Archive for the ‘Jewels’ Category

Add Lucoral Museum to your summer to-do list

June 11th, 2013

lupearlsNadine Kam photos
Chocolate pearls and red coral are among items for sale in the Lucoral Museum's retail shop on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki.

Lucoral Museum hosted a pearl party on June 6 in celebration of World Oceans Month. Only a healthy ocean can continue to offer up its many treasures, from vital sea creatures, to the fish and shellfish we eat to the beautiful pearls and shells we collect and wear.

Lucoral Museum founder Flora Lu offered up trays of multi-sized, multi-colored, multi-shaped pearls, remnants of the museum's retail creations, allowing lucky guests to string up their own necklaces or bracelets.

I'd never been to the museum and found it's a great place to visit, with an indoor rock cave featuring mineral and coral displays, and the museum's in the process of devising formal pearl parties for girlfriend getogethers or bridal parties, allowing women to come together for a little talk story and creativity, ending with a piece of beautiful keepsake pearl jewelry. Now that's my kind of party!

The museum's exhibitions demonstrate the sad fate of the ocean and sea beds due to man's lack of foresight.

According to the displays, pearls were gathered at Wai Momi, between 1785 and 1840. Europeans had dubbed the area Pearl Harbor because of the abundance of pearl oysters. But overharvesting and the silting of the harbor led to their extinction. The shop's pearls now come from Taiwan.

lufloraFlora Lu created the Lucoral Museum in memory of her mother Lu Hong Kui-Su, as a gift to the children of Hawaii and the world, promoting ocean health and the beauty of its many treasures.

The same thing happened in Kaneohe Bay, once home to edible clams. I thought I was dreaming because as a child I remembered going clamming with my parents, looking for the water spouts in the sand and digging them up, and taking them home in buckets to the dinner table. When I grew up, I wondered if that was a real memory because I don't hear of clams there anymore.

According to fellow Star-Advertiser "Ocean Watch" writer Susan Scott: "In the 1920s several species of clams and oysters were introduced from Japan and North America to Hawaiian waters as a food source. Among these was the Japanese littleneck clam, also known as the Manila clam. Gathering these clams on the mud flats of Kaneohe Bay was a popular activity until 1969, when silt and overharvesting mostly wiped out the beds."

As for the Pearl Harbor pearls, thousands were harvested, but according to the Lucoral Museum, no one knows where they went. None of the world's museums, including Bishop Museum, have a single known Hawaiian pearl in their collections.

For more information about World Ocean Month celebrations in conjunction with Waikiki Aquarium, visit

The Lucoral Museum is at 2414 Kuhio Ave. Open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Call 808.922.1999 or email

lupearlThese pearl necklaces were destined for Miss Hawaii contestants.

lutableFlora oversees a group of novice pearl designers.

luclusterLynn Cook gathered up these pearls to make a bracelet. (more…)

Sheryl Lowe at Neiman Marcus

May 9th, 2013

sherylNadine Kam photos
Jewelry designer Sheryl Lowe dropped into Neiman Marcus for a Mother's Day trunk show.

For all the gem lovers who turned up at Neiman Marcus May 4, jewelry from Sheryl Lowe Designs was just one of the main attractions for Mother's Day shopping. The other was the chance opportunity of also meeting Sheryl's husband, actor Rob Lowe.

Sheryl was slated to be on the jewelry floor from noon, though Rob was flying in that day and wasn't due at the store until about 2 p.m. I didn't arrive until about 2:30 because I was working on a feature on Gatsby-style hair to coincide with the opening of Baz Luhrmann's "The Greaty Gatsby," and creating the look is not a quick process.

By then, the Lowes had headed to lunch, which meant I had some time to check out Sheryl's designs before they were due back.

Sheryl has been a Hollywood makeup artist for more than 20 years, and married to Rob just as long.

sllayersSheryl's multi-colored, multi-textured collections are versatile enough to be mixed, matched, worn singly or stacked.

In 2007, inspired by her world travels—and years of acquiring treasures from the Seychelles, North Africa, India and the Middle East—she created jewelry for a small group of friends. Due to the enthusiastic response and advice from longtime friend Maria Shriver, she formalized her jewelry line, Sheryl Lowe Designs, donating a portion of sales to women's and children's charities.

On her return from her lunch break, Sheryl said she loves the idea of mixing metals with earth, "the texturing, the layering, the mixing of color with metal. I just love the mix."

