Thursday, May 21, 2015

1950s Chic: Pearls past & Present designing Sweet Romance, I strive to build out collections with concepts derived from significant design eras of the past. To amplify the vintage essence of the piece, I often incorporate antique and historical elements.  I draw from a wonderful inventory of glass and crystal which I purchased in the early years of Sweet Romance. such buy yielded a stack of crystal envelopes labeled “Starlight.” Untouched since the 1950s, they contain fancy cut stones in the most sublime aurora color. Starlight is shadowy and seems to emit a muted rainbow which pairs well with any color or material. 
I selected Starlight in a palette of warm golden crystal and pearls for a collection that expresses the style of the 1950s, when costume jewels became important in expressing the latest fashions.

Interpreting the great style of the 1950s, this chain of elongated links, pearls and crystal beads is a mix of delicate textures and warm color. It suspends a loop shape pendant encrusted with taupe pearls, champagne and vintage starlight crystal. The variegated shapes of the stones and pearls enhance the irregular shape and settings that form the loop.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Who hasn’t broken a few hearts or caused a little ruckus?

Let your heart be lassoed by the spirit of the American west!

Just a little knowledge about women of the American frontier has been potent inspiration for me to design “Ollipop Goes Country.” It’s a spirit-filled and soul-stirring tribute to pioneer women, to cowgirls of the West, both the old and the new. 

They set out on treacherous journeys toward rough and often lawless destinations to pursue homesteading, gold prospecting, cattle ranching and skullduggery, too. Women persevered alongside menfolk, contributing courage, resourcefulness and fortitude to every role their circumstances dictated.

Not only were they homemakers, candle makers, cooks and weavers, but they trail-blazed as town organizers, merchants, medicinal healers, social reformers, wranglers, farmers, sharpshooters, outlaws and rodeo performers. 

At Wild West Shows, the famed Annie Oakley shunned the convention of riding sidesaddle. She rode astride on a Western saddle, symbolic of a new kind of pioneer and the dawn of the cowgirl. 

Produced in our California, USA factory, each piece is bestowed with our exquisite sculptural detail and fabrication techniques which merge fashion and art. My collection offers a comprehensive assortment with versatile silhouettes and matching pieces. Premium leather and natural gemstones mingle with desert creatures, colors of the earth and symbols of life as a country gal. The perfect fit for a laid back, denim casual look infused with southwestern flavored drama.

Go and kick up a little dirt…

You ain’t seen nothin’ ‘til you see our Look Book!
Get your own copy—you’ll savor the story and photos of jewelry that transmit the legacy of hope and vision: the hilarity and heartbreak of the Wild West. Wearing each piece in our ‘Ollipop Goes Country’ collection will inspire a new story...  You decide what it will say.

Click here to order the book or call 800-935-1935. You can also view it online in a format with flappable pages and convenient direct links for ordering:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Albuquerque Souvenir Necklace

This 1960s necklace / belt was made at a Massachusetts jewelry firm which created tool and die struck components, notably charms. Their “Indian” motif series is renowned for its detailed representation of Native American objects and themes. There are 24 brass patinated links depicting a chief head, tomahawk, teepee, papoose, bow, peace pipe and totems. A kitschy and marvelous artifact; a great necklace!

Click to peruse some of my designs that take inspiration from the Southwest: Jasper & Lapis Bar Pin, Monarch Butterfly Onyx Flower Cuff, Southwest Flower Hoop Earrings and Turquoise Enamel Rosette Cuff.

For me, the summers of the 1960s were a blend of playtime and daydreams, uncomplicated by adult concerns. Each July, I went to Chicago by train, traveling ‘Santa Fe all the way,’ aboard the Super Chief. On the list of stops, a particular favorite was Albuquerque where most passengers disembarked to stretch and shop. For me, it was nothing short of exhilarating to step off the train into 100 degree heat, drinking in the smell of tar from the platform and the aroma of flat bread cooking and having five dollars in my pocket to spend.

The Indians (as native peoples were called back then) sold everything from fine tribal art to small beaded souvenirs. The origin of wares ranged from indigenous arts and crafts to prefabricated items brought in from outside sources.

*** Please note that most items offered from my Vintage Vault have been the beloved objects and ornaments of previous owners. As such, their condition is consistent with their age and description. Due to the popularity of these vintage pieces, all items are subject to prior sale.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Mermaids murmur in halls echoing their voices...

Finding design inspiration at the aquarium...

Oval Mermaid Pendant
When the Beluga Whale Exhibit opened at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, my Uncle Norman suggested we visit it together. What began as an outing to view baby whales became a day of other sightings just as wonderful and absorbing.  We crawled along in summer traffic up Lake Shore Drive, and arrived only to creep down every aisle of the blazing hot parking lot hunting for a space. At the farthest end, where pavement became gravel, we finally nosed in under a tree. Even from our remote location, we noticed a huge crowd of people in the distance, too many for just the exhibit. To get a better look, I stepped up on a cement enclosure surrounding the tree, thereby disrupting dozens of bees. Sprinting away, I was followed closely by my nimble septuagenarian uncle. We caught up to another visitor and mentioned our curiosity about the crowd. He matter-of-factly replied that Vice President Al Gore was the VIP causing the swarm of G-men, bodyguards and the public.  Deciding it was going to be a whale of a wait to get in, we slowed our walk, stopping in patches of bee-free shade along the path.

We finally reached the slow surging crowd but hung to the side while it thinned down. My uncle hadn’t been to the aquarium for many years and I only remembered it from childhood. As we waited, we found ourselves awestruck by the architecture and design of the building. Once inside, our fascination continued, more for the building details than what we came to see.  Uncle Norman dropped our whale show tickets into his coat pocket for later, after we’d taken in the magnificence of the interior. 

