Archive for the ‘Fashion History’ Category

Nature as Art

Monday, January 13th, 2014

As we countdown to the premier of JOYA by Judy Crowell (9 more days! Jan. 21 at 5pm ET!) I’ve been asked by many of you where I drew inspiration for the pieces in my collection.  Well – from everywhere!

My animal pieces in particular draw upon animal symbolism in jewelry that historians have recorded as far back as ancient Egypt.  We’ve all seen a scarab in jewelry at one time or another – right?!  Here’s a gorgeous ancient ring style that is both rustic and elegant at the same time.

Galerie Golconda Ancient Egyptian Scarab Ring

Galerie Golconda Ancient Egyptian Scarab Ring

Another ancient jewelry style from the Etruscan era entailed carvings of small animals in pendants, called bullas, or mythological creatures such as winged lions as seen here.

Etruscan Ring, Museum of Modern Art

Etruscan Ring, Museum of Modern Art

For the most part, symbolism in jewelry evolved over time and with different cultures to reflect mythical, religious and spiritual meaning. In more recent times, these symbols (and animals) have been added to reflect a bit of whimsy and fun.

For JOYA By Judy Crowell, I’ve created two lovely pieces – a Serpent Pendant and a Turtle Bracelet.

JOYA Sterling Silver Drusy & Turtle Link Toggle Bracelet

JOYA By Judy Crowell Drusy Turtle Link Toggle Bracelet

JOYA Sterling Silver Carved Gemstone Snake Pendant

JOYA By Judy Crowell Carved Gemstone Snake Pendant

These animals offer their own symbolism story across the ages. At different time periods, the serpent has represented wisdom and eternity and even renewal as skin is shed and growth occurs. And, as a Native American “Totem” animal, the turtle symbolizes both the grounding quality of earth energy and the magic of the mystical. Using Turtle energy can help you achieve real balance in your life and your spirit so that you don’t get “stuck in the mud!”

I like the idea that our personal jewelry can be an emblem for positivity in our lives as well as being elegant and a lot of fun to wear.

Always rock your full potential!


The Return Of The Earring ~ Spring 2012

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

I’ve always referred to it as the most intimate piece of jewelry you wear, because it’s selected to be closest to your beautiful face. Now, designers are taking the importance of them to a whole new level with the Return Of The Earring for 2012. Soulful and sexy; flirty and colorful; movin’ and groovin,’ these dazzlers are turning (and framing) heads!

Some of us are thinking, “Wait just a minute. What’s so new? We’ve been down this road before.” Yes, but isn’t it fun?! Fashion loves to reinvent itself, and WE love when it does!

Some of the most famous faces in history were known for their glamorous lobes. It’s nice to know it’s ‘cool’ all over again.

So, what do you say we do a little shopping? If you want to duplicate the ‘looks,’ you’ve got to know where to go to find them. While my Stratify Collection isn’t on the runway……….. (yet!), I do have some great styles that would fit the bill for this current trend.  Take a look at these beauties, and see if  the colors, the gems, or the dangle styles strike your fancy. If so, click on the earring to see all the details. Happy shopping!

Styling Your Full Potential ~


Fond Memory(ies) Lane

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Talk about a blast from the past. While clearing out old, saved articles and TV Guide Ads like these, I had fun reminiscing about the good ‘ole days at QVC. I even came across a calendar from 1992! Here are Kathy, Ellen and Paul on the cover. But, even more telling…. the hosts inside! (They’ll probably kill me when they’ve found out I’ve blogged about them) How many do YOU remember?

How much fun to look back with such fond memories at those whom I considered not just my friends, but truly my family. Here’s lookin’ at you…(when we were all just a), kid!

Who Do You Think You Are?

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

For years people have delved into and explored their past (did you ever see the movie “Hitch” and laughed at the Ellis Island scene?) Now, NBC’s newest reality show “Who Do You Think You Are?” has inspired people to further explore their own Genealogy. While my family has done its share of research on our heritage (I’m related to John Smith and Priscilla and John Alden, pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower), new stories always tend to emerge.

So, I’m visiting my folks this Easter Sunday, and Dad tells the story of a woman who, last week, tracked him down out of the blue. She’s a librarian living in New England who loves to frequent weekend Flea Markets. Her most recent “find” is the diary of a woman born around 1874. She writes of her experiences growing up in Canton, NY; her book reviews for the College of St. Lawrence University; her experience of moving in with her daughter and son-in-law during the War with their newborn baby, Gardner; her grocery shopping, socializing, and baby sitting days….

