09 August 2009

Jewelry, Generosity and Blogging

 

 

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Over  a year ago, I found a new blog – Karen Sugarman Designs.   You can see  my original visit was in April, 2008 – there’s my comment to Karen.    Sugarman’s blog was intriguing and caught my attention:   an interior designer who specialized in restoring historic properties in Boston suddenly found herself living in Arizona.   Not especially versed in doing interior design Arizona style, she decided to dabble in couture jewelry design.   Her blog is a unique marriage of the two arts – she uses interiors to illustrate the inspiration behind her jewelry designs.

 

 

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Sugarman’s “Dreamy Elegance” necklace in pinks and blues.

 

 

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The inspiration for the Dreamy Elegance necklace was the beautiful, feminine bedroom in pinks and blues.

 

 

 

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The Tuileries Collection is based on a necklace designed using pearls from Marie Antoinette.   Here pink quartz and pearls were used.

 

 

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The vignette from the room that inspired the pink quartz Tuileries Collection necklace.

 

 

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Rene Russo and Kevin Costner in 1996’s Tin Cup:   her station pearl necklace started a world wide beading craze.

 

I felt an instant kinship with Karen – we had similar backgrounds, though in reverse.   Before I practiced interior design full-time, I also designed jewelry.   It all started with a  movie –  Tin Cup.     After the Kevin Costner film came out in 1996, the pearl necklace that Rene Russo wore throughout the film became more talked about than the movie – much to the dismay of the producers.  The “Tin Cup” necklace became one of the most sought out designs in pearl necklaces, indeed in necklaces in general.   The design was simple -  staggered or stationed pearls knotted an inch apart on a silk cord.   Everyone wanted one.    The necklace’s designer Wendy Brigode shot to instant fame.    A few months after Russo wore her necklace in Tin Cup, another stylist put her in the same necklace for the movie Ransom – without Russo informing anyone that she had worn the exact necklace in her previous, as yet unreleased film.   Brigode, the designer, claimed to be horrified by Russo’s reticence in divulging the truth about the repeated piece of jewelry.  Regardless, the necklace was forever known as The Tin Cup.

 

 

image Later that year, Russo starred in Ransom, wearing the same Tin Cup necklace.

 

The simple, yet classic station pearl necklace started a craze among women everyone – how hard could it be to knot pearls on a silk cord?  Trust me  - it’s exceedingly hard to get perfect knots, perfectly placed – it was a skill I never mastered no matter how hard I tried.  The Tin Cup necklace started a beading craze in America – and to meet the demand, beads were cut in every size and shape and out of every stone imaginable.  Bead Shows were hot, hot, hot and I, a fledging interior designer with lots of time on my hands dove into the jewelry business heart first, because truly it was one of my stupider moves in life.  I spent a small fortune on stones and beads and created lots and lots of necklaces and matching earrings.   I sold them mostly through friends and family – my sister Cathy was my best salesperson.  But Cathy, gorgeous and charismatic (two attributes I surely don’t share) can sell anything – just ask her about her studded-sewn on-bandana-sweatshirts she sold in the early 80s  (she made a mint on that haute couture item.)  

 

 

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An original Wendy Brigode Tin Cup necklace in gray pearls sold on ebay for pennies!!!

 

 

My jewelry was also sold in a few shops – most notably More Than You Can Imagine, an upscale resale shop in Houston.    I’m not sure how much I ended up spending on my jewelry business, I certainly didn’t make a profit.   It was hugely labor intensive because after a few years of stringing everything myself – along with Mr. Slipper Socks Man’s help (he could actually knot better than I ever could!) – I hired someone to make all my designs.  In the end, she was far more talented than me – and I just bought the stones I liked, handed them over to her and she whipped it all up for me, charging me plenty to do so.   I then had to sell all the product and give the stores a percent of the action – it was a small-time financial disaster.   Although my sister Cathy and I had tons of fun at the bead shows buying all the stones, after four or five years I gladly gave it up just as my interior design business was really taking off.   Running two businesses is not fun.  But I had some beautiful jewelry when it was all over, and so did my sister and my mother and we still wear a few of the better looking items.  

 

 

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A necklace from Karen Sugarman, inspired by this zebra print.

