Tuesday, December 20, 2011

R&C Gifts Under $300!

With the state of today's economy, it's no wonder people are shopping less than they used to, and those who are prefer to shop for bargains at mega stores like Walmart and Target. At Ruff&Cut and Glittering Conscience, we cater to a particular kind of customers, and offer things that other retailers may not such as custom designs, choose your own diamond, ethically sourced everything, and a charitable purpose, just to name a few. To help you with your holiday shopping even more this season, here are a few selected items under $300 we have available with guaranteed delivery before Christmas if you order by Friday, December 23. You read that right- guaranteed delivery! And with styles like these, how can you go wrong..?

The Erin Bracelet

Simple and chic and guaranteed to please even the pickiest jewelry-lover on your list, the Erin Bracelet from the Endless Color Collection by Jennifer Schelhorn for Ruff&Cut features 5 cushion cut citrines on a recycled sterling silver rollo chain measuring 7.5" around the wrist. It's just enough warmth to add to an otherwise toned-down ensemble.

The Silver Aureole Ring

A recycled sterling silver ring with a single rough diamond...for only $100! That's right, that's no typo. Only. 100. Dollars. Classic and elegant and a hit from the best-selling Aureole Collection, this is a diamond ring that doesn't need a wedding proposal to be the ideal gift to your sweetie- male or female.

The Nugget Earrings

Looking for something simple yet unique in 18k gold that suits your budget? These stud earrings are made to look like raw gold nuggets, hence the name Nugget Earrings. One of R&C's first designs, and still timeless in look, these make the ideal gift for the au naturale person in your life.

The Silver Enduring Skulls Choker with Emeralds

Here's another steal from the Ruff&Cut Skulls Collection. A single sterling silver Enduring Skull with .10 cts of genuine, ethically sourced and cut emeralds for eyes. Spooky and sexy, this is a sweet little stocking stuffer for a man or a woman. Comes with an organic cotton cord in taupe, black, natural, or berry.

The Hammered Silver Medallion

Perhaps the best deal on our site, this pretty pendant from the Hammered Silver Collection
features a sparkling, clear .25 ct half octo diamond in a hammered sterling silver medallion charm on top of a larger hammered medallion, all on an 18" sterling silver chain. For under $300! How would you like to unwrap this Christmas morning?

Yes, we know- you're speechless already, but there's more! Save even more this year with coupon code HOLIDAY20 at check-out on up to 5 items, now through the end of December! You'll receive 20% off and have guaranteed overnight shipping as long as the items are readily available in stock. Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity siting information on the piece, where materials were sourced, beneficiation amount, and unique item number. And remember: 10% of proceeds go to charities that benefit the people of Sierra Leone, Africa. 

If you're still searching for the perfect gifts, look no further, and if you would rather see these beauties in person, stop by Glittering Conscience in New York City or any J.W. Cooper store for the Skulls Collection. Discount applies in Glittering Conscience as well!

Give the gift that gives back this year, and feel good about purchasing sustainably.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spotlight on Charities Supporting Sierra Leone

TODAY we'll be having an event at Glittering Conscience celebrating the shop's one year anniversary-- an eco-chic birthday party so to speak... It's been a long year since we first opened the store, and we are so proud of how far it's come. Besides our own luxury jewelry line, GC carries amazing and unique green brands by Nahui Ollin, Platinum Dirt, NaturevsFuture, Montree, Temple de Mexico, Kopali Organics, and many, many more. The store does the best it can to operate under a feasibly sustainable manner, using recycled materials for decor and packaging, environmentally-friendly energy, and displays made out of recycled and sustainable materials such as hemp.

To celebrate, we are having a store-wide sale of 20% off everything through the month of December. Not only that, but 10% of proceeds the store makes today during the main event will go to three outstanding charities that support the people of Sierra Leone, Africa, a small country in West Africa that relies mainly on diamond mining as its most economical asset. The people of Sierra Leone are who originally inspired R&C Founder Wade Watson to start the eco-friendly and charitable jewelry company, and this is just another way to give back to them and create awareness in the lives of the more fortunate.

