Q & A with Anabel Higgins Jewelry






Anabel Higgins Jewelry began during the designer's recovery from breast cancer. As the collection began to evolve, she found a passion for shaping beautiful pieces to express a woman's unique sense of style. The initial collection takes its inspiration from vintage sporting medals popular in Britain during the first half of the 20th Century. The Anabel Higgins' Heritage Collection is the re-shaping of these antique medals for today. The jewelry is fabricated in Los Angeles, and with every sale, a portion goes toward funding breast cancer research!

I had to know more about this lovely lady and her charitable jewels:







Expanding the Anabel Higgins Heritage Collection of British Sporting Medals to include additional vintage inspired pieces with a modern twist. I am currently designing Pendants featuring 19th Century hard stone cameos with 18k or Fine Silver surrounds and diamond bales. I am also working on a Collection based on Victorian love tokens which will include turquoise and diamonds.



Actually, I practiced law for 13 years as a litigator! I stopped lawyering to raise 3 children. Nonetheless, my passion for collecting runs deep. I am an avid furniture collector; mainly 18th and 19th Century English and French pieces. Paintings, silhouettes, and antique jewelry round out my continuing repertoire. I am an amateur student of art history and am always looking to further my education. I am currently attending a seminar at The Huntington Art Collections entitled "Fashion and Art". Two years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a mastectomy and between several surgeries, I started Anabel Higgins Jewelry. I was looking for a healing, creative endeavor to take my mind away from my treatments. Nothing pleases me more than creating beauty for people to adore.


Watching people wear my jewelry with style and passion!



One of my primary goals for Anabel Higgins Jewelry is to donate a majority of the proceeds to charities focused on breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Thus, the more successful the business, the greater the donations and hopefully, the greater the impact.


My grandmother's Edwardian diamond drop earrings I wore on my wedding day.

Annie Higgins Wedding Earrings

Jewelry Collection Stories: The Eden Collective


Many of you know my love for The Eden Collective, an Etsy shop on-point with each and every piece she posts. The more I've gotten to know Eden, the more I realized what a true collector she really is!  A collector since the age of seven, Eden tagged along with her father to auctions and flea markets.  She bought her first ring at a very young age, with the help of some birthday money--a sterling Navajo ring with heart shaped turquoise--and has been hooked ever since (she even still has the ring!)  Her phases of collections were quite fun--a bakelite bracelet phase where she has two boot boxes under her bed with bracelets that she never wears but can't seem to get rid of, a Mexican silver phase, a deco filigree phase ...continuous with a Victorian and Georgian phase.  Collecting jewelry has been somewhat constant for her, with most of her income going toward pretty, shiny things.  A job in college next to a jeweler led to a running tab and lots of hard work.  

Of all the places, flea markets are what gets Eden going--the mere mention of the word, and she becomes instantly happy.  She makes it a point to seek one out every where she travels, with a few of her favorites being Hong Kong, India, Mexico, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Morocco, Italy and of course coast to coast USA--and surprisingly she has never been to Brimfield, which is on her list!

Here are some highlights of her personal collection--none of which are for sale--but she does have an incredible Etsy shop (The Eden Collective) which is a must to add on the Favorites list.  


1. Victorian hand painted miniature portrait worn as bracelet: 14k, old mine cut diamonds, reverses to painting of the little girl’s mother

2. 40s honeycomb belt bracelet: 18k & platinum, brilliant cut diamonds

3. Victorian slide collection bracelet: mix of 10k and 14k slides with enamel, rubies, diamonds, opals, pearls & turquoise

4. Edwardian “X” bangle: 14k yellow gold, rose cut diamonds, opals


1. Victorian micro-mosaic ring: 18k with landscape scene mosaic inset in onyx

2. Early Victorian mourning ring: 18k, enamel, foiled garnet, “in Memory of” in stations around band, engraved on interior

