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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
The best thing about the cotton pearl is you have the look of a large pearl without any of the weight!
So next time someone asks you about your cotton pearl jewelry, you’ll know exactly what to say.
Our travel spotlight shines on Blowing Rock, North Carolina, a peaceful town in the Blue Ridge mountains with so much to offer. Travelers looking for outdoor activities, breathtaking views, fabulous restaurants, resorts and shopping will find everything and more in this beautiful spot.
Sites to see in the area include the city’s namesake, the actual Blowing Rock (pictured above), which is named for it’s near-constant winds. In fact, the upward air currents from the rock inspired Ripley’s-Believe-It-Or-Not to call it “the only place in the world where snow falls upside down.” There is a loop trail on site that goes between the rock and the observation deck and the 360° view from the observation deck will not disappoint!
Another site you won’t want to miss is Grandfather mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge chain. On your way there, visit the Parkway Craft Center (open March-November). The Craft Center is located inside the historic home of Moses H. Cone, who built the mansion at the turn of the 20th century. The house (pictured below) holds crafts and fine arts created by members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, offering a look at traditional arts and processes. The manor house overlooks the Blowing Rock area and offers lots of photographic opportunities on the porch.
From there take the Blue Ridge parkway to Grandfather Mountain. Along the way you’ll get to pass over the Linn Cove Viaduct, a part of the road that juts out to preserve the landscape. You’ll feel as if you’re driving out into the sky.Finally arriving at Grandfather Mountain you’ll enjoy more incredible views, walking and hiking trails, various shops and restaurants as well as the Mile High Swinging Bridge. At 228ft high, America’s highest suspension footbridge, was built to give visitors easy access to the breathtaking view from Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak. It will be your highlight of your trip to Grandfather mountain.In the village of Blowing Rock there is much to do as well. Fabulous restaurants, resorts as well as shopping. You’ll find there are many charming places to stay. The town does not allow large hotel chains, so each spot is charming, unique and brings that special feel that the area is known for.
Southern Living Magazine says Chetola Resort is “one of the best stays in the Blue Ridge.” Chetola’s accommodations include Chetola Lodge, condominiums ranging from one to four bedrooms and the historic Bob Timberlake Inn. They are the only Orvis endorsed fly fishing lodge in North Carolina. You can enjoy massage therapy, recreation center, kid’s camp & more. They have round events including the Festival of Lights they have for the Christmas season.
Westglow Resort tops many lists of fabulous places to stay in Blowing Rock. Situated on a historic 42-acre estate, Westglow Resort & Spa’s 10 room manor is serenely nestled in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Their award winning spa (pictured below) is the perfect place to relax and unwind while you take in the incredible views.
Whether you’re strolling around town, hiking in the mountains or just enjoying the spa, you know you’ll work up an appetite. If you’re staying at the Westglow, you won’t have to go far to find a top of the line dining experience. Rowland’s Restaurant is the perfect spot for a five star dinner experience or a lunch with a view (if you choose to dine on the sun porch or near the indoor pool.)
One of the most charming Inns in town happens to also house an elegant restaurant you will want to check out for sure. The Inn at Gideon Ridge prides itself in its ever changing menu based on local and farm fresh ingredients.
Best Cellar, another restaurant located in a quaint inn, prides itself on having provided its customers with the finest of food, wine, and service for 30 years.
The Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar, located between Boone and Blowing Rock NC, is well known for interesting and delicious interpretations of Southern classics. The menu changes seasonally and is the perfect mix of upscale and comfort food.
You’ll find a wide array of shops in town, but we have highlighted a few below that you won’t want to miss as well as including photos of some of our pieces that can be found there or to compliment the perfect outfit you put together at the shops.
Finley House Couture • 1121 Main Street
This is the home of Susan Shaw Jewelry in Blowing Rock along with internationally recognized ladies clothing from US designers. Pop in to find designer handbags, soaps, fragrances, or even cashmere scarves from Scotland for gifts.
The Boutique Collection • 1077 Main Street
A wonderful collection of ladies clothing including outer wear, scarves, gloves, capes, and wraps. A huge selection of shoes and handbags all at great value. Pair your finds with some of our equestrian collection below, very popular in North Carolina.
Sassy Europa • 1127 Main Street
A unique collection of fun fresh clothing accessories and gifts for the Boho Chic lady.
Great funky scarves, handbags and shoes.
Carriage Trade Antiques • 1079 Main Street
Find a wonderful selection of contemporary wall art, great gifts of silver, cut glass, majolica, and porcelain. This time of the year find a large selection of NC gourmet food items for gift giving as well as huge selection of Christmas decorations.
