Benchmarks: Eyewear Decor

Our aviator eyeglasses mirror was mentioned in the article of November-December 2015 edition of INVISION by CORRIE PELC


Eyewear-inspired elements create just the right professional atmosphere
Art can be a tricky thing. What one person loves, another may not. And it’s always very personal — you can tell a lot about someone by the art hanging in his home.

The same is true for your business. The artwork and decor you choose for your eyecare practice or optical shop will be a direct reflection of who you are, the sort of clientele you want to attract and the type of atmosphere you are trying to create.
The six examples here all show how art can be used to make a business more memorable and reflect what the owner wants the business to be. People with artistic skills may decide to go the DIY route and create their own office decor, while others may look to the work of outsiders. Whichever way you go, aim for a look that speaks to both the uniqueness and professionalism of your businesses.

Onega Astaltsova, an artist who is also managing optician of Providence Optical in Providence, RI, says good art will help elevate your business. “As ECPs, we have a professional obligation and the art has to be professional too,” she explains. “You still need to follow the rules of business and not just your personal taste. Good art will help you look professional.”

Need some more inspiration for your space? You’ll find lots of good resources online. and Pinterest are great resources for decorating ideas, as are Facebook groups such as Opticians on Facebook. You might also work with a local artist, gallery owner or art consultant to help you find or create the look you seek.


Providence Optical, Providence, RI

➤ With a background in art, it’s no wonder why Onega Astaltsova decided to design an eyewear wall mirror for Providence Optical. Astaltsova says she chose a metal aviator-shaped frame design for the mirror to complement the shop’s large selection of vintage frames. She created a hand drawing of the frame she wanted to depict, then transformed that into a vector computer rendering from which polycarbonate and PVC plastic parts were cut and put together. The finished product is set off by large quotations from literature that help reinforce the idea of Providence Optical as a place that celebrates all the arts.

Etnia Barcelona

Etnia BarcelonaIn ultimate essence an eyewear frame is all about its composed materials, the build of said ingredients and the tech prowess of those materials in active structure. And the whole of that product/object is then in complete coordination to fit on a person’s face and function in securing a lens properly in relationship to that person’s eyes. 

Etnia Barcelona is leading the way with its unique approach to eyewear, making them a worldwide driving force in the optical industry. They are an independent brand of eyewear who has created a wide range of colors, collections and designs for everyone who wants to express him- or herself beyond the cannons imposed by momentary and passing fashion and trends.They are pioneers in the study and application of color resulting in truly unique color combinations and vibrant tortoiseshells that stand apart from the rest. Their designs and overall aesthetic is heavily influenced by fashion and art, both classic and modern, thus offering a wide array of styles for today’s customer.

The eyewear brand Etnia Barcelona was an idea born from the mind of David Pellicer, a man who spent his childhood around sunglasses. He grew up playing in his grandparent’s sunglasses factory in Barcelona, Spain and he grew increasingly interested in how they were made. David Pellicer is carrying on a family legacy that goes back 3 generations, bringing with him vast knowledge of the industry and a passion for glasses.


Pioneers of Colour


CEO David Pellicer’s entire eyewear oeuvre is a work of color artistry in and of itself.  The Etnia brand spends as much time inventing the colors of new frames and lenses as they do on the crafting of the frames themselves. In fact, Etnia Barcelona is one of the only eyewear manufacturers to have created some unique five hundred colors patented by them. Etnia’s unique colors and acetates are produced by master artisans Mazzucchelli in Italy, who use only the finest, 100% organic cottons to blend acetates which are then aged for twelve weeks, resulting in the highest quality material possible.

They conducts colour studies twice a year to incorporate new tones into the latest designs, and inspirational moods are generated to imbue the newest collections with life and richness. This dedication has established the company has a true pioneer in the study and application of colour.

Thinking of the Environment

They are also passionate about incorporating sustainable materials into their creations. All Etnia Barcelona glasses are produced using 100% natural acetate. Not to mention, all of their eyewear is made from natural organic compounds, which means they are recyclable and biodegradable.

