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How Can I START Wearing Statement Jewelry, Without Scaring My Friends?

You want to start wearing funkier, chunkier, more fabulously hip statement jewelry, but you're afraid you're going to scare your friends. One customer told me that wearing bolder statement jewelry was on her bucket list. I have met three women in May that told me this was a goal of theirs and together we made that goal a reality. Each customer chose a different starter piece.  Each one expressed themselves uniquely.  And all three look and feel bolder and more confident.

When I design collections, I always try to include at least one piece that is a "gateway" piece. It's for the person who says, "Boy, I'm usually most comfortable with a small circle on a chain, something very unobtrusive, but I'd really like to try wearing something a little bit more bold, a little bigger statement." And so there's always going to be one piece available that would be an easy transition. It will be bolder than your circle on a chain, but not so bold as to make you feel uncomfortable or scare your friends. Here is an example of the "gateway" piece from the "Made from Recycled Records" collection. 

I had a conversation at another show where the customer was afraid. She loved some of the pieces that she was trying on, but thought, "Oh my gosh, if I wear that, people are going to be like, who do you think you are? What are you trying to do?" Sometimes, once you say the fear you are feeling, it kills it. She realized she didn't care what others thought.  She wanted to go bolder and knew this piece, from the "Black Jewelry" Collection looked great and made the statement she was going for.

The third customer, we went through several pieces. She in fact started by looking at some of the smaller scale pieces in my collections and then I said, "Hey, just for fun, let's just try on some of these more bold pieces. Let's just see what you think. Let's see how you feel, and then we can always go back to the original piece you were attracted to, and that'll be a big enough transition." After we did that, she said, "I'll never go back. There's no way I'm buying that small piece. I want to go big or go home." And she bought a piece that looked similar to this one from the "One of a Kind" collection.

These are all the ways that you can comfortably make that transition into more funky, more chunky, more fabulously hip statement, jewelry. You can dip your toe in with a piece like this from the Pearl Jewelry Collection Or you can go big or go home with a dramatic piece of statement jewelry. Remember that when you love what you're wearing, it will show.

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How Can I look Funky without Looking Clunky

How Can I look Funky without Looking Clunky

Hello, Bobbi Kahn-ers. It's Barb Mason, the creative energy behind Bobbi Kahn Design Jewelry, where everything is funky, chunky and fabulously hip.

I was attending a business lunch and I getting dressed. I had a little bit of a dilemma. I thought about fashion do's and don'ts because they weighed in on my decision about how to accessorize. I knew I would be wearing a beautiful pale blue sweater and I knew I wanted to wear these freshwater pearls which I can wear either clasp in back, in the sort of traditional way, or I can put it clasp front in a little bit more of a funky contemporary way.

I knew I wanted to wear these peacock freshwater pearls because they bring out the blue in the pearl and in the sweater. I'm wearing white pants. I thought, oh, it's not Memorial Day which is an old school way of thinking. Another guide date is Easter but I'm Jewish so Easter isn't really my benchmark. Then I realized that really I wear white whenever the sun shines. In the middle of winter I wear white pants. I really think that using a date "rule" for white is a convention to be ignored. I will admit, I don't wear linen unless it's hot. Any color linen, white, any color. I think linen is really a summer fabric, just like I think wool is a winter fabric.

One convention I still follow is coordinating my shoes and my belt.  I was putting on a silver belt and decided that silver shoes were going to be the choice. I'm not going to switch and add a silver purse because who has time to do that? I don't think there's anything wrong with it either. I'm just lazy. I love it when all three: shoes, belt and purse coordinate.

Another fashion question that comes up a lot is whether we should match our necklace, bracelet and earrings or if matchy matchy is a no-no. And I can only tell you that my general opinion about any of this stuff is, nothing is wrong or right if it A: pleases you and B: you feel great in it. I'm really for you doing whatever you want but matching is not my personal preference. I love things that coordinate and so you would find something that kind of goes with it but isn't an exact match. I almost always just wear diamond studs. I'm not a earring changer. I'm not one to match, but I understand that when you're time pressed, which so many of you are out there, that matching it all is just a time saver. It's just one less thing to think about. It's like, when I wear this necklace, I always wear this outfit, these earrings, this bracelet. Boom, you're done. You look great and feel great.

I'm not really a fashion rule follower beyond the fact that when you put yourself together, as long as you feel great, that means you present yourself great and it's super fun. I coordinate my belt and my shoes maybe and that's about it and the rest is all about feeling wonderful.

Keep it funky, chunky and fabulously hip at

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Statement Earrings

I will admit to having a point of view about what statement earrings you “should” wear with my funky, chunky, fabulously hip statement necklaces. And so do you. We are both right!

