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.