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Friday, March 14, 2008

I can’t remember which blog originally tipped me off to the Prada Fairy Bag controversy, but thanks! The ink on the bags can bleed if it gets wet. Prada apparently didn’t know that when they started selling the bags. Now they know, thanks to customer complaints, and hopefully salespeople are warning new customers. There is nothing can be done in the manufacturing process to change this so any new bags will have the same issues as the original batch, according to the saleswoman I spoke to today.

Prada bag

I was a little bit surprised by some customer comments in the Purse Blog forums. People are disappointed that they can’t use this bag for their everyday errands. Now, I wouldn’t have guessed the ink would run, but the minute I unwrapped mine, I could see it was a special occasion bag. Not only is it white, but the leather is very delicate. Every time I’ve used it, I’ve checked the weather to make sure there was no hint of rain. And then I just used it to go out to dinner, as I did the night this photo was taken. (One of my dinner companions that night noted that I instinctively moved my bag from its barstool perch when he reached over it to get his precariously-filled-to-the-rim martini.)

Really, common sense should dictate that this is not a bag to schlep to Gymboree and Starbucks. It’s not for putting on the floor of the movie theater, and it’s not for traveling, any more than a white suede bag would be. I’m a little baffled that purse enthusiasts, who I’d expect to have at least a few bags they could rotate through their wardrobe for foul-weather days, wouldn’t recognize this. But, I suppose, love makes people lose their minds.

Because Wendy Brandes Jewelry is (obviously!) very lovable, I’ve had to give gorgeous clients increasingly elaborate warnings about how to treat their jewelry, especially the vulnerable rings and bracelets. I never would have expected people to wear beautiful fine jewelry while they drag their heavy suitcases through an airport, garden, shampoo a dog or work out. Not only do people do these things, but at the same time they’re hypersensitive to normal, unavoidable wear-and-tear on metal. Everyone wants to be able to wear their engagement ring to the beach yet never get a scratch on it. Peeps, I’m telling you: THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE.

This moonstone poison ring is not for the office!
Livia Poison Ring in 18K gold and moonstone.
© Wendy Brandes 2007-2008
(Photo by John Muggenborg)

It’s hard to strike a balance when explaining this to the customer. I don’t want to give them so many warnings that I scare them, but I want to stop them from loving their jewelry to death. What I tell people lately is that most jewelry can be worn every day, but not every minute of every day. You don’t wear your favorite heels to play tennis and you don’t wear a cocktail dress to vacuum, right? So don’t wear a poison ring with a soft, exposed cabochon stone to take your kid to the playground.

Meanwhile, even with the best care efforts, pieces do get scratches and dings. People don’t get through life unscathed, so don’t expect a helpless little ring to manage it. I take off all my jewelry the minute I come home, including wedding jewelry. (Seriously, ladies. Why do you wear your wedding jewelry to the gym and the pool? Do you think if you take it off, your marriage will be off too? It doesn’t work like that. If you’re so worried about your marriage, shower with your husband, not with your rings.) Even so, the rings I wear most are scratched up. I’ve dropped them and banged them and accidentally flung them across the room. It happens. I don’t sweat it. While I was waiting at a vendor’s place the other day, I idly examined my Diana ring under a magnifying loupe. Holy shizz! That piece is banged up. My solution: Don’t look at it under magnification. Sure, I can repolish it (and lose some metal in the process) but all that exposed metal will get scratched again. I think part of the Diana’s charm is its gently weathered look.

The Diana Ring is a good choice for daily wear.
Diana Ring in 18K gold.
© Wendy Brandes 2007-2008
(Photo by John Muggenborg)

If you’re a person who appreciates precious, wearable art — whether it is jewelry, shoes or bags — it makes sense to have a wardrobe of pieces. You can have a ring for work and a ring for going out. If you work with your hands, you can wear necklaces and earrings instead of rings and bracelets. Above all, use your common sense!

For information about cleaning your jewelry, click here.

UPDATED TO ADD: If you’re interested in any of the jewelry shown in this or any other posts, you can email me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com.