Etnia means comfortable fit for all ethnicities

etniabarcelona_080_13 Launched 2003 in Barcelona, Spain, Pellicer’s goal in creating Etnia Barcelona was to bring unique colors, the height of technological innovation, a supreme level of wearing comfort, and an avant garde sense of artistry to the world. He also brings an exclusive knowledge of facial anatomy to the table, which makes his frames some of the best fitting, most comfortable glasses in the world. As Pellicer explains, “Comfort and design are the strong points of Etnia Barcelona glasses. Our exhaustive knowledge of facial features is transferred to each piece, thereby producing some of the most comfortable eyewear in the world.” The goal is to create a product that works for many face types, which came from the name “Etnia”. Every pair of Etnia Barcelona is the final assembled product of many smaller pieces of carefully crafted perfection. Likewise, Etnia’s unique hinge mechanism, which allows the glasses to fit fluidly to any face, are made and polished by the manufacturing giants, Comtec.

Etnia is establishing itself by always producing colorful and trendy models at accessible prices.


Hello Fall!

Now that cooler temperatures finally have arrived, we can turn our attention to fall fashion.  If you’re ready to update your look, here’s a quick look at what is trending in the Land of Eyewear this fall:

Updated Neutral Base Tones

Neutral base eyewear

Earthy neutrals have dominated the fall fashion scene for a while, but we’re seeing a new twist on the palette this year.  Warm, rich, earth tones are more complex this season, yet they provide a comfortable base for designers’ use of bold color statements.  The juxtaposition of classic and bold creates a dynamic, compelling look.

Pantone colors

Pantone’s latest color trends offers a sneak peek of the coming season. One of the new key neutrals is Desert Sage, a cool and soothing greenish-gray.  It is timeless, unobtrusive and has a visual interest in its own right, yet it pairs well with many others colors. Similar in tone is Dried Herb, an olive green resembling the hue one might see in a safari suit or military uniform. With the popularity of gray tones still at the forefront, it’s no surprise that Stormy Weather is also one of the top color choices this season. Oak Buff, a mellow golden-yellow, is a brighter neutral that gives off a warm, sunny feeling. Marsala, on the other hand, was a top pick in the spring and has returned to bring its reddish brown hue into fall fashion lineup.

Bold, Bright Accent Colors

Bolder and brighter colors have entered the scene to add some visual pop in combination with a neutral base. Examples include:

Pantone colors 2

  • Cadmium Orange, a warm but dramatic orange
  • Cashmere Rose, a softer pink hue
  • Amethyst Orchid, more in the purple hue – a beautiful shade that is both vibrant and enigmatic
  • Biscay Bay, a cool teal with undertones of both blue and green that evoke evokes thoughts of soothing tropical waters.
  • Reflecting Pond, a more serious and contemplative shade that is reminiscent of deep, dark waters.

Unisex Color Combinations

Unisex frame shapes have been around for a while, but this fall we’re seeing the evolution of a more gender-neutral color palette. Distinctly “masculine” or “feminine” colors have given way to color combinations that are bold, yet appropriate for both genders.  We are seeing a truly unisex color palette.

Classic Black

The timeless quality of black has secured it an enduring place in the palette of eyewear colors.  It remains a style stronghold, though it is losing ground to a range of bright colors.


Geometric/bold frames

Geometric, bold and colorful frames, Conservatoire International de Lunettes.

Dazzling shades are popping up in a growing trend of prints and patterns. The clothing industry inspired this decorative movement, peppering glasses with floral motifs, geometric designs, stripes and ethnic prints.

Shapes: An Eye for renewal

The vintage wave is still rolling and is taking us to new places.  Modern, updated butterfly shapes (inspired by the cat-eye) are emerging, launching a neo-retro look.

Round frames (they’re back!) are oversized for women, since small round glasses are reserved for men this season. Octagonal glasses – a cousin of the round shape – offer an escape from the rigidity of rectangular frames with more edgy geometric interest than a classic round.  This is a shape to keep your eye on!

Panto eyewear

Vintage panto glasses with polarized lenses. ($117)

The panto is one of the most iconic shapes in the history of glasses design. The term panto comes from the word “pantoscopic”, which literally means “seeing everything” or “wide view”.  These frames are a combination of round and oval shapes with a high hinge.

Here at Providence Optical, we have the latest new designs as well as never-worn, real vintage glasses, with polarized lenses and anti-reflective coating for just $117 – a very affordable option.

