Our Blog

  1. Photo Journal: Bodega Bouquet

    "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself."

    - Mrs. Dolloway, Virginia Woolf

    We asked our friend Karla Smith-Brown of Olivee Floral to show us the secrets to making your own flower arrangement at home with a few bundles of flowers & greenery from your local bodega / grocery.
    You can watch the full tutorial here!

    Join us in flowering at home! Or if you are in Brooklyn, swing by the Olivee Floral pop up this Valentine's Day at Sincerely, Tommy (343 Tompkins Ave, Brooklyn 11216)
    Karla will be there from 10am to 2pm.

    Hometown: Toronto, ON Canada

    How long have you lived in NYC?

    8 years!

    How long have you been working with flowers?

    My earliest flower memory is being in the garden as a child, planting flowers with my favorite aunt. I will always remember how free it felt to move my hands in the dirt. After deciding to take my love of flowers more seriously, I took a course with Stems Brooklyn and AVS Flower School. Then I began working at Edelweiss Floral Altelier where I truly learned the most about all aspects of the flower industry. Working in the shop was like a crash course with so many invaluable lessons on best practices when handling flowers, and helping clients, along with foundation design techniques. I really admire their work and feel honored to have been part of their team!

    Where did the name Olivee come from?

    Olivee Floral is actually named after my great grandmother, Granny Olivee, the powerful matriarch in my mother's family from Saint Elizabeth, Jamaica. I went back to Jamaica for the first time as an adult a few years ago, and my experience really inspired me to bring her energy and honor my heritage in my work. Olivee's wild, unyielding, natural style is a direct reflection of the lush, bountiful land in Saint Elizabeth and the resilience of its people.

    Where do you look for inspiration?

    Mostly contemporary art, specifically work that explores color theory and texture. Artists I love include Cassi Namoda, Chioma Ebinama, and Tschabalala Self.

    What is your favorite flower? (Okay - what are your top five!)

    It definitely changes based on the season, but right now I'm crushing hard on Poppies, French Tulips (especially Jonquieres Tulips), Japanese Ranunculus, Anemones (especially the Pink Tiger variety- which is featured in our Sassy Pink Valentine's Day offering), and Hellebores.

    Describe your work in three words

    Natural, Vivid, Refined

    What are your favorite bodegas to buy flowers from?

    Broccoli Farm on Franklin Ave, SoHo Garden on Prince Street, and Trader Joes always has some great options too :)

    What's a good tip for extending the life of your arrangement?

    Keep it clean! Change the water in the vessel every other day to prevent bacteria from accumulating and bonus points if you give your stems a fresh trim after changing the water.

    In your opinion, what are the elements of a good arrangment.

    For Olivee's floral's signature style, I believe it's important to use a variety of greenery to create texture, fullness, and choose blooms from different styles, gesture, and size to create interest and use bold complimenting colors with a focal pop to mark the clear star of the show!  

    Thank you for joining us, Karla! Be sure to follow along @oliveefloral, and don't forget to buy the flowers yourself.

    Shop the Story

  2. Catbird Spotlight - Leith Clark

    Our friend and collaborator Leith Clark makes dreamscapes out of lots of work. We've asked her to share some of what she's been watching and thinking about this holiday season, so we can share them with you, our friends and collaborators. She also sent a list of her London and New York favorites - we'll send those along once London is back from lockdown. Until then, enjoy all of these, which can be enjoyed from wherever you are!

    taken at the Ritz Paris, November 2020

    LEITH'S TIP FOR STYLING JEWELRY

    Mix old with new and high with low. And be sure to find, make or buy a beautiful home for it all

    Wear with silk pyjamas or barefoot in dresses. Lately, I live in black Pierrot pyjamas from Sleeper.

  3. Meet the Team!

    Greetings from our jewelry experts! Our Catbird mavens who can deftly whip up the perfect stack (no matter the budget), find the perfect gift (no matter the budget), and generally make sure you walk away from your virtual styling session with a smile (no budget needed!) 

    How would you describe your style?

    It ranges from casual / fun to extravagant depending on my mood!

    Your jewelry uniform:

    Always earrings! I almost never take mine off but will change them up every once in a while. Also my welded bracelets and my Pas de Deux Ring.

    Favorite pairing:

    So many options to choose from! My current favorite ring pairing is my Pas De Deux Ring with the Beacen Ring, Mother of Pearl nestled on top.

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Snow Queen Ring in yellow gold

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    I love adding charms to my earring stacks. You can add a charm to the (small) Hoop Dream Earring so easily! I love putting the Mermaid's Treasure Charm, the Gentle Spider Charm, or the Met Button Souvenir Charm on mine.
     

