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Q & A with Aleda of Always Aleda

Always, Aleda

As a blogger, you always remember your devoted readers--those who have been reading since the very beginning and continue to be loyal "likers, commenters, cheerleaders". One of those special people for me would have to be Aleda--she has been reading my blog for years! Her loyalty has evolved into buying many pieces from my virtual inventory page, which has really grown her collection. She most recently began her journey into design. Aleda traveled from Virginia to Tennessee for an intense jewelry school training from the New Approach School for Jewelers where she completed the Comprehensive Bench Jeweler program. Fun fact: this school is minutes from my house, so I also got to meet up with her before her last day. Her line of jewelry called Always, Aleda just recently launched, along with her website with new pieces being added as they evolve and become a part of her realm. Let's get to know Aleda's story more:

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Quite a few! I have a number of waxes and castings in progress at the moment. I am working on a Mythical Beast Medallion line that I’m really excited about, and a couple of “old-timey” pieces that I am really loving. All of these current in progress pieces will have enameling on them, as well. I’m toying with a few different kinds of enamel, and enjoying the process as I figure out which system I like best. I’m also working on a cuff bracelet and earrings to go with the rest of my dragonfly pieces.

Always Aleda | Gem Gossip

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Gosh! I’ve always loved jewelry. Even when I didn’t own any! And I’ve been pestering jewelers with questions for probably 20 years. I think I really started wanting to make it myself when I decided to knot a stand of pearls for each of our female family members when my husband and I got married. I loved it, but wanted to do more. So I busted out my kiln and got some PMC silver. And made waaaay too much with it! Most of those pieces have been given away, but I still have a few leftovers.

Then I started working for Quinn’s Goldsmith, in Woodbridge, Virginia, and had new jewelers to question! About five years in to working for Terry, I finally told him I wanted to be a jeweler/designer. So he told me to go to school, and here we are!

Always Aleda | Gem Gossip Always Aleda | Gem Gossip Always Aleda | Gem Gossip Always Aleda | Gem Gossip

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This is easy to answer! There are two of them! The first one, is when I first started drawing things up, and a jewelry friend said, “I want that!” Because you know it’s hard to impress the pros!

The second, is when I finally had that piece finished perfectly. I brought it in to show Terry before shipping, and he asked to carry the design in his store. That was a huge moment for me. Truly. I felt like the whole world had shifted a bit, and I had finally figured out what I was supposed to be doing. And that feeling hasn’t left me!

Always Aleda | Gem Gossip

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I am working on adding more products. Some that are “ready to ship” as well as more of the made to order pieces. And I really want to continue working with enamel. I really think there’s something really beautiful about that art form. You get to paint on gold! And it truly means that each piece is unique, which is something that’s important to me. I’d also love to do more custom work for clients. Building the pieces they see in their minds is an honor! I wouldn’t be upset if another store or two wanted to start carrying a few pieces, though!

Always Aleda | Gem Gossip

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Only one!?!?

There are four, really. My wedding ring. It looks absolutely nothing like the original, which got a bit mangled in a door. So a few years later, my husband and I re-designed it, and the jewelers at work did an excellent job putting it together with the original stones. (This was before I went to school.) It has white, yellow and rose gold, so I’m always matching! My coffee bean charm!! I really just made this one originally for myself, and it has surprised me by being really popular! It is by far one of my favorite pieces, though, and I wear it every day. My great grandmother’s wedding ring. My Poppy gave it to me before my husband and I got married. I don’t wear it often, because it really is quite delicate, but I love the way it has been passed down, and remembering the conversation we had when he passed it to me always warms my heart. Finally, my snake ring! I’ve always had a fondness for snakes in jewelry, especially historically, and this little guy also brings back a lot of childhood memories. I also put about 8 hours into carving the wax for this one, so it really was a labor of love.

Always Aleda | Gem Gossip Always Aleda | Gem Gossip

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Always, Aleda.

