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Q & A with Shelley Gibbs Sanders of The Last Line

The Last Line

Discovering new jewelry brands that are trailblazing in unique ways is my absolute favorite--that is why I jumped for joy after learning about The Last Line, a new project recently launched by jewelry veteran Shelley Gibbs Sanders. Bold colors, chic and iconic pieces...and, wait for it...AMAZING prices! You might scroll around the website and wonder, how can these prices be so good for REAL jewelry that is 14k gold and genuine gemstones?! The answer is their philosophy of being direct-to-consumer, never having a middle man, selling new pieces in batches called "drops." Their latest drop is actually TODAY where they've added to all the incredible earring styles you always wished you could find. These ear stacks are what dreams are made of and that is exactly what Shelley set out to do when creating The Last Line. Can her goal of being "the last line" you will ever need hold true for many of you?!  Let's find out!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley and we encourage you to check out the website and find your perfect piece!

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The Last Line is a continued project, I have been designing this collection for pretty much my whole life and I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone. We just launched at the end of July with earrings and there is so much more to come: necklaces, rings, and bracelets! The inspiration behind the name of The Last Line is it is the last place you’ll have need to look for fine jewelry and trust me, I plan to live up to our name.

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I’ve had the rare opportunity of being on both the design and the production side of the process, which is so helpful and, in the end I am ultimately a consumer so basically it is the trifecta of intel! My career technically began in New York where I studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design before returning home to California to train with Master Jewelers in San Francisco. After learning the tricks of the trade, I returned to Los Angeles to begin my career as a jewelry designer. Over time (and companies!) my roles evolved and I became the head designer and creative director for dozens of celebrity jewelry brands and high-end jewelry houses, working with everything from gold, diamonds, and precious stones.

When we decided to officially launch The Last Line, it was almost four years ago. I have been designing jewelry for almost fifteen years and in every design job I had, I was always thinking if this was my line, how would I do this, what would I change, etc.  I felt like I had seen it all, but really when I started to look there were definite holes in the market. It felt polarizing, there were two distinct buckets: reasonably priced, not-so-great design or great design and quality, outrageous price with nothing in the middle, which as a consumer I found so frustrating. Of course, after that I started to speak to my girlfriends, family, literally, everyone and anyone and I knew I wasn’t alone in that thought. Fast forward to today and voilà, introducing The Last Line.

The brand is two-fold: The Heart and The Soul, everything is designed in Los Angeles where I live with my family. The Heart pieces are the core of the brand and your jewelry box; they’re the staples that you never want to take off and that make you feel instantly put together. The Soul pieces are the jaw dropping, make your girlfriends ask, “where did you get that,” expertly crafted, special pieces you want to treat yourself to. Of course, I believe you need both!

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I did a lot of research before we decided to officially launch, I mean truly did research: price, design, size, color, the list goes on. The symbolism of our brand name The Last Line is that we want to be THE place for all of your fine jewelry wants (and needs!), the last place you’ll ever need to go.

There were a few things that were important for me when launching TLL, one of which was pricing. Fine jewelry shopping can be intimidating, a lot of which can be the result of pricing. Because we are direct to consumer, we can present amazing, quality pieces without the retail mark-up. It was also important for me to be (and stay) hands-on with the line; I think building a relationship from the beginning with your clients is key for any brand's longevity.  Being direct-to-consumer is not only a more personal approach, but it’s service driven, which is important when spending $2,000+ on a piece of jewelry online. All of our pieces focus on craftsmanship, much of the Soul collection being handmade in Los Angeles. Having a background in production (and as I jewelry shopper myself) it was important to use quality materials that look great and merit their cost.  

One of the coolest things about the line for me, is the actual assortment of jewelry is personal, I wanted to present options, in each drop you will have classics with a twist and then some really fun special pieces.  In the first drop, we have everything from a perfect gold sphere stud (in over 5 sizes!) to our signature flower earring in a variety of stones.  In the second earring drop, there are solitaire studs in a variety of stones, lots (!) of diamonds, from line earrings, to ear cuffs, to a perfect tennis drop earring and of course this amazing doubles spiral hoop earring you may have seen Nicole Richie sporting.  And in the third earring drop, well that’s a secret for now.

The Last Line | Gem Gossip

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I truly hope that I am working on The Last Line, forever. I love to design of all types of jewelry and I love to create. I can’t stop—it is my obsession. I want to continue to create pieces that connect with women all over the world, it is important for my pieces to speak to the woman who’s just starting her jewelry collection and also excites the existing jewelry client who has her go-to pieces but is looking for that perfect_______. I want our pieces to become heirlooms; they should feel current but not trendy. For me, it is how a woman mixes her jewelry collection that makes it cool. I wanted to create pieces that can be worn but not worried about.  The earrings can all be purchased individually, so mixing it up is fully encouraged!

