Arik Kastan Debuts New Styles at Couture 2017

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Arik Kastan and their team have been busy debuting some new designs and collections while out in Vegas for Couture. Buyers, press, journalists all hovered over their booth to get a glimpse of the new styles and fun gemstone combinations that still have people talking. As usual, Arik Kastan’s booth was one that couldn’t be missed when attending this year’s tradeshow.

If you missed out attending Vegas, we’ve got you covered in this installment–which is shown here on Gem Gossip, as well as all of Arik Kastan’s Newsletter subscribers. Be sure to sign up if you haven’t below!

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A padlock on a thin chain is all you need for a night out in Vegas! This one has us telling our friends it is perfect in every way. Classic and cool for a modern woman who still likes a nod from the past.

Oval cluster padlock in emerald + diamonds, Price: $2,360


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We weren’t ready for how much of an impact we would bring to Couture with our green agate pieces! Comments like, “what stone is this, it is amazing?!” and “this green color is glowing!!” have really made us proud. This ring is one of our favorites.

Five-Stone Art Deco ring in green agate + sapphire, Price: $1,280


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Since we are on a green/blue kick, we’ve changed things up by using emeralds and turquoise. This earring style and gemstone combo are totally chic, and we could picture these on a summer getaway on a plane near you!

Deco Rhombus Drop Earrings in turquoise + emerald, Price: $1,830

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To go along with the above earrings, we’ve created this ring which is sweet as can be! It is stack-ready and as we’ve said before, awaiting summer. Try wearing this one on your pinky if you’re wanting to do something more unique. Your friends will catch on.

Deco Lilac ring in turquoise + emerald, Price: $1,170

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Feeling the summer heat over here in Vegas, which is why we’re opting to keep our necklace situation simple. We have been wearing the Aster necklace most of the week and it has brought the right amount of sparkle and femininity to our lives. Definitely our kind of Vegas vibes.

Aster Pendant in diamonds, Price: $1,830


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Before we head back to LA from scorching Vegas, we want to point out our Delilah ring because SHE’S CUTE. One of our most-requested rings during our trade show and we can’t wait to see these on your fingers!

Delilah ring in emerald + diamonds, Price: $2,200

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We couldn’t wait to show off our newest vintage-inspired bow rings which debuted at Couture. And the newest gemstone color combo that had store and editors swooning–green agate and sapphires. Look out for them to hit the website soon! Can’t wait? Email [email protected]

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Charm Your Mom for Mother’s Day with Arik Kastan

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Simple, sweet and very symbolic…our Sweetheart Padlock is such an ideal Mother’s Day gift. It is done in our signature 14k rose gold and set with a garnet.

Sweetheart Padlock Necklace, Price: $990

Arik Kastan

Let your mom know she has the key to your heart with our Victorian Key pendant. One of our favorites to layer and makes the perfect gift!

Victorian Key pendant, Price: $920

Arik Kastan

Showing off our new Deco Rhombus pendant just in time for Mother’s Day! Does she love rubies and sapphires? Who doesn’t?! Show your mom how precious she is to you with this Deco-inspired piece.

Deco Rhombus pendant, Price: $1,210

Arik Kastan

For the mom who likes to make more of a statement we’ve got you covered! Our Stained Glass Windows Padlockis the perfect piece. You can’t go wrong with our bright and shimmery moonstones accented by pops of opals.

Stained Glass Windows Padlock, Price: $2,310

Arik Kastan

Our Hexagon Flower Padlock will surely charm mom on her special day. We have a few different gemstone combinations and one of our favorites is the amethyst and ruby, as seen here. We’ve got three words for you: Add to cart.

Hexagon Flower Padlock, Price: $1,740

Arik Kastan

Keep your mom protected with the Evil Eye pendant necklace. It can be her lucky charm! Set with colorful opals and a bright green emerald.

Evil Eye pendant necklace, Price: $1,840

Arik Kastan

It’s our Hexagon Flower Padlock in another one of our favorite gemstone combinations–sapphire in the center and emeralds surrounding it! With a little more edge, the padlock is sure to turn heads and make your mom fee like the special person that she is!

Hexagon Flower Padlock, Price: $1,740

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How Designers Work with Gold: Six Unique Stories

A point of view that needs to be explored more often and more inquisitively is the role of THE MAKER. Every jewelry designer has a story, a technique, preferences and ways of doing things…but a favorite metal? That’s easy, it is usually GOLD. I teamed up with May Is Gold Month to delve further into this perspective, asking six different jewelry designers the same two questions. What will their answers reveal about using gold in their jewelry designs? Let’s find out!

