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The Big Bling Theory: Keep jewelry practical in the office

“The Business Fashionista” is AZ Big Media’s fashion blog for the business-minded. It examines the dos, don’ts and musts of the modern fashionista who wants to stay in step with the latest trends in the workplace.

Bangles, bracelets, necklaces, wedding rings, midi rings, toe rings, studs, hoops and cuff earrings. Just admit it ― when it comes to jewelry, you love it all.
Jewelry is probably one of the easiest ways to personalize your outfit. Each piece you select has a reason behind it. Some women are the queens of jewelry and always have on at least three rings, two necklaces and a pair of earrings. Other women are more simple.
No matter which side of the jewelry spectrum you’re on, all business fashionistas need to know the guidelines for office-appropriate jewelry. While you may be thinking the obvious, “I know how to wear jewelry,” everything you wear to the office should be carefully considered.
It may not be as difficult for you to pick out a necklace as it is picking out what top you should pair with that pencil skirt, but there are problems jewelry can present in the office. For example, we all know that one girl at the office who sounds like a ring full of keychains every time she moves her arms stacked with silver bracelets.

Rule No. 1: Your jewelry shouldn’t distract or disturb others.
A great test to see if your jewelry is office appropriate is to move around. If it makes a lot of sound, don’t wear it. Or, just look in the mirror. In the words of Coco Chanel, “Before you leave the house, take a look in the mirror and take one thing off.”

Rule No. 2: Sometimes less is more.
You want your jewelry to complement your outfit, not mask it. The smartest business fashionistas embrace the signature piece of jewelry. A signature piece is something you wear almost daily, and it could be just to work or all day anywhere. Often, a simple necklace or ring with your initial on it looks much better by itself. Not only is personalized jewelry fun, but it’s also an easier way to incorporate jewelry into your outfit if you skew toward the simpler. Watches are perfect, too, by themselves. Keep in mind to mix function and fashion. It can be annoying if all your decorative watch does is sit on your wrist and look pretty, as opposed to giving you the time.

Rule No. 3: Don’t go too crazy with the bedazzled, bling-y, rhinestone adorned jewelry.
This rule goes along with the first rule. You may not realize it, but your favorite bedazzled necklace can be distracting for your coworkers. The purpose of rhinestones is to attract attention to an object, but this is not the attention you necessarily want when giving a presentation at a meeting. Instead of focusing on you, everyone is looking at your bling-y jewelry.

Rule No. 4: Size does matter
The theory of the bigger the better doesn’t always apply to the jewelry you wear to the office. Tone it down a few notches. Huge hoop earrings might not be appropriate for the office. Unless you’re flawless like Beyoncé with an 18-carat diamond wedding ring, wear practical jewelry.


Molina dazzles Arizona for 25 years

Alfredo J. Molina doesn’t care for pennies.

“Starting when I was a young boy, I learned the jewelry business from my grandfather,” Molina says. “He would take pennies and roll them out into a sheet because copper and gold have similar malleability. Every day after school, he would put me to work on the bench for four or five hours, learning how to make jewelry. He would find fault. He was a perfectionist, but I learned how to craft fine jewelry. But to say I have a strong dislike for pennies would not be an overstatement.”

From his humble beginning working with pennies, Molina has built an empire that rocked the jewelry world in 2012 when he sold the Archduke Joseph diamond – a 76-carat stone once owned by Archduke Joseph August of Austria – for $21.5 million, the highest price ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond. If you ask Molina how he went from working with pennies to becoming a record-setting diamond seller, he is quick to point to his lineage.

“I am an 11th-generation jeweler,” Molina says. “My ancestors were silversmiths in Milan, Italy, beginning in 1634.”

His family eventually landed in Cuba, where Molina was born in 1959, three months after the revolution. Molina’s father, Roberto, had built his own multi-million-dollar jewelry and gold empire in Cuba until Castro seized power along with the Molina family fortune.

Molina’s family fled Cuba in 1967. They landed in Chicago with no money, but a man — whom Molina has never been able to identify — selflessly bought the family food so they could survive. That single act, Molina says, inspired him to become philanthropist who has given away a staggering $30 million to more than 195 nonprofit organizations.

But earning those millions to give away didn’t come easy. After coming to Phoenix as a teenager to see his uncle and then staying, Molina set his sights on opening his own jewelry business. He opened Molina By Appointment Only at 13th Street and Missouri on Oct. 1987 with no money in the bank, no inventory, and $90,000 worth of furniture that he was only able to secure because he talked the furniture store owner into a “90 days same as cash” agreement.

“I had to call it ‘by appointment only’ because I didn’t have any inventory,” Molina says. “But what that did was set us apart. By having the customers make an appointment, it gave me time to talk with them, find out what they were looking for, and then I had time to source the merchandise and when they came in, I was able to present them options that gave them exactly what they wanted.”

In his first two months in business, Molina made more than $1 million and he quickly built a reputation as the go-to jeweler for those seeking the highest quality and craftsmanship.

“We are not just in the jewelry business,” says Molina, who is celebrating 25 years in business, “We are in the emotion business. We are about the experience of buying fine jewelry. We do everything within our power to make that experience unforgettable.”

Molina Fine Jewelers
3134 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix