With this month being all about engagement rings, wedding jewelry and THE BIG DAY, I've been challenged with the task of styling four different types of wedding dresses with jewelry. I've learned that accessorizing for your wedding day is all about your personal style and adding some sentimental flair to the overall look. Buying jewelry at auction can uncover some amazing finds--but can you style an entire wedding day look from auction finds alone?! My answer is YES and better yet, you can do it from one single auction, like the one coming up on August 13th, 2015 at Fellows--their Antique & Modern Sale! Fellows always has incredible, one-of-a-kind treasures that go up for auction every month and I especially like their Antique & Modern Sales. I've purchased some great pieces over the years from Fellows. Whether your look is classic, ultra-modern, or has a vintage vibe, you can find jewelry to go along with each style at Fellows. Here's what I've put together:
Look One: Vintage Sentimental Bride
Lot 50: A highly sentimental fede gimmel ring flanked on each side by an Old Mine cut diamond. Early uses of this type of ring include as a wedding ring because of the symbolism within the clasping hands, like a joining of marriage between two people. It goes further to reveal a double heart behind the hands once you open up the mechanism. So amazing. If you're a size P (7 3/4) you MUST bid on this! These usually can't be sized.
Lot 153: A classic yet antique three-stone diamond ring would make a perfect engagement ring for a bride that loves anything antique. The fede gimmel ring would pair beautifully as a wedding band. This ring is special because the detailing on the sides as well as the old cut diamonds.
Lot 203: A great pair of earrings for the vintage bride would be a pair of old cut diamond cluster stud earrings, and these are killer! They beautifully sparkle with a total weight of 2.10 carats and can easily be worn as an everyday look, long after the wedding day.
Lot 462: To layer a Victorian long chain on your wedding day would be such a treat--but for it to have a gloved hand as its clasp?! Out of this world! Such a dream piece! This would make a great wedding day gift for the bride who will treasure it forever.
Look Two: Trendy Cool Bride
Lot 54: Such a classic style, but with so much character being antique! This is a great engagement ring and a perfect diamond size--approximately one carat. The cut of the diamond is a beautiful Old Mine cut set in an 8-prong mounting with an 18k yellow gold band.
Lot 89: Stunning pair of cameo drop earrings. These are neat because the cameos are different, so it is very trendy to have mismatched earrings right now, even though these are from the late 1800s! These would hang elegantly from one's ear and make a beautiful pair of wedding-day earrings.
Lot 143: A bold Art Deco diamond brooch is a dream piece for your wedding day! It can be used in so many different ways and it is always elegant and stands out. You can pin it in your hair, on your flowers, or on the front of your dress. Definitely a must-have piece for a trendy bride. This particular brooch is French and has 4.25 carats total of diamonds!
Lot 531: The ultimate right hand ring for a trendy cool bride! This cluster navette diamond ring features 2.75 carats total of old cut diamonds and will sparkle every moment on your wedding day!
Look Three: Pearl Princess Bride
Lot 4: This gorgeous elongated pearl and diamond dress ring could act as a right hand ring for the wedding day and even be your "something old." It will be a special piece that you keep within your jewelry collection for years to come and always remember your special wedding day.
Lot 440: An incredibly gorgeous pearl and diamond tennis bracelet. This piece is rather special since the center pearl in the bracelet is a natural saltwater pearl and comes with a certificate. The design is really pretty and very feminine. The diamond accents total over 1.30 carats.
Lot 442: A cute pair of diamond and cultured pearl dangle earrings. The diamonds form an almost ribbon-like look with a pearl dangling from the center. The size and drops are very flattering for a bride on her wedding day.
Look Four: Ultra Modern Bride
Lot 252: Such an elegant necklace from the early 20th century--it drapes wonderfully along the neckline and the dangle gives it some extra appeal. Done in platinum and gold with an overall kite-shape silhouette.
Lot 291: An ultra modern bride wants a big diamond, a unique cut and a brand name. This ring has all three! It is from Cartier and is a 1.60 ct emerald cut. Although it is very classic, it also has a uniqueness to it.
Lot 538: A pair of 18k white gold diamond stud earrings which match the center stone of your engagement ring are a brilliant idea! These cluster studs keep things modern and simple, yet hold some serious sparkle. Perfect whether you wear your hair up or down, subtle and sweet.
