Why is Hanukkah So Late This Year, 2016?

Are we the luckiest people around this 2016 or what?

I mean, we get to have Chrismukkah instead of Thanksgivvikah this year! We get to also have New Year’s Eve-ikkah too this year!!  Ok, I made that up (New Year’s Eve-ikkah)

And, let’s not forget the after-Christmas sales while we are still gifting for Chanukkah.   YES!!!!!

But Why?

Well, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday, and that means it is based on the Jewish calendar.

In a nut shell, the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar which means it is based on the moon’s rotation around the earth. The Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and is based on the earth’s rotation around the sun. Since one calendar is based on the moon and the other is based on the sun, two different cycles are in use.

And two different set of dates.

But, to make things consistent, Hanukkah does begin every year of the Jewish calendar on the same day. The 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. The 25th of Kislev could fall anywhere from late November to late December on the Gregorian calendar. For example, in 2010, Hanukkah began on December 2. In 2011, it began on December 21, and in 2012, it began on December 9.

2017 it will be on December 12th.

That doesn’t totally answer the question of why it changes from year to year.  Here’s a bit more information (you know, in case you are playing Trivial Pursuit): since the Jewish calendar is lunar, certain adjustments must be made to the calendar to avoid having months occurring in different seasons. There are basically twelve and a half lunar months in a solar calendar year, making a lunar calendar about eleven days too short (a thirteen-month calendar would be nineteen days too long). To compensate, the Jewish calendar uses a leap month.  Hence, the date changes.

thankgivvikah
Thankgivvikah–lets never do that again!!

 

We can all save our Chrismukkah t-shirts for 2019, so don’t throw them away or give them to Goodwill. But those Thanksgivvikah shirts, feel free to donate those.

Chrismukkah Shirt
Chrismukkah Shirt

Stackable Rings Trend Here to Last

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Fashion is ever changing and not remaining in one place for too long. It’s a rare thing when something stays on trend for longer than a season or two but when it does then you know that it’s probably one worth participating in. The stackable ring trend is one of those long lasting trends, and I am SO happy about that. People are still showcasing their stacked rings on multiple Pinterest boards, blog posts, and in magazine articles. 2016’s trend of stackable rings is not going anywhere in 2017.

November 16, 2013 - Blog posts shooting with Elisa Dahan for Infashionated.com

Ring Stacking How-to:

Try starting with a delicate and/or sparkly ring as the foundation? But don’t stop there, Alef Bet Jewelry offers a wide variety of rings that are perfect options for the stackable ring trend. From high-end to low, stackable rings are making their mark. Many fashion experts suggest an anything-goes mentality that employs a selection of varying sizes, shapes and colors. While another advises choosing one metal (gold, rose gold, silver or platinum) or one color and then playing with textures. But I believe you the only rule is – there are no rules! This is fashion and fashion should express you and your beautiful personality! So no matter how you stack, strive for a cohesive look that makes you feel good.

Don’t forget to check out our website and Instagram feed for even more inspiration!

 

xoxo

Alef Bet Jewelry

 

 

How to Clean Gold Plated Jewelry

All jewelry requires cleaning to maintain its shine and luster, and the best way to clean gold plated jewelry is to make a tiny bath of soapy, warm water.  Quickly immerse the piece of jewelry, followed by a gentle cleaning with a cotton ball swab or q-tip.  Allow to air dry, and shine with a non-abrasive, lint free cloth.  Regular cleaning in this manner, especially on items worn regularly, will keep them lovely.

Gold (or rose) jewelry is an alloy of gold combined with another metal, and gold plated jewelry is a thin layer of gold on top of sterling silver and will eventually tarnish.  Even more of a problem than tarnishing with gold jewelry, is the build up of dirt caused by makeup and the oils in the skin.  This can cause the jewelry to look dull or dirty, and thus requires the piece to be cleaned.  Cleaning gold jewelry is the same as gold plated jewelry, but with a gentler hand.  If an abrasive action occurs, it can likely wear down and remove the thin layer of gold plating.  If removed, no cleaning can restore the look of the item, and therefore harsher cleaning products should be avoided.

