The right to bare arms (with bracelets)



, , ,

The latest Twitter tempest — about the #righttobarearms —  sprang up as most of them do: when someone’s poorly worded tweet was misunderstood.

At first I was bemused by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell taking it upon herself to criticize women newscasters who wear sleeveless shift dresses.

Personally, I like the look: as sleek as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And certainly professional: 1950s fashion was nothing if not demure.


And as I joked in Twitter, I’m all for the #righttobarearms, since it’s the best way to show off a bracelet.


But I looked up the blogger she was retweeting, and I think there’s been a little miscommunication. He’s a communications consultant who was noting some research that said that audiences are inclined to think that the more covered-up public speakers are, the more intelligent they are.

And it applied to both men and women.

He goes on to offer five good, common sense tips for dressing appropriately that could apply to any event. Or daily life. And his final point practically explains how I ended up in the jewellery design business.

“Dress to set yourself apart,” Nick Morgan advises. “What accessory can you wear…that will allow you to stand out from the crowd… Finding that one little bit of difference can really make for a memorable stage costume.”

It’s like he read my mind.


I began designing statement necklaces for myself 20 years ago because I wanted to elevate what I referred to as my mommy uniform. I was wrangling two pre-schoolers and I would dress daily in a black T-shirt and dark jeans. Boring, but practical. That outfit had to carry me through my 18-hour days. And I figured it could even work for my part-time job as a photographer, if I added some grown-up jewellery. (I didn’t have time to change. But a necklace? That I could manage.)

I wanted something bold and eye-catching to distract from my pedestrian outfit. But when I went necklace hunting I couldn’t find what I had in mind. I saw some big necklaces, but they were often glass and base metals. I wanted real silver and real gemstones. After a few weeks of searching, I gave up and hit one of the gem shops to see if I could make that necklace that was in my head.

I could.


And I made quite a few.




And eventually it became a business.


So I think this guy’s fashion advice is pretty good. Although I’m not so sure about that research study, which came from psychology researchers at a trio of universities: Yale, Maryland, and Northeastern.

It’s called “Sexiness and Sweaters: The Psychology of Objectification.” Naturally the subjects were university students. And I’m not so sure we should be making our life decisions based on the perceptions of undergrads.


Gifts for those who have everything

My newsletter readers come up with some of the best gift ideas for people who seem to have everything, like this one for emergency kits.

On the West Coast we’re all aware that The Big One may hit any moment, but it’s also true that most of us blithely ignore earthquake preparedness. So one reader says that her gift for those who already seem to have everything is a little bit of insurance so they can keep it.



She gives emergency kits including water and food rations. You can make them yourself with the help of the city’s checklist or buy them ready-made. They should include things like a radio, a flashlight, batteries, blankets, candles…

Part of emergency planning is knowing how you will reconnect with friends and family after a disaster. So this writer includes phone numbers for who to meet, where, and who to check-in with outside of the disaster zone.

And this is a really thoughtful touch: she also keeps track of the gifts and updates the food and water as it expires.

“I don’t preach,” she says. “I just quietly prepare.”

Earrings fit for a thrifty duchess


, ,

The conversation began as my phone conversations with one particular friend often do: with no preamble.

“Hello! I’m looking for a pair of pearl drop earrings like the ones that thrifty duchess always wears,” she said, in lieu of “hello, how are you.”

What earrings? Which duchess? And since when are duchesses thrifty….?

It turns out my sharp-eyed pal had spotted something that might be surprising to anyone who has never owned pearl drops. The former Kate Middleton has been wearing a pair of beautiful white baroque pearls to every kind of event for years now. The same earrings, over and over again, despite the fact her husband is in line for the throne.


Maybe that’s a sign of thrift? Or maybe it’s because they’re so flattering and go with absolutely everything that they’ve become her go-to earrings.

Pearl drops are ageless and timeless so it’s not unusual to have a pair in your wardrobe for life. They’re lovely on everyone from a 70something Helen Mirren to a teenage Taylor Swift.




And for a working woman who wants earrings that are elegant without being too fussy, a substantial white baroque pearl is just the thing for collecting an Oscar…


… or sitting for a portrait


A rope of freshwater pearls may well be worth a king’s ransom, but just two high quality complexion-flattering pearls won’t break the bank. Which also makes pearl drop earrings a perfect gift.

I will have a fair selection of what I now think of as the Thrifty Duchess Earrings, in different shades and sizes, at my upcoming Dec 8-10 trunk show, with prices beginning at $60.




Trunk Show
December 8 – 10

Designers Collective
2885 W. 33rd Ave. (at MacKenzie St.)

Friday, Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come for the earrings; go for the cake


, , , ,

I’m popping up again at Designers Collective in Kerrisdale. The shop is located at snacks central: kitty corner from Butter Baked Goods and around the corner from Bigsby the Bakehouse. Lots of pastry and parking.

2885 W. 33rd Ave. (at MacKenzie St.)

Friday Dec. 8 — 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday Dec. 9 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 10 — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

My pal Donna Tangye, the painter, is joining me. Photos don’t do her brushwork justice, but here’s an idea of what she’s up to.

Hope to see you there,

XO, Anne


Big, bold green amethysts are perfect grey-green shade that goes with everything

ACD-E-LondonBlueLeafLondon blue topaz topped by a leaf of delicate sterling silver



Garnets accented with decorative sterling silver beads


Baroque pink pearls topped with decorate silver beads


Raindrops of white baroque pearls


Faceted rutilated quartz topped with pyrite



Rutilated quartz on a sterling silver chain



A pink kunzite necklace, layered with a rope of blush pearls with a marcasite toggle clasp

Public Trunk Show Oct. 27-29


, , , ,

Party season is right around the corner, so I’m holding one of my biannual public trunk shows at the Designers Collective shop in Vancouver.