This post was brought to you in collaboration with Fellows Auctions
At Gem Gossip, we are kicking off the month of August with this special feature! This entire month, the best engagement rings will be featured, with the hashtag #30daysofEngagementRings and we will be searching out the best of the best out there right now! Our go-to favorite spot for antique engagement rings in LA is Craig Evan Small, located on North La Cienega Blvd, with hundreds and hundreds of stunning options. I handpicked five of my favorites, each with something special about each one--so whether you like classic styles or something more uncoventional, I've got you covered!
The experience of opening up a package with five different engagement rings was pretty intense. For once I had to put my own engagement ring aside and wonder what it would be like to start over and imagine myself with different options. Wearing them on my ring finger was also an interesting experience, espcially after wearing the same one for over 2.5 years. Each one felt memorable on my finger for different reasons and I truly believe any of these five options would make an extraordinary engagement ring that will be treasured for years to come! For the photoshoot, we played with a few different flower combinations and two dresses, keeping a Pacific Northwest, outdoors vibe. This aesthetic is definitely beautiful in so many ways and although I've never visited that part of the country, it has me wanting to badly.
The allure of a vintage or antique engagement ring is one that can be best explained by those who own one. These rings are extremely well-made, often times made solely by hand, even the diamonds are usually cut by hand (if it is an all-original piece). We showcase one antique engagement ring from the Victorian Era, which can be easily spotted even by a novice collector. The yellow gold setting mixed with the chunky Old Mine cut diamonds are an easy giveaway. The cluster style makes it so unique--no other engaged woman is going to have this ring! I like that.
We also have one engagement ring featured that is from the Edwardian Era--a time that spanned from the turn-of-the-century until the late 1910s. This time period is characterized by ultra feminine styles, lots of diamonds and intricate metal work. Platinum was a newly discovered metal and was beginning to be used in the designs of this time, at first only topped on yellow gold and then at the very end of the era solely on its own. The domed shape of this ring draws many woman to this style--it is easy to wear and fits comfortably.
The milgrain details and filigree style is characteristic of the Art Deco period, which spans from 1920-1935. These sought-after rings were a flapper girl's dream, set with Old Mine cut or Old European cut diamonds. Toward the end of this time period, geometric styles and adding colored gemstones to the all-white look mixed it up a bit and was very popular. Calibre cut rubies, sapphires and emeralds were a favorite and there is a great example of this with the sapphire detail in one of the five in this shoot! The other two styles seen in the photoshoot are from the Art Deco Era, including a geometric boxy style which looks as though the center diamond should be square, but it is a round Old European cut diamond. The other is a very classic, almost solitaire Old European cut diamond, which is flanked by a few diamonds on the side.
731 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
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Refractive Index: 1.762 – 1.770
Pleochroism: orangey red, slightly purplish red
Specific Gravity: 4.00
Mohs Hardness: 9
Commanding the highest per carat price of all colored stones, the finest rubies range from a vibrant red to a slightly purplish red with medium to medium-dark tones. They are a type of corundum (aluminum + oxygen + silicon), which is colorless in its purest form. Add chromium and you get the strong red hue we associate with rubies. Not to be confused with pink sapphires, which share the same species, the vibrant red of rubies separate it in variety. “Burmese” rubies are considered the finest due to their origins in the Mogok region of present day Myanmar where they form in metamorphic rocks like marble. These marble-hosted rubies fluoresce (the emission of visible light when exposed to external radiation), which adds to the intensity of its color and in turn increases its value. They are often called “pigeon’s blood” rubies.
These naturally occurring Burmese rubies stand out since almost all natural rubies today are heat-treated to improve color and/or clarity. There are also synthetic rubies on the market today, which are created using processes such as flame-fusion, flux-growth, the Czochralski/pulling method, and the hydrothermal method. Some rubies pass as such good fakes, it took months of gemology school to be able to tell the difference!
Throughout their known history, Rubies have been recognized as a gemstone of love and passion with the potential of stimulating sexual energy and desire. Additionally, rubies are known to motivate and balance while promoting courage and prosperity. A stone of royalty, it is said that the Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan offered an entire city in return for a large ruby. According to Ancient Burmese legend, inserting a ruby under the skin would ensure safety and invincibility.