The Taia Peace Foundation is an organization created by actor Jeffrey Wright that aims to, "assist rural communities in overcoming the so-called “resource curse", and make sure the stream of income created by those resources goes back to the Sierra Leoneans who deserve it. The NGO's ultimate goal is to spread this mission across the continent, and "to remove the economic barriers that limit their capacity to build a lasting peace." So far, Taia has helped rehabilitate roads and bridges, supplied materials for local schools, improved health care facilities, and created jobs for hundreds who desperately needed them.

Bill Clinton and Jeffrey Wright with other Taia team members at the Clinton Global Initiative September 2009

Shine on Sierra Leone, founded by director/producer Tiffany Persons, focuses mainly on the communities of Sierra Leone, offering healthcare and safe haven for pregnant women, helping to build schools and fund them, and even build homes for those in need. Tiffany hopes to not only help Sierra Leoneans in need, but to also help educate others by showing them that Sierra Leone is a beautiful place filled with wonderful people who just want to take back their home and make it an even more beautiful place.

Tiffany Persons with students at the Muddy Lotus primary school

Perhaps the most remarkable charity involved with the event tonight is Jewels for Africa, which was formed by none other than the children of Wade Watson. Together with their friend Melina, Damon and Christina create unique jewelry using beads and pendants made from natural sources, sell them, then give ALL profits to children at Muddy Lotus, the St. George Orphanage, and the Aberdeen Primary School of Sierra Leone. The funds the schools and orphanage receive goes to providing items like food, clothing, school supplies, and even toys for the less fortunate in need.

Some of Jewels for Africa's creations on display at Glittering Conscience

We hope you will join us for this exciting and charitable event. Get all your holiday shopping done in one night and know that you're not only buying gits that were made sustainably, but that will also give back to those in need. 

Remember! The party is from 6-10 pm tonight, Dec 15, at 96 West Houston St NYC 10012! Call (646) 455-0164 if you need more information! Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Going Green This Holiday Season

So, it's officially December and if you haven't started your holiday shopping yet, it's definitely a good time to get started on at least planning! Last week we posted Glittering Conscience's Black Friday Gift Guide, and that will give you plenty of good ideas for green gifts for everyone on your list.

In this post, we also wanted to focus on how you can go green this holiday season, from using recycled wrapping, to shopping local and supporting small businesses, to making homemade gifts for your friends and family. There are so many ways to save your cash along with your planet too!

First off, recycled wrapping is a must when going green for the holidays. Look for wrapping that says "made from recycled paper" on it, or better yet, recycle your own paper if you happen to have any.   If you're not a crazy pack rat who keeps the wrapping and packaging from everything they get, then you can simply use newspaper, old magazines, or an old bag you no longer use. All of R&C's packaging is made from 100% recycled materials.

Making homemade gifts is always extra sweet, and it will likely mean more to the person you give it to since it's much more personal. There are lots of things you could make, such as ornaments, paintings if you're an artist, picture frames, hand-knit scarves, home-baked cookies...the possibilities in this category really are endless!

           The Jasmine Earrings from the Endless Color Collection are hand made from sterling silver and 14k gold wire which is twisted and wrapped around the gem stones by hand!

Saving energy is a simple thing you could do to stay green this season. If you hang lights for decoration or on your tree, turn outdoor lights off during the day and indoor tree lights off at night. As pretty as they are to look at, you will not only save on your electric bill, but also help support energy conservation. We only use Earth-friendly CFL light bulbs in our offices and in Glittering Conscience.

Be sure to recycle your tree after it's finally ready to take it down...as in when the pine needles start to turn brown and cover more of your floor than the branches. If you're like some people, you'll like to keep your tree up well past New Year's, and that's a good way to make it last and get what you paid for- and also help the tree to serve its purpose in this case! Some people choose to get a fake Christmas tree believing it will last much longer and deter the chopping down of trees, but the truth is they are actually much worse for the environment since they are made from toxic chemicals linked to causing cancer such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and when they eventually do get thrown out, they are burned and the chemicals are released into the air. Real trees freshen the air, and you're also supporting local farmers when you buy a living tree, which can be grown organically.

