I Want This + Vanity + Wearables

Jewelry! Part two.

Last night I was sorting through one of the many “miscellaneous” folders on my hard drive (all of which are named with various numbers and shoved inside of another folder called “MAIN MISC” so as to create the illusion of being organized—I hate a messy desktop, but I’m a digital pack-rat) and I came across a folder called “jewelry 2.” Looking through the pictures inside, I realized they were supposed to have been used for a blog post about jewelry—Part Two in a series. You know when Part One was posted? April 2011. Sigh. I suck.

Happily, though, all of the jewelry designers I originally had in my post are still open for business! So I put together a new post with all of my favorites among their current work, plus a couple of shops I’ve discovered more recently.

Voz Collective
Black Stained Wood Bangle
Custom Set of Skinny Bangles

Vox Collective is one of those more recent discoveries. I first saw their wooden bangle bracelets when Lisa was visiting and wore one with neon pink (of course!) triangles. I still have a hard time wearing bracelets because I work at a computer all day and I can’t stand hearing them clunk on the desk, but I’m smitten with these. I especially like the way the skinny ones look in multiples.

Simple Triangle Studs
Brass Bar Ring

(of)matter were featured in Part One, and I’m still a fan. I just ordered a couple of sets of the triangle studs in black and brass. Perfect for me, yes?! I have a million (OK, ten) piercing holes in my ears, but I haven’t worn anything in eight of those holes for years. I want to wear a bunch of tiny triangles at once!

Stone & Honey
Arcos Earrings
Cannon Earrings

I follow Teresa from Stone & Honey on Instagram, and she shares lots of snapshots of her work in progress. Seeing how much tedious manual labor and skill goes into creating her jewelry is inspiring. I have a couple of her tiny triangle rings, and I think those black triangle earrings are next on my wish list…

Lila Rice
Deco Hoops
Pyramid Hoops

I only own four pairs of earrings (excluding the triangle studs I just ordered!), and three of them are from Lila Rice. My latest acquisition are the Deco Hoops above, which were a gift from Evan for my birthday. Lila’s work is incredible—large and striking and dramatic, but lightweight and comfortable to wear. I also love that she only uses gold-fill posts/hooks, since that seems to be the only metal composition that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction on me.

Aoko Su
Hammered Gold Hoops
Arrow Ring

I discovered designer Ashley Jerman’s shop Aøko Su when I saw her Bauhaus earrings in New York magazine a few months ago. I love that her jewelry looks a little rough around the edges—the imperfections show the process. Whenever I get around to buying a pair of plain gold hoops, these are the ones I want. (Gold-fill, yay!)

Betsy & Iya
Redundant Chevron Ring
Addition Mission Earrings

I had a STOP THE PRESSES! moment when I saw Betsy & Iya‘s Addition Mission earrings in Jen’s Holiday Faves list yesterday. SO GOOD. They’re Anna-earrings! I’m sure I’ll be allergic to the silver ear wires, but I think I have to get them anyway. I can add my own gold-fill wires. Worth it.

Speaking of metal allergies: To those of you who suffer the same sensitivity to non-gold metals, how do you deal with earrings? The “coat it with clear nail polish” trick doesn’t seem to work for me. I know these plastic covers exist for posts, but what about hooks and wires?

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Other Stuff You Might Be Into


  • Reply Emily Wenzel November 30, 2012 at 12:50 am

    I’m the opposite! I have a hard time wearing gold earrings, but am fine with sterling silver. In fact, gold (or just cheap earrings) make my ears itchy after a while. When I got my 2nd holes done & put in gold studs while they were still new (first 6 months), they got infected….so I’m pretty sure I’m slightly allergic 🙁

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 12:53 am

      Even gold-fill? I’m horribly allergic to gold-plated jewelry (much worse than sterling silver or surgical steel for me), but gold-fill is a different story.

