Say "I Do" with The Eden Collective's Bridal Collection

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As much as I needed a bridal selection like this when I first began to even think about engagement rings, I'm glad The Eden Collective is just now launching this fine, curated selection.  I wouldn't know which to choose, there are so many stunning, heirloom pieces ready to be treasured for a lifetime. The collection is a natural extension of Eden's desire to provide unique and personally meaningful pieces to her clients. It focuses on bridal options, with a hand-selected bunch of original antique and vintage pieces, coinciding amongst some new pieces created with antique inspiration and often cast from original pieces. Wedding band options are plentiful, along with lots of alternative engagement ring choices--something that has been buzzing a lot around the world of all things bridal as of late. And I'm totally on board with it! Future brides are no longer wanting a solitaire diamond with a plain gold band. Even more so, they don't even want diamonds! They want different, unique, one-of-a-kind...

Here's where The Eden Collective's new bridal collection comes into play just in the knick of time.

Eden says, "I think the bridal market has expanded beyond the diamond solitaire “box" to encompass individual expression and a desire for deeper personal meaning in one’s ring choices. It’s like wearing white after Labor Day: the old rules are obsolete and speak to a different time. There’s value in tradition certainly, and beautiful sparkling diamonds will always have a place (though I do prefer the antique cuts) but I think the time has come for acceptance of personal choice and the myriad of variation that can make your engagement ring uniquely yours."

We couldn't agree any louder and prouder. To start the collection, The Eden Collective created the stunning boulder opal ring, the first within a series of original pieces which will focus and bring to light gemstones and their romantic gemlore. Gemstones on deck? Eden excitedly says, "Turquoise, opal, moonstone, amethyst, ruby, sapphire... Gems that have symbolic reference to love, fidelity, patience, communication, truthfulness, passion and nurturing affection: all the things a happy successful relationship is based on."

If you're currently scoping the jewelry world for your future engagement ring or wedding band...or even a special anniversary piece of jewelry, make sure to check out the new collection from The Eden Collective. Find meaning behind the gemstone, discover something deeper than "just a ring" and create lasting memories.

Some of the pieces featured in the above photoshoot:

14k yellow gold one-of-a-kind handmade boulder opal ring an Eden Collective original, Price: $1,050

14k Moonstone and demantoid garnet flower statement ring (antique pin conversion) 

14k LOVE midi (vintage pin conversion), Price: $250

Original 14k bug cuff with diamond eyes, Price: $338

14k moonstone and diamond engagement ring, Price: $525

14k sapphire, ruby and diamond heart pinky (antique pin conversion), Price: $225

14k rose gold vintage ruby eternity wedding band, Price: $725

14k green and white enamel moonstone engagement ring (antique pin conversion), Price: $450

14k Agate statement ring (antique pin conversion)

Antique moonstone trilogy ring, Price: $495

14k gold mine cut diamond enamel flower statement ring (antique pin conversion), Price: $700

14k yellow gold vintage amethyst solitaire ring, Price: $350


This post was brought to you in collaboration with The Eden Collective.

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Jewelry Road Trip: Washington, DC & Alexandria, VA

Hallowed Estate | Gem Gossip Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled Untitled Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled Hillwood Estate, DC Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled

Recently I took a trip to the Washington, DC area. I had two speaking engagements that I was a part of--the first one being DC's GIA Alumni chapter meeting and the second one AGS Conclave. Excitement was what this trip was all about after I realized both were in the same area, however one week apart. I could have flown in and out for both occasions, but since I had never been to DC before, I decided to make an entire trip out of it! So this blog post compiles all that I did in between those two events (which I already wrote about here and here). It was also a very special trip because I brought my mom along with me (who also had never been to DC before) and we took a few days to drive up to Pennsylvania and visit my Gram too.