 

So, as you can imagine, reading Karen Sugarman’s blog was hugely nostalgic for me.    But her route in business is the opposite of mine.  She went from interior design to jewelry design.    And then, to be sure, Sugarman has a great talent for designing and making jewelry that I never did.  Trust me,  I can spot someone with a true beading ability a mile away.   Truthfully, some of her designs stunned me – they were that beautiful.   Like this one:

 

 

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This necklace was inspired by one Sugarman had bought in Paris.  She felt she could design it better, prettier – and she did.

 

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Another necklace I am crazy in love with is this one from her Flora Collection – it might be one of the prettier necklaces I’ve seen!  Isn’t it gorgeous?

 

 

 

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This necklace is from the Back Bay Collection.   Truly a special piece – shells and pearls and a cameo.  I adore it!

 

 

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And then there was this necklace – freshwater pearls and aquamarine.    I was in lust when I saw this after Karen blogged about – read my comment to her:

 

 

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In June I wondered how much this necklace was – it was just too pretty to pass up.   This comment started a dialogue with Karen.

 

 

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And then, the other day, I came in from the beach and found this cute pink and black box waiting for me. 

 

 

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Wrapped in pretty periwinkle paper, ala John Saladino.

 

 

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YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Which I promptly had my 18 year old daughter try on for me – she makes a much prettier model than moi  (though she wants to steal it from me, she says.)   Isn’t this gorgeous?!!!!!  I could scream I am so excited!    I tried it on last night for my friend Julie and she could not get over how beautiful it is!  It truly is a work of art.     Karen’s generosity staggers me – I’ll be grateful to her forever.   Yes, I am embarrassed to admit, this necklace was a gift from Karen!   I’ve said it before – I’ve met the nicest people ever on the blogosphere.  Thank you again, Karen, from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

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The very sweet Karen Sugarman, quite beautiful herself.

 

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Be sure to visit her web site and see all her designs – there are many different collections and pieces that I didn’t show here, so don’t miss one of them.   And Karen actually has two blogs – one on the web site and one on the blogosphere here,  so take your pick.    One of my favorite stories on the blogsss is this one:   http://karensugarmandesigns.blogspot.com/2009/06/social-networking-and-six-degrees-of.html

 

AND:    All Cote de Texas readers get a 25% discount on anything they order from Karen Sugarman Designs.   Simply go to the web page – at the top of the Home Page will be a Cote de Texas tab.  Click on that tab before you begin shopping.  The code is:  Texas.    The discount will show up automatically then.   Thank you Karen for such a great discount!

56 comments:

  1. How fantastic!! The piece you've been given is simply gorgeous!! Luck you! Of course, all the necklaces you shared are too lovely for words! Will you let your daughter borrow it?!
    Victoria @ DesignTies

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  2. What a sweet, thoughtful and talented woman. Your necklace is gorgeous Joni and will look beautiful with anything you wear. Aren't surprises the best? xv

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  3. Per pieces are incredible! But more than anything I love seeing generosity come full circle. After all the times you were so gracious to us Houston bloggers at lunches out, etc, I'm not surprised the least bit that your hay day is here! It's perfect, Joni!

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  4. Beautiful necklace - it is like a little sculpture, a work of art. Your daughter is adorable!

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  5. What a lovely and generous lady! She so talented and that necklace is gorgeous! Presents like that are wonderful because every time you wear it you will think of her and get those good feelings all over again! Off to check out her blog!
    xx-Gina

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  6. What beautiful pieces! I love necklaces and am always looking for fresh individual designs. i absolutely love these designs.
    I even have an antique case in my showrooms where I feature....necklaces designed with semi precious stones. i wished i had a beautiful daughter like yours to model them, my 18 and 20 year old sons are not into jewellery......

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  7. OMG...how nice...yes, the best and telented people live out there in the blogosphere...you never know who is behind each visit or comment :)

    I bet it looks gorgeous on you!!

    Best,
    Michelle

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  8. Her designs are beautiful!!!! I agree with Courtney, you are so generous and kind, I'm glad it came full circle for you!!!!!

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  9. Her designs are beautiful!!!! I agree with Courtney, you are so generous and kind, I'm glad it came full circle for you!!!!!

