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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Here’s a jewelry design for Throwback Thursday that’s also ruby-red for Valentine’s Day: my Lady Jane necklace.


No longer available. Sorry!

The true story of Lady Jane Grey — the “Nine Day Queen” of Tudor times — inspired me to create this teardrop-shaped pendant in 2008. It was made from two pieces of custom-cut rock crystal, loose rubies, and 18K yellow gold. I planned to make three pendants — meaning I had six pieces of rock crystal — but one piece of rock crystal broke during the setting process, so I only made two pendants. I totally forgot that the second one was different than the first one! The rock crystal in that one was sealed by blackened sterling silver with 18K gold accents. Very complicated!


These were sold years ago, so you can look but you can’t buy. Sorry! If you want rubies, I’ve got those beautiful studs from day five of my Valentine’s Day/anti-Valentine’s Day countdown. A big thank you to Hannah Connorton for including those in her own Valentine’s Day selection for National Jeweler!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

For today’s anti-Valentine’s Day choice, I’ve got a classic mismatched earring pair. “Screw U” comes in silver …


Screw U! $70. Click to purchase.

… and 18K yellow gold.


$450. Click to purchase.

If you’re in one of those “it’s complicated” relationships that has a lot of ups and downs, you can get the single heart earring as well.


$35. Click to purchase.

That way you’re prepared for the good moments!



Hope springs eternal, after all.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

You’ve got one more day to order for Valentine’s Day delivery. How about this BAE necklace for your bae?


Click to purchase.

I like the way “bae” can be applied to your girlfriend or your platonic gal pal.


Allow me to model this for you!

If you don’t have a Valentine, get it for your Galentine!


Monday, February 8, 2016

I’m definitely NOT feeling the love today, which is good, because it’s time for an anti-Valentine’s Day choice for my Valentine’s Day/anti-Valentine’s Day jewelry gift-guide countdown.

I’ve got a few suggestions today, starting with my GTFOH necklace.


Click to purchase.

GTFOH is what I thought when someone pointed out this Louis Vuitton hashtag earring to me last night.

louis-vuitton-lv-me-earring-hashtag-fashion-jewelry--M62356_PM2_Front view

Via Louis Vuitton.

Whenever I see some big brand selling hashtag jewelry — or some smaller brand getting glowing press for its hashtag designs — I have a flashback to July 2011, when Elle.com wrote about my hashtag ring.

The original hashtag ring in sterling silver. Click to purchase.

The original hashtag ring in sterling silver. Click to purchase.

I’m normally appreciative of any hard-won press, but this time … #nah.  The Elle piece read [bold emphasis mine]:

“The ring’s ‘designed’ by journalist turned jewelry designer Wendy Brandes and it’s called the Hashtag# (yes, there’s really a “#” at the end a la DSquared2) and it retails for $115.”

The writer put sarcastic quotes around the word “designed”! Because when I do something, it’s not a design at all! It’s just something found in nature, I guess. Of course, that all-natural discovery happens to come in my choice of a specific jewelry category, made in sterling silver, in a carefully-considered-and-tested-for-comfort size and introduced at a specific time of growth in hashtag use.

By the way, I never called it a “Hashtag#” ring. I suppose that was the doing of my then-publicists, who were also the cause of this snarky sentence:

“A press release hails ‘the perfect statement piece’ as the best way to get in on the social media phenomenon enjoyed by celebrities like ‘Ashton Kushner’ (their spelling).”

Obviously, I was livid over the misspelling of Ashton Kutcher‘s name.  I hadn’t seen the pitch, which was what it was, rather than a proper press release. Sometimes publicists send formal press releases to the world. Other times, they send out more casual, copied-and-pasted emailed pitches to their best contacts, probably because they need something to keep the intern busy in the morning. This was one of the latter. The very apologetic publicists said there were too many of those run-of-the-mill pitches for me to edit them all, but I insisted on editing everything from that point on until I stopped working with that firm. Based on this experience, I plan to keep editing things done in my name until the day I hire someone who has editorial experience to rival my own. When I can afford that person, I’ll delegate. Until then, I’ll make the time.

The gorgeous Hillary Hayward pointed out the Louis Vuitton hashtag to me yesterday. People often point out hashtag jewelry to me, because they know I did it a long time ago and they feel like I’ve been ripped off. I want to hug everyone who does that, because it’s so nice! (Thanks, Hillary!) But a hashtag is a hashtag and anyone can do it. I don’t claim ownership of it as a jewelry concept. I never have. Hashtags for everyone! It does, however, grind my gears …


… that retailers turned down my versions in every form, starting when I first introduced the hashtag ring as part of my swear ring set in 2008; made the ring available separately in 2011; and debuted a hashtag earring in 2012. But they were happy to pick up the same designs in crappier material from cheap wholesalers years later! Meanwhile, my press coverage included the sarcastic-quotes item above. Even the much-nicer Fashionista.com piece stemming from the same press pitch said, “As much as we hate to admit it, we think this ring is awesome.” If only I could go back in time and say, “No need for shame, kind Fashionista peeps! Someday Louis Vuitton will make hashtag jewelry too and it will all be okay!”

