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Gem Gossip Visits A La Vieille Russie in NYC

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Window shopping in NYC is great, but you MUST check out the inside, don't be afraid! Tell them you saw this blog post!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Wow, first things I lay my eyes on after walking into the door--this incredible opal necklace.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

The interior is just as magnificent as you would have imagined the iconic ALVR to be!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

OMG! I knew I was going to see some amazing jewelry at ALVR--these two were my top picks!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Queen for a minute! This crown was really fun to wear, diamonds set in silver with a chicken feather

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Another exquisite piece with unknown origins, but we do know it is Edwardian and American!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Browsing and enjoying every minute of it!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Quite the stack--all rings available from ALVR

ALVR | Gem Gossip

A look into one of their curio cabinets of jewels.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Probably the most incredible articulated and enameled snake necklace I've ever seen! Everything is immaculate and the snake looks so life-like!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

I had to try it on! You could wear it in so many different ways!!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

This brooch is most likely from the Russian Crown Jewels--wow!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Playing with some more rings, all available from ALVR

ALVR | Gem Gossip

A pair of very sweet emerald antique earrings

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Hearing the stories Mr. Peter Schaffer has to tell, I could listen for hours!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Ah, rings...my favorite part! You can check out the ring selection online from ALVR here.

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Cream of the crop Art Deco right here! This brooch pulls apart to become two dress clips

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Always looking, scanning, browsing...my advice is to look more than once!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Have you ever seen a pair of jade wasp earrings carrying a diamond briolette pollen drop?!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Probably my favorite bracelet from their extensive collection, this well-made Victorian turquoise and diamond piece

ALVR | Gem Gossip

These earrings are not for the faint of heart--I can't get enough of the imperial Topaz

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Are you convinced you need to stop in yet?!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Having all the jewels at my fingertips is scary and amazing at the same time! ;)

ALVR | Gem Gossip

The holidays are around the corner--put a bow on it! Or two!

ALVR | Gem Gossip

Myself with Sharon and Mr. Peter Schaffer

It's 2016 and dreams still do come true. How many people have walked by, zoomed passed in a taxi, or trotted on in a horse/carriage (which should be banned, I think) by the iconic shop that specializes in rare antique jewelry, Faberge, and decorative arts, not to mention Russian treasures of all sorts?! A La Vieille Russie is its name and since 1961 the store has stood across from Central Park, on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street. Most every part of NYC is busy, however this area is even more so, especially with tourist foot traffic. I've been hoping, wishing, praying I would get the opportunity to visit this gallery and more importantly, take enough time to fully enjoy every piece and hear the stories that had to be told by Mr. Peter Schaffer himself. 

A La Vieille Russie opened its doors to me and want to do the same for you!  With some jewelry shops, intimidation for whatever reason, can sometimes prevent one from visiting and taking the time to walk inside the store. People often would rather stare at the windows and not go inside. The staff and owners of ALVR want to let you know that they encourage visitors, curious minds and drooling jewelry fans. The history of their store is important and rich in many senses, but that does not mean they aren't ready and willing to help a gazing customer. 

I experienced SO many once-in-a-lifetime pieces of jewelry while visiting A La Vieille Russie. Again, like I said, dreams do come true. The crown was a memorable moment, as well as the labradorite carved monkey ring. The pair of snakes are both incredibly rare, to begin with, and then to experience two very similar ones at the same time...?!  I've never felt a piece of jewelry before that was made with such superiority. And so life-like...one could think it is real if the situation were right. From the cabinets of jewels, to the vitrines of Faberge, the collection of cufflinks, and the window of bold pieces, ALVR was the perfect visit for a beautiful day in NYC.

Next time you're in NYC, make sure you stop by--you can say I sent you!

 

 

ALVR

781 5th Ave

New York, NY 10022

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Gem Gossip Visits Heritage Auctions in NYC

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

What is so special about all of these pieces?! They were once owned by Shirley Temple! Heritage Auctions has a collection of Shirley Temple's jewelry that will go up for auction December 5th-6th

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Outside the Heritage Auctions offices in NYC

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I loved getting to preview these jewels before they went up for auction in September's Signature Sale

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Heritage Auctions is one of my favorites to bid for luxury items because I know they are authentic and what they offer is pretty incredible! I even fell for some of their high-end designer bags!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

This necklace is 18k white gold by Mattia Cielo and the earring are by Vhernier done in chalcedony. Both were auctioned off in the September Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Three items from Shirley Temple--this charm bracelet is exquisite, made up of platinum and diamond charms! And wow, these diamond rings!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A closeup of the jewels once owned by Shirley Temple--the Tiffany & Co. bracelet was custom made for her, as her favorite color was orange!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A fun and flirty lapis drop pendant with added pearls which create a tassel. And yes, I've said it before tassels are in! This once belonged to Shirley Temple

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Channeling Wonder Woman with these cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels. These were gifts from Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Feeling these two together, both in Heritage Auctions' September Signature Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A lapis and diamond necklace by Salvador Dali

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These cuffs sold for over $162,000! Amazing!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These Cartier panther earrings are everything!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Love the diversity of what Heritage Auctions offers--here are three bracelets, three very different price points and different eras!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

All my favorite rings from the September Signature Sale--that moonstone is amazing! It is by Paula Crevoshay

Heritage Auctions always has something exciting going on, whether it is a celebrity's jewels going up at auction or a fun preview touring across the US, or sales taking place at one of their multiple locations of Dallas, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Houston, and Beverly Hills (also a few worldwide). That's what I like about Heritage Auctions...their ongoing reach at finding pieces to sell is incomparable, they are the experts. The company is a collector's best friend, as they encourage the hobby of collecting but also want curation to be an important aspect for all collectors, so selling is just as important. Heritage is here to do both of these aspects for you--to help you buy and to help you sell--and their specialized categories are numerous, so whatever you are interested in, Heritage probably has a department for you! I like to focus on jewelry, so for me Heritage is great because not only do they have their Signature Sales, three per year, and Tuesday night auctions, which happen every Tuesday night, so jewelry lovers are fully satisfied.

