Monday, October 6, 2014

Black: A Rich History!

Black Crystal Teardrop Clip on Earrings

The color black has a long history going back to even before the Paleolithic period and the artists who used black along with white, red, yellow and brown to paint pictures in caves.  It is believed to have always been the color of the universe surrounding the planets, moon and stars.  Once life appeared on Earth black was found naturally in the color of animals, insects, reptiles and so on.  Once humans came into existence there were many with black hair, and of course, the pupils of eyes are black. All way before clothes!

Eventually people wore attire based on what the clothing color represented.  In Ancient Egypt the color green and black were connected to one another.  Green was the color of living plants while black represented the soil, and together symbolized the growth underground that is unseen until those plants break through the soil.  As part of the Ancient Egyptian's religion, the god of the dead or Osiris, was depicted in paintings and statues as having green skin to represent life after death. 

The Chinese culture is rich in black and white as depicted in the I Ching Book or Book of Changes as light (Ying) and dark (Yang).  Each can 'creep' into the other as represented in the Ying Yang symbol, but the Chinese believe each keeps the other in balance instead of one corrupting the other.  The Chinese also believe black is an essential part of the natural world.  Traditional Chinese physics teach that there are five elements all represented by a color with black representing water.

In Japan, black is associated with mystery, the night, the unknown, the supernatural, the invisible and death, but when white and black are combined it symbolizes intuition.  Black can also symbolize experience as it does in martial arts where white is for a novice and black for an expert.

Even when black became part of the attire people wore, it was still used to symbolize something.  In the early Middle Ages nobility and the wealthy usually wore bright colors, and did not wear black except for sable furs which were a mark of the very rich.  By the 14th century high quality dyes including black, arrived on the market.  Magistrates and government officials began to wear the color to reflect the seriousness and importance of their positions.  With this happening it was not long before “sumptuary laws” appeared.

Excerpt from

Sumptuary laws (from Latin sumptuariae leges) are laws that attempt to regulate permitted consumption. Black's Law Dictionary defines them as "Laws made for the purpose of restraining luxury or extravagance, particularly against inordinate expenditures in the matter of apparel, food, furniture, etc." Traditionally, they were laws that regulated and reinforced social hierarchies and morals through restrictions, often depending upon a person's social rank, on permitted clothing, food, and luxury expenditures.

By the 18th century black was not as fashionable.  For example, in Paris the fashionable colors were pastels, blues, greens, yellows and white until it switched back to black during the French Revolution. Black was commonly worn during the Industrial Revolution because of the factories output of coal smoke.  Later, the burning of oil would also coat buildings, people’s clothes and more.

In art and literature black was used to reflect melancholy or romanticism.  Poets are often depicted wearing black with a white shirt and sometimes a scarf. 

Excerpt from
The invention of new, inexpensive synthetic black dyes and the industrialization of the textile industry meant that good-quality black clothes were available for the first time to the general population. In the 19th century gradually black became the most popular color of business dress of the upper and middle classes in England, the Continent and America.
Black dominated literature and fashion in the 19th century, and played a large role in painting. James McNeil Whistler made the color the subject of his most famous painting, Arrangement in grey and black number one (1871), better known as Whistler's Mother.

Then black took a turn when it became a color associated with anarchism and fascism.  By the 20th century black was back in a whole new way! In the 1950s black was the symbol of individuality, intellectualism and social rebellion. A black leather jacket was worn by Marlon Brando in the film The Wild One, as was it worn by musicians, artists, and poets who wanted to separate themselves from the “older generation.”  In the 1960s black continued in the fore, but it also was diminishing here and there.  While actress Audrey Hepburn looked stunning in a little black dress in the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s, outside of film black was being worn less and less as formal wear. Even those wearing 'rebellious black' of the 1950s and 1960s looked neat and put together compared to the 1970s when black arrive in the punk trend. 