Day One in DC started with having the entire morning and most of the afternoon to ourselves before my 7pm presentation. It was a rainy day unfortunately, but we made the most of it by checking out two museums. All the photos above are from our visit to Hillwood Estate--a gorgeous mansion once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post back in the 1950s. Marjorie is an incredibly interesting person, as her wealth was acquired by her father who founded Postum Cereal Company (General Foods) which she took over at the young age of 27 when her father passed away. She was a collector and lover of jewelry, arts and gardens. When she decorated her large estate, she deliberately knew she wanted it to become a museum one day, as she was driven to open up the doors to the public. Most importantly, she wanted to share the lifetime of joy she got out of collecting with everyone else. To learn more about Marjorie Merriweather Post, check out this video.

After our time spent at Hillwood, we dined at the cafe on the premises which was great and then headed to Tudor Place, another much smaller and older estate open to the public through guided tours only. We also weren't allowed to take any pictures and I was saddened to not experience very many pieces of jewelry on the tour--only a very small curio cabinet with less than ten items. The area in which Tudor Place is located is just the cutest though.

Hillwood Museum

4155 Linnean Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20008

Tudor Place

1644 31st St NW

Washington, DC 20007

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Day Two of Washington, DC had nothing planned except an entire day at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and I am pretty sure I was more excited than all the school kids I was lined up behind, waiting for the doors to open in the morning. We got there 15 minutes before it was set to open and opted for an Uber since parking would've been a nightmare and it is drastically convenient to have someone drop you off right in front. As soon as the doors opened, my mom and I jetted upstairs for the Harry Winston Gallery, where the Hope Diamond and the Gallery of Gems & Minerals were displayed. It was incredible to say the least--I'm so glad I got the chance to experience such an amazing array and vast collection of gems and minerals all in one place, and I'm also thankful for the timing of it, as my love and knowledge for this subject is definitely at its highest. 

The jewelry that was on display was mind-blowing and the gasping going on was too much to handle. Some of my favorite pieces would have to be the ones I took pictures of, shown above--like the Napoleon Diamond Necklace featuring 260 carats of diamonds! Also the Mackay Emerald and Diamond Necklace, featuring an emerald that weighs 168 carats! The Hall Sapphire Necklace was so enchanting--it was designed by Harry Winston and features 36 cushion cut sapphires from Sri Lanka all set in platinum. The turquoise and diamond crown was also a stand-out for me: titled The Mary Louise Diadem, which Napoleon gave to his second wife. Originally it held emeralds, but in the 1950s they were replaced by turquoise by Van Cleef & Arpels who acquired the diadem. The emeralds were individually set into pieces of jewelry and advertised as emeralds from a historic Napoleonic Tiara! How fascinating! Of course, the pièce de résistance of the Smithsonian--The Hope Diamond, which thankfully I got to see as it has been recently on and off display. I not only got to see it, but I had my own private moment with it with no one else around!  That's pretty rare! 

We enjoyed the rest of the museum that day, spent too much money at the Rock & Mineral gift shop and finally ate some lunch at the cafeteria. It made for such a great day! My mom enjoyed everything too and taking pictures of random things and sending them to my sisters lol.  All we had left planned that day was to hop in our rental and drive 15-20 minutes to Alexandria, VA!

Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History

10th St. & Constitution Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20560

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My next stop was a short drive out to Alexandria, Virginia and we checked into Hotel Monaco, a Kimpton Hotel, nestled perfectly amongst the shops in quaint historic Alexandria. I've never been more pumped to stay at a cute boutique hotel before and this one's location is way too good to choose to stay anywhere else if you're main activity is visiting the shops and restaurants. Upon checking in, we immediately walked around and got familiar with the area.

The next morning we were surprised by the unexpected snowfall and it was so cool to watch it happening outside our hotel window--some of the largest snowflakes I had seen in awhile. It was a Saturday morning, so just up the street the local farmer's market was in full swing by that time--a local tradition here since 1753! We headed straight for the only vendor selling sweets and I can still taste the blueberry turnover I ate that day, simply the best!

After a "healthy" breakfast of baked goods, we headed for The Antique Guild, family-owned and open since 1980. Owner of the shop, Mara, is SO friendly and truly loves what she does. I was honored to meet her mother who was helping out the Saturday that I visited (pictured above all three of us). She sure loves jewelry too--decked out in a full charm bracelet, a fob charm necklace and tons of rings on every finger. It was then and there that I knew I had so much to look forward to in the future. Someone at that age who was just as enthusiastic about jewelry as someone like myself was fun to experience.  

