Hey, remember when my house was burglarized and all my jewelry was stolen? Yeah that sucked. It's funny what you hang onto, I had some nice jewelry and some lovely pieces that meant a lot to me. I've come to terms with losing almost all of it despite a few moments when I'll go, "Hey remember that time on our honeymoon when we got a pearl out of an oyster and had it made into a necklace and I managed to not break it for twelve years and now it's just gone?" Or when I think about my great grandmother's cameo necklace that was passed down to three generations and I'm the one that lost it. Or when I see a particularly nifty charm and think, "wow that would be neat on my childhood charm bracelet that had a charm from every place I'd ever gone... if I still had it." It's not that I miss the jewelry I had so much, but I really miss the connection to the past it gave me. And I sure as hell miss the opportunity to pass it down to my own girls.

Despite that, the truth is that I'm not much of a jewelry person. I tend to wear the same things day after day: a necklace, some hoop earrings that don't bother my ears and a couple of rings. And I know someone out there is going to yell about me about this, but I wear them to bed and in the shower too. If I put something on, I seldom take it off until I'm pretty much ready to throw it away and buy something else.

Anyway, I'm trying to get over it. I started by buying myself a wedding ring facsimile a few months ago. Though this ring is not nearly as nice or as expensive as my original wedding ring, it actually works better for me - for one thing I can wear it (on my to do list: finally lose that toddler weight). For another, it doesn't get caught on things and people like the other one. The downside is I can no longer ball up my fist and use my ring for self defense. I've since added one or two other pieces back to my collection, but mostly I haven't done anything about replacing the pieces that were lost or filling my now empty jewelry box.

So when Sara wrote to me a few weeks back and asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing her website, ordering a free piece of jewelry and writing a post about the experience, I thought, what the hell? If there's one thing I'm good at, it's having an opinion on stuff. And since her request was for my honest thoughts, "good, bad or ugly," I didn't feel conflicted or pressured at being asked to write something that could double as ad copy. I took a look at her website and thought that I liked the layout, it was well organized and easy to navigate, so I responded to her request that I'd be happy to give it a shot.

I liked the LuShae Jewelry website a lot. I spent a lot of time combing through all the different pieces and the pages load quickly, show different views of each item and even have a view that show it next to a ruler, which I LOVE. No matter how often I order online, I continue to lack the ability to internalize the dimensions typed in there in common Arabic numerals and translate that to some real world sense of what that means once I'll have it in my hands. So that ruler view was a big help.

Truthfully, the hardest time I had was in deciding what to get. There aren't a gajillion choices and near as I could tell almost everything is cubic zirconia (which may bother some people, but not so much me) but I liked what is there. There's a nice mix of traditional looking options with some more unique and modern stuff live where my tastes run that met my sensibilities more. Immediately, I thought that I should do the smart thing and get a new eternity band since the one I'd bought back in May had lasted about as long as you'd expect a $20 ring to last. I really liked this one. It showcased the stones well and wasn't too wide to wear with another ring. But the more I thought about it, choosing this one seemed way to boring and frugal and practical for such a windfall.

I'm not so fond of the earrings I'm currently wearing and would love a new pair, so I spent a lot of time trying to fall in love with the earring choices nothing really spoke to me. I liked a lot of them, especially the dangle-y ones, but I have kids and they tend to enjoy grabbing at my earrings so I need something that I can a) sleep in and b) not provide an easy handle for pulling through my earlobes. I'm hoping they come up with some other designs in the future.

There were a whole lot of cool necklaces that I wanted. I kept just thinking, "Well I'll choose between these three, no these four, no these FIVE!" Choice is hard for someone who rarely gets any. In the end, I chose something beautiful, and something I would never buy for myself if using my own money: this champagne colored, tension set CZ pendant. This was interesting, different and I'm a big fan of tension-set anything.

The ordering process was easy, the pendant arrived quickly and it was packaged in a lovely, sturdy black box. I'm enjoying it quite a bit and I've received about a thousand, "I like your neck-a-lace, Momma"s from The Caterpillar, who so taken by it, if I wake up in the middle of the night with someone's hands around my neck, my first thought will not be "BURGLAR! MURDER!" but rather, "Oh. So The Caterpillar is finally stealing my necklace."

So if you're looking for some high quality jewelry, but don't have the funds to pay for diamonds, check out www.jewelryartdesigns.com.