Gift Guides

Etsy Holiday Guide: Gift Ideas from Etsy Shops

Etsy Holiday Guide: Gift Ideas from Etsy Shops

Every year I release a blog in which I recommend some other Etsy shops that have nice gifts.  To spice things up, this year I have solicited suggestions from clients and friends.

Starting with the obvious, hand-made face masks are probably a perfect stocking stuffer of the season.  My client C. has bought several of these from Think Pink Bows, the masks are very reasonable and she says they wash well. 

I have bought masks also (no surprise there), most of mine are cat masks I found on Instagram, but I have also gotten some for my boyfriend who is a philosophy professor, and he wanted something clear for teaching.  I ordered a bunch of different ones but was most pleased with my all clear mask from SachikaBoutique.  It didn’t fog up, or not much, and fit very well.  However, keep in mind that when you breathe the mask comes in a little so you can’t wear it too snug.

I have also bought some bandana masks, which you can get many places, they are very easy to pull up when you encounter someone in the street, and double up as scarves during the colder season.  They also provide very full-face coverage down the neck and over to the ears.  I have found them great when I go on long bike rides where I need to breathe during the ride but can pull it up when I get off the bike for some reason.  They are also great for use in the gym because they are not too tight.

Now for some more fun suggestions.  Did you spend more time in your garden this spring and summer, because you couldn’t go anywhere?  Consider buying some seeds for your relatives as little gifts.  AshoGardens has a lot of different ones, they shipped fast, and starter seeds don’t require much expertise.  Growing them indoors is a nice activity for early spring!  You can get starter pods delivered to your door, and then literally watch the seedlings grow indoors (if you think about late March 2020, it was like that for a lot of us!).

If you like hanging plants, PotahtoHome makes very reasonably priced macramé hangers for indoor and outdoor use!  The shop owners are very communicative and deliver fast.

For garden and pottery home décor, my aunt B. has recommended AtHomeInTaos.  They have some interesting clay beads as well.

And Jackson Studios makes adorable sheep wool items, including home décor, stockings for stuffing, felted bowls, muffs and runners.

Garden Art Store offers lovely handmade steel garden or pottery accents, like this praying mantis or, if you are me, a cat!

Speaking of cats, I was given a ceramic cat from Mudrenko this spring,  and I absolutely love the simple and clean style.  I really like this very plain one.

Anyone exercising at home these days?  Try Vagabonds Goods Yoga for a very neat watercolor yoga mat.  Allow a little extra time for delivery.  I got the waterflower one and use it all the time.

For a gift off the beaten path, look at this unusual hand made shoe shop suggested by another client of mine.

One of my clients has bought a pair for under $100 on sale, hand made and very comfortable. I may just splurge for these asymmetric sandals next summer.

And now one more totally different suggestion.  Need a little DYI project to give to a friend or family member?  I would suggest making a holiday calendar, counting down December 1-25.  Those were always popular in Germany when I was a child.  You take a piece of rope or long ribbon, or make a felted background with some hooks, and package a little gift for each day: small bathroom items you can get in the travel aisle, small stationary things, chocolates, holiday socks, an ornament, or something funny.  Last year I bought a toilet light from Amazon that has different colors and other silly things like that.  If you are too lazy to put numbers on the gifts, then have the recipient pick a gift each day, reserving a bigger one for 25 – a gift card maybe, if you are into those.  If you make it small enough you can ship it and your loved one will think of you every day!

Etsy is a fantastic place to find customizable and one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, too!  Their search tool makes it easy to shop, and you can even filter your results by price or how quickly items ship.  Do you have pet lovers on your list?  Try typing "custom pet pillow" or "custom pet bowl" into their search bar.  And for some really one-of-a-kind gift ideas, Etsy is also a showcase for sellers of vintage, antique, and upcycled items.

I hope this helps you find something for those "hard to shop for" friends and relatives in your life 💕 

Enjoy and Happy Gifting!

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Ho Ho Holiday Sales Alert: Ready, Set, GO!

Ho Ho Holiday Sales Alert: Ready, Set, GO!