You can also take a look at the MAKERS which May Is Gold Month is featuring on their page here.

Above video features Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Anthony Lent creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for a special client. Each piece is handmade by the maker himself in his studio.

Anthony Lent Jewelry Anthony Lent Jewelry

Anthony Lent Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

For years I only worked in gold and some platinum. For me doing non conventional designs and creating them in a precious metal like 18k yellow gold was sort of an identity- the imagery in my designs was unusual to see in such a fine material.

Why do you like working with gold?

It is the most pleasurable metal to work with! The color of a rich 18 or 22k gold piece of jewelry is unlike anything else in nature. The way light plays off the material, the density of it, and its malleability is in my opinion why people have lusted after it for thousands of years.

>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.

Jessie V E Jessie V E

Jessie V E Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is absolutely essential in my work. The finish and feel of gold is like no other metal, and because I mostly use diamonds in my pieces, it’s really important that the jewellery they’re held in is as precious as the stones. I remember the first time I got to use gold at the bench while I was studying for my jewellery degree at university. I honestly didn’t realise it would be that different to working in silver but i was so wrong! From that moment the love affair with gold started and I physically couldn’t design anything without it. Although I don’t make the pieces at the bench myself for Jessie V E, I work very closely with the workshop, ensuring we use the highest quality gold in each expertly hand made piece.

Why do you like working with gold?

Often my jewellery has a symbolic or emotional feel, with the majority of the pieces being personalised or ‘semi-bespoke’, because I want them to become heirlooms passed down and cherished by future generations. Gold not only has the nostalgic and warm feel of the jewellery you remember seeing your grandparents and parents wearing when you were younger, but also from a more practical sense, gold is a metal that very few people have an allergy to, therefore making it perfect for everyday jewellery that lasts longer than a lifetime. There is just something about the feel, weight and warm glow of a gold piece of jewellery that is perfect for attaching memories and sentiment to, while looking beautiful and timeless.

>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.

Metalicious Jewelry Metalicious Jewelry

Metalicious Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is important in my work because it has a rich history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Gold never corrodes and it was thought to symbolize immortality. This makes it the perfect ring for wedding and commitment bands.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is a beautiful metal to work with, it’s malleable yet extremely durable. I love the range of colors you can achieve by alloying gold with other metals. It gives me the flexibility to create unique alternative engagement rings, to match my customers personalities perfectly.

>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.

Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos

Johnny Ninos Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold has played a big role in progressing my work. While transitioning from silver, the cost of gold required me to slow down and focus more intently on the details. I remember honing in on each file stroke and tightening my burr control; skills I now apply to all materials regardless of cost.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is an easy metal to love. It’s luscious and has a rich, deep character. When I’m working with gold it’s soft qualities preserve the handmade nature of the piece while still allowing for structure, durability, and precision.

>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.

Grace Lee Designs Grace Lee Designs

Grace Lee Designs

How is gold important in your work?

Everything in my collection is solid gold and made locally with ethically sourced materials. When I started my collection, almost 10 years ago now, there was a lack of minimal fine jewelry. Personally, I was at a point in my life when I didn’t want to invest in jewelry that will tarnish or turn my finger green. If the outside of my finger is green then who knows what’s happening on the inside of my body.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is intrinsically a soft and malleable metal yet strong and unchanging. Its value comes from these physical properties and its rarity. Gold was discovered thousands of years ago yet still today it remains one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. I like working with gold because of the creative possibilities with a malleable yet unchanging raw material are endless and lasting. If you look at my collection we have pieces like the iconic Whisper Ring – that is airy and whisper thin yet can be worn everyday. The fact that it is solid 14k gold means you don’t need to take it off to shower or wash your hands. The fact that is solid 14k gold also means your piece will not change and can be passed on for generations.

I think it is rare and valuable to be flexible yet constant simultaneously. It is almost an oxymoron. Think about some of your favorite people – perhaps they are flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances yet you are confident they will also remain the same at a core level. Personally, I like these intrinsic characteristics in gold and in people.

As a designer that’s what I hope to do – to evolve yet stay constant. As I continue to create new collections it is my hope that people will continue to be able to appreciate and recognize my work as distinctively GL.

>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.

SophieHughes SophieHughes SophieHughes

Sophie Hughes Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Why do you like working with gold?

There is a very potent mystique intrinsic to gold – it is radiant, lush and seductive. It looks and feels luxurious on the body. The specific alloy of 18 karat gold I use in my work is bright and rich, with an old-world feel supplied by its cool undertones. As a designer, I appreciate its versatility as a material – it stands on its own but also plays nice visually when set with precious stones or fused over the surface of oxidized sterling silver.