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Accessorize Your Holiday Outfit with Jewelry from Fellows Auction

Fellows | Gem Gossip

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you might be forgetting to put together your holiday party outfit, your holiday shopping ensemble or even your work party look. Let me remind you that shopping for sparkly accessories can be fun and easy to do bidding at auction from Fellows! The extensive amount of necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings that go up at auction each month makes me a huge fan, and the ease of bidding makes it even more positive. I can look online at their latest Antique & Modern Jewelry sale and instantly begin to style outfits. So many pieces complement one another, it's kind of addicting once you start to look at an auction catalog that way. I've done it for you here with December's Sale, which features over 500 items, each detailed in photos and descriptions online. It is such a treat to peruse Fellows' sales and even more fun when envisioning an outfit to go along with some pieces. 

Don't miss the December 7th Antique & Modern Sale -- click here to visit the online catalog.

Fellows | Gem Gossip

Lot 31: A unique ensemble deserves some truly unusual jewels! This ring from this look caught my attention because it is bold and the detailed designs are interesting. Set with moonstone, ruby and diamonds with a stylized spray of floral it comes off both as artistic and futuristic. Love this ring.

Lot 83: When a necklace makes an entire outfit, that's when you know you've purchased a special piece! I feel like this necklace would make any outfit amazing, from the fringe to the bold fleur de lis, this is so stunning! It is done in gold and emeralds with pearl details.

Lot 471: These earrings are perfect for when you need just a pop of color! Done in diamonds and demantoid garnets for a subtle yet bold earring look. Wear these alone or stacked with other very minimal studs if you have more than one hole. I also chose these because the necklace is very dramatic, so the earrings should be toned down.

Fellows | Gem Gossip

Lot 7: Sparkle like your sequined cardigan by wearing a bunch of elongated diamond rings on your fingers! This ring in lot 7 is a great example of what I mean! I love the design of this particular ring, along with the two vertically set diamonds and open filigree work. Such a stunner!

Lot 21: High on my personal wish list is a diamond necklace like this one in lot 21. How elegant would it be to wear a string of diamonds along your neckline?! This type of necklace can be dressed up or down, and I like the idea of layering it for everyday wear with gold pendants on chains and worn with a t-shirt and jeans. This necklaces totals about 7.50 carats of diamonds! Wow!

Lot 41: To add to the diamond ring stack, a navette ring needs to be both a part of this look and in everyone's jewelry box! This one is really unique because you can tell that it is all-original by zooming in on all the rose cuts, each cut by hand years and years ago. The shapes and color ranges of the diamonds vary, which makes it more special in my opinion!

Lot 130: This is probably hands-down the coolest snake bracelet I've ever seen!  I love the way it coils several times and done in gold with French assay marks and the prettiest Burmese sapphire. I think this would be a treasure to own and I would wear it every chance that I could get!

Lot 416: The last addition to the diamond finger stack is this ring from lot 416. It looks like a delicate web of diamonds has graced your finger, with the intricate filigree work set with rose cut diamonds. All three diamond rings worn together will make a major statement and I think they all complement one another really well!

Fellows | Gem Gossip

Lot 88: The fan-shape of this particular ring made me immediately choose it as one of my picks for this out-of-this-world outfit! Done in blue topaz mixed with old cut diamonds, set in white gold. This would be a good one to wear on your pointer finger and stack with other unique rings. Love the bright blue color of the gems and how they play off the dress.

Lot 196: I wanted a simple but unique necklace to go along with this look, so I chose a geometric pendant on a gold chain because it can be worn hidden or just slightly peeking out of the dress in a discreet way. The design of this pendant is really cool, it's like a stick of diamonds with some gold shapes and curves flanking it. A great everyday piece!

Lot 201: Two bold pops of color create this ring--those are zircons! One is blue and the other is orange and if you visit the catalog of Fellows, you are able to see more photos of the sides of this ring which is something worth noting! The shank is actually bi-colored, with one side being platinum and the other 18k yellow gold. The very back of the shank even has a sapphire set in it, which is really cool! 

