Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Progressive Snowflake Holiday Sale

Over the past several weeks, several new earrings, bracelets and necklaces have been added to my web site, Karen Sugarman Designs. I am happy to announce that these new jewelry designs will also be included in the Progressive Snowflake Holiday Sale beginning December 16th through December 25th.

Go to the website –
www.karensugarmandesigns.com and find your favorite jewelry designs. Then, check back daily for the prices to fall like little snowflakes. In addition to getting some great bargains just in time for the Holidays, every item comes with free gift wrap and standard shipping.

Gee, I wonder what a snow angel would look like with a gorgeous new pair of earrings!?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Fun Holiday Surprise

The past few months have been so crazy with traveling, trunk shows, board meetings, helping with IFDA Tableau (a wonderful fundraiser for Ryan House in Phoenix) and participating in Scottsdale Fashion Week - that I am just now getting back to working on my jewelry designs and updating my website for the holidays. It is not unusual for me to periodically Google my business name to see if someone has posted something new but, today was such a fun surprise I thought I should share the news.

Now, I must confess that the social networking thing is somewhat new to me and I am not particularly savvy with the lingo. Apparently, a few days ago a fashionista named Aunt Bee found my website (Karen Sugarman Designs) and has “hived” me on Stylehive. What fun to realize that you are not just floating around alone in cyberspace and that people actually do locate you and appreciate your efforts. It will be fun to follow Aunt Bee and see what else she is up to over the next few months. I feel certain that someone reading this blog will have a much greater understanding of the significance of this event and probably could explain (in a very rudimentary way) how I can maximize this effort. In any event, for someone as “non-computer oriented” as myself, it will be a fun learning experience. If you have any pointers, leave a comment – I would love to understand more.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

First Ever Trunk Show!

A very dear friend of many years, Marc Glasberg, has been carrying some of my jewelry for the past several months in his store in Boston, Marcoz Antiques. Back in my showhouse days, I could always count on Marc to help me out at the last minute with adding just the most lovely and unique antique finishing touches for my rooms.

I first got to know Marc when I became besotted by his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Basil, who used to be the cutest little mascot in the Boston Design Center showroom. Basil was the driving force in getting my first Cavalier, Noble. If only Noble had been as well behaved as Basil! At one point when my office was just up the street from the Newbury Street store, Marc had three magnificent Cavaliers: Basil, Zander (Basil’s son) and the sophisticated lady that kept the boys in line. . . Phoebe. Basil & Zander passed on several years ago, but Phoebe still accompanies Marc to the store every day with her always elegant style.

This past summer, the store that was a landmark destination on Newbury Street, moved just a few doors away to 173 Newbury Street. To celebrate the new location, Marc has asked to feature my designs in a jewelry trunk show October 23rd - 25th. Since this is my first one ever, I am busily making up new fall designs to bring with me for the show. Tomorrow is the first day of the Tucson Gem Show and yes, I am planning to attend. . .you can never have too many gemstones!

The beautiful photos above are of the old store and of course a very special picture of Phoebe, the grand dame. I am really looking forward to this trunk show as well as the surprise of the new store that I am certain will be just as fabulous as the old one and having a chance to see Marc & Phoebe again. I hope you will mark your calendars and drop by for a visit to see all my newest jewelry designs during the October trunk show.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Scoop It Up - Summer Sale

Okay gals, here is your chance to save some serious cash! From now through
September 6th, save 1/3 off everything (necklaces, earrings & bracelets) in the entire shophttp://www.karensugarmandesigns.com/.

For you fashionistas. . .you already know that the “Statement Necklace” is on the fashion radar for Fall 2008. Here is your chance to look like you just stepped out of Vogue without an entire wardrobe do-over! Have fun shopping!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lilac Love – Lilac Amethyst, Prehnite, Scapiolite and Cupid’s Vintage Locket