I draw a lot of excitement and inspiration from the unlimited design possibilities of gold. Plus, working with it is an absolute dream! It remains clean when heated, is smooth as butter, and responds beautifully to the textures of the antique hammers I utilize in my work. It’s super forgiving because it has a great capacity to be worked and re-worked.

Gold is also easily recycled so its use aligns with my values as a designer. The metal mining industry is disruptive to the environment and is notorious for unscrupulous labor and business practices, so partnering with refineries who melt and mill precious, reclaimed scrap allows me access to material I feel good about working with and my clients feel good about wearing.

>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with May Is Gold Month.

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Q & A with Ashley of Jewelry Finds

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One of the most abundant comments I receive from people is gratitude for instilling a love for antique items, specifically jewelry, into the younger generation. If all else fails, I feel like I’ve contributed to the greater good of this world by promoting an appreciation for the past, rather than buying fast and new products. I’m always excited to profile someone that is younger than me and exudes a passion for antique jewelry which they’ve been fostering on their own, making it their occupation and being successful at it! That’s why I’m really excited to feature Ashley of Jewelry Finds, an online-based antique and vintage jewelry shop that has been run by her and her mother since 2013. Let’s find out more, shall we?

Q&A

I was 20 years old enjoying burgers and shakes around midnight with my friends at a diner in my hometown of Bethesda, Maryland. Suddenly, a woman I had never met walked right up my table and asked if I had ever considered selling jewelry before. Maybe she liked way I laughed? How I talked to people? The way I scarfed down my cheeseburger in 30 seconds? Whatever it was, I now know it was fate. Fast forward two months later and I had my first big city job at Washington D.C.’s oldest antique jeweler. Shortly thereafter, my antique jewelry fairytale was written and I was given an old brooch that changed my life!

Visit my website to read my magical and true story: https://www.jewelryfinds.com/about.html

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

So my love affair of jewelry professionally goes back 13+ years but I actually used to model in jewelry stores for their holiday trunk shows in high school! So I think 17 years?! I am a GIA alumni and love learning about any type of jewelry from any era on any given day! To acquire my pieces I have hundreds of contacts with jewelry wholesalers and auction houses. They know how particular I am and how I like to hand select everything myself! I only pick unique, well preserved and heirloom quality pieces for my clients. I don’t offer pieces in my collection unless I would want it for myself!

I joined the online retail world in 2013 with four pieces of my own jewelry for sale and since it has grown to over 200 carefully hand curated heirloom quality pieces of art! I am strictly a web-based business so I have the time to add new pieces weekly! Check back often! Just click on my ‘Newest Finds’ section on my website or click on the link below:

https://www.jewelryfinds.com/products/newest-finds.html

In case you were wondering how I got ALL of this done, I didn’t want to forget the backbone of the company and co-owner of Jewelry Finds®, my mom Janet! She is Jewelry Finds® amazing photographer, videographer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, website designer, shipping expert and my BEST FRIEND! She loves jewelry just as much as I do and I make sure to spoil her every chance I get! We both share a love for antique jewelry, cute animals and Joni Mitchell. She’s the web guru. I’m the jewelry guru. It was a match made in heaven for a web based antique fine jewelry business from the very start.

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Q&A

Hands down, my favorite piece in my collection for sale is this enormous and rare Art Nouveau enamel and diamond ring! It features gorgeous shaded green and pastel yellow enameling, chunky old mine cut diamonds, and a central Peruzzi cut diamond weighing approximately .80cts . This ring is made entirely in era appropriate brushed 18k green-yellow gold. It’s a museum worthy piece!

Here is the link everyone and don’t forget to watch it’s YouTube video!

https://www.jewelryfinds.com/product/antique-diamond-ring-art-nouveau-1900s-green-enamel-cushion-cut-peruzzi-diamond-18k-yellow-gold-statement-ring.html

Featured front-and-center in photo below:

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

1) A pristine and classic ‘Moi Et Toi’ early Edwardian ‘Tiffany & Co.’ old European cut diamond and natural emerald bypass ring with original hallmarks.

2) This Victorian moonstone and old mine cut diamond heart locket with intricate enameling & hand engraving.

3) And last but not least, a pair of late Victorian chandelier earrings measuring over just over 2.5” inches long made in era appropriate 14k yellow gold with sterling silver tops. These earrings featured almost three carats of chunky and sparkling old mine cut, table cut, and antique pear cut diamonds. Ugh. Officially depressed!

one two three Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

My Victorian 14k Yellow Gold & Old Mine Cut Diamond Brooch, of course!