Lot 292: This dress needed some fun dangle earrings, so I went with these from lot 292. They are set with diamonds and heliodor (the yellow/orange stones) and done in 18k white gold. I love the marquise shapes of the dangling gems--it makes them fun and flirty, which is what this look is all about!

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Fellows Auctions

 

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Jewelry in Every Category at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers' December Sale

Leslie Hindman Leslie Hindman

I told you that the holiday season has the best jewelry auctions and today's blog post will continue to prove that theory of mine!  Coming up in December on the 3rd and the 4th, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will auction off just over 1200 items! The two-day event will take place in Chicago (their headquarters, which I got to visit earlier this year) but fear not, as with most everything these days, you can log in from your computer and partake in the fun live! Bid to your heart's content, all from the comfort of your home--that's what I call an ideal way to spend your day! I will for sure be doing that for this sale, as there are SO MANY great pieces; it truly was difficult to narrow down my top picks. 

I decided to break down the sale into categories--rings, necklaces, earrings and pendants--and pick my favorites from those. Hope this helps you organize your favorites too! I think it helps when looking through an auction catalog because I often can look through once, and then go back through again, and still find things I don't remember seeing! Take your time and look thoroughly--it's worth it!

>> Sale dates: Sunday & Monday, December 3 & 4, 2017

Lot 9 Leslie Hindman Lot 63 Leslie Hindman Lot 107 Leslie Hindman Lot 258 Leslie Hindman

Necklaces:

Lot 9: This necklace is everything you've ever wanted--it is antique, colorful (thanks to the rubies, emeralds and pearls), convertible (comes apart in two sections), and foreign (has Slovakian hallmarks). I also love the swag-style of the scalloped sections and measuring at 17 inches in length, it is a perfect fit for most! Estimate: $500-700

Lot 63: All the glitz and glam has combined into one necklace--lot 63! The piece is composed of old European cut diamonds and four gorgeous sapphires, all done in platinum. The center diamond is pretty unique--it is a triangular rose cut and it really finishes off the necklace. Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Lot 107: I thought this necklace was truly remarkable--so much sparkle, nearly every inch! The entire necklace is decked out in diamonds totaling over 15 carats! There are baguette cuts and old European cuts...and we haven't even talked about the aquamarines! Two different cuts of aqua, one bold look. And to finish everything off, it is done in platinum. 

Lot 258: The coveted fringe-style necklace...I love this piece because it reminds me of a charm necklace, but a much more sophisticated one. Each "charm" is a cabochon cut sapphire, appearing in multiple shades from typical blues, to pale pinks and greens, even purple! Each one is bezel set in platinum and the necklace contains diamonds all around, totaling about 2.50 carats! Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Lot 3 Leslie Hindman Lot 7 Leslie Hindman Lot 55 Leslie Hindman Lot 285 Leslie Hindman

Rings:

Lot 3: This dainty turquoise and diamond ring caught my attention right away as it is one of the first lots in the entire sale. I love anything turquoise set in yellow gold--this one is extra special because it is surrounded by old cut diamonds and in amazing condition. Love the estimate too, I might just be bidding on this! Estimate: $300-500

Lot 7: Navette styles have my name written all over them and this ring even more so because of the black enamel details! The diamonds sparkle for a total of 0.90 carats and done in 18k yellow gold. Victorians sure knew how to create beautiful, timeless jewelry. Estimate: $300-500

Lot 55: This ring reminded me of my infamous comet ring -- both the enamel details, specifically the sides, are almost identical! I think whoever made this ring also made mine. The three-stone ring features a sapphire and two diamonds, along with the navy blue enamel details previously mentioned. It is platinum-topped and ready for its new owner! Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 285: I couldn't have a favorite ring roundup without an epic opal, and this particular ring is definitely epic! Of course it is Cartier and set in a unique bi-color setting. I love the silhouette and play-of-color on the opal. Whoever ends up with this ring is one lucky person! Estimate: $1,800-2,200