As you can tell from the photos above, I had such a great time visiting The Antique Guild--it truly is the best in the area and for many, many miles all around. Pretty much anything you see in the photos is for sale, so if you like anything you see let us know! I purchased a few goodies for myself, like two antique baby rings, a mini mother-of-pearl figa, and a lapis scarab charm. Will be posting pictures of those soon! Thanks so much Mara and hope to see you again soon!

The Antique Guild

113 North Fairfax St.

Alexandria, VA 22314

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Finally, before heading to Pennsylvania we stopped by one more antique jewelry shop, Silverman Galleries. With a finely tuned and curated selection, mostly pieces dating way over 100 years old, the shop is like a mini-museum of curiosities. The double-crowned heart ring was insane and fit like a glove! The navette intaglio made of banded agate was also another stand out, which ALSO fit me like a glove. The owner of the shop chuckled as I easily slipped on all her tiny rings. Most of what is in the store is online, so be sure to check out their website!

Silverman Galleries

110 North Saint Asasph St.

Alexandria, VA 22314

*Special thanks to Hotel Monaco for the discounted stay!

Hotel Monaco

480 King St.

Alexandria, VA 22314

 

Skip Roses This Mother's Day & Opt for Rose Cut Diamonds From Arik Kastan

Arik Kastan Jewelry Arik Kastan Jewelry Arik Kastan Jewelry Arik Kastan Jewelry Arik Kastan Jewelry bar MOM, Arik Kastan Jewelry Arik Kastan Jewelry

Go bold with this choice of rose cut diamonds set in Arik Kastan's signature rose gold, fit for a queen!  As you can see, this one is gorgeous on its own or stacks nicely.

Petal Ring, Price: $2,640

Arik Kastan Jewelry

Does your mom like to stack rings?! This one is ideal for her, all hand-carved and set with rose cut diamonds with a laid-back feel. The comfort level of this one is a TEN.

Daisy Band, Price: $1,870

Arik Kastan Jewelry

If your mom is a trendsetter and has her own sense of style, a rose cut navette ring will suit her! Slip this baby on, and your fingers automatically look elegant and elongated. So chic!

Grande Navette Ring, Price: $1,740

Arik Kastan Jewelry

Want to give your mom flowers but the kind that last forever?!  The Sunflower ring by Arik Kastan is a piece she can look down at for years to come and remember the special occasion. A true future heirloom.

Sunflower ring, Price: $1,056

Arik Kastan Jewelry

This ring is on another level! It is set with rose cut diamonds, lots of them, in a horizontal marquise shape for those moms out there that like to go big or go home!

Horizontal Marquise ring, Price: $2,860

Arik Kastan Jewelry

Last but not least, we at Arik Kastan realized there may be someone thinking on the same wavelength as us, needing an entire DOME of rose cut diamonds!  Yes!!! You have to see this one to believe!

Pavé Round ring, Price: $3,080

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Four New Jewelry Trends You Need to Try with Fellows Auctions

lot 29 Lot 57 Lot 489 Lot 38 Lot 233 Lot 298 Lot 230 Lot 502 Lot 693 Lot 81 Lot 425 Lot 479

With the warmer season headed our way (thankfully!) it is time to break the mold and try some new jewelry styles! Just as any stylist would tell you, sift through your wardrobe and purge the tops and bottoms you haven't worn in awhile, you must do the same with your jewelry wardrobe.  My favorite thing to do if you're not into letting pieces of your jewelry go is to simply adopt a new way of wearing jewelry which you haven't done before!  I've come up with FOUR new jewelry trends I will definitely be trying this season, in hopes you will do the same.

