Assuming you’re over the age of 18, dear reader, you are now experiencing the first taste of what it’s like to feel old. Anything from your childhood is practically vintage now, looked back on with both a fondness and a sense of disbelief that you ever fell victim to its trends. So when we saw the latest resurrection, a la Pinterest and boutique jewelry stores, it was a blast from the past.
Friendship bracelets? Are we really going there? Admittedly, it could be worse. But you can’t tell me the fashion world is so desperate that they had to look back to its painful childhood. It digs up memories of the tiny woven bracelets gathered on your wrist until they were hanging by a thread, just like your friendship. BEST FRIENDS FOREVER! And now you can’t even remember the poor girl's name.
The art of mixing and matching bracelets and watches is the trend of the moment for your wrist, with sizeable stacks gracing the arms of celebrities such as Mary-Kate Olsen and Lauren Conrad. The goal is to strike a balance between cleverly chosen and seemingly effortless, for a look that makes as much of a statement as your outfit but still seems like an afterthought.
Pastels and neons, though at opposite ends of the spectrum, are on point right now. Not into the colored denim trend, or too hesitant to try a flashy neon shirt? Adding a pop of color to a monochromatic wrist is a great way to introduce these colors into your wardrobe. Accessories are the best way to make a big update on your outfit, but a small impact on your wallet. Here's where you can build your stacks on stacks on stacks.
Francesca's Collections, in Blakeney or SouthPark Mall, is accessory overload. They carry the latest trends in jewelry, so you'll find it hard to stop stacking.
I know it's kind of early to be thinking about this, but it certainly can't hurt to mention it: Valentine's Day is about four weeks away. Do you know what you're getting your woman?
Yes, I know — you're probably going to wait until the last minute to pick up a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates. But let me tell you, a box of chocolates is a bad idea, especially if she made a new year's resolution to lose some pounds. And the flowers will die.
Be a little more unique than that, OK? And here's my suggestion: Head over to the Jewelry Artists of Charlotte pop-up shop in Ballantyne Village, which features original creations by more than 20 local jewelry and accessories artists, such as the one pictured below.
You're really lucky that the pop-up shop is still around, you know? Originally, the shop, presented by I.C. London, was going to close after the holidays, but, because of its success, is going to stick around until Feb. 27 (hours being Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.).
So when Valentine's Day comes around, your gift better be pretty awesome. After all, I gave you more than enough of notice to be thinking about it.
A woman who hopes her man is reading this.
Head out to Handpicked to check out their semi-annual monogram sale. Take 20 percent off their complete line of monogram jewelry and gifts.
1721 Kenilworth Ave.
8040 Providence Rd., Suite 600
9844-A Rea Rd.
In such a time of economic unrest, with adverts claiming that they’ll buy your old gold jewelry, it’s amazing that someone could even thrive in the art of goldsmithing. Katie Stein would like to prove all of the skeptics wrong. She has chosen the life of a goldsmith, an artist, a designer … certainly three occupations that no one would flock to for the chance to receive a hefty paycheck, but she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
And quite frankly, we should be glad.
Sure, Charlotte has hundreds of people peddling their handmade wares, hoping to make a buck in this economic mess, and while Moazen Jewelry is a part of that figure, there is something that is setting Moazen apart from the rest. With the yin and yang twin dynamic, and such a personable, inviting atmosphere, the business is making waves in the Charlotte boutique scene. Blame it on the location (right inside Charlotte art scene's Area 15), or on the sassy/classy attitudes of the owners, Hope and Faith Rivers, but something is bringing in the customers.
Upon walking into the tiny office space that is now occupied by Hope and Faith, you are bombarded by not only enormous amounts of handmade jewelry and accessories, but also by artwork, nature, and two beautiful, bubbly sisters with personality and heart. Even in such confining walls, the girls have managed to make their store a place to sit down, relax, and share your life histories with each other. Have some water and snacks, leave with some new earrings and some new friends. How many jewelry stores offer you that?
Moazen, which is the Hebrew word for balance, is the perfect name for this partnership. With such differing personas, what aspects one twin may not be strong in, the other picks up the slack. Hope bounces around, beaming, and steadily chattering with every customer, while Faith sits behind the desk, focused on beading, creating, and smiling, enjoying her surroundings and welcoming everyone new. And as far as working with family? "We wouldn't have it any other way," Hope shares. "You have to understand that you aren't going to agree all the time, and you'll have differences and you just have to embrace it and work together," Faith adds.