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My engagement ring was one of the first pieces of The Last Line. My husband actually designed it and worked with the jeweler for months. It's was something we always talked about it and one day there he was with it and it all took off from there —our marriage, our line, everything.

From the line, my favorite piece right now that I own is a 3-way tie between the diamond teddy flower earring with the pave tsavorite stem from the Goldie earring, the medium rose gold diamond safety pin and a special bracelet inspired by childhood which will drop soon.

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with The Last Line.

 

The Last Line

 

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The Knot: Gorgeous Minimal Engagement Rings

theknot

My second article for The Knot went live a couple days ago and I'm sharing it here! I take a look at a bridal trend that I noticed while visiting stores and designers in Boston on my #JewelryRoadTrip--MINIMAL STYLES. Have you noticed this trend too?  What do you think of it?

Follow the link below to see what I found and some of my top picks for this bridal trend. Remember, you don't have to rock a gigantic diamond to show people you're taken!

https://www.theknot.com/content/minimal-engagement-rings

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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This month's Jewelry Collection Story comes from Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry and it is a good one! Kate is a full-time art teacher and part-time jewelry enthusiast and collector. You may already be following her on Instagram, but if not you must. Her collection is pretty amazing and her story may resonate with many of you. So without further ado, I give you Kate's collection story:

I’ve always loved jewelry. I have early memories of playing "dress up" and "jewelry store" with my grandmother Louise. She kept her jewelry in the top dresser drawer. Oh how I loved looking inside those little boxes and seeing all the sparkly jewels inside! We would arrange her jewels on top of carefully arranged bits of pretty fabrics and embroidered handkerchiefs and take turns "shopping." It was so much fun trying on her white dress gloves and high heels and playing with all those pretty things.

When I was around 10 years old, my dad started giving me jewelry every year for Christmas, mostly rings. One year, I received a topaz ring that had the most amazing shade of bright blue. I adored that ring! Another favorite ring given to me by my dad was a gold signet ring that he had monogramed with my initials. I think I was around 15 at the time. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style and one I wear often today.

One of my favorite early jewelry memories was when my family went out to dinner before my high school senior award night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to win the top artist award in my class, and my parents bought me this beautiful southwestern sterling bracelet and turquoise ring to mark the occasion. For high school graduation, I received a large, modernist sterling and gold ring. At the time, I wasn’t into yellow gold, and these bold sterling pieces were among the most beautiful pieces I owned. Luckily, my parents have continued the tradition of gifting me jewelry for special occasions, and I cherish them all. These pieces help to serve as reminders of special times in my life. My sweet husband has also joined in on the tradition and I have received many beautiful pieces from him now over the years, including my very first (and favorite) Victorian bird bangle bracelet and my beloved antique turquoise and diamond halo ring.

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As a teenager, I was really into second-hand shops--mainly for vintage clothes and small decorative items, but eventually I started picking up inexpensive jewelry and odds-and-ends; like pendants, chokers, chains, etc. At about the same time, I started making beaded jewelry and even gifting and selling pieces to my friends.

Years later, I decided to try my hand at selling handmade jewelry on Etsy. It was a fun, challenging, and creative outlet. Those were the relative early days of Etsy, and I grew as it grew. I did this for a couple of years and slowly started incorporating more and more vintage jewelry components and findings into my pieces. Eventually, the competition increased and my enthusiasm waivered, so I put my shop on hold.

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My love affair with antique jewelry began about eight years ago when my mom and I were antiquing at one of my favorite stores in Richmond, IN. My mom fell head-over-heels for this old gold cameo ring. At first, I was like, "What? Cameos? Ugh, I don’t get it." Then much to my surprise, my mom professed her life-long love affair with cameos, citing stories from her youth. The shop owner quoted her a low price and my mom quickly bought the ring. She wasn’t one to make fine jewelry purchases on our excursions together, so I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I couldn’t stop staring at this unusual reddish-orange cameo ring on our drive back home; I was fascinated by it. It didn’t look like the girly, pink cameos I was used to seeing. It was more masculine in style and the gold was a rich rose color. The shop owner estimated the ring to be about 120 years old.

To my knowledge, I had never seen a ring that old before and now I wanted one for myself! The more I researched, the more I realized what an amazing deal my mom got on that ring. Sure, it was more than I was used to spending on random antique mall purchases (about $85), but still affordable. This made antique jewelry seem obtainable to me for the first time ever. I started reading jewelry books, researching online, and educating myself on antique jewelry. I liked learning the history behind each piece. It’s a perfect fit for me-- combining my love of history, research, sentiment, story, etc.

Inspired by my new passion and focus, I reopened my Etsy shop--selling only vintage and antique jewelry. I absolutely loved hunting for old jewelry, even cameos! Thinking back to that special trip to Richmond with my mom, I believe this was the critical moment that later turned this new interest into a full-blown hobby and part-time job for me.