3. Victorian hairwork faith, hope and charity ring: 10k, hair

4. Georgian foiled garnet band: garnets, 18k

5. Vintage witches heart midi ring: 14k

6. Victorian Bohemian garnet ring: 14k shank, gilt metal stone mounting, garnets

7. Victorian micro mosaic: 14k, Roman ruins mosaic set in onyx


1. Victorian converted brooch ring: 14k, mine cut and rose cut diamonds

2. Vintage snake midi: 14k, ruby eyes

3. Early Victorian snake ring: 14k, mine cut diamond, ruby eyes

4. Victorian snake ring: 14k, mine cut diamonds

5. Victorian stick pin conversion pinky ring: 10k, mine cut diamond, ceylon sapphire

6. Victorian snake wrap bracelet: 18k, mine cut diamond

7. 22kt and diamond polki bangle

8. 22kt and diamond polki bangle

9. Victorian snake wrap bracelet: 14k, ruby eyes

*a fun anecdote from Eden about #3 snake ring: "About 15 years ago at my favorite down and dirty flea market- not an antique market but the kind of place where people bring what they cleaned out of their garage, I bought an old sewing box filled with buttons and bits of lace and trims, etc. There was an ancient rusty Sucrets tin in the box that I could not open because it was so rusted but since it was relatively light weight and nothing moved when I shook it, I figured was empty..  I think: maybe someday I’ll try to open it, so throw it back in the box with the buttons. Literally 10 years go by and I’m cleaning out my studio.. decide, since I never found a use for anything in that box, to throw it in a bag to give to Goodwill. Something, I don't know what because I’ve ignored it for 10 years, gets under my skin about that Sucrets tin….  one screw driver and 15 mins later I’ve destroyed the poor thing but the lid is off. Inside is a folded up piece of tissue and inside the tissue is the snake ring."


1. Victorian mourning bracelet: 14k and enamel, drop is 14k and jet with seed pearls engraved on back “Gertrude”

2. Victorian mourning bangle: 14k and enamel with seed pearls

3. Georgian bracelet: 18k, foiled rock crystal, silk velvet ribbon

4. Victorian Albertina watch chain bracelet: 14k, jet

5. Victorian mourning bangle: 14k, enamel, seed pearls


1. 50s hand painted miniature portrait ring: 14k, seed pearls

2. Victorian amethyst converted brooch ring: 18k, amethyst, seed pearls

3. Victorian baby signet midi ring: 10k

4. Victorian baby ring midi: 10k

5. Victorian bypass pinky ring: 14k, rose cut diamonds, natural pearls

6. Victorian love knot bracelet: 14k, mine cut diamond

7. Georgian amethyst bracelet: 15k, amethyst

8. Edwardian bangle: gold-filled, amethyst glass

9. Edwardian bangle: 10k, amethyst


1. Georgian sepia miniature ring: our own conversion of a brooch, 14k, rock crystal, paste, ivory

2. Georgian 18k & rose cut diamond ring

3. Georgian mourning ring midi : 18k, macerated hair painted “B” on mother of pearl

4. Art Deco 14k carved wedding band midi

5. Art Deco Platinum & diamond eternity band

4. Georgian mine cut diamond ring in silver pinch mounting on 18k band

5. Art Deco 14k diamond eternity band

6. Art Deco platinum and diamond “scroll” band

7. Victorian insect ring: 14k, silver, garnet, rose cut diamonds


1. Stuart crystal clasp on Victorian curb link bracelet: 20kt ( thereabouts), rock crystal, hair, engraved on the back “J.S. dy. June 1740 age 4 yrs. 6 mos.”

2. 14k white gold diamond line bracelet

3. Victorian gold-filled curb link bracelet

4. Edwardian 10k bangle

5. Victorian 9k “chain” bangle

6 Edwardian 10k engraved bangle


1. 60s cocktail ring: 14k, lapis, pave diamonds

2. 60s mouse ring: 14k, lapis, ruby eyes, pave diamonds

3. 80s 14k hammered gold ring

4. 70s bracelet: 14k, lapis, coral, pave diamonds

5. 70s pendant attached to bracelet: 14k lapis, coral, pave diamonds



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{from top to bottom:

totally in love with Baker & Black Caduceus ring also paired with an antique find from Bavier Brook

Broken English sporting some incredible pieces from their shop, from Nikos Kulis

@cbalthouse wearing lots of rings from her personal ring collection

Gemaporter Blog showing two spectacular neon enamel rings from Dior

Arrow & Anchor Antiques proving that unisex rings are where it's at!