Lucky for us, Fellows Auction has an Antique & Modern Jewellery sale coming up May 12th that has pieces of jewelry which fit perfectly with my four trends. I love Fellows Auctions and their selection continues to be top notch!  I sometimes wish I had the time and money to visit England again, but honestly bidding with Fellows and browsing through their catalogues is just as good and saves time/money ;)

Be sure to register to bid and let us know if you try any of these jewelry style suggestions:

MUST TRY: Bold Earrings + Slicked back hair (sans necklace!)

Lot 29: This trend is all about the earrings, so the bolder they are, the better! These are intricate, special and made in the Victorian Era, so they won't let you down. Perfecting the slicked back hair look may take a professional to do or if you want to try yourself go for it. It takes a little to get used to, especially if you're keen on having hair flowing in your face at all times. These earrings are geometric and have the best gemstone combo. 

Lot 57: These urn-inspired dangle earrings need to be shown off! You will love them even more after realizing the green urns are actually emeralds. The seed pearl details emitting a dainty vibe, that would stand out with hair totally slicked back and no other necklaces.

Lot 489: I have a thing for torpedo-like motif dangles of the Victorian Era and these earrings depict everything I'm loving about that! Set with pretty purple amethyst and seed pearls, these will be sure to stand out. I love how amethyst is having a huge comeback and if you're not aware of that, here you go! ;)

MUST TRY: Black Velvet choker with brooch

Lot 38: I love the choker trend and it can be achieved easily with my own spin on it--changing out brooches by pinning them either directly in the middle of a piece of wide black velvet or toward the bottom so the brooch "dangles" downward. To accentuate the "dangle" vibe, pick a brooch that actually has a dangle feature. This turquoise and pearl brooch is perfect, as it has a boho feel and the colors scream summer. 

Lot 233: Again, amethyst is hugely popular so adding this brooch to a black velvet choker will have you dominating jewelry trends. This brooch even has some "swag" chains hanging from it. I think it would look good with a thick or thin piece of black velvet--which can be secured with a safety pin or if you can sew, some velcro.

Lot 298: Everything you could ever want in a Victorian brooch--carbuncle garnet, tassles, torpedo-motif dangles...bold gold. This would look so stunning hanging close to the neck. Show it off even more by wearing no other jewelry with your hair pulled back--all eyes on this brooch!

MUST TRY: Statement Pinky Ring 

Lot 230: Always wanted a pinky ring but never got around to finding something that fits your tiniest finger?! Well now is your chance! Statement pinky rings are huge for summer...in fact, it might be the only thing you can get away with wearing on your fingers during these hot months. I like something bold and colorful, this ring is a great option, using multiple gemstones--not one repeats itself! 

Lot 502: A cluster ring can do wonders for a small, little pinky. This ring features an oval cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds--a classic, yes, but take a look at the etching along the band. Incredibly done! All signs point to YES you need this.

Lot 693: If you want more of an antique cluster ring for your statement pinky ring, look no further than this piece. Set with a stone cameo of a woman's profile, surrounded by rose cut diamonds...and the best part--the shank and setting are so unique. Such a masterpiece.  Your pinky will thank you!

MUST TRY: DIY Bolo Tie using pin to secure 

Lot 81: If this isn't the coolest Egyptian Revival piece, I don't know what is! The bolo tie, often popular for men especially cowboys, found its height during the 80s and is having a comeback, but for women! Just get some braided black leather, usually they have metal on the ends that is pointed...and is cinched by a clip. I think changing out the clip with different pins would be so fun. This pin would be great, I love the lapis detail against the yellow gold.

Lot 425: Victorian swirls of seed pearls make this a great option for a bolo tie. Unique green enameling gives it a nature-inspired look, finished off with a diamond in the center. Place the pin at the highest it can go for a choker look with the bolo tie or loosely in the middle just above the heart.

Lot 479: Crescent moons are wildly popular and have been that way for centuries. This one--even more special than your average crescent moon, even though crescent moons are hardly average. Set with diamonds and bright blue turquoise, it has my stylish mind wandering. Totally up for the bolo tie challenge using this piece, it would look killer!