    How would you describe your style?

    Colorful & out there - a mix of Catbird and vintage pieces

    Your jewelry uniform:

    So. many. stacking rings. Top knuckle rings are a must!

    Favorite pairing:

    Grand Mignon Ring with anything: Twisted Stacker, Threadbare, and Classic Hammered

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Diamond Kitten Mitten

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    Fasten your necklaces a couple of inches in between when you layer them, like the 1976 Choker, then the Greco Lariat, then a longer one like the Adjustable Sweet Nothing Chain. This can help with tangling! 

    How would you describe your style?

    My style is colorful and fun, I like really classic yellow gold jewelry because it looks so good with all the bright colors in my wardrobe.

    Your jewelry uniform:

    My welded bracelets (1976 and Sweet Nothing) , my 1976 Chain, my Still Life stack (see below!) and my Tomboy thumb ring. Also I always wear my small Hoop Dream earrings with little YG chams :) 

    Favorite pairing:

    Twisted Stacker, Still Life Ruby Ring, Twisted Stacker, and Threadbare in that order :) 

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Beacon Ring Salt and Pepper by Laurie Fleming, Painters Blue Ring by Jennie Kwon, and the Met Button Charm

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    When my fingers get a little swollen in summer or in general, I put my Classic Hammered and Mignon Memory knuckle rings on my 1976 Chain as a cute charm :)  

    How would you describe your style?

    Colorful and fun but always comfortable!

    Your jewelry uniform:

    Lots of stacking rings and top knuckles, Diamond Kitten Mitten, Greco Lariat Earring, gold Ear Cuff, a tangle of welded bracelets...the more sparkle the better :)

    Favorite pairing:

    Pearl Buffet Ring with a Twisted Stacker, Baby Cygnet on top of another Twisted Stacker and Grand Mignon Candy Flower Choker with a Sweet Nothing and 1976 Choker.

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Celestial Rose Earring & a Diamond Baguette Hoop

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    I like to thread my Greco Lariat earring through a piercing that already has a stud in for an unexpected, fun look! My mentality is the more the better, I love mixing textures, lengths and materials to create the perfect jumbled, sparkly look depending on my mood and outfit!

    How would you describe your style?

    70s influenced! Love to mix my mom's vintage pieces with my Catbird collection

    Your jewelry uniform:

    My Sweet Nothing Choker and 1976 Choker never come off. Along with 3 Yellow Gold Threadbare Rings + my Famous Letter Ring with "Boone" engraved for my pup :)

    Favorite pairing:

    Dewdrop Ring paired with 2 Classic Hammered Rings and a Twisted Stacker

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Yellow Gold Diamond Pinprick Necklace

    How would you describe your style?

    Classic and a little edgy!

    Your jewelry uniform:

    Lots of stacking rings, my 5 gold bracelets (two on one wrist, three on the other), a 1976 Chain and a flurry of earrings.

    Favorite pairing:

    1976, Sweet Nothing and Tiny Corsage bracelets all together on one wrist - makes the most beautiful mess.

    At the top of your wishlist:

    The Caravaggio necklace and ring, both in ruby. Also, a Little Lift Diamond Stacking Ring to fit in between a stack of Threadbares!

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    Put two earrings in a single piercing hole (if there's space for it!) This works best when pairing a stud with some kind of threader earring.

    How would you describe your style?

    Neutral colors with cute accessories

    Your jewelry uniform:

    Sweet Nothing Choker, Bracelet, and Anklet, I love a sweet nothing!

    Favorite pairing:

    Greco Lariat with a 1976 Choker

    At the top of your wishlist:

    Diamond Baguette Hoops 

    Any styling tips or tricks?

    Don’t be afraid of mixing metals!

    Shop Their Favorites

  4. Hi! It's us!

    While our stores remain closed, Steph and Jess have been pinch hitting across departments - answering DMs, filling orders, being their amazing selves. Here they are, with all the joie de vivre they bring to our little shops! 

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  5. Rony Q&A Vol. 2

    Do you have a particular love of delicate jewelry yourself?

    I do! I always have. I like to not be fussy so small, easy pieces are, well, easy. I like to leave my jewelry on all the time. #lazystyle 

    What advice would you give to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a jewelry company?

    1. Start small! Go big only when it counts. 
    2. Find your voice. 
    3. Trust you gut, but ask tons of questions from every kind of person you have access to - and listen with an open heart and mind. 
    4. Listen to every episode of “How I Built This.” 

