Life Style

PASSAGE 88

Today I’d like to introduce to you a special project which I’ve been working on for the past few months – a limited collection of semi precious beaded necklaces, which I’ve made available for sale at a separate destination, called PASSAGE 88. PASSAGE 88 was originally a website I created for my travel writing, so that Feather Factor could focus solely on fashion/interviews. But as things turned out, travel ended up being a big component of this blog, so I ended up keeping it here. I’ve always loved the name, so I thought it would be a fitting home for my new project.

I should explain that in my day job, I work as a product manager – which means that I develop and launch consumer technology products. I never thought that my career would end up in a role like this, but I love it. Taking a product from concept, all the way to launch and ultimately seeing it on store shelves, is an incredible experience. I’ve learned so much – everything from finding the best suppliers, to manufacturing, to quality control, and much more. And the fact is, unless I make something that people actually want to buy, at the right price for them – I haven’t done my job.

Group

There are so many items that I feel like I’m always searching for. I buy versions upon versions and spend time looking for those “perfect pieces” – but I can’t find them, either because they don’t exist, or the cost is too high, or I don’t like the materials. A few months ago, I started to think – why not make something myself? I had been looking for the perfect long necklace for years. I knew I wanted something made with quality stones and precious metal, that I could wear both casually and formally. Something that made a statement, yet didn’t weigh a ton or look too trendy. I didn’t want to spend thousands, yet a lot of the less expensive versions I saw just seemed badly made, of poor value, or too mass produced. Over time I started to sketch out what my perfect necklace would look like, thought about my favorite materials, style elements, and eventually started to bring my creation to life. I was inspired by memories of a necklace my mom used to wear all the time when I was growing up.

I worked with a company in Asia which helped me source beautiful, high grade stones in materials such as labradorite. The same jeweler also had their team hand carve custom dragon ball gemstones just for me, which are the focal point of each necklace. And then finally back in the United States, a small team of artisans ultimately crafted and put the necklaces together. The natural malachite, onyx and gold necklace below is one of my favorites – the deep green is just enough to add a small pop of color to my neutral outfits.

Malachite

I’m really proud of what we created. I managed and obsessed over every single component. Each of these necklaces are made with high quality, noble materials. The beads are all semi precious stones like malachite, onyx, and chalcedony. The focal point of each piece – the ornate dragon ball – have each been hand carved. The sterling silver and 22K gold vermeil accents are precious metals all the way through (vermeil is gold over sterling silver – unlike gold “plated” which I learned is usually just a super thin layer of gold over a much cheaper material). The tassels are fat, long and made of pure silk. And the necklace is entirely hand knotted, which not only gives a more luxurious look, but the special nylon/silk thread I chose for them is super strong, which ensures that you can wear them for years to come. I’ve been wearing mine all the time when we go out, and I’m happy to report that they almost always garner compliments and queries about where to purchase (a good portion of the initial production has been already pre-sold this way!).

The necklaces start at $250, and you can learn more about each one, and purchase them, at PASSAGE 88. Thank you so much for your time in visiting me here over the years, and I hope some of you will enjoy PASSAGE 88 as well, where I will be sharing hopefully more creations and discoveries to come. As always, I welcome any feedback and suggestions!

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  • Sonya
    October 26, 2015 at 6:43 am

    I’ve followed you almost from the beginning of your blog. Congratulations, the necklaces are wonderful. Like you, I own more than a few Alhambra necklaces but now after all the price increases I’m looking for something easier. Deciding between malachite and rose..

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you! I wish I had “more than a few” Alhambra…lol! I hope you find these as useful as your VCA!

  • Alice
    October 26, 2015 at 7:38 am

    So exciting! I love the way the rose quartz one looks paired with that jacket.

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Thank you my friend!

  • Mica
    October 26, 2015 at 8:55 am

    OMG, the Malachite! I’m ordering now and telling my Husband that it’s my Christmas gift! They’er beautiful!

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Thanks Mica! I really hope you like it, please let me know any feedback.

  • Belen
    October 26, 2015 at 10:06 am

    Congratulations! They are beautiful! I love the Rose Quartz one.

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks Belen!

  • irina
    October 26, 2015 at 10:15 am

    That’s such a great news, Katherine! Congratulations on the new twist!!

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you, Irina!

  • Lisa
    October 26, 2015 at 11:27 am

    It’s so beautiful! Congrats on creating such an elegant and simple design….can’t wait to purchase.

    • Katherine
      October 26, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Thank you, Lisa…I hope you enjoy!