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Fellows Auctions

 

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Freeman's Auction: May 2nd Jewelry & Watches Sale

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An exciting jewelry sale is coming up and every jewelry collector and enthusiast needs to know about it! Freeman's has set their spring sale date, May 2nd, 2016, and also released their catalogue which depicts all 237 lots. The first 200 or so items come from various consignors, with the last 17 lots being of significant provenance--a distinguished collection of jewels from the Estate of Julia Sands Chase. Many of these pieces feature portraits of them being worn or handwritten receipts, all of which make them even more special than they already are. 

 

So who did these jewels once belong to?!  Freeman's Specialist, Virginia Salem writes,

"Julia Sands Chase was a descendant of a prominent Newport, Rhode Island, naval family, instrumental in making it the yachting center it is today. Her great-grandfather, Dr. Austin Ledyard Sands, was an original incorporator of the medical board of the Newport Hospital in 1873 and traveled the world extensively until his death in Cairo in 1877. It was during these trips that Dr. Sands purchased many jewels in London for his wife, Julia, and the original receipts that accompany some of this jewelry are clearly marked, “Mrs. Austin Sands, London 1883-1894.” Dr. Sands left his fortune to his only son, Frederic Parker Sands, Julia’s grandfather, who was instrumental in organizing the Newport Yacht Racing fund.

The jewels offered in Freeman’s May 2 auction of Jewelry & Watches would have been purchased by Dr. Sands, bequeathed to Frederic, and worn by Mary Sands, Julia’s grandmother, who married Lorillard Spencer in Newport’s historic Trinity Church in 1905."

 

My favorites from the sale span many different eras and styles, including the last four items which hail from the noteworthy Estate of Julia Sands Chase. I seriously can't get over the diamond and emerald ring (lot 233)--just spectacular!  Hope you enjoy my picks and make sure you REGISTER to bid--May 2nd is coming up quick!

Lot 73: 14k yellow gold bracelet with large rectangular links, held together with smaller diamond links--measuring 7.5 inches in length. The charm that hangs from the bracelet really makes this the stand-out piece, which depicts a cityscape (not sure if it is of a particular city) made of diamonds! I can feel the energy of the bustling city brought to life by the sparkle of the diamonds! Estimate: $2,500-3,500

Lot 134: This 18k yellow gold and aquamarine necklace just screams glamour to me! I also think I like it so much because it slightly reminds me of the necklace in the movie Titanic. Measuring 14.5 inches in length, this choker-style jewel is set with an astonishing 75 carats (approximately) of a heart-shaped aquamarine! It is signed Mellerio. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

Lot 147: I've never met a black opal ring I didn't like, however this one is exceptionally amazing. A bold design, centering around a large oval shaped black opal surrounded by 2.10 carats of diamonds, this ring isn't for the faint-hearted. Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 176: This breath-taking sapphire and diamond pendant brooch, set with sparkling Old European cut diamonds is definitely a show-stopper from this auction. The piece comes with a certificate from AGL declaring it Ceylon in origin, with no evidence of heat treatment. Makes it even more spectacular! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 194: The design on this ring is very unique, which is why it caught my attention. Marquise diamonds can create a fun, geometric style in jewelry design, and this ring surely captures that. The ring is a size 5.5 and all the diamonds total approximately three carats. Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 200: Kite-shaped diamonds are something you don't see everyday, which is why this particular ring is going to be such a hot item. How amazing would it be to have this as your engagement ring and be able to stare at it all day! The diamond comes with a GIA certificate which states clarity VVS-2, color G and carat size 6.10 carats! It is also important to note that it has been treated; HPHT processed. Estimate: $25,000-30,000

From the Estate of Julia Sands Chase:

Lot 223: Victorian diamond and silver-topped gold pendant brooch designed as a Maltese cross centering an old mine-cut diamond weighing approximately 1.60 carats and set throughout with old mine-cut diamonds; estimated total remaining diamond weight: 17.00 carats; accompanied by original receipt from Charles J. Hill, London, dated October 6th, 1887. Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Lot 229: A remarkable stomacher brooch, circa 1905 set with diamonds and emeralds all done in platinum and gold. Emerald carat weight--37 carats and diamond weight totaling 8 carats! This piece has significant provenance and also features a portrait painting of Mary Sands wearing this exact piece. Estimate: $40,000-60,000

