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Dazzle in a few pieces from Mademoiselle Jewelry

by Sofroina Timmons

Not all jewelers and jewelry designers come from a gemology background. Some were chefs, others were botanist and then we have Michelle E. Samson who graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass communication. Go figure, a woman of words has an undeniable talent in making jewelry. Perhaps this is because of her passion for scouring the streets of SoHo and TribeCa for exquisite, unique jewelry. After Michelle decided to leave the corporate world and follow her dreams, Mademoiselle Jewelry was born in 2007.

Michelle's concept for jewelry is that it's a form of art. She knew she had the talents to design and create unique pieces and her abilities were showcased after she stopped second guessing herself. Fashionistas can catch some of her eye-popping pieces on the movie Eat, Pray, Love. Fashionistas also get a bonus when they visit Michelle's website (, which has a special section for young up-and-coming artists who don't have a forum to share their work.

Explain the meaning behind the name Mademoiselle Jewelry.
Mademoiselle is the French equivalent of Miss, Ms., or Madame. The word literally means my little lady. In French-speaking countries Mademoiselle is used as a courtesy term for single women. I chose the name Mademoiselle Jewelry because I wanted to embrace the essence of the single, unique, independent and free-spirited woman.

What were the inspirations behind the current collection?
The Eat, Pray, Love Style Jewelry Collection is based on the book Eat, Pray, Love the movie featuring Julia Roberts. [It] is the story of one woman's search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia. Authored by Elizabeth Gilbert, this famous 2006 memoir chronicles the author's trip around the world after her divorce, and what she discovered during her travels. The book is very much about self-discovery, embracing other cultures, and spirituality, which is why our line features pieces from many different religious beliefs. Both Elizabeth and Julia also embrace a bohemian inspired style, which involves a lot of layering, like stackable bracelets and longer necklaces.

Our fall 2010 collection is inspired by nature. We incorporated a lot of natural, earthy tones in our pieces to give it that organic look and feel. Gemstones like Jasper, Onyx, and Amber are huge this fall season because they are very complimentary to the fall color palette and they add a natural touch. We also have a huge assortment of leaf jewelry.

What are your designers doing to keep up with the competition and to keep the brand relevant in today's economy?
We've really tried to amp up our celebrity jewelry collection which includes the Eat, Pray, Love line. We find that most people are visual, and want to duplicate the looks they see on celebrities, but obviously don't have the funds to do so. We bring similar designs to the table that are made of high-quality materials, but are also extremely affordable.

Tell us about some of your socially conscious initiatives that you are involved in.
Although our jewelry is already eco-friendly, we are a socially conscious company. We have an entire line of jewelry in honor of promoting awareness for a wide variety of illnesses and diseases. A percentage of the sales we make from the sales of our Awareness Jewelry go to the specific charities that are involved in finding a cure for the illness.

For instance we sell an Orange Awareness Ribbon Charm Necklace and every time that items sells, we donate 5% of the purchase price to the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society.
We also sell a line of New Orleans Water Meter Jewelry, and 10% of the purchase price goes towards the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

We have always believed that you shouldn't have to spend a ton of money on jewelry, which is why pretty much everything on our website falls within the $30 to $100 price range. This is especially true now that people are budgeting more due to the economy.

What do you think are the biggest trends right now?
In jewelry, layering is definitely one of the biggest trends right now and we hope it doesn't go anywhere soon. Whether it comes in the form of stackable bracelets and cuff bracelets, or layering necklaces together of varying lengths, this trend is definitely huge right now. We see lots of celebrities doing this and it has totally taken off. The key to layering is to put pieces together that you normally wouldn't. It is no longer a faux-pas to mix silver and gold jewelry together. Another tip is to mix jewelry with varying textures, like a hammered sterling silver bangle with a gold engraved bangle. It gives any outfit some extra flavor.
There aren't really any trends I'm sick of. I always say, if you feel good wearing it , have at it!

What's next for Mademoiselle Jewelry and can you give us more specifics about price points?
We're always looking for up-and-coming designers to feature in our Designer Jewelry section. In fact, we just added a new Filipino designer to the site who is truly remarkable and beads all of her pieces by hand.

We're also in the process of getting together a holiday jewelry line, including great gifts for under $30.
Mademoiselle Jewelry's Eat, Pray, Love Style Jewelry can be purchased at and the price range is from $12 to $80.

Our fall 2010 collection ranges in price from $16 to $125.

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