{Giveaway} A $300 ravishing red necklace from Bess Heitner

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bessheitnerFOF Bess Heitner wears many hats, but we wanted to showcase her jewelry business, Bess Heitner Jewelry Designs, which features stones and gems from around the world in colorful and distinctive pieces. Ranging from $58 earrings to necklaces for more than $2,000, Bess keeps FOFs in mind when designing her collection. Today, she’s giving away a ravishing red necklace, “Multi-Coral Torsade” (retail value: $300), which is made of coral “in every shade,” freshwater pearls, and lacquered bone toggle. To win this beautiful necklace, first visit Bess’ website, then comment below with the name of your favorite piece and why. 1 FOF will win!

How old are you?
68

How did you launch your business?
Even as a kid I tinkered with design. My mother was a millinery buyer at Bloomingdale’s in the days when no fashionable woman would be seen outside without a hat. Our home was filled with brightly colored ribbons, flowers, pins, felt shapes and all the fixings for elaborate bonnets. I discovered I had a flair for combining forms, textures, and colors. Before long I was helping my mother concoct her elaborate creations. After my husband died in June 2000, I began taking jewelry courses to help me figure out what to do next. I have never enjoyed anything as much as this. In my “second act,” I found my true passion that I love more than anything I’ve ever done.

What were you doing before?
I taught English in Japan and at the New School for Social Research in New York. I was a professional writer and worked with my husband, a Japanese TV producer, on documentaries. I also created costumes for several feature films.

Where are you based?
My studio is in Manhattan where I make each one-of-a-kind and limited edition piece by hand.

What is your typical workday like?
Designing and jewelry making take up a large part of each day. I also write blog posts and do other business and PR tasks. Some days I have private appointments with clients. And I always spend an hour or two studying fashion magazines and favorite websites for inspiration.

opulentpearls-citrineWhat jewelry do you sell?
I sell necklaces, earrings, pins, and bracelets in a wide variety of styles.

Where do the stones and gems come from?
I get my materials from a few trusted vendors. Most of my top quality gems and minerals, such as Peruvian Opal, Brazilian amethyst and tourmaline, rubies and other interesting stones come from Brazil, Australia, Africa and India. The pearls come from China and Australia.

What trends have you noticed with jewelry this year?
I like the bold statement pieces that are in now because I favor drama, bold shapes, and vivid color in my own work. Chains and ropes also are popular and have
South Sea Pearl Brazilian Citrine Collar

always been favorites of mine. Long before the Gatsby and Boho trends hit, I began offering many kinds of ropes with clasps that are versatile and can be doubled, tripled, worn as lariats, or wrapped around the wrist many times.

What are your best-selling items?
The multi-coral torsade I am offering is very popular because it looks great with bright white, picks up the colors in strong prints, and perks up almost every shade. Genuine coral is becoming extinct so people are glad to get this. A raw iridescent quartz collar I designed in several colors has been selling well because it makes a dramatic statement.

Why does your collection looks good on FOFs?
Women over fifty know who they are and aren’t afraid to make unique statements at work and in their personal lives. I design wearable artwork, pieces that are both contemporary and timeless, that echo the qualities of the women who wear them. I use stones, pearls, and tiny crystals that flatter the skin. And my pieces are versatile; easy to wear in a work setting, in casual surroundings or on a dressy occasion.

To win this necklace, first visit Bess’ website; then comment below with the name of your favorite piece and why. 1 FOF will win!

P.S. Want to get your hands on one of Bess’ designs now? All of her products are 25% off until July 24.

1 FOF will win. (See official rules, here.) Contest closes July 24, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Edgy earrings by FOF Shaune Bazner

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FOF Shaune Bazner designs fabulous jewelry and accessories for all types of women. Her company, Shaune Bazner Accessories, is giving away 5 sets of clip-on earrings (retail value: $30-$32/pair). Her colorful collection, which also includes hair sticks and necklaces, are all under $100– beautiful and affordable. To win, answer the question: Which set of earrings is your favorite?

 

How old are you?
62 years old.

What were you doing before you started your business?
I was a dancer and yoga instructor.

