Urban Raven – Ship Necklace

So, after literally months of not having time to write a review for two of my favourite jewellery pieces I’ve decided enough is enough. I have to write them. I’ll start with one and link my second one – a gorgeous Israeli phone token necklace here.

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Shiran Tal is a master of turning junk, as you may have seen in my last post about her shop Urban Raven, into treasures. Literally treasures.

Hopefully you remember but you might not, Shiran is an upcycler, and it’s something she is extraordinarily good at. No need for a day job when you have a skill like she has. So without further ado, meet one my favourites. This beautiful postage stamp of a ship which has been mastered into a necklace.

From the first time I watched Pirates of the Caribbean, possibly because of Johnny Depp, I’ve had a slight obsession with any boat that could potentially be a pirate ship. Cue this lovely looking stamp, which fulfils my pirate ship dreams.

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Remember, Shiran Tal makes all her pieces by hand. Unbelievable talent.

Much like my lamp stamp bracelet this necklace features a gold-plated brass fitting with a plastic overlay. A lobster claw clasp and one length. As a fat-necked individual, unfortunate but true, this necklace is perhaps a little snug for me but it settles just below my throat, but not so that when I look down I can admire it. On any other person I’m sure this would come at just that perfect length so you can see it, albeit briefly when you look past your nose. Understand?

One of the key things that makes Shiran stand out so brilliantly, is that none of her pieces are alike. Not one. Each is different, taking something that has, at leat to us ordinary people, no character or personality and upcycles it so that it can be bold and beautiful again.

Nikita by Niki, Niki Mahon Interview

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Some of you by now hopefully have read my little blog on NikitaByNiki’s Acasia piece, if you haven’t you can click here to catch up. For those of you who saw how much I rated the necklace I got from NikitabyNiki I got to ask founder Niki Mahon some questions about her brand and what inspires her to come up with the beautiful pieces she has over on her website.

Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©
Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©

ME: Firstly, basics. I know your name is Niki Mahon and NikitabyNiki was started in 2014, but how old are you, and when did you realise you wanted to establish and create jewellery?
NIKI: I have very recently turned 23. I work full time as a Senior Account Manager at a mobile and web development agency in London. I have always been one to multi-task and fill my spare time with something productive and beneficial. I realised I had a genuine passion for jewellery at the age of 16 when I secured my first job at ‘Silverleaf Jewllery Ltd’, managing the store and creating unique pieces by hand. I absolutely loved this job, however pursuing a degree and securing a full time job were of top priority before exploring this avenue further and growing it into a business.

You could say as a typical girly-girl and perfectionist, I am drawn to and love making things pretty, and I am thrilled that I am now in a position in my life where I can devote my time to a jewellery brand that I firmly believe in.

ME: What or who was the inspiration behind the beginnings of NikitabyNiki?
NIKI: The best word to describe my jewellery is ‘Statement’. Although I wear dainty, delicate pieces on a daily basis, I believe when a woman dresses up, she does not need to break into her purse and buy an entire new outfit every time. The NikitaByNiki pieces aim to be feminine and flattering, yet bold enough to transform any ensemble again and again without having to worry about wearing the same outfit twice.

NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25
NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25

ME: How involved are you in the designing, creating and making process of your pieces?
NIKI: I currently source the pieces from trustworthy and talented manufacturers worldwide. My connections are obtained through networking, researching and travelling. Initially I sourced existing styles, however my most recent ventures involve channeling my love for drawing and design by customising and creating the NikitaByNiki pieces myself to ensure they are unique, beautiful and of a great quality.

ME: Where did the influence come from for your Boho and Rhinestone Collection?
NIKI: The Boho Collection was born first. I was so intrigued by the the London look of casual outfits dressed with bohemian silver cuffs and large statements. I wanted to branch out further and test the market with the Rhinestone collection soon after. This collection, for me, represents more evening wear, providing a more glitzy and elaborate addition to what can otherwise be a sleek and simple outfit. Naturally, I went on to further pursue those that proved to be the most popular and have the highest demand.