Lot 230: A pair of natural pearl drop earrings suspended from a cluster of old antique cut diamonds. Keeping with the time period, these earrings serve more than one purpose or look, where the dangles can be removed, leaving stud earrings. So exquisite! Estimate: $30,000-50,000

Lot 233: Ah, finally my favorite piece of the sale! This belle époque antique diamond and emerald ring is just so incredible. It features an almost four-carat Old Mine cut diamond and a luscious green emerald weighing approximately 1.70 carats. I can't stop staring! Estimate: $20,000-30,000

 

 

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Freeman's Auction
1808 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-9275
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SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXXXII

luxcharmjewelry elizabethbuenaventura bellflowerbay mimisojewels jaimiegellerjewelry tessametcalfe lfrankjewelry sky_juls saraweinstockjewelry

{from top to bottom:

Luxcharm Jewelry captures agates in all their glory, the more the merrier

Elizabeth Buenaventura makes these two rings shown, which I totally WANT

Bellflower Bay got to meet up with Duvenay and try on all her rings--dreamy!!

Mimi So Jewels shows the importance of rings to those who type all day on the computer

Andrea Fohrman via Jaimie Geller Jewelry out-of-this-world jewels, so excited to see what she has in store for Couture

Tessa Metcalfe another photo depicting how rings help get shit done!

L Frank Jewelry always is a favorite--the pointer finger is INSANITY

@sky_juls and her great trio, all great motifs to have in an antique collection

Sara Weinstock Jewelry proves coordinating your jewels with your outfit is so important}

 

Gold & Diamond Constellation Rings by Jessie V E Jewellery

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There have been a few instances where I've been completely, over-the-moon obsessed with a piece of new, designer jewelry. And hey, this is one of them! Jessie Evans, designer behind the brand Jessie V E Jewellery truly nailed it with these constellation ring designs, each more unique than the other, depicting horoscope signs. As any Virgo would confess, mine is perfection, but that may be just the type of person a Virgo is--as I RIPPED open the package when I received it, utterly destroying what my sign is abundantly known for. I chose yellow gold and diamonds (rose cut diamonds are a limited edition option, !!) and honestly haven't taken my ring off since. The comfort is five stars. 

Having just launched Jessie V E Jewellery this past October, the line may be new, but the designer herself has many years in the business under her belt! Photography was Jessie's first passion and she studied that up until enrolling in Silversmithing, Goldsmithing and Jewellery Degree at the University for the Creative Arts in Kent, UK. After graduating, she went straight into a job as a production assistant for Elizabeth Gage, working her way into design, painting the designs for clients and carving wax to be made into incredible pieces.  Five years later, Jessie felt the timing was right to go off on her own. On designing and being a jewelry designer, Jessie says, "There's no better feeling than designing a piece that then becomes somebody's most treasured possession or a really special piece to them. I think it's probably that feeling that makes jewellery my passion--it's like the excitement when someone is opening a birthday/Christmas gift you bought them, and you just know they're going to love it. I get to have that feeling almost every day!"

The Constellation collection puts a spin on Zodiac signs, swapping out stars for diamonds and wrapping them around your finger. For Jessie, the inspiration behind the collection was simple: "I've always been fascinated by the nights sky, the stars and the Greek mythological stories surrounding the constellations. Imagination at its finest! I also find that whenever I am inspired by something, I tend to 'think in diamonds.' Instantly the stars were replaced with diamonds in my head and it just kind grew from there. I find that people are usually strangely attached or fiercely proud of their own star sign, and I loved the idea of creating a collection that speaks to people on that level. I also wanted to make each sign as wearable and aesthetically pleasing as the others, so by using the constellations, each piece consists of the same makeup, it's just the layout that varies."

I feel big things are in store for Jessie V E Jewellery and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Of course, the Constellation rings look insane when they're all combined together--I included some photos to show that aspect off--and plan to add a few more to my collection (maybe one representing my husband's sign or my sisters' signs?!). You also must check out the other collections over on her website, see below for details.

