I can't believe I haven't posted about Wendy Brandes before now - this ode to the wildly popular jeweler with the mega-watt smile is long overdue. At this moment I'm trying to think of the right words to describe Wendy as we know her from her blog, Wendy Brandes Jewelry: witty, fun, fashionable...I could go on and it would all be true but simple niceties don't adequately capture the essence of a woman like Wendy.
But maybe this does: Wendy was once called a 'wrinkly slut' by a commenter on her blog and rather than feel sorry for herself, plot the naysayer's demise, or call up Michael Douglas and David Duchovny to ask their recommendations on suitable rehab facilities, her first thought was "'Wrinkly Slut' would be a great name for a cocktail!", and so the attempted (and failed) insult became a delicious and intoxicating drink. Thanks to her friend Tina who created the recipe, the 'Wrinkly Slut' is now a spicy margherita garnished with a Thai chili pepper and a slice of jalapeno.
When she's not showing the rest of us how to handle fame (you don't get called awful names until you've arrived), Wendy designs fine jewelry. After 15 years of working in media and marketing for the likes of the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and People.com she began designing engagment and wedding rings. Five years later her namesake brand is thriving thanks to a unique, signature style that exhibits her affection for history's illustrious women - each piece of her main collection, Vivat Regina, is named after a royal lady.
And her jewelry is more than beautiful, it's dynamic - Wendy specialises in mechanical pieces that you can open and close and unscrew or twist, like the Papessa Prayer locket and the Nefertiti Poison Ring (as Wendy says "naughty royal ladies are the most interesting." Agreed.)
Her It Girls and Eden collections round out the offerings, covering other notable women and Mother Nature, respectively. Oh, wait! All this talk about women and I almost forgot the men - Wendy has made what must be some of the coolest cufflinks around, like the Genie cufflinks that are silver bottles that open to reveal a tiny 18K gold genie inside, 'corked' with a black pearl.
And there is a selection of one-of-a-kind pieces that you really have to see to appreciate. The same can be said for the rest of Wendy's pieces, they really are special and not without a sense of humour, like Wendy. Long Live the Queen!
P.S. I was looking through her collection on her website one day and I came across the Mia Scent Locket, and suddenly this memory flooded my brain: I was at my grandparents' house when I was very young and I was holding one of those scent lockets - I think this may have been when the girls were allowed to choose from my great-grandmother's jewelry after she had died - and a smell accompanied the memory, it was something distinct like eucalyptus. Now, I may be confusing what was in that locket with the smell of strong foot creme because that reminds me of my grandmother, too (sorry, Nana but it does). But it was still a great memory to unlock, I doubt I would ever have thought of that again.