Jewels at my Doorstep: Greenwich St. Jewelers

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Congrats to Greenwich Jewelers, or should I say Greenwich St. Jewelers, who, after 40 years in business, has gotten a new name and a few other "enhancements" to their brand. The rebranding includes a new look to their logo, a new tagline, redesigned website and in-store as well. For the family-run business, these changes have been a long-time coming and both sisters Jennifer Gandia and Christina Gandia Gambale are so excited to unveil everything. "Our parents, Carl and Milly Gandia, opened the store in 1976 and only changed the store's location after the September 11th attacks, when structural damage to their building led to a move onto nearby Trinity Place," says Jennifer, who is now the co-owner of the store, along with her sister, Christina. "The new name honors our roots as a downtown New York City retail brand. But the rebranding also conveys how we have evolved into a 21st century store."

The Greenwich St. Jewelers' new tagline is special and significant, as it truly completes what the store is all about--it reads, "Inspired jewels since 1976."  Jennifer says, "The tagline represents our commitment to curating a killer selection of jewelry from artists that have a distinct point of view, one that views jewelry from a singular, unique perspective. Even the pieces from our private label collection, which errs more classic, push the boundaries of that classification." The evolution and new changes are a great example of how the Gandia sisters' contributions to their family's legacy will pave the way for a successful future.  

I've been wanting to visit Greenwich St. Jewelers for quite some time now. New York City is a place I don't get to travel to quite often and when I do, it is for an quick event, with no time to spare. Lucky for me, Greenwich St. Jewelers came to my doorstep! The rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings all prettier than the next arrived, representing a wide range of inventory the store is known for. Designers from around the world, including their own line of designs, all come together and are able to be mixed and matched with ease. The latest jewelry trends, like lariat necklaces and geometric styles, ear climbers and vintage-inspired pieces, can be found at Greenwich St. Jewelers. 

I couldn't stop wearing the 18k white gold diamond tennis bracelet from Greenwich St. Jewelers' own collection--the clasp on it was unlike any other tennis bracelet I've worn. It is adjustable with chains and a gold movable bead. How smart! It also makes it so much more comfortable than your average tennis bracelet, and at 2.37 carats total, it sure sparkled a lot! I also was starry-eyed over their diamond earrings and felt that stacking them on the same ear rather than wearing them normally was necessary! The earrings total 1.68 carats in diamonds and have an edgy, glam look to them. Most would consider them for fancy wear only, but I say no way, every day wear is a must! 

Other designers that I got to wear from this Greenwich St. Jewelers feature include Arik Kastan, Jennie Kwon Designs, Zoe Chicco, Getana, Sorellina, and Todd Reed. If you didn't think multiple designers could be worn all together at the same time before, think again! Greenwich St. Jewelers has been proving that for years now and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store the next 40 years for them. 

Jewelry used for this shoot:

Earrings:

14k rose gold pentagon stud earrings set with emeralds by Arik Kastan, Price: $1,300

14k white gold diamond earrings totaling 1.68 carats by Greenwich St. Collection, Price: $4,600

Rings: 

14k rose gold emerald and rose cut diamond Grand Fleur cocktail ring by Arik Kastan, Price: $3,100

14k rose gold diamond wrap around ring by Greenwich St. Collection, Price: $2,500

14k rose gold wrap ring by Jennie Kwon Designs, Price: $920

14k white gold itty bitty triangle stacking midi ring by Zoe Chicco, Price: $200

14k white gold diamond statement Linear ring by Getana, Price: $2,400

14k white gold open cuff ring with a line of diamonds by Greenwich St. Collection, Price: $850

Bracelets:

14k white gold geometric cuff bracelet with chain closure by Getana, Price: $2,100

18k yellow gold/oxidized silver diamond Wave cuff by Todd Reed, Price: $8,000

18k white gold diamond tennis bracelet with 2.37 carats total by Greenwich St. Collection, Price: $5,100

Necklaces: 

14k white gold four-hexagons pendant necklace by Getana, Price: $1,100

14k rose gold three tiny bullets diamond necklace by Zoe Chicco, Price: $550

18k yellow gold boulder opal necklace set with a halo of diamonds by Getana, Price: $1,200

14k white gold diamond lariat necklace by Zoe Chicco, Price: $700

Greenwich St. Jewelers | Gem Gossip

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Greenwich St. Jewelers.