An example of an eco-friendly fake tree from possibiliTrees

Shop smart this year as many are still suffering from the weak economy (despite the crazy news we saw after Black Friday involving pepper-spraying shoppers and police brutality!). Support your local shopping district; support small businesses, like Glittering Conscience and Ruff&Cut; buy eco-friendly items; and most importantly of all, don't give in to over-consumerism- just because it's the holidays, that doesn't mean you have to buy a bunch of useless junk that no one will ever use. Get gifts that will last, or that will really make an impression. Glittering Conscience- as you know! -carries a lot of very unique eco-conscious items, such as R&C's Earth-friendly and conflict-free fine jewelry, Platinum Dirt leather products made from recycled vintage auto upholstery, and Nahui Ollin handbags made from upcycled candy wrapper and magazines.

These are just a few suggestions for shopping green this year and keeping your holidays Earth-friendly. Now we'd like to hear from you! Please share how you're staying green this year in the comments. Earth911 has some great suggestions too! Stay tuned for GC events and R&C holiday sales coming soon!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Friday Shopping Guide!

As an environmentally and socially responsible company, we don't normally support events of mass consumerism- even though we are in the retail biz. But, now that we've opened our own shop in NYC, we figured we should have a Black Friday sale on our wide collection of Earth-friendly and sustainable products, all sold at Glittering Conscience, to bring awareness to the beautiful and unique options available for those who are eco-conscious as well, but still like to exchange gifts on the holidays!

Everything will be on sale for 20% off store wide, with specials on Ruff&Cut jewelry and free Harmony Silver gift with $200 purchase, plus many more surprises you'll have to come and see to believe! Enjoy this holiday gift guide and feel free to ask questions on any item you see in the comments below!

For the Glam Girl
The Jennifer Bracelet from the Endless Color Collection by Jennifer Schelhorn for Ruff&Cut

This has been Ruff&Cut's newest must-have item this season, the ideal bracelet for the jewelry-lover who has it all. The bracelet itself is a sterling silver chain made from recycled metals with collectible linkable ethically-sourced gemstone charms. 10% of proceeds go to non-profit partners who help the mining communities in Sierra Leone, Africa.

For the Foodie
Clean Plates Manhattan

Everyone has a foodie in their life, but how many people do you know are conscious foodies? This is the guide for the person or people in your life who pay attention to what they eat and where their food comes from; the guide includes listings for the healthiest restaurants in New York, recommendations for every diet, how-to meal plans, restaurant reviews, and much more information on eating habits and where to eat.

For the Athlete
GothamGear Yoga and Fitness Gear

GothamGear creates the most comfortable, breathable, sustainable fitness wear you can find! All fabrics are eco-friendly, made mostly from recycled materials, and are created to be the most durable and quick-drying garments for whatever your exercise routine may be- from yoga to jogging to tennis to just walking Fido. All clothing is made right here in the good ol' U S of A.

For the Cool Guy
The VIN Jacket by Platinum Dirt

This is probably the coolest jacket you will ever lay eyes on; not only is it stylish and warm, but it's made almost entirely of reclaimed vintage Cadillac upholstery! All of Platinum Dirt's gear- from jackets to handbags to wallets -are made from recycled vintage auto parts, making each item completely sustainable as well as completely unique.

For the Trendsetter
Arm Candy by Nahui Ollin ER3 MTA Bag

We are SO in love with Nahui Ollin's products, and one of their newest collections is 100% New York-inspired! The MTA Collection features handbags made from recycled woven pieces of New York City Subway maps and leather. The bright red straps give it a flashy look for the trendy chick in your life, making this a must-have item for any inner city girl who loves the environment and where she lives.

For the Artsy Revolutionary
The NaturevsFuture Swerve Coat

This gorgeous winter coat if made from recycled and sustainably sourced wool, nylon and cashmere and is super warm and cozy. With a dashingly unique and edgy look, this is the ideal gift for the socially-conscious lady in your life who enjoys perusing art museums and eating at trendy vegan restaurants. 