Refractive Index: 1.762 – 1.770
Pleochroism: violetish blue and greenish blue
Specific Gravity: 4.00
Mohs Hardness: 9
Element: Wind, Earth
Chakras: Third Eye, Throat
Like rubies, sapphires are a type of corundum. The ruby derives its color from chromium, while the sapphire achieves its blue to violish-blue color from a combination of iron and titanium. Sapphires originate in either basaltic or non-basaltic environments. Basaltic-hosted areas, such a Cambodia, Thailand, and Australia, produce darker colored sapphires, which tend to be less valuable. The finest sapphires came from a non-basaltic environment in the northwestern region of South Asia called Kashmir. Stones were only mined in Kashmir between 1881 and 1887 due to elevation, climate, and political factors. Their “cornflower blue” color and miniscule inclusions give the stones a velvety sheen, which commands very high prices. Statistically, 95% of blue sapphires are treated to improve color and clarity. The most common methods of treatment are heating and lattice diffusion. Sapphire imitations on the market today are comprised mostly of glass and synthetic spinel. Common processes for creating synthetic sapphires include flame fusion, flux, pulling, floating zone, and hydrothermal treatment. The United States accounts for half of the natural blue sapphire market, and according to GIA, in 2010 the US imported $214 million dollars worth of sapphires!
Known as the “stone of wisdom”, sapphires can be used to stimulate psychic visions and in this vein, evoke knowledge and understanding. They help the wearer seek spiritual and personal truths while calming and focusing the mind. As a talisman, sapphires were believed to protect an individual from poison and plague while instilling the power to resist black magic.
Refractive Index: 1.577 – 1.583
Pleochroism: green and bluish green
Specific Gravity: 2.72
Mohs Hardness: 7.5 – 8
Emeralds are my favorite of the Big 3! According to some sources, Egyptians mined emeralds as early as 3500BC. Egypt remained a key source of emeralds until the sixteenth century when Spanish travelers started mining them in Colombia. With their slightly bluish green hue and vivid saturation, Colombian emeralds are the most coveted of their kind to this day. Other sources of modern day emerald mining/production include Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. The intense green color found in most emeralds is due to the presence of chromium and vanadium, while the bluish color is caused by a presence of iron. Emeralds are mined in metamorphic rock and their most common habit (a crystal’s external shape) is an elongated six-sided prism. They are often faceted into an “emerald cut” which is a type of step cut with a rectangular or square table and faceted corners. Because emeralds are softer and more fragile than corundum, they are more susceptible to damage during the cutting, polishing, and setting processes. Almost all emeralds have inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, most commonly fractures and liquid inclusions. A fracture that is filled with oil or resin can improve the stone’s color and overall appearance. Emerald inclusions are often called “jardin”, which is the French word for garden, due to their mossy appearance.
Emeralds are a stone of courage. They are said to eliminate negativity while safeguarding one’s physical, emotional, and mental balance. They are also known to aid in the healing of heartbreak, bringing vivacity to the emotional and physical heart.
Gem Identification Lab Manual. New York: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.
Colored Stones: Ruby. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.
Colored Stones: Blue Sapphire. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2013.
Colored Stones: Emerald. Carlsbad, California: The Gemological Institute of America. 2012.
-- Post written by Graduate Gemologist Amelia Kaminsky, follow her daily musings at @the_egyptian_revival
--Photos via FD Gallery
Our Instagram community of antique jewelry loving people consists of such outstanding women and avid collectors, all of which have incredible jewelry collections. I love spotlighting particular people and getting a more in depth look, including both stories and photos. Our latest feature delves into the jewelry box of Lisa Shuler, a long-time collector and now seller with an online shop called A Pocket of Rocks, soon to be launching. She also mostly sells through her Instagram page where she has over 5,000 devoted fans, swooning at every photo she posts.
Here are some special pieces from her personal collection. And here are her stories, in her own words, which go along with each photo:
"I think my love of jewelry began with two things. I grew up on a ranch and was always outside. One of my favorite things to do was to look for rocks. I would gather the interesting ones, take them back to the house, and look at them for hours. The different Quartz and agates fascinated me. The second influence was my aunt. She loved jewelry and had a lot of wonderful pieces. When we visited we would pour over each piece and she would tell me the stories behind them. This began my obsession. I got my first antique ring at the age of 14 and I have been on the hunt ever since."