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  10. What gorgeous jewelry! I design and make jewelry, too, so this is especially inspiring to see her beautiful designs and her flawless execution of them.
    Paula - Mise en scène / Elizabeth Lane

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  11. Thank you for sharing this information. I was so sad when KS seemed to disappear. I used to love to shop at her North Andover, MA shop -- and then one day, it was gone! I purchased so many lovely accents for my home there.

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  12. Joni,
    I just love that cameo and shell piece! This was such a beautiful post, I am always looking for statement jewelry (but without the expensive price tag).
    Your stories are always so interesting!
    Maria

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  13. I've been looking for a Tin Cup necklace for some time and am a bit reluctant to use eBay. Does anyone know where one can purchase an original Wendy Brigode Tin Cup Necklace,identical to the one in the movie, new, with the 7 -8 mm Japanese cultured pearls knotted one inch apart? Thanks
    The KS pieces have such a delicate touch to them- the lines are so fluid and graceful. Wear yours in good health.

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  14. All of the pieces are stunning. What a talented artist. Love them all. Hugs, Marty

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  15. It is truly blogalicious that you cast your generous bread on the water and for you it comes back beaded. My prediction: every time you wear this sincere gift appreciation, something good with happen!

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  16. I am not a huge jewelry fan but these pieces are stunningly beautiful. You can be sure, as well, Joni that Karen's generosity will be more than matched by the enthusiasm you will in turn create for her designs. You are becoming a powerful influence!!!

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  17. My first love was jewelry which transitioned into decorative arts....I've "redone" chandeliers with beads--rock crystal, coral, etc., made shell and coral mirrors, etc. But these designs are so beautiful that my heart is pounding, Thanks for showing us all this beauty. Karen is a true artist. (My favorite is the chalcedony necklace.)

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  18. Wow, her jewelry is beautiful and the one she gave you is Gorgeous! What a kind and talented woman.

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  19. OMG, her creations are to die for. Feminine and dreamy colors. I love all the twists. Makes me want to dig into my bead box and see what I have.
    Kathleen

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  20. Goodness, Joni!! She's the real deal. I am just amazed at the beauty and creativity of her designs. You are one lucky girl to have one of your own now!!

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  21. Joni,

    Thank you very much for your comment earlier today.

    Wow! You have gotten a beautiful present that will bloom with you for many years to come.

    Happy Sunday!

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  22. Her designs are right up my alley!!! Gorgeous...and I love the one you were lucky enough to get. So nice to receive such a beautiful gift.

    I'm off to visit her site. Thanks Joni!

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  23. WOW! Her jewelry is so bold yet delicate. It's just gorgeous. She is very talented. I will be visiting her blog. I can't wait to see you in that gorgeous necklace. That first necklace and the inspiration bedroom are so dreamy!

    Thanks for sharing!! :)

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  24. Love, love, love Karen's jewellery!!!!

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  25. Beautiful! It truly is a work of art. I've never seen anything quite like that necklace.

    And I had no idea you were a jewelry designer, too!

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  26. That is a really beautiful necklace..and a very nice and thoughtful gift too :0)

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  27. I am a chunky necklace snob and am so excited you posted a few examples of her work. My GOD the zebra one is utterly fantastic. Oh and the cameo one too. All of them! Such talent...

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  28. Your daughter is a beauty! the necklace is gorgeous and you are a very lucky lady.

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  29. Wow...and I think she sent you her very prettiest necklace...so ethereal!

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  30. These are each a beautiful wearable sculpture! Objects of beauty in themselves that are stand alone art! You should have it on display somewhere in your home as art (and wear it too of course!)
    Exquisite!
    What a generous gift!
    Irene x

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  31. Beautiful! I loved each piece. Especially the cameo piece! I also loved reading about your experience in jewelry making. I had no idea!

    I hope you had a great weekend!

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  32. I am in love with every single piece you picked out!!

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  33. Your daughter is so beautiful, and the necklace so very lovely!

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  34. Joni-

    I would have commented sooner, but I have just been stunned by the response of your fabulous readers. Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful and fun post – now everyone knows we are living the same life. . .just in reverse!

    Everyone’s sweet comments on the jewelry designs are so very much appreciated. You have the most loyal and kind friends ever! Thank you does not seem to say enough!

    Fondly,
    Karen

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  35. * Wow, it looks like I'm commenting right after the UBER-TALENTED & INCREDIBLY CREATIVE "K.S."~~~ and THAT's a hard act to follow!