J. Hadley Jewelry and a perfect fall palette featuring rings in all shades of brown

Julers' Row blog wearing a stack of rich, high carat gold and a porcelain tile rings from Whitney Abrams

Polly Wales is always the perfect candidate for SHOW ME YOUR RINGS!

@julie_hj stacking rings from her personal collection, loving the turquoise!}


Designer Spotlight: Hughes Bosca Jewelry

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Finding Hughes Bosca Jewelry and stumbling upon their incredible designs was so exciting to me!  That is why I am jumping for joy as I type this.  I love antique jewelry and I also love newer designer jewelry, however Hughes Bosca Jewelry is in a category all of its own.  I want to call it artisan jewelry, where each piece is handmade using the finest materials, and the duo behind the jewelry call themselves "goldsmiths" rather than designers.  The care and precision that goes into each piece is on a whole different level.  Most pieces, to me, belong in a museum--which is actually a hope/dream for the two brilliant minds behind these jewels.  

Mary Hughes and Caro-Gray Bosca began their careers on separate paths--Mary studying at California College of the Arts on the west coast, while on the east coast Caro-Gray studied at School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University.  Both combined their talents and have been creating jewelry together for 16 years.  Traveling and getting inspired go hand-in-hand for this team, and they say they are truly happy and proud of their many clients who love and wear their jewelry on a daily basis.  

Some of the pieces that caught my eye right away are the rings created using carved gemstones.  The carved turquoise and coral parrot heads are unlike anything I've seen.  I also am blown away by the hand-painted quartz used in a few ring designs--with painted leopard spots and another having polka dots.  As with all their designs, everything is done in 18k yellow gold.

Currently, the design duo is busy working on a giant Baltic Blue Amber necklace with Blue Diamonds and Orange Sapphires, Mexican Fire Opal and Peridot.  Sounds out of this world! 

Their own personal favorite pieces they own? Mary loves her Afgani seal, an anchient stamp with a phoenix in the reverse accented with Emerald and Hot pink Spinel.  And Caro-Gray wears a lemon South Sea Pearl with a diamond cap worn on my everyday irregular link 18K chain. Both sound amazing.

>> Check out their website for more designs! 

Q & A with Duff of Jean Jean Vintage

DSC_7243Jean Jean Vintage is an Etsy shop where you can clearly feel the passion behind each listing--every ring, necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings has an impeccably described paragraph full of details. Knowing that Duff, the woman behind Jean Jean Vintage, has a degree in archaelogoy...it all makes sense!  She started out selling costume jewelry and while her cute baubles sold out quickly, it paved the way to bigger things for the shop.  Recently, Victorian rings and gold bands have been her cup of tea--with a selection that is completely covetable.  

Personally, I purchased a ring from Jean Jean Vintage last year as a Christmas gift for my sister, so I know first hand of her excellent customer service.  My friend Brooke also purchased an incredible garnet double snake ring that we both swoon over.  I am waiting to find my piece of Jean Jean Vintage, and I think you will find yours too!



Everything about antiques and jewelry suits me perfectly, although it took me a while to figure that out. As a kid I was obsessed with rocks (fossil hunting, agate hunting, rock polishing) and in college I was interested in antiquities. I got a degree in archaeology and then realized that there isn’t much work for budding archaeologists in this country! So I started working for small retail business around town doing buying, training, accounting – a little of everything. Pretty soon I wanted my own shop and the only thing I could imagine selling was antique jewelry. I sold vintage costume jewelry to start but now I’m selling mostly fine and antique pieces. When I’m looking at a hallmark through my loupe, restoring an old Art Deco necklace, or researching a design, I totally feel like an archaeologist and a rock-hound kid again.

