Fiesta San Antonio

It doesn’t get any closer to home than this post, featuring the wonderful city where we live and where all Susan Shaw jewelry is made: San Antonio, Texas. This time of year, the city of San Antonio is gearing up for our biggest city-wide celebration, Fiesta! For those who don’t know what this is, many equate it to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It is a 2-week celebration starting the 3rd weekend in April, centered around the memory of the Battle of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, where Texas won it’s independence from Mexico. In 1891, a group of San Antonio citizens threw the first Battle of Flowers Parade, where they decorated carriages and threw flowers in front of the Alamo to honor the soldiers who fought there 25 years before. Over 125 years later, the Battle of Flowers parade is the signature event of Fiesta San Antonio, but there are now over 100 official events that occur all over the city throughout the 2 week celebration. We will highlight some of our favorites as well as showcase some bright and festive jewelry that is perfect for this time of year.

This Mexican Embroidered dress is the perfect thing to wear to stay cool in the hot sun during Fiesta

The first weekend of Fiesta kicks of with a grand party in Hemisfair Park in downtown. “Fiesta Fiesta” kicks off with a Fireworks display, Cascarones (a.k.a. confetti eggs), and a crowd-wide chant of “Viva Fiesta!”  Its a great way to set the mood of the city.What would a festival be without it’s kings and queens? Fiesta San Antonio has royalty representing many different city organizations. “King Antonio” is crowned each year from the Texas Cavaliers Association- a nonprofit organization that raises money for children’s charities around the city. Their fundraising effort, mainly from the Fiesta River Parade they put on, raises over $300,000 per year for these charities. El Rey Feo (Spanish for the “ugly king”) is also a major fundraiser for the city. Each year, two prominent businessmen are chosen to compete for this title. The candidate who raises the most money during the months of May – October is declared next year’s Rey Feo. Each candidate must raise a minimum of $200,000 to qualify with more then 85% of the money raised is spent directly on scholarship awards benefiting San Antonio area youth.

El Rey Feo (left) and King Antonio (right) with Miss Fiesta San Antonio

As is tradition in many southern cities, debutantes are presented each year, and Fiesta is the perfect time for this in San Antonio. The Order of the Alamo is an organization which provides opportunity for these 22-year-old girls to represent themselves in the spotlight of the community. The Order of the Alamo elects the Queen and Princess of Fiesta each year along with 15-25 Duchesses. It is very well known for the intricate dresses and trains the girls wear. It take over a year to design and sew on all the crystals-and they weigh up to 90 pounds!

The Court of Grecian Glory (Fiesta 2016)
Queen of the 2017 Fiesta Court, she will continue to reign until the new Queen is crowned halfway through Fiesta week 2018

Each year the court has a different theme, with each dress representing something under that theme. In 2015, it was the Court of the Captivating Islands and the dress below represented the “Pearl of the Orient” with this Ming Dynasty blue and white porcelain jar motif. Isn’t it to die for??  We always look forward to seeing the artistry and creativity in the dresses each year.
All the royalty of Fiesta carry their special medals each year to hand out as they make their way around the city in parades and school visits. Businesses also each have their own medals, typically for sale and benefitting a local charity of their choice.
Many people love to collect all these special medals each year, to the point where many need special sashes or vests to accommodate all their medals.There is no shortage of parades during Fiesta. The main ones are the Battle of Flowers Parade (original Fiesta event), The River Parade and the Fiesta Flambeau Parade. The Battle of Flowers Parade has come a long way from the original decorated carriages in front of the Alamo. The extravagant floats have multiplied and are more beautiful every year. The Battle of Flowers Parade is now the 2nd largest day parade in the U.S., second only to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. It is also the only parade in the country to be put on by a committee of all women volunteers. People have been known to start camping out along the coveted spots of Broadway Street over a week in advance of the Battle of Flowers parade just to secure their seats!

All the Fiesta Royalty rides in the parade, including the Order of the Alamo duchesses pictured below. Years ago a rumor started that the girls in these extravagant gowns were wearing sneakers or flip flops under their dresses for comfort since no one could see. It became a thing and parade spectators would call out, “Show me your Shoes!” Now the girls put lots of thought into what they wear on their feet, sometimes decorating their comfy shoes to match their dress. You can see one of the duchesses below showing off her cowboy boots!Early in the week the Texas Cavaliers put on the River Parade, where barges are turned into floats for organizations, bands, and (you guessed it) more royalty! Below you can see King Antonio’s float going down the San Antonio River and shooting streamers into the air!

Another fan favorite is the Fiesta Flambeau Parade. It takes place after dark toward the end of Fiesta and all the floats and costumes light up or glow in the dark, making for a beautiful night scene.