Punk Works Clip on Earrings

Punk clothing was initially home-made until designers like Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier started to incorporate punk styles into their clothing lines.  Soon, big name stores jumped on the band wagon and mass produced their own versions of punk clothing.  Black t-shirts incorporated words like "Destroy," inverted crosses or swastikas to adorn them. Black jeans, bondage pants, and trousers (made of leather, with leopard designs or plain) were treated the same way. Black belts had metal studs or spikes, as were blazers and leather jackets adorned with the same slogans, words, medals, or neon colors.  The black shoes were military style boots, motorcycle boots, creepers or brothel type shoes that had thick heels.  During this trend men and women also wore heavy black eyeliner around the eyes.

By the 1980s, the gothic trend came to the fore and had many of the same characteristics of punk with the addition of more black including lipstick and nail polish.  Goth clothing was usually all black from head to toe with punk accessories like spiked neck chokers, heavy bracelets and piercings.
Today black is considered timeless and classic.  It can be paired with any other color and if done well can be worn all by itself without giving off a negative feeling.  The color black like its social opposite, white, is a staple in the fashion world.

Excerpt from

Black and white are definitely two of the most popular colors found in fashion as they are never absent from the runway fashion presentations. The black and white fashion trend is a timeless trend which will never go out of style due to the elegance and simplicity exuded by the colors.

Black Geometric Clip on Dangle Earrings

Black is not just in our clothes, but in jewelry too! has over 500+ clip-on earrings in various colors including black by itself or with other colors. On the website we have a sub-section in the Classic vertical menu called Black and White. This section contains only Black, White or Black & White earrings.  Other clip on earrings are scattered throughout the website that have black as a contributory color. Black in metal-plating is referred to as "Hematite" and in a Gemstone it is most often called "Onyx." Then there are the terms like “Jet” that refer to black as a crystal color.

Stop by to not only see the black non-pierced earrings we offer, but all the other colors that add that finishing pop to your wardrobe.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Long Live Pink

The color pink is created by mixing colors white and red together, but it can also be created with other colors like blue, black and violet to create a shade of pink with a blue tint (purple-pinks), an orange tint (salmon-pink), a dark pink, or a bright/neon pink.  The color takes its name from the flower Pinks, a member of the genus Dianthus with about 300 species in existence.  Other names for Pinks are Carnation and Sweet William.

Other references to pink include “to pink” which refers to a decoration with a perforated or punched pattern dating from the 14th century.  Pink was also used in literature as a descriptive word.  Roman poets like Lucretious (99B.C – 55 B.C.) used pink in his epic poem on “The Nature of Things” and Homer in the Odyssey, dated around 800 B.C., mentioned pink also.  

In the Middle Ages pink was not a common color in fashion but it did show up in paintings of women, and was used to connect the symbolism of the body of Christ (holiness) with a depiction of the Christ Child (wearing pink). However, most often pink was used by artists to portray the color of flesh for the face, hands and feet.     

Pink would have its place in the spot light also. It was the 19th century or Rocco Period when pastel colors like pink were very fashionable in the courts of Europe.  The mistress of King Louis XV of France, Madame de Pompadour, a champion of the color, often wore combinations of pale blue and pink.  In time pink became a symbol of seduction in portraits by George Romney (1734-1802), but other artists like Thomas Lawerance (1769-1830) used pink to symbolize innocence and tenderness as he did when he painted eleven year old Sarah Moulton, who died a year after her painting was completed  in 1794.

Excerpts from   
According to Jean Heifetz, for centuries, all European children were dressed in blue because the color was associated with the Virgin Mary. The use of pink and blue emerged at the turn of the century, the rule being pink for boys, blue for girls. Since pink was a stronger color it was best suited for boys; blue was more delicate and dainty and best for girls. And in 1921, the Women's Institute for Domestic Science in Pennsylvania endorsed pink for boys, blue for girls. (Author of the 1994 book When Blue Meant Yellow. pp. 20 -21)

On the other hand, the idea of associating blue with male babies may stem back to ancient times when having a boy was good luck. Blue, the color of the sky where gods and fates lived, held powers to ward off evil, so baby boys were dressed in blue. In Greece a blue eye is still thought to have powers to ward off evil. The idea of pink for girls might come from the European legend that baby girls were born inside delicate pink roses.

