Monday, May 25, 2015

Heirloom Jewels - Cartier Tutti Frutti

Welcome to another edition of Heirloom Jewels with the JET Team! This week we continue our look at Cartier jewels with a selection of pieces in the fabulous "Tutti Frutti" style.

Cartier's Art Deco "Tutti Frutti" pieces are characterised by lush arrangements of highly coloured sapphires, emeralds and rubies carved into berry, leaf and blossom shapes, and set in openwork platinum and diamond mountings. The pieces were often accented with accents of black enamel, and the precious gemstones tended to be chosen for their colour rather than their clarity.

1a,b. Cartier platinum and enamel bracelet, c1928, set with carved sapphires, rubies, emeralds and 7.00 carats of old European and single-cut diamonds

2. Cartier platinum and enamel bracelet, c1928, set with carved rubies, emeralds and 8.45 carats of old European and single-cut diamonds

3. Cartier necklace and bracelet demi parure, set with carved emeralds, sapphires, cabochon rubies and brilliant-cut white and yellow diamonds
All Photos © Sothebys

The jewellery displays a rich Indian influence, and combines the vibrant colours and textures of Mughal India with a refined Art Deco style, plus of course the superb craftsmanship that Cartier became famous for. This distinctive style is loved by some and hated by others, but whether you like them or not, these opulent jewels display a sumptuous quality and extraordinary craftsmanship!

4. Cartier platinum bracelet, c1930, set with diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and an articulated carved emerald drop
Unusually for Cartier's "Tutti Frutti" pieces, this bracelet also features button-shaped pearls. Photos © Sothebys

5. Cartier platinum floral panel bracelet, c1930, featuring a carved emerald, and set with diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, rubies, onyx, and a synthetic ruby
Image 5b also shows a Cartier "Tutti Frutti" carved sapphire, emerald and diamond ring. Photos © Sothebys

6. Cartier platinum clip brooch with double locking clasp, 1935, with carved sapphires, emeralds and rubies surrounded by diamonds
Made for Linda Lee, wife of Cole Porter. Photo © Nick Welsh, Cartiers

Incidentally, the words "Tutti Frutti" are Italian for "all fruits" (or, colloquially, "fruit salad"). Although them term has since been trademarked by Cartier, it is actually believed to derive from the fruit basket headresses worn by Carmen Miranda in the 1940s. Cartier originally described these pieces as being pierres de couleur, which simply means "coloured stones".

See you again next week for some more beautiful heirloom jewellery!

Handcrafted Vintage Style Jewelry by Blucha

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Style - Little White Dress

Hello and welcome to another edition of Sunday Style with the JET Team! Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the USA, but this long weekend is also the unofficial start of summer! There used to be a fashion rule that you couldn’t wear white until after Memorial Day. That rule has been broken for quite a while now, but white still feels right for summer.

LWDs (little white dresses) are a fresh summer alternative to the LBDs (little black dresses) that have been popular for years. One of the reasons women reach again and again for their LBD is the versatility. And just like a LBD, you can accessories a LWD for a variety of occasions and to reflect a variety of moods.

Since it is now summer, let us start with a beachy look - something you could wear walking on the boardwalk, or for a casual dinner at a beachside restaurant. A breezy bohemian tunic dress (1) from AUROBELLE is a great start. The details of pin tucks, hand embroidery, and ruffled edges make this easy to wear dress special. Greek strappy sandals (2) from Leatherhood and a beautiful fringe handbag (3) from RusticMoon13 add more tan leather and more of that boho spirit.

Add bohemian accessories for a breezy summer outfit. An amazing long necklace (4) from DeetabyDesign pairs well with Foret’s lovely dragonfly stick earrings (5) and littlebrownbird’s sweet leather bracelet (6). For carefree beach waves in your hair try Sea + Salt Hair Mist (7) from HerbsandOilsBath. Or if it’s windy, or too sunny at the shore, top your look with a fun and practical hat (8) from EllaGajewskaHATS. Add cserpent’s bronzite and tiger’s eye gemstone anklet (9) to finish the beach chic look.

Our second LWD outfit is a little dressier. Lace dresses are trendy, but a LWD in lace can scream “wedding dress!” A beautiful alternative to lace is eyelet, which gives the same airy feel but says “retro summertime fun dress!” Start with a fit and flare peplum dress (10) from Twelve26Plus in the aforementioned eyelet. Add some sparkle and more vintage feel with a rhinestone bobby pin (11) from BlancheB.