Materials: Combinations in View 

The female preference for plastic has taken on a new dimension: metal frames that appear to be plastic! Surface treatments offer very realistic simulations that allow for the bold look of plastic with the lightweight advantage of metal.


Kicking it up a notch, laser cutting techniques are used to create metal lacework of an exquisite finesse for very refined frames. Taken to the extreme, laser-cut frames appear as light, airy “wires”.


Combination of materialsBut why limit yourself to one material?  Increasingly, designers are combining plastic and metal for aesthetic combinations that are original, and where materials blend seamlessly into one another for unprecedented looks.



Innovative Materials

The quest to find innovative eyewear materials lives on.  Naomed, for example, has released a new line of eyewear made seaweed.  Leather with embedded stainless steel for strength also is on the scene.  Designers also are embedding fabric and paper fibers into plastics for a lighter weight, textured look.

Wood finishing eyewearAt the same time, the use of wood as an eyewear material continues, but is evolving from a chunky appearance to a more sophisticated and elegant silhouette.
This fall’s new trends open up possibilities for a wide range of looks from bold and artsy, to playful, classic or understated.  The look that’s best for you depends on the shape of your face, your coloring and the attitude that you want to project.  Our skilled opticians are ready to offer their expertise in helping you find the combination of style, colors and materials that fit well, feel good and look great.






Why is this frame so expensive? – All glasses are not created equal.



In an era where you can get really cheap eyeglasses from an online vendor, you may wonder why the frames offered in retail shops are so much more expensive.  The answer is simple:  It’s not the same product.  Before you settle on your next pair of specs, here are some important things to consider:

It’s  Not Just a Fashion Statement; It’s a Medical Device

Of course we all love the fashion side of eyewear.  It’s fun to try on new styles and see how each one changes your overall look.  Chunky frames, for example, make a bold, artsy statement while ultrathin metal frames provide a minimalist look that lets your lovely face take the center stage.  What matters more is that eyeglasses are a medical device and you’re going to live with this device for the next year or two.  So, durability, safety and function matter just as much as the fashion side.

Top notch eyewear manufacturers pay attention to both sides of the equation.  They hire designers who are in tune with – and sometimes even innovators in – the fashion industry.  At the same time, they use manufacturing processes that include rigorous testing and inspection to ensure the frames will fit properly and stand up to the normal knocks of everyday life.


Most plastic frames are made of acetate, but this category covers a wide range of blended materials, which can include cellulose, nylon, cotton, wood and even castor oil.  The weight and durability varies depending on the materials used in the acetate and the manufacturing processes.

KEY FACT:  The very best handmade acetates in the world are manufactured in Italy. Mazzucchelli 1849 is the worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of cellulose acetate, a plastic material traditionally used in the production of spectacles and sunglasses. They develop also exclusive acetate designs for some of the high end eyewear companies.

Fused layers of acetate

Color blends (think tortoise shell and similar color swirls) cost more to manufacture.  Each color is created separately and then the colors are brought together in a complicated way that allows the colors to coexist without blending completely into a new, solid shade.  Because each color has a slightly different chemical composition, this process requires testing to ensure that the colors will adhere to each other so that the frame doesn’t break apart at points where the color patches touch.






Layering is another factor that adds cost to the production of plastics.  Frames that have a different color on the inside and outside cost more to produce, but they give a flash of alternate color that makes them interesting and fashionable.  Similarly, a shiny, clear inside layer (sometimes called “crystal”) balances the heavy color on the outside of the frame and makes it look less overwhelming.  This is especially helpful if you want a bold look, but have delicate facial features.  Some high fashion frames have as many as four transparent layers in different shades that give the effect of looking into a deep, clear pool of color.



Polishing:  For plastic frames to look their best and feel comfortable, particularly over your ears, polishing is an extra step that costs more, but is well worth it.  Some high fashion frames with carved designs in the temple are hand polished for as much as 15 minutes, which makes the design look smoothly embossed rather than roughly chiseled.

