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The School of Flaunt

Back when "Flying Was Fun" Alexandra Smythe and Cate Clarke were Flight Attendants with a Major International Carrier. Prior to Private Jets coming into vogue, Alexandra and Cate traveled in the First Class World, meeting and greeting the top celebrities, politicians who would become Presidents, nouveau riche, and yes the occasional Headline Grabbing Criminal in Handcuffs!

What the two ladies viewed and experienced became fodder for the School of Flaunt, so much money, such bad taste and oh those terrible manners. Something had to be done! Hence, The School of Flaunt Handbook was born. Read More

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The Bling of Flaunt

Category: The School of Flaunt Lessons  |  Permalink

Published: Friday, March 19, 2010

Lesson Three The Bling of Flaunt!

Hello SOF Students! Today we will be talking about Lesson Three. This is called the Bling of Flaunt!

Rule of thumb to follow with Bling, students: Jewels will never lose their luster! And one can never have too many!

Jewels are extremely personal because of color; but trust us, dripping in them is where you want to be! Let's get down to basics, students! Diamonds are still anyone's best friend and your jeweler should be at the top of your list for friends. They can take those family heirlooms and modernize them if you like. Personally SOF thinks that heirlooms should be left alone but if they are just too staid or conservative for you, please reset into something that suits your personal taste. Emeralds, rubies, any colored stone can be a staple in your jewelry safe. A touch of 18K gold is fun too.

A strand of Mikimoto pearls for that simple black dress can never go wrong. Pearls are a favorite of SOF; multi-strands, different types and colors mixed together can make a statement. Remember students; if you are going multi strand please dress simply. The Pearls should be the center of attention here. And only simple earrings - small Pearls or Diamonds if you are wearing multi strands. If you want to make a statement with Pearl earrings then go big and forget the strands. Pearl bracelets are always nice but please remember never mix them with any other bracelets - why? Oh, please do we have to explain everything? Because you can scratch your pearls. Remember that advice!

More information on mastering the art of Bling can be found in the School of Flaunt Handbook!

What's in your jewelry vault? Do share all but the combination and your home address!

Merci, From The Queens of Bling,

Smythe and Cadbury-Clarke


I love the idea of re-working "the family jewels". You want to be careful with what you're about to change though. A signed piece, or something with very specific provenance you may not want to alter. What you can do is find a way to work it into something more contemporary. I had a client who had a setting made for her grandmothers brooch that she never wore. Now, she simply "clicks" the brooch into a very chic gold setting, and then that clips around her double strand, opera length pearls. She wears it with jeans, a white tank and camel leather jacket. It's amazing! There are so many things you can do with your jewelry.

Remember, with all fine jewelry, go to a reputable jewelry house to have the work done. This is no time to be looking for a deal! Also remember - you're NOT the jewelry expert. Go to someone that is!

Shine On You Crazy Diamond!

Elizabeth Anne Bonnano

Dear Elizabeth:

What a brilliant idea! You really know your stuff! Please tell us more as we are dying to know....

Cate Cadbury-Clarke


I consult with the most amazing, fifth generation estate house. They literally have their finger on the pulse of everyone involved in the most collectable estate jewelry on the market today. The did the most innovative work with 19th Century, silver-topped gold and diamond floral brooches. I'd say the ones they work with range in size from a quarter to a half dollar. With a very skilled artisan, who knows ho to work properly with re-creating the 19th Century silver-topped gold motif, they had the back pin screwoff and mad a shank that screson! Now, the once brookonly piece becomes a very chic-totally wearable ring! It's fantastic.

My advice as always-make sure you work with the best jewelers available to you. Never risk damaging your rare and collectable pieces.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond,

Elizabeth Anne Bonnano


Aren't all Chanel pieces of jewelry plated? How do you feel about Chanel Jewelry?

Next is the diamond. I'd like to think that beginners should buy the best diamond they can for the money. That may mean a 1ct. stone. I think that works for a 22 year old bride and she can still have style too. A chic mounting can help. Knowing your limitations and not jeopardizing your future because you've spent WAY to much for a beginner stone (especially with the divorce rate) is wise. That's what a 5th anniversary upgrade is

all about, woohoo!

Elizabeth Anne Bonnano

Dear Elizabeth:

We do cover Fashion/Costume jewelry in the School of Flaunt handbook. We have no problems with high end pieces of Fashion jewelry since everyone can not afford the REAL thing as in jewels, gold, platinum and pearls! Plus fashion statements go in and out of style. As for diamonds, definitely get what you can afford, but as my Main Line Philadelphia mother always said, Darling after you are married there will always be something you need to purchase and the ring will be put on the back burner. So I would advise you to get at least a one carat to start with.