I have an Italian reference book that I obtained early in my career as an interior designer called Soffitti Della Fantasia. Within that book are some of the most magnificent historic ceilings painted by master artists from all over Europe. A recurrent theme in many of these extraordinary painted ceilings are the little Cupids/angels or putti; pudgy little child-like figures with sweet faces that add a certain charm and levity to an otherwise overly ambitious work of art.
During my travels, I came upon this charming little vintage locket replete with the pudgy little cherub and just could not resist. It was as if he was telling me to take him home and ensconce him back into a lovely piece of jewelry. . . and so I did! The Monet watercolor palette found in the soft lilac amethyst, watery aqua quartz , pale mossy prehnite and gentle morning sun scapiolite creates a stunning design worthy of such an endearing little Cupid. 26” long with a 6” frilled drop.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Beloved Generations – Green Amethyst Nuggets, Tourmaline & Antique Locket Necklace

Whenever I am fortunate enough to find a pretty locket with a family of old photos, it is a bittersweet discovery to know that the history of entire generations has either been given away or possibly sold during a period of hard times. Such was the case when I located this precious antique locket preserved with family photos of a young girl and what appear to be her mother and father. My mind wanders to the circumstances that led to the locket eventually ending up with an antique dealer - for sale, to the person that will pay a pittance for such a rich legacy.

The Beloved Generations necklace is composed of Alexandrite colored green amethyst nuggets and rondelles that culminate in a “frill” of multicolored tourmaline rondelles and a single watermelon tourmaline slice - highlighting the sweet memory of a locket from a bygone era. The antique gold filled locket provides its own provenance with original hand colored photos more than likely from the Victorian Era. The necklace portion measures 26” with a generous “frill” and feature watermelon slice bead more than 2” long before it culminates at the lovely old locket. The total drop of the frill & locket measures 5” long.

With a historic pedigree, the Beloved Generations necklace was inspired by a room I designed for the Junior League of Boston’s Silver Anniversary Showhouse – another home with pedigree, the Michael Curley Estate in Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. Michael Curley was the very controversial multi-term mayor of Boston with a bit of a “Robin Hood Syndrome”. He succinctly thumbed his nose at the Boston Brahmins when the Curley estate was built, by adding shamrock shutters to the house.

In a nod to the historic background of the Curley home, where very famous and some infamous personalities visited – the upstairs great room was dubbed “The Ambassador’s Club” with acknowledgement to the Curley legacy. This formal yet lighthearted great room space had formerly been two bedrooms in the family home. The rich, clear colors of the room as well as the chenille “Fleur de Lis” sofas were selected for their durability and comfort, as well as their cheeky comment to the capricious diplomatic wallpaper.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Shell of an Idea – Shell Necklace & Antique Pink Shell Carved Cameo

I had absolutely no intention of making a “theme style necklace” but, when I came across these lovely shell beads early in the spring, I was compelled to buy them. In the back of my mind, I had mentally saved an interior design idea that I thought would have been gorgeous for a small room (perhaps a powder room). That design inspiration was to cover the walls in seashells creating a beautiful mosaic-like pattern everywhere. Probably totally impractical (especially if you have young children – can’t you just see the little munchkins trying to pick them off the walls) but, truly a colorful & textural feast for the eyes!

My fascination with seashells probably started, like most of us, in childhood at the beach. Growing up in Louisiana we tended to go to Galveston for sun & sand. Not a particularly good place to find “pretty” seashells. However, on one occasion, we ventured to Florida for a beach respite and I could not believe all the wonderful colors & shapes available – just ripe for the picking!

As an adult, my hubby and I spent every summer for 10 years in Nantucket. It was in Nantucket, that I first discovered the little seed of an idea that grew into the full blown notion of seashell mosaic walls – The Sailor’s Valentines. It was the organized juxtaposition of shells that caught my eye. In further travels and studies, I realized that this type of shell mosaic design has been used for many years and is fairly common in little grottos throughout Europe.

Interesting, that the things that amused us as children, very often continue to do so as an adult. My only concession to picking up pretty shells on the beach was the magnitude and scope of what to do with them as an adult. I guess I have never let go of that seashell mosaic folly either. I have been trying to think of an interesting design idea for one of the two powder rooms in my home. I wonder if my husband had the same fascination with shells as a child!