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Today I have such a deep and sincere appreciation for antique jewelry; I tend to collect a little bit of everything. All in all, I tend to go more for Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco pieces. Rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry to wear and collect. I love everything from dainty to bold, statement rings. I also love antique bangles and Deco necklaces in all sorts of finishes, metals, and styles.

One of my favorite things to collect are watches. My favorite makers are Longines and Bucherer. I have everything from watch pins, watch rings, wristwatches, and pocket watches. And I really love long enamel watch necklaces. My love of watch necklaces probably began when I scored an amazing Bucherer red guilloche enamel watch ball necklace for $60 in a small, local antique shop. I later learned this was a remarkable deal for one with its original enamel chain in perfect condition. I’ve since added about 10 more to my collection over the years. I just can’t stop myself when I see a beautiful one for a good price. I have such a weakness for fine guilloche enamel-work.

In addition, I love bird-themed jewelry and have many bird bangles, lockets, etc. I tend to favor cool-color pieces in general (it must be the Pisces in me!). I am very fond of blue--sapphires, lapis, zircon, and turquoise to name a few. Pale lavender chalcedony, dreamy moonstones, and that particular shade of green commonly used in Art Deco pieces--are all personal favorites. I have a growing collection of snake rings, too.

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I enjoy shopping at small, local places best. The Midwest is a gold mine for antiques of all kinds. The big jewelry enthusiasts seem to live on either coast and being stuck in the middle has its advantages... lower prices and less pickers. But this seems to get harder every year. My favorite display cases and shops seem to be shutting down. The old dealers retire; some pass away. I think part of me has also wanted to open a brick and mortar shop, but the risks are scary.

Currently, I seem to have the most luck shopping at antique shows and online auctions. I’m always on the hunt for new pieces. I would love to own more niello jewelry, antique enamel bracelets, and gutta percha bangles inlaid with gold. I have a thing for portrait paintings but oddly, own no portrait jewelry. I interned at the National Portrait Gallery right after college and it’s a subject I’m really interested in. I would love to find the perfect emerald ring and more "name" or "initial" jewelry to represent the important people in my life.

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Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday (hello, 40!) and had been hunting for the perfect aquamarine birthstone piece of jewelry for months. Then it finally happened...a huge, honking, 14-carat, Victorian, pear-shaped aqua ring in 15K gold popped up on my Instagram feed. Its large size, unfussy setting, and perfect pale-blue color, stopped me dead in my tracks. A direct quote from the seller was, "a mesmerizing, dreamy, huge piece of magic." Indeed it was. I sold three personal collection rings to make room for this special ring, the latest addition to my jewelry box.

Back when I started wearing, selling, and collecting antique jewelry, I was the only one I knew who did. I just bought what I liked and what I could afford at the time. It wasn’t until I joined IG a couple of years ago that I found other like-minded people who loved and appreciated old jewelry as much as I do. Like most sellers/collectors, I am searching for more high quality and unusual pieces nowadays. Lately, there seems to be more competition, more reproductions, and higher prices on the online auction sites, making it harder to "score" a deal. While I may not be selling forever, I know I will be wearing and enjoying my jewelry for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy. Marking special occasions and making new memories with jewelry are so important to me. Jewelry has a way of keeping our memories alive...providing a tangible reminder... connecting us to the people, places, and significant moments we cherish in life. Happy hunting!

 

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Kate --> @LuxCharmJewelry

Exclusive Gem Gossip Logo Pins! 

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You guys, I'm so happy to offer these exclusive Gem Gossip logo pins FINALLY! These have been in the works for quite some time, spearheaded by my sister Bunny Miele. We both are very particular about design, colors, perfection, so after lots of trial and error, my vision finally came to life.  These are enamel with a white background and gold lettering. 

I've collected travel pins since I was in 4th grade and I have an entire black-velvet covered board hanging on my wall full of pins! So cool to create my very own and I hope you all like them.  If you're an avid Gem Gossip reader or fan, these are perfect for you. Show off your support for Gem Gossip--pin them to your collar, shoes, jeans, jean jacket...anything!

Details: White & Gold enamel, Brass plating

Dimensions: 1 1/4" x 1/3"

Shipping: USA ONLY AT THIS TIME

Price: $10 each

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Observer: Trendy & Timeless Engagement Ring Options

Observer | Gem Gossip

I'm excited to share that I will be contributing monthly to the Observer, lending my expertise on jewelry, gems and related lifestyle content. The Observer reaches 6.75 million monthly unique visitors and offers authoritative articles that inform and inspire an educated audience of influential readers. My first article went live a few weeks ago and I've been working on the next.

Look out for my posts--I will be sharing them on my social media platforms and I will try to post them here as well!

Here's my first one--I've carefully curated some engagement rings that are both trendy and can stand the test of time. Here's the link:

http://observer.com/2017/07/best-engagement-rings-2017-eva-fehren-erika-winters/

xoxoGemGossip

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