Fashion Facets

Design Find

Mary Schubart’s fascination with timeless patterns inspired her to create a line of handcrafted sterling silver jewelry, sculpted and sensual, with detailed patterns stacked against one another. Her inspirations come from the artistic patterns of our passing millennium, such as Renaissance brocades, Islamic mosques, Spanish tiles, Gothic stained glass, Celtic designs and antique ironwork.

“The list is endless,” says Schubart, a painter and sculptor in various media who only recently began to translate her love of pattern into jewelry. Schubart studied at Parsons School of Design in the U.S. and abroad.

While in Italy, something about the centuries of great art inspired her, and she struck upon the concept for her line. “It was the essence of the very best in beauty for me, and I was galvanized,” she says. The line consists of sterling silver and 18k gold jewelry and personal accessories, including bracelets, earrings, hair ornaments, rings, necklaces and belts, along with men’s accessories such as cuff links and studs, tie tacks and money clips.

Mary Schubart Ltd., Eight Ketcham Ave., Amityville, NY 11701; (516) 598-0072.

Jewel diplomacy

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright often uses jewelry to make subtle – but effective – points. A recent article in The New York Times says that when Albright was chief representative at the United Nations, the Iraqi news agency called her a snake. She later wore a snake brooch when she met Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.

Her renowned collection of brooches contains other handy statement-makers. On a recent trip to Russia, The Times says, Albright wore the large eagle brooch she frequently favors, but this time topped it with another brooch in the shape of Uncle Sam’s hat. Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov reportedly presented her with a Russian bauble to add to her collection.

The Times didn’t say whether her collection is faux or fine, but certainly the U.S. jewelry industry can make its case for international recognition here!

JIC scores on Oprah segment

Lynn Ramsey, president of the Jewelry Information Center, recently appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” in a 30 second moment of fame. Her chance to shine came after a mostly negative segment about the dangers of diamond switching. The appearance was crucial because Ramsey was able to represent the jewelry industry with knowledgeable statements that conveyed a more positive image of jewelers – and she got the final word! With the fleeting memories of TV viewers, last is best!

Style Equals Jewelry

In The Power of Style (Crown Publishers, 1994), authors Annette Tapert and Diana Edkins profile 14 women who embodied a sense of true style in life. Nearly all the women – ranging from the Duchess of Windsor to Babe Paley, C.Z. Guest and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis – have one thing in common: they loved and collected jewelry.

Of particular note, of course, is the profile of the Duchess of Windsor, whose jewelry made auction history in 1988. The $53 million take was the biggest jewelry sale up to that time and was credited with sparking a renewed interest in jewelry.

Another lover of big jewels was Mona, Countess of Bismarck, who made her 1930 Palm Beach social debut wearing a necklace and bracelet encrusted with 129 square sapphires, 144 square emeralds, 762 small round diamonds and 79 pearls. Socialite and groundbreaking interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe was never seen without three strands of pearls – her necklaces were of varying sizes and lengths – but there were always three and always a part of her ensemble.

But perhaps the most interesting was Daisy Fellowes, an American socialite who did a stint as the Paris editor of Harper’s Bazaar from 1933 to 1935. The authors say her collection of jewelry represents some of the most important work designed in the 1920s and 1930s. Fellowes was one of the first to order Jean Schlumberger’s naturalistic diamond leaves, to which she added a fresh flower whenever she wore it. Such originality was innate to Fellowes – it is believed jewelers would stake out her appearance at the opera or theater so they could re-create her jewelry. She was known for commissioning unusual pieces, including diamond bands to hold up her evening gloves and necklaces with emeralds and rubies ground down to look like cheap plastic beads.

Even Slim Keith, the socialite whose restrained WASP-y look was an inspiration for the likes of Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, believed in wearing one bold signature jewelry statement. In one photograph, she wears a pile of bangle and link bracelets on her left arm, but is otherwise devoid of jewels.