 

Yes, seriously. In mid-November, not in early December. And here’s the math behind it:

[Covid 19 = (Increased Online Shopping + Slower Shipping)] = DIN (Do It Now)

And we are gearing up for you as we speak: Our annual calendar has been prepped and ordered and goes out with every $200 order as soon as it is in our hands. We also have a calendar mailing list for those of you who have shopped a lot in the past and aren’t shopping, or maybe can’t afford to shop this year. We've got you covered anyway. And if you would just like to have a calendar, let us know and we will mail one out. And if you’d like extra polishing cloths and organza bags, mark your holiday order as a gift or add it in the note to the seller, and we will include our “kit” even if it goes to your home address and you’ve gotten one before. 

Our Holiday Kit

Are you a new 2020 regular? Yes, you will get a calendar too, and a small token of our appreciation, later in November or as we get to it! (Our 2019 clients already know this, and they get something, too!).

Sales: this year we start on November 13th - a cheery, lucky, totally not Black Friday, with a 30% two-day sale on items of our choosing, mostly items that we feel should be re-homed as they have lived with us for too long (suggestions are welcome). Then on Sunday 15th November, it’s a whopping 20% off the entire shop, custom orders excluded as always. The sale ends Cyber Monday, November 30th. During this time we will make as many new listings as we can manage (we usually manage 4 a day during sales, our normal tempo is 2, 1 when taking time off, and 3 when gearing up for a sale).

From December 1st all domestic orders will ship out Priority Mail. But be reminded that your mailman can sign for your packages to allow for a contact-free delivery. If you are expecting a package that you don’t want to miss, you may need to leave a note so it gets stashed securely by your mailman or not delivered on that day. Our items mail out fully insured but as they are valuable, please keep an eye on the tracking provided in Etsy. Insurance reimbursements depend on (a) an arrival scan (our job) and the package not being claimed as delivered by USPS (that’s a tricky one, but in principle, your post office can tell you who signed for it – you just have to go there and ask and if they signed for it and it’s gone we can get reimbursed).

We will probably have another Flash Sale around December 10th but that’s still TBA, as we are putting our heads together to plan the unplannable now. That’s why we are stocking up now so that in case there are more restrictions again we are ready to go for you.

Don’t know what to give, or what to ask for as a present? Worried about the holiday rush and stuff getting lost? Consider a gift certificate instead. We have them, and so do many other Etsy shops. This is a way to give or receive but have it shipped after the holidays if you prefer. 

Our Jewelry Cleaner

Want to buy from the sale but avoid the holiday shipping rush? Let us know in the note to the seller to hold your item, or when to ship, and we will do as you ask. If we are to ship on a specific date, we would appreciate a reminder though, as we may be keeping track of a lot of stuff. And keep in mind that ring sizing takes an additional week!

For smaller gifts, don’t forget that we can send out a jewelry cleaning kit to a loved one for you, and we now have a section for gifts under $100 and another for gifts under $200. We are also continuing to add Stuller settings from our Stuller showcase. And we are adding lots of stud earrings, stacking rings, and small pendants, as well as a few more ready-made chains, ear wires, huggies, and dangle earrings for those of you who want to shine in your zoom meetings – there’s nothing like wearing luxe CRD diamond hoops with pear or kite dangle earrings and pajama bottoms! I do it all the time, even when I’m not zooming. Our diamond hoop earring stock has already been increased and we can add more as needed. 

Earring Jackets in Rose Gold

You may have already noticed that we are listing new ready-to-ship jewelry every day now! I’ve interspersed pix of a few “still to come” items with this blog so you can get first dibs.

Grey Spinel Studs

Stacking Band

Tourmaline on Diamond Huggies

Of course, you should also be asking if there will be more gemstones listed. Yes, yes, and YES. I keep them coming as fast as I can. I've received some very nice stock for this season: more emeralds, 3mm-4mm demantoids, spinels, lavender and blue sapphires in various sizes, some more hauyne, smaller Paraiba, and I have even restocked kornerupine. Dudley Blauwet found – yep, found – a parcel in his basement that was long forgotten and I bid on it in its entirety, so those pretty blue-green gems are with yours truly only, and nowhere else. 