I visited their headquarters last January in Dallas and got to see the facility first-hand, as well as try on some amazing pieces. This time around when I visited NYC, I got to checkout their east-coast location in the city that never sleeps. Just as suspected, the jewels were incredible and if you want to get excited for an upcoming sale, their December Signature Sale will be an event not to be missed!  A lot of the pieces I tried on were from yesterday's September Signature Sale, where bidders were setting records and auction hammers were flying. A significant lot featuring a pair of matching 18k yellow gold cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels, were gifted on a wedding day by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to her step sister and sold for $162,500! Being able to wear them and photograph them myself is an honor in and of itself.

Heritage Auctions continually is a dominant source for designer jewelry--like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Blvgari, David Webb, amongst many, many others. Their December Signature Sale, slated for December 5th-6th as a two-day event, has numerous designer pieces. But what you may not realize when glancing at a Tiffany & Co. bracelet or a Blvgari suite in that particular sale is who those pieces once belonged to. Heritage Auctions is so excited to be offering the jewels of Shirley Temple in their December sale! There are several pieces, many of which I got to try on in the photos above. Although the stories behind the jewels, like where or who they are from, when did she wear them, what were her favorites, may not be known, the fact that they were once hers make them that much more special. 

Take a look at December's upcoming catalog, more jewelry will be added as it becomes available:

8.43 carat Emerald cut diamond ring set in platinum, once owned by Shirley Temple

Lapis and pearl tassel necklace, once owned by Shirley Temple

Tiffany & Co. orange enamel and turquoise bracelet, once owned by Shirley Temple

Art Deco platinum charm bracelet featuring 15 charms, once owned by Shirley Temple

Matching pair of Blvgari rings, one in ruby and one in emerald, once owned by Shirley Temple


 

 

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Heritage Auctions

445 Park Ave #3

New York, NY 10022

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Metal & Smith Jewelry Show Debuts in NYC with Much Enthusiasm 

Metal & Smith Metal & Smith

Some unique rings by Ilana Ariel Collections, based out of NYC

Exhibitor List Metal & Smith 2016 Metal & Smith

Was so floored by the beautiful designs of Margery Hirschey Fine Jewelry, obviously a fan of opal, who is based out of Colorado

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Some diamond favorites by TAP by Todd Pownell who came from Cleveland, OH to exhibit

Metal & Smith

Another who traveled far: all the way from Japan, Kataoka Jewelry

Metal & Smith

Would wear everything from Katey Walker Fine Jewelry, I couldn't pick a favorite! Just look at this ear cuff!

Metal & Smith

Loved meeting East Fourth Street Jewelry who is based out of Minnesota

Metal & Smith

Adding some west coast vibes to the show, Sarah Swell Jewelry stopped people in the tracks with her unique designs

Metal & Smith

A favorite of mine, Nancy Newberg continues to be most wearable and necessary to someone's jewel box!

Metal & Smith

I was way too enchanted by Variance Objects and all their handcrafted jewels, especially these stud earrings!

Metal & Smith

Finally met Jennifer Dawes and her sustainable, "outside the box" bridal pieces. She is based out of Sonoma County, California!

Metal & Smith

Anabel Higgins Jewelry uses vintage and antique motifs as her main inspiration when designing, often using authentic components when creating pieces!

Metal & Smith

Geometry never looked so good thanks to Selin Kent and her designs. She is based out of NYC but hails from Istanbul, Turkey.

Metal & Smith

The lovely displays of Margery Hirschey--makes you want to dive into the smooth velvet and stay awhile.

Metal & Smith

Pointed perfection from Marli, a fine jewelry brand for the modern woman, based out of NYC.

Metal & Smith

Take a look at this sketchbook from Christine Huber who is one that pays attention to detail. Her designs are full of surprises and handcrafted beautifully.

Metal & Smith

Designer Lisa of Charlton & Lola knows how to create a good stack, her colorful creations have fingers happy and collectors wanting more.

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Ambyr Childers displays her jewelry on rose quartz and I learned of her Native American heritage which impacts her designs, with each piece being spiritually blessed.

Samantha Knight Jewelry brought out her fine jewelry line along with her curation of fine antique pieces, like these five stunning rings. I want the snake!!

Metal & Smith

Finally got to meet Uma K Jewelry, her jewels and energy are 100 and these are some of my favorites.

Metal & Smith

Monica Marcella's gorgeous pendants--moss agate, dendritic agate and enhydro quartz are one-of-a-kind favorites.

Metal & Smith

Emanuela Duca is from Italy and uses rich, 18k yellow gold to create these rings.