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Antique & Vintage Diamonds with 1001 Diamonds

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I've been on a quest for the best in antique and vintage diamonds from all across the United States! Thanks to 1001 Diamonds, I've honed in on a few keen shops. Every corner, every direction, every side street...and I think I've narrowed my continental search. From Lang Antiques over on the West Coast, to Bell & Bird in the heart of Texas, up to the Boston area at Fancy Flea Antiques, and down south to Miami where Dover Jewelry takes the cake...and I can't forget the greatest city in all the land--NYC, where A La Vieille Russie shines. These are the top five locales which boast some pretty amazing antique diamonds!  See for yourself!

MIDWEST (above photo): Let's start in the center of the US, with Texas-based Bell & Bird. They don't lie when they say everything is bigger in Texas! The Edwardian heart-shaped diamond ring is breath-taking. An antique heart-shape is rare to find, especially one that dates back to the 1900s. The stone is GIA certified ranking in at a VS-1 clarity, E color and weighing 2.42 carats! It truly outshines them all! The antique twin diamond ring puts a spin on the Moi et toi style, having the diamonds set vertically like that. That particular ring has since sold.

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WEST COAST: All the way on the West Coast, Lang Antiques holds it down in San Francisco having the most diverse and jaw-dropping antique diamond collection around! Here you can see what I mean. Anything from champagne colored diamonds, to Old European cuts, to Old Mine cuts, even the square step cut in the center of that onyx ring above, the diamonds come in all shapes and sizes at Lang. This photo also proves that diamonds pair with black in the best way possible.

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EAST COAST: Lots of great cities in the Northeast--New York City and Boston are home to so many great attractions and one of them being amazing diamonds. I am dying to visit A La Vieille Russie located on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street. As you can see, their antique diamond selection is museum-worthy! The diamond ring on the pointer finger is an Old Mine cut, weighing approximately 1.90 carats from the Georgian Era. The champagne fancy diamond on the middle finger is also noteworthy--what a great alternative engagement ring that would make! 

At Fancy Flea Antiques just outside of Boston in a town called Lexington, there's a little antique jewelry shop I got to visit briefly while in the area. I was intrigued by this hidden gem, as they have lots of antique and vintage diamonds, most importantly at a great price! I tried on a bunch of Art Deco filigree diamond rings, a time period which is greatly represented at the store. There's something about an Old European cut diamond from the 1920s paired with the open-metalwork of white gold or platinum. These are all available at Fancy Flea Antiques.

1001 Diamonds | Gem Gossip

SOUTH-SIDE: It's a party of diamonds down south--in Miami, that is--at Dover Jewelry. Their selection of diamonds ranges vastly to include small clusters to large carat sizes like the gigantic 8.63 carat solitaire pictured, VS-2 clarity, KL color. Whatever size, price or color diamond you are looking for, Dover Jewelry has it! This photo also features a more and more popular diamond cut that not too many jewelry stores have--the antique cushion cut. 

For more DIAMONDS and your daily helping of sparkle, check out 1001 Diamonds!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with 1001 Diamonds.

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Q & A with Shaesby Fine Jewelry 

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I love catching up with jewelry designers--seeing what's new, their latest collections and what tricks they have up their sleeve for the future. Shaesby Scott is a designer I've been keeping tabs on since 2011. I was even lucky enough to visit his studio on my #JewelryRoadTrip while in Austin, TX. From elongated lines to geometric shapes, Shaesby's jewelry all has one thing in common: it is instantly flattering. I can't get enough of his ring designs and after much deliberation, have finally decided on a pair of earrings for my own personal collection--stay tuned to see what I chose!

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Since we met last Spring, we’ve launched our celestial-inspired, mixed-metal Isla Collection, and now have several exciting projects in the works. Our new Diamond Slice Collection has just been released. It’s comprised of delicate earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings with one-of-a-kind slices of raw diamonds. Each piece is created with the most simple, hand-carved bezel design to showcase the natural beauty of each stone. They catch the light in a very unique way. We are also working on our new bridal collection, expected to launch in the coming months. Stay tuned...


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Austin has turned into a creative hot spot with many talented designers working in a variety of mediums. Inspiration can be found all around. We love calling Austin our creative community!

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Seeing my jewelry worn by others, each piece takes on a life of its own. Building and working alongside a team of extremely talented people I consider family.

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We want to continue adorning women with heirloom quality jewelry. We are extremely fortunate to have customers that value our craft and retail partners that share our passion for assisting in their selection. We will continue to push our creative process.

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A bolo tie my grandfather gave me.