Clearly, this stunning shell necklace is just another interpretation of a well loved idea. Pink & creamy white shell beads in all different shapes and sizes are clustered together with the more recognizable shells from the ocean. Rhodochrosite and jumbo Swarovski pearls in beautiful pink/peach colors lend an elegant addition to the necklace. The piece de resistance is the lovely antique carved pink shell cameo set in a 10k gold bezel. The perfect “statement necklace” for a seaside garden soiree.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Clearly, A Case of the Blues - Blue Tourmaline & Quartz Necklace

Yes, we all have them and sometimes for unknown reasons (perhaps those dastardly female hormones). In my case, I happen to know what set of the “Torrent of Tears” and “The Pity Party for One”. I really do know better than to let someone’s mean-spirited words bother me but, I still woke up with a clear case of the blues!

We have a little saying at home: “When Karen is unhappy. . .no one is happy.” If I can ever convince my husband that the Living Room/Dining Room furniture needs to be replaced, this room is an inspiration that would make me very happy. I have had these photos in my “Rooms That Inspire” folder for several years and it is a different look than is usually associated with me. The very clean, edited design with contemporary accents was beautifully executed by Brown-Davis Interiors and gorgeous photography by Angie Seckinger.

The lovely clean lines of this room were the inspiration for a necklace that incorporates the simplicity of clear rock crystal combined with the gorgeous colors of blue tourmaline briolette teardrops. Most people associate tourmaline with a much wider range of colors, but the blue and green limited range of colors really “spoke” to me on that particular buying trip. This is one of those pieces of jewelry that adapts beautifully to a variety of colors subtly and elegantly.

For an interior/jewelry designer, this quote says it all:

“Blue color is everlastingly appointed by the Deity to be a source of delight.”
Lectures on Architecture & Painting (1853)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dreamy Elegance – Rose Quartz Nugget, Pink Topaz, Lemon Quartz & Aqua Chalcedony Necklace

It is rare that an interior designer has a client with such complete confidence in the designer’s ability that a sincere carte blanche is extended in the execution of the client’s home. Such is the case of a long time friend & client from the Boston area. We had a very long-standing relationship of over 10 years and collaborated together on several beautiful rooms in her stately & elegant home. It all began with the design of her daughter’s bedroom that was to be a surprise 16th birthday gift and evolved into the design of several other rooms within the home. My last area of the house to be completed before moving to Arizona was the design of the Master Suite.

As you can see from the photograph, it is a very elegant bedroom with a luscious color palette of creamy yellow, pale pinks & raspberry, soothing green and a touch of watery pale aqua. Confectionary colors that are regally juxtaposed within a sophisticated composition of sumptuous furniture. It is the type of bedroom that many women dream of but few obtain - a custom designed rug, custom Regency canopied bed, custom trims on furniture & silk draperies and a stunning portrait of the client and her daughters at the beach. No only was it a sanctuary for my client but a dreamy vision for HGTV to feature as well.

The delicate coloring of this room has long been one of my personal favorites as well and was the inspiration for a new necklace idea that has come to fruition. The Dreamy Elegance Necklace is anchored by the generous rose quartz nuggets surrounded by a frame of coiled wire and tiny little faceted gold vermeil beads. The cascading plume feature of rose quartz, aqua quartz, aqua chalcedony, lemon quartz and pink topaz reminds me of the cascading and flowing silk draperies in the bedroom. Just as the gentle colors of the room repeat in an organized and harmonious balance, the gemstones repeat the colors of the waterfall plume around the detailed rose quartz nuggets. Elegant and dreamy – just like the bedroom that inspired the design.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Very Special Mother – My Mother-In-Law

This seemed like a very good weekend to spend a little time getting my website and other listings ready for Mother’s Day. In the midst of my frustration of taking pictures (I am still learning and not very good) my mind was wandering between trying to figure out the camera and thinking of my gorgeous mother-in-law. Whether she realizes this or not or even has a chance to read this (she does not own a computer), she has been my fashion muse for almost 25 years.

