Beth Bernstein, her name might ring a bell to you. She is a jewelry expert with vast experience in various areas of the jewelry industry. She is a very skilled writer (she even has published books!) Besides being a designer of her own brands (Estate of Grace Fine Jewelry and Bethany B) she also is a writer/editor to consumer and trade magazines. A true inspiration.
Discover along with me about Beth’s passion and love for jewelry and of course, her favorite personal pieces:
Jewelry for me has to have meaning, sentimentality and be symbolic of a significant event in my life. I wrote my memoir “My Charmed Life: Rocky Romances, Precious Family Connections and Searching for a Band of Gold” (Penguin 2012) and each chapter starts off with a piece of jewelry that links together the most important moments in my life and acts as a metaphor for loves and loses in family and romantic relationships, hopefully with a lot of humor thrown in. I also believe that jewelry has a place in everyday life, which is why I started my blog Bjeweled in which pieces of jewelry are referenced as I notice my arms jingling instead of my bangles and know it’s time to ramp up the work out. Or when I start dating again after a long relationship and my blind dates think they need to wear puka shells or a pinky ring to “impress me” because I am a jewelry editor, author and designer. Not impressed. But, the blog is how jewelry can feature into all facets of our lives even when we aren’t aware of it.
As a collector, I go for mostly Georgian and early Victorian pieces. They seem to bring a long their own story. I think my love for jewelry started when my grandmother and I used to play dress up in Five and Dime store jewelry she would buy me when I went to her house. I always wanted a tiara and glitzy pieces. I also played in her jewelry box, which was a mix of fine art deco pieces and glass beads.
My favorite category are rings because you can actually see them and admire them when you are wearing them and I have been stacking and wearing rings on any and every finger for over 20 years. I started with one of my grandmother etched platinum bands and then bought myself a 1920s baguette eternity band. Before I knew it I had a stack of seven, which I wore on my right hand ring finger and never took off for years. These were my first antique rings and my first “self purchase items” and I still have them. One of my favorite eternities is one that I converted from a pendant that my dad gave my mom before they got divorced. The pendant was very fifties with a cultured pearl in the center and marquise petals so I took the pearl and kept it in a little box and made the marquise shapes into an eternity band which I wore with the others. It reminded always of my mom and dad.
The pieces that loved ones gave me are my most cherishes and many have become my “travel charms. “In my childhood and teen years, I was petrified to fly-so now I travel with various charm necklaces around my neck –believing that it is these talisman, not the control towers and pilots that guide the plane to land safely (well perhaps I believe the whole airline system has something to do with the landing, but I have always flown with them, so why challenge a good thing) For these I mix old and new—from friends, family and some guys who I had long term relationships. I even have two charms from my junior high school boyfriend as we reconnected a couple of years as friends and he completely got my taste and my neurosis about flying.
I layer everything but not all at one time. If I am wearing a stack of rings, then I will only wear one or two pendants or one charm necklace. If I am wearing stacks of bracelet then very few rings. If I have a layering of necklaces then I will just wear very small double drop earrings or none at all.
My newest favorite is wearing Susan from Circa 1700’s snake charmer—it holds charms and one in particular that she gave me. The circular snake is also part of our logo for Jewelophile –our new collaboration of an online curated boutique and magazine, which features antique, conversion and inspired jewels. –She gave me a horn with a pansy on it. The horn for luck and to ward off evil and the pansy (pensee) for thoughts or pensee et moi—think of me—.
I have put many of my travel charms on this necklace as well.
I found an “in memory of” ring that had no engraved names or dates in it. I am not a fan of mourning or memorial jewelry for myself but when I saw this one—I knew I had to have it so I could engrave my mom and dad’s initials (both who passed away way too young) and my feisty grandmother who was also my best friend and who lived until a month shy of 97) so that means a lot to me as well.
There are so many meaningful moments and mementos—I also have a Giardinetti ring (well I have a few) but one from the dealer who taught me what to look for, how to buy and everything I know about antique jewelry so that one is my favorite.
I also have engraved one of my signet rings with two B’s in the shape of butterflies which is a condensed version of part of my logo for Estate of Grace Fine Jewelry (my jewelry collection).
Some other pieces I am very attached to are:
My charm necklace with my book charm someone gave me after “My Charmed Life” came out-it is engraved with the title of the book as well as other lucky charms on it
I also found a piece from Inez Stodel which I had been looking for year –it is the French version of the ‘I love you, I love you not” game as I kid I played with daisies. I was always wondering and either tried to find out by “The Magic Eight Ball” which always told me to “ask again later” or by pulling off the petals of the daisies as this pendant depicts. In French, I believe the full saying goes “he loves me a little, he loves me a lot, he loves me passionately, he loves me not.” My last petal landed on “he loves me not” quite a bit.
I would try to get over my superstitions but the jewelry which represents them is so amazing (-:
Another piece that I wear quite often is a beautiful Victorian chased gold heart with a serpent circling around it for endless love.
I could go on for pages…
[All images via and thanks to Beth Bernstein]