Another way to avoid looking like you are going to elope at lunch break is to add color accessories to your LWD. I picked purple just because it’s my favorite color. Blucha’s beautiful amethyst crystal earrings (12) have the perfect purple twinkle. Add some funkiness with a kumihimo spiked bracelet (13) from NancysCrystalFantasy, and a bold statement ring (14) from ArtJewelerNYC.

Define your waist with a smart skinny belt (15) from ABOVETHEFRAYCO, and carry an unusual clutch bag (16) with a dandelion illustration from redrubyrose. Leather wedges with strappy ankles (17) from BaliELF are cute but wearable. A good choice for your manicure to complete this dressy outfit would be Pastel Dreams above by GirlosityCosmetics.

Enjoy your weekend, and see you all next week!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Whats on My Bench

In this week's edition of Whats on My Bench with the JET Team, Judy of JemsByJBandCompany has been trying out a new jewellery-making technique. Let's find out how she got on...

I have always wanted to learn how to wire wrap beads onto earrings. So many pretty beads would look great on silver or gold hoops and they are so fashionable. I purchased the supplies I needed to get started.

Since I wasn’t sure how successful I would be in accomplishing this, I used inexpensive wire and beads. It looked like a simple process, so I set about designing my first pair of earrings. It turned out NOT to be as easy as I had expected!

First I took the wire and made a one inch loop, which I then wrapped with bronze wire to form my base. Then I strung the beads onto the gold wire, and began the task of wrapping them around the base template. This proved to be a daunting task as the beads kept slipping off the wire and the base kept bending.

I almost gave up at this point but, being the determined person that I am, I continued for the next few hours until both earrings were completed. I added a coordinating charm in the center of each hoop, to add some extra pizzazz to the earrings.

I need to perfect the process before I actually make a pair to offer for sale in my shop. The wire is hard on the hands, and the placement of the beads is very intricate. The pair below is my first attempt, so the wire is a little messy at the top.

I finally satisfied my need to try this and - although it was time consuming and turned out to be challenging - I think I will definitely give it another try down the road, after my hands and eyes have recovered!!!!

Well done Judy, and thank you for sharing your experiences! See you all next week,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The May Birthstone - Emerald

Emeralds are the traditional birthstone for May and one of the most valuable of all gemstones. Although the word emerald derives from the Ancient Greek for "green gemstone", they are more than 20 times rarer than diamonds, and the best quality emeralds are more valuable than diamonds!

These fascinating gemstones are a member of the Beryl family, which includes blue aquamarine and pink morganite. Pure Beryl is colourless, but traces of chromium and vanadium in the Beryl produces the green colour of emeralds.

Emerald Crystals. Photo ©

Only Beryl gems that are medium to dark green in tone are considered emerald, with the most prized stones being transparent and a vivid green with lots of depth. During the 1960s, the American jewellery industry redefined emeralds to include beryls with vanadium inclusions (confusingly often referred to as "Colombian Emeralds"), but these are not recognised as true emeralds in the UK or Europe.

Like other members of the Beryl family, emeralds feature large and perfect six sided crystals. But unlike other Beryls, which are hard and durable stones, emeralds are brittle and their resistance to breakage is poor. They also have a tendency to crack if subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations.

Emerald Crystals. Photo ©

Unlike diamonds, emeralds are graded by eye. An emerald with no visible inclusions would be considered flawless - but it is extremely rare to find an emerald like this! Most emeralds contain inclusions and a cloudiness - known as jardin - that can be seen by the naked eye. Interestingly, it is the presence of these flaws that tell an expert where the emerald originated.

Because of the presence of flaws, emeralds are a difficult gemstone to cut - so much so that the bevelled edge "emerald cut" was specially developed. For centuries, emeralds have been oiled to improve their clarity, and some stones are dyed to improve their colour. As a result, emeralds should never be washed with soap or in an ultrasonic jewellery cleaner as this can remove the oil and reveal hidden flaws in the stone.

An "Emerald Cut" Emerald. Photo © Gemfields Mine, Zambia

Nowadays the best emeralds nowadays are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia, before being sent to the emerald capital of the world, Jaipur, for cutting and polishing. But emeralds have a long history. They were first mined at least 4,000 years ago in Egypt, although "Cleopatra's Mines" had been exhausted long before they were rediscovered in the 19th century.

The Incas regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone, while the Mughal Emperors associated it with paradise (emerald green is the official colour of Islam). One of the largest emeralds ever found is the "Mogul Emerald", which was mined in Colombia and weighs a massive 217.80 carats. It was carved in around 1695, with a Shi'ite prayer on the front and a flower and leav design on the back. In 2001, this amazing emerald was sold by Christies in London for over $2million USD.