I do like you idea of the 5th anniversary upgrade, but since you did bring

up the problem of the high divorce rate now, that takes us back down the road of getting the nice ring to start with because you never know what might happen. If alas the marriage should end badly your idea of turning the ring into another chic style works too! Cate Clarke has done this with many a former ring. She does have a great collection of cocktail rings now.

We also cover Cubic Zirconia or CZ's in our SOF handbook. You might be surprised at the SOF advice we give our students. You'll have to read our book.


Christie's the epitome of SOF (School of Flaunt) Epitome - image, personification, embodiment, model, example. We mention their auctions in our soon to be published School of Flaunt Handbook. Get your name on their list and start your research now students. Thank you Elizabeth for passing this on! You are so SOF and we love it. Alexandra and Cate

Christie's eCatalogues


Christie's online catalogues; browse through our illustrated catalogs online

Alexandra Smythe April 21

People will stare ... make it worth their while. What is our SOF motto? It is only to big if you can't hold up your hand!

Wall Photos

"People will stare...make it worth their while." - Harry Winston

By:Harry Winston Official

Paula Crevoshay - Fine Art Designer Jewelry The "Queen of Gems" are a gift of nature and one of the few gems that are formed by a living organism. I am pleased to announce I have found pearl suppliers that are dealing directly with the farmers and with their generosity, I will add many more pearls to the Crevoshay collection for Couture 2010 and beyond!

Plea...se enjoy a sweet sample of these fine confections!

See More


Alexandra Smythe Spring time brings out Sunflowers. If you aren't near a Harry Winston shop then at least go out and buy some Sunflowers! Brighten your day :-)

Sunflower Collection

Inspired by Nature. The Harry Winston Sunflower collection.

By: Harry Winston Official Page

Alexandra Smythe:

More than one way to cut a diamond Students! Always do you research.

Diamond Dimensions ltd. | Your Personal Diamond Designer


Take Note Students! The following article explains the problems with rubies in the market:

Antoinette Bonanno Matlins I want to make my friends aware of an incident yesterday. At my annual "Antoinette Matlins Course on Gems and Jewely: For Jewelry Lovers, Collectors & Connoisseurs, held here in Woodstock, one of the students showed the group her ruby&diamond pendant containing a 14.70 ct ruby set in a gold/diamond pendant. She was excited about its value in light of the auction prices last week, so she brought it to class to show. She had purchased it at auction 3 months ago, and paid $7,000 plue 15% buyer's premium, plus tax, so she thought she'd gotten a steal. It was accompanied by a highly misleading "lab report" and "appraisal" both from AIG in California; the appraisal showed a value of $22,100 for the piece which is the only reason she felt comfortable bidding $7,000. She then took it to her jeweler immediately (while she had time to put a stop payment on her check and return piece to auction firm if it wasn't what she thought it was) and he who confirmed it was ruby, albeit it a "treated ruby," but he still valued it at $28,000. So she was content. UNFORTUNATELY, she learned yesterday it was a glass-ruby composition wourth approximately $20 per carat! And the setting was low-grade commercial diamonds and definitely wasn't worth what she paid. She is going to contact the auction house to try to get a refund, and if that fails, she is going after the jeweler for her money because his ignorance is responsible for her being stuck with this and out approximately $8,500 in total. I'm no lawyer, but it will sure make an interesting case, so retailers, BEWARE!

For any of my friends who don't know what these are and how they differ from treated ruby -- and how easily they can be destroyed -- go to www.accreditedgemologists.org--and learn about them. And if you're going to be in Vegas for the JCK show, this is one conference you MUST attend to get the hands-on experience in spotting them and distinguishing them from other treated rubies in the market. The 10 students in my class -- none with gemological backgrounds -- can now do it! And I'll be at the conference, along with other AGA members and Chris Smith from AGL, giving one-on-one instruction to participants in the hands on to make sure they see what they need to see.

If you have any questions, let me know!


Elizabeth Hurley wears Mixed Cut Diamond Hoop Earrings from the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry Collection to the Breast Cancer Research Fund's Hot Pink Party in NYC

By: Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry

Alexandra Smythe

Gorgeous both the Lady and the earrings. Join us at the School of Flaunt to discuss Bling! Ivanka is one of our favorites.

Semi - Costume at its best! Love these pieces! Cate Clarke

Haute Couture Necklaces

By:" Miss Got Rocks "


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