Ilias Lalaounis, A Greek Made of Gold #LoveGold

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My fascination with Greek gold and the picturesque country of Greece is even stronger after doing some research on one of my most favorite Greek designers, Ilias Lalaounis.  His career started in the late 1950s with his first collection called, The Archeological Collection, which was inspired by Classical & Hellenistic art and architecture.  He created his own niche, mostly using all gold (18k & 22k) within his designs, while others used an abundance of gemstones.  Lalaounis was also known for being quite the academian.  He would spend hours researching topics like nature, science, animal and plant cells, constellations, and even biosymbols...these topics were then translated into jewelry and captivated jewelry enthusiasts around the globe.  

At the height of his career, Ilias Lalaounis was an expert at the artistic techniques of hand hammering, granulation, hand weaving, repoussé, and filigree.  Each technique is still used in many designs today from his brand, which is now in the hands of his four beautiful daughters--Aikaterini, Demetra, Maria, and Ioanna.  He has created over 17,000 pieces of jewelry in his career, with over 50 different collections.  To learn more about each collection, head over to the main website and click on Collections--it will take you through each name, chronologically!  

That leads anyone to say, "his designs belong in a museum!" Well, he has his own museum--the Ilias Lalaounis Museum, founded in 1993 and open to the public--located in Athens, Greece.  The museum holds over 4,000 pieces from Lalaounis' collection.  Would love to visit someday!

Five artistic techniques of Lalaounis:

Hand-hammering: this ancient technique which involves tiny hammers with multiple strikes was revived during the 1960s by Lalaounis. This technique takes a lot of time, creating subtle indentations and producing an overall hammered finish.  Best done on 22k gold.

Granulation: this technique uses teeny tiny beads of gold, and fuses them onto a surface of jewelry, creating a pattern.  Dating back to the third millennium BC, each gold grain no bigger than a millimeter is individually created and placed onto the jewelry surface.  Lots of concentration and patience is needed for this, but the overall outcome is beautiful! 

Hand Weaving: mainly regarding chains and necklaces, this technique dates back to the Hellenistic period, and is used to create multiple types of chain.  Gold wire made up of uniform links are combined by hand to form a chain of gold--based on the technique used, different patterns and styles can be made.  Some incredible necklaces were created by Lalaounis using hand weaving, especially during the 1960s.

Repoussé: means "to push back" ...this technique takes the reverse surface of a piece of jewelry in gold and is hammered to create a relief design.  Dating back to the Bronze Age, the finished look is a raised design and is very sculptural in appearance.

Filigree: there are two types of filigree--the first kind is open filigree, mostly associated with 1920s jewelry, and then there's surface filigree, where wire is twisted, curled and shaped, and placed on top of the jewelry surface. Lalaounis excelled at surface filigree and really made it a staple of his design elements.

 

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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Every Holiday Dress Needs Arik Kastan Jewelry!

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Whether your planning an epic outfit for a holiday party or New Year's Eve celebration, there's one thing every dress needs--some Arik Kastan jewelry!

We accessorized a gold wrap dress with a pair of dangle earrings, choosing garnets because we love the combination of the deep red colors mixed with bright yellow gold.  If your dress, like this one, has a plunging neckline, our padlock necklaces fill the void in the most gorgeous way.  

The second look uses our boldest gemstone colors to pull together this festive sparkle dress.  Our peacock ring set with emeralds and sapphire will have you feeling like you have your own set of plumage to strut! Mixed with our widest gemstone stacker band yet--this one is particularly bright set with dynamic citrine.  Simple studs finish the look off, these set with a bubble gum blue lapis gem.

Our last look features the classic holiday red dress many of you will be sporting this holiday season.  What Arik Kastan pieces to wear?!  Rose cut diamonds, of course!  These two rings--Petal & Aster--will bring some serious sparkle to your look.  And don't forget to add some rose cut beauties to your ears, like these cluster drop earrings, for a warm golden touch!

Check with our retailers for your last minute gifts and outfit accessories!


>> Follow on Instagram @arikkastan

 

Obsession: RUIFIER Jewellery

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Every now and then I come across a jewelry collection that I get really excited about and inspired by--RUIFIER has been on my mind ever since a few weeks ago when I discovered their brand while browsing for some unique ring designs for my #GemGossipWishList.  