For the Outdoorsy Type
The Xooter Scooter

This is the best gift to give your friend or family member who prefers to take their bike rather than their car or any other gas-guzzling mode of transportation. The Xooter Scooter is awesome for kids and adults, and conveniently folds up to about half its size for easy transport. Not only simple to use, but fun! The perfect gift for people of all ages who enjoy moving!

These are just a few options we have available at Glittering Conscience, so stop by 96 West Houston St NY anytime November 25-27 for the holiday sale this week and get your holiday shopping done early without any of the guilt you normally get on Black Fridays! This year, give the gift of sustainability that gives back and gives you a glittering conscience!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Charming!

At Ruff&Cut, we are always pushing the envelope when it comes to creating new pieces, often with materials that are rarely used, like our trademark rough diamonds. Endless Color designer, Jennifer Schelhorn, has really done it this time though! She has created R&C's first charm bracelet and given it the honor of naming it after herself (how appropriate!).

The Jennifer Charm Bracelet is a 7" sterling silver rollo chain- made entirely of recycled silver, as always -that has 8 different charms for you to covet and collect, and link and un-link as you choose. The charms currently available are made with citrine, amethyst, white quartz, and purple sage quartz. All gems are ethically sourced, polished and cut through our lovely partner, Columbia Gem House.

The chain itself is $75, with the charms priced $25-40. This is the perfect gift for the green girl in your life who already has it all! She'll especially like that 10% of proceeds go to non-profit partners working to better the lives of impoverished mining communities in Sierra Leone, Africa. It doesn't get much more glamorous and giving as that!

Here are three more recently added Endless Color designs which are equally ethical and and gorgeous!

The Brooke Ring in 18k with amethyst

The Jamie Ring in 18k with kunzite

The Gretchen Earrings in 18k with amethyst

Happy Hump Day, fellow eco-chic jewelry lovers! Enjoy the rest of your week!

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!!

Today is the last day to save 20% off the Ruff&Cut Skulls Collection! Don't miss out! Enter promo code SKULLS20 at check-out.

Happy Halloweeeeen!!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Past and Future Events this Season

Ruff&Cut and Glittering Conscience were pleased to attend the Eco Luxe-hosted Luxury Review this year at the Metropolitan Pavilion in NYC. The event boasted the best of the best luxury industries, including jewelry, clothing, automotive, and electronics. This year, the event focused on environmentally responsible innovations provided by each vendor, so of course our booth drew a lot of attention. Real Housewife of New York Alex McCord and her husband Simon van Kempen stopped by and Alex tried on our Classic Solitaire Pendant! See images below, as well as other highlights from the show, all taken with an iPhone 3S.

Stephanie and Bertte, our lovely spokeswomen for the event and GC employees

Bertte at the booth

Simon van Kemp helps his RHWONY Alex McCord try on the Classic Solitaire Pendant

Simon admires the gorgeous necklace on his lovely wife

Stephanie and Bertte strike a pose
Stephanie and Bertte with GC PR specialist Richard Matthews
The event was a lot of fun and a huge success! We hope to attend more events like this in the future! It's very promising and inspiring to see so many other luxury retailers joining on the eco-conscious movement.

On October 28, we will be hosting a Harmony Silver Sales event in Glittering Conscience. The Harmony Silver Collection is a new collection of recycled sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, rings and earrings at consumer-friendly prices. The collection features trendy and classic designs, many adorned with flowers, dolphins, peace signs and recycle-themed symbols and words. The event starts at 6pm; wine and light fare will be served and all Harmony Silver will be on sale for 20% off the original price. Join us and get your holiday shopping done early!

Some of the collections designs:

We'll keep you posted on more events to come, including Ami and Platinum Dirt trunk shows next month!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Skulls come out to play this Hallow's Eve

The Ruff&Cut Skulls Collection has been one of our most popular collections ever since their conception in 2008. For one thing, the collection offers a wide selection of styles to choose from, from bracelets to earrings to necklaces and more, it offers something for everyone! Styles for men and women, plus many under $300. The skulls are adored by Brooke Shields and Axel Rose, and are currently carried exclusively at Glittering Conscience and J.W. Cooper.

