Friday, April 29, 2011

Queen Mary II. The Person, Not the Boat

Well, that day is finally upon us. Yep, Kate and William tied the knot. And to be honest, I really don't care. I mean, I wish them the best of course, but royal weddings bore me.
In fact, I'm only bringing up their wedding because it serves as a nice segue into my blog post topic today. It's about a woman who married a William herself. Let's talk about Queen Mary II. The person, not the cruise liner.

By all accounts, her reign was not laced with as much excitement and scandals as other royals, and to be quite frank, I chose her as a subject for a necklace mainly because I thought that her portrait was the best and she was much prettier than some of her predecessors (Have you seen Queen Mary I, aka "Bloody Mary?" Not a beauty queen, to say the least).
Queen Mary II was born April 30, 1662 (hey, tomorrow is her b-day!) to James, Duke of York, (and then King of England) and Lady Anne Hayes. She was betrothed to her cousin, Dutch ruler,  William III of Orange at the age of 15. When she was told that she was to marry her cousin, she reportedly wept all day. Yeah, I can't say I blame her.
But, the show must go on. So, Mary married William and the two moved to the Netherlands, where the two took up house and pretended to be happy. See, it was apparently known by all that William had a mistress- Elizabeth Villiers, who was Mary's lady-in-waiting. Even Mary knew it. But, she ended up looking the other way on all that and even eventually became a devoted, I mean, wife.
In 1686, some disgruntled Protestant politicians contacted William to see if he was interested in over-throwing King James of know, Mary's dad. He said he was, and William and Mary went off to England to take the thrown. Yeah, that's right- Mary kicked her dad to the curb.
This period would come to be known as the reign of William and Mary. The two were coronated in Westminster Abbey (hey, that's where Kate and William got married today) in 1689. Although, it would appear that Mary was the silent partner in the whole "ruling the country" thing, she did have her moments. William liked to go off and fight military battles a lot, leaving Mary behind in England with a whole damn country to run. It was said that she was a wise, just, and capable ruler.

But, the most interesting fact that I found out about Mary- she was the first to keep a goldfish as a pet.

So, Queen Mary II might not be the most fascinating figure in history, but I think she makes a great necklace:)
Use coupon code BLOG15 at checkout to get 15% off!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Go Rabbit!

When I was a kid, my mom used to take me to the state fair, but we wouldn't go on the rides. Instead, we would go to the livestock exhibition and I would run to the rabbit area and look for the cages with the bunny tails sticking out. I would then poke their tails, causing the rabbits to hop across the cage. This was super fun for me. This was before the Internet and PlayStation. This was the early 80's in Colorado.

So, do you want to know more about rabbits? I thought so.

  • A male rabbit is a buck; a female rabbit is a doe, and a baby rabbit is a kitten; a group of rabbits is a herd. I love it!
  • It's true that rabbits reproduce like crazy. They have a short gestation, start at it as early as four months old, and can have up to 25 baby rabbits in a litter. Suck on that, Ocotomom.
  • Rabbits can not vomit. Which means they drink a whole lot of Goldschlager with zero repercussions (ok the Goldschlager part is not true).
  • What's the difference between a rabbit and a hare? They belong to the same family- Leporidae, but they differ in genus and species. Hares are larger than rabbits and have longer hind legs and longer ears. A jackrabbit is actually a hare. Now you know.
  • What's the difference between a rabbit and a bunny? Nothing. Except, people tend to refer to pet rabbits or baby rabbits as bunnies.
  • Rabbits need lots of water. They can drink the same daily amount as 20 pound dog.
  • They do not carry rabies. So, there is no such thing as a rabid rabbit.
  • Rabbits have 28 teeth that never quit growing.
  • They can purr and snore. Adorable!
  • Eminem's character's name in 8 Mile was Rabbit
  • "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane was the first song to slip drug references past the radio censors.
  • The nervous, anxious character of the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland was crafted by Lewis Carroll to be a contrast to Alice's young and vivacious personality.
Whether you are nervous and anxious, or young and vivacious, or somewhere in between; here's a necklace for ya.' Don't be late.
Oh and use coupon code BLOG15 at checkout for 15%off your entire purchase:)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yet ANOTHER Blog post about cats...