TOP PHOTO: selection of some of my mourning rings. IMy favorite in this group is the center with the two hearts. It was my birthday gift this year from my husband. Another favorite is the gold band with the black enamel. I love the beautiful simplicity of it.
My very favorite form of jewelry--earrings! These are a few of my favorite pair. The first pair are gold and black enamel Tiffany earrings. Next, Georgian poissarde topaz earrings, Georgian flat cut garnet earrings. Victorian tassel earrings, 18k snake hoops, steel cut earrings with stars, Georgian pink topaz foil backed earrings, Antique Indian earrings of 22 and 24k gold and last Victorian turquoise and black enamel earrings.
These are personal, sentimental pieces. The leather necklace has two beads made by Jeanine Payer. The beads were custom made with a poem that relates to my two children. The large silver pendant is also from Jeanine and is engraved with an Irish blessing. My son and daughter have the same piece. Next is an antique French coral skull. He is special to me because of his rarity and because of my love of Georgian jewelry, especially mourning pieces. In the ring box is my first antique ring. The bracelet on the box was left to me by my favorite aunt who I mentioned above. This was a piece her husband had made for her after a special trip. Last but not least in this photo are the pearls given to me by my mom, which she hand selected and had strung for me while traveling.
My snake rings! The one with the large diamond was my first and I have had him for about 20 years.
LEFT: My Stuart crystals! I love mourning jewelry and these are just amazing.
RIGHT: More mourning pieces. These are so special and I feel that we are the new caretakers of these amazing works of art. The first is a flat cut garnet piece with a scene of a lovely woman holding a bird. There are initials on the back. The third is a brooch and pendant combination. I love the blue enamel and the traditional image of the woman sitting at the urn. The next piece is the dearest to my heart and here I am showing the back of the pendant instead of the front. It is on a chain of French jet and rose gold. The piece marks a child's passing at 4 years, 4 months, and 4 days. What drew me to the last pendant is the magnificent garnets that surround the piece. It is very large in size and is attached to my favorite French chain.
LEFT: The ring epitomizes my love of everything Georgian. It is a huge foil backed citrine surrounded by natural pearls. The back is engraved with the person's name. The strand of pearls in this photo are special for many reasons. They were an anniversary gift from my husband about 15 years ago. They are natural pearls from Tiffany and close with an amazing platinum and diamond clasp, stamped with the Tiffany mark.
RIGHT: This photo is of one of my very favorite things--pearls. There is a Victorian pearl and angel skin coral bangle, a pearl horseshoe that is a conversion from a brooch, several pearl rings and couple of pearl necklaces. My favorite is the pearl necklace with the locket. It has a baby's teeth marks all over it. It's previous owner must have had a baby that loved to use the locket as a teether. This is exactly the kind of thing that explains my love of antique jewelry.
LEFT: more of my snake collection. The large snake bangle is 15k rose gold with pink sapphires. The Victorian gold and black enamel snake is a piece I picked up in Austin when I was there with my best friend for her 50th bday. I figured it would be rude of me to not buy a new piece when she was. The next piece is a bracelet with an ouroboros watch key. I will change out charms to go with it, but the snake always stays. Last is a necklace with a wonderful snake which holds a cross with table cut diamonds.
RIGHT: my lovers eye pendant. I love the uniqueness of this one and it incorporates pearls!
Starting a vintage and antique jewelry business with your sister sounds like a magical and ideal scenario. Building a highly-successful and strong vintage and antique business? Well that takes hard work, and the sisters behind Maejean Vintage know all about that because they are living proof. Their story begins in early 2010 when Maejean Vintage first began listing a few items on Etsy as a hobby. Being forever vintage and antique lovers, the curation of the items came naturally for both Laura and Amanda. Only a year into selling on Etsy, they both decided to follow this path and make it a full-time career! More recently, they've reached their goal of listing 1,000 items in their shop and have just settled into their new Maejean Vintage headquarters in Lancaster, PA. With flea market shopping and auction house hopping now an everyday occurence, treasure hunting is a main priority. Since day one, customer service has also been at the top of their list as well, with thousands of happy customers--myself included ;)
I've been such a fan of Maejean Vintage for quite some time--this visit was a long time coming! I was so excited to meet Laura and Amanda and also to see their brand new studio which they moved into just days before my visit. Being close with our sisters, loving vintage jewelry and owning a chihuahua are just a few things that we all have in common. Laura and I both also share something special, and that is our first career of being a teacher. We both left our teaching jobs to pursue the world of jewelry but we forever have a sweet spot for being a positive rold model for young children and carpet time read alouds! Both Amanda and Laura are currently in the midst of their Graduate Gemologist studies at GIA through distance education and are excited to learn more and more about gemstones.