There is such a wide range of materials incorporated into her designs, that at first, it's overwhelming to see an array of Yemen black coral beads, next to displays of rose-cut diamonds from India, sandalwood beads, baroque pearls, and even bracelets and necklaces strung with discs of upcycled, colored vinyl records.

And yet, as a busy woman herself, she said the pieces are designed to be versatile and stackable, so a woman can buy one piece this year, add a totally different piece next year, wear them day or evening, together or separately, and have them mesh well.

sllayerIn person, Kami Jennings, one of Sheryl's assistants dressed in her jewelry, is a ringer for Jennifer Lawrence, which she hears all the time.

"It's all one story," she said, though for her, the story is more involved.

"The jewelry remind me of where I went, of the topography of the land, the colors and what women wore. When I think of Sardinia, I think of the blues, the corals and greens. In London, gray, and in Paris, the golds."

Prior to starting her business, the beads sat at home in bowls around the house, and Sheryl said it was never a problem because Rob also appreciated them. Among her collections is a men's line simply called Rob. All her collections are named after her friends.

"He loves that I'm passionate about creating. He wears my designs all the time and he has a great eye. He especially loves the sandalwood and Yemen coral."

rloweAlthough Rob didn't go back to the jewelry counter, some people insisted I go and stalk him in the men's department, where he was doing some shopping. As it happened, he was coming down the escalator while I was going up, so he graciously agreed to a photo. He's holding a batch of his wife's jewelry, from the Rob collection created for men, but just as easily worn by women.

slcoralAntique Yemen black coral beads, studded with silver inlays, can pair with many a contemporary outfit.

slvinylThese colorful bracelet discs are cut from old vinyl records.

sldiazCameron Diaz owns one of Sheryl Lowe's ohm meditative necklaces.

slhermesOne of Sheryl's collaborations is the Her collection of leather bracelets incorporating leather from Hermès.

Seeing red on St. Paddy's Day

April 2nd, 2013

redlineupNadine Kam photos
Red displaced green as the color of the day on March 17, with the presentation of a Red fashion show at The Pacific Club.

Joanna Sullivan was honored with a fashion show that took place March 17 at the Pacific Club, with presentations by designers Eric Chandler, Kimberly Williams and Takeo, and jewelry presented by Anna Meng of The Meng Dynasty.

On sunny St. Patrick's Day, red replaced green as the color of the day, as the show also aimed to raise awareness of heart health.

Dubbed the Red fashion show, Takeo also called it his "second wind show" after his 2011 heart attack, open heart surgery and stroke. Although still recovering, he can't help but keep busy, though now he puts as much effort into bringing up the next generation and upcoming talent, as into his own work.

This show marked an introduction to Williams' work, and Emma Wo, Joanna Sullivan's granddaughter, as fashion coordinator.

Non-flash video link

redJewelry specialist Anna Meng with designers Eric Chandler, left, and Takeo.

redericAureana Tseu in an ensemble from Eric Chandler.

red ericAnother look from Eric.

red annaAureana in one of Anna Meng's pearl ropes.

red umbrellaA couple of Takeo's designs.


redgreenIn St. Patrick's Day green, from left, Kitty Wo with her mother, honoree Joanna Sullivan, and Blossom Tyau. (more…)

More of Hawaii in print

February 22nd, 2013


Hawaii made a strong showing in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, but we're also represented in other publications.

Lucky magazine's February issue includes a feature on Oahu as a "Shopper's Paradise." Featured are a number of downtown boutiques—Fighting Eel, Owens & Co., Community, and Barrio Vintage—plus the fashionable Collins & 8th on Pensacola, Rebecca Beach at the Kahala Hotel, and Aloha Rag on Kapiolani Boulevard, plus So'Mace Lifestyle, and venturing beyond Honolulu to Olive and Muumuu Heaven in Kailua, and Guava Shop in Haleiwa.

Some of the downtown boutiques missing were Roberta Oaks, and La Muse, where I picked up this nifty Joomi Lim spike bracelet.


And Vanity Fair's March issue includes a photo of former Hawaii resident, actor Jason Momoa, in a photo retrospective of "Bruce Weber's Adventures in Hollywood." Beautiful black and whites demonstrate why Bruce Weber is Bruce Weber.



Harry Winston bracelet benefits Rehab Hospital

February 8th, 2013

winston braceletHarry Wintson photo
Sales of the new limited edition Harry Winston Hope Collection bracelet will benefit the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific Foundation.