Metal & Smith

LOVE this display from Workhorse Jewels--these vintage vitrines are perfect for holding their vintage inspired stacking jewels. And yes, they make antique-inspired baby rings, but in rings sizes that are fitting for today's fingers.

Metal & Smith

Hannah Blount Jewelry handcrafts every piece in her Boston studio and is as sweet and funny as her whimsical jewels are!

Metal & Smith

Vrai & Oro are based out of LA and strive to create essential fine gold pieces at a fraction of the cost--getting rid of markup and sold online-only.

Metal & Smith

I never wanted a lamb so bad (besides a real baby lamb) before seeing these little lamb rings by Julie Lamb (yes, that's her real last name).

Metal & Smith

LuLu and Shay Jewelry is based out of NYC and I can't get enough of her handmade pieces, especially her matte gold finish and totally dying for a sapphire Bud Ring!

Metal & Smith

I love finally getting to try on something you've been wanting on for the first time--that's what I was feeling when meeting Elizabeth Buenaventura and her amazing collection. Her Starfish ring is on my wish list!

Metal & Smith

If you want to be blown away by design, just check out Roule & Company. Many of their designs feature cage-like enclosures, encasing loose gems for a fun, kinetic piece. They are based in NYC.

Metal & Smith

Someone inspired by antique jewelry is usually a jewelry designer I can get down with! Liz Phillips' had a collection that took Art Deco details and brought them into today's world.

Metal & Smith

Tola Jewelry's phrase is Alchemy + Architecture and her jewels embody and depict that phrase perfectly. Her handmade cuffs, seen here, mold to the wrist and feel like second skin.

Metal & Smith

Yama Jewelry is created by an architect turned goldsmith and designer--the pieces are fun, bold and done in 14k or 18k gold.

Metal & Smith

Sophie Ratner is a recent graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design and I loved seeing her pretty and feminine designs on display.

Metal & Smith

Cherut Jewelry is based out of Tel Aviv and is designed by Shani Erez who draws from her surroundings and background to create this modern, ultra-chic line.

Metal & Smith

Bleecker and Prince is a cool line that showcases jewelry like above--chunky, bold gems carved into jewelry...and then it has a totally opposite look, with pieces that are delicate and layer-ready done in gold and gemstones. Love the Yin and the Yang of this collection.

Metal & Smith

One to watch: Gillian Steinhardt whose designs were bold (what I love) and some incorporated hands (which I absolutely love)...and then I saw that some of the hands had red enamel nail polish on the nails and I was hooked.

Metal & Smith

Eriness Jewelry shows you exactly how to stack it up!

Metal & Smith Moratorium Jewelry is based in NYC and shall I say, mixes goth with glam? Or badassness with diamonds? I like that better.

Creating something new and different, something that is needed and challenges what is currently offered is not for the faint of heart. It takes great determination, a driven and clear path, a concise vision and lots of enthusiastic supporters to pull it off. Metal & Smith was envisioned by co-founder Lee Wright as an experience for fine jewelry brands to present their work for potential buyers, press and stylists in a laid back, open environment. Something similar to a trade show, yet unlike a trade show in every way possible. I was honored and excited to be on board with Metal & Smith as an Advisor and help curate which jewelry talent was invited to this exclusive one-day event which took place September 19th, in NYC. 

Attending the event was so much fun as I immediately could feel the enthusiasm from everyone there, whether they were exhibiting, attending or helping. Designers had one day to show off their work, which brought talent from as far as Israel, Japan and all over the US. Having a great location started with NYC as a diverse, upbeat backdrop and the Mercantile Annex offered the perfect setting for this new type of jewelry show. All white floors and walls, large windows, plenty of sunlight, and table top displays, all of which are features not typical for a jewelry show, but were first and foremost for Metal & Smith. I like to call these distinguishing features a blogger's dream because taking photos is so important in our job and the backdrop/lighting at most jewelry shows is, well, completely horrible! I couldn't have been happier snapping photos at Metal & Smith thanks to something extrememly rare being present--THE SUN. The differences didn't stop there. 

Having a list of exhibitors that did not exceed more than 50 may be the smartest part about Metal & Smith. First off, being able to FOCUS on 50 was doable and not feeling overwhelmed helped tremendously. It also gave the event a feeling of exclusivity. My goal was to visit all 50 designers and although I spent a total of 5 hours at the show and thought I had visited everyone, I realized once I had left that I had forgotten a whole section! I enjoyed that the event was one day only, from 1-9pm, which is another aspect about Metal & Smith that sets it apart. 

One thing is for sure, the Metal & Smith show is a great place to discover new talent. Just as the event had their debut last week, so did many of their exhibitors, with several who exhibited for the first time ever that day. It was unchartered territory for many, but you would not have guessed by their confidence and proud displays. Jewelry stores and luxury lifestyle stores who like to be on the cutting edge of what's new and now have a unique opportunity with Metal & Smith for this exact reason! There is no one jumping on the band wagon here--just trend setters and the next big thing happening. 

I want to thank every jewelry designer who graciously spent some time with me during the show--whether it was showing me your work or meeting me for the first time, it was a special day. I'm also very grateful to be a part of this show and can't wait until January 2017! (Yes, a new date has been added!)

(Check out the captions of each photo for more info on designers, etc.)