In addition to parades, Fiesta brings festivals of many types as well. The largest one, which goes on almost every evening during Fiesta is called NIOSA (standing for Night in Old San Antonio). It takes place in the heart of downtown in La Villita, which was the first neighborhood in the city and is full of preserved buildings and old homes, now mostly all converted into businesses. La Villita transforms during NIOSA to a worldly festival, with booths representing different countries and selling foods of different cultures. Here in La Villita you can find one of our retailers, Bird & Pear boutique. Bird & Pear is known for cultivating a collection of handmade goods, many made by the owner herself. With Susan’s jewelry being handmade not 5 miles from here, it was a great fit for us to be sold alongside her beautiful wares. If you’re visiting for Fiesta, stop by to pick up a hand sewn medal sash to show off the medals you accumulate or a coozie for your drink made from an embroidered Mexican dress! And don’t forget to check out our jewelry while you’re there!!

Bird & Pear

418 Villita Street • Building 10 • San Antonio, TX 78205 • 210.263.9969

https://thebirdandpear.com

During Fiesta the whole city is in bright colors! From the wreaths and decorations to the clothing and jewelry worn by the people, it is truly a beautiful sight! No matter what your Fiesta look is, we have the perfect jewelry to accent it! These new cluster earrings below come in many bright colors and are lightweight despite being a bigger statement earring.Back in the 80’s Susan designed clothing for local shops to sell during Fiesta. She did the artwork in the photo below and it was hand sewn into skirts by local artisans.Tassels are such a fun was to show your festive side- whether you are heading to Fiesta or any party this spring! We have some new styles and some new colors for 2018 below! Our genuine turquoise pieces are sought after in the southwest and all over the country for their upscale look. Pair them with gold to dress it up or our teal tassels for a more casual and fun look. They are a perfect addition to your Fiesta style!We hope you get a chance to come visit our fabulous city someday and even better to get to enjoy this festive time of year!! For more information about all the Fiesta events you can visit Fiesta-SA.org.

As we say this time of year here in San Antonio,

Viva Fiesta!!

Susan Shaw Jewelry

Want to find more Susan Shaw Retailers in San Antonio? Contact us with the zip code you are looking in!!

Artistically Inspired

It is always so fun and interesting to see how works of art from another century can not only be appreciated in our time, but can go as far as to inspire a movement of modern design.  Lately we have seen designers being inspired by the cut-out shapes reminiscent of artists like Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder. Susan has been inspired as well and we are excited to show our newest collection of jewelry made with these fabulous gold abstract shapes.Henri Matisse was known primarily as a French painter in the early 1900’s. He truly help define the evolution of art in the 20th century. He used color as his foundation, and wanted his works to be calming and enjoyable instead of stuffy or depressing. In our modern world of endless tasks and busy lives, it’s no wonder the creations of someone with this philosophy would be appealing. In his early years, Matisse sometimes used cut out shapes to help himself realize the composition of a large painting, but they were not part of his final product. In his old age, he was confined in his movements and eventually bed ridden, bringing back to mind the idea of those cut-outs. He would have assistants to help him use the shapes he cut out of paper painted with gouache to create colorful collages. Many of these works pictured below are what he is most known for, and where our trend comes into play.

Alexander (Sandy) Calder was also an artist of shapes. He is known as the originator of the mobile. He would make his sculptures using organic shapes that would suspended from his balanced creation. In his early years, he created Cirque Calder, a combination of wirey figures that he would bring to art shows to demonstrate. It was said his circus grew to fill 2 large suitcases and was very popular among the French avant-garde. After this, his works moved more to the abstract, using shapes to create mobiles that responded to changing air currents and light. He also created “stabiles” as they were dubbed, that remained staionary. This is where the inspiration for Susan’s new pieces comes into play.Calder even made a few jewelry pieces of his own that are now worth tens (even hundreds) of thousands of dollars at auction.

Susan’s handmade gold shapes are inspired by Calder’s art and bring a very modern elegance to any wardrobe.

Calder’s work displayed at the National Gallery of Art

Jewelry and fashion designers may not be the only ones inspired by Alexander Calder. This sculpture below we found on Horchow.com has a very Calder-esque look to it.This framed birthday card was painted by Sandy Calder for his friend and fellow artist, Joan Miró. The coils you see in his eyes were also a common theme in Calder’s jewelry and sculpture works.Susan studied art in college and has always had a love for the visual arts. Her passion makes this inspiration an obvious fit. The earrings below really celebrate the cut out organic shapes Matisse and Calder made so famous in their time.The piece below, The Parakeet and the Mermaid, shows much of the style that Matisse was so well known for.The interior design community has also shown it’s love for Matisse and his works. Companies like Schumacher and Kate Zaremba make wallpapers naming Matisse as their muse. Who even needs art when this is what is on your walls?!
This lamp by Arteriors takes the Matisse look to a sculptural level.And this dishware by Bernardaud is reminiscent of The Parakeet and the Mermaid and would add a modern touch to the most elegant of dinner parties.Whether you are an art buff or not, it is hard not to appreciate the design of Susan’s new collection. So don’t be afraid to take shape with these new pieces in your wardrobe!

xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

P.S. Check out these brand new styles online @ShopLaurenLondon.com

Cotton Pearls

One of our most talked-about components in the line has got to be the Cotton Pearl. Not only because it is beautiful and fashionable, but also because of it’s light weight feel. Many people ask what they are made of or how they are made, so we’re answering all your questions today along with sharing some photos of our favorite cotton pearl pieces.cottonpearl2

Paper Mache products, also known as Cotton Pearl, were first produced in the early 1900s in Germany. Cotton Pearls today are made of the base material called Cellulose, the same as used for paper towels and tissues. It arrives raw from the paper mill on a huge roll.

The paper is fitted into an mold with multiple cavities with some glue, which contains a special needle . The needle rotates in the soft paper and forms into a round bead, drop, or another shape.

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 When the bead fills the mold cavity to the correct size, the needle stops rotating and it falls out of the cavity when the mold is opened. Now you have the very soft raw beads with the needles inside.
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The trays of beads are dipped in special chemicals to harden them, and then dyed in special baths. To get the beads to the color shade wanted requires multiple dips in the dye baths, with a dry time of 3- 5 hours each coat. The average amount of dips is about 5-9 times, in order to get the proper finish.

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The bead coating is finished around 12 hours after the last bath, when it is 100% dry. Only now do you see the final color product and surface quality.

Next step is to cut off the needle and start drilling the hole using a sharp needle. A normal drill bit would catch the inside of the bead, and unwind the paper.

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Now the beads are ready for sale! With every step of the production done by hand, you will find our cotton pearls to be very high quality. They are perfect for mixing with other types of pearls you may have too!

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Our cotton pearls mix well with smaller glass pearls

The best thing about the cotton pearl is you have the look of a large pearl without any of the weight!
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So next time someone asks you about your cotton pearl jewelry, you’ll know exactly what to say.

xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

The Buzz on Bees

Of all the symbols Susan Shaw has used on intaglios, the bee was one of the first and remains one of the most popular. Why? There are many symbolic reasons that people like wearing bees, and we’ve heard them all. Some say the bee just makes them happy, which makes us happy too! Others cite historical significance to the bee, and we have found the history to be quite extensive! Many cultures have different interpretations and uses for the symbol, so we’re highlighting some of them below, and showcasing some our most popular bee designs. So you can enjoy the photos, the history, and perhaps we can help you answer the question: why do you wear the bee intaglio?

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The bee can signify royalty and power. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the bee was created out of the Tears of the sun god Ra and they adopted the bee as a symbol of their rulers. Honey bees, signifying immortality and resurrection, were emblems of early French kings, the Merovingians, that were later revived by Napoleon.  With all it’s royal significance, perhaps you like to wear the bee because you’re a Queen Bee.

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The flag of the Second French Empire, the reign of Napoleon

The bee was a hugely important icon of Napoleon’s reign and his obsession with its symbolism gave rise to his nickname, the Bee. Before that, bees were a vital symbol of French industry and one of the most prominent emblems of the French Revolution. Some call it the precursor to the Fleur-de-Lis (the current national emblem of France). To this day, the bee can be found in French design, decor, and even business logos. Perhaps you like to wear the bee because you have an eye for French culture and design. 

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Historically, communities of honeybees have been cited as similar to communities of humans. Some famous defenders of this theory include Aristotle, Plato, Shakespeare and even Tolstoy makes this connection in his novel War and Peace. Bees work together harmoniously, each having their place in the betterment of the hive. Perhaps you like to wear the bee because you like to live in peace & harmony with others.IMG_3946For some, the bee is a symbol of nature, as they can be found buzzing about and helping pollinate many flowers and fruit bearing trees.  Perhaps you like to wear the bee because you love and appreciate nature and all its beauty.
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In Greek mythology, as well as other historical cultures, the bee is a symbol of fertility. A Queen bee is typically the mother of all the bees in her hive. Perhaps you like to wear the bee because you have a mothering nature.img_5644

The bee is known for its hard work. Worker bees are constantly building, cleaning, and taking care of the hive as well as collecting and depositing pollen. Hence, the term “busy as a bee” is very fitting. Perhaps you like to wear the bee because you’re a hard worker and a busy bee! 

Tell us why you wear (or decorate with) the bee. We’d love to know!

xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

P.S. Find many of our bee styles online here!