  • Vivian
    October 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    They are very pretty and they do remind me of you and speak to your style very much. Congratulations on the new launch! Will check it out now and let you know about my favourites

  • Sammie
    October 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Congrats on your new project! The necklaces look great 🙂

  • Iris
    October 26, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Congrats on launching your own necklaces! Have you thought about creating pearl necklaces that look stylish and not matronly? I found it hard to find pearl necklaces that look youthful.

    • Katherine
      October 27, 2015 at 7:09 am

      Thanks Iris! I have the same problem with pearl necklaces and have thought about it…maybe one day!

      • Whitney Farris
        October 29, 2015 at 2:08 pm

        Pearls have come a very long way since the days of Queen Elizabeth 2. I believe Princess Diana showed how pearls could be worn youth fully. I have many many pearls ……14 strands, I believe. Ranging anywhere from Ropes to 18 inches. I don’t like anything shorter than that. It’s all how you dress them. That’s my opinion! 😉

        • Katherine
          October 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm

          Hi Whitney, you make a good point that 18 inches and longer make it more modern…that has a lot to do with it. I have a few classic strands but I’ve never figured out what to do with them – probably because they are shorter. Who are some of your pearl inspirations?

          • Whitney Farris
            October 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm

            I am inspired by the way the ladies wore them in the 20’s. I very much liked the way Coco wore them. I like them to look careless, like they were the last thing I threw on before I left the house. I’ll take my long strands and double or triple them, straggering the lengths. Or wear several strands long. I can’t stand 16 inches in any necklace, not my style.

        • Jaime S
          October 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm

          My south sea strand should be arriving soon, Whitney!

          • Whitney Farris
            October 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

            You will love them! I don’t know why you waited so long to finally buy them! Simply Gorgeous!

  • Wei
    October 26, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Congrats Kat! They’re really lovely! But what is more amazing is that you’ve managed to be a mom and an entrepreneur – a mamaprenuer! 👍

  • Natalie {Use Your Words, Little Girl}
    October 27, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    BEAUTIFUL product! The attention to detail was not in vain. So lovely. And I didn’t know you were a Product Manager. I am a PM for a healthcare IT company, and I also really enjoy the process of designing and seeing something come to life. Well done!

    • Katherine
      October 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks Natalie, and hello to a follow PM!!

  • ABG
    October 27, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Beautiful! Passage88 is now in my bookmark. Congratulations Katherine.

    • Katherine
      October 27, 2015 at 9:17 pm

      Hello, you! Thank you ABG!

  • Shelly
    October 27, 2015 at 8:24 pm

    These are really pretty – but the $250 price point is quite high.

    • Katherine
      October 27, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks Shelly. I totally understand your comment about the price point – its really due to the expense of the raw materials as well as the carved ball. I did choose to use high grade stones and the fact that the entire necklace is hand knotted also added to the cost. Its a tradeoff 🙂

      • Shelly
        October 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm

        That makes sense – and I certainly trust your blog for high-quality recommendations so it suits your style to use those products! I’ll keep an eye on the site for Christmas. 🙂

  • Ava Lon
    October 28, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Dear Katherine,

    Wow! Just wow! Where do you find the time between work, family, baby, and now this?! They are gorgeous!
    I have just sent my friends subtle hints of what I want for my holiday presents! I love the Malachite, Rose Quarts and Tiger Eye…so stunning!
    Congratulations on yet another exciting ad/venture! 😉

    I am so impressed! Next thing I know you will be launching a line of luxury leather goods! 😀

    Hope all is well!

    x
    Ava

    • Katherine
      October 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Ava, thanks so much my friend!

  • Ammu
    October 29, 2015 at 7:10 am

    Congratulations! They are gorgeous.

    • Katherine
      October 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Ammu!

  • candace
    October 29, 2015 at 8:33 am

    BEAUTIFUL. I AM sending the website to my husband;).

    Wishing you much success and many blessings.
    Candace
    Houston, TX

    • Katherine
      October 29, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Candace!

  • Revanche
    October 30, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Belatedly: Congrats on the launch, how lovely they are! I love the thought behind them, though with my ULTRA grabby infant, I’m going to have to wait to try this myself. (Nothing is safe within hir arm’s reach!)
    It’s not exactly my area but I was recently recruited for a PM role. It wasn’t quite the right fit but it was intriguing. I’d love to chat with you sometime about your experiences.

    • Katherine
      October 31, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much! I understand about grabby infants 🙂

  • Cecilia
    November 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    I received mine! Stunning! Love the beautiful handcarved malachite dragon ball <3 <3 And the craftsmanship is top-notched. Kat, you are a genius. Please continue your great work and bring us more beautiful items. Once again, major congrats and huge thank-you! Cecilia x