TIP:  Before purchasing a frame, hold the temple between your index finger and thumb and slide your hand up and down over the portion that fits over your ear.  If it doesn’t feel really smooth, it’s likely to irritate the top or back of your ear.

sheet of titanium

sheet of titanium



All eyewear metals resist corrosion and warping and they bend easily for a really good fit, but the durability and the weight depends on which metals are used.

prozess_mMetal blends (known as monel) are the least expensive type in this category, but also the heaviest and least durable.  They frequently have an outer coating that looks good, but wears off to reveal a dull gray metal underneath.

Stainless steel is more durable and slightly more expensive, but is still relatively heavy and only comes in only one shade.  Typically it does not have an outer layer that wears off.

Titanium is more expensive, but it’s very lightweight and strong, so manufacturers can create frames that are much thinner and yet stronger.  Titanium also can easily be coated with matte color for a wider range of fashion options.



Hinge failure is the number one cause of eyeglasses breaking beyond the point of repair.  Hinges can either break internally (especially spring hinges) or pull apart from the point where they are joined to the front of the frame.



TIP:  Before you purchase a pair of frames, hold them in the palm of your hand and open and close one temple.  You’ll be able to tell right away if it’s a cheap, weak hinge or one that has resilience.

KEY FACT:  The very best hinges in the optical industry are made in Germany.


Fit Matters

Online websites have fun tools that let you upload a picture and “try on” various eyeglass frames, but the truth is, you can’t tell how a frame will fit and feel without trying it on.  Even if a frame feels good when you first try it on, it may not be the best option for you.  A trained optician can point out subtle problems, like when the nosepiece on a plastic frame is the wrong shape for your nose and will cause slippage, or when the temples are too close or too far from the side of your face to get and maintain a comfortable fit.  Getting the frame to sit properly and stay there is crucial to comfort and to your vision.  Why?  Because lenses have an optical center that must ride over your pupils or you will have blurred vision or eye fatigue.  This is even more critical if you wear progressive or bifocal lenses.



Make sure you ask about the manufacturer’s guarantee.  Cheap frames typically are warranted for 90 days.  Quality frames usually carry at least a one-year guarantee and some have two-year coverage.  Some manufacturers of children’s frames also offer free replacement if your adorable little rough-houser breaks or loses his glasses within a year.

Eyeglasses Frames and Hollywood: Guess What They Have in Common


If you’re a fan of retro eyewear, or if you’re old enough to remember when it was the “new thing,” you know that early plastic eyeglass frames were thick and pretty heavy for the poor nose that had to hold them up. New colors for plastic eyewear emerged in the mid-20th Century, giving birth to the idea that eyewear is a fashion statement rather than a medical necessity. A variety of shapes also emerged in this era, but they were all pretty thick. We’ve come a long way since then to the modern, ultra light plastics that feature flexibility and über thin lines in a wild array of colors. Let’s take a look back to see how we got to where we are today.

 A Volatile Beginning

 SchönbeinThe first composition plastic used for eyeglass frames was celluloid – yup, the same stuff used by Hollywood filmmakers – which was invented way back in 1869. Technically, it was called cellulose nitrate, or nitrocellulose. The word “nitro” isn’t just a coincidence. This stuff was highly flammable. The story goes that German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868 ) used the family kitchen to conduct experiments with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. Even great chemists have “oops” moments, so when Schönbein spilled some of the mixture, he used his wife’s apron to wipe it up. The aprons of the day were made of 100 percent cotton, so Schönbein unknowingly mixed cellulose fibers from the apron into his nitrate compound. He hung the soiled apron up to dry above the stove and then he had a second “oops” moment when the apron exploded.

Despite its flammable nature, cellulose nitrate – nicknamed “zyl” by the optical industry – was used for eyeglass frames from the late 19th Century all the way through the mid-20th Century. We finally wised up and found other, less volatile, plastics for eyeglass frames, but cellulose nitrate is still used today in the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder, printing ink, wood varnish, foil and film lacquers, automotive paint, fingernail polish, leather finishes, adhesives and coatings to protect silver and other tarnishable metals. And now you understand why you shouldn’t smoke, light a candle or crank up your space heater in the presence of any of these products.