This curious librarian has stumbled upon the diary of my great-grandmother and has taken the time to track down “Gardner” (who no longer goes by that name) to tell him of her discovery. Bless her heart, she’s mailing my great-grandmother’s diary to my father this week! What a wonderful gesture on her part, and what an exciting journey back in time for my family and me! (My great-grandmother died of a heart attack in 1949. I never met her.)

Roman Civilization ~ 900 BC-400 AD

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

How Fashion Defined Men and Women Through the Ages

Roman men and women, like other Indo-Europeans, originally seem to have worn a large piece of wool, wrapped around themselves. After they met people from Greece and Egypt, around 200 BC, they began to wear linen tunics under their wool robes, which was more comfortable. Clothing For fancy occasions Roman men wore their wool robes, called togas, over their tunics. There were a lot of rules about how exactly a man should wear his toga. The toga was allowed to be worn only by free Roman citizens. Foreigners, or even exiled citizens, could not appear in public wearing a toga, and only the wealthy could wear a stripe on their togas.
The ancient Roman woman wore varieties of accessories such as:
ornate necklaces
breast chains brooches
and jeweled buttons
The list also includes ornamental hairpins, earrings, friendship rings, and even hairnets of solid gold! Jewelry, especially bronze and gold, was popular among upper-class Roman women. Accessories were highly decorated and expensive.
My studies of Roman fashion looked identical to Greek dress in it’s draperies and design. But, you realize there are many important, yet subtle, differences. Basic garments are sewn, not pinned; elaborate fabric decorations nearly disappear; and bold patterns on garments are nonexistent. Sandals, boots and shoes are common on virtually all men and many women.

Minoan Civilization ~ roughly 1750 BC

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

How Fashion Defines Men and Women Through the Ages

Early in the culture the loincloth was used by both sexes. And that’s practically all men wore, ever. Unlike the Egyptians, the shanti varied according to its cut and normally was arranged as a short skirt or apron, ending in a point sticking out similar to a tail. The fabric passed between the legs, adjusted with a belt, and almost certainly, was decorated with metal. The women wore the garment more as an underskirt by lengthening it. They often are illustrated in statuettes with a large dagger fixed at the belt to provide them with personal safety. Dresses also were long and low-necked, so low that the bodice was open almost all the way to the waist. (And they wonder why they needed to carry a dagger!)

Ancient Egyptians ~ 3,500-500 BC

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

How Fashion Defines Men and Women Through the Ages
The ancient Egyptians loved ornamentation, and all forms of jewelry, including necklaces, rings, anklets and bracelets. Jewelry was valued not only for its beauty and precious metals, but also for the magical and spiritual protection it was thought to give the wearer. Even the poor wore jewelry, but unlike the richer nobles or royalty, their pieces tended to be mainly decorative and non-precious usually just simple good-luck symbols or protective amulets.
For Men, the dress consisted of short linen kilts with a band of cloth worn over the shoulders. The richer, wealthier Egyptians dressed in lighter, finer cloth while the ordinary Egyptians wore coarse linen.
Dressmaking and textile manufacturing were mainly the females’ jobs. Many of the weaving workshops were within the wealthy, aristocratic houses of nobility. Thus, the perfectly form-fitted dresses for the woman of the house.
Women dressed in long tunics, and the wealthy women appreciated the imports from Syria of wide, diaphanous cloaks made of fine linen. The very poor, or servants, went about their work naked or clad in the simplest of loin cloths.

Greek Civilization ~ 5,000-3,000 BC

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

How Fashion Defines Men and Women Through the Ages

For the common people, agricultural work was the overwhelming reality of their lives. Greek Life Even the rich, who did not labor in the fields themselves, tended to oversee directly the farming of at least some of their property. This mainly outdoor life: farming, hunting, horseback riding would determine the main form of men’s fashion.
For Women, clothes were normally made at home from locally available wool or flax (used to make linen). The two most commonly worn garments were the chiton (tunic) and the himation (cloak). Cut into a simple rectangle measuring half again the height of the person wearing it, it was folded over, wrapped around the body, and pinned at the shoulders and side. It was sleeveless, with large arm openings. The way to tell a woman of means were the versions she wore that were decorated with elaborate woven figures or designs. They were also made of linen that fell into more elaborate vertical folds than its heavier wool counterpart.

The Influence of Architecture On Fashion

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Art Deco Architecture – Art Deco and the Discovery of King Tut’s Tomb: “In 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter and his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, thrilled the world with their discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamen. Reporters and tourists thronged the site for a glimpse at treasures which had laid nearly undisturbed for over 3,000 years. Soon a fascination for Ancient Egypt found expression in clothing, jewelry, furniture, graphic design and — of course — architecture.” Thus the revolution of Art Deco began. One of the many architectural trends that still influences the world today.