Rose and cubic zircon stone necklace
Rose gold Shema Israel Hebrew blessing pendant

 

Gold-filled items, even with daily wear, can last five to 30 years but will eventually wear through. The gold layer on gold-plated jewelry varies greatly depending on the thickness of the plated items, so there is no simple answer. Gold-filled items are 50 to 100,000 times thicker than regular gold plating, and 17 to 25,000 times thicker than heavy gold electroplate.

A gentle touch with warm, soapy water is the best way to keep your jewelry sparkling.

Evil eye bracelets in sterling silver and 14k gold plate
Evil eye bracelets in sterling silver and 14k gold plate

What’s Arm Candy

Is arm candy really candy? 

According to urban dictionary it is a hot date.  An especially attractive date, escort or other companion to a special event, though not someone necessarily chosen for their intellectual company (wink, wink).   More on the simply to appear important, wealthy or worthy of attention type of company.

And now enters our idea of “arm candy!”  Feast your eyes on these hot babes!!

This a real party, or arm-candy.  It is good to look at, has no calories, never ages or rots, doesn’t talk back and is the perfect date.

You’re probably wondering how to make a party like this, well, it’s rather simple.

First, don’t be afraid of colors.  Notice the silver, rose gold, red and blue here.  There are fakes lurking on the arm and over 2ct of diamonds set in real 14k gold.  No one cares about the combination, but what they do care about is the look.  I can feast my eyes on this stack just as easily as a hunk of a guy who walks in at a party.  In fact, my eyes might go from the guy to the lady wearing this in less than 3 seconds flat.

Candy.

My favorite kind is like this, good on the eyes and leaves no calories lurking behind.  Hence, the word “arm candy.”  A modern day arm candy, but candy all the same.

 

 

hamsa and opal star of david bracelets

Stacking Bracelets 101

stacked

Deciding how to stack and layer your bracelets can, at times, be overwhelming. There are so many bracelets, bangles, cuffs available…the options are unlimited! Here are some ways to help make the decision easier and make you more confident when rocking your bangle sets!

1. WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?

To decide on the style of your personal bracelet stack, think of your own style and personality first. Are you the classy, elegant type of girl or do you prefer cool and laidback outfits? Do you love natural colors or are you more into sparkling and girly stuff? Or are you a combination of the above? Asking yourself these questions is a great way of becoming aware of your own personality and style. Remember: you are unique and your personal bracelet stack should match YOU!

bracelet bracelets2
2. NARROW DOWN YOUR OPTIONS.

To narrow down the options for the combination of your choice let’s take a closer look at the style of your soon-to-be-bracelet stack. An important question you’ll want to ask yourself here is: do I want my bracelet stack to match and compliment my wardrobe or do I want it to really stand out and be the eye-catching part of it? This will give you a rough idea of what your bracelet stack will look like.

diamond initial cuff bracelet

3. COLOR AND METAL OPTIONS.

Once you have an idea of the stack’s style in mind, it is important to make your decision on a color scheme. We have two main options here: the first one is to choose a specific color and/or metal and stick with it. This option is perfect if you either have a bold color as your all time favorite (like pink or purple) or if you prefer to dress in a specific color theme.

Colorful opal hamsa bracelets

Judaic Themed Cable Bracelets

The second option is to mix and match different colors or metals to create your personal bracelet combination. In line with your personal style and the stack’s style you decided on, you can either combine colors of the same color family here or go all bold and crazy by combining different colors with lots of contrast.

Visit alefbet.com to see more great choices.

 

It’s ALL About the Choker

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The choker necklace is one of Fall 2016’s biggest trends.

They were key accessories in the nineties, and they are making a comeback alongside backpacks, bandanas, bombers and cropped tops. Some of the world’s supermodels, like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, have rocked these necklaces in every way, whether at the Met Ball or walking the streets of LA.

Not only are they super chic but can be worn any way.

Chokers are the perfect accessory and a stand-out piece to include in any outfit. Now, a great outfit in itself can go a long way, the best thing you can do for any outfit is spice it up with a good accessory. You see, it makes a statement.   The best way, of course, is to try a trend and decide for yourself if it works for you. Here are some ways we have paired our chokers:

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You can see these online here.  As always, Alef Bet’s designs come with a full money back guarantee.  We’d love to see how you decide to wear this trend.  Let us know on Instagram!

