Wednesday, January 18, 2012
People often ask me if it’s okay to mix yellow and white metals. My answer? “Hell, yes!”
I didn’t always have that mindset, though. I too grew up thinking jewelry had to be matchy-matchy. I don’t know where that fashion taboo against combining different-colored metals came from. One of the most famous jewelry designs in the world — Cartier’s tri-color gold Trinity — was introduced way back in 1924. And if Cartier says it’s good, it’s good.
Then, in the early ’80s, there was a big fad for interwoven yellow, white and rose gold herringbone chains. It wasn’t as good as Cartier, by a long shot. Still, I got one as a birthday gift. We all did! I never wore mine after high school but I had it in my possession till last year, when the price of gold hit a new high. At that point, I melted it down and sold it along with some other unworn pieces. It looked like this necklace from Zales.
You’d think that if it’s okay to mix metals in a single piece of jewelry, it would be okay to wear different color rings on different fingers. But, for some reason, a lot of us are scared to do it. I overcame that concern after I designed my own engagement ring and wedding bands in white metal. There was no way I was going to be stuck wearing only white forever. So this is how I wear rings now.
And this is how I wear bracelets.
This New Year’s Eve I mixed metals in a different way. I’d gotten a silver manicure from celebrity manicurist Tracylee Percival because I expected to wear a dress with silver details. At the last minute, I changed to a gold sequin dress. I wound up loving the way the silver nails looked with the gold dress. You can see it in this picture of me with MrB. Note the mixed metal rings.
I wore gold shoes and carried a gold purse on New Year’s, but now I wish I went all out and did silver accessories. Next time I wear that dress, I will.
Thankfully, the fashion police have never ticketed me for such behavior, so I feel it’s safe to encourage other people to mix it up as well. In 2009, when gorgeous blogger Elizabeth asked me to redesign an old ruby-and-diamond cocktail ring for her, I made her yellow, rose and white gold stacking rings.
More recently, my desire to get folks to break the mixed-metal style “rule” inspired me to make a miniature version of my Siobhan perma-stacked stacking ring. The original ring consists of 10 skinny bands — all attached — made from 18K yellow gold. (In the picture of my hands above, the Siobhan is the second ring from the left.)
I’ve done mixed-metal versions of the ring for two custom engagement rings. Those rings had fewer individual bands but they were thicker than the originals, so the rings were still fairly wide.
For a long time, more conservative ladies have been asking me for a skinny version of the Siobhan ring. I wasn’t super-excited to do it. First of all, I think the beauty of the Siobhan is in its unusual width and the number of the bands. (The design was inspired by the mother of my friend Siobhan. Siobhan’s mother collected wedding bands from markets around the world and wore them stacked on all of her fingers.) Second, I’ve discovered the hard way that, while it’s fine to take popular demand for new designs into account when it comes to less-expensive silver jewelry, all the gals who swear they’ll buy an expensive gold design — if you do it just the way they want it — tend to evaporate once the piece is available. Retailers are even worse when it comes to vague promises. Here is my free Bitchtastic Guide to Business™ tip of the day for all you small business owners: Has a buyer from a prestigious national store told you that she will definitely order from you if you make this, that or the other thing? Check your bank account. Is money from the store in it? No? Then check your orders. Do you see a piece of paper from that store with a written commitment to pay a certain amount by a certain date for a certain amount of product? No? Then that’s exactly what you say to the buyer: “No.” Because if you make that stuff on spec, you won’t get an order, you won’t get paid, and you’ll end up writing a Bitchtastic Guide to Business™ book to warn people against making the same dumb mistakes you made.
Due to those dumb mistakes, I dismissed the idea of a mini Siobhan ring for years. Then, a few months ago, when I was talking about mixing metals with my gorgeous makeup artist friend, Tennille Nielsen. The idea of mixing metals in a mini Siobhan made the concept interesting to me. Because tricolor pieces are common, as I’ve shown you, I decided to do four colors for the Siobhan: 18K yellow, white, rose and green gold. (Green gold is really a greenish yellow.) Here is the result — and January 2012’s Jewel of the Month. From top to bottom, the gold colors are green, white, rose and yellow. Photos are by SquareMoose.
As with the original Siobhan ring, I gave each band its own texture. And, just like with the original, the bands are attached in the back. The bands have a lot of room to move around, which makes them look like authentic stacking rings rings, but you never have to worry about losing one of your stack.
Now I’m sure I’m going to have at least one person tell me that she’d buy the mini Siobhan if only the bands were all one color. That’s fine! You can have them all yellow, all white, all rose or all green if you want. I’m always happy to do custom work. Holla at me at wbjewelry at hotmail dot com to place a special order.
Writing about the different colors brings me back to my first sentence. I must confess that it was a lie. No one ever asks me if it’s okay to mix yellow and white metals. The question is always whether or not it is permissible to mix gold and silver. The problem is that white gold is silver-colored, as is platinum, but neither of them are the metal “silver.” The mini Siobhan ring is not made of “gold and silver.” It’s 100% gold. My Memento Mori skull and bones necklace, however, IS (18K) gold and (sterling) silver.
So when I’m describing color combinations to y’all, I use the words “yellow” and “white.” If I’m describing the mixture of two different metals, I’ll say “gold” and “silver.” Got it? Good! Merry mixing!
NOTE: The price of the mini Siobhan will be announced soon — I’m exploring manufacturing options.