The Mogul Emerald ©


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Kitchen - Green Enchiladas

In this week's Wednesday Kitchen, JET Team leader Lynn of UrbanPearlStudio shares another of her delicious recipe creations...

Considering we live in the heart of Texas, our week usually has at least one Tex-Mex meal on the menu. On Sunday, I will prepare and cook the bulk of the ingredients we will use for the next 4 to 5 days so that, after a long work day, it's really just assembly, heat and serve.

My recipes are usually "seat of the pants" and can be altered to include any of your favorite meats or vegetables. This recipe is an easy prep/easy clean meal of green enchiladas, which is a twist from the usual red sauce enchilada recipe found in most Tex-Mex restaurants. Don't be shy on this one, get creative and use your imagination!

You Will Need:

  • 1 to 1½ pounds of cooked ground meat
    (I used 99% lean ground white turkey breast meat to reduce fat and calories)
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • Green enchilada sauce (I absolutely love Frontera, by Rick Bayless)
  • ½ pound of shredded or crumbled Queso Fresco Mexican Cheese
    (substitute Monterrey Jack or Cheddar if you wish)
  • ½ can of drained corn
  • Some fresh chopped onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and tomato

To Make:

  1. Begin by lining the baking dish with parchment paper, then gather the ingredients and create an assembly line of sorts.

  2. Once the assembly line is ready to go, heat a flat non stick pan on the stove. You must quickly and gently heat the tortillas so they become soft and pliable or they will crack during assembly.
  3. Drizzle the green enchilada sauce over the parchment paper in the bottom of your pan. You want some of that delicious sauce on the bottom as well as over the top of the dish.
  4. Take a heated tortilla and place on a flat surface. Add a few spoons of cheese, corn, onion, jalapeno and meat being very cautious not to fill it too full or you will never be able to roll it.
  5. Gently roll the tortilla and place in the pan. Repeat until your pan is full. Try not to crowd them too much, or you will never be able to get them out successfully.

  6. Once the pan is full, top with green enchilada sauce, the remaining meat and veggies and then more queso fresco cheese.
  7. Cover your pan with foil and bake at 350 degrees for around 20 min, testing to ensure the center is warm.
  8. Uncover for 5 more minutes to brown up your cheese.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest a few minutes before serving. Top with fresh cilantro and chopped tomato.
  10. Mmmmm, delicious - enjoy!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Spring Flowers For Your Garden

Early spring flowers are the surest sign that warmer weather is coming. This winter has been very loooonnnng, and the spring flowers that have now appeared are most welcome. Here are some ideas for early spring flowers for your garden, that will provide lots of spring color, including some container garden plants for those of you who don’t have a lot of property to plant on.


You will need to check with your local garden shop, or read up more on the flowers mentioned here, to be sure they are suitable for your area. Also bear in mind that bulbs like crocus and daffodil are best planted in the fall. If you plant them this autumn, you will have lots of color in your garden next spring!


Pansies are popular and pretty annual plants that gardeners love. They come in a variety of awesome colors and are among the best flowers to plant in spring window boxes, containers and borders. Although pansies are a perennial plant, they have a tendency to become rather straggly so are best grown as annuals.

Plant them in a sunny or partially sunny position in well-drained soil. Pansies are reasonably hardy, but grow best in a moderate climate as they do not like intense heat, and may not survive hard frosts and deep snow. 



Lilac flowers have the sweetest fragrance, and attract lots of butterflies. I can still remember these beautiful flowering shrubs along the perimeter of our yard when I was a child. We so looked forward to seeing them bloom each spring, and used to cut bouquets to put in the house and take to the teachers at school. 

Plant lilacs in full sun and well-drained soil, and you will find they are the perfect garden plant as they are hardy, easy to grow, and don't need much looking after! Lilacs come in all shapes and sizes, but choose carefully if you have limited space, as some varieties can grow up to 15 feet tall.



Crocuses are popular with gardeners as they are among the first flowers to appear in the spring - they are rarely affected by frost or snow. They grow to about 6 inches tall with lovely pink, purple, yellow, or white petals.

Most crocus varieties prefer a sunny position and sandy soil, while others grow well naturalised in grass. They are all ideal for growing in containers, and look great with other spring flowers in bouquets.



This bright flower is a sure sign that spring has arrived! Daffodils are usually white or yellow with a cup or trumpet shaped centre, and are amongst the only plants that rabbits and deer don't seem to eat!

Daffodils are hardy and easy to grow. They like sun or partial shade, and will grow in a variety of soil types. They are suitable for planting in borders and containers, or naturalised in grass. Plant the bulbs in the fall, and they will flower every year in the late winter or early spring.