Harry Winston, Inc., has selected Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific Foundation to be a recipient of the new limited-edition Harry Winston Hope Collection bracelet, which was developed to support leading charitable organizations throughout the United States.

The limited edition bracelet features a sleek white gold and engraved mother-of-pearl design set with a delicate Winston diamond at the center. Twenty-five of the bracelets, retailing for $2,500, are available at the Harry Winston retail salon at Ala Moana Center, beginning today, Feb. 8. Only 200 bracelets are available nationwide.

The charitable program launched two years ago, and Harry Winston, Inc. will donate 100 percent of the retail price from each bracelet sold in Honolulu to Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific Foundation, chosen because of its history of providing acute care medical rehabilitation for patients recovering from a wide range of injuries.

Win Golden Globes swag via Twitter

January 12th, 2013

It always seems unfair, but once you become rich and famous, people want to give you free stuff in hope that some of the stardust rubs off on them. Awards season means celebs will be showered with swag.

You'll have at least one shot to win a Golden Globe swag bag by following Hollywood Swag Bag on Twitter @SwagGivesBack. The company prepares celebrity gift bags for red carpet and charity events.

Gifts may include purses by Liucia Japan, Alueur candles, gift certificates to Heart & Stone Jewelry, earbuds and iPhone covers by Incipio, Darby's English toffee, Moor Skin Care, FiaFini Skin Care, Bioxidea Miracle 24 face mask, Bootzie Oil from Maui, and many edible treats.

A winner will be picked at random on Jan. 13.


kolohePhotos courtesy Renee Rokero
Kolohe Gurl Jewelry's Plumeria Maile Leaf neck cuff will be on display in the Golden Globes GBK Luxury Gift Lounge.

Also representing Hawaii at the Golden Globes will be Renee Eleu Rokero, designer/owner of Kolohe Gurl Jewelry. She was among an exclusive group of artists selected to partipate in GBK’s Luxury Gift Lounge in Honor of the 2013 Golden Globes nominees and presenters. She handcrafted sterling silver Plumeria Maile Leaf neck cuff showcased at The Artisan Group exhibit, and her Plumeria Necklace with Black Pearls will be nestled inside The Artisan Group’s celebrity swag bags offered Jan. 11 and 12.

I profiled Renee in the Star-Advertiser on Sept. 27, 2012:

kolohe3We may soon be spotting designer Renee Rokero's Plumeria Necklace with Black Pearls on celebs.

Hanging with girls' best (sparkling) friends

January 4th, 2013

dringNadine Kam photos
Maria Canale for Forevermark Neiman Marcus Bespoke Collection round princess ring.

It's not every day a person gets to hold a fistful of diamonds, so it was a thrill to participate in a Forevermark master class hosted by Neiman Marcus Jan. 3.

In addition to trying on diamond rings created exclusively for NM by Maria Canale for Forevermark, we were presented with batches of rough diamonds to sort, part of the process of understanding the entire journey of a diamond, from mine to extraction, to the sorting process that whittles thousands to diamonds to the rare perfect few that can be denoted as a Forevermark diamond, a brand of De Beers.

The Maria Canale for Forevermark collection is carried in the store's Precious Jewels Salon, one of only 10 locations nationwide, and diamond fans can meet the designer between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today.

Canale said she originally came up with 10 designs, aimed at an NM customer who she imagined might be buying her second ring. "She already has the Harry Winston, so what would she want this time? Since then, I've talked to many Neiman customers and felt I was right."

dmariaMaria Canale in her designs.

Canale worked for Harry Winston and Tiffany before working independently, and said designing wedding and engagement rings can be limiting because people want the classic solitaire.

"They want it to be simple because they're wearing it everyday, with some detail on the side."

She designs her pieces with a sophisticated clientele in mind, with handmade pieces that focus on details, and often starts by thinking of what she would want to wear, and what kind of piece would she wear if starting with a wardrobe that includes a great pair of diamond earrings one wants to pair with additional pieces of jewelry.

"Men design a lot of jewelry, so I wonder why it has to be so heavy," she said. For her, comfort is vital,  so it was amazing to feel some of her larger pieces, that are so sturdy and well made that you can wear them with confidence, yet they don't weigh you down.

Being surrounded by diamonds in her work, "is great, it's very inspiring," she said, though working with them gives her an appreciation for quality. "You can get diamonds anywhere, but finding those that are a good size, and good quality, you become aware of how rare they are.

dshapeLiz Mearing, of Forevermark, shows us the eight-sided octahedron shape we are after. The octahedron is the perfect shape for arriving at the round brilliant cut diamond, with its pavilion depth, girdle and crown.