How and when did you get started with your business? I started my business out of a personal need to find a hair accessory that would not give me headaches or damage my hair. I founded the company in 1978 with one accessory, Mei Fa Hairstyx*. It’s still our flagship product.
*MEI FA translates to “beautiful hair” in Chinese. The hair sticks keep your hairstyle comfortably in place.

When did you start designing jewelry?
I started designing jewelry a few years after launching the company. I heard from many women that there were no clip-on earrings out there that were comfortable and fun looking. I jumped on this opportunity and we have one of the largest selection of handcrafted clip-ons available.

Where are you based out of?
All of our products are made in our studio in Washington, D.C.

What is a typical workday like for you?
Extremely varied! Which is part of the reason I’ve been at it for so long. I do trade and retail shows. We sell to about 600 stores across the country. I design two jewelry collections each year. I have a good sense of priorities and naturally gravitate toward what needs to be done.

What accessories do you sell?
Mei Fa Hairstyx, shawl pins, convertibles, necklaces, bracelets, ID beads, eyeglass cords and earrings (wire, post and clip-ons)

What are convertibles?
Convertibles are multi-purpose pieces of jewelry. Shaune Bazner has 60” of stretch cords with seed beads, faceted crystals, and pearls which can be worn as necklaces, bracelets, pony-tail holders and more!

Why would FOFs like your earrings?
First, they’re comfortable and not heavy. Next, we have such a large variety to choose from that a woman can match any outfit for work or something more artsy for play. Many women have gone back to clip-ons because of stretched out holes in their pierced ears. Our earrings take care of this problem. The most popular type of earrings are pearls. Ours are sophisticated and edgy.

To win, answer the question: Which set of earrings is your favorite?

5 FOFs will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes June 13th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Giveaway} Win a gorgeous, FOF-designed bracelet

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Jewelry designer and FOF, Marleny Gonzalez, is giving away one a signature crocheted chain bracelet (retail value: $85) from her company, Tierra Dulce Couture.

Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: Where do you buy your jewelry?

FOF Marleny Gonzalez, an avid jewelry designer is battling breast cancer. Encouraged by her friends and daughter, Claudia, Marleny started selling at art shows in South Florida two years ago. Her jewelry, all hand crocheted macramé pieces with natural stones, was such a hit that she’s since expanded the business to Etsy and soon will launch her own website.  Her bracelets and necklaces range from $50 to $200.  “She’s not yet in remission but, hopefully, will soon be,” says Claudia. “We are almost at the end of the treatment. Her jewelry business gives her inspiration and allows her to focus on something else besides the cancer.” FOF chatted with Claudia and Marleny (Claudia translated for her mom, since Marleny is a native Spanish speaker.)

How old is Marleny?
Claudia: 54.

Do you own the business together?
Claudia: Yes. She does all the jewelry design. I do the logistics for all the shows and business development.

When did you start the business?
Claudia: We started selling at art shows in South Florida, about two years ago. But, my mom started designing four years ago. They have so many different art markets and shows here so it makes it so easy for us.

What does Tierra Dulce Couture stand for?
Claudia: My mom came up with it–it means “sweet earth” and I added Couture so it sounded more fashionable.

How did you decide to start the company?
Claudia: We started showing the jewelry off to our friends and family and everybody liked it. I thought it really had a future. So my mom quit her job in makeup sales to do this full time..

What are Marleny’s signature pieces?
Claudia: Crochet style in macrame with natural stones.

Where does she source the materials from?
Claudia: From her trips to Cali, Colombia and also from Miami.

Where do you sell your jewelry?
Claudia: Besides the art shows in South Florida, we sell in a store in Colombia and online at Etsy.com. We also are working on a website.

Enter to win by answering in the comments, below: Where do you buy your jewelry?


One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes May 16th, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{FOF style} The timeless value of jewelry

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We all know that women today spend more time and effort than ever on the way we look. Happily, the desire to look great doesn’t stop when we turn Fab Over Fifty.

But, when we leaf through magazine after magazine and click on countless websites, we’re bombarded with a never-ending stream of photos featuring stick thin, and very young, women, wearing pencil-thin clothes.   That’s pretty irritating for FOFs who want advice on how to look their best.