Kornerupine

Also, I’ve decided to add some natural yellow diamonds to my stock. I am also going to add a little peach, grey, and very light pink. I can offer other natural blues and more vibrant pinks as well but unless you are made of money, I would forego if I were you. That stuff can go all the way up to 40K a carat! Light pinks are cheaper but you need to pack them into rose gold and have a good halo to get the best effect. Among the colored diamonds, yellow is always the most affordable. 

Yellow Diamonds

And last but not least: you may recall that every year I devote a blog entry to other Etsy shops (mostly non-gem or jewelry -- or at least not overlapping with mine). But I am a boring shopper, I always buy from the same sellers. So I thought I’d turn the floor over to you and ask if you have any favorite shops that you’d like me to write about? If so, send us the link and include the following: what you bought from them, why you liked it, and why you like supporting that particular shop (e.g. customer service, efficient shipping, gift wrapping, etc.) Also, we are happy to give you credit but you should let us know as we will otherwise err on the side of your privacy. My blog has a few hundred readers and I want to share the love!

 

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What You Need to Know: Shopping Online for Holiday Gifting in 2020

What You Need to Know: Shopping Online for Holiday Gifting in 2020

I thought I'd spare you this time by not putting "COVID" into a headline, yet again. But it is undeniable; this year's holiday shopping will not be like any other. We are not likely to see people lining up around the block at department stores on Black Friday to take home a coveted item. Shopping will be online more than ever before as people will prefer to order by mail and have gifts shipped as opposed to giving them in person.

But with the loss of these in-person holiday gifting options, with planning, you can also lose some of that holiday shopping stress too! Think of it this way: you can enjoy The Gifting Season longer, if you are willing to just start thinking of and planning for gift giving a little earlier this year.

Etsy is already advertising holiday DIY kits for decorating, gift making, and baking.  And here at CRD, we are getting busy as well! We usually don't have that much of a holiday season as most of you folks tend to shop for yourselves here, lol. But we will expand our ready-made selection this year so that you can buy a pendant, stud earrings, huggies, and chains for loved ones as well — or even just add to wishlists for yourselves 😘  We will also start listing more Stuller designs from our showcase (pendants and rings) in our Etsy shop shortly as well! 

Stuller Earrings with Mahenge Spinel, SOLD.

Stuller Pendant with Namibian Tourmaline, SOLD

Without further ado, here are some things you need to know, as you prep for holiday shopping this year:

1. USPS has added surcharges to holiday packages which went into effect on October 18th and will continue until December 27th. On our end, we plan to cover the added cost with free shipping in the US for all jewelry and most gemstones except melees.

2. We expect shipping to be a little slower than usual, maybe not as bad as this spring but not as fast as other years. For this reason, we are upgrading all domestic orders over $400 to Priority, and starting December 1st, all orders over $100 will be upgraded to Priority as well.

3. While we still request a signature for more valuable orders, USPS is now allowed to sign for it on your behalf to allow for contact-free delivery. The drawback to this is that you may have an order delivered to you on a day you are not home. So please track carefully. In addition, for international or very valuable items, we may want to discuss FedEx with you.

4. International shipping is already delayed, some orders arrive within a week, others take three weeks or more. There's nothing we can do about this unless we upgrade to FedEx.

5. Regarding custom orders: consider doing those early as we are probably cutting them off before Thanksgiving, at least for holiday delivery. As an alternative, we can send the selected gem(s) to your loved one and complete the custom order with you (or them) after the holidays. We will set gems into studs and size rings as fast as we can. If we expect a delay (setters do get backed up, even if less so this year), we will let you know!

6. Regarding gifts: as you know, all of our gems come in pretty boxes ready for gift giving but you can always request extra wrap, or another organza bag, cleaning cloth, etc if you are giving or shipping as a gift. Just add it into the note to the seller. The same goes for our calendars, which will hopefully be available by mid-November.

Custom Opal and Ruby Pendant for C.