    • Avery December 1, 2012 at 1:35 pm

      I have severe metal allergies. No gold, not even very pure gold. ‘Gold allergies’ is often sensitivity to the harder base metal used to give the soft gold some structure. I’m personally sensitive to all common fillers and the gold its self. Takes about 2 hours of skin contact for the surface to turn black and feel bruised. Silver doesn’t irritate, but it disintegrates. I’ll eat the post of a sterling silver in about 9 months of continuous wear. It will pock then crumble. The only thing that works for earrings for me long term is surgical titanium, platinum and medical plastic.

  • Reply jennifer November 30, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Oh this isn’t good. I’m supposed to be buying presents for other people and I want all of this for myself!

  • Reply Natasha Newton | The Blackbird Sings November 30, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Love LOVE L O V E those wooden geometric bangles. I feel a possible purchase coming on sometime in the near future…..

  • Reply Lena November 30, 2012 at 7:27 am

    As a daughter of a goldsmith- how about going to a local goldsmith to have him/her replace the hook?

  • Reply Polly November 30, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Wow, you’ve found some really lovely pieces here. I have the same trouble as you with earrings, gold-fill are no problem, sterling silver didn’t used to be and they are OK for short periods but they too tend to get itchy after a while now. I’m fussy these days and stick to the ones I know won’t irritate. Or if I really love them and think I can adapt myself I do, my only reason for visiting our local bead shop purely in search of gold-fill bits and bobs! But it’s bloomin’ annoying isn’t it!? Missing out on all the cheap ones (I know they probably wouldn’t last and I’d tire of them, but still).

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 10:50 am

      I know, I’m jealous of people who can just buy a bunch of cute studs at Forever 21!

  • Reply erin November 30, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Thanks so much for sharing; this is such a pretty post. I love finding out about new jewelry designers—especially those with unique metalwork—and most especially when I can hope to afford a few pieces. Also, “pierced ear protectors”? Those exist? Hurray!

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 10:32 am

      Yes, they do exist!! I haven’t tried them yet, but I’m going to order a few sets so I can (hopefully) start wearing earrings with posts again.

  • Reply Molly November 30, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Allergy-wise its usually nickel that causes the itchy reaction. When it comes to necklaces I spray them with a clear coat of varnish and try not to wear them on really hot days (I find sweat makes everything much worse). Earrings I don’t usually bother with but I recently found a jewellery supply store that was selling a baggie of who knows how many nickel-free hooks for $3.50 – so armed with those and some jeweler’s pliers (about $12) I should be well-equipped for swapping cheap hooks for nickel-free.

    It also pays just to ask retailers, sometimes there is a nickel-free section tucked away somewhere you’d never have found on your own.

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

      I’ve done this in the past (swapping hooks), but most of the earrings I want to wear don’t have separate ear wires. The part that goes through the hole is integral to the whole earring, like with those Stone & Honey “Cannon” earrings I want to be able to wear.

      When you say you spray them with varnish, what kind of product do you mean? I’ve tried using clear nail polish, but it doesn’t seem to help. My ears have gotten SO sensitive—just wearing non-goldfill posts for 30 seconds makes my earlobes hot and red and sometimes even immediately infected. It’s crazy! I can’t believe I used to be able to wear safety pins in my ears with no problem. 🙁

    • Ashley November 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      As a Jeweler I thought I would clarify about gold plating and gold filled. Gold filled jewelry is essentially a layer of gold wrapped around a base metal. As I understand there are rules to how thick that layer of gold is in order to be called “gold filled”. Gold plated jewelry can be plated at any level of plating. So it may be possible that certain plated jewelry bothers you but not others. It would depend on how much gold is in between your skin and metal you are allergic to, also a very thin plate will chip leaving you exposed to the base metal. If you like a piece of jewelry that is gold plated It could be possible to ask the jeweler how thick the plating is (for reference vermeil is a very thin plating) or custom order a pair with a thick plating, if gold filled is not an option.

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks, Ashley, that’s very helpful! The terms can be confusing. Also, it’s my understanding that in the UK (and maybe all of Europe?) gold-filled jewelry is very uncommon, but that the composition and thickness of gold plating it often such that is won’t cause an allergic reaction.

