Wholesale Fashion Jewelry & Accessories Blog

Ideas for Jewelry & Accessory Businesses

Archive for the 'Brooches' Category...

Filed under Boas, Brooches, Fashion Jewelry, Feather Masks, Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras Beads, Mardi Gras Earrings, Mardi Gras Masks, Masks, Necklace Sets, Sports Jewelry, Uncategorized, Valentine Jewelry, Venetian Masks, Wholesale Jewelry
Share Button

This is the 27th year for Accessory Wholesale inc. business.  Sometimes we have to stop and ask, have we learned anything over the last quarter of a century in business?  Our business is fashion jewelry and accessories plus some really fun items like Mardi Gras and masks.  Those familiar with fashion know that it is cyclical.  Trends come and go, business build for years and then reverse for years in rollercoaster-like cycles. 

 How does small business survive that?  Our business as a wholesaler depends on the success of small retailers.  These are our customers.  Some small fashion businesses have found their space in the retail world and are doing very well, while many others may feel the walls closing in with competitions from major retailers as well as taxes, insurance, and everything else including days with problem customers. 

 Over the last 27 years, we haven’t come up with neat little formulas for guaranteed success, but we have noticed some tactics by successful retailers that seem to work.  This blog and the following two will hash out five ideas. 


How many times have we heard the three most important things that make a business successful are location, location, and location?  Sounds simple enough, right?  That is until we try to pin down what is the right location.  Most areas have shopping destinations that can draw from 25 and more miles away.  This is often a mall like the Acadiana Mall in Lafayette, La. or the White Oaks Mall in Springfield, Ill. 

 These shopping destinations get plenty of traffic, but leases are through the roof.  Small business often feels it is giving all the profit to the property owner. I noticed something as a road salesman calling on small fashion businesses.  Many successful businesses were in smaller towns away from the shopping destination. They had desirable merchandise and were conveniently close to their customers.  Personal service accompanied by a high level of energy made shoppers feel special as well as energized to buy.  They were packed with customers when locals needed gifts for those special days like Valentines Day and Mothers Day. 

 Location and the price of the lease need to be weighed to determine whether sales volume is going to overcome the lease cost. 


The Christmas shopping season is probably the time when small business feels major retailers cutting into their sales more than any other time of the year.  Niche markets insulate small business from the onslaught.  Most niche markets are an area where the majors simply don’t go. 


A few examples will make the point.  Since Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, especially in New Orleans, fleur-de-lis jewelry and accessories have been extremely popular.  It is the symbol of the City as well as on the Acadiana flag.  Louisiana has rallied around this emblem since the devastation of the Hurricane and it has been in hot demand by the locals.  But the only place to find a nice selection is small business.  This is a niche market that small business owns. 


Think about sports.  Local high schools and colleges have a following of avid fans.  This is a super niche market, especially high schools.  Of course manufacturers are not going to produce lines of merchandise for individual high schools, but that is where the ingenuity of small business comes in. 

 If this were a recipe, school colors and school mascots would be the main ingredients.  Decorating an area with colors and the mascot screams “local high school” to your shoppers.  Everything from stuffed animals to jewelry and printed shirts creates the story.  In jewelry, chokers, mascot pendants, and school color beads can be offered separately so customer can create their own high school jewelry.  School color bracelets are also available to fit into the theme.  If mascot pendants aren’t available, simply substitute a sports pendant like a football.  That with the school color beads will tell the story.  Sounds like a lot of creativity and work?  Well, there are some easier choices that can add other niche markets. 


In some areas, Mardi Gras is huge and this market belongs almost entirely to small business.   If “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” is celebrated in your area, take advantage of the enormous retail business done in Mardi Gras items while other parts of the country are recovering from Christmas.  If not, you be the shop that introduces this fun celebration to your area. 

 What makes up an irresistible Mardi Gras selection for retailers?  Of course, beads must be included—not cheap throw beads, but specialty beads that consumers will pay money for.  Hand-strung Mardi Gras beads in nice designs and Mardi Gras colors of purple, gold, and green have to be part of the selection. But other colors are often used in beads that have a theme, like crawfish boil, jesters, peppers, seafood, oysters on the half shell, and more. 

