With her tousled blond hair, model-thin figure and striking blue eyes, Nancy Rosen looks as if she could be cast on an episode of "The Real Housewives of Long Island," if the series were ever filmed here.
Instead, the 46-year-old Rosen has built a business designing jewelry inspired by the various "Housewives" reality stars. Working from the basement of her Huntington home, she has created a 30-piece collection, priced mostly under $100, sold through Amazon.com, Sears.com, ShopbyBravo.com and her own website, housewivesjewelry.com.
It all started two years ago, when she was recovering from back surgery. "I was a fan of the 'Housewives' show and I was looking for a creative outlet, a way to distract myself from the pain," says Rosen, who has a fashion and marketing background and is involved in licensing talks with Bravo to have the stars wear her designs on upcoming episodes.
The jewelry is influenced by vintage designs, but most of all, by the style and experiences of the "Housewives" themselves. One of Rosen's best-sellers is a $48 cubic zirconium ring inspired by a $6,000 diamond ring that Kyle Richards of the Beverly Hills show bought on Rodeo Drive during Season 1. When Countess LuAnn de Lesseps, one of the New York "Housewives," took a trip to Morocco in Season 4, it prompted Rosen to create a silver necklace threaded with acrylic and turquoise beads.
Other designs are inspired by the personalities of the various "Housewives." For flamboyant, self-assured NeNe Leakes on the Atlanta show, Rosen created gold hoop earrings that are as bold and over-the-top as Leakes is. For Lisa Vanderpump of Beverly Hills, Rosen designed opulent teardrop-shaped Swarovski crystal earrings that reflect her "old Hollywood all-out glamour."
Rosen was caught on camera during last season's New York show, helping to host a jewelry party. Of course, there was tension galore. "I didn't realize," says the Countess, looking around the room with a haughty glare, "that it was a Mary Kay party."
Nevertheless, a few weeks later, de Lesseps was shown wearing a pair of gold chandelier flower cluster earrings that Rosen had showcased that day. The price tag: $69.
"My jewelry," Rosen jokes, "is for real housewives."
Some of the "Real Housewives" (past and present) are jumping on the fashion bandwagon by designing their own jewelry, cosmetics and accessory lines:
BETHENNY FRANKEL A line of shapewear called Skinnygirl Smoothers n' Shapers; $20 and up, at skinnygirlshapers.com.
TERESA GIUDICE Bling rings, animal print watches, stretch belts and a black "Happy Wife, Happy Life" T-shirt, all less than $45, at tgfabulicious.com.
GRETCHEN ROSSI A cosmetics line ($10.50 to $18) and leather totes, clutches and evening bags, from $159 to $249, at shopgretchenchristine.com.