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Jessie V E Jewellery.

 

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AGS Conclave 2016 Panel Presentation on Bridal Jewelry Trends!

AGSConclave

I had the privilege speaking on a panel at the prestigious AGS Conclave held in Washington, DC this past week. AGS Conclave is an annual conference held for the jewelry industry, which features various speakers, workshops and classes to further promote continued learning in this fun industry I get to work in. This year AGS Conclave featured some amazing speakers, with Colin Powell being the opening keynote speaker.  I was excited to share some of my thoughts and views on Bridal Jewelry trends, as I got to share the spotlight with Stacy of How He Asked and Desiree of The NPD Group, with our panel being moderated by Michelle Graff of National Jeweler. I wanted to be able to recap some points from the panel, in case you weren't able to make it but still wanted to learn about this topic!

Panel Title: Engaged--Trend Talk on All Things Engagement and Bridal Style

Current bridal trends:

People want something unique, different, one-of-a-kind, custom.  Those are keywords that I keep hearing over and over amongst brides. Antique jewelry caters to all those wishes by being something that not everyone has. One trend that I see more and more of is alternative bridal--rings that don't fit the mold of a typical engagement ring...not a solitaire, a three-stone or a halo ring. Alternative gemstones is another current bridal trend--something besides a diamond. Lots of sapphires and rubies, even black and grey diamonds are trending as popular engagement ring alternatives. The third trend I'm seeing is sustainable engagement rings and bands. Pieces made from recycled gold or stones passed down through the family. There are stores and designers that specialize in this type of jewelry popping up more and more.

How are soon to be engaged couples shopping for rings? 

Girls are making Pinterest boards, sending screenshots of rings, and tagging on Instagram. I like to coin this term PRE-SHOPPING! So get your products out there on social media--it may end up on someone's wedding wish list!

What trends are happening on social media that jewelers can capitalize on?

Jewelers have some great hashtags to work with on Instagram to reach future brides-- #WeddingWednesday is a big one ... #showmeyourrings is one I created and its a huge source for inspiration with over 100,000 photos. I did a project called 30 Days of Engagement Rings prior to my wedding last October that was really successful--it was a month-long project that kicked off with a special "Jewels at my Doorstep" feature using five antique engagement rings from a store in West Hollywood. Reaching out to bloggers to see if they are doing any special bridal projects is important!

How can jewelers utilize social media to leverage their exposure?

Contests are great ways to get people excited about their product and to gain followers that may not necessarily be in your target audience. A great example of a very successful social media campaign is Levy's Fine Jewelry Facebook contests--five couples are posted on Facebook from all their submissions...whoever gets the most "Likes" gets a gift certificate and their photo up on their billboard for the weekend. This drives lots of excitement including getting friends and family to "vote" and reaches such a large audience by people continually "sharing" the posts.

What are interesting things retailers are doing to connect with the younger generation?

Partnering with popular bloggers or influencers to do in-store appearances or pop-up shops. Events like that get people excited and pulls their fans and followers into your crowd and you can gain lots of new customers that way. 

*Thanks AGS Conclave for having me!

 

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Gem Gossip Visits Trademark Antiques in Pennsylvania

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Trademark Antiques has been a favorite of mine since their start, back when I began blogging, in 2008. My #JewelryRoadTrip to Pennsylvania last year had me driving across the whole state, and I couldn't wait to get back to this sparkly region as I had missed visiting with Trademark Antiques when I was there! And boy am I glad I came back with plenty of time to devote. Located in central Pennsylvania, just a half hour from where my Gram lives and minutes away from a few shops and restaurants that I've traditionally visited since I was a baby, I was so surprised to realize how Jessica and Jason are so close to familiar favorites of mine. It came as no surprise though when I was greeted and welcomed with open arms and smiles all around. If you've ever purchased a piece of jewelry from Trademark Antiques, you know how absolutely sweet both are and friendly doesn't even begin to describe it!  