Lady Lorraine Kitty-Winston. That is my "royal" name according to a new game that is floating around on the Internet. Basically, you take either "Lady" or "Lord" (supposed to be along gender lines, but I say take whichever title suits you best) then add one of your grandparent's first name (again, whichever one sounds more "royal"), then add one of your pets' names and finally, hyphenate it with the street you grew up on. It's like a classier version of the porn star name game that was going around.

So, what does this have to do with this blog post. Well, that's where the "Kitty" part of my royal name comes from. Yes, I had a cat name Kitty. Allegedly. I don't remember her and I have only one picture that exists of me and her. By all accounts, Kitty was a Siamese and a very amiable one at that. But apparently, Kitty did not like the arrival of a newborn infant (me) and started acting out. As legend has it, Kitty swatted at the newborn and was subsequently banished from the kingdom. Do you like how I turned that into a sort of fairy tale at the end? Anyway, you would think that I would be anti-Siamese cat after my traumatic (so traumatic, I don't even remember) exchange with said cat. But, it is quite the opposite. I'm obsessed with Siamese cats. I even have 2 Siamese cat tattoos. I think I'm so interested in them  because they were pretty much forbidden in my household growing up. Sometimes you only want more what you can't have.

So, here's to you Kitty and to all the Siamese out there.

  • Siamese cats originated in Thailand (then Siam). It is believed that they are descendants of the original sacred temple cats. They were called "Moon Diamond" and were believed to be good luck and keep away evil spirits.
  • Siamese cats were brought to the UK by the British Consul-General in Bangkok in 1884 as a gift for his sister in London. The pair that he took were Pho and Mia. His sister bred the two, resulting in 3 kittens which were displayed at London's Crystal Palace show. 
  • The first documented cat to reach the United States was Siam, a gift to President Hayes from the American Consul in Bangkok in 1878.
  • Siamese cats are called "pointed" cats. This means that they have concentrations of color on the ends or "points" of their bodies, ie- muzzle, feet, tail. The pointed pattern is a partial form of albinism. Siamese kittens start out all cream or white at birth, then develop darker colors at the coldest points on their body. Kind of like a mood ring...that's permanent.
  • They are smarties. Rumor has it that you can train them to walk on a leash or use a toilet. Awesome. And weird.
  • Their lifespan is about average (10-15 years), but if you have a "modern" Siamese, then the lifespan might be shorter due to health problems that arise from selective breeding.
  • Though Siamese are known for their crossed eyes and kinked tails, this is not a common trait in them and is considered a flaw or a mutation.
  • Siamese cats produce fewer allergens than other breeds due to their fine fur.
  • Some famous people with Siamese cats: Queen Elizabeth II, James Dean (a gift from Elizabeth Taylor), Amy Carter, Susan Ford, Vivien Leigh, James Mason, and Edward G. Robinson.
Are you obsessed with Siamese cats? Want to own a necklace that shows it? Here you go:

Monday, April 25, 2011

And You Thought Your Family Was Messed Up!

I just want to be clear: I have had it in my mind to design a Lucrezia Borgia necklace long before the Showtime series The Borgias started airing....But the TV show did give me a little push to get the necklace finished.
If you are not aware of the Borgia family, they are pretty much the 15th-16th century Lohans/Jacksons/Kardashians/messed up celebrity family of their day. It is a widely accepted theory that they were the inspiration for Machiavelli's The Prince, a doctrine describing the need of a ruler to use brute force and immoral means when necessary.