Cancer Sucks and Age is a Number

Certain people inspire you, and this lady here with me does!  I first met Joyce at a kickboxing class almost 10 years ago where we instantly connected.  Here we are again, back in class, after she BEAT cancer for the 3rd time!  Not many people can fight like a pro—and win.  She came to class with a pic line in her arm for administering medicine, and that didn’t let working out stop her.  I must mention that she also had fabulous new weaved eyelashes on and was some of our wearing our too!  

That aside, I wanted to share my hero, Joyce.  

Be strong, be brave, and find strength in life.  Also, age is just a number.  Joyce is in her 70’s and this should inspire all of us to stay fit and healthy!

Oh, and that’s me, Alissa, on the right.

And Joyce.

What inspires you?

Who is your hero?

Joyce wearing Alef Bet Jewelry, fighting cancer and winning
Joyce wearing Alef Bet Jewelry, fighting cancer and winning

Easiest Bracelet. E.V.E.R.

 

There are bracelets of all sorts on the market, each one appealing to many different people.  We all have different size wrists, and styles.  We want to gift someone the best bracelet around, but don’t know their size.  What if we mess up, and it is too small, or too large?  And so on and so on.

Hamsa Bracelet with gemstones
Hamsa Bracelet with gemstones

 

Then there is THIS bracelet.  Seriously.  The answer.

On the backside is a special knot, called a macrame knot.  It slides open and closed so easily, you can do it with one hand.  You might think the beads hanging off of the back might be bothersome, but they really aren’t.  Honestly, you won’t even feel them. You’ll just be comfortable wearing this bracelet.

 

macrame bracelet

 

Macramé knotting is first believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. These artisans knotted the excess thread and yarn along the edges of hand-loomed fabrics into decorative fringes on bath towels, shawls, and veils, but most importantly their camels and livestock. From there, it traveled to Spain and Italy and onto England.  It was introduced into England at the end of the  17th century. Queen Mary taught the art of macramé to her ladies-in-waiting.  

Of course, it then made its way to America, and it can then be said that sailors made macramé objects in off hours while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed.   Now hammocks, jewelry, knots, and even belts are made using that ancient art of macrame.  

Take this design and mesh it with modern style.  And wow!

Actually, the hamsa charm also originated from the Middle East.  Just think of the history in this bracelet!

 

 

The Evil Eye and Hamsa Jewelry Combined

The symbol called a Hamsa is a timeless symbol that has endured from the peoples of ancient Mesopotamia and Carthage to A-list celebrities of today. The Eye is a simple but striking image of just that, an eye.  But, a hamsa is a stylized right hand with fingers spread (to ward off evil) or closed (to bring luck).  Many times you can see an eye placed inside of the palm of the hamsa-hand.  Commonly cast out of gold or silver,  these two lucky symbols are really one of the most eye-catching pieces of jewelry you can find, no pun intended.

hamsa necklace, chamsa necklace, gold hamsa jewelry
14k gold hamsa necklace

Over the years the striking design has remained relatively unchanged, but its spirit has meant many things.

 

To the ancient Mesopotamians the Hand of Fatima (or Khamsa) was a symbol to ward off the evil spirits of malice, jealousy and envy. The hand became common for those seeking protection, especially for pregnant women and new mothers. The hand was also a symbol of divine providence; it was carved out of jet or cast in silver and hung to bring luck to families.
The eye is a potent symbol of protection in Jewish culture as well. The five fingers of the hand is said to remind oneself to praise G-d with your five senses. It is known as the Hand of Miriam, sister of Moses and Aaron. In Christianity, the Eye is called the eye of Mary and was said to have the power to protect pregnant women. An open palm is also seen in Buddha’s gesture of protection. The symbol truly has worldwide appeal.


 

With its widespread appeal some will ask what the true meaning behind this captivating ornament is.