I walked into an antique jewelry wonderland, equipped with my camera and some naked fingers, wrists, ears and neck. Luckily, I prepared well because two large ring trays, tons of necklaces, piles of bracelets and loads of pins awaited me, each displayed with the utmost care.  Trademark Antiques is known for their impeccable conversion pieces, and if you ever want to add an antique enameled flower piece to your collection, just take a look at their inventory! But be quick about it--there are people that collect these highly-sought-after pieces, with some selling out just minutes of posting.  Seeing so many pieces I once ogled over online, now live and in-person was really cool. The garnet headed snake bracelet, the colorful flower brooches, the sweet little charms that immediately made me want to start another charm bracelet...I didn't know where to begin putting a look together. 

Sticking with favorite motifs, I opted for some navettes, large oval-shaped rings and some favorite floral conversion pieces. Figas are another favorite of mine and Trademark Antiques had some outstanding and unique ones. They also carry some really great serpent rings and enamel jewelry, two absolute favorites of mine. If you see something that catches your eye in any of the photos I took from my visit, feel free to email Jessica at Contact@trademarkantiques.com -- you can save the photo and zoom in on your favorite; take a screenshot with your phone, or make a wishlist! There are lots of pieces that aren't listed yet!

I'm so happy I got to meet Jessica and Jason of Trademark Antiques--it was such a memorable visit and a good time had by all! I had so much fun delving into all the rings and jewels, stacking and styling to my heart's content. I hope everyone enjoys these photos, some of which were taken by Jason who is such a talented photographer as well. If you scroll through their Instagram page, you can immediately spot the quality of the photos, which makes following them on Instagram even more fun!

 

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Golden Perfume Bottle Pendants by Melie Jewelry

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At first glance, I saw the name of the brand Melie Jewelry and almost thought it was my last name, Miele. The name surely caught my attention, so naturally I had to know more! What I uncovered was an artistic, young jewelry designer who has such a strong passion and love for jewelry.  I also became incredibly intrigued by her debut collection called Scent of Love which brings into play the sense of smell into jewelry design, something rarely done. 

Melike Kapıcıoğlu is the designer behind Melie Jewelry, where her beginnings as a jewelry designer landed her at the famous Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, the country which she is currently based. Only one question posed to her one momentous day, changed her life forever--that question was, "Would you like to make your own ring?" Since then, her studies have taken her to London where she attended GIA and furthered her career in training in fields such as jewelry design, jewelry-making techniques, design culture and management. Melike says, "The fact that I had the opportunity to work with many masters from various cultures and with several techniques and materials helped me a great deal in designing what I thought of and imagined as they are without limiting myself and filtering my ideas out and in transforming them into concrete objects from mere drawings."

Melie Jewelry is a brand inspired by intense emotions of epic romances. Each piece is timeless and has a feminine touch, never too serious or over thought. Melike finds inspiration in natural gemstones which she uses in her designs, some favorites being emeralds, diamonds and sapphires. She says, "Sometimes a simple line in a book or in a poem or a simple legend from ancient times or a masterpiece reflects my emotions and suddenly those emotions evokes creativity and I just start designing a piece." That is an amazing talent!

I am enchanted by the Melie Jewelry Scent of Love collection which features 18k yellow gold perfume bottles which hold your favorite perfume, in a charm and chain form of a necklace. Melike suggests putting your significant other's perfume or cologne into it, so you always carry around their scent. I love that idea! You can also use your own favorite scent--like a perfume which contains musk, sandalwood, bergamot and vanilla--a favorite of the designer's, which is used throughout the day to refresh. What inspired the perfume designs? Melike says, "My first collection was Scent of Love collection was inspired by a book named “The Dove’s Neckring” written in 1027 symbolizing a love chain which is worn on neck and never taken off. For me there are three passions of women: perfume, jewelry and love. And for me it is the perfume evokes the feelings of love. That’s is how I decided to design perfume bottle necklaces, jewelry glamorized with diamonds and precious gems, which you fill your or your lover’s perfume in them with a miniature funnel and carry love, time and memories always along with you."

Take a look at the entire Melie Jewelry collection by following the links below! Which is your favorite?!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Melie Jewelry. 

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