Many bobbi kahn-ers will only buy a statement necklace if I also have a matching or coordinating bracelet and earrings. One of my long time collectors is a very successful professional and has little time to pull her wardrobe together before getting on the train to the office or a plane to a client meeting. She keeps her pieces in the bobbi kahn signature brown organza bag that comes with her purchase and can grab and go with her set of jewelry and the outfit that coordinates. For her, buying a coordinated set is a time saver. It can be daunting to pick out your outfit and then have to make at least five more decisions - necklace, earrings, bracelet, shoes and some of you even coordinate your handbag. Since I don’t always design sets, I custom create the set for her with each piece she buys. 


When you ask me what earrings go with the necklace you are buying, I share my point of view. I think small, understated earrings look best with a large statement necklace. Do you have a pair of diamond studs? That’s what I wear everyday. It could be that I am just too lazy to change my earrings. If the outfit I’m wearing has a neckline that doesn’t make a necklace dazzle, I put on a bold pair of earrings and bracelet. If all your accessories are big and bold, I think it minimizes the impact of the one piece you are showing off. Now consider Iris Apfel. She has made herself distinctive for wearing so many pieces of statement jewelry that she is a walking gallery. Just goes to show you that whatever you love, and makes you feel fabulous, works.


                earrings barb.png


DO NOT click on this link and look at my earring gallery. Its a total mess. I guess its like walking in to my messy studio where you can tell its full of really cool pieces but its hard to tell exactly where to start shopping. You can see what earrings I am selling but the photography is awful. No worries! On 10/24, I did an entirely new earring gallery shoot with stunning pictures and beautiful models/friends. Soon you will see my current collection. Look for that reveal in the next few weeks.

bobbi kahn-ers have a bold style. What makes you fabulous is how you rock that style when you enter the room. I say, do what makes you feel your most authentic self. If you are asking me what I think, then I’ll tell you to wear a bold statement necklace and small complimentary earrings. And if you love statement earrings, compliment them with a bold bracelet.

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Fall Fashion Trends 2018

Everyone is so sad the the summer is coming to an end. I hear this all the time from visitors to my booth and strangers in the grocery store. Me? I hate summer. Its too humid (such is life in the mid west). The days are too long. I go to bed in the daylight most of the summer. I’m an early to bed, early to rise gal. The heat makes me feel sleepy and there are just so many layers of clothes you can remove before it’s a problem. Worst of all, sometimes, it feels too hot to wear funky, chunky, fabulously hip statement jewelry from bobbi kahn jewelry.



Fall is so hopeful. It’s back to school! It’s cozy clothing! Soon we get to make fires in the fire pit or fireplace. Get ready for Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holidays. This is the time I switch out my closet from cool whites to cozy colors. Fall/Winter trends include copper and brass. To the left is a new one-of-a-kind piece I created using found objects. You ask me how long it takes to make something. In this case, it took me 3 years and two hours! I found these brass elements years ago. I knew they could become something amazing. And it took me this long to conceive and execute this piece. I wore it with a fuchsia jacket made of Sari material that had gold threading, an olive underpinning and black palazzo pants. Need help styling an outfit you have? Lets work on that together!


My other favorite material to shift to in the Fall/Winter season is copper. Copper is fantastic with something black. And copper is in the orange, brown, olive, maize, mustard and plum family - all the delicious shades of the season.



Now, these are how I see the seasons living in the midwest. I think if I lived in the southwest like my customers in New Mexico and Arizona, these would be the shades of my life! I’d see them all the time in vivid sunsets, shadows on the desert mountains, the flowers when they bloom so vibrantly on the cactus. When I visited Santa Fe to see my wonderful sister one time, I bought orange cowboy boots. Had to have them. And each year I see orange cowgirl boots and my fall fashion trend!

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Pearl Statement Necklace

I have some of the greatest conversations with customers in my booth at art shows. I am often asked about what to wear with my chunky pearl necklaces and other handmade statement jewelry. I am in my 12th year of doing shows and I have seen a lot of women wearing my jewelry.  
I'm modeling  Freshwater Pearl and 18k over Copper  with  Long Freshwater Pearl and 18k Gold over Copper

What I know is that there is no right way to wear jewelry. And there is no right jewelry to wear. The women who wear bobbi kahn jewelry best are the women who love to make a statement. They light up the room with bold personality in their dress, communication and jewelry choices. Body size doesn't matter when it comes to wearing my statement jewelry. I promise this!!!! What matters is how you feel in the jewelry you wear. 