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my Vintage & Antique Inventory

Slay in Sapphires from Arik Kastan

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip sapphire banner by Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip sapphire banner by Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip sapphire banner by Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip sapphire banner by Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip divider 3839Sapphire

A simple half eternity band in all sapphires is sometimes all you need! Arik Kastan makes all bands by hand using genuine gemstones and every detail is priority. The comfort of this band is something you need to see for yourself!

Half Eternity band in sapphires, Price: $1,166

3683S

Love these drop earrings done in 14k rose gold and sapphires because they combine a few of my favorite aspects of jewelry. One, they have a vintage style--the filigree speaks for itself. Two, they are bold which is what we're wanting for Fall. And lastly, they are easy to style and will stun with any outfit.

Arabesque drop earrings, Price: $1,890

4318DS

The newest baby within the Arik Kastan collection, the Flower Mandala ring, really calms and soothes both in design and gemstone choice. With sapphires being said to relieve stress and help clear the mind, this bold ring will be your guiding light. Sapphire petals and diamond details, all set in our signature 14k rose gold.

Flower Mandala ring, Price: $1,760

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In love with the aquamarine and sapphire color combo of these Nouveau Oval drop earrings. It is a juxtaposition between the soft, romantic aquamarine and the edgy, dark sapphires that has us swooning.

Nouveau Oval drop earrings, Price: $1,920

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The Framed Flower ring mixes some bohemian vibes with what every girl wants in a ring: stunning sparkle. I can't think of a better gemstone than sapphire to pull this off. Simple yet powerful; love this ring!!

Framed Flower ring, Price: $660

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Jewels at my Doorstep: JewelStreet.com

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Taking the jewels of JewelStreet to the streets of Nashville! The online luxury jewelry marketplace prides itself as being the UK's #1 website for designer fine jewelry, with an emphasis on seeking out brands that are doing amazing things with design. Browsing the pages of JewelStreet makes you feel as though you're traveling the world through the lens of jewelry. Their virtual boutique is set up to feature jewelry designers by country, and this breakdown allows you to see everything from a global perspective. You can delve into Italy and see the rich gold designs from this country featured on JewelStreet, Brazil is fascinating and leading the way with unique design with several artisans featured, France has some great designers...the list goes on and on! Being from the United States, I felt some American pride seeing who is represented on this worldwide jewelry outlet--many names I recognized and familiar faces. 

For this Jewels at my Doorstep shoot, I thought it would be neat to feature a few different countries. I chose these really neat pearl geode rings from Little H Jewelry based in the US, a bold out-of-this-world solar system inspired ring by Anakao out of London, UK, and last but not least some long black spinel earrings by MyriamSOS from Cyprus (which I honestly had to look on a map to figure out where exactly that country is located, FYI it's an island south of Turkey). It is beautiful how jewelry from all over the globe can come together and complement one another, be a staple in someone's jewelry box, and make memories for a lifetime.

Connecting people to jewelry from all over the globe is what makes JewelStreet so special. Imagine logging into the website from your laptop in a small town, in middle America. JewelStreet connects you with jewelry designers from places in all parts of this large globe we call home, that you may have never known about. So now a pendant from a jeweler in Greece is on its way to your jewelry box thanks to JewelStreet, and it will forever be a part of your story. I love that.

Make sure you check out JewelStreet and immerse yourself in their global world. 

And here is the info on the jewels I'm wearing:

The Hallgrimur Earrings by MyriamSOS, 9k rose gold set with black spinel, Price: $990

Devoted Ring in yellow gold by Anakao, 18k yellow gold & diamonds, Price: $2,320

Three pearl ring--Tahitian, keshi, Golden South Sea pearl in 14k yellow gold, by Little H Jewelry, Price: $1,600

Three pearl ring--Fiji pearl, Akoya, Golden South Sea pearl in 14k yellow gold, by Little H Jewelry, Price: $2,500

Single point collection ring with Tahitian Keshi pearl and rubies in 14k yellow gold, by Little H Jewelry, Price: $1,100

Finestrino collection, black diamonds and Tahitian Keshi pearl in 14k black rhodium, by Little H Jewelry, Price: $2,200


This post was brought to you in collaboration with JewelStreet.

 

JewelStreet

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The Gentleman's Guide to Buying Vintage Engagement Rings

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So you know that she wants a vintage engagement ring, but what now? This handy and comprehensive guide, written by the experts at Estate Diamond Jewelry will hopefully shed some light on a journey fraught with potential pitfalls for the uninformed, and make the whole process much easier than it otherwise might be.

A Quick Rundown on the Vintage Eras

We believe that understanding the vintage jewelry eras is very important. These terms are repeated endlessly throughout the vintage jewelry scene, and recognizing the vintage jewelry eras is the first step to beginning to understand vintage jewelry.

The Victorian Era spanned from 1836 - 1901

Victorian-Rings

The Edwardian Era spanned from 1901 - 1915

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The Art Deco Era spanned from 1920 - 1939

Art-Deco-Rings

The Retro Era spanned from 1935 - 1950

Retro-Rings

The earliest era is the Georgian Era, spanning from 1714 - 1835, unfortunately, there aren’t many genuine Georgian Rings available on the market anymore. Most of the genuine Georgian rings are not in a stable enough condition to wear on a daily basis. The Art Nouveau Era, spanned from 1895 - 1910, and partially overlapped the Victorian and Edwardian Era. The Art Nouveau designs and motifs however, didn’t really lend themselves to be easily adapted to the traditional vintage engagement ring. The rings shown above can be found here.

