This past Sunday, I participated in a holiday bazaar that was a fundraiser for Working Wardrobes, a nonprofit organization that has been helped over 40,000 at-risk women and men re-enter the workforce in Southern California since 1990. On behalf of the Designing Women South Bay Guild of Working Wardrobes founded in 2006, I’m always requesting from friends and colleagues their donation of gently worn business apparel. This was the Guild’s first holiday bazaar, and I put on my jewelry aficionado hat and set up my tables to sell copies of Jewelry Savvy (of course), along with selections from my collection of vintage costume jewelry, with a portion of the proceeds to benefit Working Wardrobes.
Long before I created my fine jewelry line, I had been fascinated by the wide range of designs in costume jewelry, from reproductions of the real thing to items blatantly faux and fun. I became a serious collector, seeking out unusual examples and fresh designs that I had not seen before. Most of all, I have been attracted to mid-Century pieces for the quality of the workmanship and the creativeness of design. Some of these pieces strongly influence design – even that of award-winning fine jewelry – to this day.
What struck me at the bazaar was the extent to which savvy jewelry shoppers were looking for pieces that were not only stylishly appealing but also comfortable to wear. Nothing too close to the neck. Only the bracelets with the smoothest backs next to the skin. Rings that weren’t too chunky and wide. Earrings that weren’t too heavy on the ear lobes; ear clips that didn’t pinch too much.
Is it perhaps a reflection of the economy that everyone is looking for a bit of comfort?
I do think that the comfort factor is a feature that many shoppers find appealing and that can be promoted in showing them jewelry. Noting how comfortable it is to wear a beautifully designed piece of jewelry that conforms to the neck or the wrist, or that sits perfectly on a finger or ear lobe, just might tip the scales in favor of a decision to purchase.
In terms of competing with other luxury goods, it also occurs to me that comfort is one key difference between a beautifully made piece of jewelry and many an expensive pair of shoes. Just a thought.