Lucrezia Borgia is the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia (who would later become Pope Alexander VI). While her entire family had their share of scandal and rumor, Lucrezia seemed to endure the most. Here's a rundown Lucrezia
  • First off, let's get this out of the way. She most likely did not have an affair with her brother Cesare and her father, the Pope. The accusations came from her first husband, Giovanni Sforza. But he was also mad because he found out that Cesare and Rodrigo had ordered for his execution.... People can be sooo petty.
  • Speaking of Giovanni, it was Cesare and Rodrigo's fault that Lucrezia was married to him in the first place. The marriage was arranged as a political maneuver and Cesare and Rodgrigo thought that an alliance between the Borgias and the Sfozas would be beneficial. But, when the marriage proved to not be as useful as they thought, they ordered his execution and Giovanni fled. Later, he was forced to concede to a divorce under a statement that he and Lucrezia never consummated the marriage....
  • But, someone consummated something because soon after the annulment, Lucrezia was sent to convalesce at a convent where it was discovered that she was preggo. Who was the baby daddy? Well, it could have been Giovanni's. But more likely it was the product of Lucrezia and Perotto, Rodrigo/Alexander's messenger. But, she named the baby Giovanni...but then again Giovanni was a pretty common name in 15th century Italy.
  • Now, with Giovanni out of the way, Rodrigo and Cesare could arrange for an even better marriage/alliance. But, first they had to get rid of that pesky illegitimate love child. First, a Papal Bull (a proclamation, not a religious bovine) was released claiming that it was Cesare's child with an unknown mistress. Then a second, contradictory Papal Bull was released claiming that it was Rodrigo/Alexanders' child with an unknown mistress. Bottom line; they didn't want Lucrezia claiming the kid as her own...that would negate her annulment and prove that she wasn't a virgin. It would also be harder to marry her off.
  • Next Pops and Bro arranged a marriage between Lucrezia and Duke Alfonso de Aragon. Lucrezia liked this guy, but too bad for her- Cesare and Rodrigo/Alexander didn't, and they had him killed. But Lucrezia managed to have one child, whom she named Rodrigo, before Alfonso was murdered.
  • Next up, she was married to Alfonso de'Este. Cesare and Rodrigo seemed pleased with this marriage that they arranged and let the dude live. However, Lucrezia wasn't quite as pleased and took up affairs with multiple suitors including the poet Pietro Bembo. Also, during this marriage, she gave birth to the most amount of children....Hmmmmm.....
  • Lucrezia died in 1519. Her reputation suffered as the face of the Borgias' immorality, when really she seemed to be nothing more than a pawn in her father and brother's political ambitions. History would later find that during her 3rd marriage to Alfonso de'Este, she proved herself to be a capable, kind, and fair Duchess over her constituents. She just had a hard time staying faithful to her husband.
So, there's the quick history. And here's a necklace you can wear during your next The Borgias viewing party:)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's Get All Artsy Up In Here

In college, I took both Art History 1 and 2.
What do I remember from it?  1: That I was awful at finding the Point of Perspective in classic paintings, 2: All the subjects in Flemish paintings look sickly, and 3: The best artwork title and artist name combo is "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Heironymus Bosh. I probably would have walked away with a lot more knowledge of art had the class not been at 8 a.m. and had I not been hungover most of the time.
So, to make up for my college art transgressions, I'm going to go over something that I'm pretty sure confuses a few non art buffs: The difference between Monet and Manet....aside from and "o" and an "a."
Here's the super quick answer- they were friends and contemporaries; both are French and both are considered Impressionists...except Manet kind of started the Impressionist movement while Monet jumped in and perfected it. Monet mainly painted landscapes and flowers and is known for his work, "Water Lilies." He died at the age of 86 surrounded by his wife and family. Manet painted whores and died at the age of 51 from syphilis..
So, let's talk about Manet (what, did you actually think I would talk about the guy who painted flowers and didn't have syphilis?)
More, specifically, let's talk about what many consider to be his masterpiece, "Olympia."
Believe it or not, this painting was considered VERY controversial at the time and caused a major scandal in the art world? Why? Because she's naked? Not quite. Nudes, of course, have been around forever and people were cool with seeing the nude female the right way. But, it was how this nude was portrayed that got everyone in a tizzy. See, this painting is supposed to be reminiscent of Titian's (hey, I mentioned him in the last blog post) Venus de Umbria. But, instead of focusing on Venus, the woman in this painting is a courtesan (aka hooker). How do we know that? Well, there are some clues that give it away. Traditional Venus paintings would have a non-direct stare that looked slightly and coyly away from the viewer. The woman in this painting is staring directly at the viewer with an expression that says "What the hell do you want?" Also, she is wearing a bracelet and choker. Jewelry, on an otherwise naked body, meant "prostitute" in late 1800's France, apparently. And, let's not forget about the orchid in her hair. At the time an orchid, and an orchid in the hair none-the-less, was a symbol of overt sexuality. That Manet had the audacity to reference a classic work of art, but use the image of a prostitute- I'm sorry "courtesan"- instead of a goddess, was appalling for audiences at the time. In fact, when the painting was displayed at the Paris Salon in 1865, people demanded that it be destroyed.
But, guess who help save the painting from outraged demise? Our old buddy Monet. That's right "Water Lily" guy saw the painting's brilliance and petitioned on behalf of his friend, Manet.