The Four C’s and Diamond Quality

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The Four ‘C’s of diamond classification are Carat (size), Clarity (flawlessness), Color (how “white” it is) and Cut (the quality of the cut and how the finished stone appears). A reputable dealer will happily go over each of these with you for any stone that catches your eye. Even if you have a modest budget, it is important that you feel comfortable and have a good understanding of the stone that you are interested in.

Also, bear in mind that compromising in one area will get you a strength in another. If size is important to you, you may have to compromise on clarity or color to find a diamond within your budget.

The Classes of Diamonds

Carat - The larger the number the heavier the diamond weighs. One carat weighs 200 mg.

Color - The whiteness of the diamond. The whitest diamonds are ranked as a D. The diamonds get more yellow as the letters move closer to Z.

Clarity - The clarity of a diamond ranges from F (no inclusions), IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and I3 (included).

Cut - The cut measures the perfection of the facets of the diamond. There are four standard rankings: excellent, very good, good, and fair. (Please note that antique diamonds tend to rank lower on this scale because they were cut by hand.)

For a comprehensive walk-through on everything that you need to know about diamonds, click here.

Determining Antique Diamonds

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Determining the age of a diamond accurately is very hard, even for experts, but we can give you a few tips to help you at least determine if the diamond is old.

  • The culet. If you look down the center of the diamond and see a culet (a rounded facet at the bottom) there likelyhood of the diamond being old is extremely high.
  • The table. The table is the flat surface at the top of the diamond. Current GIA standards favor a larger table surface. Older diamonds will usually have much smaller tables.
  • The girdle. A frosted girdle is good indicator that the diamond is old.

For more information on dating antique diamonds and why antique diamonds are treasured, click here.

The Style and Design

Most people have heard the term “solitaire ring” without ever really fully understanding what it means. A solitaire ring is simply a ring with a single stone, usually but not exclusively a diamond, and has become an iconic representation of an engagement ring. But solitaires, as popular as they have become in recent years are just one in an almost endless array of designs for engagement rings.

There are several popular periods for antique engagement rings, many of which have gone on to influence modern day designs significantly. One of the most important periods for design generally, and which had a terrific impact on ring design was the Art Deco period of the early 20th Century. Art Deco is demonstrated by symmetrical, even at times quite aggressive designs that lend themselves perfectly to drawing the eye to the diamond of the engagement ring.

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Considered a little more “edgy” that earlier style periods, both in construction and intent, the symmetry of engagement rings from this period manages to stay clear of straying into what might otherwise have been early “bling” by the considered cut and placement of the stones. It isn’t unusual to see a center diamond surrounded by a pavement of small sapphires or rubies, or even other diamonds. This can allow the center diamond to be a little smaller and, therefore, a little less expensive whilst appearing bigger than it really is.

The fact is, though, that style is a very personal thing. Find something you like, and then ask yourself will your future fiancé like it. Actually looking at her current ring collection before you start shopping, or the ones she wears at least, will give you some idea of what to look for. If she has rings she wears all the time, don’t be afraid to look for an engagement ring that might compliment them, whether by color or design.

Platinum is the metal of choice for the band of the ring, due to it being hypoallergenic, but the choices extend to gold in many colors, giving a wide range of choices. Antique rings from the Victorian Era will very likely have silver in them as well.

To understand a little bit more about vintage motifs and styles, click here.

The Budget

Only you can decide how much your budget should be. Of all the questions that you and your fiancée will be asked about the ring, “How much was it” won’t – or at least shouldn’t – be one of them. As long as you stay within your budget, don’t be drawn into overpaying for a ring just so that you can brag about the cost.

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If your fiancée is really the one for you, you could put an old beer can ring pull on her finger and it wouldn’t matter. (Don’t do that, by the way, the tactic only works in movies.) Leave the cost boasts to the celebrities.

De Beers, the diamond mining and dealing giant first coined the phrase “A month’s salary that lasts a lifetime” to boost sales within a falling diamond market during the lean years of the 1930s. They upgraded it to “Two month’s salary…” by the 1980s, so it seems their campaign paid off.

So is two month’s salary a fair price? It all depends.

Will it be a single solitaire diamond, or one with more stones in the setting? Will it have different stones such as sapphires or rubies as well as the diamonds. How big will the stones be? What will the quality of the stones and the setting be?

Any one of them can make a huge difference to the cost of the ring. The key is NOT to see the vintage ring as an investment, although it will more than likely rise in value, but to see it as part of your life story. A permanent, irrefutable element in a story that now involves two people.

Set your budget and have a cast iron determination to stay within it. Or at least within 20% of the top end if you see something you really like. Whether this is two month’s salary or just enough so you can eat this week makes no difference. The main thing is to find a ring that you’ll both love. An engagement ring isn’t just a piece of jewelry, it is the guardian of a treasured moment that you will share forever.

Quality and Assurances

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This is where finding a reputable dealer with a sound background and credentials becomes crucial.

Most vintage engagement rings will have one primary (and possibly many accenting) diamonds within the setting. As mentioned above, diamonds come in a wide range of qualities and, by extension, values. The best diamonds sell for very high prices and have lots of nuances, but that doesn’t mean lower valued stones should be overlooked.

To all but the practised eye of an expert, many of the internal flaws and color tints that lower some value from the stone will be all but undetectable to an untrained eye, even yours. A trained and honest salesperson should be able to navigate you along the path, educating you along the way, and helping you make this important decision.