 Novelty hats are also an almost necessary party item.  Purple, gold, and green novelty hats again do well for Mardi Gras—headwear like jester hats, sequin tiaras, mad hatters, or crowns.  But any crazy hat will be popular for this super party.  You need a lot of selection, but not a lot of depth.  The market doesn’t end on Ash Wednesday.  Festivals, birthday parties, and sporting events are more opportunities for sales in this fun headwear.    


  Boas are a festive accessory popular with girls—purple, gold, and green for Mardi Gras day, but other colors do very well also.  When buying boas, the fullness is determined by weight and a good weight is 55 to 60 grams. 

 Masks are a major ingredient for Mardi Gras and selection has certainly become more sophisticated over the last few years.  Feather masks, both worn with elastic bands and on a stick to be held, continue to provide more breath-taking designs.  The sequin mask with a spray of feathers to one side is leading seller year after year.  Coque, ostrich, and marabou feathers make a fabulous arrangement in the spray, making these masks extraordinary without being expensive.  

 The rising star in masks is Venetian style masks.  These gorgeous works of art were practically unknown a few years ago and now frequent reality shows, TV, and the movies.  The art of mask making had its own guild in Venus during the Renaissance and the growing popularity of Venetian style masks makes it hard to pass up when stocking your store. 

 Venetian style masks can be affordable with designs like the Arlecchino patchwork patterns of eye masks for men or masks mounted on sticks with lavish ostrich plumes for women. 

 Exceptional styles include the full-face jester masks in Mardi Gras colors as well as butterfly Venetian style masks for women that are breath-taking.  Venetian masks have the history and artistic beauty that will make you proud to include them in your inventory. 

 Whew!  This blog took more time than I expected so we will save two important areas for small business until the next blog—the areas of jewelry for special occasions and seasons plus key niche markets that appeal to a wider audience. 

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Filed under Brooches, Christmas Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Seasonal Jewelry
Share Button



Did you notice the emphasis this year on supporting small business in Christmas shopping?  Conventional wisdom says this is smart because small business is the backbone of the American economy.  But how much does putting out the message help the Christmas season for small fashion businesses, especially when they are always competing with big box companies? 

A far more effective way to draw consumers to small business is offering the fashion accessories that shoppers trust small retailers for far more than they trust the majors. We discovered 12 categories that do just that and covered the first nine in the last two blogs.  Now let’s look at the last three, which are in the holiday or the formal jewelry and accessories area. 



 Restaurants, clubs, and ballrooms offer special dining and entertainment every New Year’s Eve.  This gives couples the opportunity to dress up and enjoy a romantic evening out.  Women go shopping for the knockout apparel that will turn heads that night and plenty of retailers will be competing for the sales.  But accessorizing the dresses is left mainly to small business because they have the abundant options to make the perfect match for the outfit. 

Rhinestone necklace sets will be high on the shopping list for these consumers.  Nothing seems more traditional than rhinestone for New Year’s Eve, but most major retailers have a very limited selection.   It’s small business that has showcases of options because they specialize in the glitzy look all year.  Yes, when New Year’s Eve is gone for another year, small business will have the glamorous jewelry for proms, bridal, pageant, and balls while the majors are changing their showcases to a casual look.

Small retailers offer the traditional looks that many women are comfortable with as well as the edgy designs that are rising in fashion.  This season look for the glamorous looks in rhinestone that you would expect in the diamond jewels of royalty.  Designs fit for a queen, grace the neck with lavish crystals surrounded by smaller rhinestones. This tasteful extravagance is the ballroom look for this New Years Eve. 


When we think of rhinestone jewelry, sets crafted from rhinestone chain come to mind.  This look actually never existed before World War II because the machine to produce the rhinestone chain hadn’t been invented yet.  Before that, rhinestone jewelry was limited to handset stones that we call crystal jewelry today.  And these crystal sets are back in a big way because of the fashion trend of statement necklaces.  This has carried over into formal jewelry and crystal necklace sets deliver with larger stones and bold statements. 


With bracelets so big in trends, we can’t overlook crystal bracelets that add a glamorous accessory to the wrist.  Crystals again provide bold, sparkling designs that will stand out for holiday wear—everything from bracelets inspired by Art Deco to the gorgeous look of The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  This really adds excitement to a New Year’s Eve ensemble and where do you find it—at the small retailer locations that not only have the wide selection, but provide personal service in putting together the perfect look. 



