Monday, March 31, 2008

Pretty Little Pendants

There's something about a little flash of metal right between your collarbones that I find both sweet and sexy. A charm-like drop is the perfect way to express a little something about yourself (maybe a religious symbol, a lucky charm, or your child's initial, as Nicole Richie shows below) or just add a tiny bit of sparkle to your daily routine. 

As you see here, many of the world's most stylish women have a favorite dainty pendant that they wear over and over again. The key is to choose something small and simple (I personally prefer nothing bigger than a nickel) that doesn't define your outfit, but merely adds a little personality to your overall look. 

Keira Knightly, above, is often spotted wearing a yellow gold circle version from Tiffany, while Richie, below, wears a Jennifer Meyer "H" pendant to represent her new daughter, Harlow. I have two personal favorites in my own collection: A very tiny four leaf clover with a diamond at the center and also an ancient dime-sized coin I found in Brazil. Like Keira, I often pair them with other small pendants, but make sure to have chains of varying lengths. 

There are so many great little pendant options on Portero that I wanted to start shopping myself. Here's three of my top picks:

Chopard Happy Diamond Key Pendant. Made of 18-karat white gold, this miniature key would be a creative way to express the cliched sentiment of "You have the keys to my heart." 

Single Stone Diamond Slices pendant. These are right up my alley style-wise. I love the handmade looking 18-karat yellow gold wrapped around these thin slices of uncut diamonds. The combination of raw and refined has me swooning. 

Tiffany & Co diamond and sapphire Cube necklace. I'm not sure just what it is about this little geometric shape that has me ready to buy, but I love it all the same. The 3-D lines and retro ball chain makes this necklace feel like a combination of hip boutique and really lucky gumball machine prize. 

Images via

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Scarves for all Seasons

Right now Portero is featuring scarves in Best Values, and I couldn't be more excited to discuss the merits of these square pieces of fabric. I have a large collection of scarves, some fancy and some that I chose on the cheap merely for the color or pattern. What I love most about scarves is their functionality--they can be used so many different ways and on so many different occasions. 

For example, take Nicole Richie above. Walking around in Los Angeles yesterday, she uses a an extra-large folded scarf used as a headband. This faux-hippie look might not be everyone's cup of tea, but you can't deny that scarves make great hair accessories. I always bring a set to wear when I'm at the beach; scarves not only keep your hair out of your face on windy days, but they also protect your scalp from the evils of the sun. 

Another great use? Artwork. Many brands make such beautiful designs that it's a shame to store them in a drawer. Ironed completely flat and mounted and framed, your favorite scarf becomes a piece of home decor. 

A final great way to show off your scarf collection is on your handbag. Some bags come with pre-made holes to slide a scarf through, but others can benefit from knotting one around the handle. It can take a neutral, everyday purse from bland to one-of-a-kind. Click right here to see Portero's great selection of Best Value scarves, or go straight to my faves:

Emilio Pucci Signature Scarf. This purple, yellow, black and white version is perfectly on trend for spring, and would be just the thing to accessorize a basic black bathing suit come summer. 

Gucci Horsebit purple and red scarf. According to Domino magazine, the equestrian look is all the rage right now. This scarf, although trendy for the moment, will also stand the test of time. 

Hermes dark green and gold Voitures Paniers scarf. Here's a perfect example of one to frame. I love the wicker design and the detail on the horse drawn carriages. This would be lovely in an entryway. 

Image above by Shinn/

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free Shipping

Yes, you totally read that right--Portero is offering free shipping to U.S. customers on any orders over $1,000 from now through March 31. That still gives you five days to take advantage of great auctions while keeping your pursestrings in check. 

All you have to do is enter code MARCHFS at checkout. For more information, click right here for the full rules and regulations. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back to Black

I have recently been fixated on the colors in my home. My bedroom has a mix of bold oranges, yellows and blues (it doesn't sound great, but I think it's pretty lovely) while my living room features moss greens with an accent of dusty rose. (The Mid-Century modern aesthetic that bridges the spaces keeps it cohesive.)  But lately I've been craving something stark among all of these hues, and some great photo house tours have reinforced a feeling that some great black pieces will add just the right sophisticated touch. 