The Shedd Aquarium was financed by John Shedd, the second president of Marshall Field & Co. in 1924. By his lavish donation, his purpose was to construct the world’s largest indoor aquarium with “the greatest variety of sea life under one roof.” Researching leading aquariums around the globe, only the best and newest technology was planned for the Shedd.   It was to add to the building movement that Chicago city planners dubbed “Paris on the Prairie.” Architect Ernest Graham, the project leader, was masterful in designing buildings, from general elevation concepts right down to the lighting fixtures within. The budget was so generous, he proposed a grand Beaux-Arts style rotunda embraced by classical Greek architecture to match the scale and style of the neighboring museums.  

The interior wasn’t designed with just a few sea life accents here and there. Instead, the world of the ocean was infused in the design of every surface for every purpose within the building.  It is a blending of Art Deco materials of bronze, marble, steel and glass with the curvilinear, undulating life forms of the sea. Entering the grand portal doors, there is a colossal 12 arm bronze chandelier with a sea creature etched into each glass panel. It illuminates the entry below and the coffered, oceanic themed ceiling above. Another light fixture is in a giant glass buoy held in the arms of a bronze octopus suspended from the ceiling. Art glass nautilus shells form soaring torchiere floor lamps. The bas relief of sea-foam green marble upper walls, the dados, even the bronze elevator doors express aquatic treasures in both geometric deco forms and figurative realism.  You can almost hear mermaids murmuring in the halls, the Travertine marble echoing their voices…

After taking in the spectacular design of the oceanarium itself, we did finally visit the sharks, jellies, piranhas and got splashed during the baby beluga show.

Mermaid Cartouche Bracelet
What an inspirational day for jewelry design!  I couldn’t wait to convey some of the architectural wonderment of the Shedd Aquarium in jewelry pieces. Central to this collection is my “Mermaid Cartouche” bracelet with five "cartouche" links that are individual vignettes of ocean creatures. Designed in the same blend of deco and nouveau, the subjects express various forms of sea life as art. Every detail is an original sculpture. All fabrication and ornament is entirely executed by hand. The shimmer of aurora and smoke crystals border each link. A starfish, a seahorse and an angel fish pause in sea fern. The mermaids blend geometric faces and hands with flowing nouveau tresses and tails. The bracelet clasps with a dolphin jumping through a crystal ring. Soft glowing lacquer colors, pearls and crystal stand out against the darkened bronze metal finish; the jewelry version of peering into aquatic habitats at the Shedd.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Hot Summer Color Palette

Candy Squares Bracelet
The decade of the 1960's, thought to be the anti-establishment, anti-fashion decade, ironically, brought fresh direction to the fashion industry. Simply put, everything that had been "in" was now "out" and vice versa. So, right along with Twiggy and Mary Quant, there was huge interest in bright color, beads and fringe. Our millefiori candy glass and crystal designs recreate the mood.

The Sweet Romance Candy Glass collection comes alive with a kaleidoscope of vibrantly colored handmade millefiori glass, crystals and beads! Millefiori means ‘thousand flowers.’ Entirely handmade in the murano style, bundles of tiny glass filament rods are sliced, then fired to meld their brilliant colors and floral patterns. No two pieces are ever identical. The intense, heady primary colors of the glass fibers fused as beads are complemented by the softer sparks of the machine cut crystal beads. A brilliantly colorful splash of 1960s color, the glass beads and crystal blaze in hues of scarlet, aqua, orange, peridot, citrine, fuchsia, tanzanite, coral, pale sapphire and tangerine. Heavy 14K gold plate chain provides a warm, rich counterpoint for this riot of color.

Set of 2 Candy Glass Necklaces
The latest, hottest look is long and layered chains. From an engraved oval chain, dangles clusters of hand-made millefiori glass beads and disks, making this necklace fun and captivating. Wear your favorite Candy Glass summer necklace, long or doubled or layered with other Sweet Romance candy glass necklace ropes. Marvelous against basic black. Totally "urban chic."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thank you, to our biggest fan..

We are giving away the LAST remaining piece of this gorgeous deep-orchid bangle bracelet!  Click the image below to visit our Facebook and enter the contest!

Friday, March 07, 2014

Spring is in the air....

As the gloom of winter melts away, we find ourselves in sunnier days and new adventures!  Now is the time to assemble transitional spring outfits as one season melts into the next.

Florals and vintage inspired elements are the next big thing this season--quintessentially feminine color palettes mixed with silhouettes of yesteryear bring a fresh new perspective to your look.

Pictured below is our 1930's butterfly necklace-- its radiant jewel tones are an essential complementary accessory to spring 2014's demure neutral tones.  Incorporate a bold pop of color with delicate blush-colored knits to make a chic style statement!

Click here to shop the latest designs for this spring!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bring on the Brooch!

Vintage is always fashionable and never fails to makes its way to the trends forecast. This year, brooches are the must have item to add a touch of retro chic to your outfit. 

Brooches are great because they are so versatile and anyone can wear them. Remember, it's all about the details. Add some excitement to a jacket, use it to secure a scarf, pin it on a necklace, or make that simple black dress not so simple. Get creative! 


All of the most fashionable ladies are on board the brooch train. The lovely Dita Von Teese was recently seen sporting a large floral pin, and if you need ideas on how to wear a brooch, First Lady Michelle Obama is a great example (Afterall, it is her signature accessory!).

The Sweet Romance Vogue Corsage Pin is an exquisite 1940s style corsage of jeweled flowers. There is nothing on the market that can compare with the manner in which it is manufactured and finished--it is the very essence of American made costume jewels. Magnificent anywhere you place it!

Spice up your wardrobe with Sweet Romance Pins & Brooches