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*Photography by Allison Smoler 

Your Guide to Brimfield Flea Market from Someone Who Has Gone Twice

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I decided to go to Brimfield this year, almost instantly after I received the sad news about Jewelry Camp being canceled this summer.  I was eagerly saving my money and planning on attending Jewelry Camp after missing out year after year (I've gone only once, when they came to Atlanta). I wasn't really planning on going to Brimfield, but thought it would be a fun jewelry adventure since the one I had planned on wasn't happening. I like changing things up and experimenting so that I'm able to compare my experiences in order to give the best advice possible. So with this trip, I did everything opposite of what I did two years ago when I visited for the first time! Hope you enjoy my findings and it helps you plan your trip better!

I went in May rather than September. 

I heard so many opinions about which of the three yearly Brimfield shows has the most jewelry. Was it May or July? Could it be September?? After going in May and September, I would have to say they were actually pretty equal! The plus side for going in May compared to September was the weather--September was brutally hot and this time around the weather was fantastic. It did get really hot, but it was tolerable. 

I went later in the week rather than the first two days.

So last time when I went in September, I went Tuesday and Wednesday. This time in May I went Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Findings: Tuesday-Friday are the best days to attend, skip out on Saturday if possible--it is way too busy and no new fields are open that day, just all the ones that have opened previously throughout the week.

I stayed in Sturbridge rather than Amherst.

Last time I stayed further away from Brimfield, in Amherst at the Lord Jeffery Inn, a 50-minute drive to Brimfield. This time I stayed closer, in Sturbridge at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center, a 10-minute drive to Brimfield. Findings: Most people who attend Brimfield stay in Sturbridge, so the traffic is pretty heavy.  The 10-minute drive actually turned out to be 45 minutes one morning!  Crazy! I enjoyed both hotels for different reasons--the Lord Jeffery is definitely quaint and historic, the rooms are smaller than the hotel in Sturbridge but have a slight luxurious feel. Sturbridge Host has an awesome location, right on the lake, with picturesque scenery, but the rooms are very outdated (like 1980s). I also enjoyed Sturbridge's restaurants and antique shops, which we got to check out. Huge fan of Jimmy D's sandwich shop--omg, had the best Club sandwich with ginger ale, best meal ever.

I did 3 days at Brimfield rather than 2 days.

I felt like I should have stayed longer last time I went--it felt wasteful to fly all that way and journey all that way to go just two days and leave. So this time we stayed four nights and went for three days in a row. I definitely suggest three days as the ideal number of days to go--except my three days included Saturday, which wasn't a great day to attend in my opinion--so make sure your three days lands on the week-days. 

I brought a small backpack rather than a purse.

Omg I can't tell you how much better I felt compared to two years ago when I brought a large purse!  A small backpack is where it is at! This way, both hands were free to roam and treasure hunt, and I packed very light. The only things in my backpack were cash, keys and wallet.

We took several car breaks.

Last time I went we parked our rental car and never came back to it until we were completely done for the day. This time we did things differently--after 3-4 hours out on the fields we would go back to the car and turn up the AC all the way and just sit/relax for 30 minutes. That "recharge" time helped tremendously.

Overall, the trip was a success and I was able to buy a lot more than I did the first time I went. I wanted to bring back lots of items to be able to sell, so I've listed 20+ items already in my @shopGEMGOSSIP account. The last two photos here depict all my loot. I also bought a couple things for my personal collection, like a couple baby rings, a garnet cabochon Victorian ring with black enamel in immaculate condition. 

I also got to spend some time with Laura & Amanda of MaeJean Vintage which was fun--it was awesome to see their haul of jewels all in one place.  I picked some favorites and took a photo (pictured above, the one with the signet rings, etc). The sisters have such a passion for what they are doing and it is so fun to watch their business grow. I also got to meet Village Green Antiques who was set up at Brimfield--I bought a few things from her, including a baby ring I am keeping for my personal collection. 

We also got to see an episode of Flea Market Flip being filmed while we were there--almost blindedly ran into Lara Spencer while she was on camera! Yikes! It was really cool to see the production team and all that goes into a show like that. Can't wait to watch the episode; hope I'm not in any of the scenes, I was a sweaty mess!

>> Planning on attending Brimfield? Then you should read my first Brimfield Guide, as well as this one and this one.

 

xoxoGemGossip

SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXXXIII

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{from top to bottom:

Bailey's Estate Jewelry celebrating the birthstone of May, EMERALDS!