RUIFIER is based out of London, where modern luxury is formed into real, wearable jewelry for the sophisticated, but not too serious, woman.  Their designs are incredibly playful but are not too trendy--each piece could be worn years from today and passed down to future generations.  All the precious gemstones that are used within their designs are bright and colorful, lending perfectly with the brand's overall attitude.  The name RUIFIER comes from the English word ‘reify’ – to make an abstract idea concrete. RUIFIER's design inspirations come from architecture, whether it's linear lines or geometric shapes, a simple notion is then transformed into a beautiful piece of jewelry.  

I can't seem to decide which collection I like best--they really are incredible works of art, there isn't one I wouldn't wear!  And they all truly complement each other rather nicely! Each collection has its own story, and I love that...here are the names and inspirations behind each one:

VISAGE COLLECTION: the visage collection encourages the wearer to combine elements to form smiley faces, repeated patterns or solo pieces to match all moods and occasions. the collection is chic, minimal and playful.

CELESTIAL COLLECTION: the celestial collection contains vivid gemstones nestled in-between linear golden shapes, reminiscent of rays of light and city skylines. Part of the collection can be interlocked and worn a number of distinctive ways.

ARRIS COLLECTION: Architectural influences are translated into fine jewellery in the Arris collection, with geometric shapes forming spire- like contours. vibrant gemstones enhance the smooth gold with a myriad of shades and tones.

ICON FINE COLLECTION: the classic shapes of the Icon ring take on an understated and delicate reinvention in the warm hues of rose gold with graduated brown and white diamonds. the Icon Fine collection is truly elegant, precise and luxurious.

GALAXY COLLECTION: Inspired by the hypnotic quality of a spiral galaxy, gentle swirls of ombre gemstones create the Galaxy collection. Hundreds of delicately set gemstones shimmer like stars in the night sky, catching and reflecting the light.

STELLA COLLECTION: the stella collection sets innovative pyramid cut gemstones within an inverted pyramid of polished gold to create ever-changing reflections and optical illusions.

>> To shop the collection, you can purchase directly from their website or this list of stockists.

 

Q & A with M. Khordipour, Rare & Fine Estate Jewelry

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As always, I am continually on the hunt for new sources of the best antique and vintage jewelry out there! That's how I came across M.Khordipour and his incredible array of rare and fine estate jewelry. His inventory includes a very exquisite diamond and pearl tiara created in 1920 by the famous Parisian jeweller, Joseph Chaumet, for the marriage of Prince Alexandre Murat (1889- 1926) with Yvonne Gillois (1894-1961). A wide variety of Art Deco diamond rings, impeccable vintage and antique earrings and luxurious bracelets and necklaces round out his collection, with such high-quality items, it is apparent that 30 years in the business has led him to some impressive connections.  M.Khordipour is also changing the game by creating a separate entity for engagement and bridal jewelry, called Estate Diamond Jewelry, totally set a part from M.Khordipour.  To me, this idea is genius!  As a collector and frequent jewelry shopper, the area of bridal jewelry is very specific, and may only be on your radar once or twice in one's entire lifetime.  So, keeping the two separate may seem like an elementary idea...however, in the long run it is groundbreaking!  

I caught up with Michael, owner of M.Khordipour and Estate Diamond Jewelry, and our latest advertiser, to learn more!

 

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The main reason Michael got into the Antique and Rare Jewelry business is because he began to discover that modern jewelry doesn't have the quality and style as that of antique jewelry.

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Michael began the business in June of 1981, dealing primarily with one-of-a-kind investment quality antique jewelry pieces. The website is www.Mkhordipour.com. In late 2013, realizing that all the rare antique and vintage engagement rings needed a website of its own, Michael created a brand new website that deals exclusively with Antique Engagement Rings, Wedding Bands, and Bridal Earrings. The Estate Diamond Jewelry website can be found at www.EstateDiamondJewelry.com

 

 

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One of our most interesting pieces was a Natural Pearl Tiara that was created for Prince Alexandre Murat for his marriage with Yvonne Gillois. At the date of Authentication, it was the largest Natural Pearl that SSEF had ever tested. It was sold in 2012 by Sothebys Geneva.