(This brooch changed Ashley’s life, read the full story & see it here >> https://www.jewelryfinds.com/about.html )

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Jewelry Finds.

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Reawaken Your Spring Jewelry Wardrobe with Arik Kastan

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Inspired by one of Arik Kastan’s favorite kinds of flowers, the Sunflower ring will brighten your day and your finger! Each petal is adorned with an opal because the designer is all about the details!

Sunflower ring, Price: $1,300

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Feels like instant spring when you add these flower blossom studs to your earlobes. My pick for this season–get them in moonstones! You’ll thank me later!

Blossom stud earrings, Price: $924

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

If I had to pick a favorite, I’d say I’m just a little obsessed with the newest design–the Lunar ring! Arik Kastan hand-selected the opals and moonstones so it appears as if the phases of the moon are displayed.

Lunar ring, Price: $1,590

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Dreamy in every sense, the Ring Around the Moon padlock necklace features an iridescent moonstone surrounded by emeralds. You better have this on lock for spring!

Ring Around the Moon padlock necklace, Price: $3,180

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

The Double Gypsy Cigar band will be your statement piece for spring! It is bold enough to wear on its own and versatile enough to go with just about anything.

Double Gypsy Cigar Band ring, Price: $2,290

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If you want to add one piece to your neck game for spring, let me suggest the gorgeous Evil Eye pendant necklace. It is easy to layer, goes with everything, and is totally unique! The power of protection never looked so good!

Evil Eye pendant necklace, Price: $1,840

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Top Ten Rings from STORE 5a in Columbus, OH

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I learned of STORE 5a when on my #JewelryRoadTrip last month in the Ohio area. The shop caught my attention because they are all about selling pre-owned items–things like designer handbags, watches, and of course fine jewelry. It is stores like STORE 5a where you can find hidden gems and that one piece you’ve been missing from your collection, easily. Luckily they have two locations, both in Columbus, Ohio–one being in the Easton Market and the other in Short North. Taking the word pre-owned and putting their own spin on it, STORE 5a shows how you can save money, be socially responsible and own a piece of fashion history, all while shopping at their store.

I hope to someday get to visit one of their stores, but in the meantime, their jewels came to me! Here are my TOP TEN favorite rings from their current inventory:

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1. 14k yellow gold solitaire rutilated Kunzite ring, Price: $2,750

I don’t know but for some reason I went from not liking pink to being ALL ABOUT pink! This kunzite ring is vibrant, glowing and pouring out color in every direction. What is neat about it this particular piece is that it features some rutile inclusions that have become a part of the unique look of the stone. Rutile thin fibers of another mineral that often get in the cross path of another mineral when forming underground. The result is often really cool, like in this ring!

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2. Platinum and 18k yellow gold tourmaline and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

The center gemstone in this ring immediately caught my attention and you wouldn’t realize how different the setting is until you saw the side profile view, above! The flattened shank is actually really comfortable–now I know why so many men have a square wedding band. The tourmaline is such a pretty blue-green color, accented perfectly with a rubellite (just another word for red/pink tourmaline).

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3. 14k white gold diamond and sapphire bubble ring, Price: $3,950

A cluster of geometric goodness consisting of diamonds and sapphires, this ring is bold and beautiful! There’s quite a lot of diamond weight here–nearly three carats! It sparkles like crazy and the way the ring is designed, it has a comfort fit where the shank meets the front. I love how elongated it is and takes up quite a lot of space on the finger! A must in my book.

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4. 14k yellow gold diamond and sapphire owl ring, Price: $1,960

Something about owls that people just love–my gram collected owls for years…had them all over her house! I would have preferred this owl ring over a house full of owls any day! The eyes are two glowing sapphires and there are also diamonds which form its classic scowl. I love the detail of the texture of the gold–makeshift feathers right there! Such a cool piece.

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5. 18k yellow gold and platinum emerald and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

This ring is all about the details! From the gilded, scrolling shank, to the contrasting metals, and even the details of the “petals,” it checks every box. It also doesn’t hurt that it is very photogenic! It is bold and earthy, with lots of vintage vibes going on. Maybe you’re a May baby and need a birthstone ring that you’ve been hunting for?! This may be it!