So, there's the quick rundown of Manet's "Olympia." Want the necklace? You can get it here, scandal free: . Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off:)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


"Once in his life, every man is entitled to fall madly in love with a gorgeous redhead."

That is a quote from one of my heroes and favorite redhead, Lucille Ball.

For some reason, hair color is a major signifier in society. It goes like this: Blondes are dumb, Brunettes are smart and dependable, and Redheads....well, where do I begin? Redheads are much maligned in history, and I don't think it's very fair. So, from a dumb blonde, I'm going to give a shout out to all the gingers out there. This one's for you, Red!

  • According to Greek myth, redheads turn into vampires when they die. I don't know about that. But I do know that all CEO's- redhead or no- turn into vampires when they die. Fact.
  • In the 1990's, researchers isolated the gene for red hair. The gene is a recessive gene, and since most recessive genes come in pairs, many redheads are also left-handed. Another cool thing- the discovery of this gene is useful in crime scenes in narrowing down suspects.
  • Redheads require up to 20-30 percent more anesthesia during surgery. In an earlier blog, I have dubbed this phenomenon "gingervitus."
  • Red is the rarest hair color, with only 1-2% of the population having natural red hair.
  • The country with the highest percentage of redheads? Scotland. Followed by Ireland, England and America. Why is this coloring so concentrated in one place? Scientist believe that red hair and fair skin absorbs vitamin D better. In cloudy, overcast climates, this proved beneficial and redheads were able to absorb more vitamin D from the rarely seen sun.
  • Red hair doesn't grey as much as other colors. Lucky!
  • According to researcher Dr. Werner Habermehl, redheaded women have more sex than other women. I'm not sure if he did personal research for this...
  • Hitler reportedly banned the marriage of two redheads in order to prevent what he called "deviant offspring." Someone should have banned the marriage of HIS parents.
  • The sixteenth century painter, Titian, painted so many redheads that a shade of red has been named after him.
  • "Gingerphobia" is the fear of redheads. "Gingerism" is the bullying of redheads. I've got neither. I've got nothing but love for you. Well, except for Carrot Top. I'm both afraid of and want to bully Carrot Top. But not because of his hair. Because he's a shitty comedian.
  • Other than Lucille Ball, here are some famous redheads: Helen of Troy, Cleopatra (what? I didn't know that), Aphrodite, Queen Elizabeth I, Thomas Jefferson, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, James Joyce, Winston Churchill, Malcom X, Galileo, and Emily Dickinson.
I hope that you enjoyed my tribute to redheads. And if you would like a redhead tribute necklace, here you go:

Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Good Luck with All That...

Well, it's tax day. And some of you might need some good luck....I'm not saying that you filled out your returns in a shady manner; but a little good luck never hurt anyone:)

So, let's go over some good luck charms, shall we?

