Jewelry, antique and discreetQueen Victoria brought the...

STYLE FILE

March 16, 1997|By Vida Roberts and Janice D'Arcy

Jewelry, antique and discreet

Queen Victoria brought the prescribed social state of mourning to a fine art. After her dear Prince Albert died she never fully gave up her widow's weeds -- luxurious as they were -- for nearly half a century. It was in her reign that mourning jewelry design flourished. Widows were expected to dress in black with suitably discreet jewels; that precluded colored gemstones and sparkle. Sober mourning designs for lockets, pins and watch brooches were made up in gold in combination with black enamel, onyx or ebony with subtle touches of pearls or inlay. Ladies of strained circumstances resorted to jet-bead jewelry, a less costly but no less handsome alternative.

Some of the finest mourning pieces incorporated the departed's lock of hair, woven and braided into intricate designs and framed under crystal. Unfortunately, many of these pieces have not survived modern squeamishness.

Mourning pieces pass through the antique jewelry collection at Albert S. Smyth jewelers. Sales associate Peggy Banister says a new generation is taking to the designs because they are still very wearable with today's pared-down fashions.

Women who are familiar with the Peruvian Connection catalog may not be aware that company's outlet store is located at

Chesapeake Village in Perryville. The catalog collection of beautiful and intricately-crafted clothing in luxury fibers is priced at the high end of ethnic-inspired design. The outlet store sells at considerable discount with additional seasonal markdowns. Call (410) 378-2291 for hours and directions.

How to get kissed on St. Patrick's Day if your family tree has none of the green? Go incognito. BodyFx, a California based company, has created temporary hair color that allows the darkest brunette to become a redhead for the day. The "Righteous Red" (also available in Ballistic Blue and Purple Persuasion) is sold as a creme, streaking pen or crayon for between $5 and $10 at Contempo Casuals or by calling (888) 4-Bodyfx. The instructions are easy, the results swift. And with a promise of washing out after one or two shampoos, the risk is low.

A men's neckwear company has come up with the perfect information-age attire -- the "After Dark" collection. Now the whimsical computer images that decorate idle monitors, like flying toasters, swimming fish, molecular structures and flying toilets, are on ties. Each silk tie is $25 and is packaged in a computer-shaped box. They aren't in many stores, but are available through Wemco in New Orleans at (504) 822-3700. Because Wemco believes most of their customers are computer-literate types, they also have a web site: http: //wemco.com.

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