Maria Nilsdotter's Freddie ring will be mine someday, pleasepleaseplease

Levys Fine Jewelry also celebrating emeralds, all so unique and pretty

Bali Platform showing off these two beauties--one green amethyst and the other a Herkimer diamond

@speakeasyjewels stacking all her favorite jewels of hers, love each and every one of them

Liz Kantner trying on a rather unique diamond ring that came into Todd Reed for repairs

Dana Rebecca stacking up a neat combo of their collection (happy 9 years!)

Michaans Auctions is having a big auction in June, I can't wait

Wharfedale Antiques is based in Leeds and these are making me want to come visit!}

Ring Envy Over at Gerard Leon in Los Angeles!

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Los Angeles is home to so many amazing jewelry designers, antique and estate jewelry shops and jewelry artisans. Luckily, I found Gerard Leon who specializes in handcrafted engagement rings, vintage and antique, as well as a talent for hand engraving!

An engagement represents a time of celebration and unity. The engagement ring is what defines and captures such a joyous occasion, and becomes the symbol of love. This grand gesture is something two people will remember for a lifetime and the ring (hopefully) for generations to come. What makes the ring special is the story behind it, and at Gerard Leon, their rings always tell a story. Their slogan is, "Your ring, our tradition" which beautifully represents the relationship between jeweler and customer.

Engagement rings have become more and more unique and one-of-a-kind as of late. Gerard Leon acknowledges this and wants to help you make your engagement ring dreams come true!  Some may have dreamt of the fairytale wedding and the diamond ring fit for a princess, while others may prefer vibrant emeralds or sapphires, round or cushion shapes. The 1930’s French Art Deco inspired Diamond Halo was a very popular ring style in it’s time, and while trends have come and go, this diamond ring will stay forever as a classic. Gerard Leon recognizes that while diamonds lead the way as the most popular center stone, gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds have also emerged as viable and lovely choices for an engagement ring. With the endless options of gemstones and designs, the world of engagement rings has never been so infinite.

There is an art to making each piece special. This is demonstrated by the artful design of the ring, from the cut of the stones to the shape and fit itself. With attention to skill and craftsmanship, Gerard Leon’s history in the art of engagement rings allow for all of their pieces to be made by true artisans. When you know your ring is made by those truly akin to their craft, it makes you appreciate, value and cherish your ring even more than you already do. Whether you choose a sapphire or a diamond, your ring will be created for you to love forever.

Any lover of jewelry will tell you that a diamond ring set in beautifully crafted solid gold is a well-valued possession. For example, the Art Deco Old European Diamond Solitaire Ring in 14k White Gold is considered vintage, but with it’s handmade and artfully crafted past, it has withstood time. The hexagonal shape of this ring has many angles and can be viewed in an array of forms. Both yellow gold and white gold compliment the diamond center stone. In fact, they make the stone stand out by accentuating its brilliance. 

When shopping at Gerard Leon, you will find their expertise, craftsmanship and reliability are all you need when selecting the perfect engagement ring. With such skilled artisans and endlessly beautiful designs, the ring of her dreams can be found here. Be sure to check them out if you are in the LA area!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Gerard Leon.

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Q & A with A La Vieille Russie in NYC

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It only took one quick glance from my whizzing cab on the busy streets of NYC--I locked onto the gilded windows with my eyes and secretly swooned as I sped by A La Vieille Russie. The antique gallery specializes in rare jewelry, Fabergé, decorative arts and Russian treasures, and stands on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street in all its glory. It's a shop unlike any other and it belongs in no other place than NYC. Unfortunately for me, I don't get to visit NYC as often as I'd like to, but hopefully soon I will get a chance to visit ALVR rather than drive right by it only wishing I could stop.

The inventory on display at A La Vieille Russie is what most would describe as "exquisite," or in my own words, "museum-worthy." If you love Art Deco engagment rings, yes ALVR has them...but how about a rare piece of French Victorian jewelry, perfectly executed and in excellent condition?! Or even better, how about a diamond spray brooch with an origin most likely of the Russian Crown Jewels?! That's what sets ALVR apart from the rest. The jewelry is magnificent and it speaks for itself. 

I had to know more about this gallery that stands out from the crowd...about their jewelry, most importantly, and their views on the antique jewelry industry. With such an extraordinary store and resume, I fielded some questions and enjoyed hearing the intriguing responses. Hope you enjoy too!

 

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We source our jewelry from around the world but the majority of it we find in England and the European continent.