Is it a symbol to ward off jealousy? An amulet to protect nursing mothers? Perhaps a talisman to bring the wearer luck and happiness. Maybe it’s a reminder to praise god with your entirety.  Truthfully, the answers to these questions is simply: yes. It is all these things simultaneously, and it is the wearer that finds the meaning in this evocative piece through the lens of their own personal spirituality. The true power of this symbol is, in the end, intimacy: the intimacy one feels when holding it, and the connection to your own spirituality. The knowledge that you are connected to a rich history behind this symbol, while also making it your own- that’s a powerful feeling!

The push for more spirituality in the things we wear is strong, especially in America.  Americans have always had a fascination with the personal over the group. We value independence, and resourcefulness. This has extended into our belief system as well, as more and more people gravitate to a spiritual movement, not one necessarily based in one religion. The Eye of Hamsa is a perfect companion for this journey, because at its heart it isn’t a religious symbol but a spiritual one. Wearing one is an affirmation of your own spirituality and the commitment to something more, whatever that may be to you.
The most common form of the Eye of Hamsa is a necklace, perfect for wearing every day.  Even though in the past it was carved from jet or cast in silver, today you can find a Hamsa or an eye in almost any material you desire.  It can be richly adorned with jewels or kept quite simple.  It can be placed your cell phone case, worn as an evening bag, used on your couch as a pillow and even decorated on your t-shirt.  Indeed, just as its inner meaning can match your inner spirituality, its outward appearance can match any sense of style.

hamsa jewelry and hamsa bracelet

 

Today you can find Hamsas on almost anything. You can find mugs, t-shirts, posters, hats, leggings, tattoos, even underwear. With all this availability, it is still relatively fringe in the west, but not for long. While the Hamsa has been wildly popular in the Middle East and North Africa- it’s on Algeria’s national emblem- it has begun to trickle into America. That trickle will become a flood, it has already begun as more and more young people gravitate to this timeless icon.  Some great choices are Alef Bet Jewelry by Paula’s  hamsa or evil eye earrings, bracelets or necklaces.  

 

Written Language and Jewelry

Do you Dress Like the Queen of the Nile?

 

The desire to ornament ourselves is deep, deep in our human DNA.  Archeological digs from every part of the world reveal that people have always loved to wear jewelry, even before they had written language. Aztec and Mayan glyphs depict royalty wearing earrings and belts made from the plumes of parrots and the iridescent wings of butterflies. Viking graves reveal aristocrats accessorized for the afterlife wearing strands of amber beads and intricately carved bronze torques, a solid, collar-like necklace with an opening at the front. And most famously, the Egyptians dressed for life—and death—in shimmering headdresses, bib necklaces, rings and cuffs of yellow gold set with lapis lazuli, carnelian and onyx.

Today’s trend is minimalist, compared with the wow-factor of these ancestral tastes. One of the reasons: written language.

Maybe you’re not up for dressing like the Queen of the Nile most days. A great pair of jeans and the perfect white tee-shirt may be more your style—but what takes this modern uniform from “whatever” to a fashion look is the right piece of gold jewelry. The simpler the better: a subtle but substantial piece of gold that rests close to your heart. Based on more than 15 years of designing jewelry, we find that the piece of gold jewelry most women want today is an sleek, refined necklace which incorporates the names of kids and grandchildren. Perhaps it’s just the first initial of your child. Just one character may say it all. Say it in English or Hebrew—we create name-necklaces in both languages using both alphabets. In fact, that’s how our design business got started, creating cube- “letter” beads in Hebrew when the tradition had just started (Alef Bet, for any of you who don’t know, means “A,B” in Hebrew!).

Hebrew Name necklace
Engraving a Hebrew name necklace

We create many variations on name-necklaces which are so easy to wear, each piece will become the favorite you want to wear everyday!

The power of the names of those we love has never been more precious as the world becomes more and more global. Your kids and grandchildren may live in your hometown, or may live, work and play on another continent. Keep them close with Skype, and with a name-necklace from Alef Bet.

Our favorite customer testimonial goes like this: a chic grandmother we know wears a 14-karat and diamond Alef Bet necklace of seemingly random letters: “D,D,M,R”. But the letters aren’t random at all: the characters stand for her sons David and Daniel, and her granddaughters Miriam and Ruth. But that explanation may not be necessary. When someone asks grandma what the letters mean, she says simply “My family.”