Another theory states that the sexual origins can be found in ancient China. At a time when certain dyes were quite rare, pink dye was readily available and therefore inexpensive. Since blues were rare and expensive, it was therefore considered to be more worthwhile to dress your son in blue, because when he married the family would receive a dowry.

Ultimately pink would be targeted for girls and blue for boys by merchandize marketing companies after World War II.  These companies hoped to ride the post war boom and take advantage of a growing middle class. Today’s companies are still profiting from this by advertising merchandise according to gender. There are exceptions of course.  Some men feel quite comfortable wearing a pink handkerchief in a pocket or donning various shades of pink dress shirts and ties.  According to writer Daniel Billett who wrote an article in About Men’s Fashion called Real Men Wear Pink, he says the following:

There is something alluring about pink. Maybe that’s because psychologically it is known to have a calming effect. Or maybe it’s because pink is complimentary to most skin tones, unless you already have a lot of pink tone in your skin (like me). Or maybe it’s because a man who wears pink exudes confidence, yet is sensitive. It could be as simple as the fact that pink is easy to coordinate with almost every color in your wardrobe--it goes amazingly well with greys, tans, black, navys and other blues tones.  

And an excerpt from Gracie Opulanza wrote in April 2013:
It’s a bright color that looks damn hot on men most of the time. It is a feel good color. Us girls love men in pink because it shows a strength of their character. It means they are not afraid of what other men think? There are different shades of pink and therefore it can come across very masculine.

I personally think pink is beautiful whether found in nature, architecture, edible desserts, candy – or as a bold symbol in the fight against cancer.

Last October, offered the Pink Ribbon Crystal Clip-on Earrings in an effort to bring awareness to National Breast Cancer Month.  A part of each sale was matched by the Santo family, owners of  The money was given to a local Bloomington, IN charity, Jill’s House, which provides a home-like atmosphere to cancer patients and their families or caregiver while treatment is taking place. In October of 2014 will again offer the Pink Ribbon Crystal Earrings with portions of each sale going to charity. This year the charity is Little Red Door Cancer Agency of Indiana. carries 500+ non-pierced earrings and dozens have either a pink option or are pink with other colors.  Some of my favorites are these Cherry BlossomClip on Earring from David Howell & Company, the ColoredFlower Clip on Buttons in pastel pink, blue, and cream and these Sadie Green Pearl Flower Drops Clip on Earrings . These and other pink clip on earring beauties are waiting for you at! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Color Blue - You have a Hold on Me!

Today I doubt anyone would call the color blue a minor color.  It is easy to find not just in the sky or as the first color of everyone’s eyes at birth.  For a small percentage of people it will become the permanent color of his or hers’ eyes.  Blue is also seen in signs, cereal boxes, millions of vehicles, and as the color of chlorinated pools.  It is also the color of links on the Internet --the list is nearly endless!

The color blue was not known in the Upper Paleolithic Period.  Cave paintings featured the colors red, ochre, pink and purple.  What about fabric? Blue was barely used instead: red, ochre, pink and purple were.  Blue did show up it in ancient cultures it just wasn’t that important to them.  There is a historical mention of Babylonians (604-562 B.C.) using deep blue glazed bricks in the Ishtar Gate as a background for pictures of lions, dragons and aurochs (similar to a bull). 