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The short answer is no. For instance, we have a postcard in our archives from an antique jewelry dealer, writing to his son in the 1820s saying “I don’t know how you are going to continue in business, I can’t find any merchandise”. We think dealers have always felt this way and really great antique pieces are becoming harder and harder to find. They are out there but along with being harder to find, the quality we seek has become a lot more expensive. It is easy to spend a million dollars but we would actually find it very difficult given the quality and the rarity of the pieces we are on the hunt for. However, as time goes on, pieces become vintage and eventually antique. Most of our collection comes from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century but we are beginning to collect exceptional jewels from the mid-20th century and we even have some “vintage” jewels from the 1970s and ‘80s.

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We are world renown for our Fabergé and have formed some of the most important Fabergé collections in the world. The Messer Schaffer’s father, Alexander Schaffer, is known for introducing Fabergé to America and Fabergé himself was a client of our firm in 19th century Kiev. We are also known for our Imperial Russian treasures and European Objects of Vertu and snuffboxes. Interestingly, snuffboxes are considered by most to be the top end of jewelry. Primarily snuffboxes were made for men, however, in her lifetime, Catherine the Great had the largest collection and the story is that she supposedly had a snuffbox on every window ledge of the Winter Palace, known today as the main building of the Hermitage Museum. Given the number of windows in the Winter Palace, 1,945 to be exact, this story must be an exaggeration. However, it is possible that she had at least one in each of its 1,057 rooms.

In terms of jewelry, we consider ourselves to be “where the unusual is usual." We look for the highest level of craftsmanship, the finest materials as well as unusual and innovative designs. We get most excited about delightfully unusual jewels and over the years, some of our favorite pieces have included materials such as wood, leather, gunmetal, human hair, copper, brass, celluloid etc. Of course, rings do very well for us as they are easily worn with today’s fashions. We try to carry a range of momento mori rings, hardstone cameo rings, Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and cocktail rings. Rare, high quality rings always sell and oddly enough, at the moment we are also all out of tiaras.

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Art Deco is eternally popular. Lately, we have also seen a returned interest in mid-nineteenth century jewelry (1830-1870) in the Georgian, Victorian and Revival styles. Art Nouveau ebbs and flows in popularity but we love it always. Artist jewelry such as pieces by Salvador Dalí or jewels by Hollywood celebrity jeweler Paul Flato also always has an audience. There is definitely an increase in the salability and desirability of antique jewels and we think it is due to two main factors: 1) People are looking for individuality and do not want to be a part of the herd. So much of today’s jewelry is ubiquitous or a continuation of branding and people are favoring unique antique pieces more and more. 2) Some of our jewelry we consider “subway jewelry”, as in you can wear it anytime, anywhere, depending on the audience. Some of our best pieces do not appear as obvious bling and are quite understated. You could wear these pieces on the subway without anyone realizing what you had on and then once you got to the opening night of the Opera, everyone would know what you’re wearing.

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Any? We have several! One of our favorites is from a few years back. A friend and client came into our gallery one day saying that her sister had passed away and was wondering if we would be interested in looking at her massive collection of jewelry in Jersey. Of course, we said yes and when the subject was broached with one of our firm’s principals, he immediately said “get in a car and drive out there”. To which the response was “No can do, it is the Isle of Jersey… off of the coast of France!” We ended up with over three hundred and fifty pieces of fabulous jewelry.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.

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May Is Gold Month, Celebrate with Some Gold Trends!

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The allure of gold is unlike any other metal--it conjures up so many feelings when I look at my favorite yellow gold bracelet brought back from Italy by my grandparents over 20 years ago, or when I wear my gold hoops that I purchased when I graduated from high school. I can sense the power, the value and the weight of the gold, but I can also feel the memories, the sentiment, and the love behind each piece. Celebrating gold is something I do everyday, as it is hands-down my favorite metal used for jewelry, so having an entire month dedicated to GOLD and promoting everything about it makes me happy!  Over at May Is Gold Month, they have committed to spreading the knowledge of karat gold, promoting the wearability of gold with weekly trends, even providing some deals and contests for readers as well. For me, it's a passion I can stand behind too, right there with them!

My love for karat gold jewelry has brought me on so many journeys with my #JewelryRoadTrip and working with LoveGold for two years, I've put on some miles all in the name of gold. I love the fact that gold has been found on every continent and it is my lifelong dream to be able to pan for gold and actually find some! I like to relate my quest for finding and featuring gold jewelry stores/designers on my blog as being similar to the gold miners of the big Gold Rush of 1849. In fact, it is one of my most favorite things to research and learn about. The power of gold is depicted best in situations like the California Gold Rush, where hundreds of thousands of gold-seekers put everything on the line in search of one thing. Gold's impact reached far greater than just the discovery of it alone and it will always remain the number one selling metal for luxury and jewelry items.