Certifications and Insurance

If you have a budget that allows you to consider a diamond in excess of 1 carat, you should get a certification or appraisal into the grading of the stone. These are independently produced and certify the quality of the diamond should you need it at any point for insurance or other purposes.

Speaking of insurance, make sure you get the right level of cover for the ring you buy. There are specialist jewelry insurers as well as cover being usually available from your home and contents insurer. Have the ring re-valued every couple of years and make sure you upgrade the cover if needed. Not that the emotional value of an engagement ring can ever be measured, but loss and damage does happen and a “free” replacement is better than paying twice.

For more information on how to insure your jewelry, click here.

A Final Thought

The value of an engagement ring can’t just be measured in dollars, it’s far too important to simply be a financial thing. What it signifies is a partnership that is taking a significant step forward and which will define you both for decades to come. Above all else, buy an engagement ring that shows the purchase wasn’t just about you. We all like, and need, to feel appreciated so keep that in mind when you make the single biggest “I appreciate you” statement of your life.

This post was written and brought to you by Estate Diamond Jewelry.

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Just Launched: The Fox & Bond Major Mini Necklaces

Fox & Bond Major Mini Fox & Bond Major Mini Fox & Bond Major Mini Fox & Bond Major Mini Fox & Bond Major Mini

You may be familiar with these mini ring necklaces which Fox & Bond first launched last year.  Since then they have been adorning the necks of fashionistas, celebrities and it-girls across the globe. Each one commemorating a milestone or event special to every wearer...each one customized with a favorite gold color, gemstone...and each one possibly holding a hidden engraving. What has been making these little keepsake necklaces so popular is how wearable they are, how collectible (and slightly addicting) they are, and most importantly, how each is personalized. The girls of Fox & Bond decided to launch another version and as they say, "We wanted to make The Mini a sister, but we wanted her to be bigger and blingier!" 

Gem Gossip has your first look at the new version, dubbed the Major Mini, a name quite fitting. The new baby is outfitted with one center diamond and six side diamonds, packing some major sparkle in such a tiny ring. Similar to the original, it can be customized in white gold, yellow gold or rose gold and up to 8 characters engraved inside. It also comes on a 16" chain which is my favorite length right now for the daintiness of it. Ready to layer--black velvet chokers, long antique chains or 22" rope chains--all go perfect with the minis and its 16" style.

The Major Mini is perfection for gifting--especially for brides-to-be! That's exactly what I am doing with mine, pictured here.  My husband's cousin is marrying her future bride and she proposed with a vintage ruby ring in white gold. I know they often partake in fun outdoor activities and gardening that leaves rings at home in jewelry boxes (where they should be for these types of hobbies) so the Major Mini will be the perfect remedy on occasions like this!  I bet she will love this wedding gift so much it will become her signature necklace, worn everyday!  I absolutely cannot wait to give this to her!

Whether you want a Major Mini for yourself, or if you are going to ask your significant other to buy you one, or you buy one to gift to a bride or bride-to-be, this will surely be a hit. And yes, I'm working on my collection of minis and adding one to my necklace every wedding anniversary. Can you believe I already had to put my order in for the one year anniversary?! Crazy.

 

Fox & Bond Major Mini

The Major Mini, available in 14k white, yellow or rose gold

Price: $500

Exclusive Animal Fetish Rings by Gem Gossip

Fetish Rings | Gem Gossip Fetish Rings | Gem Gossip Fetish Rings | Gem Gossip

Hello Gem Gossip readers! Today is a very special day...wanna know why?! It's my birthday! As with most years, I always treat myself to an amazing piece of jewelry for my birthday. This year is a little different--I'm giving you the opportunity to buy a cool piece of jewelry! I've decided to launch this exclusive animal fetish bead ring collection on this day instead. The middle photo depicts a ring from my personal collection that I've had for awhile now. It is a mother of pearl bird bead ring that I created using 14k solid gold wire and the bead. Whenever I wear it, I get lots of comments asking about it, etc. I've been wanting to make these for awhile now, but it finally came together.

The first batch I am offering is a group of 15 unique beads, all genuine carved stones. There are birds, foxes, and bears in the mix. Each is numbered and offered as a first come, first serve basis. The band is made of 14k yellow gold wire, not gold-filled. And 10% of sales will go toward my local animal shelter.

TO ORDER:

1. Send an email to sales@gemgossip.com

2. Let me know which bead you would like indicated by number.

3. Tell me your ring size as each is made to order and will be made just for you!

4. I will send you a PayPal invoice--each is $125 + $5 shipping & handling. (Sorry, US orders only)

5. Please allow 1-2 weeks for creation and delivery.

>> Hope you enjoy these little rings and have fun trying to decide which one to call your own!

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my Vintage & Antique Inventory

Top Ten Favorite Rings from Elisa Solomon Jewelry

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

I like to call Elisa Solomon's jewelry designs "collectible" jewels, as they are an up-and-coming category that is creating waves in the biggest way possible. What I mean by this is simple: certain designers whose creations look best worn in multiples, all together. There is something so enchanting about stacking and collecting her designs. Each one plays off the other and the bohemian vibe that her jewelry gives off is even stronger when more is worn. Elisa uses motifs like butterflies, flowers, peace signs, hearts and animals to convey her style, along with bright, vibrant colors using multi-hued sapphires, diamonds, and other gemstones. Elisa is definitely a color-wizard when it comes to creating the right color combos using gemstones. Many of her designs have an ombré pattern, where multiple gems and shades of color are used. She also has coined the term "tie dye" with some of her pieces featuring a tie dye effect with colored gemstones. Gems like turquoise, opals, Paraiba tourmaline, multi-colored sapphires and rose cut diamonds have been some of her latest favorites to work with.