Whether you’re looking for your next mountain vacation to be fun and adventure-filled or extremely relaxing and rejuvenating, Blowing Rock is a great place to escape to any time of year. Our chic customers will find themselves right at home in this upscale mountain town.
Filigree is defined as delicateornamentalworkoftwistedgold,silver,orother metal. While the overall feel of filigree remains the same, the individual designs can be vastly different. We think this opportunity to choose something unique is what makes filigree jewelry so appealing to customers. While many fashion trends celebrate minimalism, this trend is anything but. Our line of filigree pieces range in design so you are sure to find the perfect complement to your outfit or occasion.
Below are some examples of the many different forms of filigree in our line. Each with a different look and feel.
The tortoise filigree pieces below are a unique addition to the line.
The inspiration for filigree can be found in many places like lace clothing or intricate patterns in fabrics, but one we find most interesting is in the ornate iron work of gates. Throughout Europe you’ll find landmark buildings surrounded in these iron pieces of art.
See how the pendant of the necklace below mimics the fanciful look of European gilded iron work?
All throughout the South, iron balconies adorn homes, adding a level of interest and sophistication to the home’s exterior much like filigree jewelry brings to the person wearing it.
The jewelry below was photographed in Susan’s garden to showcase how the fanciful filigree really shines in a natural setting.
We just think these ornate designs are the best! Do you fil-agree?
Coins have been used in jewelry long before we were in business, but it is one of the trends we love to see change and grow. Coins can add an aspect of history, a vintage look or just make your jewelry a little more interesting. We get asked about our coins all the time so here are some of the highlights of our coin collections and how they are made.
Many of the vintage French, Roman, and English coins that are out of circulation, can be made into molds and plated in our handcast metals. Recently, we even made a French coin out of venetian glass (as you can see below)!
Other coins that are still in circulation, like the buffalo nickel, cannot be replicated without being considered counterfeit. In this case, we collect genuine buffalo nickels and use those in our pieces. So in theory if you were 5 cents short on your grocery bill, you could use our buffalo nickel jewelry to cover your debts. However, we certainly don’t recommend that!!
We love to pair our coins with different stones like the freshwater pearls and blue lapis below to create the unique look we are known for. In some cases, Susan adds intaglios to the molds to create a one-of-a-kind coin for her customers. You can see an example of that in the horse coin below.
With so many variations, you can start your own kind of coin collection!
Our travel spotlight shines on a charming Texas city in the wide open spaces between Houston and Austin with a population of less than 100 people. Round Top, Texas is quaint spot known for delicious pies, barbecue and B&B hospitality. But during the twice-a-year Round Top Antique Show, tens of thousands of people arrive to witness what many call the best antique show in the nation.
Susan Shaw and her husband recently visited the Fall show and took many of the photos we have below. They never miss the Marburger Farm portion of the show each Fall and Spring.
Marburger Farm is known for having a high end and exquisite collection of antiques brought by some of the top dealers at the show for the last 20 years.
One of the things the Shaw’s look forward to finding at the show, are the wonderful vintage champagne buckets. They are lightweight, chic and will add a level of character to your next cocktail party. This tent’s collection of champagne buckets is quite impressive!
Our Dom Perignon medallion necklaces (shown in the photos below in silver and gold) as well as our vintage European coins pair well with these champagne buckets. What a perfect his & her gift idea??
This antique acrylic box was Susan’s most recent purchase in Round Top- a perfect marriage of vintage and modern!How beautiful is this copper-topped table below? With all the merchandise in each tent, visiting the show can feel a little like luxury treasure hunting, and if you happen to find something large you weren’t prepared for, they have shippers onsite to get your purchases home for you!Celebrity spottings are not uncommon in Round Top. Matthew Mcconaughey has been seen shopping Marburger Farms and Joanna and Chip Gaines have been known to score some gorgeous finds there for their popular TV show Fixer Upper- or perhaps some shopping for themselves?! Checkout this video they made of their Round Top visit for HGTV.
Ready to pack your bags? The next Marburger Farm show isn’t until March 28th, 2017, but that will give you plenty of time to plan your trip! Lodging options in Round Top and nearby towns are hard to come by so booking in advance is highly recommended! If you’re on top of your game you might find a room at the creator of Shabby Chic, Rachel Ashwell’s B&B The Prairie, pictured below.
Susan ran into Rachel Ashwell at the opening of The Prairie B&B in 2011 and they posed for the photo below.
More of a last minute traveler? Try commuting from Austin, Houston or even San Antonio. The drive on Highway 237 will be a highlight for those who love the open road and countryside views.
If there is one thing that we can guarantee about the show it is that you will work up an appetite! The food options right there on the grounds of the show include award-winning barbecue among other delicious cafe options, beer & wine sales, and world-famous pies that will not disappoint!