 Not every holiday dress is going to accommodate a necklace set and this is where earrings really step up to add the glamour.  Options abound in glitzy earrings.  Remember the chandeliers from a few years ago?  Well they never went away.  New designs deliver all the sparkle a girl could want with crystals and motion glimmering with every move.

If shoppers prefer something more traditional, the small retailers specializing in formal jewelry will have a host of rhinestone earrings from conservative size to shoulder duster length.  Cascades, buttons, hoops, linear earrings, colored rhinestones—where else can you find this selection?  And where else can shoppers get personal service that will have you leaving satisfied with accessories that really set off an outfit. 


Don’t overlook crystal earrings.  Small businesses have plenty of options for every hair do and outfit.  Crystal earrings can have the very feminine look of filigree settings as well as dramatic buttons, bold drops, or the elegance of glimmering crystals in silver plating with black epoxy contrast—so stunning for New Year’s Eve.  To find all these options, shoppers must visit small retailers with a focus on formal jewelry because the big box stores seldom have the variety or the personal service.    



 If we think back a few years, it seems like there was a new trendy fashion item every Christmas.  In 2004 it was initials on accessories, in 2005 sequin handbags, and in 2006 crystal brooches.  That year the showcases of department stores sparkled with brooches.  Each item faded away except the crystal brooches that seem to be here to stay. 

But even crystal brooches faded away in the department store showcases while demand continued.  The gorgeous designs draw a lot of inspiration from the first half of the twentieth century—Art Nuevo, Art Deco, and designs from The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  Brooches make wonderful Christmas gifts for Mom, for office gift exchanges, and for other special occasions like bridesmaid gifts.  But the only reliable supplier is small businesses specializing in glitzy and formal jewelry. 


 Demand is high.  According to Google, there are 450,000 searches for per month for brooches and another 673,000 searches for brooch.  That means customers are looking for brooches and this is a wonderful opportunity for small business. 

A high number of major businesses started as small businesses.  Popeye’s Fried Chicken began with one chicken house in Arabi, La.  Ugg boots took hold in the US when the Australian, Brian Smith, sold them to surfers in California.  This is a small sampling of the importance of small business to the US economy.   In addition to being the incubator for larger businesses, small business hires nearly half the US workers and is the engine for employment with 65% of new hires. 

So survival of small business is important.  Retailers can zero in on areas of fashion where consumers trust them more than they trust the big box companies and consumers need to keep small business in mind when shopping.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Bridal Accessories, Bridal Jewelry, Brooches, Costume Jewelry, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Accessories, Fashion Jewelry, Fashion Jewelry Trends, Fashion Trends, Hats, Necklace Sets, Tiaras, Uncategorized, Wholesale Jewelry
Share Button

Accessories Magazine reviews trends shaping fashion jewelry and accessories each season based on the fashion shows that preview the coming season.  Major fashion stories result from sorting all the tangents of designers crossing the runways.  The last blog covered the first two for fall and this blog covers the next two—a dual that seems to contradict each other as fashion statements.  Accessories Magazine’s Survival Mode borders on grunge while Ice Queen has a classy majestic look.     


As different as the trends seem, both find inspiration in the dominant mood of the times—economic uncertainty.  Survival mode finds an obvious connection.  First impression is the rugged attire of inhabitants of the arctic tundra.  Earth tone colors with patches of fur deliver a nomadic appearance.  Inspiration is global with Scandinavian prints, African crafts, English tweeds, and Alpine flairs all contributing. 

Jewelry combines natural materials with metals for a close-to-earth feeling.  Wood and raw gemstones blended with metals create fashion jewelry that delivers the story.  Look for burnished metals in cuffs and bangles as well as braided leather in jewelry. 

Trapper hats are a natural fit for these trends well as any headwear that is fur trimmed.  Other hats include wide brim wool fedoras, crocheted caps, and wool buckets. 


If the previous trend reflects a rugged response to economic times, this fashion story that Accessories Magazine calls Ice Queen uses a fantasy world to cope with financial stress.  Opulence abounds in this trend characterized by shades of opal and winter white.   Fur and cashmere add to the extravagance of the fantasy. 

Fashion jewelry accessorizes the look with iridescent crystals, unconventional designs of pearls, and opalescent Lucite.  Rhinestone or crystal mixed with frosted beads and pearls as bracelets or necklace sets.  Jewelry with shades white, cream, and ivory fit into this theme with wintery snow and ice inspiration. 