Above, a picture of accessory maven Kate Spade's bedroom really speaks to me. I love the yellow, gray and black and white palette as well as the contrast of textures (the fabric wallpaper, nubby carpet and velvet chair).  Below, a photo from this month's Domino magazine shows another great color palette based on a fresh kelly green. Not for the faint of heart, this would look stunning in a small nook, foyer or kitchen, as pictured. 

One thing these images have in common? They are just crying out for some bold black accessories. Here's a few that would look perfect in either vignette:

Lalique Laure Black Crystal Bowl. I love the unexpectedness of this piece. The jet black crystal is totally sexy, and the curved lines and almost feather-like details give it a one-of-a-kind feel. How great would this look on an entry table as a place to catch your keys?

Orrefors Squeeze Black Crystal Vase. This is expert glassmaking with a totally modern twist. 

Kosta Boda Celeste Black Candlestick. I would pair this with a couple of other clear glass candlesticks at varying heights.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Shipping to the EU!

Great news for those of you across the pond--Portero has now started shipping to the European Union. This global expansion is proof positive that our authentic, secure online auctions are in demand all over the world. 

While the low dollar has been an obvious source of discontent over here, it is undoubtedly attractive for shoppers in Europe. Coveted luxury brands in accessories, watches, jewelry and fine housewares can be yours at even more attractive prices, and shipping is hassle-free. If I was taking advantage of a weak dollar from overseas, I would head straight to these links to start bidding:

Hermes. A great selection of Birkins, Kellys, timepieces and scarves that will never go out of style.

Patek Philippe. I can't get enough of this master brand's vintage styles. 

Seaman Schepps. Their rich, colored gemstone jewelry is just perfect for spring into summer. 

Steuben. This crystal would be the finishing touch for any special occasion. 

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Greubel & Forsey

If you're like most people, you don't really know the technical details of watchmaking. You probably admire certain brands, designs or features, but it's ridiculously difficult to understand the level of skill and ingenuity needed to create an exceptional timepiece. 

Take, for example, the duo behind Greubel & Forsey. Although less than a decade old, Robert Gruebel and Stephen Forsey's namesake company produces some of the world's most innovative and groundbreaking tourbillons. They spend years researching each model, and they only produce two watches every month. 

Want to find out why? Click on this link, via Watchismo, to get a fascinating glimpse into the minds of Greubel and Forsey, and see the painstaking level of precision needed to conceive of, and produce, each and every timepiece. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Ahead: Bright Bags

I've been going on and on about spring approaching, and although today started with a chilly, dreary morning, I'm still really anticipating a long stretch of lovely weather. I recently made my seasonal bag purchase--a metallic pewter bag from Botkier (mine is actually in "silver snake")--and the celebrities have also been out and about sporting brightly hued totes in the past few days. 

Above we have sweet Jenny Humphreys from Gossip Girl (aka Taylor Momsen) carrying a lovely Valentino bag in purple, the color of the season. It just goes to show that pairing the most neutral prints and colors (classic plaid and khaki) with a bright bag really makes an outfit pop and gives it tons of personality. On the right, Christina Aguilera leaves dinner in L.A. last night carrying a very cool handbag that gradients from black to tulip pink. I love this--it feels slightly edgy and a little bit punk. 

Portero is featuring brightly colored spring bags this week, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding something that fits both your budget and your style. Here's a tip: Save the colored totes for a more neutral outfit--matching your bag exactly to your coat or dress is a little too much. 

Here are some of my favorites listed on Portero this week, and click here to see the entire selection:

Devi Kroell teal silk jeweled clutch. One of my favorite tricks for spicing up a little black dress is pairing it with an unexpected pop of color in your accessories. This little clutch would work perfectly. 

Salvatore Ferragamo orange drawstring hobo. This shape is perfect as a carryall, and the shade of orange is just perfect for spring into summer--not too bright or too gaudy. 

Jimmy Choo special edition yellow Tulita handbag. A great oversized classic shape with lovely hardware and detailing. 

Versace red patent leather Hit tote. Very rock and roll, this bag makes a real statement. 

Images above by Agent 47/WENN

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bathroom Jewels

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that I have a soft spot for jewel-themed home decor. My latest obsession is a new line by Aquaplus called Aqua Jewels created by award winning designer Marcel Wanders. There's not a ton of information out there yet, but I do know that it is a luxury faucet range including models for the basin, bidet, bath faucets and shower fixtures. Apparently, there are also complimentary accessories. 