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If I could travel for the shop I would go to California and Kansas. I love antiquing in those states. But I don’t get around too much, even in my own state, because I have a young son and being a mom doesn’t really jive with poking around antique malls and sitting at auctions. Right now, I really only buy from people that I know – sellers I’ve been working with for the last few years. They know what I like and I trust them. One of my favorite out-of-state sellers knows me so well that she just sends me a shoebox full of stuff a few times a year. Those are good mail days! Acquiring things in such a predictable way (usually by appointment) is super efficient but I really do miss the emotional rush of “the hunt.” I’ll get back to it someday!

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Some of my favorite pieces, personal and for the shop, I purchased from a woman named Diane in Berkeley. My husband and I were out there for sabbatical a couple years ago and her tiny, dusty shop was a few blocks from our place. She was a tough old bird (I think she was 90) and a veteran antiques dealer. She was open one or two days a week and I visited her almost every time she was open, determined to get her to warm to me and teach me a thing or two. Sometimes I bought something, sometimes we just visited. She had a lot of beautiful bakelite and celluloid jewelry, which was sort of a revelation to me. I sold most of it, but I kept one Art Deco bakelite medallion and a bonkers-amazing celluloid feather necklace. Her shop was great. She couldn’t keep up, though, and she closed just a few weeks before we moved back to Michigan. It was pretty poignant to see the last chapter of her business being written.

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Most recently I won four loose, glass intaglio wax seals on eBay. I didn’t have a plan for them, I just wanted them. It was totally an emotional purchase. They were in French and Old English and they had tiny little images to illustrate the captions. They were so special. I ended up having each one made into a custom signet ring and I just sold my last one. It was a really fun project to work on. Those intaglio seals are the stuff dreams are made of, in my opinion. If I ever find a cache of those I’ll need to be tranquilized!



I had an Early Victorian (1850s) mourning ring that was missing the center panel where there would have once been a little pane of glass covering a piece of hair work. I took it to my jeweler, who is amazing, and asked him to work his magic. He surprised me by using antique ivory, which I never considered but is the perfect choice. The ivory and the coral look so soft – like butter! You can bury me in this one.


Gem Gossip Visits Stephen Webster in London! #LoveGold

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Are Americans just as obsessed with Stephen Webster as his fellow Brits?! YES.  We can't get enough of Stephen Webster and his rainbow-gothic designs, which easily entertain our Mario Kart fantasies of streets made of rainbows and clouds.  We are used to seeing his playful designs on celebrities and artists on red carpets, but lovers of his jewelry are taking his designs into their own jewelry boxes and wearing them as essential staples in their everyday looks. With so many new designs and a huge following, Stephen has taken his brand to new heights after 25 years and becoming a trailblazer in many categories. I was excited to visit his headquarters in London, but it was even more of a treat when I realized I would actually get to meet Stephen himself!

As most know, Stephen Webster is the coolest of cool.  His office is one giant inspiration board, bursting with ideas and moods.  I tried capturing this in the photos I took, hoping readers and fans could see the quirky mixed with genius that he is.  I got a peek at some new designs, where the vibrancy of colors seemed to stand out most to me.  Radiant orange mixed with electric red, for a strong and graphic effect. Various warm hues provided by different saturations of gemstones added to the fiery mix.  Not only are these warm colors pretty to look at, but they make you "feel" the passion behind them.  The orange of Fire Opal became my new favorite color.

Throughout his collections, Stephen Webster uses gold.  Whether it is yellow gold paired with warm colored gemstones or white gold paired with cooler hues, gold is used strategically.  The gold allows for his work to be carried out in a glamorous way, with hints of all the inspirations--from music, to fashion and to contemporary art. His newer collection takes on a bit more edge, along with the color, but is still completely wearable everyday by any confident woman. 

I had an amazing, unforgettable experience meeting Stephen and getting to see where and how he works. LoveGold has created a London Shopping Guide, full of incredible stores, including some of London's best designers, which needs to be checked out!  I got to visit many on the list, and if you are traveling to London, make sure to take along this list and start your own jewelry adventure!  

