Global Style: Necklace Displays

In the Marrakech souks, I was drawn to these chunky beaded and silver necklaces — you can see big displays of these everywhere in the souks:

Beaded Necklaces in Marrakech Souks

Yeah, I know it’s hard to focus here, there’s so much to see. It got overwhelming because everywhere you turned, there were scenes like this. I was able to focus and find a few things to buy in this shop, which was my first experience with negotiating in the Marrakech souks. Even though I probably still paid way too much, this man was nice and made the experience fun! It was like bargaining anywhere else, especially in Thailand where they make it a fun game.

Marrakech Souk Shopkeeper

But I didn’t buy any necklaces. Why? I know I wouldn’t ever wear them. Often we see things on vacation that are great in that vacation setting, but when we get back home to our regular lives, these things just don’t fit. The colors don’t go in our house, the style doesn’t go with our everyday work clothes, etc. It’s like getting back to the reality of our lives, versus what we’d like our lives to be when we’re on vacation. Maybe I’d like to be a bohemian babe who wears piles of these necklaces with caftans and I drift barefoot along long sunlit hallways all day, caftan fabric flowing and chunky beads clanking.

That is a magazine shoot. Or an Instagram shoot, more likely nowadays! It is not me or my real life. More likely I’m in a beige office in a basic all-black outfit, responding to email, or reading and highlighting a scientific paper and writing lots of notes in the margins, before I run to the next meeting of the day.

So. Felt like a fantasy just came crashing down there.

So I did not buy chunky beaded necklaces in the Marrakesh souks. But one night there, while at Le Tanjia restaurant, I spotted something. Something on the wall:

Le Tanjia Framed Necklace

My apologies the photo is so bad, but Le Tanjia is lit entirely with pierced metal lanterns so the atmosphere is dark and shadowy, and I may have had several strong mojitos before snapping this!

But you get the idea. Necklaces can be works of art. So why not treat them like works of art? Why not frame them and hang them? You can use shadowboxes for thick beaded necklaces like this. Here’s a few more framed necklaces I found online — this framed look is especially good with tribal necklaces with big style and personalities. These are from Neiman Marcus (left) and Amalthee Creations (right):

Framed Necklaces from Neiman Marcus and Amalthee Creations

Choose simple frames and matting to let the necklace be the visual focus.

You can drape necklaces on a vintage dress form. Put a plain dress or tunic on the dress form so the spotlight is on the necklace. This necklace was sold by Etsy shop MorningDoveDesign:

Necklace on Vintage Dress Form from Etsy Shop MorningDoveDesign

It appears these necklaces have sold, but this Etsy shop has many other beaded necklaces.

You could go crazy-nutso and pile a whole bunch of necklaces on a small vintage-style dress form that’s sized to display necklaces on a dresser or tabletop:

Necklace Display on Tabletop Dress Form

You could also pile beaded necklaces in bowls. Here’s a pile of old beaded necklaces I spotted in a bowl at the Antique and Garden Fair at Chicago Botanical Gardens:

Beads Piled in a Bowl

For a neutral look, here are strung African beads piled in a rustic industrial bowl that I saw at Randolph Street Market in Chicago years ago:

African Beads in Rustic Industrial Bowl

If these were turquoise, amber or carnelian color beads, the color pop could be really interesting.

If you come back from a vacation with jewelry that you feel doesn’t fit into your regular everyday life, try framing it or piling it in a bowl. Or display it some other way. This way, whenever you look at the jewelry, you can get the vacation fantasy and feeling back in your life, if even for a moment!

I seem to make a Pinterest Board for everything, and I made a board to collect ideas for displaying necklaces. Check it out for more ideas:

Follow Nomadic Decorator’s board Necklace Displays on Pinterest.


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Design Profile: Paarisha by Chinanshu

Today I wanted to introduce you to a lively innovative jewelry line: Paarisha, created by designer Chinanshu Sharma. All pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Chinanshu’s creations are like woven jewels. She uses yarns and threads from materials like silk and banana fiber to add vibrant color to traditional silver.

Paarisha creations have been sold by some of the leading online retailers of Indian design. Jaypore recently featured her “Womad” collection, which was inspired by Afghani tribal pieces combined with weaves and braids:

Paarisha by Chinanshu at Jaypore

You can see the hallmarks of Paarisha style here — chunky pendants and metals mixed with colorful weavings. This adds a contemporary twist to things rooted in deep tradition. The “Womad” collection is intended to represent the nomad in every woman who doesn’t want to be restrained, and who seeks to explore the world. (Hmmmm … sounds familiar.) The jewelry was designed to express this spirit.

I appreciate new innovative twists on traditional things. So what drew my eye was how Chinanshu updates traditional designs for today’s times. In addition to the Afghani-inspired necklaces, she has also updated the classic Indian “mango leaf” necklace with colorful yarns:

Mumbai Woven Necklace by Paarisha

You can see more creative jewelry on the Paarisha by Chinanshu Pinterest Board and follow the company’s Facebook page for news about new pieces. Some people are buying right from the Facebook page and you’ll also hear about online retailers selling the line.

Design Profile Q&A

I was so inspired by Chinanshu’s vision to see something new in designs rooted in tradition, that I just had to ask some questions! For example she shared some of her techniques in a post on the Paarisha blog where she talked about combining Japanese Kumihimo braiding with the Indian jewelry designs. So here’s an interview we did to tell you more about the designer behind the designs …

What makes your creative soul sing? 

My inspirations are many, from nature and surroundings to words and songs. I pick up a small thing and try to work on it for some time to see how far it can be explored what more can be done from it. As every new day will bring a new perspective and newer ways to look at it.

What story would you like to tell through your jewelry?