    Oldest Catbird piece that’s still around today? 

    Our Classic Hammered Rings (in silver and gold). 

    What’s your favorite dinner order?

    Greek salad with anchovies and coffee, milk no sugar.

    Sweet nothing bracelets on both wrists… any thoughts?

    Yes, I love symmetry :) Also a big fan of layering bracelets - Forever & clasped!

    Where did you get funding to start Catbird? 

    I was - and am still - self funded. When I started in 2004, I used the 16k I had in savings which covered my security deposit and some rent, some merch, and the build-out that we did ourselves with floor panels from Costco. I was scrappy! (See photo!)  At the time 0% credit cards were a thing, so I used those instead of bank loans. It was a different time! 

    What's something you had to learn the hard way?

    Allowing my fear of confrontation to guide me… When someone is a bad fit, passively waiting for it to get better is a bad idea. Letting it go on too long is damaging to your business and your people.

    How did you know it was time to expand?

    Great question. At critical junctures when you are experiencing different kinds of growing pains - that’s when it is clear that it’s time to make changes. When you need more space, or new software, or a big new hire… maybe things you can’t quite afford yet or don’t feel ready for - those changes are usually instigated by some sort of pain! You’re losing people, you’re working too hard, customers are mad, there are too many mistakes, etc - time to look inward and explore if there is a better way to do things. There was a period of time where space was a HUGE issue for us, so we made our plan to move our HQ to the Brooklyn Navy Yard where we moved in the Spring of 2018 - and we are still growing! We do tours, actually -- come visit us!  

    Is it ok to get jewelry wet? 

    I leave all my jewelry on, all the time. But traditionally one should be gentle with pearls and very gentle with opals. We actually have a full jewelry care guide, which you can find here

    What’s your fave piece?

    Here are some of my favorite pieces that I also wear daily: Diamond Pinprick Necklace, Greco Lariat Necklace, Elisa Solomon Viola Ring, Old World Classic Wedding Band, Welded Sweet Nothing bracelet, a threadbare. 

    What is your favorite candy?

    Ooh what a question! I love caramel and I love coconut. My head is spinning because I don’t know!! Can ice cream be my favorite candy?

     

    Is deciding what to stock a gut feeling or more technical process of what might sell?

    Both Leigh and I do tons by instinct but we also rely on data and information to backup decisions. If we love something and the data goes against us, we will do it anyway. 

    Here is a great quote from the brilliant Mickey Drexler, “Instincts are knowledge, history, looking around and seeing what’s going on.” (From his podcast with David Chang.)

    Favorite Williamsburg drink or lunch spots? 

    We have a whole sheet that we edit fairly regularly about this very subject!

    Such a small thing, but the logo is dynamite…

    Thank you! Not a small thing at all! I love it too. It was drawn by a wonderful human who is an incredible artist - she was a sales associate for years!! 

    How do you manage to continue when you struggle?

    Hmm. There are many ways to answer this question. If I am struggling personally, then work is really a respite - where I can solve problems and be busy and it feels good. If I am struggling AT work, that is much harder but there really is no choice but to power through. I am responsible for people’s livelihoods and my troubles just have to be worked out for the greater good. Too bad, me! At those times especially I am so grateful to have such an incredible staff.

    The dainty style Catbird brings is amazing, do you plan keep the style the same?

    YES!! Always. 

    How’d you START? Like what were your literal first steps?

    Here is a really great article from Rookie where I talk all about this!  

    What’s the proudest accomplishment in what you’ve done?

    Building a company where people stay, for a long time, is the most gratifying thing. Everything else that I am proud of stems from that!

  6. Wedding Annex Q&A

    We took a trip to our Wedding Annex recently with Saskia from our concierge team. She is the expert in ALL things wedding & engagement! With a little help from our Instagram followers, we worked through a small sampling of some of the questions you guys had. Let's get started!

    Q: How do you find your ring size?

    A: We highly recommend visiting a local jeweler in your area (if you aren't local to New York) to find the best ring size for you! We also have a Ring Sizing Guide on our website and we do sell a nifty little Ring Sizer. If you are in New York, swing by one of our locations and our staff will gladly size you!

     

    Q: Should the fit of a ring be tight or loose? Doesn’t finger size change with seasons?

     

    A: The fit is up to you :) Some people prefer their rings to fit  loose, while others prefer it to be more snug. I personally like my rings to fit loose as my fingers will swell so much in the summer. It’s best to find a happy medium, something that is only a little tight in the summer and only a little loose in the winter. (Tip: You can always add a simple stacking ring on top to hold your ring in place in the winter - if needed!)