Monday, May 18, 2015

Heirloom Jewels - Panthère de Cartier

Following last week's look at beautiful examples of Cartier's iconic panther jewellery, in today's Heirloom Jewels the JET Team takes a deeper look at the history of the distinctive symbol of this prestigious jewellery house. The Panthera genus of the big cat family includes jaguars, cheetahs and leopards. The Cartier panther - and the big cat that appears in all their literature and commercials - is actually a stylised yet incredibly detailed interpretation of a leopard.

The Duchess of Windsor’s Panther Bracelet, 1952. Photo © Sothebys
The Duchess of Windsor’s Panther Bracelet, 1952. Photo © Sothebys

Cartier's distinctive three-dimensional panther design gained international acclaim in 1948, after the Duke of Windsor commissioned the jewellery house to make his wife, Wallis Simpson, a panther brooch. The Duke loved fashion and jewels, and frequently purchased very rare and expensive precious stones which he would then commission jewellers to set. This panther brooch was one such piece, featuring a yellow gold panther with emerald eyes, sprawled across a huge boulder-like emerald that weighed over 116 carats.

The Duchess of Windsor's first panther brooch, photo © Cartier, 1948
The Duchess of Windsor's first panther brooch, and Cartier's first 3D panther design, 1948. Photo © Cartier

The Duchess had an eye for beautiful objects, combined with very expensive tastes, and in 1949 Cartier were commissioned to make her another panther brooch. This one featured a platinum and white gold panther inlaid with diamonds, with yellow diamonds for eyes and square sapphire cabochons for the markings, and guarding a huge Kashmiri sapphire cabochon weighing more than 152 carats. To realistically represent the spotted markings on the panther’s coat, Cartier developed a unique method of stone-setting which they called "fur setting", where the sapphire stones were set within tiny folded gold wires.

The Duchess of Windsor's iconic second panther brooch, photo © Cartier, 1949
The Duchess of Windsor's iconic second panther brooch,1949. Photo © Cartier

Later, in 1952, Cartier created the Duchess's iconic articulated diamond and onyx panther bracelet (this gorgeous jewel sold at Sothebys in 2010 for the incredible sum of US$7.4 million). The Duchess came to own several other panther pieces, as well as Cartier tigers, but it was her celebrated sapphire panther brooch which was to become Cartier's iconic motif - an immediately recognisable symbol of luxury, opulence, wealth and status - and desired by every socialite and heiress of the day.

The Duchess of Windsor’s Panther Bracelet, 1952. Photo © Sothebys
The Duchess of Windsor’s Panther Bracelet, 1952. Photo © Sothebys

Louis Cartier, grandson of founder Louis-Francois Cartier, had grown the family jewellery business into a world-renowned luxury brand. The panther symbol first appeared in 1914, after Cartier commissioned an illustration of a jewelled lady with a panther, to use as an invitation to an exhibition, from the French illustrator and painter George Barbier.

>George Barbier's
George Barbier's "Lady with Panther" illustration. Photo © Cartier

The Cartier company began using Barbier's artwork in advertisements, and principal designer Charles Jacqueau began using elements of the panther motif in Cartier jewelry designs. In 1915, Cartier introduced their first panther inspired product, a watch which featured an abstract interpretation of a panther skin on the bracelet strap.

Bracelet watch with a panther-skin design, 1915. Photo © Cartier
The first Cartier Panther: "Peau de Panthère", a panther-skin design diamond and onyx bracelet watch, c1914-5. Photo © Cartier

In 1917 Louis gave his muse and lover, Jeanne Toussaint a cigarette case, with a diamond and onyx panther and cypress tree decoration on the front. The following year Toussaint joined Cartier, where she acquired the nickname "La Panthére" - in part because of her love of panthers (especially panther and leopard skin coats and rugs!) and in part because of her strong personality and determination. Toussaint was appointed Director of Fine Jewellery in 1933, and under her influence and direction the panther image became a recurring and increasingly prominent presence in Cartier's designs.

Jeanne Toussaint's cigarette case with 2D panther image, 1917. Photo © Cartier
Louis Cartier's gift to Jeanne Toussaint: a cigarette case with 2D panther image, 1917. Photo © Cartier

Toussaint was the creative force and inspiration behind some of the most magnificent and renowned pieces that Cartier ever produced. She collaborated with Cartier's jewellery designers, especially Peter Lemarchand, in creating the entire panther range. Lemarchand spent many hours studying the big cats at Vincennes zoo, observing and drawing them in minute detail to capture every conceivable characteristic and pose. Cartier's first panther ring, in yellow gold with black enamel, was launched in 1935. The panther had become an instantly recognisable symbol of the Cartier brand.