In April, I am going to be launching the NikitaByNiki Ring Collection which compliments both collections by combing vintage silvers and classic gem stones.

ME: Are there specific pieces from each of those collections that you think represent you and your brand the best, and why?
NIKI: I would definitely say I have some brand ambassadors within the two collections. In the Rhinestone Collection, Zahara and Aurora are solid examples of how a pieces can add the ‘wow’ factor to any look. Within the Boho collection, Paris is one that I believe to stand out on the website amongst both photoshoot and product photography.

NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection - Style Zahara £20
NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection – Style Zahara £20

ME: Are there any brands of jewellery, or other people who influence the designs that you create?
NIKI: Yes absolutely!

Interestingly, a lot of inspiration comes from clothes designers and gorgeous jewel encrusted wedding pieces; Zuhair Murad embellished gowns inspire me with their ability to look utterly classy without approaching the border of tacky and ‘blingy.’

In terms of jewellery, I have inspirations whom I strive to surpass. These are people and companies whom I prefer to hold close to my chest.

ME: Lastly, what do you want your buyers to feel when they wear your pieces?
NIKI: What drives me most is the feedback I get from ecstatic customers. A tremendous amount of effort goes into the final touches and packaging of each item and each order receives a small thank you note which has proven to attain repeat orders.I strive for all items to reach their owners safely, in the expected condition and for my customers to be able to wear their pieces over and over again without any hesitance.

Ultimately, I want my buyers to feel how I feel when wearing NikitaByNiki statements: beautiful, comfortable and stylish.

See what people have said about shopping at NikitaByNiki: www.nikitabyniki.com/testimonials

To follow Niki on:

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Nikita By Niki – Statement Jewellery Acasia Review

A few weeks ago I was struck down with what can only be described as awe-inspired lust. Lust doesn’t hit me very often, but when it does boy it hits me hard. So hard that I tend not to be able to think about much else until, I have either gotten over my craving for said object (which rarely happens) or have given myself over to it (99.9% of the time).

Simplistic, minimalistic jewellery take a step back, and embrace how Nikita by Niki (to see our short interview click here) is going to put you in your place.

If big, striking jewellery is not for you look at it anyway. These necklaces have been crafted into works of art, and they need to be seen and appreciated even if you never dare to wear one. I’ll be the first to admit, that the necklace Acasia from the Rhinestone Collection is probably the fanciest piece of jewellery that is currently gracing my jewellery box and for good reason.

Take a look at this.

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It’s wonderfully made, and feels totally secure which, seeing as there is lot of detailing and embellishments on the necklace and it’s not the lightest of object is fantastic. There is nothing worse then reaching for a necklace only for it to snap whilst you’re wearing it. Trust me, I’ve been there (a lot).

This style is called Acasia and cost me £22, which in my head is an absolute bargain. Topshop sell eeny-weeney necklaces for about the same price, so really rock on Niki. From the Rhinestone Collection it features (perhaps obviously) rhinestones. I was taught to beware the rhinestone in great quantities as rhinestone can often equal pure tack. Shudder. But with this carefully crafted piece around my neck I don’t feel the slightest bit cheap considering the price or the amount of rhinestone featured. For me to find a necklace with this many embellishments and like it, not in the least wear it is a small miracle in itself. This necklace is positively beautiful, it screams elegance and for being a relatively chunky piece feels and looks delicate. Each flower, each beaded link and each wonderful dangle dingle (my name for the hanging bits) create a mesmerising look, and really stand out when paired with a super simple outfit.

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It’s totally okay to be jealous of this piece. Even though I am the proud owner of this gem of a necklace I’m jealous of it. In some respects necklaces like this really worry me. How the heck can someone like me; pretty frumpy and plus size pull of a necklace like this? I see them wrapped round the necks of girls who I consider to be Twiggy-esque and think: “Nah, that would never work on me,”BUT and it has to be capitalised I think, now I own the necklace it’s less to do with what I look like and more to do with confidence.

