Friday, December 30, 2011

happy new year!

favorite design of 2011

toward the end of the year I always reflect on what's happened, what I've accomplished, and what I'd like to do differently in the coming year. one tradition I have is to select my favorite design of the year. this year, my favorite design is a multi gemstone necklace that is made from amethyst, carnelian, labradorite, chrysoprase, and multicolor chalcedony. it has lots of color and lots of sparkle!

available here

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

christmas recap

after a busy holiday season, I've been enjoying time with my family in connecticut. there has been lots of christmas cookie eating, movie watching, and sleeping in. here are a few snapshots from the holidays:

annual champagne toast and reading of "twas the night before christmas" in front of the tree

some of my favorite gifts from santa!

my mom loved her new necklace!

grandchildren-grandparents photo

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I heart Blogshop

(photo, designlovefest)

over the summer I decided to start taking my blog seriously and I began posting every day about things that inspire me, new collections I'm working on, and my obsession with nail polish. but I knew I needed more skills with photoshop to take my blog to the next level and so when I heard about Blogshop, I immediately signed up. last week I took part in the NYC Blogshop and it was awesome. I loved meeting fellow bloggers (collaborations to come in the future!) and I learned so much about photoshop. check out some of my fancy new skills:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

gaga's workshop

this past weekend I checked out Gaga's Workshop at Barneys and it was a wonderland of neon, sparkle, and over-the-top gifts. the sparkle nail art, rock candy jewelry, and outrageous shoe cookies were highlights for me. and the best part is that 25% of proceeds go to charity.

Monday, December 19, 2011

last minute gifts from j.crew

I am basically obsessed with everything J.Crew has out this season (as is the case every season), but I thought I'd pick a few favorites for last minute gifts that are sure to please their stylish recipient!

1. j.crew trapper hat in toffee leopard//2. FACE Stockholm for J.Crew nail polish in Toast of the Town//3. J.Crew tippi sweater in monterey pine//4. J.Crew wandering star bag //5. J.Crew solid watch strap in fiesta purple

Friday, December 16, 2011

things I adored this week

1. preppy plaid + statement red in this Atlantic-Pacific post
2. archie grand for j.crew notebook (in honor of a fabulous blogshop this week!)
3. fabulous new lip pencil discovery: NARS velvet gloss lip pencil

Thursday, December 15, 2011

more sparkle!

I'm pleased to announce that several new sparkle necklaces (the perfect New Year's Eve statement!) have been added to my etsy site. click here to check out the new gold, silver, bronze, and gunmetal sparkle necklaces!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

images that inspire

I recently went through all of the photos I've taken on instagram since I switched to an iPhone in august (best decision ever). I put together a few of my favorite images of things that are sparkly, neon, and colorful. follow me on instagram {@katiebartels} to keep updated on pretty things I come across in my daily adventures.

Monday, December 12, 2011

welcome :)

after blogging on tumblr for a year, I have switched to blogspot. never fear, all of my old posts are here! I will soon be relaunching a new tumblr blog, which will feature pictures that inspire me. updates on that to come. in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my new home :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

favorite thing of the week: "alexander girard"

last night at barneys new york, I attended the launch of todd oldham and kiera coffee's new book, "alexander girard". as a lover of bold color combinations, I have always admired girard's work and was thrilled to learn todd and kiera had compiled all of his works in this fantastic book.

the scene at barneys

kiera and todd sign books

1. Rag & Bone Danby cable-knit wool sweater // 2. Butter London nail polish in racing green // 3. Smythson sling bag // 4. Katie Bartels green garnet necklace

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

stocking stuffers + sparkle

this holiday season I'm giving my friends necklaces and earrings paired with nail polish so I thought I'd share a few of the combinations I've come up with (although I won't reveal whose getting them!). so between now and christmas I'll be posting a couple of combinations, feel free to give the same gift to your friends and family this holiday season!

1. katie bartels red cutout wood and onyx earrings ** 2. katie bartels green cutout wood and onyx earrings ** 3. OPI for sephora nail polish in Good Tidings we Bling

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the collection of elizabeth taylor

this weekend I previewed the elizabeth taylor collection that will be auctioned next week at Christie's. the jewels were absolutely jaw-dropping and her collection is quite extensive. you can check out images/details of all pieces here or go in person until december 13. its absolutely worth braving the crowds to see this major sparkle!

my absolute favorite piece, a bvlgari diamond and emerald necklace with an emerald and diamond pendant brooch. oh and don't worry, she had a ring to match!

stunning 27.42 carat fancy yellow diamond ring

Saturday, December 3, 2011

favorite thing of the week: colorful gemstone bracelets!

now that my holiday trunk shows are over, I've been spending a lot of time in my studio finalizing my spring/summer collections and working on some other new collections. one collection I couldn't wait until 2012 to debut was my multicolor gemstone bracelet collection! each piece is one-of-a-kind and they are available online here or at NEST Interiors in Chelsea.

here are a few of the bracelets!:

pink quartz and black spinel bracelet

chrysoprase, labradorite, spinel, and multicolor chalcedony bracelet

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

in my studio: new collection in the works!