How you wear and style karat gold jewelry is a whole different realm of gold. My biggest tip would be to try new ideas and trends--don't ever wear the same pieces of jewelry every single day for the rest of your life! If you need some suggestions, May Is Gold Month has put together some weekly trends that you can easily focus on and I'm here to help suggest ways of taking each and making them your own.  Let's start from the top!

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #1: GOLD HOOPS

A gold jewelry staple that will never go out of style, gold hoops are a piece of karat gold jewelry you must own! Thick or thin, large or small...the style and size does not matter, it's how you wear them and what you wear them with that is most important! I like to wear mine stacked on one ear, with each being similar in size and style. I left my other lobe bare to give it a dramatic effect. Karat gold hoops can really add a spice to your style--a small addition with a big impact. 

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #2: LIGHTLY LAYERED

This is a great trend because you can combine lots of small, karat gold jewels to create one big, impactful look. I've always had a thing for tiny gold bracelets and each one has a unique style. Some are from Italy from my grandparents so they are very sentimental to me, while one I bought from a gold kiosk in the middle of the mall, and another is from Kay Jewelers. Wearing them all together is fun and every time my arm moves, they move around with me. The small karat gold rings are fun to stack and layer as well, so both types of jewelry play off one another. 

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #3: GOLD RINGS

This trend comes way too natural for me--I don't ever leave the house with just ONE gold ring. However, there's a skilled art to stacking rings and piling on whatever you have just won't cut it. I like large, elongated rings to go on the biggest finger--the middle finger--and that works as a good starting point. Combine rings that have a special meaning with pieces that are trendy. I love the geometrical trends that are happening right now, so I opted for a lightweight, but still 14k solid gold version of this trend to cut the cost. One thing is for certain though, whenever you buy a piece of karat gold jewelry, it is an investment that you won't regret.

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #4: SYMBOLISM

Gold jewelry is often highly symbolic, whether it's a talisman, a good luck charm or a piece of jewelry that means something more than what meets the eye. For me, I have many karat gold charms in my life that hold a symbolic meaning like my Figas, and my lucky locket passed down to me by my Gram. My newest additions are the lapis scarab (if you follow me on Instagram, I've sold two large lapis scarab pieces recently and sort of regretted selling--and then I found like mini version of it just recently on my trip to DC, from The Antique Guild) and a gold heart ring box that holds an almost identical miniature version of my engagement ring, recently purchased from A.Brandt + Son. The charm is so neat because it opens and closes, and the craftsmanship is impeccable. 

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #5: WRIST BLISS

What a dueling pair of wrists! My bracelet style is quite bipolar--I love a great karat gold Victorian hinged bracelet but then I also can go very modern, chunky with a large, heavy men's Cuban Link chain. Talk about opposites! I love both for different reasons, but that's the beauty of having different styles and karat gold jewelry has SO many styles. I've collected the Victorian gold bracelets over the years from my job being an appraiser, but the Cuban Link chain is my husband's! I hope to own a matching one some day...one that actually fits though! His is huge on me!

MayIsGoldMonth | Gem Gossip

Trend #6: NECK CANDY

Necklaces are the type of jewelry I own the least of, but surprisingly that has been changing lately! I think it's because I like wearing necklaces that are more than just a chain and a pendant or charm. That's when I got the bright idea of turning my gold cross charm bracelet into a necklace by adding a gold bracelet to each end and extending the length. It easily transforms it into a close-fitting statement necklace that everyone asks about...and even better, each cross has a story. I've also added my Fox & Bond Mini necklace to the mix to make the look more interesting.  The Mini is a miniature solitaire ring which features a special engraving on the inside. 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with May Is Gold Month.

