Pins Without Pinholes

If you’d rather not hear heavy metal music, you can change the radio station. Now there’s also an alternative for brooch wearers who would rather not pin a heavy medal through their clothes. The Magnapin can fasten brooches, medals, and trade show badges to clothes without making pinholes (or worse) in the fabric.

Magnapin inventor Mary Kay Mars of Dallas (no relation to Dallas’s other famous Mary Kay) says the magnet is not one you can buy at an average stationery store. The Magnapin is made from the kind of magnets normally used for military and industrial applications, not the kind used to hang A+ art assignments on the fridge.

Each Magnapin has two parts. The actual pin mechanism goes through a small tunnel on the top magnet. A wax-like resin in the tunnel keeps it tightly in place. The bottom magnet is a flat, round disk. The brooch goes over your clothes, the disk goes behind the fabric, and voilà! Your brooch stays put. The Magnapin also will keep scarves in place and jackets modestly closed over revealing lingerie.

Mars came up with the idea after she bent over, caught her brooch on the edge of a table, and tore a huge hole in a brand-new silk blouse. Frustrated, she figured there had to be a better way, so she spent the next few years inventing one. She debuted her patent-pending solution at the MIDAS show in Dallas in September. At her booth, a mannequin featured a heavy coat covered with brooches to prove the Magnapin’s “stick-to-it-iveness.”

Keystone price for the Magnapin is about $14. Each magnet comes packaged in a layer of foam, with instructions for use. A small countertop display unit is also available.

Some JCK staffers “road-tested” the Magnapin, and it did stay put as promised. We found only two potential problems. It is best for a brooch whose front is a fairly solid, closed design; it would be visible on a brooch with an open design like filigree. Instructions on the package caution that pacemaker patients ask their doctor before using it. And, as with any magnet – including the regular ones on the fridge – avoid contact with credit cards and computer disks.

Magnapin Inc., 1700 Pacific Ave., Suite 3300, Dallas, TX 75201; (877) MAGNAPIN or (214) 351-2215

White + Color =

The news is out: The temperature has just been turned up a notch by the latest designs in platinum and white gold jewelry. The all-white look is getting edged over by white metals set with colored gemstones. Led by a handful of American and European designers, the theory is that white is great, but it gets even better when contrasted with vivid color.

Hot-selling stones – fire opal, tanzanite, rubellite, Paraíba tourmaline, ruby, and rainbow-colored sapphires – are now sparkling from sleek platinum and white gold settings.

Designer Taps Ethnic Origins

Jewelry designer Donna Chambers, known for whimsical earrings, necklaces, and pins made from antique Chinese mother-of-pearl gambling chips and fresh-water pearls, has unveiled a new collection that taps her ethnic roots. Called Origins, the new collection is a series of wedding and engagement rings with themes derived from African textiles, animals, and mystical symbols. Rings in 14k or 18k gold, with or without diamonds, retail from $800 to $1,500.

While the themes are based on African designs, Chambers says Origins is not geared strictly to the African American customer, because the symbolic meanings of the designs are universal. Images in the collection represent love, harmony, faithfulness, strength, wisdom, and abundance.

“The rings symbolize the hopes and dreams of every young couple, regardless of their ethnic background,” she says.

Donna Chambers Designs, 163 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, NY 10601; (914) 287-0303.

He’s a Real Saint

Billing itself as “self-indulgence and common sense,” Sebastian Saint is a new, branded line of 18k gold, platinum, and gemstone men’s jewelry.

Designed and merchandised by men’s jewelry specialist Jeffrey Shapiro, former owner of ABL, and produced by Suberi Bros., New York, the line is targeted for sale through selected upscale independent retailers.

Shapiro says men who continually seek upscale products to make a statement about themselves have created a growing need for fine quality men’s jewelry. The collection marks the introduction of a branded men’s jewelry product aimed at giving the retailer increased profits through high perceived value.

In addition to an extensive national advertising and promotional program, the Sebastian Saint collection will offer jewelers participation in special campaigns tailored to local markets.

Sebastian Saint, 902 Broadway, New York, NY 10010; (800) 223-0100.

Garnier Goes Lighter and Brighter

Charles Garnier, the innovative French company that has made a science out of creating stylish but featherweight earrings, has broken new ground again. In its latest collection, electroformed gold earrings and pendants are set with diamonds. Typically, electroform jewelry, made by building up fine layers of gold over a wax mold that is later melted out, is too thin to allow gemstone setting. Garnier’s new earrings and pendants, however, are built by electroforming and then wrapped with a casting of openwork design on which the diamonds are set. The result is a secure setting above a lightweight base.

Charles Garnier, 1140 Reservoir Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920;

(800) 722-3721.

Seventh Avenue to the Rescue

The United Jewish Appeal Federation of New York is again sponsoring its annual Fash-ion Rescue fund-raising event. Fashion Rescue is a major-brand clothing and accessory sale, with items donated from more than

700 prestigious fashion and accessory firms.

The event will be held Dec. 6-13 at the Expo Center at Madison Square Garden in New York. At press time, firms that had donated jewelry or watches included Bulova Watch, Belair Watch, Calvin Klein Watches, Citizen, Baume & Mercier, and Christian Dior.

For more information on donating goods or attending the event, contact Debbie Prince, Fashion Rescue Coordinator, UJA Federation of New York, at (212) 836-1692.