    Looking at those custom pieces of "wearable art" is a TREAT in itself! ~ They're all ABSOLUTELY S*T*U*N*N*I*N*G, & most certainly NOT something one sees everyday (& it's EASY to see why your FAVE is your FAVE! Wow!)...

    Ms. S's graciousness & generosity to you, her friend, is such a heartwarming thought. It just makes me feel good & all warm inside.

    "Nice things" happening to "nice people"???~~~~ Now THAT'S a JEWEL of a SMILE-MAKER, Joni and Karen!

    Blessings to you both,
    Linda in AZ *

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  36. MOM! i love this post.
    this is actually very interesting ... and inspires me to express my artistic side in something.... clothes perhaps? ;)

    well its pretty...
    it very much indeed inspire me. i started my blog again!

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  37. This is what Ive noticed from the blog world in reading the posts from so many many wonderful women. They care and they share.Its what being a woman is all about, I think a sense of nurturing eachother. Ive seen so many generous acts of kindness wither its just from the words or sending something to someone you happen to think would really "appericate" it. I dont have a blog but I want you all to know when I visit your blogs I truely feel inspired and enjoy your "company" . I sign my posts Julie in Holland but Im from the states I moved to Holland 10 years ago and love it very much. For the past year or so Ive been going from blog to blog and getting ideas and feeling that warmth alot of you send out. You may not know it but you do, so for me its abit like a piece of home or meeting new friends like those in Australia or Sweden. Thanks everyone and you Joni , yours was the first I started to read beacause I typed in the search engine "belgian design" .You are an insperation to all the woman who come to post and read your great way of telling a story. Julie in Holland...... :)

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  38. OH OH OH! I wanted to say the necklace is going to look lovely on you! Julie in Holland .......

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  39. What a wonderful find! Karen's pieces are beautiful and I am off to check out her website now.

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  40. The blog world is the best; you meet the nicest most giving people!! That necklace is truly a stunner, so beautiful!

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  41. Hi Joni-

    Karen's necklaces are so beautiful and artfully created.
    They would make even a French woman look incredibly chic and feminine.

    I also loved your 'Stalking the Wheats' feature--such a great title--and look forward to more on your Starbucks route. Should all of the houses along the street expect a 'knock knock' on the door from you?
    Cheers, www.thestylesaloniste.com

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  42. I love, love, love your new necklace. Life is full of surprises and you deserve the best.

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  43. Joni... you do so much for so many people, so I can't think of anyone who deserves this gorgeous present more!

    xoxoxo

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  44. WOW!!!! I am heading over there right now!!! Her pieces are magical!!

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  45. wow gorgeous! your daughter's beautiful too...

    I'm loving the shell & cameo necklace. ah so beautfiul!!!

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  46. Oh my! what stunning designs! That is so interesting that you also designed jewelry Joni! My fave is the Back Bay necklace..STUNNING..and the one Karen sent you...SUPER STUNNING! WOW! Thanks for the introduction!

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  47. Joni, You are killing me, girlfriend! I just better get that job I'm interviewing for tomorrow so I can participate in my other great obsession, jewelry collecting! I've seen Karen's work before and it is to live for! So thrilled you have that beautiful piece. That is, if you can pry it away from your gorgeous model daughter! I spy several that I "need!" Hmmm...which do I "need" more -- jewelry or my new slipcovered sofas? Both! I better get that job tomorrow or you are in big trouble and I may have to unsubscribe to your blog to not view any more beautiful things I "need!" ;)

    ~ Victoria

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  48. Oh stunning simply gorgeous! It’s every woman’s dream to have such a beautiful collection.

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  49. Breathe taking, gorgeous jewelry designs. The color choices are fabulous. The pearls and the shell necklaces are very classy and elegant, oh! I love it!

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  50. Those necklaces are gorgeous! They remind me of the ones in a small shop in Paris I used to frequent (rue Rivoli). I am going to beg my husband for one for our anniversary. It's either the necklace or the seagrass rug ;)

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  51. Her work is gorgeous. I love love love the one with the zebra bag. You lucky girl, what a beautiful gift. I'm off to check out Karen's website. Thanks Joni!

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  52. Thank you for the pillowcase information!

    Love these gorgeous necklaces!

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