>> For more of my London adventure, check out the hashtag #GemGossipdoesLondon 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold



Jewelry Contest: #my23stack from Ylang23

Image for Gem Gossip

I LOVE a good contest, especially when jewelry is involved.  This one from Ylang23, my friends, is amazing--it has all the best aspects of a great jewelry giveaway: stacking up your favorite jewels (dig into your jewelry box!), taking pictures (have fun with it!), submitting online on your favorite social media outlet (sharing is caring!) and voting for your favorites (love purusing everyone's entries!).  

The steps are simple: 

1. Upload/submit/tag your photo of your favorite stack of jewels with the hashtag #my23stack

2. You can enter using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Just as long as you use the hashtag #my23stack  

*If your account is private, you won't be able to enter the contest.  Submit on the Facebook contest arena so we are able to view: https://www.facebook.com/Ylang23/app_451684954848385?ref=page_internal

And the prizes are SO GOOD:

Five lucky winners will be chosen in total, with every Friday a new $500 Ylang23 Gift Certificate being given away!  Contest ends October 24th, 2014


Good luck everyone!  I will be entering this photo below--one of my favorite designers featured at Ylang23 is Finn Jewelry and I am in love with their Love Knot rings.  The colors are incredible, I wouldn't be able to decide which I liked best--but if I win, I would totally be buying one of these babies with my gift certificate!


Favorite Instagram Pictures: Early Fall 2014

rkjewels mhtny eriebasin metiersf freemansauctions metiersf stoneandstrand jenmeyerjewelry karripsoph liseannefrankfurt katieslavin iwonaludyga grimajewellery djojewelry

rkjewels showing how Etruscan Revival can be so chic

mhtny has the most vibrant jewels ever, makes you fall in love with gems

eriebasin a Masonic Pharaoh crescent fob circa 1900…so unique

metiersf also has a ring box filled with what dreams are made of

freemansauctions has put my emerald obsession into overdrive

metiersf always has the best collections of lockets and antique pendants

stoneandstrand has a 1960s muse in Talitha Getty and her ring party…she is my kind of girl!

jenmeyerjewelry adorned on a fashionable chick, love the stacking and colors

karripsoph and her enviable neckwear-- Loren Stewart pearl choker, eBay score choker, & Jennifer Fisher chain

liseannefrankfurt is inspired by how this Venetian woman accessorized with a long gold chain

katieslavin visited Abu Dhabi and I think I'm in love

iwonaludyga creating a fun art project with paint and stones

grimajewellery love a good twist ring, especially one that has an incredible diamond like this

djojewelry has her inventory on point! so many good rings!

Ask Gem Gossip, Volume Three!

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@paragonofperfection asks: Career question-I think I’m remembering this correctly from your old bio (forgive me if I’m not!) What made you switch from education/English to jewelry?  I’ve always been curious about how you knew you wanted to leave your degree/field and move into your passion/other passion.  I find it really inspiring that you did and would love advice/ the story on what your experiences were through the whole process. Fun question--what is your favorite amethyst ring you’ve ever seen?

GemGossip answers: Making the switch from teaching to jewelry was one of the biggest and hardest decisions I ever made.  Luckily, the switch was sort of gradual now that I look back, but I had to realize teaching wasn’t right for me (even though I spent LOTS of money on a degree and yes, even a Masters degree).  I knew teaching wasn’t for me when every time I had to get ready to go to work in the mornings,  I felt sick to stomach with nervousness and not knowing what the day may bring me.  Most teachers say one of the best things about teaching is that every day is unpredictable and you never know what is going to happen!  Well, for me, I hate that.  It was hard to realize that and also recognize that I got into teaching because I love children and being a positive role model, and although being a teacher involves those things, it is SO much more.  

Bonus question--Favorite amethyst ring I’ve ever seen is the one pictured above from Carreras Jewelers.  The fantasy cut amethysts and the black enamel, paired with yellow gold--brilliant!  


@thirdcoastgems asks: What started your passion and love for antique/estate jewelry?  Did you have a relative or someone you looked up to that introduced you to the world of jewelry?

GemGossip answers:  I’ve always loved jewelry, but what started me with antique jewelry was stumbling upon an antique diamond and sapphire filigree ring at a local jewelry store in my hometown.  For more on that experience, read this blog post.