It is not known for sure if ancient cultures had a specific name for blue.  For example the Ancient Greeks, classified a color by whether it was light or dark rather than by hue.  The Greek word kryaneos was used for dark green, violet, black and brown as well as dark blue.  And for lighter colors glaukos was used for light blue, light green, grey or yellow.  One of the first known uses of blue as a word was as a disparaging reference, in 17th century England, toward moral codes and to belittle someone.
Yet blue was used well before the 17th century not just by the Ancient Babylonians.   The beautiful gemstone Lapis Lazuli, common in the Ancient Egyptian culture, used in tombs, as jewelry, and more.  Lapis Lazuli had been mined in Afghanistan for more than 3000 years and widely exported around the world. 

Ancient Rome imported indigo dye from India and called it indikon.  And Romans used another shade of blue, Egyptian Blue, in wall paintings and as the background color for friezes on buildings like those at Knossos on Crete, the largest Bronze Age archeological site and considered to be Europe’s oldest city.  Blue was also used on Greek temples and as the color of the beards of Greek statues.  It has also been recorded the Romans used indigo dye for working class people’s clothing whereas the nobles and rich of society wore white, black, red and violet.  Blue was also considered to be the color of mourning and of barbarians. (Note: This is odd considering dyes are recorded as not being in use until 2600 B.C.)

It is strange that blue, recognized and used on a regular basis, was such a minor color in ancient times!  It was as if blue was an afterthought.  Even later in the Middle Ages, the color blue had a minor role and then things changed dramatically for the color between 1130 and 1140 B.C. in Paris when Abbot Stuger, rebuilt the Saint Denis Basilica and had stained glass windows installed featuring cobalt blue glass when combined with light from red glass filled the church with a violet color.  When this became known, Saint Denis Basilica became a marvel of the Christian world and the color in the church was named "bleu de Saint-Denis."  In the years to follow other churches would install cobalt blue glass stained glass as part of their churches.

The following excerpts from
Ground lapis was used in Byzantine manuscripts as early as the 6th century, but it was impure and varied greatly in color.
King Louis IX of France, better known as Saint Louis (1214–1270), became the first King of France to regularly dress in blue. This was copied by other nobles. Paintings of the mythical King Arthur began to show him dressed in blue. The coat of arms of the Kings of France became an azure or light blue shield, sprinkled with golden fleur-de-lis or lilies. Blue had come from obscurity to become the royal color.

And then artists got a hold of blue in the Renaissance period to more accurately depict the world and important religious figures like making the Virgin Mary’s robe blue or the cloth she wore over a red robe was made blue to draw the attention of the viewer.  And it was not long before painting commissions were done requesting blue be one of the paints to create the finished painting.  It was not long after that, when people began to want blue clothing - even nobles and the rich!  Centuries later blue would keep popping up.  In the 17th century Frederick William, Elector of Bradenburg, was one of the first rulers to have his army wear blue uniforms.  A century later this trend continued with other armies wearing blue uniforms when indigo dye became readily available across the globe. Over the course of the 18th century blue uniforms became the symbol of liberty and revolution but as the 19th century got older, blue increasingly became the color of government authority, the color of police uniforms, and other civil servant uniforms too.
Excerpts from

The search for the perfect blue

During the 17th and 18th centuries, chemists in Europe tried to discover a way to create synthetic blue pigments, avoiding the expense of importing and grinding lapis lazuli, azurite and other minerals. The Egyptians had created a synthetic color, Egyptian blue, three thousand years BC, but the formula had been lost. The Chinese had also created synthetic pigments, but the formula was not known in the west.
In 1709, a German druggist and pigment maker named Diesbach accidentally discovered a new blue while experimenting with potassium and iron sulphides. The new color was first called Berlin blue, but later became known as Prussian blue.
In 1878, a German chemist named a. Von Baeyer discovered a synthetic substitute for indigotine, the active ingredient of indigo. This product gradually replaced natural indigo, and after the end of the First World War, it brought an end to the trade of indigo from the East and West Indies.
In 1901, a new synthetic blue dye, called Indanthrone blue, was invented, which had even greater resistance to fading during washing or in the sun. This dye gradually replaced artificial indigo, whose production ceased in about 1970. Today almost all blue clothing is dyed with an indanthrone blue