Headwear accessories include bobby pins with enameled flowers, lace and crocheted headbands or caps, and headwear with sequins, especially iridescent sequins.  Winter white in nearly any hat can accompany the look. 

This fashion story is easy to accessorize because the jewelry that delivers the sparkle for the trend also provides holiday jewelry that will soon be in demand.  Actually, fashion jewelry in crystals, rhinestone, and faux pearls should have a permanent location in shops because of the endless line up of events that call for dressy accessories. 

The following blog includes the fashion story for December delivery as well as holiday trends

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Brooches, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Hats, Necklace Sets, Pendants, Sunglasses
Share Button

The runways for every new season provide an abundance of fresh designs that go in endless directions.  But each season, Accessories Magazine makes sense of it all by taking thousands of photos and narrowing down the stand outs for jewelry and accessories to five fashion stories.  This blog covers the first two stories with the rest following during the week. 


 The first fashion story Accessories Magazine calls Mod Remix.  Think sixties here with a clean look and innocence that sometimes gets eclipsed by hippie movements and civil disobedience later in the decade.  However, the sixties open with Jackie Kennedy as First Lady, the picture of elegance.  Camelot opens on Broadway.  Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, as well as a fist full of classic westerns are playing on the silver screen.  Beach party movies were playing for the teens and even Elvis Presley gets into the act. 


This was the era of Lucite and plastic colored bangles and earrings and they are back with this fall fashion trend.  Color continues with enameled pins as well as enameled pendants and cuff bracelets—some matching the color blocking of the apparel.  Apparel for the trend likes sleek silhouettes and clean shapes. Sunglasses get smaller with cateye or oval lenses in plastic frames.  Color is here also. 


The use of geometric shapes in jewelry brings back oversized earrings whether elongated cone drops with color or plated metal in geometrics.  Geometrics also extend to neckwear with bib necklaces that sometimes incorporate resins. 

And what are sixties trends without patent leather—patent leather in shoes, boots, bags, even hair accessories.  Patent bucket hats also fit in.  The bags are structured often with contrasting handles or piping.  Mod Remix is the fun story for fall trends.   


A continuing debate ponders the question of what inspires fashion trends.  One solution offered is zeitgeist—the mood that defines that point of time.  It is hard to argue against the zeitgeist of this era being economic insecurity.  And that theme spills over into the next fashion trend that Accessories Magazine calls Tailor Made, making a strong argument for the zeitgeist theory. 

The austere look Tailor Made uses shades from camel to brown as well as grey, reflecting the tough times.  It is a “no frills” style inspired by menswear with little touches to keep it feminine.  What does that mean?  Well, accessorizing a double-breasted suit coat drops the tie and replaces it with a bow for neckwear, adding a feminine element.  Overall, the look is pragmatic and austere.  How do you accessorize it?

Designers showed the trend with necklaces in gunmetal plating using oversized links and chain designs.  Some necklaces have heavy design with metal bolts and large beading.  Actually, the bold statement necklaces that all over the runway and fashion magazines fit at least three of the trend stories so give them serious thought for fall jewelry. 

Necklaces also use bold pearl and meal combinations.  Over-sized beads are part of the look and sometimes large glass components, especially in smoke.  Metal cuffs and link bracelets accessorize the wrist. 


Headwear uses high crown fedoras, fifties fedoras, felt boaters.  The puffy ivy caps as seen in the 1974 film, The Great Gatsby, fit this theme. 

Next blog continues the fashion stories tht make up the major trends of the fall and winter season.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Filed under Bracelets, Brooches, Crystal Jewelry, Earrings, Fashion Jewelry, Necklace Sets, Rhinestone Jewelry, Uncategorized
Share Button

What is the difference between rhinestone jewelry and crystal jewelry?  The terms are often interchanged leaving shopkeepers as well as customers confused.  When we look back at vintage rhinestone jewelry before 1940 we see a noticeable change.  The look is quite different than we equate with rhinestone jewelry today. 



What changed?  Well today’s rhinestone jewelry is usually made with rhinestone chain–that is a continuous chain of rhinestone that comes out of a machine with the stones already set.  This look is conspicuously missing in the vintage rhinestone jewelry books that cover any era before the 1940s.  The reason is the invention of the machine that creates rhinestone chain occurred in Providence, Rhode Island during the forties, the same time America was involved in World War II and saw the rationing of many metals.   