My grandmother who was born and raised in Italy would visit Italy once every two years and bring me back a piece of gold jewelry, but other than that, no one else in my family was/is really into jewelry.  Growing up, my parents always brought my sisters and me to flea markets and I remember driving around to people’s houses who responded to their ad in the newspaper  “we buy Barbies and G.I. Joes” --two things my parents collected.  So I’ve always had an appreciation for older things and also “the hunt.”


@missdewalt asks: What’s the best way to start collecting?  What are your feelings on gold plate/fill/solid?  If I wanted to buy some beautiful vintage gold earrings/ring in the LA area/online where would you direct me?

GemGossip answers: The best way to start collecting is right now!  The sooner you decide to start, the quicker and larger your collection will become.  I recommend starting a wish list or inspiration board in which you can search online for styles that you like or certain pieces you love, print them out and have them all in one place and to help you define the sort of styles you like.

Most people who read my blog know that I only collect/write about/ feature pieces of jewelry that are solid gold--10k, 14k, 18k, 22k, etc. (or platinum).  Not a fan of gold fill or silver--I have lots of reasons why which I won’t get into, but I like what I like.  

LA area jewelry shops for vintage earrings/rings: Platt Boutique, Beladora.com, Craig Evan Small, I know I’m leaving some out..??  


@kitkajewel asks: Do any “alternative” materials peak your interest (in 50 years time what will folks be thinking is retro)?

GemGossip answers: Not too many “alternative” materials peak my interest--I am traditional gold and gemstones, through and through!  I do think wood is kind of cool for jewelry, but I rarely see it done well.  


@missklawrence86 asks: How did you go about customizing your fab jewelry cabinet to make it store so many extra rings?

GemGossip answers: I realized my typically large mirrored jewelry box was getting too small for my growing collection.  It would have been pointless to get a new jewelry box, so that is when I decided to alter the one I have!  It has lots of space for necklaces--hooks on the inside and more hooks on the door, and I don’t have too many necklaces, so I felt I could go without those.  I moved all my necklaces to the door section, and unscrewed the hooks and ripped it off.  I then ordered these velvet ring inserts and hot glued/epoxied them into the jewelry box, making sure I measured for size beforehand.  I did the same again, adding another ring insert below the already installed one, which tripled the amount of rings the jewelry box originally holds!  I love it because they are all in plain sight when I open the door, and makes it really easy for picking and choosing what to wear each day!  

Found: Fall Statement Ring from Communion by Joy #LoveGold

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As many of you know, I have been on the hunt for the perfect all-gold statement ring for fall.  It took a lot of searching, both online and in stores, but I know I have finally picked the right one--and just in time!  This past week has been chilly, so although summer isn’t quite over, I can feel autumn looming.  With some fashion ideas buzzing in my brain--I’m thinking army greens, leather, and textured sweaters--this gold statement ring had to fit the bill and be able to be worn with all types of looks.  

When I saw Communion by Joy’s Eye of the Warrior ring, I knew right away it was “the one.” It is comfortable, substantially wide, shows some texture, and has a bohemian feel--all of which were important in finding the best ring to wear throughout fall.  I could picture it with an all black look or jeans and an army green jacket, but then I can also see it with a floral top or a long trench coat.  It is so versatile, and yet still has its own vibe, which is what I love!  

Communion by Joy is a unique jewelry line that has an edgy bohemian feel, with each design created using the lost wax method. This technique allows the designer to sculpt each piece, giving it many unique attributes unlike the average piece of store-bought jewelry.  Another aspect that sets Joy apart is her spiritual aesthetic which radiates from the piece.  The fact that she meditates before creating and designing seems as though the positivity carries through in her jewelry.  

I have paired my Eye of the Warrior ring in 14k yellow gold with two bright green vintage rings that I have had in my collection.  A floral top pairs nicely for now, and I will be waiting on the cool temperatures to add some sweaters into this mix.  Could it be? My perfect fall statement ring has me excited for summer to end?!  


14k yellow gold Eye of the Warrior ring from Communion by Joy 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with LoveGold