The good news is that accessories can help us stay trendy and discover our own style, at any age. In minutes, jewelry can enhance anyone’s overall look. Diamonds are now more popular than at any time in history, and it’s easier than ever to purchase beautiful pieces online, as well as sell pieces that we no longer wear. If you’re interested in selling your jewelry, at the best possible prices, you can find diamond buyers at www.wpdiamonds.com.

Here, also, are some of FOF’s best recommendations to look stylish at any age:

Know your strengths and weaknesses. First of all, find a mirror and take a look. Recognize your good features, as well as your “not- so-good” features. We recommend wearing only jewelry and accessories that help you cover up some of your less desirable features and enhance your strong points. An exquisite diamond necklace, for example, may look dramatic on a long or medium neck but not so much on a short one.

Focus on your hair! Your hair may matter more than you realize. Update your hairstyle to something more contemporary in order to look fresh and vibrant. Those of us who have been using the same hairstyle for years should consider looking for new options. Keep in mind that the new style should look great on an FOF, which means staying clear of teenager styles. Hair style and color are  important pieces of the puzzle, along with accessories and jewelry. If you experiment, you’ll see that certain earrings or necklaces mix perfectly with a particular hairstyle, while other pieces don’t look as good.

Use trendy jewelry, not trendy clothing. It’s always a smart idea to use stylish or trendy pieces of jewelry to put the edge on elegant or casual outfits. FOFs should leave super trendy outfits for teenagers or younger women. Often, an FOF who wears an “in” outfit will look like she’s trying to hard and out of place. Stylish pieces of jewelry, such as bright silver, bronze or copper, also add a great deal of panache to an FOF’s skin tone and overall look!

{Giveaway} Officina Bernardi Bangle From Raymond Lee Jewelers

Dana Josephson is giving away this exquisite Officina Bernardi sterling silver and platinum bracelet (retail value: $695) from her Florida-based jewelry store, Raymond Lee Jewelers.  Enter to win by answering this question in the comments below: What outfit would you wear this bracelet with?

FOF Dana Josephson owned several retail stores with her ex-husband in Scotland during the 1970s. “We found that people were always drawn to the jewelry cases,” Dana says. When Dana and her former husband decided to move to sunny South Florida for better weather in 1983, the two agreed to use their retail experience and love of jewelry to start a new business.

The couple opened Raymond Lee Jewelers (named after Dana’s son) that same year. The store started out as a small operation, with Dana, her former husband, their daughter and son all working together. “We learned our customers’ personal styles,” says Dana. “When we’d get something in that we thought they would really like, we’d give them a call, and they’d come in to see it.”

After noticing her competitors starting to sell jewelry online, Dana opened up shop online too, in the early 2000s, with the website, RaymondLeeJewelers.net. The e-commerce site features a unique diamond search section, where customers can search Dana’s inventory by price, carat weight, color, and clarity. They ship all over the world, and have loyal customers everywhere from Asia to Australia.

In addition to carrying newer designer pieces, Raymond Lee Jewelers is also a jewelry estate buyer–they purchase unique, one-of-kind, pre-owned precious pieces from around the world and carry them in the store and online. “We carry secondhand, upscale pieces that you don’t see everywhere, and aren’t mass produced. You can buy a lot of pieces and spend a lot less money. We have five times more inventory than most other jewelry stores.”

Enter to win this Officina Bernardi sterling silver and platinum bracelet by answering this question in the comments below: what outfit would you wear this bracelet with?


One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes February 21st, 2013 at midnight E.S.T. Contest limited to residents of the continental U.S.

{Fashion} Not your mama’s clip-ons!

By Isabelle Krupnick

It is a sad, but inevitable truth that as we mature, our earlobes lose collagen and get a bit flappy. Years of wearing heavy earrings takes its toll. For some of us, the holes in our ears are so stretched that pierced earrings make us look like cocker spaniels.

I’ve worked in luxury costume jewelry for over 20 years and have met women who’ve had their earlobes sewn back by plastic surgeons, and for the majority of them, it didn’t work. The latest trend apparently involves injecting the lobes with collagen–I myself would rather choose other parts of my body for this.