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33 Responses to “Helpful Hints for Owners of Precious Items”

  1. CDP says:

    I think I’d keep that bag in a glass case if I owned it; not so much with the schlepping to Starbucks and the playground. I also take my jewelry off as soon as I get home, but more for reasons of comfort.

  2. Miss Woo says:

    The bag is so beautiful I can not imagine stuffing all my daily crap in it. If I’m ever lucky enough to own one I’ll probably just look at it lovingly everyday.

  3. ambika says:

    I think this is ultimately why I wear 1) mostly costume jewelry and 2) mostly earrings & necklaces. I am way too hard on my jewelry, which I do tend to take off when I get home. But regardless, things get banged up & scratched and I’d rather not have to tear my hair out over it.

  4. Princess Poochie says:


    I’m totally with you. I too take off my jewelry when I get home. I like to keep my rings clean and sparkly.

    I am over-protective. I keep a plastic bag in my purse in case of rain, so I can slip it in. I also have driving shoes in the car because 98% of my shoes are going to get ruined if I get marks on them for the pedals. I too judge what I’m wearing based on the weather.

    If you want nice stuff and invest in it, it only makes sense to be protective and take care of it.


  5. Step Right Up says:

    Definitely in the Top 10 of Public Service Announcements.

  6. the iron chic says:

    Perfect things scare me.

  7. joblessandjaded says:

    I really like your gold Diana Ring! And sheesh, if I had a bag that expensive, I would not be schlepping it around for mundane errands and activities!

  8. lorelai236 says:

    But cocktail dresses make vacuuming more fun. 🙂

  9. Grant Miller says:

    I need one of those necklaces with a big clock on it. That’d be sweet.

  10. shell says:

    i love that handbag! i woudn’t use it as a daily bag, either. and i also heart the diana ring. 🙂

  11. WendyB says:

    CDP, I do the next best thing and keep the bag in its dust bag. Which I’m normally not so good about.
    Miss Woo, ha ha! I do peek at mine sometimes when I’m not taking it out. Even the inside is nice, so I like to look in there too!
    Ambika, you don’t have to tear your hair out if you just decide not to! (Like, don’t look at things under magnification!)
    Poochie, I am totally going to keep a plastic bag in that Prada in case bad weather sneaks up on me. Good idea.
    Step Right Up, I’m so glad I went with this instead of “Just say no to drugs”!
    Iron Chic, LOL.
    Jobless, I have it in silver too!
    Lorelei, you lie. Whenever I peek in your window I see you vacuuming in the nude.
    Grant Miller, it would go nicely with that Viking hat you like to wear while vacuuming.
    Shell, thank you!
    Deirdre, those wedding bands with lots of little stones..those are classic repair jobs. People where them on the damn beach and in the damn pool and the gold gets damaged, they lose a prong and then a stone. And they’re amazed that the stone has been lost. I’ve replaced quite a few of those stones.

  12. Imelda says:

    That Prada bag is the most gorgeous bag I’ve ever seen. Too bad it had that kind of problem, but it’s not like it’s a bag to take out for grocery shopping or so.
    I would worship it!

  13. Kian says:

    I love the fairy purse, I guess it is lucky for me that I can’t afford it after all!

    And as always, you make the best jewelry 🙂

  14. Megan says:

    You mean to tell me while scrubbing toilets you don’t wear your wedding rings and hold your prada bag? what must your husband think? what must Prada think?

  15. WendyB says:

    Megan, don’t tell Miuccia! I don’t want her to be sad. Separately… A long time ago, I read a story about Donatella Versace wearing big jewels while cooking and going to the beach etc. That was long before I was wearing much jewelry myself, but even then I was like, “Even if I had billions of dollars to spend on replacement jewelry, I wouldn’t treat mine like that.”

  16. Natasha says:

    I agree that people should use discretion about the use of precious items, but a bag whose ink runs at any hint of water does seem a bit excessive. In many cities it is a given that the weather report is not always reliable, and a little bit of water is a fact of life.

    Your Diana ring is lovely!