 

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Q & A with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry

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With each collection released and each encounter I have with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry, I am more and more intrigued...spellbound, you could say. From the first concept of the lookbook (which I still have laid out like a coffee table best seller) to her enchanting video launch depicting her vision and a glimpse into her world, Lisa Kim strikes again, this time debuting a new collection called The Seabeast. The concept and inspiration will leave you curious to see what is next and the new pieces are gorgeous. Highly wearable ear climbers, earrings, necklaces and a unique ring make up The Seabeast collection. If you're like me, you want to know more about the pieces and some insights into the designer, so here you go! Hope you enjoy:

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My boyfriend and I love to cook. We were in the kitchen making dinner one day several months ago when he told me about the cockentrice, which originated from the Middle Ages in Europe. A suckling pig and a capon were sewn together to create a whole new beast that was roasted and served on a platter. This was culinary drama designed to amaze and delight guests while feeding them. The idea of a creature made of different parts stuck in my head and it shaped the story behind The Seabeast. Mythological beasts are mash-ups anyway; the unicorn is a horse with a horn, the manticore is a lion with a human head, rows of shark-like teeth, bat wings, and a scorpion tail.

I offer different iterations of the same animal in The Seabeast. The initial release features pendants and earrings that are fusions of scales, fins, waves, and shark teeth. I always like to leave some interpretation up to the viewer so I tend to steer away from literal design; but with this collection I felt compelled to design The Eye of The Beast, which is a departure for me. There are other pieces in the collection with ferocious teeth and spines like the ones you find on crab shells and conch shells.

Did Leviathan really exist? Was there a Kraken that smashed ships to their doom? Did the Midgard Serpent truly wrap itself around the world? Is it still there? Could it be that these myths and tall tales were about one and the same creature that has ruled the deepest and the most secret parts of the Earth all this time? Science would tell us otherwise, but we can't really say for certain that this creature is pure fiction. I like to think that this beast once lived and that its parts were scattered. Once re-assembled, it will live again. I aim to suspend your disbelief. I want you to possess a piece of this creature and take on its power and believe that it is real.

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From an early age I would draw and write stories while listening to music. This led me to my first career as a storyboard artist in animation. It was a fun occupation for sure but I never stopped dreaming stories of heroes in my fantasy world.

I was still working in animation when I signed up for a wax carving course at a small jewelry school here in L.A. One month into the course I committed to becoming a jewelry designer and business owner. I quit my job in 2011.

I took a bench jeweler course at the school. In the following year I interned for fashion designer Michael Schmidt where I got to work on some amazing metal projects for pop artists. After that I went to work for Tony Swatton, a blacksmith, bladesmith, leatherworker, costumer - a truly remarkable maker of all things. If you’ve watched film and tv in the past thirty years, chances are you’ve seen his work. (Remember the Vikings from the Capital One commercials? Tony made all of their gear.) Michael and Tony are two very different guys but they had one thing in common: They made incredible accessories that punched up a performer’s onstage presence. I came away from these places feeling really empowered by the things we worked on. I really wanted to create that feeling with statement fine jewelry.

I had the fortune of studying chasing and repoussé under European masters Valentin Yotkov and Davide Bigazzi. Chasing and repoussé are ancient metalworking techniques that allowed me to create my signature cuff bracelets that remind everyone of Wonder Woman. My bracelets are made by hand using tools and thousands of hammer blows. It’s a more efficient use of metal compared to casting - this means I can go pretty large with my designs and they remain surprisingly light in weight.

I am a member of AGTA and I serve as Communications Chair at WJA Los Angeles. In 2013 I received the Carelle-WJA Grant in Honor of Brooke Tivol McGrath. This was a cash grant of $5,000 that allowed me to produce a look book with my first collection that helped me establish the look of my brand. I feel incredibly blessed to have received this aid from WJA.

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Selling my first piece – a custom rubelite ring in 18k gold. My passion lies in bespoke pieces for fierce and independent women. You know who they are –they’re the ones who speak up and turn heads whenever they enter a room.

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I aim to grow this collection over the coming months. You can expect to see more parts of the beast. There will be one-of-a-kinds with colored stones, pearls, and diamonds.

I would like to partner with more retailers. Consumer values have been changing a lot these past few years and retailers have had to evolve with this. I strongly believe brick-and-mortar stores are still incredibly important despite the rise of e-commerce. Women know what they want more than ever before. They will always want a place where they can experience jewelry in person and connect with it.

From the very beginning my goal has been to create magic in metal. This is my raison d’être. Running a business involves wearing all kinds of hats which I love, but at the end of the day all I want is bad-ass jewelry for our bad-ass selves.

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My cavansite ring. It’s the one piece I made for myself so far. It looks magical and everyone always asks about it. It has heft like all my other designs. My pieces aren’t just pleasing to look at - they have to feel substantial and luxurious, too. My jewelry has presence just like the women who wear it.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry.

 

Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry

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Check out Diamonds in the Library, who also is featuring the new collection today as well!