Apparently — judging from the wording on the item and the photo, though it doesn’t say it clearly — the Vuitton hashtag is a single earring. Vuitton is charging $225 for gold-colored brass costume jewelry. My made-in-New-York, sterling-silver hashtag earring is available as a single for $35, and as a pair for $70. I haven’t changed that price since 2012.


$35. Click to purchase. Doesn’t include an LV logo on front, if that stuff matters to you.

If you want to custom-order the hashtag stud in gold-plated silver, it will cost $50 for a single. Email me at info at wendybrandes dot com. If you want to custom-order a hashtag earring in 18K gold — your choice of yellow, rose or white gold — it will cost the same as all my other 18K gold single studs: $225. In other words, the same as Vuitton’s brass.

I see that Vuitton has an at sign and ampersand stud as well as letters. I’ve got those earrings too. Same prices as the hashtag. I’ve also got everything except the ampersand (which, again, you can custom order) available as big-ass sterling-silver rings.


My “at sign” ring on a gorgeous client. Click to purchase.

Single punctuation and letter rings range from $55 to $220, depending on how much metal is used and where they are made. Still less expensive than that brass Vuitton stud. Save money — and prevent your fingers from turning green — by coming to me for all your hashtag fine-jewelry needs! And thanks for letting me vent. I feel #MuchBetter.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

How’s THIS for a Super Bowl 50 ring?

Today’s Valentine’s Day selection is the redesigned engagement/50th anniversary ring I made for my mother last year, using her original center diamond and baguettes. Obviously you can’t buy this particular ring but I can use this style of platinum setting for any custom engagement ring.

Click for original post.

Click for original post.

If you’re just getting married, you most likely won’t want an 18K rose gold “50” inside the ring (unless someone pops the question at tonight’s Super Bowl). Instead you can have initials, a date, or whatever best symbolizes your romance.

You can personalize this one in a beautiful way.

You can personalize this one in a beautiful way.

Keep it in mind if you plan to propose — or be proposed to — on Valentine’s Day. Yes, you CAN propose without having a ring at hand, so that you can then create the perfect ring together. That’s how MrB and I did it! And it turned out that my engagement ring was the first thing I designed, ultimately leading to Wendy Brandes Jewelry.

Not only do I have the best Super Bowl 50 ring … I have the best Kitten Bowl.


Hey, FitzRoy the cat has hit 16,000 followers on Instagram!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

In case you missed it, here’s what was on the blog this week.

I’m doing a big Jewels of the Month series: a 14-day Valentine’s Day/anti-Valentine’s Day countdown. I’ve got something for everyone, alternating between Valentine’s Day gift ideas for the lovebirds and anti-Valentine’s Day designs suitable for self-gifting.

Also, last Sunday, I handed out my Best Dressed and Wear What You Want honors for attendees of the Screen Actors Guild Awards.  Before I chose Alicia Vikander and Carol Burnett, respectively, I did linger over Susan Sarandon, seen here with her daughter Eva Amurri.

I do appreciate a white pantsuit and good cleavage at any age. Plus, my hair guru Keith Carpenter sometimes works with Susan, so I always keep an eye out for her just in case she has a Keith ‘do. I thought it was cute that Susan and Eva were a little matchy in the way they bared some skin at the waist. Basically, I thought she looked great, but, for me, she wasn’t particularly daring. For other people, she was too daring: There was a big outcry over the fact that Susan’s décolletage was on display while she introduced the In Memoriam tribute. Obnoxious television personality Piers Morgan just had to tweet about it.

Um, what? She wasn’t at a funeral. She was at an awards show. I suspect that an actress who was younger than Susan’s 69 years could get up there showing side-boob and not get called out for it. SMH. I’m so bored with people policing women’s bodies.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Damn, girl! The day before hitting the stage with Coldplay at the Super Bowl, Beyonce released a surprise single and video called “Formation.” She outdid herself with this Hurricane-Katrina-referring tribute to black pride and black power.

Beyonce on a sinking New Orleans cop car.

Beyonce on a sinking New Orleans cop car.

Here’s a tweet that sums it up nicely.

And another.

If you haven’t seen the video yet, watch it now … because, according to ET, Beoynce will be performing this tomorrow, and you’ll need to know all the words and dance moves by then.

It’s time for an anti-Valentine’s Day jewelry suggestion for my Jewels of the Month countdown, so I’m going with the fierce design that best represents my happy, initial response to “Formation.”

The ORIGINAL swear rings. Sterling silver. Click to purchase the four-ring set for $380.

The ORIGINAL swear rings. Sterling silver. Click to purchase the four-ring set for $380.

(If you don’t know the whole story of my much-copied swear rings, catch up here.)