With Susan’s Texas roots and the European influences we see in her jewelry design, you can understand why this show might be right up her alley. And a great travel suggestion for her wonderful customers!
So put on something chic (and comfortable!) for a marathon shopping experience you are sure to enjoy! Oh, and cowboy boots are welcomed.
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?
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.
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.
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.For 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.
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.
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!
Our travel spotlight shines on Dallas, Texas, a city very familiar to Susan Shaw, not only because it is in her home state of Texas, but also because it houses one of the larger wholesale trade markets where her jewelry is shown to retail buyers. Dallas has so much to offer a cultured traveler, but the focus of our blog today is the Hilton Anatole hotel, a standout property of the Dallas Design District as well as a place to find our jewelry. When it comes to the old saying “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” the Anatole, one of the largest hotels in the southern United States, is no exception. The hotel was developed by Trammel Crow, one of America’s largest real estate developers, in the late 1970s as part of his major development, the Dallas Market Center (where we show our jewelry!) He named the hotel Anatole after his favorite restaurant in Copenhagen.
One of the things that sets this hotel apart is the extensive art collection. It houses over 1,000 pieces including wall tapestries, sculptures and jade from the Crow family’s Asian art collection. It is one of the largest private collections of art and antiques ever assembled for an American hotel.
Margaret and Trammel Crow became avid collectors of Asian art starting in the 1960s. They traveled the world, but were always fascinated with Asian culture. Over the years, the collection grew to include 4,000 pieces from China, Japan, India, Korea, and Southeastern Asia. In 1998, they opened the Trammell and Margaret Crow Collection of Asian Art as a free museum in the Dallas Arts District. This museum is one of only a few museums in the country dedicated to only Asian art and is considered “a jewel” of the Dallas Arts District.
In addition to the extensive collection of Asian art, the Anatole is also home to some interesting historical pieces. A couple of highlights include 2 pieces of the Berlin Wall as well as a giant propeller from a British Ocean liner which sank off the coast of Ireland during World War I. This 45 acre property hosts art tours around the ground for those interested. It is as much a museum as it is a hotel!
In 2010, Artist Rueben Margolin was commissioned to create a kinetic sculpture for one of the hotel’s atriums. The result, Nebula, is a 100 ft. moving sculpture made from over 14,000 bicycle reflectors. The movement of the Nebula is the result of one electric motor fanning out to 10 miles of aircraft cable and 1780 pulleys. We highly recommend seeing this shimmering wonder in person.
New to the hotel is the 3-acre JadeWaters water park, a $20 million addition complete with lazy river, splash pad, private cabanas and a swim-up bar. Both the water park and green spaces were designed with Asian influences, like Japanese and Chinese-style bridges and event lawns shaped like Japanese tea gardens. OK so where does our jewelry fit in? It can be found inside the Anatole’s upscale boutique, the Mshop, named for the late Margaret Crow, who first opened this store to share her exquisite taste and discerning eye with hotel guests. Below are some of our pieces that can be found in their shop.
Of course it seemed fitting to photograph these pieces with some of Susan’s personal Asian art.
We recommend visiting Dallas for so many reasons, but the restaurants, the people, and the art are among the top draws to the city. It is a city which celebrates culture in a BIG way- and the Anatole is no exception.
The use of white and natural color palettes has been on the top of the trend list for years now. Interior design, one of our favorite places to look for inspiration, is a perfect example of how neutrals can really shine. Susan Shaw uses white and natural tones frequently in our gold jewelry. Be it pearls, white turquoise, or white druzy quartz, the light tones are chic in their simplicity. This jewelry can bring a subtle elegance to your monochromatic look or pair well with the bold color or pattern you are wearing.We get so many questions about our White Turquoise stones (pictured in the jewelry below). Genuine Turquoise gets its color from iron or copper with varying degrees of vibrancy. In the outer edges of the Turquoise mine, the stone is found with almost no color. In the past, this Turquoise without color was thrown out or dyed to match. Recently, however, there has been a demand on this “White Turquoise” in it’s natural form- a beautiful white stone with brown veins running through it. We find it to be a truly unique look.The mix of whites and natural tones is not only prevalent in jewelry, but is increasingly popular in interior design. This color palette can be successful for many different reasons. White tones can be as bold as rich colors! See how the stark white chairs catch your eye against the natural fiber rugs in the seating area below?Many designers love to use white in the kitchen for a crisp clean look. These glass cabinets set on windows are fabulous! They allow in more natural light to play off the white tones in the kitchen, giving the space an energizing feel.Layering multiple neutral colors with white creates a look that is soft and elegant. But what makes white really shine? Light. There is really no better way to showcase the true beauty of natural light than the use of whites. And when the sun goes down, indoor lighting will have its own chance to shine, keeping the tones in an all white room changing throughout the day so you’ll never be bored. When employing a monochromatic color scheme, texture plays a big part in keeping things interesting. Our tribal jewelry mixes many different textures in neutral tones to make one cohesive design. Geodes like our druzy quartz provide texture where needed as well. Lack of color does not have to mean lack of depth or lack of interest.Take this room below as an example of how a neutral color scheme can be bold and extremely chic. The many textures at play in this room are what make the design work so well. The white fur stools pop in contrast with the natural fiber rug and luxe gray velvet upholstery.This white fur also happens to contrast nicely against our 24kt gold and white turquoise pieces.There are many ways to use whites and natural colors to create successful design. So don’t think of white as boring vanilla, but instead see the different shades and natural tones as your rainbow!Would you try this white look in your home? Or does keeping it clean make you nervous? If the white couch isn’t for you, stick to the white jewelry! At least you know it won’t hold a stain.