For blue, of any shade, this was a long way to come from its early days when it was used but not recognized.   As stated at the beginning of this article blue is everywhere.  My favorite of all the uses for all shades of blue is as clip earrings!  Designer Mary DeMarco features blue in her FloralGemstone Hoop Clip on Drop Earrings, Sadie Green has used it in six styles of clip on earrings featured in Tomorrow’s Heirloom (under her name).   David Howell he has not shied away from blue either, as we have four styles of clip on earrings that have blue in them including these: ColorWheel Clip on Dangle Earrings.  I haven’t even touched on the hundreds of other clip on earrings scattered throughout the website that have blue in them too!  Just type in “blue” " in the keyword search box of our Advanced Search, and be amazed at what comes up!   Blue is quite the popular color today and a majority of men and women around the world consider blue their favorite color.  Of course does not only have blue clip on earrings, we have a whole rainbow and then some in the over 500 styles we offer.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Go Go Green!

Green represents so many things in our world including tree leave, grass and gemstones like Emerald and Jade.  It is also a color with negative connotations portraying envy, greed and possessiveness.  However, use of the color green has out-weighed those negatives to become firmly established in fashion (clothing, jewelry and other accessories), in art, and a primary color in certain holidays (St. Patrick’s Day and Christmas). 

In ancient Egypt green pigments for dyes and paints were made and used in lavish murals depicting desert gardens, as well as, the face of the god Osiris to represent rebirth and regeneration. Frescos in ancient Rome were also painted green.  In the ancient Greek language as in ancient Japan, Vietnam, and China, the word for blue was also the word for green and used to describe certain fruits, the sea, trees and more.  Green pigment was also used to paint ceramics while natural green gemstones like Jade and Emerald were carved into jars, necklaces, earrings and more.

Prior to this time, in the Neolithic period, green was not used in paintings but used as a dye made from birch tree leaves.  Its poor quality often produced brown instead of the green color it was meant to be.  Creating green pigments would improve in the time of ancient Egypt and Rome and the most successful of them was called Green Earth.  It was composed of clay and colored with iron oxide, magnesium and aluminum silicate or potassium.  Good quantities of this pigment were found in the south of France near Nice and in Italy around Verona, Cyprus and Bohemia.

Nickel Free Barrel Candy Drop Clip on Earrings

By the Middle Ages the color green like other colors of the age, symbolized a person’s social rank and profession.  Green was worn by merchants, bankers, gentry and their families.  Unfortunately the dyes produced from ferns, plantains, buckhorn berries and other vegetable plant sources were unable to keep their color when washed or exposed to sunlight.  Slightly better pigments were created by monks using verdigris obtained by soaking a warmed copper plate in fermenting wine for several weeks then scrapping off and drying the green powder that formed on it.  The monks then used the powder to dye manuscripts and artists made paint from finely ground malachite. It wouldn’t be until the 18th and 19th centuries that production of synthetic green pigment vastly improved, but they contained arsenic and eventually were banned.   Still despite this set back, the color green became associated with the Romantic Movement through literature and art.  By the latter half of the 19th century green was also used by artists to express specific emotions.
Some successful synthetic greens (from
·  Green chrome oxide was a new synthetic green created by a chemist named Pannetier in Paris in about 1835.
·  Emerald green was a synthetic deep green made in the 19th century by hydrating chrome oxide. It was also known as Guignet Green.
Phthalocyanine is an intense green synthetic dye which was accidentally created by Swiss chemists in 1927.

From RB469

In the 20th century green had several instances in the limelight.  One was in 1934 when public relations tycoon E. Bernay spent quite a bit of money to host a Green Ball to encourage magazine editors, interior designers, and department stores to embrace the color.  It was Bernay’s hope that women would be persuaded to coordinate what why wore with the forest green packaging of Lucky Strike cigarettes.  It worked well but his employer, George Washington Hill, president of American Tobacco, was not pleased and fired Bernay.