I love layering jewelry. If one bracelet is pretty, then layering 5 bracelets is 5 times prettier. So when I wear freshwater pearl bracelets, I wear a combination of pearl and silver, silver bracelets and two-toned bracelets. I also think layering old and new is a great way to give your pieces a new look. I have a long pearl necklace from my mom that has lapis lazuli beads. I will wear this piece with a modern and bold lapis necklace from my one of a kind collection and a pair of jeans.

A long pearl necklace, from either the Chunky Pearl Jewelry collection or the Gold and Pearl Jewelry collection, is so versatile. You can wear it long or double it and layer in a second or third piece for added interest. I love wearing Freshwater Pearl and 18k over Copper and Long Freshwater Pearl and 18k Gold over Copper together as seen in this image. And often I wear the long pearl necklace doubled.


Ever wonder where pearls come from? Learn everything you've ever wanted to know about Freshwater pearls in this blog post.

What earrings should I wear? To match or not to match? I go back to this: you should wear what ever you feel best in. Matching is not my personal preference.  When I wear a large statement necklace I prefer my earrings to be understated. A simple pair of diamond studs or something small that coordinates but doesn't match. Just because this is my preference doesn't make it right, but it is right for me. On the other hand, one of my customers tells me that she needs a coordinating set of bobbi kahn jewelry to complement her busy executive lifestyle. She keeps each her matching sets of jewelry in the brown organza bag it comes in. When she travels for work, each bag goes with an outfit as she packs for her trip. BAM! Always good to go.


chunky pearl jewelry collection


Confidence is contagious. You must wear the clothes and jewelry that makes you feel your very best bold self. I am always here for a personal consultation. That's one of the many perks of being an exclusive "bobbi kahn-er." (All you need to do is join my mailing list and you're in!) Do you have an outfit that you need a customer piece created just for you? That's my favorite way to create. Let's discuss what I can do for you exclusively.

Let's keep it funky, chunky and fabulously hip at!


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Chunky Pearl Jewelry

Chunky Pearl Jewelry


I created the Pearl Jewelry collection because it is the most popular with my customers at art shows and online. I love anything funky, chunky and fabulously hip and the Chunky Pearl Collection is no different. 

There are four types of pearls: Freshwater, Akoya, South Sea and Tahitian. I use Freshwater pearls in my designs because they are an excellent choice for fashion conscious women. They come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes and are the most affordable type of pearl.

Freshwater Pearl Jewelry

Cultured freshwater pearls are pearls that are formed and created using freshwater mussels. These pearls are produced in the US and Japan on a limited basis but most exclusively produced in China. Chinese pearl farms account for nearly all freshwater pearls sold today.



A NATURAL pearl is formed when an irritant accidentally gets into the soft tissue of the mussel in an oyster. As a defense mechanism, the animal produces secretions to coat the irritant. Many layers of coating are deposited on the irritant making is smooth and a NATURAL pearl is born.

A CULTURED pearl is formed in the same process. The difference is that a human inserts a shell bead inside the oyster and the oyster produces layers of nacre. Human intervention starts the process in cultured pearl formation.

At freshwater pearl farms, each mussel is surgically implanted with 24-32 tiny pieces of mantle tissue (shell bead) in a process called nucleation. Once the tissue is inserted a sac forms and cells begin secreting nacre. In 2-7 years the mussels deposit layers of nacre around the gem, generally producing more than two dozen pearls in each shell.

Real or Fake? Real pearls are warm to the touch. Fake are cool to the touch..

The name Pearl is a Latin baby name meaning “Precious." The most common color of pearl is white but they can occur naturally in nearly every color under the sun.

The secret metaphysical and healing properties of pearls are that pearls are said to give the wearer a sense of calmness and centeredness and to promote faith, loyalty, truth and purity. They can especially enhance personal integrity. With these qualities, it is no wonder that pearls are a favorite. No pearl girl can have enough in her jewelry collection!

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Don’t You Simply Love Your “Stuff?”

I love mine. I love the “stuff” I have out, the “stuff that’s in drawers, closets, the garage, the basement. Sometimes, when I want new “stuff” I go browsing in my own home and find things I forgot I had. And I think, OMG! I love this thing! I’ve got to put it out so I can see it again. You do it too.

George Carlin got it. He did a famous comedy bit about our attachment to our “stuff.” 


Each time I’m at a show I hear my customers talk so sentimentally about what they have sitting out of sight. They say things like I have a whole drawer full of “stuff” I don’t wear. We usually are talking about jewelry. I say that doesn’t do anybody any good. If you don’t like it or wear it, get rid of it and get some new stuff. Or they say I really don’t need anything. Right! You don’t. You don’t need anything but food and water. Maybe shelter and clothing. But you’ve got a lot of “stuff” you don’t need. But you love it, don’t you?