The appearance of rhinestone jewelry made from rhinestone chain begins after the War and this is the look that we call rhinestone jewelry today.  Machines produced rhinestone chain with stones mechanically set that would roll out continuously and was wound on spools.  Designers would buy the spools and develop new designs by cutting and soldering the rhinestone chain.  When we talk about rhinestone jewelry today, this is the look that comes to mind. 



Now look at a vintage jewelry book showing rhinestone before the forties.  The look is gorgeous, but very different.  Designers created rings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces and earrings with glued in or prong set stones.   The most fabulous designs began appearing in the 1930s introducing an era that continued to the 1960s called The Golden Age of Costume Jewelry.  

Legendary costume jewelry houses put their name on fabulous designs and these pieces are collector items today.  The era produced greats like Eisenberg, Haskell, Coro, Juliana, Dior, and Trifari.  Inspirations from these design houses continue in fashion jewelry today, but we usually refer to this look as crystal jewelry and jewelry made with rhinestone chain as rhinestone jewelry. 


Are the stones different?  Actually, they are not.  The quality leader in crystal stones is Swarovski, and they produce rhinestone chain as well with the same process.  What sets Swarovski apart?  First, they were the pioneer in perfecting machine cut faceted stones.  In addition, Swarovski perfected the lead crystal process according to http://www.jsbeads.com/Swarovski-Crystal/  with a finished product that is “32% lead, making the crystal optically pure”.  Don’t worry; this lead is not going to release and in any way cause harm to health.  Lead crystal is exempt from the lead content rulings. 

Czech crystals are another source of crystals that are also used in rhinestone chain.  The sparkle and perfection may be a small step below, but the price is cheaper and these stones get more use than the higher priced Swarovski crystals because consumers are very price conscious today.  

The third option, used extensively in rhinestone or crystal jewelry from China, is Mideast stones.  Sourced from the Mideast from countries like Dubai, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, these rhinestones have high radiance, but dull over time quicker than Czech stones.  Mid Eastern stones are a favorite in Chinese manufacturing because they have eye-catching brilliance at a cheaper price than Czech or Austrian crystals. 

Finally, Chinese stones are becoming a greater player in rhinestone and crystal jewelry.  At first, the stones didn’t provide the quality for sparkling jewelry, but quality is improving for some manufacturers.  Those with a keen insight to the market can save money with high quality Chinese rhinestone and crystal, but inferior quality is still in the market from lower end manufacturers. 

So the bottom line is rhinestone and crystals are the same stone.  The difference is when and how the jewelry is made. Before World War II, the terms are interchangeable because rhinestone chain didn’t exist.   After the War rhinestone is more often applied to jewelry made with the chain while crystal usually refers to glued-in or prong set stones that are individually set.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Filed under Brooches
Share Button

MADELINE ALBRIGHT, United States Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton, had a huge and remarkable collection of brooches that she often wore in a unique manner.  As explained in her delightful and offbeat illustrated memoir, Read My Pins, the Secretary often let her brooches do the talking for her. 


For a meeting with Nelson Mandela, she wore a brooch with vibrant zebras on it, and to mourn the victims of a downed plane, she wore a bluebird pin.  After a loyal follower of Saddam Hussein called her a “serpent,” she wore a bejeweled snake pin – “a masterpiece of elegant defiance,” as one major magazine called it.


YOU CAN CREATE the same fascinating collection of “talking” pins to fit your personality and activities, and you can show your customers how to do it, too.  It gives a whole new dimension to collecting, and can often express a sensitivity and alertness to others that might otherwise go unnoticed or unexpressed.  Once your friends and relatives get used to your pins, they’ll be on the lookout for them and their meanings.   



  • Chrysanthemum crystal brooch. This beautiful flower symbolizes optimism and joy.  It is November’s birth flower and, in Japan, it is celebrated by an annual “Festival of Happiness.”




  • Artistic crystal heart broochHearts represent true love.  Ancient meanings attribute the heart as the keeper of the soul and the passions of the body. 


                              Serpents:  Spiritual and Slithery


SNAKES ARE A CLASSIC subject for brooches, and are especially popular right now. “Oh,” you might say, “they are frightening and negative.”  — Oh, no, not necessarily.  Snakes in Eastern philosophies represent spiritual energy and often are seen to have a divine-like quality. 