Handcrafted jewellery is a piece of art and when someone wears it, to not only to look beautiful but because they love that piece of art and are connected to it. My endeavor is to make the wearer feel beautiful.

Design Profile Paarisha by Chinanshu

It looks like you are pairing combinations of materials in a unique way. What materials do you use to make jewelry?

Yes, by combining different materials a lot can be told and what comes out is something that has a character of its own. For instance my Mumbai collection was to highlight the contrast and coexistence of the mega city “Mumbai.” I combined silk and metal in a complementing way which shows contrasts of soft silk to hard metal and yet they complement each other.

Materials that I have worked with are yarns, fabrics, metal, stones, raffia, recycled stuff like denims, motor/cycle parts, found objects, rubber, wood, wires and more.

Paarisha Woven Jewelry

What materials would you like to use in your wildest creative dreams?

Living in the city I am influenced by the modern architecture – concrete, glass, steel. I am also fascinated by delicateness, intricacy and textures of nature. I often visit Cubbon Park to study the barks of trees and someday they will find their way in my jewellery. In my wildest creative dream I would love to do something that I cant even imagine now :)

How did you arrive at the idea to combine weaving with traditional metal jewelry shapes?

I have tried and learnt most by experimentation and I have been working with yarns for some time now. Colours have become the DNA of my designs. Not only do they convey a lot but also have amazing effect on us.

I love baskets and have always loved the way every region/place has its own style, and materials like grass, dyes and weaves to make those baskets. So it was a matter of combining the two first, then give it a contemporary feel. For my audience to be able to relate to it, I added Indian motifs, metal pieces. That makes it wearable and women all over can relate to it.

Woven Necklaces from Paarisha by Chinanshu

What is your background in design and how did you get introduced to jewelry-making?

I am a boring banker turned designer. Jewellery making happened to me as some ideas in my head that didn’t let me sleep and once I started putting them on paper, they just didnt’ stop. Sometimes I have visions and I have to get up and put it on paper, else it will be lost forever.

I studied jewellery designing and metal smithing at IIG Jaipur. But what I do today is far from what I learnt at design school. Its been a journey to find my style and my expression.

Paarisha by Chinanshu

As a resident of Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore) what are the top places you recommend travelers visit in your city? And for selfish reasons, I visit Bangalore occasionally and am always looking for new places!

If you are a little adventurous and don’t mind noisy streets and Indian market chaos — Chickpet. Every time I go there I discover something new. Nrityagram for experiencing some traditional Indian dance. Old furniture hunting at Bamboo market — I personally haven’t been there but think it might interest you. I can recommend a beautiful place I visited recently, it’s not in Bangalore but in Coimbatore — Isha Home school, at Isha Yoga Centre. It’s all very well done.

Paarisha Gift Box

And that’s a wrap! Yes I’m finishing up this post a bit late and getting cheeky. Thank you to Chinanshu for taking some time to talk with us! And seriously, how could you possibly choose which piece to get in your very own Paarisha gift box? Visit the Paarisha website to see one-of-a-kind designs currently available.


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The Queen of All Tassel Necklaces Now Available on Etsy

Last year I posted about tassel necklaces and there was one necklace in particular that was pinned like crazy. It was this one from Etsy shop Mimoza:

Tassel Necklace from Etsy Shop Mimoza

If you look carefully, it’s not one necklace exploding with tassels, but many necklaces together.

Today I noticed Mimoza now has a very similar tassel necklace available on Etsy! It is five chains in one necklace, loaded with tassels:

Mimoza Etsy Shop Tassel Necklace

Because this look was so popular, I figured people might want to know, you can get this now! It’s $88 and available at Mimoza on Etsy. I promise to not buy it so you have a chance to get it. :) But I am soooo tempted. I couldn’t wear this to work but it would be crazy fun to wear in India!

While you’re there, she also has smaller tassel necklaces in various colors like this one for $32:

Tassel Necklace from Mimoza on Etsy

As with many Etsy sellers, it looks like you can also request a custom order if you want certain colors or a different number of tassels.

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Tribal Lamp Pattern Inspiration: Raven + Lily

A few weeks ago I shared this lamp that I painted with Royal Design Studio tribal stencil patterns:

African Tribal Stenciled Lamp with Baobob Tree Proportions

To find out how to stencil a lamp shade like this, head on over to Paint + Pattern, an online magazine where, as a regular contributor there, I shared all the painting details!

But there’s much more to like about this stencil than the design alone. Royal Design Studio created this stencil and many others inspired by the jewelry, accessories and clothing designs of Raven + Lily. Part of the proceeds from these stencils help Raven + Lily’s efforts. Raven + Lily employs marginalized women in Africa, India and Asia, who have too few other opportunities to earn a livelihood. For example, women in Ethiopia who are HIV+ have been trained with the skills to make stylish jewelry like this:

Raven and Lily Jewelry

And also, much of their jewelry is made from metals from melted down bullet casings. As a public health professional I’ve worked on violence prevention and am too aware of the toll of violence and disease. So the idea of taking something that was intended for violence and transforming it into something of beauty is really appealing. And so is supporting projects like that.

Previous posts here talked about an obsession with tassel necklaces, so I was thrilled to see a tassel necklace at Raven + Lily and of course had to have it. It’s made by women in India of black rosewood and gold beads. Here it is with my lamp inspired by their designs:

Raven and Lily Tassel Necklace


If you like the stencil design on my lampshade, you can of course get the stencil and paint it yourself on whatever you like. It also appears on some Raven + Lily products, like this makeup bag:

Raven and Lily Organic Cotton Makeup Bag

These stencils and products are a fun and stylish way to support a great cause! Also, I should note, this is not a sponsored post – I bought the necklace myself because I want to support what Raven + Lily is doing.

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