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6. 18k yellow gold old mine cut diamond and sapphire flower ring, Price: $1,450

Perfect for spring, or really, any time of year for that matter–this flower ring is the cutest! It is set with one center old mine cut diamond that is approx. 0.40 carats, surrounded by gold petals with sapphire accents. I’ve always loved the combination of yellow gold, blue sapphire and diamonds. This little vintage beauty is a definite favorite!

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7. 18k white gold filigree synthetic sapphire and diamond ring, Price: $998

Ah, the classic three-stone filigree ring–a staple in every antique jewelry collector’s jewel box. I remember purchasing mine when I first started collecting–since then I upgraded by removing the center stone and replacing it with a diamond. This could easily be done with this one too, but I do love the contrast of the blue and the white gold/white diamonds. Such a precious piece with a great price!

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8. Platinum irraditated yellow pear-cut diamond set with accent diamonds, Price: $7,150

If anything is becoming as of late, it is these incredible pear-cuts that are thankfully trending. I love a good pear cut and this particular diamond has some intense yellow color to it, enhanced through a process called irradiation. I love its design and silhouette–it looks as though it is two rings, but it is all one seamless ring. And it sparkles like crazy!

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9. 14k yellow gold amethyst and pink tourmaline ring, Price: $1,662

I love a juicy color combo and this is amethyst/pink tourmaline duo is pretty incredible! Besides the fact that the design is really stunning in its own right, I simply can’t get enough of this ring. I can picture it being paired with a very casual t-shirt and jeans look, and make a big impact. Make this your statement ring that people recognize you by!

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10. 14k white gold diamond snowflake ring, Price: $1,225

This ring most resembles a snowflake to me, but could be open for interpretation. It features both princess cut and round brilliant cut diamonds to create the design, every stone being bezel set. This would be an ideal ring for every day wear. The diamonds total approx. 1.21 carats and whether you love the winter or love the concept of snowflakes each being totally unique, this ring is for you!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with STORE 5a.

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Tips & Tricks on Effectively Using Snapchat or Instagram Stories

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One way to “bring to life” your brand is through Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Over the last few years, Instagram has become such an integral part of business and branding, it sort of has become a place where jewelry designers, jewelry stores and influencers have gone to display their aesthetic and grow their following. Sometimes an Instagram account can grow stale–although photos that are pleasing to the eye may continue to grab your audience’s attention, how can you suplement this platform and bring your photos to life?? That’s where Snapchat and Instagram’s newly launched “Instagram Stories” comes into play. You can ignore them all you want, but these additions are fun ways of engaging fans and you may be missing out on a new, up-and-coming niche.

That’s why I’ve elicited the help of jewelry designer Janna Connor to share her tips and tricks to effectively using Snapchat and/or Instagram Stories. Her brand has no doubt grown because of social media and she is always ready to take on the next big thing. Janna’s use of both these platforms as one of the first and few jewelry designers to use them and DO IT WELL has gained a lot of attention. Her quirky snaps, glimpses of everyday life of a jewelry designer and peeks of her personal life are leaving her fans wanting more.

So without further ado, take it away Janna:

“Ok so you’re on Instagram, that’s great. But don’t kid yourself by saying you don’t need to be on Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat as well. According to Forbes, “Over 60% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 38 are Snapchat users.” What is so great about Snapchat and Instagram Stories? While Instagram is the glossy magazine editorial layout, Snapchat is the more personal behind the scenes look to Instagram’s manicured perfection. Instagram’s answer to Snapchat Instagram Stories came out earlier this month and has been a massive hit. Why? Because it’s so easy to use and easy to find people on it, both things that unfortunately Snapchat is not. But Snapchat can become easy if you spend a little time on it everyday.

Here are my 5 tips for killing it in the Insta-stories/Snapchat world:

1. Be consistent. That means you have to post everyday. Not just once a week, not just when you feel like it but everyday. If you are consistent about posting then people will expect and look forward to watching your content. If you’re erratic and all over the place with your posting schedule then people will get bored and move on. Even if you are overwhelmed by the prospect of posting on yet another social media channel, don’t over think it. Start simple. Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee? Snuggling with a favorite pet? Going for a walk in a scenic area? Checking out a new store? Post it. If there are some days when you just aren’t feeling it then give yourself a pass and post only a few times. Increase gradually and work up to posting more. As they say, fake it till you make it. The more you do it the more second hand it will become and the easier it will become.