One of the biggest mistakes women of any age can make is closing their minds when it comes to fashion. Which brings us to clip earrings. For most of us, clip-on earrings represent something our grandmothers wore with pearls, red lipstick and a mink stole. But if today, you were in a top Paris boutique on the rue Saint-Honoré, you would be hard pressed to find anything but clip-on earrings that are elegant and stylish.

Why is that? The French are invested in looking good at every age. Chic is not something enjoyed solely by the youth. French women don’t give up because they’ve matured, instead they find ways to stay fabulous and make fashion work for them. Que clip earrings! Clip earrings fit better, are more flattering to the face, and most importantly they hide your earlobes. As someone who grew up in Paris and wears clip earrings exclusively, I can tell you this much, I know what I’m talking about. So, lend an ear because now it’s time for your clip-on lesson.

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Choose the right type of clip. You can find two sorts of clips on the market. Some have a small metal bar with a ball at the end and others have a wide metal flap. The former tends to hurt because there aren’t good pads available to cover them and they are difficult to adjust. Stay away! The clips with a wide metal flap are the best. Not only can you put a pad on them, but they cover your lobe fully.

Size (and shape) do matter. Earlobe shape and size should always be considered when buying clip earrings. A smaller lobe requires a smaller clip, (the part of the earring that actually covers the front of the earlobe) even if it has a drop. An “average” size earlobe can support a clip of almost any size, while a larger earlobe needs the larger clip to help restore balance to the face.

Try on clip earrings the way you try on shoes. Trying on clips is just like trying on shoes– if it’s not comfortable right away, it’s only going to get worse as the night wears on. If you just HAVE to have them, do what I do. Throw them on right before you get out of the car for dinner (you’d do the same with your 4″ Louboutins, right?).

Keep in mind: clip earrings can be adjusted. If the issue is tightness rather than weight, do not fret. Clip earrings can be made both tighter and looser and all you have to do is ask the salesperson to adjust them to your liking. If you don’t have a trusted fine jeweler, you should be able to drop by a costume jewelry store, most people in the business know how to adjust clips.

Invest in some padding. It’s possible to purchase a “clip sleeve” of sorts to slide onto the back of your clip. It is essentially a pillow for your lobe and it makes just about any earring comfortable. They can be found at JewelrySupply.com.  At IsabelleK.com, we include these with every pair of clip earrings we sell. Thank me later.

Remove your clip earrings the right way. The best way to keep your clips fitting the way you like is to stop yanking them down when you take them off. Open the back when removing, they’ll last longer.

Position your earrings correctly. When putting on your earrings, you always want to position the earring right up against your face, where the lobe meets the cheek — unless you have hanging lobes, in which case you center the clip on the fleshy part of your earlobe, and let it hang. Also, if you’ve fallen for a pair of clip hoops, please, put them on straight because they have a tendency to hang sideways and can cause what I lovingly call “elephant ear.”

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Click through the slideshow below to see Isabelle’s favorite clip earrings to splurge on (for all lobe sizes), and the fabulous “save” versions we found that are almost dead-ringers for Isabelle’s splurge picks.
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{Giveaway} A copper and turquoise collar

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FOF Brenda Cline is giving away this gorgeous copper and turquoise collar. Enter to win by answering in the comments below: What’s the best beach you’ve been to?

Brenda Cline, an FOF from Satellite Beach, Florida, comes from a family of avid surfers–her husband, daughter, son and grandson all love riding the waves. Brenda too, enjoyed surfing until she had a run in with a shark in 1982.

“I couldn’t handle it, I was hyperventilating,” she says. Brenda stopped surfing, but continued accompanying her family members on their surf trips. Looking for something to occupy herself while they hit the waves, Brenda started combing the beach for sea glass and stones. When she returned home, she’d experiment, turning her findings into jewelry.

Brenda started with silver and sea glass, but then, a friend gave her a piece of recycled copper. “That began my love for copper,” says Brenda whose bestsellers are her signature copper collars. “Recently I reflected, asking myself, ‘why do I love working with metals so much?’ My dad was an ironworker. I think that’s a big part of it.”