Coco Chanel is widely known as one of the most influential fashion designers of all time. Coming from humble beginnings and building a brand that stands the test of time, she was known for being bold and elegant. There is no way to know how many designers she has inspired, but one for sure is Susan Shaw. Her iconic fashion house pioneered the idea that jewelry shouldn’t necessarily be meant to flaunt wealth (as it was in that time period), but instead to complement clothing. She was the first to mix fine gems with fabricated glass beads and gilt gold chains, changing the age old concept that jewelry had to be either “fine” or “costume” and creating a category all her own. Susan Shaw jewelry is in that category now, with our handcast metals, semi-precious stones, and a mix of glass and genuine freshwater pearls.
We can’t mention Chanel without talking about the Chanel suit. She took the basics of a man’s suit, the tweed fabrics and clean lines and designed something for women to wear and move about freely in. Her vision of fashion changed the fundamental way women dressed by freeing them from binding corsets and heavy layers of skirts in exchange for comfortable fabrics and simple structure. All Chanel clothing was designed to allow women to be comfortable doing their everyday activities without sacrificing an ounce of style.
When Chanel first added jewelry to her clothing line in the 1920’s, she designed colorful pieces as were popular at the time, but none more popular than the maltese cross cuffs in the photo below. Coco Chanel would wear one on each wrist in symmetry. These cuffs would come to be the most iconic piece of jewelry she would make and inspire the maltese cross to grow in popularity.
Below you can see our Susan Shaw maltese cross designs inspired by the classic Chanel look.
Chanel wore her jewelry extravagantly, with many chains and strands of pearls. She would be very familiar with the style of an elegant woman today.
While Coco Chanel definitely had a signature look, her legacy encourages women to embrace their own style. An ideal that is shared by Susan Shaw Jewelry. We delight in contributing to a customer’s individual style. After all, “a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” -Coco Chanel
The Elephant is a majestic creature. As the largest mammal on land, these beautiful animals bring to mind thoughts of power, strength and even wisdom. They are thought to experience some of the same emotions as humans do, including empathy, self-awareness, compassion, and grief. The fascination with these animals is well deserved. So it is no wonder why elephants keep popping up throughout the fashion world. A symbol of style.
Susan uses elephants in many of her pieces, with various intaglios and even an elephant coin. The all gold and the two-tone elephant intaglios are featured below atop a Tracy Negoshian tunic from Susan’s wardrobe.
Elephants can be found in our jewelry and in the world of fashion, but lets not forget their presence in the home, which can be symbolic as well as elegant. With their trunks up (as pictured below) an elephant symbolizes prosperity, good luck, and victory.
With their trunks down, elephants symbolize longevity and conception. Although many superstitious people do not want to stray from the good luck of an upward-facing trunk. Personally, I would for the gorgeous custom wallpaper in the dining room below!
When an elephant is placed in the entry of a home and facing in, it is thought to bring good fortune to the family. In Feng Shui they call this the “Elephant of Many Blessings.” Susan has had this antique elephant statue from the Ming Dynasty in her home since the 70’s, a classic piece that is a beautiful as it (could be!) lucky.
With two of their three species being from Africa, elephants also represent the tribal look. These resin “good luck elephants” were Susan’s grandmothers from the 20’s. They pair so well with the African bone beads on our tribal bracelets. Trunks up!
This pearl necklace features an elephant on an old British shilling. Elegant and historical.
Susan purchased this elephant print top from one of our retailers in Houston, À bientôt. Its always fun to see our jewelry pair so beautifully with the clothing found in the same fabulous boutiques.
So why are we so drawn to these creatures? It could be the symbolism, superstition… or simply because they’re so darn cute!
And just like that, the elephant in the room becomes the thing you are talking about.