Custom Kornerupine Ring for M.

And FINALLY, we are working out our sales strategy as we speak, and you will hear more about this from me very soon, but just as a heads up: we will be starting everything earlier this year by at least a week!

More Studs Like These are in the Works

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A Selfish Guide to Gift Giving

A Selfish Guide to Gift Giving

A Selfish Guide to Gift Giving: A Gift for the Boyfriend, a Gift for Me, One for Mom, One for Me... 

Have you noticed this trend when doing holiday shopping?  You start shopping for the holidays and before you know it, you’ve spent more money on yourself than on other people!  And all the shops out there that are luring you in with their advertising are banking on this, too.  I almost never do Black Friday shopping, but this year I got soaps, some new clothes, a new laptop (for the office of course), and a washer and dryer set.  The latter was an unplanned gift to myself; the result of the unfortunate yet not ill-timed demise of both machines within just two days of each other.  At least I got a $600 rebate on the new ones!

Back to the subject of gifting.  As you may have noticed, we created a section in the shop for gifts under $200 for you.  We tried doing “gifts under $100” but the section was too small to bother.  Not much by way of stocking stuffers – if “under $100” can even count as that.  In my family that would be the main gift!  

Stocking stuffer-wise, I do have a couple of suggestions for you though: our new cleaning product is great, and for those of you who faithfully read our blog and have gotten to this paragraph, here’s a bonus for you:  If you’d like an extra polishing cloth or pad, just ask us and we will throw in another one at no charge.  They are quite handy!  

Another somewhat underappreciated gift in the lower price point of our shop is our earring jackets which come in both silver and gold.  They are super cute and rarely bought – I have no idea why:

Finally, our gold chains are currently very well priced because when we initially set those prices up, gold was $900 per ounce... now it’s at $1500!  Next year we will have to change our prices on those, but for now, they're a steal!

We are still working on adding a few silver pendants and silver stacking rings.  They should go up this weekend, as soon as we are finished coming out from under the sale we just had, which was quite successful if I may say so myself.  

Now, on to some recommendations I have from “not my shop,” a few of which fall squarely into the “gift to self” category, ahem.  

First off, let me flag the Etsy shop of my new graphic designer, Johanna Wood (her shop is Metal, Cloth & Wood), who makes lovely bug jewelry like these copper earrings with an etched ant motif:

 

I own one of her hand carved moth pins, which I pinned on my cloche hat, purchased from Artikal NYC, who also sells locally and offers hat making classes. 

Since I love art deco anything and everything, I purchased this clock for the office when the previous one bit the dust (it’s probably old fashioned to be into clocks but I love them):

Shipping for this item was very fast, and the seller also has this cat clock which I almost got instead:

I love all things cats!  Like I would totally buy these if I didn’t lose gloves too often: 

For a stocking stuffer that’s truly priced as such, I’ve purchased this shampoo soap:

I did stuff my own stocking though, as I am a frequent traveler and this soap beats having to put your shampoo into the suitcase or using those travel packs which I think are wasteful (they're more plastic than shampoo!)

My all-time favorite clothing seller on Etsy is Xiaolizi.  She lives and makes clothes in China, and will tailor anything to your size.  I’ve bought so many clothes from her that she has all of my information stored.  (There are periodic changes to size though, mostly upwards…).  Some of you may have seen me in my Tucson video wearing this dress in a red-orange color scheme: 

Or, for an LBD (little black dress) that would flatter almost any body type (it did wonders for mine), how pretty is this one?!

 

Xiaolizi’s dress care instructions suggest hand washing, but I toss them into the washer and dryer and so far they’ve all lasted better than a lot of commercially bought stuff!  They have even outlasted the washer and dryer itself, it appears...

On the more comfy side, I’ve gotten lots of use out of these cotton Gaucho pants; they wash well, they don’t shrink, and they are both flattering and comfortable: 

And I have been staring at this listing for weeks; I love it but I am not sure it would love me back: 

Actually, while we are on the subject of weight, I haven’t bought this but I got a kick out of it: 

For my philosophy friends, this one would make a great gift too: 

And I was thinking of giving this to my dentist Dr. Marian Farag, because I see her so often that I have suggested we should try having dinner sometime instead, it would be all the fun without the pain.  