    –Of course, they’ll only speak this positive language to a particularly sophisticated audience, so choose whom you wear them with.  Needless to say, you can play the Albright game with serpents, too.  Wear them with people who are otherwise nasty to you.  Guaranteed you won’t be seen as a push-over!


Lovebirds make a charming brooch subject to wear to engagement parties and weddings.  Birds fly high, into the heavens, and have deep spiritual meaning for many people.  Dolphins are remarkably happy animals, frolicking all day, rarely showing off their surprisingly high level of intelligence.  A dolphin pin is wonderful to wear at any educational event.  It is also an ideal gift for the graduate!


                                           Getting Buggy


Insects represent a world unto themselves.  Think about spiders.  What do they mean to you?  Or bumble bees?  Or dragonflies?  Butterflies are beautiful. Fireflies bring light to the darkness. And little ladybugs have long represented good luck wherever they appear.


It goes without saying that, in athletics, you can wear pins to express your team preference. You can also wear special school pins.  Or pins for fraternal organizations or sororities. Elephants and donkeys talk out loud during political campaigns.  Come March, pins for St. Patrick’s Day make an appearance.  Christmas pins are a major accessory. Since 9/11, many men have worn flag lapel pins to express their national loyalty.


KIDS WHO ARE IN A GOTHIC “I’m a scary person” mode might want to wear a skull and crossbones pin.  Christians often wear pins with crosses on them.  Young children will delight in almost any Disney pin. Medical doctors frequently wear caduceus pins (two serpents entwined on a short staff, in the form of a double helix, often surmounted by wings). Special “chaplain” pins have long been worn by military clerics.



  • Horse head and horseshoe brooch.  What a fun way to express good luck!




  • Light green crystal brooch in mum motif.  Here we are back, again, at the enormously popular “earth-child” theme.  Going green is a gift to everyone on the planet!


                                           The Color Wheel


BUT…GETTING BACK TO YOU, PERSONALLY.   Pins and brooches are fun to wear, especially when they’ve been empowered by special or unexpected meaning.  One way of attaching new significance to pins is through color. 


Pins with strong green stones often represent the “green” movement – the new drive toward healthier, more natural living. Using recyclable products, avoiding unnatural chemicals, being kind to the earth and all its creatures are just a few of the meanings expressed with such pins. 


Red is fiery, intense.  Until diamonds took over the market, rubies were the major gemstone in many engagement rings!  Wear a red pin to indicate your total involvement in an issue or cause.  Right now, red is an important color of the American Heart Association.


Yellow is a happy color. Brooches with yellow stones express lightness, youthfulness, playfulness.  No wonder this is a fabulous color for summer, when the golden sun is at its strongest!  Yellow circle pins are loving and complete.  Wear one anywhere in the world, and your message will get through!


Blue is always loyal, faithful, home-loving.  It has an eternal quality.  It is wonderful for family reunions and religious ceremonies.  Paired with gold, it expresses timelessness, as in the glorious artifacts of Tutankhamen.  Blue is also global.  It is the perfect color for international brotherhood. 


Pink is, of course, the color used for breast cancer awareness campaigns.  In this regard, it is sympathetic, supportive, compassionate.  It is also empowering, especially for those victims of the disease who have become survivors. Wear it proudly!       

     — Used for little girls, pink is a sweet, loving, motherly color. It is charming in pins for children, and in gemstone brooches for new mothers and grandmothers.  In any case, this is an intensely meaningful color, gentle and yet strong, perfect for almost any woman’s or girl’s pin

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Filed under Brooches
Share Button

RUNWAY MAGIC:  The House of Fendi sent one of its top models down the runway in a stunning tan belted dress, little clutch bag, and a big sparkly gemstone brooch at the center of a fur neckpiece. Not to be outdone, designer Nanette Lepore added a flashing circular white crystal brooch at the center neckline of a semi low-cut purple evening dress. And, in a sportier mood, the House of Ruffian gave its young red-headed model two brooches to wear on the lapel of a short, satiny jacket over low-cut jeans. Ruffian also used a small crystal pin to embellish the model’s skinny musician-style tie. 