I loved every moment I had playing with Elisa's ring designs. Choosing ten favorites was hard, but I narrowed it down to a few of her staples within her collection and added in a couple one-of-a-kind pieces. One thing I noticed right away was how happy her jewels made me feel.  As soon as I put on one of her pieces, I already had a smile on my face. I seriously don't think you could have a bad day wearing Elisa's jewelry!  The butterfly and flower rings were really cool. They were able to stack with others, but if you're looking for your first Elisa Solomon ring purchase, those are great contenders as they are bold enough to wear alone. Adding bands like the custom turquoise eternity or the disk cuff rings are perfect stackable pieces. If you love color, you will love her multi-gem pieces and the more color, the brighter and happier the stack got! 

Hope the above photos give you some stacking inspiration and goals. It would be an awesome tradition to add a piece of Elisa Solomon Jewelry to your collection each milestone or year to celebrate something special. Before you know it, you'll have an amazing collection of sparkling, bohemian jewels. Check out each piece below for more details:

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

1. The peace sign has been an iconic symbol since the late 50s. Elisa's version of the peace sign glitters in a rainbow of gems set in 18k yellow gold. Although small, it packs a powerful punch and stands for something great! It easily stacks or fits perfectly in between her cuff rings. I personally think it would make the coolest pinky ring! Price: $680

2. These cuff rings are one of Elisa's latest designs and they make creating a stack easier by being awesome fillers. Lots of rings are able to pair well with the cuff rings because the design has a void in the middle, ready to be filled by another ring. This one is done in 18k yellow gold and rose cut diamonds. Price: $1,720

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

3. If you know me, you know I have a thing for hearts. I LOVE this heart ring from Elisa Solomon! It is dainty yet bold, set with a bright blue turquoise and ombré colored pink sapphires. The combination of blue and pink is super cute! It could represent many things and can be a symbolic piece in you collection. Price: $780

4.This ring is called the Magic Flower ring for a reason! It is truly magical! It is one of those pieces that can go with everything--just add it atop of any stack, and it tops it off in the best way possible. Take a boring ring that you have in your collection and add this ring on top of it--automatic upgrade! The opals are mystical and the band is special because it is set with rose cut diamonds and aquamarine all the way around. Price: $1,210

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

5. Probably one of Elisa Solomon's most romantic rings--this rose cut diamond heart ring set in 18k yellow gold beckons for a love story. I can see the handcrafted elements of it, which makes it slightly rustic, for those bohemian brides out there. The ideal engagement ring for sure! Price: $2,940

6. This ring is all about flower power! The center starts with a Paraiba tourmaline in the purest blue color. Each petal is set with a multitude of colored gemstones, all unique and sparkly. Such a fun ring, definitely holds its own, so you can wear it alone without stacking--BUT it can happen. Love this for a pinky ring. Price: $1,350

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

7. I posted a video of this ring in my Instagram Story because it deserved to be spotlighted! With every turn, it gets better and better. The eternity style of it starts with a marquise cut turquoise set horizontally, but don't let the front fool you! The ring is asymmetrical, with different sized stones which make up the band. What makes it even more magical is how a combination of opals, diamonds and turquoise create the band. Price: $1,760

8. Pretty little rose cut diamonds make up this beautiful ring. Dainty and elegant is written all over this piece, done in 18k yellow gold. Best part is how easily it pairs with bands and rings, making it possible to find a wedding band with ease should you choose this as your engagement ring! Price: $2,420

Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip Elisa Solomon | Gem Gossip

9. Butterflies are the only insect I like--and one covered in gems is even better! Elisa's butterfly ring is set with an array of colorful gemstones in 18k yellow gold. It's such a sweet ring that easily fits into any jewelry wardrobe. Price: $950

10. Geometric shapes are quite popular and definitely trending--I love Elisa's take on a circular disc ring. She loaded up the color and gems to create this design. The ring is done in 18k yellow gold and stacks really well with her cuff rings. Can you imagine a row of four of these rings on one hand?! So cool! Price: $1,060

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Elisa Solomon Jewelry.

 

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Tips & Tricks on Effectively Using Snapchat or Instagram Stories 

Janna Conner Janna Conner

One way to "bring to life" your brand is through Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Over the last few years, Instagram has become such an integral part of business and branding, it sort of has become a place where jewelry designers, jewelry stores and influencers have gone to display their aesthetic and grow their following. Sometimes an Instagram account can grow stale--although photos that are pleasing to the eye may continue to grab your audience's attention, how can you suplement this platform and bring your photos to life?? That's where Snapchat and Instagram's newly launched "Instagram Stories" comes into play. You can ignore them all you want, but these additions are fun ways of engaging fans and you may be missing out on a new, up-and-coming niche. 

That's why I've elicited the help of jewelry designer Janna Connor to share her tips and tricks to effectively using Snapchat and/or Instagram Stories. Her brand has no doubt grown because of social media and she is always ready to take on the next big thing. Janna's use of both these platforms as one of the first and few jewelry designers to use them and DO IT WELL has gained a lot of attention.  Her quirky snaps, glimpses of everyday life of a jewelry designer and peeks of her personal life are leaving her fans wanting more.