2. Just like on regular Instagram, don’t dump all your content at one time. That’s a major pet peeve. Think about it: If you see 15 pictures in a row, by the time you get to 15 you are not nearly as excited/focused as you were on 1-3. We’re all busy, with limited time and a lot of people we follow and a lot of content to get through in a day. But if you post 5 times a day, 3 pics each, then chances are people will stick it out and see all of your content. And the whole reason for posting is so that people will see it, right? So make it easy for them. Also, by posting several times a day, you will continually be moved to the top of the feed and the chances that people will see your post will increase dramatically.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

3. So, really what’s so great about Snapchat and Instagram stories anyways? Everything. Until recently when they added the Camera Roll function to SC and currently with Insta Stories is that you have to take the picture/video solely within the app. That means no Facetune no Snapseed, no photo retouching (with the exception of Snapchat’s amazing filters!). Just what you snap is what you get. What’s great about this is that it enables you to be a lot freer with your content. It’s not going to be perfect but it doesn’t have to be…because it only lasts for 24 hours! So who cares if a snap isn’t taken at the most flattering angle or you have a blemish in another… Big deal! It’s only up for 24 hours and you can always delete it later. That’s not to say you should post completely indiscriminately. Of course not. I would advise against posting anything lewd, illegal and no drunk pics. If you are a public profile then keep in mind that anyone can see these, including your coworkers and employees. So have fun but keep it clean guys! Another thing I love about Snapchat is that nobody can see how many followers another account has or how many views their content received. It really evens the playing field so there isn’t this overt competition to posting. It’s just for fun and that’s something that I think people gloss over too quickly. Sometimes it’s good to just do things because they’re fun or silly, it can stimulate you in many unforeseen creative ways and you may not even know it!

4. Now, you know when to post and how to post but how about what to post? Coming up with new ideas for content can be challenging. I recommend doing a little research and checking out what those you admire are up to. Take notes on what you like and what you don’t like and try it out for yourself. If you have new product coming in, snap it. If you have new packaging in, take a snap. Trying out a new restaurant, take a snap. Traveling somewhere interesting, take a snap. Think about what things you would find interesting and include those. Now, please don’t take a million different snaps of the same restaurant or the same place, just a few will suffice. Less is more! I’m a jewelry designer, and I have access to tons of jewelry, so I often post a pic or a video of what I’m wearing everyday. I figure it might be interesting for others to see how I put my jewelry together and how I accessorize. If I have new interesting stones in, I snap them or if there is an interesting piece in progress, I take a snap. I try to keep it to things that wouldn’t necessarily look great as a finished image on Instagram but are still interesting. Insta stories and SC is a great way for people to see behind the scenes into what makes you, you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This helps to personalize you and make you more relatable. I like to do seasonal style guides or cross promote blog posts, or just a day in the life at my design studio or out exploring the city. I love going to museums so I’m sure to snap any art that moves me or interesting architecture. There are so many inspiring things in the world, just take a look around! Doodle on your photos, use stickers in Snapchat (hopefully these will come soon to Insta stories) and use captions. Personally, I like when people provide context for their stories so you’re not just looking at random images.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

5. Last but not least, use the video option. Snapchat and Insta-stories can help connect your followers to who is really behind your brand. To get to know the real you. So for that to happen, they want to hear your voice and see you in action. Make sure to add videos at least once a day, it can’t all be photos. I’m personally wary of doing too many of these because it can be annoying when there are blasts of sound from one story to the next. Always keep it short and sweet. Essentially Instagram Stories is your Instagram come to life so make it fun!

>> I hope you enjoyed my tips! If you want to see what I’ve been up to check my out on Instagram @jannaconner and Snapchat at Janna_Conner I also do social media consulting, for both big and small companies. If interested in finding out more please contact me at [email protected]

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DIY 4th of July Tasseled Choker necklace

People, who dress up for the holidays often do so for the spirit of the celebration without really being concerned about fashion trends.

People, who dress up for the holidays often do so for the spirit of the celebration without really being concerned about fashion trends. This very same reason, on the other hand also stops people from dressing up, out of fear of looking dated or jaded. In my opinion, the best way to dress up for the holidays would be with accessories that are absolutely in trend. With 4th of July fast approaching, here is a really quick DIY necklace that combines two of this season’s most favourite trends – choker necklace and tassels. This necklace can be made in less than an hour’s time, making it the perfect “day before” project. Here is what you need

Tasseled Choker necklace
Materials
Blue Bernat mega bulky yarn
– red embroidery thread
– white or off white embroidery thread
– blue embroidery thread
– Scissors
– Fabric glue

Method
Make the tassels: These mini tassels are a lot of fun and are very easy to make.
1. Wrap embroidery red around the first and middle finger of your non dominant hand 15-20 (until you get the desired thickness). #Tip: Start wrapping with the end facing downwards, it can be trimmed later.
2. Slide it off your finger and tie a knot about 1 cm from the top.
3. Trim the ends to make them level and flush it out. Repeat steps 1-3 to make 3 more tassels and keep them aside

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DIY Empress Cord necklace

For a while, I was tempted to try my hand at Soutache jewelry. Soutache originated as a flat, narrow braid used to ornament clothing and hide seams.