Jeanne Toussaint, 1920. Photo © Cartier
Jeanne Toussaint in 1920. Toussaint was Director of Fine Jewellery at Cartier from 1933 to 1970. Photo © Cartier

To celebrate their centenary, Cartier launched a "Panthère de Cartier" collection in September 2014. Every piece in the current panther collection is painstakingly and individually handcrafted, making each panther totally unique. The eyes are usually set with emeralds or garnets, with sapphires, onyx or diamonds for the fur markings. An articulated panther bracelet is set with many hundreds of diamonds, and can take a year from drawing board to completion.

2014 Panthère Sketches. Photo © Cartier
2014 Panthère Sketches. Photo © Cartier

Join me again next week for more beautiful heirloom jewels. Until then!

Handcrafted Vintage Style Jewelry by Blucha

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Style - Scuba Blue

This week on Sunday Style with the JET Team, we will explore warm weather looks featuring a wonderful summer color, Scuba Blue. I imagine this shade of blue as the perfect Caribbean water, next to a white sand beach. It’s vibrant, and cool!

An asymmetric hem maxi dress starts our first look. Pixiwitch’s pieced organic cotton bamboo and lycra blend summer dress (1) features both scuba blue and a darker teal blue. To this free spirited dress add the free spirited horse design bracelet (2) from EarthEnergyGemstones. BeadzNBling's beachy turquoise necklace (3) features beautiful shades of blue and a trio of teardrop focal beads, and looks great with the perfect ocean blue color of the apatite earrings (4) from JemsbyJBandCompany.

It can get rather chilly at night by the ocean, so throw on a little mesh shrug (5) from Aimarro. Carry a beautiful leather bag (6) by styleSOoriginal in this exotic scuba blue color. With color this strong, simply add a pair of barely there sandals (7) from Calpas.

Our second look today is available in a full range of sizes. Start with a flattering pleated waist top (8) from TopsyCurvyDesigns. The black skirt (9) from aconversationpiece has a flirty shape and a trendy obi style tie waist. The real Queens Anne Lace flower pendant (10) from DebrasDivineDesigns excellently combines scuba blue with black, and coordinates well with the earrings (11) by TraceDesigns.

Some scuba blue beads (12) from RoughMagicals would look stunning on your wrist - most members of the JET Team will be happy to make them into a bracelet for you! Turquoise is a great gemstone that is also found in the scuba blue color, like this lovely ring (13) from LoveStoneArts. Finally, carry a pretty wristlet (14) from Loddelina, with dandelion embroidered flowers to reference back to the pendant, and add some sexy booties (15) from myShoemaker to finish this terrific look for summer.

See you next week!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Whats on My Bench

Hello and welcome back to Whats on My Bench with the JET Team. This week, poor Mollie of RoughMagicCreations is busy at her bench, but seems to be struggling with her muse!

Oh dear! Oh Dear! My Muse has flown away! Sound familiar? Usually this designer's lament foretells the onset of a bleak dry spell known as "CBS" (Creative Block Syndrome).

Alas, I know very well about this dreaded condition, and how debilitating a case of it can be. Fingers itching to create, I gaze at an array of beautiful beads, but I simply cannot imagine what to do or how to do it!

Recently, when my fickle Design Muse flew away to make mischief elsewhere, I amused myself by looking through a box of jewelry I made many moons ago.

And, like Pandora, I got a surprise. Up popped a Redesign Muse - with an ancient necklace clutched in one tiny hand.

Out came my tools, and I got busy up-cycling the necklace to please my new Muse. First, I removed all those pendants - that 18 gauge wire was way too flimsy!

Reassessing the strand, I decided to keep the basic beaded design, but that original clasp had to go. I replaced it with my hand forged hook and eye.

When my Redesign Muse called for a new pendant, I recycled a scrap of industrial sheet copper, left over from another project, and cut a disc for the background. My stash yielded pearls to complement those in the strand, and I stacked them to dangle in front of the disc.

Well. I was happily making more pendants when along came another surprise. My prodigal Design Muse, seeing a usurper in her place (and me getting along just fine, thank you very much), darted home to defend her threatened territory. The Redesign Muse, being no match for her, stalked off in a huff. Leaving me with my redesign unfinished.

Or is it? Should I keep it with just that single pendant or add more? Or should I use those other new dangles to update the matching earrings?

Oh dear, oh dear! What to do, what to do? Maybe some of my Jewelry on Etsy teammates will point me in the right direction. Meanwhile, I'll listen to my current Muse and create something new.

Thank you very much for this entertaining tour of your bench, Mollie! Join me again next week for another edition of Whats on My Bench!