    Q: What karat gold would you recommend for an engagement / wedding ring?

     

    A: Normally for Wedding & Engagement rings we recommend either 14k gold or 18k gold. Most of our styles are available in both of these karats. We do offer bands in 22k gold, though this karat is a bit too soft for stones, so we do not recommend 22k for engagement rings.

    Q: What is the largest size diamond you carry?

     

    A: We carry a wide range of carat sizes starting at  .1 ct and the largest stones clocking in around 1ct. (including Juno the Swan & the Knife Edge Ring by Erstwhile)

    Q: What's the difference between Anna & Odette the Swan?

     

    A: The main difference is that Anna the Swan has a brilliant cut center stone and Odette has a rose cut center stone!  Rose cut diamonds have a flat bottom and all of the facets are cut on the top of the stone, making for a softer sparkle. And brilliant cut diamonds are a traditional diamond shape, and have a lot more facets on the inside allowing the light to bounce around so it appears brighter & whiter!

    Q: How do thin bands fare as an everyday ring? What's the wear and tear like?

     

    A: Thin bands can absolutely last a lifetime if cared for properly. Gold is a relatively soft metal that will want to mold to the shape of your finger over time. But that is perfectly normal! We generally recommend removing your jewelry if you are going to be going to be doing something that might be hard on your hands like moving furniture or lifting weights or gardening for example.

    Q: Do you have engagement rings without stones?

     

    A: Yes of course! There are no rules. We have many wonderful rings without stones. See a few of our favorites here. Click the photos to shop!

    ➡️ ➡️ 

     

     

     

     

     

    Q: How are customers choosing their rings while keeping the surprise of a proposal?

     

    A:When shopping for an engagement ring people usually take into account the other person's style, maybe take a look at their pinterest boards or their Instagram for ideas. You can usually get some hints from the jewelry they already wear too, like do they more yellow gold or rose gold. Also, talking to their close friend or family member helps because they may have spoken with them about what kind of ring they would like.

    Q: Are your diamonds GIA graded?

     

    A: All of our brilliant cut Swans come with a GIA certificate. (They are also all recycled diamonds! Learn more about our recycled diamond program here.) Some other center diamonds can be certified as well. Diamonds in rings by other designers can also sometimes be certified. If you have questions about a specific ring, contact us - we can find out!

    Q: What alloy is your white gold / are they plated?

     

    A: Our white gold is not rhodium plated, as we prefer the natural color of white gold to shine through so it’s a little bit more yellow. Our white gold alloy contains pure gold, usually some zinc, copper, silver, and trace amounts of nickel. Some of the designers we carry do plate their white gold, so if you have a question about a specific piece please contact us! :)

     

     

     

     

    Q: What is the best engagement ring metal for someone with a nickel allergy?

     

    A: Generally we recommend platinum because it is a hypoallergenic metal. Gold can have trace elements of nickel or other metals that might cause allergies as it is an alloy of various metals. Many of the wedding an engagement styles we carry can be ordered in platinum - here are some of our favorites.  Click the photos to shop!  ➡️ ➡️

    Q: Are emeralds a bad choice for a swimmer? 

    A: Emeralds are a bit sensitive, so we highly recommend removing them before going swimming or taking a shower, doing dishes, applying lotions / creams, spraying hairspray etc. Prevention is ALWAYS the best jewelry care! Do you have questions about jewelry care for a different stone? Check out our Jewelry Care Guide or reach out to our concierge team!

    Q: Ring insurance. Do people buy it? Is it worth it?

     

    A: People do! We think it is. You never know what might happen. We offer appraisals for insurance companies for all rings purchased with us - if you are interested in getting an appraisal please email us!

     

    Q: How do I keep my diamonds sparkly and clean forever?

     

    A: We have a pretty amazing jewelry care guide on our website (see it here)! If you are local, you can also stop by one of our locations and we would be happy to do a quick cleaning for you, you can also visit a local jeweler. If you want a deep clean at home, we would suggest looking into investing in an at-home ultra-sonic machine. We also sell a Sparkle & Shine Kit for quick clean ups. So many ways to sparkle!

     

    Q: Best way to choose a wedding ring to pair with my Catbird engagement ring (not in NYC)?

     

    A: Contact our concierge team!! We are so happy to help and send lots and lots of photos of different pairings :)

  7. My new favorite bodega item.

    My new favorite bodega item.