More recently, Brenda has begun experimenting with aluminum. She crafts each piece from her Satellite Beach studio and sells at art shows and on Etsy. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind creation using recycled and repurposed metals from hardware stores and natural elements from her family surf trips. On her last trip to Nicaragua, she filled her suitcase with over 16 pounds of stones, for her new “Surf Safari” line. “I sacrificed packing my clothes to bring back stones,” says Brenda. “I have so much passion. Everything I look at, I think: ‘how can I make art out of it?’”

You can see more of Brenda’s pieces in her Etsy shop, Metal Souls.

Enter to win a gorgeous copper collar designed by FOF artist Brenda Cline by answering in the comments below: What’s the best beach you’ve been to?

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One FOF will win. (See all our past winners, here.) (See official rules, here.) Contest closes May 31, 2012 at midnight E.S.T.

Images courtesy of Brenda Cline

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

{Style Expert} Channeling Liz Taylor . . . on the cheap.

Finance experts will tell you that clothing and handbags are among the worst investments you can make–they rarely appreciate. This did not hold true for Liz Taylor.

One of the greatest couture clients of all time,” Liz was said to have still been “buying clothes right up until she went into the hospital for the last time.” And this week, Liz Taylor’s wardrobe was auctioned off for many multiples of it’s estimated value, breaking world records and racking up over 154.2 million.

Couldn’t make it to Christie’s auction house last week? Or, let’s be real, couldn’t swing those record-breaking prices? There’s still hope for you, FOF. We found 10 Liz knock-offs worth investing in.

SLIDESHOW:

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{Gift Guide} 15 Wonderful, Wearable gifts.

What would an FOF stylist buy this year . . . for herself? Our FOF Fashion gurus have the gorgeous–but affordable–answers. Fifteen fab gifts, (almost) all under $100–all FOF approved.

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FOF Style Guru Glenyse Thompson is a personal home and wardrobe stylist and the creator of Styleosophy.

1. Brass Sea Necklace from Lilah Gabriel, $235
“Worn with with a crisp white shirt, a t-shirt or a black dress, this beautiful piece would be a stand-out! It’s saying so much you wouldn’t need any other jewelry.”

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2. Songs from the Heart Dress, $68.
“I look for items that are wearable in a variety of climates, unique and inexpensive. My first request would be a comfy, customized dress from Kelans Art Couture. Send Kelans your measurements and they sew the dress to fit you exactly. You can even choose the fabric color.”

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3. JazJewelz Abalone and Brass Necklace, $27
“Easily create a complete outfit when you pair the heart dress with a serious statement necklace. Jazjewlz repurposed materials to create this stand-out (and very affordable) piece. Also love their Blue Tagua Nut Necklace.”

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FOF Style Guru Susan Hersh is a Ford model and the host and executive producer of Meet The Experts.

4. Bernardo Packable Down Vest, $78.00
“Lightweight, warm (without being bulky) and universally flattering. This is a great gift for anyone who runs around doing errands (i.e. everyone). Comes in bright, lush colors as well as neutrals.”

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5. Echo Touch Tech Gloves, Starting at $32
“Brilliantly designed to work with touch screens, so you don’t have to take your gloves off to futz with your iphone! Comes in 30 different styles, from fair isle, to cashmere, to ‘cheetah.'”

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FOF Style Guru Terry Gibralter is the Sr. Vice President and Creative Director at Grey advertising as well as a fashion stylist and the creator of these clever work accessories.

6. Audrey Necklace from MoMa Store, $98.
“Vintage-inspired and perfect for the holidays and beyond. I’ve bought many well-priced pieces at MoMA and they never fail to garner lots of attention.  People always seem surprised when I say where they’re from–even more so when I tell them the price!”

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7. Helene Berman Faux Fur Collar $46
“A cool addition to a fitted sweater, a sheath dress or a narrow coat. Love the great price and the fact that its faux!  Found it on The Outnet, one of the designer discount sites I check every day.”

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8. Sumana Dress from Anthropologie, $198
“Checks two of my common shopping boxes: (1) colorful and (2) slightly ethnic. I love the boho print, and I can see it over velvet skinny jeans or leggings, or on an island getaway if I get lucky enough to have one.”