I love the juxtaposition of the feminine faceted diamond with the strong, hard lines of the faucet itself. Offered in plain polished or etched, this bathroom accent would look perfect in the powder room I hope to have one day. (I mean, it's only fitting considering that I wrote a book called "A Girl's Guide to Buying Diamonds," right?)

If you like the defined look of oversized facets, try something similar in your home through your glassware. I particularly like this set of 4 Steuben petal-cut crystal old fashioned glasses, and there's even a matching decanter and wine stopper

image via Aquaplus Solutions

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Baby Baubles

So many of my friends have recently had babies, and while it's always fun to shop for teeny tiny clothes, what about giving Mom something to celebrate with as well? The gift of jewelry or accessories for new mothers is a staple in many cultures, and I think it's a fitting to get a little spoiled after spending nine months dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy. 

Here's a few suggestions of perfect post-pregnancy gifts:

1. Tanzanite. This bluish-purple stone mined only in Tanzania is traditionally given by Maasai chiefs to their wives upon the birth of a child. It is said to ensure a positive and prosperous life, and in Maasai culture, the color blue is sacred and spiritual. Go for simple studs that can't be tugged by little bitty fingers, like this great pair from Chris Correia set in brushed platinum and surrounded by diamonds. 

2. Cartier Love Bracelet. What could be a better symbol of the new love of her life than this bracelet? The classic style is locked in place with a screwdriver, showing the bond between a family. 

3. A stylish tote. Sometimes new moms just want a little glamour injected into their lives. They'll need space to throw in blankets, toys and bottles, but not every accessory needs to scream baby. I love this patent leather version by Chloe--it's beautiful to look at, but still wipeable when an unexpected spill occurs. 

Images via People magazine

Friday, March 14, 2008

In the Studio With: Faraone Mennella

I was thrilled to be able to stop by the showroom of Italian jeweler Faraone Mennella yesterday and check out some new pieces. I got to spend quite a bit of time with the co-owners and designers, Roberto Faraone Mennella and Amedeo Scognamiglio, and talk about their artistic passions and newest creations. 

If you don't know that much about the line, here's a quick rundown: The company began a mere five years ago when longtime friends Roberto and Amedeo decided to pool their creative talents (Roberto just finished school at Parsons and Amedeo runs his own bespoke cameo business). With friends who are stylists and journalists, the pieces were picked up immediately for media coverage and were snapped up by Neiman Marcus. Today they have a loyal following of socialites, high society, and fellow designers like Carolina Herrera, who they work with on a special collection for her stores. 

I particularly loved the beautiful rose gold case above. While the company started out making gorgeous chains, they are now evolving to the bead-like Tuka Tuka collection seen in the top picture. These beautiful little rose gold orbs move and slide around, and are lovely to the touch. 

The two necklaces above really show what Faraone Mennella is all about. They love cabochon stones, and nearly every piece they do uses the smooth, rounded cut. Above left, a beautiful bezel-set aquamarine necklace with diamond spacers. Above right, a bi-color quartz with diamond bar necklace really stood out from the crowd. They created it specifically to go with the animal prints so widely used in fashion last season. 

Lastly, here are some more classic designs from the duo. Chains are their bread and butter, and they often mix the twisted gold links with colored ceramic links. At right, a multistrand necklace of twisted coral shows their roots: both designers are from Torre del Grecco, a mecca for coral jewelry.

If you like the look of cabochon stones, check out Lisa Sheldon's collection on Portero. Another good bet is Tito Pedrini, who likes to use unusual color combinations to create striking designs. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Trendspotter: Red Handbags

With spring on its way, I'm definitely into all things color. And there's no better way to inject a little boost to your wardrobe than with a colorful handbag. Both Mena Suvari (left) and Paris Hilton (right) were spotted yesterday in Los Angeles carrying great red bags. I actually really like the purple and red combo chosen by Suvari, and Hilton's red white and blue All-American look also feels fresh for the upcoming season. 

Portero has a great selection of red bags in many different styles. Whether you're looking for something dressy or slightly sporty, we have you covered. To embrace spring, go for a purse in a brighter, lipstick shade of red rather than a crimson or wine. Here's my top picks for red bags for all tastes:

Louis Vuitton monogram Vernis leather Houston shoulder bag. The classic logo in a bright shade will never go out of style, and the tote shape makes it easy for when you are on the go. 