For a while, I was tempted to try my hand at Soutache jewelry. Soutache originated as a flat, narrow braid used to ornament clothing and hide seams. It was also used to indicate ranks and to monogram clothes and accessories. Over the years, it was adapted as a jewelry making technique, as you could form loops, curls and swirls easily, creating excellent ornamental bezels to hold cabochons and beads over a flat base. Though I am not exceptional at embroidery and a mere novice when it comes to beadwork, I can handle embroidery projects like a yoke or even jewelry. But at the same time, I am impatient; I like projects, that can be done in a matter of minutes, or a couple of hours at the most making soutache less than ideal as a technique that I would enjoy pursuing.


As a mixed media artist, whenever I come across a labor intensive technique exclusive to a particular medium, I look for ways to simplify the process by which I can combine it with another material or technique. I try to come up with alternate methods that might imitate or bring about the concept or simply the look of the piece but from a different perspective. By doing this, I mean no offense to the original craft, artisan or the process. Instead, I try to establish a new, previously unsought route to practicing a familiar craft. In this case, I thought, why not adapt the concept of ‘capturing a focal using a cord bezel’ from Soutache jewelry and morph it into something modern by using round cords and wire wrapping. Copy and adapt, as they say in Marketing – Simple!
While I was mulling over this idea, I came across these beautiful fine silk twisted cords at Endless Leather and thought that they would be perfect to create quick and easy jewelry that was fit for an Empress. Check the tutorial below to see how I made this beautiful necklace in 10 minutes, excluding drying time.

DIY Empress Cord necklace

Materials
1.Silk Cord 4mm – beige
2. Silk Cord 4mm – gray taupe

3. 1.5″ long Maroon Crystal Focal with brass setting
4. Champagne gold rhinestone shank button
5. 26g brass wire
6. Jewelry findings (gold plated) – 6mm End caps – 1 pair, 1 lobster clasp, and 2 jump rings
7. 2 part epoxy resin or any strong glue
Tools – Nose pliers, wire cutter, scissors and clear tape

Method
1. Cut the cords to size (mine are 25″ and 24″) leaving 1 cm extra on each end. Tape the end to stop the yarns from untwisting and fraying
2. Bend the cords in half to find the middle point. Make a little loop and place your rhinestone focal in the center to mark the required length. This is the point where you would be wire wrapping the button. Remember to keep both cords, flat and parallel to one another while measuring.
3. Cut about 8″ of wire (more or less depending on the no. of wraps that you want) and insert it into the shank of the rhinestone button. Place the button at the marked point.


4. Making sure that the cords are flat, start wrapping by coming to the center and feeding the wire into the loop before coming out the other side. Repeat 2-3 times until secure and do not cut the wire.You can use 28g wire if your shank hole is very small.
5. Cut about 10″-12″ of wire ( you can take more and cut away the excess), make a “U loop” and insert it at the bottom (center) of the focal*.
6. Push the focal into the loop pushing the wire behind
*My focal was back open with gaps all around its circumference making it ideal for this design. You can also pick a focal with multiple holes or channels.


7. Starting from the back, wrap the focal to both cords, keeping them flat, one side at a time.
8. Repeat the wrap on the other side
9. Insert the ends of this wire into the previous (horizontal wrap) and secure
# Optional – Wrap around cords once again before you tuck the ends into the horizontal wrap
10. Finish the ends of the horizontal wrap wire by twisting and tucking them into the center gap. Press all wire ends down to smoothen them and eliminate pokey ends.

11. Cut away the individual clear tape bindings and carefully wrap both cords together with the same piece of tape. Cut away the excess tape and repeat on the other side. Instead of tape, you can also use sewing thread to bind the cords
12. Glue the end caps on and let dry (depending on instructions on the glue) and add the clasp and rings once dried.