I do think a person needs a certain amount of confidence to pull of a necklace of this sort. It’s a total standout piece and looks and feels beautiful on. The only issue I can really comment on is that I think I have a rather large neck, caused by a mixture of too much food and genes I would imagine and therefore I think the necklace is a little snug, but for 50p online you can buy a little extender so that really is not an issue at all.

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I really can’t give Niki enough praise when it comes to this piece as it well and truly has me astounded. It’s wonderful and so far has been a talking point when I wear it. Everybody wants to know where I got it from, clearly they have amazing taste. So I’ve had another look at Niki’s website and chosen my favourite two pieces which are going on my birthday wish list.

1. PARIS by NikitabyNiki

Paris

2. AZURE by NikitabyNiki

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For Niki’s beautiful website click here!

If you want to find out more about Niki, read our interview here.

To follow Niki on:

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Urban Raven Upcycled Bracelet

Now this blog is terribly overdue. I was supposed to write it this time last week but life just managed to pop up some interesting days and meant that I got behind. So without further lateness.

Today is all about an amazing upcycle shop called Urban Raven. It’s difficult to describe the wondrousness of this little boutique shop that’s run by the beautiful Shiran Tal but I’ll honestly do my best. I discovered Shiran’s jewellery when she tweeted me a few weeks ago. Usually I’m not one for picking up a tweet from someone I have no clue about but something made me click. And with the magic of the internet I was transported to Urban Raven’s Etsy shop.

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Run from Israel, Shiran creates such exquisite pieces of jewellery, all upcycled. Now before I get too carried away I will give you a quick explanation of what upcycling actually is, big thank you to Hipcycle for this definition lovingly stolen from their website:

“Upcycling is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. For example:
Unraveling a wire clothes hanger to break into your car to rescue your keys = not upcycling
Stretching out a wire clothes hanger then tying strips of a plastic bag around it to make a wreath = upcycling!
Upcycling gives an item a better purpose. And while jimmying the lock on your car to is giving that hanger a new purpose, it’s not necessarily better or more beautiful. And the mangled hanger is likely destined for the trash, which is the opposite intent of upcycling.”

Now that’s been explained better let me tell you more about Urban Raven. Founded in 2013 by Shiran Tal it features unique pieces of jewellery that are made from what I would probably describe pretty much as trash. Sorry Shiran! All the items she users for her bits and bobs I would take a look at and probably bin. But Shiran has this magical eye for creating beauty out of some of the weirdest objects.

It’s this magical eye for detail that makes Shiran’s designs special. All handmade and therefore completely unique, what Shiran can create with just a piece of glass is undeniably fantastic. Shiran creates art, and I am now the lucky owner of one example of her fantastic way with with random objects.

Meet my new love!

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It’s all very simple. A postage stamp captured inside a gold-plated brass fitting with some sort of plastic overlay which adds to a 3D effect inside the bracelet. It does up with a typical lobster claw clasp and has about four different lengths. I love this piece. I just can’t get enough of wearing it. I love that it’s mine and no one else’s.

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It’s unique to me and was such an amazing price. Yes it was a sale piece, so one could argue that I didn’t have to pay the full retail price for it as it was almost half off! But! I’ve been looking at Shiran’s other pieces which I’m considering investing in, and I have to say none of the prices strike me as overpriced for what they are. Of course on top of the price if you live outside of Israel you have to pay for International Delivery. To me this was no big whoop, I paid an extra £2 to be able to receive this piece. And I know other British retailers who charge £6 (at least) for delivery within the UK. Shiran’s P&P are fantastic value and the time it took for my piece to arrive was approximately 10 days which to me, is pretty darn good.

Plus how could I not love this note Shiran enclosed in my little package!

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To visit Shiran’s Etsy Urban Raven shop click here.

To check out her Facebook, or Twitter click on the links!