 The Next Generation

 Acetate framesCelluloid nitrate’s cousin and successor is a compound known as cellulose acetate, or “acetate” for short. This more stable compound comes cellulose, usually derived from wood pulp (birch, eucalyptus) or cotton, treated with acetic anhydride (basically, vinegar minus the water molecules) to make the fibers soft and pliable. In this form, it is used to manufacture cloth. For eyeglasses, cellulose acetate is bound with plasticizer, such as diethyl phthalate, to give it the strength and rigid structure needed to mold frames. While the CDC has issued health warnings about direct exposure to diethyl phthalate, it is so strongly bound into the acetate that it cannot leach out at temperatures below 122 degrees.

Cool New Eyewear Materials – Thinner, Lighter, More Color Options

I_THIN_II_5407 by Italia Independent

The latest eyewear plastics are nylon-based, which makes them stronger and more flexible than cellulose acetate. Because nylon molecules have a strong bond, eyeglass manufactures can use less of it, which means thinner, sleeker and lighter eyewear – up to 72% less weight than cellulose acetate. Nylon also accepts dyes very easily, which means a wider range of colors, including translucent shades that look like frosted glass. The only down side is that they are vulnerable to shrinking when exposed to heat, so don’t leave those designer sunglasses on the dash of your car!

If you really want a pair of glasses that you can abuse, look for frame made of Ultem ® (PolyEtherimide) resin. It’s resistant to heat, UV rays and chemical exposure. Because of these properties, it’s widely used in the medical and chemical industries. Like nylon compounds, it is light-weight and can be molded super thin. You can get temple pieces as narrow as 1.2 mm for that “barely there” look. And, your eyeglass frame could be 50% lighter than a comparable one in metal.

See award winning glasses from RISD student at Providence Optical!

Rhode Island School of Design’ student from Virginia and friend of us, Daniel Morgan, won the third place with his concept MAGO: an innovative magnetic hinge, anchored in both the front and in the temples, making the glasses almost unbreakable. Morgan designed MAGO for all those active people, looking for a stylish pair of glasses.

With the magnetic connection, the temples can be removed from the front just as easily as they can be connected to each other again. What was convincing from a technical point of view was not only that the strength of the magnets was exactly balanced, but also that Morgan used the rapid prototyping method beforehand. The result: a bright red, fully functional pair of glasses that the jury could hardly keep their hands off. The front and the temples are 3D printed.

Organized by OWP Brillen, a German eyewear manufacturer, the aim of the International Eyewear Design Contest 2015 is to reward creative and innovative product ideas in the field of prescription eyewear. he contest proved extremely popular, with 146 young designers from 26 countries – including Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Israel and Australia – submitting their creative ideas for eyewear. Based on the theme ‘urban street style’, young product designers are welcome to think differently and to challenge themselves. A jury of designers  selected three winning concepts based on the choice of materials, wearability, manufacturability and functionality.

Makeup tips for girls who rock glasses

Glasses definitely make a style statement, but your eyes can get lost beneath your frames unless you adjust your makeup.

“Being a beauty expert, I’ve always been aware of how dlasses can transform the face and wanted to take the mistery out of how to choose the right glasses”- Bobbi Brown, founder and chief creative officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Inc.

Here are her favorite ways to make your eyes pop from behind your lenses she decribes in “Everything Eyes” by Chronicle Books.

  • Eyeliner is key; it really adds definition from behind your lenses.
  • Always define your brows with a shadow the same shade as your hair color. This ensure that your glasses don’t overpower your face.
  • The glass in your frames can hightlight undereye discoloration and darkness, so corrector and concealer underneath the eye and in creases is essential.
  • Waterproof mascara won’t smage on your lenses.
  • If you have strong frames, you can get away with stronger makeup.
  • If your frames are delicate, or in a nude shade, don’t let your makeup overpower your frames. Choose softer colors for shadow and create definition with a dark liner and mascara.
  • The color of your eye shadow shouldn’t compete with the color of your glasses. If you want to do the same color as your frames on your eyelids, try a base hue that’s a shade lighter, and go a few shades darker for the crease color. Finish with black liner and mascara.
  • For an easy look, go with a bold color on your lips and just corrector, concealer, and mascara for your eyes. Put on your glasses and you’re done.
























1.  An eye shadow color that is lighter and brighter than your frames will stand out, instead of competing with your glasses.

2.  When you have a mix of conident colors on your hair, lips, and frames, kep your eye makeup simple and clean with only a little liner and mascara.

3.  White frames highlight both your eye and makeup colors, making them a great choice to pair with statement eye makeup.