    We made a lip balm with Stewart and Claire and it's an homage to Brooklyn bodegas and their roses and overripe avocados and plentiful seltzer options. Smells like roses, looks like them too!

    xo Leigh

    Bodega Bouquet $8

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  8. Notes from the Wedding Annex: The Four C’s

    Notes from the Wedding Annex: The Four C’s
    The basic elements of an engagement ring are commonly referred to as “Four C’s”: Cut, Clarity, Color, and Carat. Of the four, Cut is arguably the most considered since it directs the shape and design of the entire ring. Though the others also play a role in your decision, we always recommend focusing on the ring as a whole.


    Here’s our short breakdown of each ‘C'. You can look to our guide to engagement ring shopping for more info and tips. Or make an appointment at the Catbird Wedding Annex for a one-on-one consultation with one of our specialists. You can even make your appointment a surprise!

    Cut
    “Cut” refers to the way the rough gem was sliced and faceted to increase its brilliance. Different cut names are a way of labeling different proportions and shapes.


    There are brilliant cut diamonds, rose cut diamonds, baguette, marquise, emerald, and pear cut diamonds... just to name a few.


    Clarity
    “Clarity” refers to how clean the stone is. All stones have natural inclusions which make them one of a kind, and there is a clarity scale in which they are graded -- from flawless FL to I3.


    Color
    Even white diamonds are graded on a color scale - there are many different hues of white. The scale runs from pure white to yellow (or D to Z).


    Carat
    Carat with a “c” is the unit of measurement used to describe the weight of a stone. Keep in mind that carat weight does not always reflect the diameter of the stone (the stone could be taller or deeper than it is wide).


    Let’s take a closer look at a few of the brilliant cut diamonds we have in our current wedding offering, available online and at the annex.

    Juno is the only swan in our line of engagement rings that features a brilliant cut white diamond center stone. Shimmering and elegant, Juno is made by hand in our Brooklyn Studio. See full details here.





    The Wandering Star Ring by Morphe is a white diamond engagement ring that dazzles - starry and sparkling like the night sky. See full details here.




    A masterful combination of vintage style with a modern edge, The Knife’s Edge Ring by Erstwhile is the epitome of brilliance. Handmade in New York. See full details here.


    • • •

    Questions about the rings above? Email [email protected], we’d love to hear from you.

    Xo
    Kristin
  9. Book Club: Our Favorites' Favorites

    Book Club: Our Favorites' Favorites

    During the waning days of summer, I start to ponder on my fall reading list. Imagery of myself cozy on the couch with some hot tea, wearing cashmere shorts, burning a favorite fall scent and a heavy musky hard cover fill in my head. (Reality- I'm probably on the bus, covered in cat hair and coffee stains, and my kindle battery is dead.)

    But nothing is worse than being at a loss on what to read, no matter your surroundings. When you've exhausted the classics and the best sellers list is underwhelming, where do you turn? The pros, duh. Who better to trust than some of the best writers themselves? Here's a list of some of our favorite female authors' favorites.

    According to an interview in The Paris Review, Joan Didion's favorite book is Joseph Conrad's Victory. A really interesting book that Didion reads every time she has started a new writing project.

    Maya Angelou couldn't choose a single favorite novel but graced us with several beloved ones. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, and of course Alcott's Little Women.

    Ah, Patti Smith. You never fail us. The poet, writer, musician, and all around bad ass idol has stocked her book shelf with copies of Carey Wallace's The Blind Contessa's New Machine and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

    Miranda July, how are you just so cool? Take her advice and read How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran, A Time for Everything by Karl Ove Knausgaard, or Man V Nature by Diane Cook.

    So there you have it, a few recommendations from some real cool ladies who probably know what they are talking about. We're ready for fall now.

    xoxo
    Rachel

  10. Life Lessons: Roller skating

    Life Lessons: Roller skating

    This past rainy weekend my ten year old and I went roller skating at the extremely fun Brooklyn Bridge Park roller skating rink. (Highly recommended for tourists and residents alike.) She has skated before so I was surprised to see her clutching the wall and only looking down at her feet - a slow, measured clomp.

    I immediately turned into her coach. “Look up - face where you're going and you'll get there! Don’t be afraid to fall down! You can’t skate if you are only thinking of falling!” On and on...

    And, since I am not only her mother and roller skating coach, but also her de facto life coach - I was really hoping she would absorb my wonderful skating lessons as wonderful life lessons.

    Look up, everyone! A laser focus on your goals can get you there! If you only think about failing/falling, you will not move forward!

    Who knew?

    - Rony

    PS Fun fact: When I was little I was absolutely positive I started the 80s roller skating craze.

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