It was such a fun time getting to dig into Maejean Vintage's four ring cases each FULL of rings. They also had many of their pieces displayed along with antique boxes which we all have a slight obsession over. Good news is that the girls do sell many of their vintage and antique jewelry boxes in their Etsy shop. Besides meeting Laura and Amanda, I also got to meet Maejean's newest employee Dahlia and also CC the girls' chihuahua! We all had a ring stacking party of our own, yes including the dog, and posed for some pictures to commemorate our time together. Although I didn't want to leave--EVER--we had to hit the road as our jewelry road trip continued!
Thank you so much for welcoming me into your world of antique and vintage jewelry Maejean Vintage! Can't wait to plan a get-together sometime in the future. And stay tuned to see a piece I brought home with me from their inventory!
My stack of rings:
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For over 20 years, Louis Anthony Jewelers has been serving the fine people of Pittsburgh with one key aspect in mind--to make their store an extension of their home. This concept becomes a reality the moment you walk into their showroom; its warm and welcoming interior and (in my opinion) their comfy and cozy ambiance. It is a gathering place for celebrating special occasions, where life-long customers come to not only pick out a gift to commemorate, but to visit and catch up with friends, who just happen to own a jewelry store. The crystal chandeliers and cool light fixtures give off an inviting glow and the jewelry cases display such a wide variety of lines that will suit almost any taste.
It truly is a family affair at Louis Anthony Jewelers, where Lou and Veronica, a husband and wife team, began the store, which now employs all of their children--son Lou III, and daughters Amie and Vanessa. Each member of the family provides their special talents to the store, creating a great dynamic. Keeping it all in the family has been one of Louis Anthony Jewelers' secrets to success! Lou's passion of wanting to provide the best kind of customer service in the business of jewelry is what led him to take a leap of faith and open his own store--and its this same passion you can see today!
I met with Amie, who has a love for fashion, styling and gemstones. She gave me the tour of the store, highlighting many designers which have been with Louis Anthony Jewelers for many years. In fact, their store has been known to be a trailblazer in terms of taking on new designers, taking risks and doing well. It was also really cool to see how Amie's love for jewelry has turned into her own jewelry line called Amelia Jewel. The line fuses precious and rare beads with one-of-a-kind elements to create some stunning pieces. She gets inspired every time she travels to Tucson for the gem show and comes back ready to design and create more fabulous pieces. As Assistant Buyer, Amie helps with curating what is offered at the store and her eye has drawn in a younger crowd of customers. Her brother Lou III showed me what he is currently working on--a jaw-dropping custom engagement ring design featuring an oval cut diamond flanked on each side by two very large tapered baguette cut diamonds. He is also creating a ring for a customer who collects blue diamonds--this one featuring a 1.07 ct natural light blue cushion cut diamond that is GIA certified. Youngest daughter Vanessa couldn't be sweeter and it is her that is in charge of all of Louis Anthony Jewelers' social media platforms. Anything from Facebook, to Twitter and Instagram, Vanessa is the one doing all the posting and keeping fans informed.
Such a wide variety of designers can be found at Louis Anthony Jewelers, Pittsburgh is very lucky! I was excited to see some global influence, like Stephen Webster (London), Etho Maria (Spain), Mattioli (Italy), and lots of American designers. Pleve diamonds really caught my attention--each piece is designed by artists rather than jewelers and the diamonds are hand set in a mosaic pattern in a sort of ceramic, kind of like grout is to tile. The colors and patterns are very inspiring and each piece is essentially one-of-a-kind. Another line which had been a favorite of mine since discovering them at Luxury Prive Preview in NYC is Marli. Known for their super trendy yet classic designs, Louis Anthony Jewelers carries some of their most popular pieces. I took their Iris earrings for a spin, along with the matching bangle and a few assorted rings of theirs. One can achieve a little bit of trendy, uptown chic right here in Pittsburgh with the Marli line. Check out their website for the full run-down on all the jewelry designers that they carry.