Yet, the reason we're talking about the Skulls Collection today is because skulls make us think of spooky things, Gothic things, and Halloween! As R&C Founder Wade Watson once put it:
Skulls are the motif of the outsider, the Gothic loner, the abrasive individualist, and the immutable iconoclast—a symbol worn by people who have either achieved a level of success that allows them to express themselves by wearing clothes and jewelry slightly out of the norm of what is deemed acceptable by society at large, or by people driven to want every part of them to scream, "get me out of here—I’m not like everybody else!"
Does this describe you? Whether it does or not, we're sure you'll find something you to suit your fancy in our collection, something that will bring out that "Gothic loner" or "abrasive individualist." Skulls are unique yet common in their symbol as a fashion symbol; just think, skulls have been used to decorate humans and homes since before the beginning of civilization, when tribes of people just learning to hunt and make fire would wear their enemy's bones as necklaces and display their skulls in their homes (caves) as trophies.

Skulls symbolize a lot, resonating with the Mexican Day of the Dead holiday and the Gaelic holiday Samhain- now our modern day Halloween. In honor of all that they symbolize, all of the Skulls Collection is on sale for 20% off original prices with coupon code SKULLS20. Enter the code at check-out; this offer is also good at Glittering Conscience at 96 West Houston St NYC and the sale lasts through October. So, if you're feeling like treating yourself to something to help you get in touch with your inner outsider (or outer outsider), or to help someone else truly express themself, now is the time!

Do it in style and with a glittering conscience...

As always, all skulls are made in America from 100% recycled 18k gold and sterling silver. All diamonds and gemstones featured on certain designs are ethically sourced. 10% of proceeds go to non-profit partners.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Not All that Glitters is Gold

In a collectibles box I’ve had for over 20 years, I keep my watches, cufflinks, tie tacks, rings,
bracelets, charms, chains, silver business card holder and other expensive looking knick-knacks. I don’t even wear tie tacks! My wife has about four of these kinds of jewelry boxes of various sizes and qualities. In her boxes are unmatched earrings, chains that go back for decades, school rings, pendants that don’t fit on anything and gifts from ex-boyfriends that mean more in the box than anything else.

As I write this blog today, I quickly Google the price of gold- $1,650 per ounce. What does that mean? Hmmmmm, you are thinking, maybe I have an ounce of gold in all of those pieces I don’t wear? Perhaps, but probably not. Let me explain what it means when something is stamped 14k or 18k in karat weight. A 24k piece is pure gold, and 14k and 18k are gold blended with other materials. Sometimes you'll find the number 5.85 stamped (or hallmarked as they say in the United Kingdom) on a gold piece, and this actually means the same things as 14k.  This refers to the percentage of pure gold the piece is made of: 14k equals 58.5% of pure gold, and 18k is 75% pure gold. 

Pure gold

With gold recently weighing in as high as $1,850 per ounce, the “cash for gold” business is literally booming. Some radio advertisements call it “the next gold rush” and many newspapers frequently advertise, “top cash paid”, for your extra gold.

I have always thought of jewelers who advertise “cash for gold” or hang signs in their windows that proclaim, “We buy diamonds!”, as kind of tacky. During the 2009 Super Bowl, I was blown away when M.C. Hammer and Ed McMahon were touting, “Send your gold in and we will send you cash!” Remember, those ads cost $2 million per minute! These places MUST be making big bucks. There was an exposé written in USA Today describing the business practices of this organization, and let’s just say it was not flattering. The bottom line is that the consumer does not know the true liquidation value of their old and all-but-forgotten jewelry.

When the ad says, “we buy gold for cash”, here is what the process typically involves: you bring in a broken gold chain, they weigh the chain and look for a karat marker or hallmark with a magnifying glass. Sometimes they will even test the gold chain piece with a device that looks like a battery meter reader or they may even use a dabble of a chemical mix that will tell the percentage/karat weight. They will then routinely offer 20-30% of the true value of the gold you are selling. Since most customers do not know the real cost of gold, someone offering you $400 for a ring may seem like a great deal. If you came to us, we’d probably offer double that. But, how can we do that and what is it based on