A visit to the Maria Canale for Forevermark counter was preceded by the diamond workshop, with Liz Mearing of Forevermark sharing the fascinating history of diamonds, the oldest 4.2 billion years old and the youngest 900 million years old.

The 10.74-carat Eureka diamond, discovered by a boy in 1866, started the contemporary craze for diamonds, styles of which Liz said differ by nation. The idea of sorting diamonds for quality didn't take hold until 1933.

China is rapidly becoming the biggest consumer of diamonds, and she said the purchase is so important, as a family heirloom, that couples shopping for wedding rings bring both sets of parents for a consensus decision on a purchase. She also said older women, in their 40s and 50s, a generation that missed out on the material aspects of contemporary Chinese society, are now playing catchup in buying diamonds. The Chinese tend to buy small, round diamonds.

In the United States, it's no surprise to learn that, like fast food, homes, cars, entertainment, even certain body parts, bigger is better when it comes to diamonds as well. Americans will settle for lower clarity if they can get a bigger stone.

In Japan, the appetite is for clarity in a smaller round diamond.

dstrainMearing shows how the diamonds are first sorted through a sifter for size.

Mearing, who's based in London but travels the world to teach people about diamonds, said, "In the U.K., we like a lot of other gemstones."

She said that's one of the reasons it wasn't an unusual choice for Princess Diana's diamond-encircled sapphire ring to become Kate Middleton's engagement ring.

Meanwhile, in Italy, home of design, she said, "It's a lot more about the design than the diamond, and in India it's about clarity because it's inauspicious to give something that isn't perfect."

Diamonds are found in kimberlite, a type of volcanic rock, which act like a pipeline to the molten core of the earth. Most diamonds are found in South Africa, and no new mines have been discovered in a decade, although the search is continuing in Africa, Canada and India, where some of the first diamonds were discovered.

In searching for diamonds, they look for key mineral indicators, including the presence of garnets. The places where diamonds are found is called "Blue Ground" in reference to a layer of non-oxidized kimberlite.

In sorting diamonds, there are many more than can be made into jewelry, but Mearing said, "We
can't produce enough for industrial purpose."

That includes diamonds used to polish other diamonds, a stone so hard no other material can cut it.

As for owning one of these babies, well, do you have a house to sell?

dforevermarkForevermark photo
Each Forevermark diamond comes with an inscription and identifying number that's not visible to the naked eye or a jeweler's loupe.

droughHundreds of rough diamonds waiting to be sorted. De Beers has 12,000 sorting categories. After spending 15 minutes with the loupe, I think I would go blind doing this job.

dsortOut of all the rough diamonds, only a few are big enough and clear enough to use.

drough2Here are the diamonds I was sorting. Maria came over, took one look and said, "Oh, you've got some nice ones there." Took us a while to identify them. Now I can spot the octahedrons immediately.

ddecoMaria Canale's Art Deco cuff design.

djustineJustine Godfrey wears the Maria Canale for Forevermakr Neiman Marcus Deco Collection Red Carpet Necklace with 10-carat emerald cut centerpiece diamond, in 18K white gold. (more…)

Anteprima offers peek into spring

December 13th, 2012

abraceletNadine Kam photos
Anteprima's signature fiori design gets the sparkly treatment for Spring/Summer 2013.

Anteprima is celebrating its 6th anniversary at Royal Hawaiian Center and marked the occasion with the launch of its Fall/Winter 2012 collection, and a preview of its Spring/Summer 2013 wirebag collection.

In addition to the brand's traditional knit wirebags, spring will mark the introduction of its new woven wirebags, made with Anteprima's signature luminous PVC wire. The effect is a bit more subdued in this format, even with the violet metallic sheen of the darker handbag below.


awireThe wire weave, up close.

abowA bow-shaped bag.

Shoppers could also browse a collection of festive fall handbags, including such new arrivals as panda-themed purses, as well as such smaller items as cell phone and purse charms, clutches and jewelry for the holiday season.

apandaThis crystal-accented panda purse is about $973.

anecklaceI tried on this necklace ($204) that has the boldness of a Marni piece. It's secured with ribbon ties, so adjusts from chest to collar lengths. Many of the wearable jewelry can double as purse accents for more usage. The same necklace graces the bag below.


abagjA pearly collar, $264, can also be worn by person and purse. The bow piece is sold separately.

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