Thanks so much for welcoming me into your "home," Louis Anthony Jewelers' crew! I hope you've enjoyed learning about this unique and fun family-owned store and hope you stop by the next time you're in Pittsburgh!
1775 N Highland Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
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Bario Neal is an innovative and ethical jewelry studio/showroom based in Philadelphia who have been in business since 2007. My visit to their shop on S. 6th Avenue brought me to a way cooler version of a jewelry workshop, where customers can come and see bench jewelers working in a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Pieces are being crafted as customers stop by and browse the finished goods in the cases, and designs can be created and customized to each's tastes. All of their jewelry is made right in their shop by hand using recycled metals and Fairmined gold, with a due diligence and great respect for the environment. Aspects like that which are so important to Bario Neal help define them as a business and set them apart from others! I saw first-hand what else sets them above the rest as well!
Not only is their store setup really unique, but their engagement ring designs are as just as individualized as each couple that calls them their own. My favorite are the Marquise Morganite ring, the Narrow Half Eternity band and the Pear Trillion ring. A navette style ring is something that I love--so this Marquise Morganite ring is a definite favorite. I love how the silhouette of the ring mimics the center stone, however it is turned, set East-West. The morganite is set in a milgrain bezel in 14k rose gold, with your choice of polish or matte finish. The delicate diamond half eternity band is perfect for those brides-to-be who want a diamond band that is thin and dainty, something that doesn't take away from the presence of the engagement ring. It is made to fit and set with 16 full cut diamonds, all of which have been ethically sourced. The Pear Trillion ring is made up of exactly what it says--a pear cut diamond and a trillion cut diamond. Both unconventional cuts paired together make them even cooler. Set in a peak style, this ring provides some amazing, unexpected comfort. The ring was specially designed so that pairing a wedding band with it would be no problem--the sides are built with a notch to fit any type of band so it sits flush! It was so fun seeing and trying on the pieces in person!
I'm also obsessed with their numerous stud earrings, especially since studs are my favorite kind of earring! I love how they are displayed in the jewelry case--almost in a collage style in a white plaster mount. The styles allow for you to be able to create your own earring stack without ever having to go anywhere else! Sticks, points, geometric shapes, enamel colors and fun gemstones make up the Bario Neal stud line up. I made my own ear-stack with the sapphire slice earrings in 14k gold, limited edition Chao bar studs 14k gold and the Senna studs in black enamel and 18k gold.
Designers Anna Bario and Page Neal have excelled in the engagement ring and wedding band department by bringing new and unique designs to the public. Their existing collection has charmed brides and grooms all over the US, not just Philadelphia, thanks to their online shop. The designers are excited to unveil new styles which will be added to their lineup, with custom work also in their repertoire. I got a peek at some new, never-before-seen pieces that will be debuting soon! The rings include a double half-moon ring which features two half-moon cut sapphires set in either white gold or yellow gold. The silhouette on that ring is so unique! Another navette shaped style, the trillion ring, takes two trillion cut sapphires and points them north-south for an elongated look. Excited to see these and a few others debut soon.
I loved learning so much about how Bario Neal works and seeing their jewelry come to life as I played and tried things on. It was such a pleasure meeting everyone and visiting the store! Thanks Bario Neal!
>> Photos above taken by Constance Mensh & Mary Miele for Gem Gossip.
700 S. 6th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
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As cool and eclectic as Anthony Lent's jewelry designs are, you'd expect nothing less from a visit into his world where he calls home just outside of Philadelphia. His design studio is nestled amongst beautiful greenery, bright flowers and shady trees yet minutes away from the busy streets of Philly. Equal parts antique machinery and modern tools, mixed with technology and inspiration surrounding every nook, this is where creativity abounds and jewelry is made. The studio is an old carriage house that Anthony Lent has had for 27 years, which sits behind his home. Inside you'll find books upon books lining the shelves, a large light-illuminating window, and a narrow twirly staircase that is definitely not one size fits all.