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FOF Style Guru Lovey Dash is a Beverly Hills-based personal stylist.

9. “Lovable” flat from Nine West, (starting at $42)
“I’m madly in love with this deal of the century. Why buy Prada when I can have these ballet slippers for $42$?”

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10. Monica di Creddo Tropicalia Ring ($74) and Tropicalia Rose Ring ($84)
“Move over Dior. Love these rings–especially the Swarovkski Crystal baguettes. I would like two, please!”
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FOF Linda Cohen owns her own consulting business specializing in retail merchandising.

11. Michael Kors Leather Wrap Bracelet, $75
“I wear a lot of black in the winter so I like accessories that add color and texture This Michael Kors bracelet gives you just the right amount of sophisticated “bling” for the holiday season as well as any vacation or warm weather climate.”

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12. Calypso St. Barth Sari Scarf, Kipour Scarf and Lady Scarf ($135 each)
“Scarves that you can wear 12 months of the year (with jeans or to work) are perfect gifts. I like the weight of this scarf as well as the print and beads–bohemian and chic.”

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13. Ann Taylor Icicle Beaded Scarf, $68
“Subtle ‘bling’ you can wear with a cashmere sweater and pants, jeans and a tee-shirt our any winter coat.”

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14. Ann Taylor Golden Lace Long Necklace with Chains, $98
“This Gatsbyish necklace has the most magnificent 1920s feel. It’s capable of taking your favorite jeans, blouse and heels to an even more fabulous place. Add it to any holiday dress and use the 2″ extender, because some pieces just look sexier and richer when you leave them long.”

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FOF Style Guru Sherrie Mathieson is a celebrated costume designer and stylist who has worked with everyone from Susan Sarandon to Brooke Shields. She is the author of two guides to finding great style after 50, Forever Cool and Steal this Style.

15. Recycled Rubber Bracelets from Made with Love, $28 for a set of 18
“These are fun, inexpensive and come in 8 stylish colors. (I love the orange.) Best of all, the profits go to L’Empire des Enfants, a center for homeless children from the streets of Dakar, Senegal.”

Enter to win a stunning statement necklace from Lilah Gabriel by leaving a comment below.

One FOF will win.
(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)
Contest closes December 14, 2011 at midnight E.S.T.

{Giveaway} Win a custom, embroidered locket

Jennifer Shingelo is giving away a locket embroidered with a letter of your choice from her Etsy shop, Stella Saves the Day. Enter to win by answering in the comments below: Whose picture would you keep in a locket?

Lockets, all the rage during the Victorian era, haven’t quite fallen out of style, but they’ve fallen out of style. Let us explain. A recent search for “locket” on Google, turned up a most uninspiring collection of trinkets. That is, until we found Jennifer Shingelo’s Etsy shop, Stella Saves the Day. After we stopped oohing and ahhing of the hand-stitched designs, we wondered just who is Stella? And how does Jennifer craft these gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces?

Her collection is named after her great grandmother, Stella. Jenn was inspired to create lockets after years of adoring her grandmother’s jewelry box. “I opened my Etsy shop in 2009 and sold my first piece in 2011,” says Jenn, a trained sculptor. “In sculpting, you also make items that hold memory. I did that for a ten years but wanted to do something where I’d be interacting with people more. This business has been very touching and personal.” Jenn says her customers often share their personal stories. “A man just sent me pictures of his baby twin sons,” she says. “He wants them represented by two embroidered acorns in a locket for his wife.”

An advisor at the Pratt Institute of Design by day, Jennifer crafts the jewelry in her Brooklyn kitchen at night. (“Some day I’ll have a studio,” she says.) Her lockets are sourced from a small, father-daughter owned company in New England (“I actually have to pick up the phone and call them to place orders!” she says.) Jenn hand-embroiders inserts for the lockets using patterns she finds in antique Victorian books about locket making. “For me, it’s all about the history,” she explains.

Enter to win a locket embroidered with a letter of your choice by answering in the comments below: Whose picture would you keep in a locket?

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

One FOF will win.

(See all our past winners, here.)
(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes December 1, 2011 at midnight E.S.T.