I’ve always loved this photo of model Tina J modeling the rings …


Put two middle fingers up if you agree!

How much do you love the new @beyonce video? We love it a lot! #formation #middlefinger #middlefingersup #beyonce #slay #hotsauce #tidal

A photo posted by Wendy Brandes Jewelry PR (@wendybrandesjewelry) on

The only loser today is Red Lobster, who should have had a big win with Beyonce’s bad-ass line, “When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay.” Not a peep from Red Lobster on Twitter! DAFUQ? I mean, Arby’s was all over Pharrell’s hat in 2014. Ad agency McCann, cast as a villain in Mad Men, made the most of that opportunity, displaying a great sense of humor. In 2013, Oreo won corporate twitter with a tweet pegged to the post-Beyonce-halftime blackout at the Super Bowl. WAKE UP, RED LOBSTER! The rest of Twitter isn’t sleeping, at least. My favorite responses include John Legend’s now-awkward childhood memories and epic side-eye via a Nicki Minaj gif. If Red Lobster needs to hire someone, this person has good ideas!

UPDATED TO ADD: Red Lobster finally responded — late AND lame!

Friday, February 5, 2016

It’s National Wear Red Day today — part of the effort to raise awareness about women’s risk for heart attacks and strokes. Did you know that women often experience different symptoms than men do?  The illustrations posted here are very helpful, but you should check out the comments too. It’s educational to read about individual experiences and how and when people realized they were having a serious problem.

I’m wearing red in the form of ruby studs today. These are the fifth selection for my Valentine’s Day/anti-Valentine’s Day jewelry countdown.


6 mm cabochons set in 18K yellow gold.

The studs are shown on my website paired with 18K gold cat earring jackets.


Click to purchase.

You can also buy the studs alone. If you’re interested, email me at info at wendybrandes dot com.

Of course, I’m also wearing red lipstick too!

UPDATED TO ADD: The earrings and lipstick together.

Stuck in traffic Uber selfie #selfie #smile #red #lipstick #uber #carselfie #uberselfie

A photo posted by Wendy Brandes (@wendybrandes) on

Thursday, February 4, 2016

It’s Day 4 of my February Jewels of the Month countdown for Valentine’s Day/anti-Valentine’s Day. I’m alternating between the two themes, and it’s time for an anti-Valentine piece. It’s also Throwback Thursday, so I’m going to go with my most popular message necklace, introduced in 2012.


Sterling silver. Click to purchase.

Got zero fucks to give about Valentine’s Day? Treat yourself to this I Don’t Give a Fuck necklace so everyone knows how you feel.

I frequently wear the 18K gold version.


Click to purchase.

This necklace can change your life, I swear. I was wearing it when I not only got into an elevator in the Conde Nast building with Anna Wintour — I also SPOKE to her. In all seriousness, I was emboldened by the necklace. Admittedly, the incident didn’t change my life in any big, meaningful way, but I’ve got an awesome story to tell because Anna reportedly doesn’t like to share elevators, let alone make small talk in one. How many people can say they bellowed, “HAVE A NICE DAY!” at Anna Wintour’s back? I can! Get one of these necklaces, and you too might someday be brave enough to speak to Anna Wintour’s back.

By the way, the New York Times had a great story about Conde Nast and Anna a few days ago. I like that she’s not scared of the changing media environment, which has been undergoing a huge shift away from traditional print towards digital delivery. That’s what I was dealing with in 2014 as chairman of the board of trustees at the Columbia Spectator, Columbia University’s student newspaper. Some of our alumni were very reluctant to part with print. But Anna asks, “Why do people want to get stuck in the past?” The article ends with this:

“‘If we sit back with our quills and the visors on and, you know, the old kind of printing presses that I used to see with my dad,’ she said, referring to her father, Charles, who edited The London Evening Standard, ‘what is the point of thinking that way? Come on.'”

A round of applause for a forward-thinking executive!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I’ve been daydreaming about wearing head-to-toe red sequins on Valentine’s Day. Bianca Jagger looked fabulous in her dress and matching beret in 1974.

Photo by Ron Galella. Licensed from Getty Images.

Photo by Ron Galella. Licensed from Getty Images.

Dustin Hoffman didn’t look half bad either!


You can skip the dress-shopping and look ravishing in red on Valentine’s Day (and every other day) with my one-of-a-kind Juana peekaboo skull locket. It’s especially good for a gal with Goth tastes, because it was inspired by the haunting story of Juana la Loca, the 16th-century Spanish queen who was said to have opened her handsome husband’s coffin to take a few last looks. To represent Juana’s story, there’s a ruby heart on the outside of the 18K yellow gold locket …


Click to purchase.

… and a ruby-eyed skull inside.



I have other Juana skull designs, ranging from stud earrings to a non-locket necklace to a statement poison ring. (Check out this lovely customer review of one of the Juana necklaces.) But there’s only one design with rubies. Get it while you can!

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