Upon my visit, I got to see first-hand how his iconic celestial faces, human faces, mythical creatures and sculptural figures are created. With collections like Victory--which depict winged faces and hearts, and Fearless--which feature skulls, snakes and spiders, his work is transcendent and boundless. One of the very first pieces I fell in love with years ago were his rings which feature hands grasping a central gemstone. Other designs feature body parts like lips, eyes, as well as hands and help define a collection of jewelry known to beguile its admirers. Anthony began his career as a trained goldsmith in Germany and has created all kinds of interesting things--like jewelry parts, mechanisms, automata, and the most beautiful music boxes you've ever seen! He has worked for a few prestigious jewelry houses, as well as taught at FIT in the jewelry department. It was only in 2012 when his two sons Max and David joined the company and steered him toward a goal of creating a consistent jewelry line that is accessible to stores and consumers.
What I found to be incredibly interesting during my visit was Anthony's use of different kinds of tools and technology to create his magnificent designs. Besides processes like casting, fabrication and 3D printing, a machine called a pantograph reducing machine which actually is the same type of machine Renee Lalique used to create many of his jewelry and glass designs (which oddly enough I had the pleasure of viewing on exhibit at the Corning Museum of Glass two days before visiting Anthony). This machine allows Anthony to reduce the size of a design, like his relief sculptures he creates, to a desired size for various uses. It is also used to create identical mirror images as well as achieve an incredible level of detail--so when he takes larger sculptures and reduces the size of them, no detail is lost in the size reduction transformation.
As an antique jewelry enthusiast, I love how Anthony Lent's detailed designs are reminiscent to pieces of the bygone era. I'm not sure if it is because he uses many of the same tools that were used to make antique jewelry, or because everything he does is particularly handcrafted as was antique jewelry, or because he often uses Victorian and Art Nouveau motifs, but whatever it may be I like it and I notice it. Antique jewelry collectors are embracing and celebrating his work, often becoming die-hard collectors themselves. Mixing Anthony Lent pieces with antique jewelry makes for some great stylistic combinations. You can even find his designs sold side-by-side with antique jewelry, like for example at Bijoux in Lutherville, MD who exclusively sells antique and estate jewelry, along with Anthony Lent Jewelry. Makes for a winning combination.
I had such a fun visit with Anthony Lent Jewelry and getting to see his personal studio and try on some of his amazing pieces. Special thanks to Anthony and David for taking the time!!
Anthony Lent Jewelry
Philadelphia, PA & NYC
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Freeman's auction house and I have an intense relationship. They seem to always have a piece that I fall deeply in love with and lose out at the very last moment come auction time. I will never forget this diamond and platinum ring from the 1920s--it was sensational. A size 3.5 (which would actually fit my ring finger perfectly, who else could say that is a "perfect" size?!) the center diamond was a chunky pear cut with a large culet...it was jaw-dropping in all the right ways. I nervously logged in on my computer for the live-sale and bid several times before my last and final bid didn't hold up to whomever claimed it in the end. A tragedy that day...and will forever weigh heavy on my heart, as I cannot come to terms with even deleting the email in my inbox that says as the subject line, "Sorry you didn't win this time." A reminder, as Allia Dhody, a member of Freeman's Jewelry Department, exclaims to me, "Make sure to call in next time--be a phone-bidder!" I will take that strategy to the next round, although Allia doesn't realize, my visit to Freeman's has made me want to come back more often and especially during live auctions.
My next chance at bidding and winning at Freeman's will be coming sooner than I thought--they are gearing up for their September and November jewelry sales. On my visit, I got to preview some of the items that will be featured in both upcoming sales--their Autumn Estate Jewelry sale slated for September 16, 2015 and their Jewelry & Watches sale which falls on November 2, 2015.
I had such a fun time playing with the jewelry and getting to talk to the ladies of Freeman's. Susannah and Cara were a delight to hang out with while I was drooling over the jewelry and taking photos. Allia Dhody is Freeman's Jewelry Specialist who handles each piece, taking down the item's specs by measuring, grading and counting, as well as cataloging. As a gradutate gemologist, her role at Freeman's is a vital one. As a buyer, the public can rely on not only the great reputation of Freeman's 210-year history, but the expertise of Allia's gemology skills. People bid with confidence--that's an important part of the Freeman's legacy.