Today’s gold price closed at $1,637.60. Remember that the price per ounce also translates to a price per gram. At today’s closing per ounce, gold is $52.72 per gram. Once you see the gram weight of the gold and know the karatage, you have an approximate value of grams per pure gold. Turning the gold into cash is a little more complicated because it has to be refined to pure gold to realize any value. If you figure the weight of the piece you are recycling times the price per gram (divided by the percentage of karat) and then figure 20% for the price of cash and refining cost, you can now calculate what the fair price should be, less the cost of refining the gold.  We do this routinely and as a result, pay two to three times what the “cash for gold” hustlers will pay.  No one can give you 100% value because of the costs involved in refining the gold, and the chemicals needed to return it to its true form.

Refining process

More importantly, we got into the jewelry business with incredible collections of raw and polished diamonds and colored gemstones all set in certified recycled gold and silver. We create custom pieces starting with a pad of paper and a sketch, and then make that piece of jewelry you’ve always wanted go from your imagination to your neck or finger. Imagine melting down all your mismatched earrings, chains and gold you have not worn in 10 years, and making that diamond and gold peace sign pendant you always wanted.

Now just imagine what we could create for you...

For example, a recently divorced woman came into the store with an engagement ring she wanted to turn into something new. First we explored a necklace with a pendant, and she said no because it would remind her of her ex. I looked at her legs and noticed a very cool ankle bracelet. I suggested, “Let’s make a toe ring out of it to go with match that ankle bracelet.” She looked intrigued. I continued, “If we make a very cool toe ring, every step you take you will be walking on your ex. And, you will be the only woman with a 2 carat GIA certified diamond on your toe!” She loved the idea! I weighed the ring and gave her a $600 credit, and then we measured her toe and took the pad of paper out to design the piece. Since delivery and every time I’ve seen her since that day, she stomps her foot in delight!

Our message is, in today’s world we need to constantly think about reducing, reusing and recycling. This mentality is the expression of our generational values. This recession may be breaking you and you need cash, or it’s keeping you from getting engaged or buying that great piece of jewelry your loved one wants. Now there is a solution to this dilemma. You can reuse – redesign – and recycle that old gold into an heirloom in waiting. After that, you may even have money left over to buy another gift for another loved one….

Written by Wade Watson, Founder of Ruff&Cut and Co-founder of Glittering Conscience

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Collections in Glittering Conscience!

We are brainstorming at Ruff&Cut and Glittering Conscience every day lately. The holidays are coming very soon and we are stocking up on the best selection of green gifts you can find in New York. Some things we are working on for R&C are a collection of crystal skull cufflinks (more info coming soon!) and more pieces in recycled silver and with ethically sourced gemstones.

At GC, we recently received a remarkable collection of certified recycled sterling silver necklaces, pendants, earrings and bracelets, all made with Harmony SilverTM from Hoover & Strong. The collection includes adorable Mother Nature-inspired designs with flowers and butterflies, as well as medallions inscribed with messages like, "Nurture" and "Rejuvenate".

Here is some more information on the new product:
The NES Group, a leading U.S.-based sterling silver jewelry company, has partnered with Hoover & Strong, a precious metals refiner since 1912, to produce the industry’s first-ever recycled sterling silver jewelry collection. This innovative concept brings jewelry made from recycled Harmony SilverTM to the ultimate consumer for the very first time.
 NES Green, the environmental arm of the NES Group, has made a commitment to reduce the damaging impact that mining precious metals has made on our eco-system for centuries. While creating a beautifully designed, affordable, quality product we have vowed to promote natural resource sustainability by using only recycled silver and recycled packaging and dis- play materials from start to finish.
 We at NES Green are extremely proud to do our part and bring recycled sterling silver jewelry to you first.
Stop by and take a look at these great new designs! They make perfect holiday gifts and are very affordable! The NES Group said they specifically wanted to keep consumers' budgets in mind when pricing the jewelry, and seek to avoid the typical "added costs" when buying "green products" (referenced from NES and Harmony Silver's presentation pamphlet). Prices range from $25-100.

Stay tuned for more R&C silver coming soon, featuring designs from new up-and-comer designer Andre Springer! Plus, are soon to be debuted Crystal Skulls!!