  • 4-leaf clover: This is probably the oldest good luck symbol. Due to it's rarity, the Druids held it in very high esteem. The Celts believed that it had the power to protect against evil spirits. And rumour has it that Eve carried a 4-leaf clover from the garden of Eden.
  • Wishbone: The wishbone tradition dates back to the Etruscans on the Italian peninsula. The Etruscans held hens and rooster in high esteem and would have fortune telling rituals in which pieces of grain would correspond with letters of the Etruscan alphabet. As a hen or rooster would eat a piece of grain, they were spelling out what would happen in the coming year- kind of like a chicken Ouija board. After the fortune telling, the bird would be slaughtered (hey, fortune or no, an Etruscan's got to eat). The bones would be left out to dry and the collar bone was considered the most sacred. Anyone who touched it would have good luck. Later on the Romans took up this tradition, but people would fight over the wishbone, thus breaking the wishbone began. This is where we get the term "lucky break."
  • Horseshoe: Horseshoes were considered luck because they were made of iron. Iron was considered a lucky material because it could withstand fire, so it represented strength and protection from evil. Also, horseshoes were made by blacksmiths. Blacksmiths were the rock stars of their day and considered very prestigious. So, should you hang a horseshoe up or down above a door? Depends. Some say the ends should be pointing up, that way it can catch and hold all the good luck that comes in through the door. Others say the ends should point down, so all the good luck from the horseshoe can pour down onto the household. I say, double your bet and hang one upright and one upside down...or would that cancel all the luck out?
  • Rabbit's foot: First of all, I don't believe this to be lucky at all. But, that's just the animal lover in me. So, where did this tradition come from? Well, one culture is the Celts- as young males were taught to hunt, they started out on rabbits. They kept the foot as a trophy of their kill. The tradition also has it's place in African heritage- the rabbit's foot served and important purpose in Hoodoo magic. But not any foot would do. It had to be the left hind foot, procured from a rabbit in a cemetery, during a specific phase of the moon.
  • Swallows: Swallows are considered good luck, especially for sailors. If a sailor sees a swallow, it means they are close to land because swallows are land-loving birds.
This necklace has both a swallow AND a horseshoe. That means that it is DOUBLE lucky...
And use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Quit Bugging Me!

A few days ago, I saw our first spider in the house. My cat, Maeby, was quickly on it.

I guess it's that time again. The time when I have to start checking the shower for any lingering, pervy spiders; or start dodging moths when I turn on the light; or have my blood run cold when I come face to face with my biggest phobia: the June Beetle.

I'm just going to say it. I hate bugs. Hate them. I know that is such a girlie cliche, but it's true. And I know that they have the right to exist and that they help the eco-system and blah, blah, blah. But do they have to be so damn gross? Lady Bugs get a pass, but every other bug is permanently on my shit list.

But, for someone who hates bugs so much, I certainly spend a lot of time making insect inspired jewelry and writing about them. I guess it's just survival instinct. KNOW THY ENEMY.

So without further ado, here's some skin-crawling facts about insects and bugs.

  • What's the difference between and insect and bug? Bugs belong to the insect world, but not all insects are bugs. Bugs are a certain type of insect that have a mouth shaped like a straw so they can suck plant juices. Gross.
  • The biggest bug? The South American longhorn beetle. It measures over 9 inches long. Gross.
  • Insects have an exo-skeleton, so when they grow they have to crack open their skin (or molt) and grow new skin. Gross.
  • The name "insect" is from Latin and was originally designated to any animal that appeared to be "cut in" or divided. Gross.
  • How long can insects live? Too long. A tarantula can live up to 30 years and a queen termite can live up to 50 years. Longevity = Gross.
  • Do insects bleed? Yes. But only pure evil. OK, that's not true. They do bleed, but their blood isn't red because they don't carry oxygen in their blood; they carry nutrients in their blood. So their blood is the color of nutrients. Gross.
  • The Atlas Moth, a silk moth, is so big that it can be mistaken for a bat when flying. Terrifying and gross.
  • It's estimated that there are between 10-30 million known species of insect in the world, but only one million is known to science. That is vastly terrifying and gross.
  • The Tarantula Hawk delivers one of the most painful stings in the world. The female Tarantula Hawk will paralyze a tarantula, drag it's paralyzed body back to her nest, lay an egg in the tarantulas abdomen, then allow her tiny Tarantula Hawk babies feast on the tarantula from the inside out. Scary, kind of bad-ass, and GROSS! But a great necklace:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Forty Whacks!

Well, it's Monday. I'm at work. And I'm cranky. I'm tired. And I don't want to be here.

So, let's talk about axe murderers, shall we? Let's talk about Lizzie Borden.