Gardens In Bloom

A garden can serve so many purposes in our lives. It can be a momentary escape from our task lists, computer screens and phones or a beautiful backdrop for an evening gathering of family and friends.  Scientists have been touting for years the importance of connecting with nature to your physical and mental health and many cities are now prioritizing the importance of growing their green spaces to bring together communities a tourists alike.  For Susan Shaw, gardens can provide inspiration to her designs, so it makes sense she would surround herself with beautiful landscapes at home and in her travels.
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At Susan’s home in San Antonio, Texas you can find a gorgeous garden and patio, perfect for inspiring her creations.

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Susan and her husband Eric thoroughly enjoy their outdoor space. Many times you can find them playing around this fountain with their granddaughters.

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The statues and sculptures are as delicately placed as each planting in their yard to create an oasis of positive energy and artistic stimulation.

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Their courtyard is the perfect backdrop for summer nights spent cooking dinner on the grill, and when the sun goes down, the lights on the patio provide a warm glow for evening conversations.

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IMG_1311IMG_1305Jewelry that is inspired by nature is the perfect pick for your summer evening spent at a garden party or dining al fresco. Can we get a seat at that table on the cover of Carolyne Roehm’s book please! 🙂

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Roses and Peonies in Carolyne Roehm’s cutting garden

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Of course Susan is not the only designer inspired by nature. In fact, the floral trend has been taking over the fashion world lately and can be found on nearly every runway.

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Pair your Susan Shaw jewelry with a floral print dress and you are ready for an elegant summer evening.

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If gardens are fuel for the soul, you can see how new ideas are blooming every day. So don’t hesitate to wander outside- be it at your home, around your neighborhood, or in your local park- to find what might inspire you.

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xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

Dear Mom, I Love You

So it’s that time of year again! You know, the holiday when you need to get a gift and/or card but your mom can’t help you because it’s for her? It’s Mother’s Day! Coming to a home near you May 8th- so don’t forget! And in case your mom wants something more than an eye roll, read on…

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Hint: Flowers and jewelry are always a step in the right direction. Any moms reading this? Feel free to forward these images to your well-meaning children. (They even have retail links embedded!)

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While all of Susan Shaw’s designs are perfect gifts, we singled out the initials collection and our pieces with pearls for that loving woman running your life in your life.

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Now whoever said being a mom is the most rewarding job you’ll ever have, wasn’t talking about the gifts on Mother’s Day. No. We all know it’s about a lot more. Moms just need a day for her children to stop and remember that they have given you life, love, and more care than they probably give themselves.

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You may not realize until you’re all grown up how much your mom has given to make your life possible and to give you everything she knew you needed. Maybe you have children of your own and that’s when it hits you. By that time you will be dealing with some of the exact same trouble you gave your parents…what goes around… comes back as your child 🙂

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So make a day of it! Take your mom to lunch! Let her get dressed up and enjoy a cellphone-free conversation with you. Better yet, bring this gorgeous necklace below- just come up right behind her, she will see it with those eyes in the back of her head!

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Whatever you do, just make her feel special like you know she deserves. Say “sorry” (I mean there is something you must have done) and say “thank you”.

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And remember if all else fails write your mom this note: “Dear Mom, I love you.” That is really all she wants to hear.

xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry

Behind the Scenes: The Buffalo Nickel

Susan Shaw has been designing jewelry with beautiful antique coins for quite some time, and most of the designs use French currency that is no longer in circulation (since the move to the Euro). These French coins can be made into molds for manufacturing. So what makes the buffalo nickel collection any different? American tender never loses its value, making any reproduction a federal crime- counterfeiting! So in order to make this line, each coin is an actual buffalo nickel- worth 5 cents anywhere in the USA! However, upon acquiring these coins, Susan Shaw company has found them to be worth a lot more.

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Many coin collectors search all over and pay top dollar for some of the rare dates of the buffalo nickel. They were only produced from 1913-1938. Most of our coins are from the 1930s, although you may not be able to tell unless the side with the Indian head is showing (like in the bracelets below) since only that side displays the date.

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When purchasing these coins from antique dealers and coin collectors, our staff must go through each one to ensure it is in good condition to be made into a piece of jewelry. They cannot be polished or cleaned or they will lose their beauty and value.

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The process makes each bracelet, earring or necklace with a buffalo nickel truly one-of-a-kind.

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The cufflinks below would make a wonderful gift to any American History buff.

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We take great great care in the making of all of our jewelry. All components are manufactured in the USA and the jewelry is handmade in our office in San Antonio, Texas.  That being said, we thought the history in this particular collection was worth spotlighting. We hope you think so too.

xoxo

Susan Shaw Jewelry