Goyard Mustique Red Leather and Canvas tote. I think that the signature Goyard chevron pattern is impossibly chic--can't you just imagine carrying this on an international flight to somewhere fabulous?

Judith Leiber red lizard embroidered clutch. This little gem is totally sexy and perfect for a night out. 

Images via JustJared.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Book Club: Cult Watches

I just came across this great title by noted timepiece journalist Michael Balfour, and wanted to share it with you. Cult Watches: The World's Enduring Classics is a compendium of the top 30 most popular styles worldwide. There's a real range here--from the high-end Cartier Tank and Rolex Cosmograph Daytona to Swatches and Mickey Mouse Ingersoll brands. 
I like this book because it not only provides great images, but also excellent historical context. While particularly interesting to collectors, it also appeals to watch lovers without a great deal of technical know-how. Many (including myself) find watches to be pieces of art both mechanically and aesthetically, so it's always fun to know the backstory behind captivating styles. 

If you're in the market for a watch that stands the test of time, you'll be particularly pleased with a new feature launching on Portero today: Dealer Starting Prices. For a little more explanation, here's a note straight from Portero's CEO:

An open letter from Michael Sheldon, Founder and CEO of

I am very pleased that we have reached a milestone in customer activity, which allows Portero to deliver very exciting news to our membership. Over the next couple of days, most of our watch auction starting bids will be adjusted down to reflect dealer prices. We believe that the online marketplace should dictate the final value of the watch merchandise on, through our members bidding on the site. 

What this means to you is that you will get your dream watch at the right price. Like any auction, if there are several bidders who want the same piece that you do, the price will go up. However, if you are the only bidder, you get an unbelievable deal for a purchase you can be proud of. 

When you win a watch at Portero you will receive a fully authenticated and certified timepiece that is elegant and refined, and as always, you will also receive top notch customer service every step of the way. It is our goal to be your online auction source for world-class luxury watch brands. Don't miss out on this incredible opportunity to bid and win the watch you have always wanted. With a growing selection of premium brands such as Cartier, Rolex, Breitling, TAG Heuer, IWC and more, I hope that you will be delighted with the selection. is the smarter way to own luxury. 

And finally, thank you for being a member and making Portero your preferred place to shop for luxury. 


Michael Sheldon

Click right here to check out the watches listed in Dealer Starting Prices. For example, this Must de Cartier Tank Watch is not only a great deal, but it made the list in Cult Watches
Image via

Friday, March 7, 2008

Monday Eye Candy

As promised, I wanted to bring you some additional designs from the About J show I just attended in Milan. I was happy to actually see some companies that I wasn't familiar with (New jewelry! Fun!), and there were some old favorites in attendance that brought pieces that were literally just completed in the days and hours leading up to the show. There are definitely some trends that seem to be building up momentum in 2008, as referenced by the jewels shown here. Let's start with the bracelet at the top of the page, made by Rome-based designer Fabio Salini. After stints at both Cartier and Bulgari, he went solo in 1999 and has been creating handmade pieces that are mostly one-of-a-kind. The bracelet above is made of rock crystal, pearls and sapphires, and hinged together with white gold and diamonds. Although this bracelet is sapphires, the stones actually cast a nice purplish glow in person, and purple is THE color of the year thus far. 

Pearls were another hot commodity, especially golden and cognac shades. I love this bracelet from Yvel (on the left) that successfully combines baroque pearls of all shapes and sizes into a mosiac-like wide cuff. On the right, an industrial rose gold bracelet by by Fope from their "Flex It" collection juxtaposes the hard edges of the repeating squares with the sensual curves of two brown pearls. 
After visiting Vicenza in January for a jewelry show, I mentioned that twisted shapes were very popular, much like this new set from Favero. (Sorry if the picture is a bit light.) I saw this quite a bit in hoop earrings with twisted profiles, and here's an example of a bracelet and ring combination. 

Lastly, I'm seeing a little bit of a return to enamel. Florence-based La Nouvelle Bague is a pioneer in this technique, and for me the company's pieces really embody the look of Italian jewelry. Year after year, they manage to create jewels that are imbued with tons of personality and whimsy. 

Luckily, you'll see lots of ways to replicate these trends in Portero's selection of jewels under $1,000. Just as an example, here's a piece from each category that corresponds to the above looks. At under a grand, the deals can't be beat.