Vintage style brooch

 A strong move toward ladylike fashion -dresses, sheer stockings and pumps — is putting new attention on traditional jewelry, especially brooches with a traditional aura. These beautiful and often magnificent pins can dress up an outfit like nothing else. They look terribly rich, and with their faux or real base gold metal and spectacular faux or real gemstones, they are!  Real brooches can carry a Romanoff-level price tag, but costume brooches give all the glamour without the cost.  


flower brooch

BROOCHES ARE PINS:  To be strictly correct, brooches are specifically pins where the attachments are completely hidden when the objects are being worn.  But to most of us, a brooch has generally meant a very ornate, traditional-looking pin frequently embedded with exquisite gemstones and often nature themed.  That’s how they still are but…the times they are a changing!  A new generation of brooches is giving a modern feel to a traditional design, and the result is dynamic! 


The Duchess of Windsor had a huge collection of brooches reflecting her remarkably sophisticated fashion sense. And Gucci offers a wide selection of spectacular brooches, many featuring emerald green snakes with sinister, flashing ruby-red eye.   This is a collection to behold, and it is often sent on museum rounds, understandably.


Large and heavy large brooch can be difficult to wear, so showing your customers how to use them will go a long way toward increasing sales. They simply don’t work on fragile materials.  They are ideal, however, on coats, jackets, and suits and can be worn in many different ways.  Traditionally, brooches have been worn on lapels. But high at the shoulder is another elegant way to wear a brooch, as did England’s former Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.  Displaying a brooch on a strapless evening dress is always demurely beautiful.  And, if you’ve got a plain hat or beret in need of some drama, try pinning on a colorful brooch.  Voila! You’ve got first class headgear fashion! (This also works well on headbands and head wraps, too.) Brooches also look wonderful on knit or crocheted scarves and shawls. Not only do they decorate, but they take on the functional aspect of keeping the shawl or scarf closed or attached to your outfit.  

 giraffe fashion pin

DELICATE THEMES:  Some brooches are small, however, represent charming themes, and can be worn in a wide variety of ways, on a dress, an evening outfit, or even a blouse. Just a quick rundown on some of those seen in the market now are little love birds, small leaves, animals, such as kittens and dogs, bows, fish, and florals. Dancing dolphins are a delightful theme. There is a certain delicacy to most of these brooches and while they can be modern, they do simultaneously reflect a traditional character.

 Art Nouveau style brooches

Vintage brooches are always popular, but they are gaining sales interest now. We aren’t talking about real antiques here; we are referring instead to newly made brooches based on vintage designs.  One big theme for brooches way back in the 1800s was toys:  tricycles, sleds, little wagons and dolls.                                                                


crystal brooch

RHINESTONES, crystals, CZs. and glass are often used profusely in brooches, and they always mimic real gemstones.  Pave hearts and stars are two hot numbers!  One manufacturer is showing a plump little faux pave ruby heart that is a sales natural for almost any age.


Because so many brooches are large, they mimic a lot of the jewelry emphasis being built in to dresses by designers.  Look at all the bejeweled necklines, for example, or rhinestone spaghetti straps.  These designs bring jewelry-attention to the upper body.  Well, so do brooches.  And they can shine both with and without necklaces, as you please.  Consider them for a quick update on a plain black dress.  Dynamite!


 BOLD NECKLACES:  Bejeweled necklines are getting plenty of press as designers like Mark Badgley, and Miuccia Prada hype up their outfits with large, almost wondrous necklaces and earrings.  Prada’s dark stone necklace with center pendant drop is set off against large drop earrings, actually becoming a focal point of an otherwise quiet skirt and blouse ensemble.  Badgley’s necklace is a multi-layer drop of large circular stones set inside the neckline of a tan shirtwaist dress. Adding to the sophisticated outfits:  Big, dark sunglasses.  Hollywood reigns! Look for necklaces to get an infusion of sales power as photos of the designers’ shows circle the globe.

 HATS ON THE RUNWAY, TOO:  Look at all those tight-to-the-head little cloche caps on designer runways.  At Proenza Schouler, a tight little white head wrapping hat tops a 1940s-style raincoat over a slouchy grey jump suit.  At Douglas Hannant, a super big brimmed yellow hat glamorizes a pink print day dress accessorized by a moderately long bead necklace and a very big tan and white tote. Think of it as part of that ladylike mood infusing the fashion industry.

Comments (0) Posted by Mary McGarry on Saturday, June 28th, 2008