4.  Bold liner, with minimal shadow, looks amazing with thick, oversize frames.


Don’t go to Brooklyn to find Brooklyn Spectacles, they are here!

Established in April 2012 and based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Spectacles grows fast. Inspired by the challenging requests of her Brooklyn customers, Jenny Ma, the founder, has composed a collection that matches their expectations. She creates quality-crafted eyewear inspired by local independent artists, musicians and trendsetters.

Brooklyn Spectacles offers a wide array of frames all with bold designs, quality craftsmanship and a comfortable fit.

“Our mission is to design eyewear that is fashion-forward, interesting and technologically advanced. We believe the future of eyewear fashion is the discovery of styles beyond the ordinary.”

We presently offers two Brooklyn Spectacles collections: Wood Collection and Classic Collection. The Wood Collection is not made with real timber. While the frames are made of plastic, they have a finish that makes them appear to be wooden which provides the unique look of genuine wood while enjoying the comfort of the versatile synthetic material. The Classic Collection is a traditional polished or matte acetate with invisible hinge.

The collection is inspired by the bustling atmosphere of the neighborhood. We offer solid neat frames for a very competitive price range of $195. These frames are perfect not only for wearers looking for a fresh new look and feel but for those patients looking for a hip new style.


Contemporary glasses from the heart of Brooklyn New York, come take a look at our great new brand Brooklyn Spectacles.


“Golden Lorgnette” 2015 Awards Ceremony at MIOF, Moscow

Our Onega Astaltsova had an honor to attend the first National Awards Ceremony “Golden Lorgnette” for Russian Optical Industry, holded in Moscow on February 17, 2015 as a guest judge. The event took place at 16th Moscow International Optical Fair (MIOF).

The event in 9 categories is designed to recognize the most important  individuals and companies in the optical industry for providing excellent service, fostering innovation and spreading awareness of the optical industry. Among nominations were: debut in Russian market and new best product of the year, best marketing project and campaign in wholesale and retail, best local optical chain and independent optical store, innovation, person of the year. The guests of the evening were treated with a concert of finalists of TV show “Golos”, which equivalent to USA show “VOICE”.

At an event Onega wears dress by Karolina Zmarlak, polish-american designer and our own Providence Optical 3-D printed eyewear.

Salon ALMAZ-Optic from a small town of metallugists in Ural mountains region is a winner in the Best Independent Optical Shop category.

Elena Pedashenko of Almaz-Optic is getting an award

Alexander Zhurbin, a well-known composer, is a guest perfomer at an event

Temple Worship: Bayne Peterson Honors Native Traditions

Young and talented sculptor Bayne Peterson, that resides in our own beloved state of Rhode Island, has released new series of deconstructed optical frames inspired by his study of the artwork of native peoples in North America and the arctic region.

It all began a year ago, when Peterson was awarded a trip to Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa to study the art of inuits, or natives of the arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Chukotka. He was so impressed by their ivory carving, that he later went to Baffin Island in Canada for further studies.  World interest in the art of arctic natives is growing every year and, as a result, Peterson made a presentation at the archaeological conference at the University of Illinois and produced a series of wooden sculptures to capture the essence of what he had learned from the inuits.

Earpiece size 23″, wood

 Peterson’s passion led him down an intriguing path.  Rather than create sculptures that reside in private homes where few can see them, he chose to create wearable art that brings this artistic tradition out into the everyday world, where all can experience and enjoy it.  Thus was born his sculpture-temples for eyeglass frames. Despite their impressive size, their style and proportions clearly reveal the source of their inspiration.

In the tradition of native peoples who cherish the gifts of nature, they are carved of wood. Some are covered with layers of painted matte epoxy to echo the vibrant colors of native art.  Others, honoring the tradition of caring for Mother Earth by reusing her gifts, include pieces of colored plastic reclaimed from cups, knives and forks from a local deli. To avoid the caustic process of melting and reshaping this plastic, the dinnerware is milled in a coffee grinder.

Nosepiece: wood, epoxy, bits of plastic

Though based on centuries of tradition, these sculpture-temples have a modern look.  Their painstaking craftsmaship and high quality definitely can take center stage in any optical salon.

We are proud to display them in our shop.