Lot 185 Leslie Hindman Lot 486 Leslie Hindman Lot 613 Leslie Hindman Lot 847 Leslie Hindman

Pendants:

Lot 185: Lately, I've been really into pendants, so I thought I would add this category to my picks. Aldo Cipullo for Cartier is highly collectible, and this hamsa pendant done in chalcedony is a very iconic piece. Done in 18k yellow gold and signed. Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 486: This little nugget of rainbow fireworks comes in lot 486, a gorgeous boulder opal pendant set in 14k yellow gold. This can easily be added to any charm collection, whether you have a charm bracelet or charm necklace. Make this your lucky memento! Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Lot 613: Another ideal little pendant for your talisman collection--wear it close to your heart and read up on sapphire's abilities to clear your mind and calm your nerves. It is set in yellow gold and I love the style...gives off some bohemian vibes! Estimate: $400-600

Lot 847: Another bold and colorful opal, this time completely surrounded by diamonds and set in platinum. The diamonds total about one carat and the opal displays a wide range of colors, evenly distributed. And yes, this is another one I will be bidding on! Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Lot 36 Leslie Hindman Lot 83 Leslie Hindman Lot 246 Leslie Hindman Lot 782 Leslie Hindman

Earrings:

Lot 36: All kinds of elegance with these rose cut diamond dangle earrings. The icing on the cake is the black enamel details. The diamonds total approx. over 1.50 carats and set in platinum. I could see these being worn day or night, dressy or casual. Very versatile! Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 83: These earrings remind me of a diamond and sapphire target ring that I own that I absolutely adore. The emerald, onyx and diamond combination is pretty stellar, along with the dangle style drop. The diamonds total about four carats and all done in platinum. What a gorgeous pair of earrings! Estimate: $8,000-10,000

Lot 246: Stunning on all accounts and yes, my head turned just by looking at them in a catalog. Imagine them being on?! I love the colorful sapphire hearts and the tiered style of these earrings makes them completely my favorite! They are from Fred Leighton and if they haven't already been worn by someone special, you can bid on them and make that happen! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 782: Winged earrings are my jam and these are quite the pair! Set with aquamarines and diamonds, each is done in platinum-topped gold with clip on closures. So hip and trendy, yet these will never go out of style! Happy bidding! Estimate; $1,500-2,500

James D. Julia Features Nearly 100 Jewelry Lots in Upcoming Sale


Last June I introduced you all to an auction house that was new to me--James D. Julia Auction, one of North America's top ten antique auctioneers. We had such a great response, especially from new bidders who were eager to learn the art of bidding online but were a little intimidated to do so. James D. Julia makes it easy because many of their lots are unreserved, so you could potentially score some amazing pieces at great prices. Their December 1st sale features nearly 100 jewelry lots; a wide variety of styles, gemstones, and time periods. You can bid via telephone by calling 1-800-565-9298 or online via invaluable.com or bidsquare.com

To learn more about the James D. Julia story, check out last June's blog feature. Going through the catalog was a fun way to spend some time before the holiday craziness. I have to admit, I have been doing a lot of "curating" of my own personal collection, and a few years ago I hardly owned any pendants, charms or necklaces. If I did own any, they were turned into rings, ha! Today, I can't get enough of pendants, especially gemstone pendants and there are A BUNCH of gemstone pendants in this sale. What is funny is they are "trio" pendants, a pendant featuring three stones set vertically, which is an obsession of mine. So, I'll be bidding and obsessing over these for sure!