So without further ado, take it away Janna:

"Ok so you’re on Instagram, that’s great. But don’t kid yourself by saying you don’t need to be on Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat as well. According to Forbes, “Over 60% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 38 are Snapchat users.” What is so great about Snapchat and Instagram Stories? While Instagram is the glossy magazine editorial layout, Snapchat is the more personal behind the scenes look to Instagram’s manicured perfection. Instagram’s answer to Snapchat Instagram Stories came out earlier this month and has been a massive hit. Why? Because it’s so easy to use and easy to find people on it, both things that unfortunately Snapchat is not. But Snapchat can become easy if you spend a little time on it everyday.

Here are my 5 tips for killing it in the Insta-stories/Snapchat world:

1. Be consistent. That means you have to post everyday. Not just once a week, not just when you feel like it but everyday. If you are consistent about posting then people will expect and look forward to watching your content. If you’re erratic and all over the place with your posting schedule then people will get bored and move on. Even if you are overwhelmed by the prospect of posting on yet another social media channel, don’t over think it. Start simple. Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee? Snuggling with a favorite pet? Going for a walk in a scenic area? Checking out a new store? Post it. If there are some days when you just aren’t feeling it then give yourself a pass and post only a few times. Increase gradually and work up to posting more. As they say, fake it till you make it. The more you do it the more second hand it will become and the easier it will become.

2. Just like on regular Instagram, don’t dump all your content at one time. That’s a major pet peeve. Think about it: If you see 15 pictures in a row, by the time you get to 15 you are not nearly as excited/focused as you were on 1-3. We’re all busy, with limited time and a lot of people we follow and a lot of content to get through in a day. But if you post 5 times a day, 3 pics each, then chances are people will stick it out and see all of your content. And the whole reason for posting is so that people will see it, right? So make it easy for them. Also, by posting several times a day, you will continually be moved to the top of the feed and the chances that people will see your post will increase dramatically.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

3. So, really what’s so great about Snapchat and Instagram stories anyways? Everything. Until recently when they added the Camera Roll function to SC and currently with Insta Stories is that you have to take the picture/video solely within the app. That means no Facetune no Snapseed, no photo retouching (with the exception of Snapchat’s amazing filters!). Just what you snap is what you get. What’s great about this is that it enables you to be a lot freer with your content. It’s not going to be perfect but it doesn’t have to be...because it only lasts for 24 hours! So who cares if a snap isn’t taken at the most flattering angle or you have a blemish in another... Big deal! It’s only up for 24 hours and you can always delete it later. That’s not to say you should post completely indiscriminately. Of course not. I would advise against posting anything lewd, illegal and no drunk pics. If you are a public profile then keep in mind that anyone can see these, including your coworkers and employees. So have fun but keep it clean guys! Another thing I love about Snapchat is that nobody can see how many followers another account has or how many views their content received. It really evens the playing field so there isn’t this overt competition to posting. It’s just for fun and that’s something that I think people gloss over too quickly. Sometimes it’s good to just do things because they’re fun or silly, it can stimulate you in many unforeseen creative ways and you may not even know it!

4. Now, you know when to post and how to post but how about what to post? Coming up with new ideas for content can be challenging. I recommend doing a little research and checking out what those you admire are up to. Take notes on what you like and what you don’t like and try it out for yourself. If you have new product coming in, snap it. If you have new packaging in, take a snap. Trying out a new restaurant, take a snap. Traveling somewhere interesting, take a snap. Think about what things you would find interesting and include those. Now, please don’t take a million different snaps of the same restaurant or the same place, just a few will suffice. Less is more! I’m a jewelry designer, and I have access to tons of jewelry, so I often post a pic or a video of what I’m wearing everyday. I figure it might be interesting for others to see how I put my jewelry together and how I accessorize. If I have new interesting stones in, I snap them or if there is an interesting piece in progress, I take a snap. I try to keep it to things that wouldn’t necessarily look great as a finished image on Instagram but are still interesting. Insta stories and SC is a great way for people to see behind the scenes into what makes you, you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This helps to personalize you and make you more relatable. I like to do seasonal style guides or cross promote blog posts, or just a day in the life at my design studio or out exploring the city. I love going to museums so I’m sure to snap any art that moves me or interesting architecture. There are so many inspiring things in the world, just take a look around! Doodle on your photos, use stickers in Snapchat (hopefully these will come soon to Insta stories) and use captions. Personally, I like when people provide context for their stories so you’re not just looking at random images.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

5. Last but not least, use the video option. Snapchat and Insta-stories can help connect your followers to who is really behind your brand. To get to know the real you. So for that to happen, they want to hear your voice and see you in action. Make sure to add videos at least once a day, it can’t all be photos. I’m personally wary of doing too many of these because it can be annoying when there are blasts of sound from one story to the next. Always keep it short and sweet. Essentially Instagram Stories is your Instagram come to life so make it fun!

>> I hope you enjoyed my tips! If you want to see what I’ve been up to check my out on Instagram @jannaconner and Snapchat at Janna_Conner I also do social media consulting, for both big and small companies. If interested in finding out more please contact me at info@jannaconner.com

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WANT MORE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS? Here is Gem Gossip's Instagram Advice.