      What I’ve come to learn is that it’s kind of a crapshoot. 😉 It’s hard to experiment to figure out what I am and am not allergic to since jewelry that goes into piercings is (understandably) often non-returnable unless it’s defective. I’ve been erring on the side of not buying any earrings that aren’t gold-filled, but hopefully that’s not my only option!

  • Reply Mackenzi November 30, 2012 at 11:55 am

    Betsy & Iya is ah-mazing! You should ask Betsy if she’d custom make you a gold fill pair. She’s super accommodating. Their line is my #1 seller in the shop, and for good reason. (In fact, I’m wearing a pair of their ‘Badlands’ hoops right now!)

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm

      I don’t know how I’ve managed to not know about that line for so long!! Betsy tweeted to me last night that she and Teresa from S&H were actually at dinner TOGETHER when this post went up. HAH! I need to start paying more attention. And buying more jewelry, apparently.

  • Reply Betsy November 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Anna! You’ve made my day! Thank you so much for this! I’m so happy to know about your blog, too. It’s perfect in here. AND…Mackenzi is right. We keep a stash of gold-filled wire around to accomodate sensitive ears like yours. We will do the work for you, if you need a switch out!

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you so much, Betsy, that’s great to hear!! So glad I found your shop 🙂

  • Reply Niina December 1, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Wow, thanks for this post! Instantly found few things I must have. 🙂

  • Reply CariStereo December 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I LOVE those black Stone & Honey earrings, but I’m pretty sure I’d be allergic, even if it is an oxidized sterling. Has anyone with an allergy tried oxidized sterling through their piercing?

    I can only wear sterling or gold/gold-filled earrings. I do one of these things:

    – buy bags of ear wires in sterling or gold/ gold-filled in different styles – french hooks, kidney wires, etc.
    – buy sterling or gold-filled wire and fashion my own hooks if the look is larger
    – stare at coveted earrings for a while, sigh, and go on with my life. (happens a lot)

    In regards to the first two options, you can purchase some findings at craft stores like Michael’s, go to a bead store, or go online and search for jewelry findings. I used to work at a make-your-own jewelry type of bead store as a teen, and buying a set of tools (needle nose pliers, flat nose pliers, and cutting pliers) was the smartest thing I ever did.

    SOME post-back earrings can be replaced with post backs in the metal of your choice. If you’re sure you can remove the post safely without breaking the earring, you can re-glue posts. I rarely do it because I’m lazy. 😉

  • Reply ThisisUnclear December 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Love Stone + Honey. The longer triangle/teeth ones (“Sitka Earrings”) were a post-breakup present to myself, and I wear them almost every day. As a longtime reader, I think your love of triangles is rubbing off on me!

  • Reply Erika December 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    love all of these shops! Clean and bold, my kind of jewelry.

  • Reply Fiona December 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Oh hang on, I had a couple of (of)matter pieces, didn’t I? Where are they? Teenage daughter, le sigh…

  • Reply Kimberly December 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I also have all sorts of annoying reactions to all sorts of metals, and now stick strictly to surgical steel. My faves are large teardrop-shaped spiral talons with a slight gauge. I can just leave them in at all times, often not changing them for months. I figured that if surgical steel doesn’t cause reactions when your knee is made of it, it has to be ok in your ear!

    • Kimberly December 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

      I should have emphasized that I’m wearing surgical steel, NOT stainless steel. They are not the same thing.

  • Reply Miro - Dose of Dash December 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Love your taste in jewelry! Will definitely be looking into all of these.

  • Reply Alycia April 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Jewelry is so personal to me. Especially when I don’t have much money, a piece must absolutely “speak to me”. I found your blog as I was searching for vintage Ashley Jerman or Aoko Su designs – which definitely speak to me. omg! I am so very captivated by your tastes, its like looking in the mirror, with a much smaller pocket book:-) You can shop for me any time. Its also more than a bit queer too, how many of the really unique designs you have chosen could almost be from the same designer. Good on ya! ALY CIA

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