinkles of color with every movement, this choker is made to be seen and shown off. With the power of one of nature's most majestic fauna as its personal totem, the necklace combines natural beauty with the fun and affordability of costume jewellery -- a match seemingly made in heaven.

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Sunday, 5 April 2009

First Lady's Fashion Evokes Elegant Comfort, Classic Shapes

First Lady Michelle Obama has been hailed as a competent and compassionate leader and thinker, quite capable of aiding her husband's aim for positive change in the United States. But in the few short months since the Obamas' entry to the White House, and even during the long and arduous campaign trail leading to the President's eventual victory, the First Lady has been highly acclaimed for something not quite as essential to the course of human history, but still able to captivate the minds, eyes, and credit card statements of people around the world. Michelle Obama's fashion sense has quickly become known as a return to the classic shapes and elegant yet casual feel of the mid-twentieth century, recalling the air of Jackie Kennedy. Whether hopping off a plane or attending a state dinner, the First Lady's fashion picks show an attention to taste and detail while still managing to stay true to her own personal aesthetic inclinations.

Shown here in February at an appearance at UCLA, Mrs. Obama dons an easy outfit of tailored chinos topped with a sleeveless, mandarin-collar white shirt that evokes grace and class without being overbearing. One of the First Lady's signature themes has emerged as a particular affinity for pearls. Whether freshwater, cultured, or lab-created -- or even made of glass, plastic, or bakelite, the round gobs of glow appear to be a favorite choice for pretty much any occasion. Showing off a piece of costume jewelry with lots of pizazz that nevertheless is able to carry through with the outfit's casual theme, Mrs. Obama sports a double row of aqua-tinted faux pearls at the Los Angeles university.

In this photograph taken just this week at Downing Street, London, the President and First Lady depart from a dinner for G20 Summit Leaders. Stepping out in style, Mrs. Obama pairs a tea-length a-line skirt with subtle structural details with a subdued white tank, showing off sleek lines while recalling the fanciful fashion of 1960's poodleskirts. Returning a staple wardrobe booster, she accents the tank's neckline with another double row of pearls, this time creating the classic creamy glow of natural beads.

Seen here again last week, Mrs. Obama paid a visit to Maggie's Cancer Caring Center also in London. Creating quite a buzz with her sparkling, barely-pink cardigan, the First Lady exuded comfort and style. Cardigan maker J Crew reported that the item quickly sold out following her appearance in the press. The same might hold true for the spearmint green pencil skirt as well, which helped create a vision of Spring and Easter without being gaudy. The double-stranded pearl necklace made a second appearance during the event.

Though Mrs. Obama may be able to enjoy jewelry a bit more flashy than the average American at the moment, her taste seems to stay on the side of pretty prudence. With bold yet classic costume jewelry and pearl pieces, she complements her stylish wardrobe and seems set to invigorate the national fashion consciousness with something practical, yet certainly special.

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Friday, 3 April 2009

Britney Spears' “Circus” Tour Sparkles with Glitzy Costumes, Jewels

Fans and critics of tenured pop star Britney Spears are familiar with her on-stage fashion sense; for going on a decade, the singer has donned outfits ranging from the sweet and simple to the edgy and dangerous. Her current hit tour, “Circus,” calls for something a bit more adventurous, however, owing to the album's theme as well as the atmosphere of the music. The staged eye-candy throughout the show has begun to attract considerable acclaim, dazzling fans with bold and bright looks while bringing a much-needed splash of color and novelty to the sometimes gray and grim landscape of the current American spirit.
International mega-music news outlet MTV caught up with fans outside a recent “Circus” performance in Pittsburgh, and found that the vast majority of concert-goers were aglow with praise for the entertainment. Leaving nothing to the imagination nor toning down the pizazz at any point, the show is summed up simply as a spectacle from start to finish by those who are overjoyed simply to see the diva do her thing. Spears' set lists have been favorably reviewed, incorporating hits of her new album as well as appreciably aged pieces to bring back memories for fans. But the music is really brought out by what is fast becoming the tour's secret weapon: its fashion.

As Spring unfolds and music fans prepare for more whimsical wear, inspiration abounds at the “Circus” tour. Staying true to the theme, the singer prowls the stage in a variety of impressive and eye-popping costumes, from sexy-stockinged ringleader to fancy-free burlesque dancer and back. Incorporating eye-catching components like busked corsets, tassled pasties, and flamboyant feather boas, the getup gives the performance a truly spectacular feel.

Of course, these stand-out costumes call for complimentary jewelry. Making a pretty positive case for the beauty and fun of costume jewellery, Spears' fashions include luxurious pearls, dazzling Swarovski crystals, and unique metallic pieces that play with the clothes to create something magical on stage. Drawing the eye and hinting at the excitement and intrigue to come, these pieces, hand-chosen for the show, are perfect for making a great statement, whether under the big top or out on the town.

One of the greatest things about Spears' look is how easily it can translate to a fresh take on Spring or an invigoration of a doldrums wardrobe without overdoing it or playing any tricks on your wallet. Layered necklaces in bright beads and sparkling crystals, brooches with bright stones or fascinating filigree, and bangles that circle the wrists with color and shine are all great tools for any jewelry arsenal.

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Cloisonné Necklace Sets: History and Modern Horizons

Cloisonné is an art form with a long and intricate past; originating in the Near East and rapidly spreading to a wide variety of peoples and cultures, the medium has attracted fans and collectors for many hundreds of years with its beauty and unique, distinctive appeal. The special metalworking and finishing techniques are today considered to be the artistic legacies of China and Russia. The intricate process involved in crafting a piece of cloisonné, whether for a large-scale item such as a vase or dish, or for a minuscule yet attractive bead, requires a substantial amount of training and attention to detail, bringing value and a special sense of craftsmanship to each piece.
The metal object, most commonly utilizing pliable copper, is crafted aforehand, while lengths of metal wire are manipulated and placed over the surface to define differently colored areas. These wires are attached to the base with solder or clear enamel and a special adhesive, and then fired. At this point, the cloisonné is ready to be filled with its primary batch of enamel color. Ranging from brilliant hues to subdued tones, enamels provide bursts of color and visual appeal. After the first layer is applied and fired, a new layer is continuously applied and put through the crucible until the surface is smooth. With a careful full-body buff to impart a luminous lustre and a dip in gold or silver gilt or a quick electroplating, the piece is finished and ready to be showed off.

This elegant necklace is the perfect showcase for the beauty and brilliance of cloisonné. Measuring a generous fifty nine centimeters in length, the necklace is long enough to be doubled around the neck or worn free-flowing in its full glory. Cool and calm greens, blues, and turquoises form the background color basis of the beads, exemplifying the brilliance and clarity that enamel colors are able to achieve. Cheerful and charming flowers of creamy pinks, yellows, and reds are swirled around the beads' surface, suggesting the airy new blossoms of spring.

A masterpiece of the cloisonné tradition, this necklace has all the best features of quality costume jewellery, including an accessible price. The piece is a perfect “just-because” gift for oneself, to add to a collection of fun and flirty necklaces, or to get into the swing of the emerging spring. The necklace is also a prime choice for birthdays, special occasions, and of course for anyone with an interest in the rich history and bold looks of cloisonné, which is, after all, an immensely popular and well-loved jewelry type.

The necklace is accompanied by a pair of matching earrings, offsetting a single large and one itsy-bitsy cloisonné bead in complementary tones with an oval-shaped bead drop in vivid yellow-green. The simple yet beautiful drops are the perfect finishing touch for the refined yet adventurous look of the necklace itself, pulling together to convey the careful handiwork and intricate vision of cloisonné.

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