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Among our current items, there are many pieces that are amazing. This Edwardian diamond necklace speaks for itself! Along with these Art Deco diamond pendant drop earrings, both available at M. Khordipour.

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Gem Gossip Gold Future Heirlooms #LoveGold

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The holidays are a perfect time of year to gather around with family and talk about memories and heirlooms. If I can describe the most memorable gift I ever received during this time of year, it would have to be, no doubt, my Gram's gold locket given to me by her when I was in 6th grade. No toy, new gadget, or latest technology could compare to the gift of an heirloom, and I'm thankful that at the ripe age of 11, I could understand that. Still today, I appreciate family heirlooms with even more passion and I was lucky enough to celebrate this past weekend with all my sisters and parents, decorating the tree, reminiscing about old memories, and talking about our gold heirlooms.

In my life, I have three different sources for gold heirlooms--my mom's mother (Gram), my dad's parents (my grandparents who were born in Italy), and my own parents.  I also have my own favorite gold heirlooms that have not been passed down yet and have a newfound responsibility as being "Future Heirlooms." I brought along some gold heirlooms that have already been passed down to me and then my parents got out others that are theirs, along with old photos and memories to share. To me, this was more fun than decorating the Christmas tree! It made me thankful that LoveGold has created this special #FutureHeirlooms feature to initiate conversations about heirlooms; it has sparked a new tradition that I hope will continue in my family and many others.

Above photos:

My mom's mom, I call her Gram, raised four boys and one cute daughter all by herself in Pennsylvania.  I will forever have such huge respect for her being a single, working mother to five children.  I received the gold locket when I was 11 as a Christmas gift one year--if I remember correctly, it has a crazy past and was once ripped off her neck.  On the back, there are scratches where someone once tried to etch their own initials into the locket after they took it from her.  I'm sure there are more stories, but I may never know what really went down!  The ring was also hers and when I was younger, I can remember her never seen without it!  Last year I made sure to buy it from her when she went through this phase where she was getting rid of everything!  

The next photo depicts pictures of my mom and dad when they were younger.  These are my favorite pictures ever of these incredibly special people. The two gold charms are 18k yellow gold from Italy and my dad used to wear them everyday when I was younger.  I love the cross because of the dark blue enamel.  My mom's engagement ring is pictured near the bottom, it is a bypass style (like mine) but with three stones instead of two.  The other three items in the picture are my Future Heirlooms--three things I'd like to pass down.  My 18k yellow gold feather necklace from LoveGold--I hope to share all my adventures I've had with the LoveGold crew with my future grandchildren and have this necklace represent that.  The feather represents me spreading my wings and flying, letting my dreams take me on an exciting path.  My Tiffany & Co. Atlas ring is a perfect classic to pass down, and my gold locket ring with my fiancé's picture inside will be a sentimental piece to also pass down.  

The last photo features my dad's parents, both immigrated to America from Italy in the 50s. When my grandfather passed away in 2011, my dad gave me their old passports (seen in the photo) which I will forever cherish.  I also was given their wedding bands, both 18k yellow gold, plain bands with a beautiful engraving on the inside "Giampiera Mattia 21-10-56" representing their wedding date. And my grandma's original engagement ring, in all its Retro glory.  I also have this masked woman's profile--which actually was clipped off a very large 18k gold pendant that hung from a heavy gold chain.  When gold prices were really high, my grandparents brought all their old pieces down to Tennessee when they came to visit. They sold a bunch of high carat gold and I made sure to snip this off before the rest of the necklace got put in the scrap pile.  My dad always remembered this lady when he was little, hanging from my grandma's neck.  He said he was scared of her because she was wearing a mask.  I love that story.

>> If you'd like to purchase your own 18k yellow gold feather necklace to wear now and become a Future Heirloom, click here.

