The Holidays are here and at the top of our wishlist? Oodles and Oodles of Van Cleef and Arpels Alhambra jewelry. Even better if it’s vintage or pre-owned, all the better for us to fill our silk stockings with more VCA goodies. White mother of pearl shimmers like freshly driven snow and we can’t get enough of this winter white. Of course, its equally beautiful dark counterpart is the onyx Alhambra, bold and sensuous paired with 18kt yellow gold and layered over the neck for total opulence. We’d be tickled to find any of these pieces under our tree, and let the mixing and matching begin. With pendants from contemporary Alhambra collections and a pre owned mother of pearl clover bracelet we’re prepared to stack and and mix metals with the unifying theme of Alhambra. This Christmas and Hanukkah we’re smitten with the classic clover motif, but also with the Sweet Alhambra’s heart shaped femininity. It only gets girlier with rose gold metal and a rose gold chain to ‘sweeten the deal’. And for everyday wear, you can’t beat a pair of Alhambra studs, a Palm Beach county staple that we’re happy to see spreading across the nation (and with prices this far below retail, we expect it to visit even more chimneys this December 24th!)
It is not uncommon for artists of different types to prefer to work in privacy. Tales of reclusive painters and writers abound. However, there are few jewelers renowned for their reclusive lifestyle and intense privacy as that of eccentric jewelry designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal, or better known as JAR.
JAR is an amazing example of how humble beginnings can reach unimaginable heights. Joel Rosenthal was born to a hard working middle class family in New York. His father was a postal worker and his mother a biology teacher. Few would have fathomed that such a run of the mill family might produce one of the world’s most sought after jewelers of this century. In 1977 JAR turned his artistic interest toward jewelry. However, by this time it was already clear that JAR was no ordinary man, and his creations would be anything but ordinary.
It is not just JAR’s miraculous creations that have made him such a sought after designer, but certainly the air of mystery that surrounds the man adds a certain appeal to potential buyers. JAR runs his Parisian shop in a fashion that might seem non-conducive to sales. He refuses to use a display window and keep non-discernible work hours. In addition to these strange practices JAR refuses to display his work publicly except on rare occasions and only sells by private invitation. This elite clientele includes such names as Elizabeth Taylor and Elle McPherson. Apparently playing hard to get has proved to be the best form of marketing, though, because some of these mystical pieces have sold for $600,000.
In 2002 he allowed his pieces to be displayed in London. However, he insisted that the lights be dimmed, and that visitors be given small flashlights so as to be made to grope along and peer desperately at the mystical pieces of jewelry. More recently a miraculous collection of JAR’s creations have gone on display at the Met in New York from November 20th through March of 2014. Highlighting the exhibition is the most dazzling collection of bejeweled insects the world has ever seen. JAR’s butterflies are some of his most sought after pieces. Using a technique which JAR refers to as “paving” he sets the jewels so closely together as to give the appearance of pavement. Wings are covered in opals and garnets and bodies carved of jade. The whimsical nature of some of the pieces belies the fine craftsmen ship and costly materials.
The Swiss craftsmen that assists JAR in bringing his creations to life are said to only produce about seventy or eighty pieces a year. This is one situation in which ignoring the demand only makes it greater. The only thing that tops the insane prices that a JAR original can fetch straight from his shop, is the resell prices that have been set by some of his pieces once they are passed on to another lucky owner. The resell prices continue to hover at about 50% more than what the first buyer paid for the treasure. Few people will ever have the privilege of owning such a piece of art, but at least the common folk can get a glimpse at such miracles at the Met until March 2014.
Isabella Weems set out to get a used car. At 14 years old, she figured if she started making some money and saving early, she would have the money she needed by the time she was 16 and had her driver’s license. Not only did she succeed in her goal, she founded a $250 million business in the process. Now 17 years old, she’s a high school student multi-millionaire.
The Foundations of a Fortune
Weems made her accidental fortune in jewelry as the founder of Origami Owl. Origami Owl is a custom jewelry company that uses independent sales representatives to hawk the company’s wares. It’s a business model known as direct sales and should be familiar to anyone who has been to a Pampered Chef, Partylite, or Mary Kay party. The sales representatives buy the company’s products at a significant discount, then sell them to end-user (aka “retail”) customers for a marked-up price that allows the sales representative to make a profit. Much of the company’s products are sold at the same type of house parties that are common to other direct sales companies. There are over 50,000 sales representatives for the company. This is a significant number indicating the popularity of Origami Owl, considering Weems only founded it in 2010.
When her parents suggested she earn her own money for a car, Weems decided to start her own business to get the cash. As she researched business ideas, she hit upon the idea of jewelry when she saw a locket in a catalog. Weems had the idea of updating the traditional locket with charms. She’d been babysitting and had earned $350 at that point, which her parents matched so she could buy wholesale parts to make the lockets with charms of her vision.