I'm excited for the September and November sales--be sure to mark them on your calendars (I will be reminding everyone when the dates get closer). Here is a run down on some of the pieces that will be up for auction, which are pictured above:
Freeman's Autumn Estate Jewelry sale; September 16, 2015:
A pair of diamond and 14k gold old mine cut diamond cluster drop earrings, approx. 2.20 carats total, estimate $800-1,200
A diamond and cultured pearl cluster ring set in 14k yellow gold, center diamond approx. 0.85 ct., estimate $500-700
Garnet and high carat gold necklace which measures 15.25 inches in length, estimate $1,800-2,500
Pair of Victorian enamel and 18k gold bangle bracelets which measures 5.75 inside length, estimate $800-1,200
Art Deco calibre-cut ruby and diamond platinum ring with elongated shape, estimate $800-1,200
A blue zircon suite consisting of a pair of earrings, ring, bracelet and necklace all circa early 1900s, estimate $2,500-3,000
Art Deco diamond and platinum brooch set with Old European cut and Old Mine cut diamonds, totaling 2.10 carats, estimate $800-1,200
Art Deco diamond and platinum ring with pierced milgrain set with Old Mine and Old European cut diamonds, estimate $1,000-1,500
Freeman's Jewelry & Watches sale; November 2, 2015
Diamond and sapphire bypass ring set with pear shaped diamond and pear shaped sapphire in platinum, estimate $5,000-7,000
18k yellow gold Pig purse with a mesh body and details like a tail, legs, etc. French assay marks, estimate $1,000-2,000
Belle Époque diamond and platinum ring set with a 3.25 ct center diamond, estimate $12,000-15,000
Serpent necklace done in 18k yellow gold set with diamonds and ruby eyes, estimate $3,000-5,000
David Webb 18k yellow gold cuff featuring a repoussé frog and cabochon emerald eyes, estimate $9,000-14,000
Marcus & Co. diamond and platinum-topped 18k gold brooch, with a center diamond approx. 3.20 ct., estimate $20,000-30,000
David Webb turquoise and diamond 18k yellow gold matching earrings and ring, estimate $2,000-3,000
1808 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
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My Pennsylvania Jewelry Road Trip continues in Philadelphia, this time just outside the city in one of the quaintest areas I've ever visited--Narberth, PA. The tree-lined streets and family-friendly neighborhoods encourage a good mood, no matter how you feel! In the heart of The Main Line sits A.Brandt + Son situated on a historic street, filled with cute shops and restaurants. If you're an antique jewelry lover and are looking for a weekend getaway, some place relaxing and quiet, I recommend staying in the area and visiting A.Brandt + Son! You can spend an entire day looking at their main cases of fine jewelry--trying things on, looking at each piece, before settling on what you decide to bring home with you. Then you can have the rest of the trip to walk around the area, visit the other shops and eat at some really good restaurants. Win-win.
My visit to A.Brandt + Son had been a long time coming! I've been dying to see the store in person since I wrote about them back in April of 2010. I walked into the store like a kid in a candy shop. Of course, I didn't waste time pointing out and trying on my virtual favorites--pieces I've seen online but only dreamt of trying on in real life. The carved intaglio emerald ring was an astonishing winner in that category, followed by all of their moonstone rings. The lonzenge shaped kunzite with contrasting enamel-work quickly became a favorite of mine--and yes, I am still dreaming about it. The turquoise festoon necklace totally stood-out to me--it is one of those pieces that come to life when you try them on. It lays beautifully on the neck and I felt amazing in it. Of course I had to coordinate some matching turquoise rings and a Victorian bracelet to top the look off. By far, one of the most impressive antique engagement ring selections I've seen, and definitely the best in Philly.
It was such a pleasure meeting Elan, he puts the "Son" in A.Brandt + Son. He joined his mother who started selling jewelry back in the 80s, first beginning at flea markets and then moving on to a few women's high fashion stores. It was only until 2003 when A.Brandt + Son first opened their doors, where it began actually right across the street from their current location. Elan was ready to move on from his corporate job as a recruiter and step into the wonderful world of antique jewelry. Since the store has opened, they have been named Best Antique Jewelry in the Best in Main Line awards year after year. They also boast over 2k followers on Instagram, myself being one of them, eagerly awaiting each post as social media is our first-look at new arrivals.
Thanks everyone at A.Brandt + Son for being so wonderful and showing me your lovely store! Special thanks to Sarah, Lianne, Bonnie and Elan.
Pieces styled above:
SPECIAL DISCOUNT CODES for Gem Gossip readers! Good through July 31, 2015
Use either of these discount codes on any item above or online. See something you like in one of my photos but can't seem to find it online? Just call 610-617-0993 for more info!