Jewels at my Doorstep: Stacy Nolan Jewelry

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When jewels arrive at my doorstep, it's a celebration! Here's the rundown of my day when Stacy Nolan sent me some jewelry to play with and shoot.

9am: Stacy Nolan Jewelry arrives at my doorstep. 4 pairs of earrings. 2 necklaces. 1 bracelet. 4 rings.

9:05am: The box has been ripped open, now disheveled over in the corner with Chiefy & Frankie sniffing at it frantically. I'm talking aloud to myself and not a soul is in the house. "Omg I love these! Oh woah, these huggie earrings are exactly what I've been scouring the Inter-webs for!" I simply can't help myself when I'm excited about something, all sanity goes out the window.

9:15am: Hair is a hot mess, pajamas are still on fully coated in Chiefy's hair, no makeup on except for some remnants of yesterday's cat eye and unnecessary bold lip--I start "styling" this pajama look with Stacy Nolan's pieces and the power of jewelry comes into play. I am immediately feeling myself because of the jewels--a diamond briolette can shine! And hell yeah this fringe necklace is somewhat elegant with pajamas, I can see how everyday wear on this baby is a definite.

9:30am: I've already established how I want to wear the Stacy Nolan jewels, so I take a few quick shots with my iPhone for memory's sake, and start to get a feel for what I think the look and outfit should be. Most definitely girly--I feel very sexy with the fringe, the diamond briolettes and the threader earrings. The collection also has a daintiness to it, although when worn all together, it is hardly dainty. Ok, got it!

10am: Shower, indefinitely, and then start getting ready. For makeup, I stuck with a very similar look that I wear for special occasions, except adding the eye shadows that feature sparkles in the palette of my Naked by Urban Decay. I chose a pink lip color to add to the girly vibe and also play off the pink faux fur stole. For hair, I left the bed head look and stuck with my 3 day old curls. Didn't want the look to be too overdone or too polished. For nails, I kept my natural nail showing and simply glittered the tips only. It's a fun and easy nail look--takes some practice but no need to be an expert.

11am: Put together the outfit and now back to styling the jewelry. I opted for wearing the circular black diamond briolette stud earrings in my first holes, then got creative with the threader earrings and huggies. Rather than wearing them normally, I put one pair on each ear--so threaders on my right ear (holes 2 and 3) and huggies on the other side! I also didn't thread the earrings all the way through--they conveniently have earring posts on each end and I wore them as if they were long dangle earrings. I love the long length and really makes them stand out this way. Necklaces, bracelet and rings were more straightforward with the styling.

11:30am: Off I go, hopped into the car ready to scout out a perfect location to shoot the photos! Our first stop was a historic building with a pretty yellow door. As cute as it seemed, the lighting was way off and after a few shots we moved on. I kept admiring the earring look I was sporting and couldn't get over how perfect the huggies fit my ears. We pulled up to a green oasis with some blossoms and greenery that instantly worked. After some makeshift pruning to a few of the sticks and leaves, it was go-time.

1pm: Back at the house and already going through pictures! The multi-color diamond briolette bracelet and matching necklace really stand out in the photos. The lapis tear drop fringe necklace also stuns and I'm glad we got a few shots of the coordinating earrings, done in white onyx.

2pm: ...I've already emailed and placed my order with Stacy Nolan the pieces that I want! lol

4pm: Once all the photos have been selected, I sadly pack up the jewelry to be mailed back. One of the diamond briolette rings finds a new home in my jewelry box instead of the package, and I wave off the pieces one-by-one as they go.

Pieces used for the photoshoot:

14k yellow gold multi-colored diamond briolette bracelet 2.30 carats total, Price: $1,195

14k yellow gold matching multi-colored diamond briolette necklace 2.43 carats total, Price: $1,450

18k yellow gold fringe drop necklace with lapis and diamonds, Price: $2,760

18k yellow gold matching fringe drop earrings with white onyx, Price: $3,750

14k yellow gold black diamond briolette threader earrings, Price: $155 each

14k yellow gold circle studs with black diamond briolettes, Price: $365

14k yellow gold black diamond briolette huggie earrings, Price: $270

14k yellow gold black diamond briolette ring, Price: $200

14k yellow gold black diamond briolette ring with black pave diamonds, Price: $485

14k yellow gold white diamond briolette ring, Price: $575

14k yellow gold champange diamond briolette ring with white diamond pave, Price: $780

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Stacy Nolan Jewelry.

 

Stacy Nolan Jewelry