  •  Lizzie Borden was actually acquitted of the crime due to lack of evidence, but she would always be associated with the murders.
  • The popular rhyme (made up to sell newspapers) which accuses her of administering "40 whacks" with a hatchet, is false. Her stepmother received 18-19 whacks and her father only 11.
  • After the trial, Lizzie changed her name to Lizbeth.
  • Lizzie was a spinster and rumoured lesbian. After the murders, Lizzie became involved with the theatre community and she developed a "close friendship" with the actress Nance O'Neil. The two were seen meeting up in hotels on several occasions. Presumably to rehearse lines, I'm sure.
  • The Fall River, MA house where the murders took place is now a bed and breakfast. Hey, why not?
  •  Elizabeth Montgomery (aka Samantha on Bewitched) is a distant relative- sixth cousin once removed- and she portrayed Lizzie in a made for TV movie in 1975.
  • Chloe Sevigny is slated to play her in an upcoming HBO movie.
  • My favorite portrayal of Lizzie Borden? Martin Prince on the Simpsons. "Forty whacks with a wet noodle, Bart."

And here's a necklace fit for an axe murderer:

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Lets face it- when it comes to marsupials, kangaroos get all the glory. And even though the inspiration necklace behind today's blog post features kangaroos, I thought that I would give a shout out to all the marsupials.

So, gather 'round- kangaroos, wombats, koalas, wallabies, Tasmanian devils, opossums, sugar gliders, and bandicoots- this one's for you!
  • Marsupials are distinguished from other mammals mainly due to their reproductive features. Most female marsupials carry their young in an abdominal flap, or "marsupium." The female marsupial lacks a sufficient placenta which is why the baby has a short gestation in the womb and spends a lot of it's development time in the marsupium. I think I just like saying marsupium.
  • Marsupials started off on one large continent; the continent that used to be Australia and South America. When the continents drifted, Australia got all the cute marsupials. South America got the opossum. The opossum made it's way north and is now the only marsupial in the United States.
  • Kangaroos and wallabies are excellent swimmers.
  • The opossum never stops growing. I'm a little freaked out by opossums.
  • When a Tasmanian devil is frightened, its ears turn bright red. My ears turn bright read when I am embarrassed or drunk. Fact.
  • Koalas rarely drink water because they get most of their hydration from eucalyptus leaves.
  • Fewest nipples? Koalas and wombats with 2. Most nipples? The opossum with 27. Ugh, opossums are creepy.
  • The wombats teeth are rootless, which means they continuously grow throughout their lifetimes.
  • Just like kangaroos, sugar glider babies are called joeys.
  • The bandicoot eats mice and other small rodents. Once it catches its prey, the bandicoot kneeds the rodent into a small pulp. Then eats it. The bandicoot has poor table manners.
And here's a necklace featuring the "rock stars" of the marsupial world.

Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off your entire purchase.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Let's Talk Ostrich

Well, today's blog post is about Ostriches. I'm mainly talking about this today because I just submitted my ostrich act to the Colorado Burlesque Festival and I figured that sending out ostrich vibes today might bring me some good luck. (You can watch the video here if you're curious: )
But, enough about me. Let's talk Ostrich.
  • Ostriches DON'T stick their heads in the ground when face with danger. A species that did that could never survive. They do, however, lie their heads down flat on the ground when they are sleeping, which might be where this myth comes from.
  • Ostriches are just not that smart. Their eyes are the size of billiard balls and since they're eyes are so big and their skulls are so small, there's not much room left for a brain. Their brains are smaller than their eyeballs. This might explain why they tend to run in circles when chased by predators. Aw, you kind have to love something that is that stupid.
  • Ostriches are the largest living bird in the world. They can grow up to ten feet tall. Because of their height, they were used to pull chariots in ancient Egypt....But that didn't work out so well because they have a temper. Mean and stupid. They could be reality TV stars. But, I'm pretty sure ostriches aren't indigenous to the Jersey shore.
  • They kick forwards, not backwards. And an ostrich kick can kill a person. No joke. Mean, stupid, and strong kickers....
  • They can't fly, but they can run. They are the second fastest land animal. Now if they could just figure out how to not run in circles...
  • Although the ostrich is native to Africa, the Black African Ostrich can be found in captivity in over 50 countries in the world. They even have ostrich farms in Alaska.
  • Ostriches can live up to 60 years. So don't piss an ostrich off. They've got time to track you down and kick you.
Goofy, mean, stupid, but beautiful. If that's not the makings of a great necklace, I don't know what is.
Use coupon code BLOG15 for 15% off