I've made it easy for you to flip through the entire sale yourself by embedding the virtual catalog above! You can see what I mean when I say there is a wide variety! So get your pen and paper ready, mark down your favorites and enjoy!  I'll highlight some of my favorites below as well:

Lot 1337: An incredible Art Deco diamond and sapphire ring, finished in platinum. The center diamond is approx. 1.30 carats of glistening sparkle, accented by sapphires and other smaller diamonds. The piece is in excellent condition and from a Nebraska estate. Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 1338: A unique zebra bracelet outfitted in colorful enamels and diamonds, with ruby eyes. The fun piece is done in 18k yellow gold and ready to be worn alone or stacked with other bracelets, as I think both would be great options. Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 1340: Looking for a yellow diamond ring? This one is stunning! It features a 3.76 carat light yellow diamond that is a modified square brilliant cut and flanked on each side by trapezoid diamonds. The total carat weight of all three diamonds is approx. 5.37 carats and it is a size 4 1/2. This would make a lovely engagement ring! Estimate: $18,000-22,000

Lot 1348: The first of many gemstone pendants in this sale, this one is especially gorgeous--set with three pear-shaped gems, pointing downward in a vertical style. The gems are a light greenish blue beryl, a morganite, and an emerald, so an entire beryl family going on in one pendant. I love the size of this piece--it is 3 1/4" long, including the bail. Estimate: $1,200-1,800

Lot 1350: What a fun pair of earrings that will make others green with envy! These dangles feature emerald beads in a large, cascading cluster which dangle from a beautiful single emerald cut emerald. Could you imagine a red-head wearing these?!  They are elegant yet super playful! Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 1355: I love a good bypass ring, which is why I included this one in my top picks. The sweet ring is set with a lemon yellow sapphire and a pretty blue sapphire, two colors that lend themselves to each other--one warm, one cold! The ring also features nearly a half carat of diamonds and is a size 6 1/2. Estimate: $400-600

Lot 1369: Some elegant drop earrings with this lot--perfect for the holidays! You haven't seen a shade of red like this until you've seen red tourmaline! The pear-shaped gems dangle at the top, and are finished off with a cluster of red tourmaline and diamonds, all done in white gold. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 1426: I know so many people collect Victorian jewelry with bird themes, so these earrings are a top pick for me! They showcase a bird on each ear pendant, along with floral motifs accented with turquoise stones. One earring has an acorn, the other a bird's nest--you must take a closer look at the catalog, these are great! Estimate: $400-600

 

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with James D. Julia.

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Why I Buy Diamonds When I Want to Celebrate Myself 

Real is Rare | Gem Gossip Real is Rare | Gem Gossip

I can think of many examples of an ideal time, as a woman, to buy yourself a piece of jewelry: new job, promotion, birthday, special anniversary, surviving a rough week/month/year. The idea of female self-purchase is a category that has been on the rise since the day I started Gem Gossip over nine years ago. Jewelry in general should not be wrongfully stereotyped as only suitable as a gift from a male. Women should buy jewelry for themselves and be proud!

Diamonds are, in my opinion, the best kind of gemstone to invest in when buying yourself something special because of their timelessness, romance and value. They are the best kind of symbol for celebrating yourself at any point or milestone in your life.

For me, I recently celebrated an interesting “milestone” — it was more like a goal, which I will explain, but my point is there doesn’t have to be a life-changing moment for you to buy yourself a diamond. You decide for yourself why you deserve it and that is all that should matter!

For a few months, I was realizing that my closet was pretty full but I was constantly wearing the same five shirts and two pairs of jeans almost everyday. I had shirts and pants that were several years old and also hadn’t been worn. So I cleaned out my closet and brought everything I didn’t want anymore to consignment shops, a task I had been putting off for ages.

Once I started letting things go, I couldn’t stop! I went through my jewelry, my trinkets and knick knacks I had collected over the years of antiquing, and even cleaned out some kitchen appliances I never use (our panini maker had only been used once!). Not only was letting things go good for my soul, but I earned some serious cash too. I decided to take all the money I had collected and buy an antique diamond ring. Each time that I wear it I get a sense of accomplishment over and over again for eliminating all of that excess once and for all. And swapping out all the dispensable items I had for something like a diamond ring has me feeling overjoyed, grateful and accomplished! I would love to hear your stories for any special moment, milestones or personal goal you achieved where you celebrated yourself with a diamond. Share in the comments below!​

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Real is a Diamond.