I could go on, but I don’t shop as much for real handmade stuff on Etsy as I should, and I'm sure Amazon doesn’t need my help!

Happy shopping!

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Unwrapping the Holidays with New Stuff from Cecile Raley Designs

Unwrapping the Holidays with New Stuff from Cecile Raley Designs
Holiday season really IS my favorite season.  While I’m not a fan of winter, holiday traditions are the best way to transition into the cold part of the year in my view.  You change to fall colors, start decorating, figure out your list of “stay at home” activities, and think about gifts and gifting.  For this year's season of celebrations, we’ve selected three themes we want to share with you: Gifting (of course), DIY, and Personalization.   Continue reading

Sparkle the Holiday with a Gift

Sparkle the Holiday with a Gift

Yes, it is that time again.  Are you ready for the holidays?  Our Thanksgiving sale starts this weekend with 10% off the entire shop.  From Tuesday the 20th to Friday the 23rd, we have a special treat with 25% off all of our wedding jewelry! Our specials section will be resurrected for Cyber Monday with extra surprises. 

Calendars: our 2018 calendars are ready and already shipping. They will come to you upon request, or with any purchase over $200.  All of our VIP’s will receive one, as well as a little thank you gift from us for being such loyal supporters. The theme this year: travel.

Free jewelry cloths and other tidbits are still being sent out with each new purchase; we are also now including informational brochures on gems and gemstone enhancements from the American Gem Trade Association.

  

 

Gift Certificates: these can be purchased again in my Etsy shop this year.

 

And here are some gift ideas from our shop under $200:

Gold chains:  We stock those for the holidays and offer them in 16, 18 and 20 inches whenever possible.  Our green gold chains go with yellow gold, and I especially recommend any of our two-toned chains. 

 Beaded necklaces: They have been selling very fast lately but we have been restocking.  Prices are $90-$195. 

Mandarin Garnet, Sapphire, Imperial Topaz, Carnelian and Grossular Garnet Beaded Necklace

Beaded Sapphire, Carnelian, Kyanite, Chrome Diopside, Spessartite with Sterling Silver and Free Earrings

Beaded Tourmaline 20 Inch Beaded October Birthstone Necklace

 

Earring jackets: Our flower petal jackets are only $45 and now come in a larger size for $50.

 

 

Stud earrings: Our star studs make a cute holiday gift.

 

 

Gems: Give the special gift of a gem (maybe a birthstone) that the recipient can set to suit their own style.

 

Check out our Gemstone sections below in our Etsy shop 

Gemstones Single

Gemstone Pairs

Gemstone Melee- 3mm and under

 

Shipping: We’ve actually upgraded our shipping policy, we are now shipping all finished jewelry and custom orders for free domestically, and starting on the 15th of December until Christmas, all packages will go out priority.  The last day to safely order for priority shipping is Wednesday, December 19th.  But we are happy to do overnight shipping until Friday the 21 st upon request.  If you are ordering an item that needs sizing or any other modification, we can ship it first and you can have sizing or modifications done after the holidays.  Other than that, anything in the shop is ready to ship on the same or next day.

 

Returns: just a reminder that our return period is two weeks.  Thankfully, we have very few returns, but we do understand that the holidays can be an exception.  So if you are not sure about a gift, make sure you let the recipient know that a return or exchange is not a problem.

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Forgotten Beauties: Some Jewelry Highlights from my Shop

Forgotten Beauties: Some Jewelry Highlights from my Shop

In this blog entry, I want to focus your attention on a few pieces of finished jewelry from the shop that have remained behind in previous sales.  All of these feature gemstones that already are extremely rare or will be in the foreseeable future.  So these are my recommendation for the upcoming Christmas in July sale in the shop.  I've taken some new photos of the pieces in my newly planted garden (now that I have a garden), so that you can admire the flowers and jewelry alike. 