Origami Owl Takes Flight
Once the first few lockets were finished, Weems began selling to her friends and they in turn sold to their friends. Together, she and her friends hit on the concept of selling the lockets at house parties organically as a way to reach more people at once. Selling the lockets at boutiques and jewelry stores like Raymond Lee Jewelers and at jewelry shows soon followed. Eventually, she opened a kiosk in a local mall for Black Friday shoppers. This was all done the same year the company was founded. The next year, Origami Owl became an official direct sales company and its revenue increased by 86 times.
The company has taken off from a small tabletop business to a full-fledged organization with multiple employees and different departments. Weems spends time working in each department after school each day as an intern in her own company. Her parents and several key high-level employees are helping her take Origami Owl to the next level and Weems wants to learn every aspect of the business she founded.
Her mother is trying to let Weems keep living as normal a teenage life as possible while still remaining hands-on with her company. While Origami Owl has grown so much that it’s mostly being run by others with more business experience now, Weems is still the official boss and she plans on assuming full control of the business one day. To do this effectively, she feels like she should learn the business from the ground up. That’s just what she’s doing. A business mogul in the making, Weems is an up and coming name in the jewelry business that retailers should pay attention to because Origami Owl is only to get bigger and better if Weems has her way.
Think jewelry is just something that goes on a neck or a wrist? Think again! Accessories don’t begin and end in traditional media; and it takes the element of surprise to really make a statement. Sparkle and shine can be at home anywhere and perhaps best speak from unexpected places.
It’s hard to argue with the current statement of the millennia: the custom-made vaping device that a mysterious Russian billionaire recently ordered from UK-based company Shisha Sticks. Shisha Sticks has made its name producing electronic shisha vaping devices (or, as we call them here in the United States, “e-cigarettes”).
What is an “e-cigarette” anyway?
Your run-of-the-mill e-cig consists of several basic components: an LED indicator light situated on the device’s tip which turns on when the e-cig is being “pulled” (or inhaled from), a long shaft that houses battery components, a tiny atomizing device through which liquid nicotine and flavoring pass (the dosage amount is controlled by a smart chip in the device), and an inhaler which goes in the user’s mouth. Standard models range in appearance from sleek black, to something resembling a conventional cigarette. Standard starter kits (that is “permanent” rather than “temporary” versions) are priced anywhere from $40-$70.
But not this luxury model.
Designer Anthony Mixides from Shisha Sticks claims that building the custom piece, “was a dream brief for us. We were asked to design the ultimate shisha vaping device for class, style and luxury. We were told that, within reason, money was no object on the project. Once the design was approved we set about sourcing the finest diamonds, yellow crystals, glass and gold available. It took over four months to design, but this is without doubt the finest shisha stick ever produced.”
The Price Tag
We’re not certain who determines that “within reason” means, but we do know that at £550,000($890,000) this little baby had better be something special. Features of the final design include 246 two-carrot diamonds (each worth $2,889); a body made of sleek, authentic hand-blown Italian glass from the Venetian Island of Murano; a 24 carat gold button and clearomiser base; 46 yellow Swarovski crystals; and (the piece de resistance) a six carat oval diamond tip (valued at $73,830). It has been confirmed that this Cadillac of the e-cig world is currently the most expensive e-cigarette in existence. She even has her own name: Shisha Sticks Sofia.
Why Would you Do That?
The device was ordered as a birthday gift for said billionaire’s girlfriend. Though the piece’s commissioner prefers to remain anonymous, one can only imagine that it will quickly become impossible to stay out of the limelight due to the extremely recognizable one-of-a-kind device that he has unleashed upon the world.
How do I get one?
If you are interested in ordering a custom e-cigarette (though perhaps one that will make slightly less of a splash at your next garden party), contact Shisha Sticks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pippa Small is a unique woman with much to offer jewelry lovers the world over. Her jewelry is made from a wide range of precious stones and come in many ethnic styles; however, one constant that you are sure to notice in all her creations is the fact that many of the stones are uncut. Instead, they are exhibited in their natural beauty, giving a woman a natural yet stylish look.
Pippa has always taken a great deal of interest in ethnic styles and cultures. She started making her own jewelry as a young teenager and later offered her jewelry for sale in order to gain needed funds to study for a degree in anthropology. It was at this time that her creations gained the recognition of fashionistas and luxury jewelry designer the world over. To date, Pippa Small has designed rings, amulets, bracelets, earrings, pendants and necklaces in collaboration with Gucci, Nichole Farhi, Chloe and Christina Kim of Dosa. Well known patrons include Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman.
Pippa Small travels the world in search of inspiration for new jewelry items. In addition to collaborating with local artisans to create her stylish jewelry items, she also teaches them how to earn a living by crafting ethnic jewelry that represents their passions and perspectives.
A woman who is looking for unique ethnic jewelry that simply cannot be found for sale at most luxury jewelry stores will find that Pippa Small’s jewelry collection offers a wide range of great options to pick from. Pippa Small uses well over two dozen different types of stones and works with 18K yellow gold, 22K yellow gold and sterling silver (gold plated). The jewelry is sold in stores in the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Paris; however, buyers in other countries can easily purchase the items of their choice online.