#Tip 1 – Wire Wrapping- make a small loop at the end of the wire that you are tucking in. Even if it gets out of the nest it will blunt and will not poke
# Tip 2 While using resin to glue the cords to the caps, apply glue on the inside of the caps, push the cords in and hold. The tape on the cord might make it slippery, so it’s necessary to bind the cords until they dry
#Tip 3 For a more Soutache flavour, add seed beads on the outer cord or create beaded wire wraps

Once upon a time, fine jewelry was the prerogative of just the rich and royals folks. Master craftsmen would spend multiple hours, days or sometimes even weeks perfecting a single piece by hand in a manner that would be worth presenting to an emperor or an empress. Any and all surrogate procedures were considered shortcuts and were severely condoned as they brought down the value or the “fineness” of the product. Over a period of time, with fashion as the epicenter of change, costume jewelry came to the forefront and alternate materials were accepted. Now simplification, abstraction, reduction and morphing of procedures are not just allowed, they are in fact encouraged in the same way as fine jewelry practices.
So do not shy away from morphing traditional techniques and ideas to create new forms and if you try my tutorial do share your pictures on my Facebook page or tag my Instagram profile.

I hope you found it interesting

Cheers

[||||Thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Special thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Greetings to:jewelsofsayuri blog |Source: jewelsofsayuri|More at:jewelsofsayuri blog|

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10 Blogging tips for a successful blog hop

The Bead Peeps Swap and hop is almost here (On sunday) so I just thought that I’ll share some blogging tips for newbie bloggers who will be taking part in the hop so as to enable a smooth and pleasant experience for everyone involved. At my place, we tidy up our house when we know guests are visiting, so it is only right that I extend the same courtesy to my friends who would be visiting my blog too.

The Bead Peeps Swap and hop is almost here (On sunday) so I just thought that I’ll share some blogging tips for newbie bloggers who will be taking part in the hop so as to enable a smooth and pleasant experience for everyone involved. At my place, we tidy up our house when we know guests are visiting, so it is only right that I extend the same courtesy to my friends who would be visiting my blog too.
Even you are not participating in this particular hop, I feel that the tips would still be useful for you as they can be applied to any blog hop. I maybe be guilty of making some of these mistakes,and at times my blogger goes crazy, however I keep correcting them.

10 Blogging tips for a successful blog hop

Before you post – Tidy up your blog
1. Choose the right Font and Font size: Choose simple readable “Sans Serif” for your blog (fonts without the projecting little lines at the top and/or bottom) like Calibri, Verdana, Open sans, Franklin Gothic, Helvetica, Trebuchet, etc. for your blog’s post body. Change the font size of your blog to 12px – 14px (for the body) and 16px for the heading. Anything smaller is inconvenient to read on mobile phones and anything bigger hurts the eye.
2. Connectivity: Suppose I come to your blog and I want to stay in touch with you, I need to see Social media icons (with working links) or way to subscribe to your blog, otherwise you just lose me there
3. About Me – when I really like a fellow artist or designer’s work I really want to know more about them and an “About me” page, with your photograph, doesnt exactly that. Even if you a beading robot, I want to know about you. See my About me page here
4. Composition – Just as you spend time composing a beautiful necklace or earrings, take time to compose blog’s various elements. Align them with one another. A blog doesn’t need exotic fonts, 10 different colors or complicated layouts to be good. Often, a simple gray text on a white background design is the best.

When you write the post
5. Post pictures that are big enough – so we can enjoy your beautiful creations. Vertical pics work better for Pinterest, landscape works better for Facebook, twitter and G+ and square is great for Instagram and Linky parties. Put your images in the center of your post instead of Left or right alingment. It makes the post more readable
6. Create a Link list – Instead of writing the blog url as http://www.someblogurl.com, write the participants name and add the url as a link. Better still, list blog names and add links. This way, Google doesnt think that you are spamming and the participating blog gets a viable link. Always Set the participating blogger links to open as a new tab
7. Schedule your postPost on time or a hour before time (to check for mistakes and correct them), and share your post’s permalink with your partner, so that they can directly link to your post.
8. Post!Post atleast work in progress pics even if you havent completed a piece.

After you Post
9. Remove captcha – Oh God, This is one of my pet peeves and I just about tolerate it. If you make it hard for me to comment, why should I comment? Keep comment moderation on if you want but remove all and any sort of captcha or word/image verification for atleast for a week following the hop date
10. Change commentators settings to allow non Gmail account users to comment – I am guilty of this mistake but setting the profile to Gmail users enables me to reply to their comments via mail and its reduces spam. Still, I am changing!

# Extra Tip share your post on Social Media and promote the hop

Join me on Sunday, Visit all participating blogs, comment and get inspired!!

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

[||||Thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Special thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Greetings to:jewelsofsayuri blog |Source: jewelsofsayuri|More at:jewelsofsayuri blog|

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