  17. WendyB says:

    Natasha, I sure hope the ink doesn’t run all over the place if a single drop falls on it or if it’s a really humid day! I would be very annoyed by that and I hope it’s not that bad. It’s hard to tell from people’s stories online. As any jeweler can tell you, people will come in with a ring that looks like it’s been chewed by wild boars and claim that it was the victim of “just a little bump.” A lot of customers minimize their role in the destruction/damaging of a piece. I brought in a ring that I broke to my goldsmith the other day and told him, “I was taking it off and putting it down on the night table when it fell out of my hands and bounced all over the room. It was the worst fumble I’ve ever had and if I didn’t see it myself I wouldn’t have believed it was possible!” He said that in his entire 20-plus-year career, maybe two other people had told him a truly honest story like that. So basically, you have to take what people say with a grain of salt. My gorgeous clients are smart and figure out pretty quickly I want an honest description of any problems. It’s better for our working relationship. Don’t come in with something that’s broken in half and tell me it happened when you weren’t even wearing it! I don’t appreciate being treated like an idiot. People who are honest with me when they have a bad accident will then be considered trustworthy if something really does spontaneously combust. As far as the bag goes, it’s probably not suitable for people in some climates, just like pale suede or white shoes or whatever else might not be suitable.


  18. altamiranyc says:

    Wendy, You look great in that photo! Did your husband take it? He got a good one there!

  19. WendyB says:

    Thanks, Craig! Paul did take that one…it’s some of his better work, I think!

  20. Practically Perfect In Every Way says:

    you wrote this because of me hu? you noticed i wore my wedding ring when i wash my hands. i will treat my diana ring with special care!

  21. WendyB says:

    ^^ most definitely not because of you. Like I said, my clients are gorgeous AND smart. It’s the people who haven’t become my clients yet and gotten educated who have issues!

  22. AGraham says:

    Wear a cocktail dress to vacuum? The very idea!
    Why, I wouldn’t dream of wearing anything other than a crochet bikini.

  23. enc says:

    This is a great approach to letting your clients know how to care for their fabulous WendyB jewelry. I was wondering if you have it in any kind of print format that you slip in with the jewelry when people buy it? You know, a sort of “how-to-care-for-your-
    WendyB-jewelry” kind of thing?

  24. WendyB says:

    Yes, I’m doing a little booklet for them, ENC!

  25. hebden says:

    Interesting…I hadn’t heard that about the Prada bag…though, when I first saw it (even though I loved it), my first thought was “that’s going to really show the dirt”.

    Like you though, I’m always astonished when people are shocked that just because they paid a hefty sum for a bag (shoes, jewelry, etc) they can’t fling it around like it’s protected by some magic talisman. I have several bags that require “weather checks” and careful placement at restaurants and bars…yes, it’s a nuisance, but if someone spilled wine on my tan suede Balenciaga…or a monsoon hit my snakeskin Lanvin…I’d be distraught…people need to realize that precious things need careful handling.

  26. s. says:

    that bag is sooo gorgeous, lucky you! and your jewelry is so pretty, I was at your website salivating over some of those pieces for hours!

  27. WendyB says:

    Hebden, this made me laugh out loud: “like it’s protected by some magic talisman.” Especially since the hefty sum is sometimes specifically because especially delicate materials were used. I suppose I’m more used to items that need care because I have a large number of fragile vintage pieces. Believe me, I wear my Ossie Clark snakeskin jacket only under perfect conditions. Have you posted a photo of your Lanvin bag?

  28. WendyB says:

    Agraham, I thought you wore a candy bikini.

  29. Alya says:

    Absolutely fantabulously correct!

    If u dont want something to be scratched, then dont wear it. Luckily I wear earrings everyday single hour of the day, and I have yet to see one scratch on it.

    But I wouldnt mind a nice engagement and wedding ring too!

  30. Ediot says:

    i love the poison ring. you are so talented!

  31. Lynn says:

    No stepford wife should be on your client list then.

    There’s nothing more reasonable than taking off all your jewelry when you get home from anywhere for you do tend to get down to at least one/two household chores. I learnt it the hard way, one of the stones of my engagement ring fell off and my world absolutely crumbled the day I discovered it!

  32. Susie Bubble says:

    I don’t want to sound like an insipid girl…but I’m insanely jealous…. really… can’t add anything more to that…

  33. enc says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re doing the booklet. It’s a good move.