Pretty in Purple:

Pearl party:

Twisted metal:

Everyday enamel:

Images courtesy About J

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Look of the Day: Camilla Belle

It's starting to warm up here in New York, so I'm anticipating summer even more than usual. This photo of actress Camilla Belle just felt like the tropics to me--the tanned skin, a dress that looks perfect for a summer night, and of course her yellow gold jewelry. 

Belle is at Tuesday's premiere for new movie 10,000 BC wearing gorgeous jewels by Amrapali of Jaipur, including 18-karat gold hoops, rings and a stunning cuff. 

Something about the combination of bronzed skin and warm yellow gold feels just perfect for the upcoming warm months. Also, Belle manages to pick up one of the biggest trends going right now: a one-shoulder dress. This hot look urges you to skip the necklace in favor of a great pair of oversized earrings. 

Steal Belle's look with these great finds from Portero:

JewelMak 18-karat yellow gold and pearl cuff bracelet. The negative space makes it super light, just right for a hot evening. 

John Hardy hammered 22-karat yellow gold and sterling silver ring. Based in Bali, John Hardy knows his way around a sultry climate. The textured finish evokes the feel of the islands. 
Image courtesy D'Orazio and Associates

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chopard's Oscar Memory Lane

In the midst of all of this post-Oscar reporting, I got a release from Chopard that makes me want to abandon my desk for Madison Avenue. Starting on Friday March 7 and for one week only, the legendary French jeweler will be displaying jewels worn by five of the most recent Academy Award winners at its U.S. flagship location. 

While some say Chopard is "paying for play," it is true that the company has managed to bejewel this group of standout actresses over the last half-decade, including Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose), Helen Mirren (The Queen), Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardner), Hilary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Charlize Theron (Monster). 

Above, you can check out Cotillard in her Jean-Paul Gaultier gown accessorized with Chopard's 64 carat champagne briolette necklace, 106 carats of dark and light brown diamond bead necklaces, and a 15 carat yellow diamond ring. Other standout pieces include Charlize Theron's "Shooting Star" earrings and mesh cuff bracelet, and Helen Mirren's starburst brooch. 

If you want to visit the limited-run exhibit, swing by Chopard at 709  Madison Avenue at 63rd Street. To see Portero's extensive collection of Chopard jewelry and watches, click right here

Images courtesy Chopard

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back from Milan!

I returned last night from a brand new high-end jewelry show called About J that took place in Milan. With only about 70 exhibitors and a handpicked list of international buyers, the show was small but packed a big punch. Extremely modern and focused on fashion (the show's media partner was Vogue Gioiello), this trade show was not your average work convention. 

A lot of trends are still in place: rose gold, brown and black diamonds, cabochon-cut stones and purple gems, among them; but the best part of attending is really getting a first look at brand new designs. Today is all about eye candy--I'm going to give you the sneak peek on what's to come from some of the world's most exclusive jewelry brands. (I took these photos straight from the cases, so the quality isn't superlative. But you can still get the idea!)

First up, we have two great Italian brands. On the left is Pianegonda, a very fashion-forward line that began using just sterling silver. Now branching out to 18-karat yellow gold and gemstones, this brand employs large scale and bold designs to create something out-of-the-box. I particularly liked this bracelet and ring--I love the huge, thick ID bracelet with a small diamond accent, and the all gold cocktail ring is made up of small pieces of chain link jumbled together. 

On the right is Florence-based Oromalia. I was smitten with their bangles created from ebony, diamonds and 18-karat gold. I have always liked the mix of natural materials and precious gems and metals, and this new collection really delivered. 

Next up is Gurhan, the Turkish designer based in New York City. I have always been a fan of his 24-karat gold creations, and this year he really mixed it up, also using a lot of sterling silver, diamonds and opals. The black metal look is becoming increasingly popular, and by using oxidized sterling instead of gold, you can get a much more accessible price point. 

Finally today, we have Utopia (above, right). Based in Milan, this company is all about pearls. I was literally taken with their stunning bracelets, created from gorgeous Peacock Tahitian pearls interspersed with gems. The two above feature honed aqua (that looked like gorgeous river rocks) and emerald cabochons. These bright hues really popped when set against the black pearls that have undertones of purple and teal. 

Don't worry--more gorgeous jewels to come later in the week!