So to finish this blog I’m going to show you My Top 3 pieces that are on my Urban Raven wish list! MOTHER, if you’re reading this take note. (Insert wink face)

1. An Old Israeli telephone token necklace £30.09

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2. Statue Postage Stamp Ring £11.70

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3.Gold Plated Chow Chow Stamp Necklace £33.43

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Little Mermaid Inspired Necklace

Well, hurrah I’m sort of back on track and this week for some reason is turning out to be all about jewellery. I need to show you this piece I purchased a couple weeks back from a beautiful Etsy shop called Baked Memes. Now if you’re looking at this bog post before February 2nd the owner is actually on a bit of a break, but according to the shop memo she’ll be back.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with this Ariel inspired silhouette. On a 18inch gold-plated chain, which of course you could have in silver or in a variety of chain lengths. Because of the break Baked Memes owner Kelly Robbins is taking I’m not actually 100% sure if she does repeat orders or whether it’s just once. But, the rest of her shop is absolutely stunning.
Back to my lovely mermaid.

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The mermaid itself is made of black shrink plastic and what I love most about this is the hand-craftedness, excuse the made up word, of this piece. In the description Kelly explains that she: “draw the mermaid shape on to black shrink plastic, cut it to detail and then heat the piece to a hard acrylic-like state. The front of the piece is coated in a clear gloss for protection and shine before finally being attached to a hand assembled gold or silver plated necklace.”

Having something that has been crafted with care always feels so much more special when you’re wearing it compared to the universally manufactured other jewellery, although yes I still love wearing my world-wide trendy Pandora and Nomination.

The Ariel silhouette is not actually very big and sits perfectly round my neck, not being so tiny people have to lean in to get a view and not being so in your face it’s just simply awful. Instead she’s perfect. And I can’t help but think I will be rocking this look for the next few weeks, if not months.

She cost £8.99 which was simply amazing and P&P was free. Honestly I would have paid so much more.

Thank you so much Baked Memes. Like them on Facebook. And don’t’ forget to follow Kelly on Instagram.

Pandora and the girls

It feels like it has been an age since I last posted on here, which in some respects it has. There was nothing important keeping me from blogging more a mind block about blogging. I guess I’ve never been very imaginative. So I thought I would start by semi-bragging about an unbelievable gorgeous 22nd birthday present I got from some of my girl friends.

My birthday was in September but in true best-friends-no-matter-what fashion there has been far too much going on, what with me not being in the same country for any serious amount of time or just plain forgetfulness for them to have handed my lovely present over. So, January is when I got it. And I am in love.

I never expected my friends to get me something so perfect for me. I should have known that they know me far too well.

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And so of course, the joy of opening a Pandora present begins for me. I am an utter Pandora freak. I love all their collections and when I realised that I was opening a little story book-esque Pandora box I was silently freaking out.

Inside, was just as good.

Incased in this very pretty protective box were these little gems.

Made from sterling silver and Lapis Lazulli, which is maybe unsurprisingly the gemstone of September babies like myself, they were just sitting staring at me asking to be worn.

I believe these babies cost £45, although I shouldn’t really of sneaked but hey it was all for the blog.

They come in each birthstone year which as always I will link to each one at the end.

The girls who got me this I have known for almost ten years. They have seen me through some of the toughest times in the world. I sometimes wonder what the heck I would be like today if I didn’t have them weighing in and giving me advice and love on even the smallest and most trivial matter. They, all of them are uniquely brilliant and talented and my life is so much better for knowing them.

I wish that each person could know the happiness that these ladies bring into my life, even just a little bit of it would make anyone’s day better. When you find a friend, even if you don’t realise it or want it they bury their way into your heart and make you a better person.

Back to business though of course, and as promised here are all the linked Pandora earrings by month and birthstone.

January – Garnet

February – Amethyst

March – Aquamarine

April – Rock Crystal

May – Chrysoprase

June – Moonstone

July – Carnelian

August – Peridot

September – Lapis Lazulli

October – Opal

November – Citrine

December – Turquoise