By Eileen R. Eichhorn

After 50+ years in the jewelry business, I thought it was time to help create some New Year resolutions for our customers. Every year we hear many customers tell us on the street, at an event or even in a phone call that they have been ‘thinking’ about remounting a diamond, restoring a favorite heirloom, or purchasing the one carat diamond of their dreams. Some do follow through and stop in at Eichhorn Jewelry. But more often than not we just hear the ‘considering’ stories. We are all procrastinators at some level. But when one of my customers last year finally made the decision to buy the two carat diamond she wanted for more than ten years she announced, “Eileen, I wish you would have made me buy it when I first started looking.” In her case, she would have saved a bundle. Others have found jewelry or watch repairs that they thought would be expensive are very reasonable once given an estimate.

My father always said, “It’s later than you think.” Truer words were never spoken. Why not today? Make today special and act on your dreams. You may have old gold or diamonds to trade-in to help offset the cost? Clean out your drawers. Jewelry that you are not wearing may be more valuable than you ever imagined. This is the year to get it done! This is the year you have been waiting for! This is the year to check off your list the jewelry project(s) you have put off. Treat yourself in the New Year!

A ring you loved for many years may be able to be restored or restyled. Pearls that have lost their style may be cleaned and restrung with fashionable silver beads or chain extenders to combine sentiment and newness. Most clip earrings can be converted to pierced styles. That brooch you inherited from your great aunt that you would never wear can be converted to a fashionable slide-pendant-enhancer. Even some rings can be transformed into a pendant. Bring in your ideas or leave the options to us. You will be surprised how affordable and FUN some of these projects can be for both of us! We have many before/after photos that will spark your imagination.

Pass it on! There is no time like the present to get started on your jewelry bucket list. We are here, ready and waiting at Eichhorn Jewelry. No job is too large or too small for consideration. No appointment needed but recommended. Call us today. 260-724-2621.


The Brooch

By Eileen R Eichhorn           

Recently, our newest employee, Kathy Jenkins, a senior at Bellmont, asked my sister Kate how to wear a brooch. It was such an intriguing question that it prompted me to discuss further. Kate and I were used to seeing our grandmothers and mother wear brooches. Today’s fabrics have much to do with why we seldom see the brooch worn daily on women as in past decades. Wools were much more popular 50 years ago when brooches could be seen on notables such as Jackie Kennedy adhering to her classic coats or suits regularly. Earlier, nylon and eventually polyesters stole the fashion textile limelight for comfort and travel as they required little pressing. Women realized putting irreverent holes from the pin stem in a lightweight polyester blend would ruin that fabric. The weight of some brooches, even mid-size styles, tend to droop on synthetic fabrics. The brooches then moved to scarves of more forgiving fibers. 

I have assisted many people over the past few years who are interested in wearing an inherited vintage brooch with current fashions. Some reinforcement techniques are to back the pin stem with a piece of felt for support. I have even converted brooches to pendants without compromising the integrity of the piece adding a simple earring back for security. Modern brides have asked me assist them with multiple brooches repurposed into their bridal bouquets. They can serve as hair or veil ornaments, too. In 1971 it was suggested to me when I worked for J.B. Hudson Jewelers in Minneapolis that I wear my diamond pansy brooch on the sleeve of my knit dress so I could enjoy it more!

More fashion tips for wearing a brooch: 

1. Mix old with new. Wear a vintage brooch with a structured, graphic print dress or sporty neon clutch for a look that’s polished with an added modern flair.

2. Placement is key. A brooch always works when worn, left or right, over the bust, but it can also be a surprising embellishment at the center of a buttoned up collar. 

3. Blazers and brooches are friends. A fresh way to put some punch into your go-to, tailored black blazer is to add a playful brooch to the lapel to dress.

4. Dress up a boring bag. If you’ve got a plain purse you love to carry from day to night, adding a brooch to the top corner is a creative way to impress for a dressier occasion.

Watching classic movies such as Braveheart or Lord of the Rings is a great place to start understanding what purpose the brooch originally served. An ornamental piece of jewelry that can be affixed to clothing, cloaks or hats by means of a pin with or without a clasp, brooches were were first worn in a functional capacity to fasten or secure articles of clothing. They evolved from simple pins to elaborate Roman fibula and eventually to items of pure decoration. During the Middle Ages brooches transitioned from serving this practical function to their current purely decorative one. Brooches have been constructed out of every conceivable jewelry material from precious metals to plastic. Every motif, theme, fad and fashion has been construed as appropriate for brooch design. All manner of jewelry techniques have been applied from enamel, gem-setting, animation, engraving, etc. allowing brooches to become badges that make a fashion statement and sometimes a political expression. Former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright’s book, Read My Pins is a story and celebration of how one woman’s brooch collection was used to make diplomatic history.

The fashion for brooches has continued to thrive with examples in every decorative period through today.

Personal Jewelry Gifts

By Eileen R. Eichhorn

Unlike the grocery which is shopped weekly, the jewelry store is sometimes only visited yearly at most to have a battery changed in a watch or the prongs checked on a ring. There are many exceptions. Long time regular customers may shop several times a year or even more frequently if they have a multitude of renovation projects they have been thinking about for some years. Recently, a referral customer was diagnosed with cancer and decided to have very specific items custom made for her four granddaughters. She sketched pendants that she wanted to be made each set with a diamond. She must have been thinking about these presents for a while with a specific thickness and the placement of a diamond at the top of each. Even the chains had to be a special type and length. I will put each into lovely gift boxes when finished in hopes someday her granddaughters realize how much love went into the thought of such special gifts!

At Eichhorn Jewelry we come in contact everyday with people who want us to assist them with a custom design or restyling of their jewels. Sometimes an inherited diamond brooch is out of fashion or does not fit the personality of the recipient. Repurposing is one of the most rewarding and sometimes challenging parts of the jewelry business. Some ideas are simple. Other complicated jobs require the assistance of one or more of our bench jewelers. 90% of many custom projects is thought. Whereas, 10% is usually execution. There have been only a few jobs we have ever turned down in our nearly 50 years. We welcome your creativity combined with ours to create a personal jewelry gift. Bring in your ideas!