I vividly remember the first time I ever met her. I was invited to accompany my boyfriend (now my husband) to a Mother’s Day luncheon at the Ritz Carlton overlooking the Boston Public Gardens. This had been their tradition for many years before I came into the picture.
I took great care that day to find something to wear that was appropriate but, not too dramatic (navy suit with an ivory georgette pin tucked blouse – how strange that I still remember). As we walked up the circular stairs to the main dining room, I noticed a most regal white haired lady, impeccably dressed waiting by the elevator. As we neared the top of the stairs, she spoke to my boyfriend and I quickly realized that this stunning and fashionable woman would soon become a very important person in my life. Little did I know that at 35 my boyfriend had never, ever, brought a girlfriend to meet his mother!

Fast forward 25+ years and it brings us to this sweet photo of my mother-in-law holding our new grandchild a few months after his birth. At 90+ years old, she is still as fashionable and lovely as ever. When she began to have trouble wearing her gorgeous jewelry because she had trouble with the clasps, she inspired me again.

I created a line of jewelry that uses decorative magnetic clasps that proved to be just what the doctor ordered in facilitating the finishing touches for dressing to go to Symphony every Friday (she has gone faithfully since before my husband was born). Sometimes necessity is the “Mother of Invention”. As I tinkered around with this line, I realized that I could also create multiple ways of wearing the same necklace. By removing the pendant portion, it could be used as a simple choker-style necklace. During the design process, I also realized that some necklaces could also convert to a bracelet thereby rendering one necklace that could be worn three ways! Much to my delight, my mother-in law loved the idea and wears them frequently.

As an interior designer in Boston, my mantra was just because something has to be functional does not mean it cannot be attractive. I guess that lesson has translated itself into my jewelry designs as well.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

When Life Hands You Lemon Quartz – Make a Necklace

Even after living in the deserts of Scottsdale for almost four years, I still miss almost everything from my former life in Boston (24 years is a long time). However there is one thing (possibly more) that I do love about Arizona. . .
t-shirts & sandals in March (unthinkable in Boston)! In our very small but, very pretty back yard, the former owners had the good sense to plan a small grove of citrus trees. It is at this time of the year when they are most delightful. After most of the fruit has been picked, eaten, juiced and given away; the grapefruit, orange and lemon trees explode with a profusion of beautiful white blossoms and the headiest perfumed fragrance you can imagine. Too bad we still do not have “smell-a-vision”. Suffice to say, I leave the doors open as much as possible to drink in the ambrosia bouquet.
Apparently, that lemon tree has really been on my mind. I just completed a gorgeous necklace of aquamarine, green phantom quartz, aqua chalcedony with softly colored lemon quartz nuggets and smooth lemon chiffon freshwater pearls. It reminds me of a cool glass of lemonade by the sparkling aqua water of the pool.

With my hubby working this week-end, I snuck off to a small gem & jewelry show here in Scottsdale. . .shh, don’t tell him! I am pretty certain I am not alone in this but, he is really befuddled by my need to have all those shoes and gemstones! As you can see, that lemon tree was whispering in my ear to buy those exquisite lemon quartz faceted briolettes. I am not certain exactly what “recipe” I will use them in but, I am certain something yummy will come to mind! These gem shows are going to be the end of me because I always seem to find some new stones that I just cannot seem to live without. This time, in addition to the lemon quartz brios, it was the blue tourmaline, pink topaz nuggets and the pink sapphires. I just can’t wait to sit down with them and see what combinations I can come up with.

While attending the gem show, I was testing out a new necklace that I have dubbed as “Safari Sashay”. With the summer fashion “must haves” of everything safari, everyone from the vendors (one of them wanted me to sell it to him – for resale of course) to the fashionable attendees, wanted to know about this necklace. This chunky statement necklace (very in-style this season) is comprised of ammonite, horn, banded agate, coffee quartz, wood & freshwater baroque pearls. It would look fabulous with the white shirtwaist dress & brown belt I have dog eared in my Bloomingdale’s catalogue!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Queen’s History Reinvented

I am not really certain how I stumbled across this photo of a necklace incorporating Marie Antoinette’s grey pearls but, suffice to say; I became very enamored with the “architecture” of the design. As a lark, I decided to try and duplicate the style based on this historic treasure. After a few false starts, and a few “tweaks” of the idea, a new collection was born. The Tuileries Collection pays homage to a very celebrated queen and her lavish need for beautiful jewelry.