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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Favorite Instagram Pictures: December 2014

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roseark has a crush on this regal coin pendant designed by Hanut Singh

mineralien captures golden rutile on hematite in this quartz specimen--Incredible!!

maejeanvintage has me dreaming of scarabs and what interesting bib necklace one could create out of several

marionfasel proves there's nothing better than picturesque mountains and a canine sidekick

n_mendelevich visits an enchanting room

pamelalovenyc is gem-obsessed and now in love with rough Tanzanite

jewelleryhannah is googly eyed over these gemstones at the Natual History Museum in London

mociun takes on Florence, Italy and dives into some gems and mineral specimens at the Museo di Storia Naturale

erinantiques admits she has a snake obsession...and we're ok with that

elekeatsjewelry has a dreamy store front in LA and even dreamier owner with her store bird

jemmawynne gazing upon some amazing jewel-like artwork in Paris

bellandbird couldn't have teased us more with this custom double-snake ring with an alexandrite center stone

heartofsolidgold quickly scoped out the golden hearts on display at Grays Antique Centre

sunnysbondjewelry knows how to take travel gear to a whole new level and I'm on board!

Q & A with Misa Hamamoto of Misa Jewelry

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I have such high respect for those who make a career change within their life, especially if it involves taking a risk to follow what makes you happy!  Misa Hamamoto and I have that in common.  After going to college and graduating with a BA in Economics, attaining a corporate job left her feeling empty and unfulfilled. She decided to chase her dreams and follow her passion for jewelry.  And we're so glad she did!  Her stunning designs are so subtly chic--I think she captures the laid-back luxurious aspect of her native Hawaii within her creations.  Lots of delicate, stackable rings, cool earrings, lariat necklace and an expanding wedding line.  

With the holiday bustle and her busy Misa Jewelry workshop (which to me, is way better than Santa's workshop) we are grateful Misa took some time out to answer some questions.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

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I'm expanding my bridal jewelry, by creating custom engagement rings and wedding bands for my wonderful clients. It's such an honor to be a small part of their big day and journey.

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It all started during my high school years in Hawaii. My school was one of the few schools in the country to offer jewelry classes as an extracurricular. This wasn't a beading or friendship bracelet-making class; it was a real metalsmith class where I learned how to solder and saw metal. It was very empowering and Flashdance-esque, learning to become a female welder. Unfortunately, during my college days, I went the "normal and safe" route and studied economics and computer programming, so all of my creativity was in hibernation. After I graduated, I again went the normal and safe route and worked in the finance industry for a few years, but I found myself always taking art classes at night and on the weekends. I came across a jewelry-carving class, and I was immediately hooked. All of my knowledge of metalsmith quickly came back to me, and I naturally merged those skills with my newly acquired lost wax casting skills.

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My friend and then co-worker in finance was wearing a necklace that I created for her and was stopped by a store buyer, who asked where she got her necklace. My friend gave her my phone number, the buyer immediately placed an order, and I received a check for $1,000 the following day! Despite not having a clue on how to create an invoice or even product-style numbers, my most memorable moment was this buyer's excitement and eagerness to purchase my handmade jewelry -- all being made on my dining-room table at the time. It was the boost that started Misa Jewelry, and I'm forever grateful for my supportive friends and buyers.

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I would love to work with more gemstones and big diamonds. Gemstones are so magical and beautiful that I not only love wearing them, but I love hand-selecting them on my world travels. I am very lucky to often hear from my clients about how much they love wearing their Misa Jewelry because it makes them "feel" special. I truly do put so much love into my jewelry-making -- from hand-carving the designs to selecting the stones myself -- that I'm so touched that they can actually FEEL it.

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I love my Branch Diamond Ring! It was one of my first fine jewelry pieces that inspired me to keep creating my luxury, yet everyday pieces. Every piece of Misa Jewelry is a balanced union of nature's beauty and the spirit of the modern city, and I believe the Branch Ring represents this exactly. I also wore this ring on my wedding day in Downtown LA, where I met my husband, went on my first date with him and also where my jewelry studio is located. I love wearing this ring next to my equally special engagement ring that my husband picked out all by himself. Can you imagine the pressure he must have felt shopping for a ring for his jewelry designer wife-hopeful??