  1. Rose Gold Medieval Tudor Pendant: this pendant reminds me of the Elizabethan period, I would wear it on a bigger gold chain high on the neck (if I could afford a bigger gold chain, that is). The piece contains not just one, but three unusual gemstones: 12 pieces of 2mm hauyne - I can't believe I had so many at one time that I figured it didn't matter to use them in a single piece of jewelry - four mahenge spinel pears, and a 6mm Mozambique purple garnet. The latter gem is still available on the market, but it has gotten expensive.  Same with Mahenge spinel, though it is now very difficult to get good pieces.  Hauyne is pretty much out right now.  The color combo of all three together is stunning, if I may say so myself.  Check out the piece here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/292214107/rose-gold-gemstone-pendant-medieval?ref=shop_home_active_2
  1. Rose Gold Flower Pendant: this is another piece that has been in my shop for some time. It is daintier but has a very pretty pink and yellow combo, great for spring and summer.  The spinels are Burmese and quite eye popping.  While Burmese spinel is still available, prices are basically astronomical at this point, and I buy only old stock if I can find it.  This piece was priced out before it got so expensive, so you are getting a nice bargain on the sidestones. Check out the piece here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/270180146/rose-gold-flower-pendant-sapphire?ref=shop_home_active_5

 

  1. Marquis Ring with Emerald, Hauyne and Paraiba: this ring is one of my personal favorites. It was originally a custom design, but I liked it so much I decided to carry it in the shop. The color combo is one of my favorites also, I love wearing anything blue and green.  Yes, the ring is expensive, but if you look at the gems, you'll know why: paraiba tourmaline melee - I am on my last round with those - hauyne melee - totally out - and a very bright emerald marquis which is much nicer in real life.  Photos don't do it justice! Check out the piece here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/478858802/white-gold-marquis-ring-oval-gemstone?ref=shop_home_active_51

 

  1. Juliette Ring: this is another statement piece featuring blue and green stones, and it too was originally a custom order. I like that it combines my scalloped and my petal designs. The main focus is on the gems, and the ring is made to take a lot of melee.  The center stone is an Afghani tourmaline, sister to the paraiba.  Slightly less bright but has a beautiful teal color.  It is complemented by more (Brazilian) paraiba, sapphire and merelani mint garnet (which is becoming exceedingly rare as well). Check out the piece here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/474477002/white-gold-gemstone-ring-blue-gem-ring?ga_search_query=juliette&ref=shop_items_search_1

 

  1. Kite Shaped rose gold earrings with Paraiba: I've actually specifically designed this kite for those of you who like rare gems but have a smaller purse. The design takes a 2mm gemstone, and it can also be pave set around the bottom. It is my suggestion for custom orders if you have a 2mm gem that pops and that that you would like set in a larger earring.  Again this piece is set with Paraiba which is the big obsession in the gemstone market right now.  The earrings are set with 1.6mm gems but 2mm would have worked also - it would just have increased the price. Check out the piece here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/287408553/antique-dangly-earrings-kite-shaped-rose?ref=listings_manager_table

For custom orders I can dangle something else from the bottom (I can add on to this piece as well), and I can remove the 2mm bezel and add a larger one for a bigger stone.

Sale starts Sunday July 16 and ends on July 30. Take 15% off any item in my shop.

A friendly garden patron :)

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Holiday Shopping on Etsy

I don't know how many of you do holiday shopping via Etsy but I do my bit every year to promote some fellow shops that I like.

A big fashion item for me this year were leggins - they are just so comfortable, and I bought from two different shops both of which I was very happy with.






For the lower budget item, you can go to LazyDaisyLeggins, they ship quickly and their leggings are only $18 each. I...
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My Favorite Etsy Shops

As you are looking for holiday gifts, I thought that instead of focusing just on my shop, I’ll tell you about some of my own favorite places to order from.
First off, I know how hard it is to shop for guys, so here's a suggestion for the man: My friend Joanne Simmons, who lives in Jersey City, has the perfect gift for him.   Her shop Silver Sculptorhas a great variety of silver cufflinks, many of...
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