I love wood. and I love things that sparkle. so naturally I had to combine the two in my newest collection, which I'm busy putting together. even though it won't debut until early next year, I thought I'd give everyone a sneak peak :)

multi strand wood and silver sparkle necklace

wood and gold sparkle necklaces

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

store highlight: NEST Interiors

I was really excited to see that Lucky Magazine featured NEST Interiors as the "best home accessories" store in the magazine's december nyc shopping guide . located in chelsea, NEST Interiors carries fabulous home decor and accessories...and jewelry (mine!)! NEST carries about twenty of my one-of-a-kind pieces that I design especially for the store. if you are brunching near the high line or exploring chelsea market, you must make sure to pop into NEST.

some of my pieces on display at NEST!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

gobble gobble + sparkle

when deciding what nail polish to wear to thanksgiving dinner (my outfits always begin with my necklace and nail polish, then the rest falls into place), I did some online browsing for ideas. I ultimately decided to go with Little Brown Dress from Essie, which I will pair with my carnelian necklace. but, in my search I came across this really creative idea for a festive manicure on

for the full how-to guide, click here

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

next adventure: India

I named my blog "passports and pearls" because a lot of my inspiration has come from my travels (the first necklace I ever made was inspired by gemstones I purchased in Barcelona). I absolutely love traveling and my bucket list is comprised mainly of international adventures. one of the countries I have always wanted to go to is India so when the opportunity recently presented itself, I jumped and I am now in the process of planning my adventure (if you have any advice, suggestions, etc for traveling to India, please email me at!!!

It's going to be an amazing way to kick off 2012 and I cannot contain my excitement for the gemstone buying portion of my trip :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

favorite thing of the week: essie minis

last Saturday over brunch at Sarabeth's [sidenote: Joe Biden was there--so cool!] my friend Courtney and I discussed all things fashion and the latest nail polish collections. Courtney mentioned that she's never able to finish a full bottle of polish so her solution is to buy Essie minis. I had no idea you could purchase a mini version of the latest Essie collection! these mini polishes are the perfect stocking stuffers and I will definitely purchase a few packs and pair the colors with earrings, necklaces, and bracelets from my holiday and winter collections gifts to friends this year!

purchase essie winter collection mini pack here

Saturday, November 12, 2011

favorite thing of the week: kate spade for strand canvas tote

on tuesday as I walked through manhattan's flatiron district, the amazingly colorful window display at kate spade caught my eye. I went into the store and was blown away by their colorful handbags and accessories this season. as a color lover, I was in complete heaven and basically everything in the store will be going on my christmas list for santa. one thing I couldn't wait until christmas morning to get was the Kate Spade for Strand canvas tote. I mentioned in a previous post that I love canvas totes because they are super lightweight and are really useful on my gemstone buying trips and other errand endeavors in nyc. this colorful tote is definitely my favorite thing of the week!

Kate Spade New York for Strand canvas tote

most adorable wrapping paper ever!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

favorite thing of the week: new additions to my bookshelf

I refuse to buy a kindle and I refuse to download any books onto my iPad. I love the feeling of holding a book in my hand, flipping actual pages, and highlighting passages that strike my fancy. I also have a life goal of having a sizable mahogany wood library in my future house and thus need to work on my collection. this week I added two books to my collection and they have totally captivated me: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson and "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" by Mindy Kaling.

isaacson's steve jobs biography is absolutely fascinating. what has fascinated me the most was steve's attention to design and the aesthetics of all of the apple products. one of my favorite anecdotes: when he and his wife were in the market for a washer dryer for their new house it took them over two weeks to pick one out because they were so focused on function vs. aesthetics and could not determine which meant more to them.

I started reading mindy kaling's book on tuesday night and required an extra shot of espresso on wednesday morning because I could not put the book down because I was laughing so hard. its absolutely hysterical. I have always been a huge fan of mindy and love her work as a writer and actress on "the office". I almost cried from laughter when I read the chapter "I am not an athlete" and how much she hates when friends try to get her into frisbee. she writes:

unlike other athletes, frisbee people won't let it go. my theory is that this is because there's a huge overlap between people who are good at frisbee and people who do teach for america. the same instinct to make at-risk kids learn, which I admire so much, becomes deadly when turned on friends trying to relax on a sunday afternoon in the park. they feel they have to corral me into learning this useless sport. the afternoon becomes 'unlocking mindy's passion for frisbee', instead of letting me lie on the grass reading my chick lit book. how dare you? if I had thought learning frisbee was a valuable thing to do, I would've done it. I don't want to learn! I don't want to learn! let me read shopaholic runs for congress in peace."


Friday, November 4, 2011

november birthstone: citrine!

a member of the quartz family (other members: amethyst, smoky quartz, rose quartz), citrine is known as the "healing quartz" and is said to improve vitality & health and encourage hope & energy.

sharon khazzam citrine and sapphire bee earrings

tiffany sparklers citrine cocktail ring

citrine is typically pale yellow to orange and occasionally high-quality citrine comes in orange-brown or red-brown. the citrine crystals can form together with amethyst and produce ametrine (pictured below).