Wouldn’t it be better, though, if we could bring that meaningful stuff into our everyday life? Make use of that which is neglected, rather than just accumulate more stuff that may not hold that emotional value?

And that brings us to the topic of your unworn jewelry pieces. Jewelry offers an awesome opportunity for redesigning and repurposing! Fashions change, your personal tastes change, lifestyles change… But when your jewelry doesn’t keep up with you, it ends up sitting in a drawer, unworn - and that’s sad. There are so many beautiful elements that can be salvaged from older jewelry and remade into fabulous, meaningful, relevant pieces that you WILL wear!

I’d love to breathe new life into your tired jewelry!

I’d also like to share with you some resources for making good use of some of your other sentimental stuff, as opposed to having it remain unused, just taking up space.

1. Here’s an informative article about valuing and selling sterling silverware. In fact, my cousin is in the business, so if you’re interested in contacting a professional, check out and

2. Got a bunch of Tee shirts you want to immortalize? A couple friends have a business repurposing them into memory quilts. Their business is QuilTee® T-shirt Memory Quilts.

3. Even if you’re not ready or willing to sell or repurpose your stuff, my friend Linda Goodman can help you organize it. Her business, 847-921-0963 is an excellent resource.

Wishing you good luck bringing your unused stuff into the forefront of your life!

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Talk to the Beads!




I’m often asked how I come up with my funky, chunky, fabulously hip jewelry designs. Well, in a sentence, the answer is: I talk to the beads.

That’s right. I talk to them. Some may call it prayer. Some may call it meditation. Some may call it crazy! But the simple act of considering what I want to work with and posing the question, “What do you want to become?” really gets my creative juices flowing.

Of course, any conversation has two sides. So once I ask, I listen for their reply. And that’s when things get interesting!

If I had to describe my creative process, it would go basically like this:

  1. Choose the medium I feel is calling to me at the moment. Sterling silver wrapped copper? Jade? Hand blown glass? Freshwater pearl? Something is going to catch my imagination and that’s where I begin.

  2. This is where I talk to the beads. And Listen to what they say to me. I allow them to guide me to a specific starting point and from there, I build upon the inspiration it provides.

  3. Once I land upon that first element, I carefully consider its qualities: What do I love about this bead? How can I use it in a unique way that will highlight its beauty?

  4. Next, I survey my extensive collection of beads in my studio for complementary elements, with an eye toward what makes them go together so well. In time I will see a theme emerge; that’s my “forget to breathe” a-ha moment that makes me love what I do SO much!

  5. At this point when I’m satisfied with the progress but am unsure about what comes next, I’ll step away for a little while.

  6. When I return, I do so with fresh eyes and a belief that serendipity will strike and the elements will fall together like magic through my hands.

And that’s it - that’s how my creative process works to come up with my unique jewelry designs!

Watch the “Birth of a Pendant” in this video from the bobbi kahn design studio.


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It’s So Easy to Care for Your Silver Jewelry

...So Don’t be Afraid to Buy It!

I love incorporating silver elements into my jewelry designs! I proudly use sterling silver, fine silver and sterling silver over copper in a variety of pieces.  It’s luster adds such light and elegance! Shoppers sometimes hesitate to purchase pieces with silver because they’re concerned it will tarnish - and indeed, all silver tarnishes.

I’d like to give a quick lesson on silver and tarnish so you’ll feel completely comfortable experiencing this truly gorgeous precious metal:

Pure silver itself is highly resistant to tarnish but unfortunately is too soft to be used for making jewelry. Pure silver is mixed with other metals to create Sterling silver, a metal alloy that is an ideal blend of beauty and durability.

Sterling silver is comprised of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. It is actually the other metals that are added to pure silver that cause it to tarnish as they react with moisture and sulfur in the air.

Exposure to the following will make your silver tarnish more quickly include:

  • High humidity

  • Pollution

  • Hairspray

  • Perfume

  • Lotion

  • Deodorant

  • Bleach

  • Perspiration

  • Rubber

  • chlorinated water

  • sunlight

  • substances which contain sulfur                                                                   


To help minimize tarnish on your silver, store it in an area with low humidity in an airtight plastic bag with a piece of chalk, a packet of activated charcoal, or a container of silica gel.


You may be able to polish light tarnish away using a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Remember, silver is a soft metal and can be scratched, so rub gently using back and forth motions.

As for cleaning products, I find that Goddards Sterling Silver Dip works miraculously! Just make certain that it’s safe for the other stones and elements that may also be part of your piece.

So there you have it: tarnish is not abnormal, nor does it need to be of concern. A little extra care will keep your bobbi kahn design jewelry with silver looking as beautiful as the day you brought it home!

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