Hope and Faith have always been creative children. They recall that while in school, they would make jewelry out of paper, as well as painting and spraying bleach on their jeans for a customized effect. That is what could easily be called the start of their entrepreneurship. They would end up customizing classmates' jeans for around $10 a pop, because everyone wanted what they had made. Still not taking it 100 percent seriously, the girls continued on, eventually going to CPCC for degrees in design (Faith) and business (Hope). The marrying of those two fields into a business is essentially a perfect combination, and when adding in the family dynamic, success can certainly, at the least, be expected. So, even while tackling being full-time students, as well as full-time employees, the twins became full-time entrepreneurs and launched a catalog of their goods. Moazen was becoming their go-to for school projects, which beautifully incorporated building their business into their study time. Much of the marketing and design work came from assignments given to the twins by their college professors, who never knew what a lucrative project their hard work would end up being.
Slowly Moazen transformed from print, to Web, to a real-life retail environment ... in an old office. All of the twins' hard work has begun to pay off. Now they freely own and operate Moazen without the need for supplemental jobs (though Hope does also have a small night bartending gig). Customers flock to the store, not just for the unique, personalized jewelry, but also for the companionship and loyalty that they know they will get with their purchase. Hope and Faith offer a warranty on their jewelry, something most have never seen in the jewelry market. Usually the attitude of accessory vendors is that if you bought it, and it breaks, it's your problem. Not with Hope and Faith. The girls will fix any broken piece for free, first time only, with a small restringing fee of $5 for any occurrence after that. And let's be honest, we live recklessly and forget how delicate jewelry can be, so having such an affordable service is quite the business strategy.
That exact idea is only one of numerous reasons why you will see people hanging out in Moazen. The beautiful, semi-precious stone and wood jewelry is definitely something to behold. With three main lines in Moazen (Urban, Signature, and Earth), there is plenty to pick from to compliment your personality. You can even begin to see the girls' personalities seeping through into their works as well. Faith employs the use of wire ("I love it!" she exclaimed) in most of her work, while Hope just likes to play with whatever is in front of her. But no matter what techniques or materials they choose, the personality and ambiance of Moazen will keep the customers coming through that old office door.
When most people think of incorporating wool into their accessories, jewelry does not necessarily spring to mind. Scarves, hats, gloves, sure, but necklaces and rings? Earrings and bracelets? As surprising as this pairing may first seem, the unique and absolutely stunning outcome is phenomenal. Zorica “Zoe” Djukic takes the awkward pair and gives them yet another dimension of oddity. Her jewelry plays on the art of felting … and she’s felting some pretty interesting pieces. From guitars to toucans (such as the one pictured to the left) to intricate flowers, Djukic’s pieces reflect her need to create gorgeous wearable art jewelry for every woman and the little kid inside of them.
Djukic, who is a native Serbian, has always been a creatively driven individual, whether
The chances to experiment, and her fearlessness in doing so, are key to Djukic’s work. “It is really difficult to make a name for oneself in the jewelry art world, but I hope that my dedication to being original and experimental will set me apart from the rest.” She craves the chance to explore different mediums and methods of creating spectacular, colorful pieces, so it’s no surprise that she would also like to get back into polymer clay. While clay is a bit more of a “traditional” jewelry medium, the endless possibilities for creative adventure and all of the colors available make it the perfect medium to compliment her wool creations. “Even though wool and polymer clay are two completely different mediums, they are both exciting as their colors and possibilities can transform imagination into reality,” she explains.
Could it simply be a case of beginner’s luck, or sheer talent that brings us to examine the detailed and intricate jewelry designed by local artist Kim Bell? She may still be in the learning process, but she’s already becoming a hit in the salons. With her designs selling to women in two hair boutiques (Looking Glass Salon in Uptown and The Artisan Studio in Tennessee), and through her Etsy store, she doesn’t come across so much a student, as she does a passionate, knowledgeable business woman.
Karen Landis is planning to make a name for herself in the world of jewelry, despite the trying times. Her gorgeous wire-wrapped gemstones and 3-in-1 necklaces offer stunning, timeless, and affordable options for ladies who still want to look and feel special even without a lot of cash to spare. Her dive into retail may have been more than she imagined, but one thing is for sure: Seeing people enjoying her jewelry makes it all worth it.
Creative Loafing: What got you started in jewelry design?
Karen Landis: I was on a corporate management career track working 60-70 hours a week. I realized that I didn't have the personality for it. I wanted to make jewelry. Last August, I accepted a position that was a step down and a cut in pay because it allowed me to work from home. Working from home meant I no longer had to spend time commuting or attending business functions. That gave me the time to focus on jewelry. This year, I've opened two stores online (http://karenlandis.etsy.com and http://karenlandis.artfire.com), started a jewelry blog and began using Twitter. I'm also interested in selling my jewelry at art fairs and doing trunk shows at boutiques. You can't do everything overnight so I'm taking a stepped approach. For instance, I recently purchased a used, high-end artist's booth on Ebay. I wasn't expecting to make that investment this year. I knew I needed it eventually but the price was right (even though I had to drive to Ohio to pick it up). Sometimes, things just fall in your lap. Now I can check that off my list.