I planned this jewelry swap for over a year, but never did anything about it until recently. I finally got to the point where I was tired of talking about making it happen, yet not doing anything about it. So I buckled down, put some hours into invitations and preparation, and made it happen! It was a lot of fun and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Inside each invitation I included a little pouch with numbered tags and instructions. Guests attached the tags to the jewelry before the swap. At the swap the jewelry was laid out across a table at random to create an ecclectic look. I placed a strip of paper under each piece of jewelry upon which guests wrote down the #'s (of their own jewelry) they'd be willing to trade for that piece. Then, the owner of that piece of jewelry could glance at the paper, see if anything struck their fancy, and then swap!
Keeping it similar to a silent auction eliminated any potentially awkward situations. We also used a simple lottery system (numbered pieces of paper in a jar) to determine who went to the table first to trade to keep things fair. Any leftover jewelry was donated to a local charity or to our little girls' dress up collections :)
I prepared a simple dessert buffet so we could munch and chat while turns were taken at the jewelry table. I tried a marbled bundt cake from Donna Hay that was okay, Double Lemon Bars (!!) and Pumpkin Cupcakes with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting (this frosting would be awesome on carrot cake/cupcakes too). A little lemon water and sparkling water kept things clean and simple (you never have to worry about spills with light-colored drinks!). I didn't feel like ironing that night (who am I kidding though...I never feel like ironing), so I just placed everything directly on the table. I think it worked though with all the pretty things spread across the tabletop.
Some of the guests mentioned how fun it would be to expand beyond jewelry to other accessories. I think it's an excellent idea to consider! If any of you end up hosting a variation on this swap, let me know. I'd love to hear your ideas :)