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Designer Spotlight: Corinne Simon Jewelry

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Corinne Simon Jewelry

Santa Monica-based jewelry designer Corinne Simon uses gemstones and metal as her tools to bring dreams and fantasies to life.  She is proud to launch a new collection called Rèverie and has kicked things off with a photoshoot featuring her vivid designs. Such unique jewels, and I love how I can see all her influences in each piece.  From her early years studying visual arts, to her career designing accessories and belts, each walk of life resonates from within. I first discovered Corinne on Etsy while searching for rings and was immediately drawn to her striking silhouettes she creates.

Hand-crafted using the lost was technique, Corinne is able to hone her sculpting skills and passion when designing jewelry.  Each gemstone is hand- picked, inspiring a vision that is sculpted, morphing the precious metal with the stone to create a vivid, bold, and whimsical piece of jewelry.  

With the holidays rapidly approaching, customers are down to the last few days to order!  So if you love her pieces, make sure to hurry and place your order before the deadline!  Corinne specializes in custom orders, with anything from a special, one-of-a-kind engagement ring, to a current item from her line using different gemstones.  Take a look at her Etsy shop and make sure to follow on Facebook and Instagram!

SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXIV

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{from top to bottom:

bethguliyevakadish showing off some intense, warrior-like rings

Twist online displaying an array of Lito Jewelry rings, I love them all!

tomaykovintage having her own ring party for Gem Gossip, lots of fun rings

lauramasselos wearing some of her favorites from her collection and I'm dying of the pinky ring

thehandmadeheroine taking a moment from selling at Artists & Fleas to show some rings

Holly Dyment Jewelry proves that purple once again reigns supreme

theoneilovenyc and their morning brew couldn't be paired more perfectly with a handful of rings

Erica Weiner has an insane stack and an even cooler manicure

Elizabeth Sayles Jewelry sharing four glorius rings from all walks of life}


Jewels at my Doorstep: Craig Evan Small Antique Jewelry #LoveGold

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When antique jewels show up at your doorstep, there's room for some celebration! But these aren't just any jewels, these are straight from Los Angeles' based Craig Evan Small, a leader in antique jewelry since 1989. A necklace fit for a goddess, a sleek blue enamel and diamond Victorian navette, geometric genius from David Webb, crisscrossed swans from Lalaounis, and the most exquisite Victorian Etruscan revival drop earrings, all arriving perfectly on time. However, photoshoot day couldn't have fallen on a colder day in Nashville. Highs in the 20s, with a brisk, frigid wind that had me frozen like a statue draped in gold. Temperatures like this are unheard of this time of year in the South, but they set the stage for an epic photoshoot, red-nose and all!

Craig Evan Small, founder and owner of the rightfully named store, has been deeply rooted in jewelry and timepieces since he was a young boy. In 1938, his family's business began in Chicago and then moved to Los Angeles where they established themselves as one of the best high-end jewelry suppliers to some of the local retail stores. Before Craig graduated high school, he was grading diamonds and immersed in all things jewelry. After working many facets of the business, in 1994 he decided to open up his own retail store and has been at it ever since. Craig’s expertise in vintage watches has led him to become the head watch appraiser on The Antiques Roadshow, traveling with the show as a watch expert for 8 seasons now. He is able to offer amazing, competitive prices to his clients and has an inventory of jewels that spans the ages that will blow you away.

Some exciting happenings going on at Craig Evan Small as well--first off, a Friends/Family Sale taking place in store on December 11th-13th. So you don't want to miss that if you're in the Los Angeles area. Also, a brand new website, fully redone and relaunching this week. Nothing better than new and improved, and although Craig Evan Small sells antiques, they are far from old school ways. With an ever-addicting Instagram and Facebook account, updated with luscious, vibrant photos of their new arrivals and current favorites.

Jewelry Details:

15k yellow gold collar circa 1881, with British hallmarks, 15 inches in length, Price: $5,000

Blue enamel and diamond navette piece circa 1860s set in silver and gold, fashioned on a modern 18k shank, Price: $6,500

18k yellow gold Victorian Etruscan revival drop earrings each set with an Old European cut diamond, Price: $6,000

18k yellow gold geometric David Webb ring, Price: $3,200

18k yellow gold double swan head ring by Lalaounis, Price: $1,000

All currently for sale, contact Craig Evan Small to purchase:

731 N. La Cienega Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90069

info@craigevansmall.com

phone: 310.550.7895

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold

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