Up Close: The Bridal Choker Vine Necklace

A closer look at the inspiration behind the trendy bridal necklaceGold bridal choker vine necklace with pearls and crystals, by J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry and modern bridal accessories

One of my favorite pieces in the new collection I created for 2017 is the limited edition Bridal Choker Vine Necklace.

This necklace is as delicate and lovely as its wirework is intricate. Here’s a closer look at my inspiration as a designer as I made this handcrafted piece for my new collection of jewelry and modern bridal accessories!


Bridal Choker Vine Necklace, Wedding Choker, Couture bridal fashion by J'Adorn Designs
One of the biggest jewelry trends this year has been the return of the choker.

Because I draw inspiration as a designer from the fashion world, I knew that I had to make a “nod” to the trendy choker necklace when I designed my new collection. However, I also knew that the plastic “tattoo chokers” of my middle school years just wouldn’t fit for J’Adorn Designs as an upscale jewelry brand. (Or, frankly, in the wardrobe of most women over 25!)

Gold bridal choker vine necklace with pearls and crystals, by J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry and modern bridal accessories

Handcrafted wire vines have long been a staple element in my bridal accessory designs, so it came naturally to extend that signature style to my first choker necklace.

I made the Bridal Choker Vine Necklace with the same golden wire as the vine-style hairpieces from my collection. I used freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals to adorn the branches of the choker. Then, I finished the piece with a delicate gold filled chain that clasps in the back. It’s a dramatic, stunning piece of wedding jewelry that would make the perfect focal piece for a fashion-forward bridal ensemble!

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5 Ways to Ruin Your Jewelry

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You love your jewelry.
But do you know how to care for it?

It’s ok.  You don’t have to feel embarrassed.  Most people are clueless when it comes to jewelry care!  

When you buy a piece of jewelry it doesn’t come with an instructional care tag like your favorite cashmere sweater or silk blouse.  But proper jewelry care is the number one way to protect your investment.  So, today I’m sharing my list of “what not to do” while wearing your jewelry!

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1. Sleep

First on the list of what not to do while wearing your jewelry is something you’ll spend roughly 50% of your life doing: Sleeping. 

Your bed might seem like a harmless place to wear your jewelry. After all, you’re surrounded by pillows and blankets! What’s the worst that could happen?

Because you move around while sleeping, the potential to sustain unintentional damage to your jewelry is actually quite high.  Tossing and turning in the sheets can catch a ring prong between threads, pulling it open ever-so-slightly. You may not even notice a change when you wake up, but over time a stone could come loose or even fall out.  You’re better off playing it safe.

Solution: Invest in a ring box or dish to keep on your bedside table.  Get yourself into the habit of taking off your accessories each night before bed.  Keep your jewels safe all night and they’ll be ready for you to wear in the morning!  

why you should not wear jewelry in the shower

2. Shower

Between abrasive soaps, slippery water, and the drain, the shower is one of the last places your jewelry wants to be. 

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit that I have broken this jewelry care rule.  In fact, I’d wager that most women wear their wedding rings into the shower.  But your fine and fashion jewelry are both better off on the counter (or back in that special box you bought back in #1!)

This is because the ingredients used in soaps, shampoos, shaving creams, and scrubs can cause both temporary and long-term damage to your favorite accessories.  Residue from these substances gets caught between the prongs of your rings, dulling the shine and making stones appear dirty.  Furthermore, abrasive agents eat away the finish on your metals, requiring you to have them re-plated by a professional jeweler at more frequent intervals.  If this happens to your fashion jewelry, which is generally not built for longevity, the plating could come off altogether after a dip in the shower.

Finally, we’ve all heard horror stories of people who lose their wedding ring down the drain.  Even if it feels secure when you step into the shower, the combination of conditioner and water can cause a ring to slide right off your finger!

Solution: Save yourself the headache and make sure you’re totally naked before taking a shower. 

 

druzy earrings tips for jewelry care in water

3. Swim

Whether you’re taking a dip in salt water or a chlorinated pool, remove your jewelry first!

Any blonde who’s spent too much time in the pool on a summer day can attest to the caustic properties of chlorine. But did you know that it can also discolor your jewelry?  Gold-plated jewelry responds particularly poorly to pool water, since the chlorine can strip the plating completely. When this happens it exposes the raw brass underneath, which can turn green in the chemicals.

Salt water and its close companion, beach sand, also pose a risk to your jewelry because of the small, abrasive particles of which both are comprised.

Solution: Leave your jewels at home. Or, bring along a small zippered bag made of neoprene or plastic that eliminates any risk of sand getting inside. Tuck it inside your beach bag, and you’re set! 

 

Jewelry Care Tips: Take off jewelry before spraying perfume, hairspray, lotion, deodorant, etc.

4. Spray

Remove your jewelry before applying hairspray, perfume, aerosol deodorant, or spray-on sunscreen.