Later in the 1960s, green once again became popular in shades of lime, leaf and chartreuse, and in 1961 Harper’s Bazaar devoted its entire May magazine edition to green swim suits, dresses and other fashions.   Then the color green faded away from the limelight and wouldn’t be extolled again by the fashion industry until the end of the 1980s.  Big name designers like Calvin Klein featured various shades of green including apple and lichen in the clothing and accessories he designed.  Then by the time the 1990s passed, green was firmly established and has remained a staple in the fashion world on the runways and at celebrity award shows.

I personally love green and has dozens of clip on earrings in various shades of the color.  However, if green is not your favorite color we offer a vast array of other colors within our 500+ styles. We also offer gold, silver and plated styles in various categories.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Jan Michaels - Her Lovely Clip Earrings

Orion Clip on Drop Earrings

One of cliptomania’s newest designers is Jan Michaels whom I met at the NYNow show back in February.    She is a San Francisco native and metalsmither who over a course of a 25 year career has designed and created clip earrings, bracelets, necklaces and other jewelry accessories.  They all have a touch of antiquity, dashes of current styles and some pieces have a futuristic feel.  

Jan Michaels personally designs all her pieces and will also make the initial piece herself by hand. She also works with a group of skilled craftswomen who assemble the parts of her jewelry into finished products.  Ms. Michaels feels that although the rest of the jewelry field believes in mass production, she prefers like a few other artisans, that there is nothing like making jewelry by hand because unlike machines an artisan and craftsperson cares about what he or she makes.

Nile Crossing Non-pierced Dangle Earrings
NIle Crossing NP Dangle Earrings

Ms. Michael’s technique is to take brass in its natural state and give it a golden, burnished luster through an antiquing process that allows the brass to age, thus developing a wonderful patina.  If it loses its luster, a little rubbing with a cloth will bring back the shine, which fairs better than the less environmentally safe electroplating done with metals and a chemical bath.

Ovalicious Genuine Pearl Clip-on Drop Earrings

Ms. Michael’s or one of her craftswomen then takes the finished parts and manually combines them with a hand operated riveting machine then will finish it with semi-precious or natural stones.  These include carnelian, jade, onyx, jade, fire agate, Botswana agate, and many more gemstones.  As well as beads, freshwater pearls, fossilized stones and other items she has collected over the decades.
In many ways Jan Michael’s jewelry collections reflect her personality in the colors she likes, the moods she has, the styles she wears as well as paying homage to past artistry and civilizations- Persian, Indian, Roman, Byzantine, Egyptian, Arabian, Chinese, and Celtic.

Ammonite Clip-On Button Earrings
Ammonite Clip on Button Earrings

Lastly like the environmentally friendly atmosphere in her shop, Jan Michaels is also supportive of various worthwhile organizations like Sea Turtle Restoration Project, Environmental Defense and others.

I am glad to have met this wonderful designer and a clip earring wearer herself.  Jan Michael’s designs are truly one-of-a-kind and will fit well in our Tomorrow’s Heirloom section with other designers like Michal Golan, Barbara Sipher, Kathleen Mobley, Lori Bonn, and others.  See their earrings on the website.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shapes of Pearls

From FWP60

Round is the most highly favored and valuable of all the pearl shapes.

From FWP44

Baroque or irregular shaped pearls that are ideal for necklaces or for clustered earrings with a crystal or gemstone.

From MR30

Oval are shaped like an egg and are typically used on drops or dangles.

From FWP63

Button pearls are round and a little flat on one side.  They are ideal for necklaces or clip on earrings like these.


From DM9

Mabe pearls are round on the top and flat on one side.  They are ideal for earrings and pins.

From FWP53

The Teardrop shaped pearl is good for drop necklaces & for drop clip on earrings.