Everyone is welcome.

Friday Oct. 27 – 4 p.m. to  8 p.m.

Saturday Oct. 28 – 11 a.m to 5 p.m.

Sunday Oct. 29 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2885 W. 33rd Avenue (at MacKenzie St.)


If you don’t know Designers Collective, it’s a hub for creative people run by my friends Brooke Hatfield and Tina Dhillon who will redo your interiors for you, or teach you how to do it yourself. They also do field trips to study design in other cities and organize pop-up shops featuring local artisans.


This pop-up shop also includes paintings by Donna Tangye, another one of my talented friends. You can seem some of her recent work at her website.

And here’s a glimpse of some of what I have been working on…



Hope to see you at there.

XO, Anne


Linger in Harmony

That’s where I’ll be lingering on the August 11 -13 weekend — at the Harmony Arts Festival’s, Fresh Street Arts Market.

It’s a juried market of artists and artisans and I’m thrilled to be included in this line-up of talent. You can download the guide to the festival here.

Fresh Street Arts Market, West Vancouver

White Tents, Argyle Avenue

Between 14th and 16th Street

Friday, Aug. 11, 2 – 9

Saturday, Aug.12, 11 – 9

Sunday, Aug 13, 11 – 9





I’m keeping the new designs under wraps for now, but here are some pieces from my portfolio. If you see something you love and it’s no longer available, I can alway make you something similar (which you might love even more).


One of my two-in-one necklaces. You can wear this combination of dove grey freshwater pearls and a sterling silver chain, accented with faceted lilac amethysts, as a long rope.  Or wrap it as you see here into a collar length necklace. Or wear the pearls as a choker, by clasping the silver links into a pretty finish at the back. 


If you think this long string of beige, grey, and blush pink pearls with lilac amethysts accented with a marcasite clasp and sterling silver beads would be perfect for a strapless bridal gown, you’ve guessed where the owner first wore it. But she’s been wearing it for years now, with crisp white shirts, business suits, little black dresses…



Simple and elegant: a sterling silver chain with aquamarine pendants. 

Hope you can come by and enjoy a little Harmony,


Friends-of-friends trunk show May 5, 6

While some of my trunk shows are open to the public, many are by invitation. If you would like to join us for the spring Friends-of-Friends Trunk Show and don’t already know someone in our community, please contact me at:  info (at)

My newsletter includes articles, ticket give-aways, a first look at one-of-a-kind pieces, and notices of upcoming shows. Please sign-up for my newsletter here.



Making a Splash, every year


, ,

When my two sons were young they got so much enjoyment from the programs at Arts Umbrella that it turned me into a life-long supporter of the arts school. 

So every year, I donate one of my necklaces to the silent auction in their annual fundraiser, Splash, which happens Thursday,  Nov. 3. This year it’s a rope of silvery grey baroque pearls mixed with silver beads, punctuated with a luscious amethyst accent stone and my signature marcasite clasp.  Like all my statement necklaces, it’s one of a kind. 


The money raised by Splash goes to initiatives like the out-reach programs for kids from low-income families. I know the impact music lessons, dance, and visual arts have on early childhood development so I want to see all children have access to arts and culture.

If you’re looking for a charity, I can’t think of a better place to contribute than Arts Umbrella. Cash is always good. But they’re often looking for skilled volunteers and business donations. And their fundraising events are always big fun.

You can find the rest of the silent auction goodies here – there is are some wonderful paintings (my weakness) – along with links to where you can buy Splash tickets.   

Small victories & Suffragette earrings



“Yes!” I cried, as I practically pounced on a string of green tourmaline slices.

I suddenly felt a twinge of guilt. Had I knocked anyone over in my race to grab the elusive green stones? Would there soon be warning signs posted around the Tucson Gem Show preparing merchants for some overzealous customer: “Beware: Woman, 5’8”, auburn hair, crazed look in her eyes, salivates at sight of green tourmaline”

In my defence, I’ve been hunting for months for more of these tiny green sticks, in the hope that I could continue making one of my most popular designs: the Suffragette earrings.


Those are white baroque pearls topped with a tutu of green tourmaline and amethyst.

Last year, I happened to read about Suffragette jewellery. In the Edwardian era, the lobbyists wove their campaign colours – purple for dignity, white for purity, and green for hope – into everything. These women were flying their colours in the jewellery and ribbons they wore, as well as on the signs and pamphlets they carried.

I thought it was a wonderful idea – subtly subversive — and it immediately inspired my own Suffragette pieces. There’s also a pendant.


I was delighted when they turned out to be a hit, too. That is until I ran out of green tourmaline slices.

Here’s the hazard of working with natural gemstones. I travel to trade shows and buy the pearls and semi-precious stones that inspire me. The stones themselves suggest the designs, so sometimes I don’t know exactly what I’m going to make with them until I start playing around at my workbench.

But when that vein of a mine is tapped out, a stone is gone. So it’s not always possible to find high quality gems cut just the way you want for a particular design. I kicked myself for not buying more green tourmaline when I saw it. But how was I to anticipate that I was going to go all Emmeline Pankhurst this year?

So I made some variations on the earrings. I think they’re lovely too.


It’s a similar look with iridescent peacock pearls. The baroque pearls are crowned with sticks of amethyst, cubic zirconia, and iolite, which reflect the shades of purple and lavender in the iridescent pearls.

But for clients who wanted Suffragette colours, it’s just not the same.

So now you see why I’m gleeful at the sight of those tourmaline slices I found in Tucson. It’s pure luck that I found them too. There are literally acres of merchants selling gems in Tucson.

All of which is to say, if you wanted Suffragette earrings, or a pendant, and were disappointed when I couldn’t supply them, I’m back in the subversive earrings business.