Much like the products you use in the shower, spray-on substances adhere to the surface of your jewelry, dulling the shine and getting stuck in small nooks. The damage that sprays cause is two-fold: 

  1. Sticky sprays like hairspray can catch dirt, dust, and particles from the environment, which will then stick to your jewelry.
  2. Non-sticky sprays like perfume will cling to the surface of your metal jewelry and eat away at the finish or plating.

Solution: Keep all of these cosmetics in a place near your shower.  That way, you can apply them first thing after washing up, before getting dressed or putting your jewelry on for the day. 

 

Jewelry care tip: remove jewelry before you sweat and exercise

5. Sweat

My final jewelry care tip is to go [metal] accessory-free before you exercise.

Sweat isn’t a great substance for most types of jewelry to come in contact with.  Plated metals are particularly vulnerable to the damage sweat can cause.  The oil and salt that your skin produces during a heavy workout or long afternoon in the sun are both abrasive and adhesive, so the finish wears away while other damaging particles like dirt and dust easily get stuck.  This isn’t the glistening goddess look you’d envisioned!

Unlike rules 1-4, this one has a couple of exceptions:

  1. Cloth jewelry: hemp, cotton, nylon, etc. (as long as you can wash it!)
  2. Stone bead jewelry like Mala bracelets, which are a popular accessory and meditation aid among yogis

Solution: Leave your jewelry at home before hitting the gym. Or, use the same type of bag from #3 to keep your jewels safe!

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Lauren’s Push Present and A Gift for Lolli

J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry push present for new grandmother new mother, baby boy, first grandchild, alexandrite purple gemstone, june birthstone jewelry, delicate handcrafted custom jewelry, nameplate bracelet, engraving, photography by Nichole Rosado Meredith, custom and couture jewelry, baltimore jewelry designer, maryland jewelry designer, maryland custom jeweler
Lauren contacted me shortly after the arrival of Cody, her first child and the first grandchild in her family.  She wanted to create a special piece for her mother to celebrate her new role as a grandmother.  Her vision was a delicate bracelet featuring Cody’s birthstone and an engraved nameplate reading “Lolli,” which is the name her mother prefers over “grandma.”  We designed her bracelet with the ability to add more stones over time as the family continues to grow with more children.

J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry push present for new grandmother new mother, baby boy, first grandchild, alexandrite purple gemstone, june birthstone jewelry, delicate handcrafted custom jewelry, nameplate bracelet, engraving, photography by Nichole Rosado Meredith, custom and couture jewelry, baltimore jewelry designer, maryland jewelry designer, maryland custom jeweler
In the process of designing her mom’s bracelet, Lauren ended up falling in love with the Alexandrite stone so much that we decided to add a matching necklace to the order for her to wear.  The result was an elegant set of custom jewelry that I fell in love with, too.

J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry push present for new grandmother new mother, baby boy, first grandchild, alexandrite purple gemstone, june birthstone jewelry, delicate handcrafted custom jewelry, nameplate bracelet, engraving, photography by Nichole Rosado Meredith, custom and couture jewelry, baltimore jewelry designer, maryland jewelry designer, maryland custom jeweler
My favorite part of this custom project was learning about the gemstone at its focal point.  I learned that Alexandrite is a rare gem that appears to change colors in different lighting.  To the naked eye, the stones pictured here are a prismatic combination of purple, green, and blue – this is how they looked the entire time I had them in my studio.  However, when photographed or placed under incandescent light, they become the reddish-purple that you’ll see here!  Alexandrite is a great alternative to the traditional pearl birthstone in June if you’re looking for something a little different.

J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry push present for new grandmother new mother, baby boy, first grandchild, alexandrite purple gemstone, june birthstone jewelry, delicate handcrafted custom jewelry, nameplate bracelet, engraving, photography by Nichole Rosado Meredith, custom and couture jewelry, baltimore jewelry designer, maryland jewelry designer, maryland custom jeweler
J'Adorn Designs custom jewelry push present for new grandmother new mother, baby boy, first grandchild, alexandrite purple gemstone, june birthstone jewelry, delicate handcrafted custom jewelry, nameplate bracelet, engraving, photography by Nichole Rosado Meredith, custom and couture jewelry, baltimore jewelry designer, maryland jewelry designer, maryland custom jeweler
Congratulations to Lauren, Michael, “Lolli,” and the rest of your family on your new addition! Thank you for choosing J’Adorn Designs to create these very special pieces in celebration of Cody’s arrival.

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Everything You Need to Know About Druzy Jewelry

druzy jewelry, druzy necklace, blue necklace, something blue, bridal necklaceAre you in on the druzy trend? These sparkly gemstones, in all their shapes and sizes, have been taking the jewelry world by storm for the past two wedding seasons (at least!), and the design possibilities seem to be endless. Whether you’re a total newcomer to druzies or have already started a collection of your own, you’re bound to learn something new in this latest edition of the “Know Your Bling” series. (And if not, you’ll still get to feast your eyes on some really sweet eye candy!)

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What is a druzy?
The word “druzy” (or “drusy” as our friends across the pond would say) comes from the geological term “druse,” which refers to the phenomenon that occurs when a fine layer of crystals grows on a gemstone, usually in a vein or other fractured surface. It’s the same effect you’d see in the geodes you may have purchased from the science store at the mall when you were younger.

Jenna Shriver Photography_Jadorn Designs_Fall 2015-24
Druzy in Jewelry 
In the jewelry world, druzies are a favorite for their ability to add a lot of sparkle to a design. If you look closely at a druzy, you will see countless little facets that catch the light from every direction. Because they come in many different shapes, colors, and sizes, they also offer a lot of versatility for jewelry designs. Even the crystal facets come in different sizes, so you could choose a more rough looking stone for an edgier style, or one with finer facets to create a more delicate effect.

druzy, drusy, drusy earrings, druzy earrings, champagne earrings, sparkly earrings, bridal earrings, bridal jewelry, jewelry designer, couture earrings, bridal couture
How I use druzies
Because I aim for a happy mixture of wearability and glamour in my designs as a jeweler, I tend to let these stones be the stand-alone stars of the pieces I use them in. I’ve experimented with various methods to mount the stones, from a full wire wrap to a more minimal floating design. I’ve even added a chain tassel for a pair of custom bridesmaid’s earrings; but generally I don’t overcomplicate things when I use these lustrous stones.

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Here’s a look at a few of my favorite druzy designs from the J’Adorn Designs collection. Tell me which one is your personal favorite in the comments, then click on over to the shop to claim it as your own!

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druzy, druzy jewelry, drusy jewellery, pink druzy, purple druzy, blue druzy, green druzy, druzy earrings
Jenna Shriver Photography_Jadorn Designs_Fall 2015-23

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Three Types of Pearls You Need to Know About

All about pearls - synthetic, cultured, and everything in between! via J'Adorn Designs Couture Jewelry

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Today’s “Know Your Bling” post focuses on one of our most beloved materials to work with for our bridal jewelry – Pearls! There are so many varieties and quality levels, and we’ve tried nearly all of them. In this blog post we’ll take a close look at three types of pearls you should know about. Read on to learn what kinds are available, how they’re made, and which ones we love the best!

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Natural and Cultured Pearls

We all know the symbolic story of how pearls are created, used to inspire perseverance through life’s hardships: Pearls are made when an irritant gets inside the shell of a mollusk, which produces layers of luminous nacre around it. In natural pearls, this occurs spontaneously without human intervention. Historically, they were found in the Persian Gulf but today they have been almost entirely harvested, making them very rare.

Cultured pearls occur when an irritant (usually a mother-of-pearl bead or piece of tissue) is surgically inserted in a controlled environment for the purpose of producing a pearl. Both natural and cultured pearls may be created in saltwater or freshwater. The quality grade of these pearls is determined by the evenness and luster of the nacre layers comprising the pearl.

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Freshwater Pearls

Another variety of cultured pearl, freshwater pearls are created in the environment indicated by their name, often in lakes and rivers in China. The process by which they are grown is similar to those of their saltwater counterparts, but they differ in that they rarely have a bead nucleus – instead, only a piece of tissue. The resulting pearl has a thicker nacre, creating more variety in texture and shape. This is the type of cultured pearls that we typically use in our designs, often in combination with Swarovski pearls and crystals.

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Swarovski & Other Synthetic Pearls

In the crafting community, synthetic pearls (often made of glass) have become popular due to their affordability, widespread availability in stores such as Michael’s and JoAnn’s, and great variety of colors. Glass pearls are created by applying a pearlescent coating over top of a glass bead.

We have worked with glass pearls in past bridal and custom jewelry orders, but found them to be lower in quality than what we strive to offer our customers. The outer coating, often rather thin, can chip and scratch easily, and the weight of these pearls is much lighter than that of their natural counterparts, giving jewelry pieces a lighter, more costume-like feel.

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Fortunately, we’ve been able to find a great alternative in Swarovski pearls! These pearls have a Swarovski crystal core, giving them a feel that warms to the skin and is a bit heavier, mimicking authentic pearls more closely. The outer coating is much more similar to that of a natural pearl with a thicker and more consistent quality that looks luxurious and holds up better to wear and tear. They come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, making them an ideal option for our custom clients trying to match their wedding colors.

TrumpOne07Natural, cultured, or synthetic, pearls offer a classic elegance to jewelry pieces with a versatility that’s hard to match. Look for more pearl bridal jewelry in our upcoming 2016 Bridal Collection, set to launch this October!

Featured jewelry:
Image 1: Pearl stretch bracelets in Romance and Grey
Image 2: Double stranded vintage pearl bracelet
Image 3: Grey crystal/freshwater pearl bracelet; Freshwater pearl and thin crystal bracelet (Both coming soon!)
Image 4: Champagne ribbon tieback necklace
Image 5: Green freshwater & Ivory Swarovski pearl earrings 
Image 6: Pearl stretch bracelet in Romance; Ivory & Crystal bracelet (Coming soon!)

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