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Entries in diamond jewelry (37)

Vegas Prep: Interview with Katerina of KaterinaPerez.com

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To close out our Vegas Prep week of interviews, I've asked fellow jewelry lover and blogger Katerina Perez to participate!  She makes the journey all the way from London every year to partake in Vegas Jewelry Week, although last year she sent people on her behalf since she just had her first baby! Now he is one year old and Katerina is excited to be back.  I met Katerina two years ago when we participated in the JCK Talks presentation together.  It was awesome getting to know someone who does something similar and thinks about jewelry 24/7 like me. She is excited to be launching a brand new KaterinaPerez.com very soon, as she has been blogging since April of 2013. Stay tuned for that!

How many times have you attended Vegas jewelry week?

This is going to be my 4th time!


Biggest tip for Vegas jewelry week you’d give your rookie self on the eve of your first time going to Vegas?

Go and see newcomers first to discover new talent and then visit the established brands after.

 

Name five things you ALWAYS bring to Vegas Jewelry Week.

My smartphone, my camera, my business cards, a variety of nail varnishes and tons of moisturising lotion  

 

One big difference from last year to this year?

This year I get to Judge The Couture Design Awards (so excited :) !!  

 

Favorite things about Vegas Jewelry Week.

The saturation of jewellery talent in one place!  

 

Biggest pet peeve about Vegas Jewelry Week.

Constant fight with getting dry skin because of the amount of air conditioners. OR having to walk all the way to the reception at the Wynn and back when you realise your room key stopped working. 

 

Weirdest thing to happen to you during Vegas Jewelry Week in the past.

Nothing weird happened for now, just lots of fun moments!  

 

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my coverage from last year 

You can follow Katerina --> @katerina_perez

Jewelry Collection Stories: Jennifer of @Dupkaspike

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To end out the year, our last Jewelry Collection Story comes from Jennifer, or as many may know her on Instagram, @Dupkaspike. Her collection is eclectic, heavily sentimental and so fun to look at. She captured her collecting essence perfectly in these photos. Now if only I can meet her one day and she them in person! ;) ...take it away Jennifer:

I can’t say that I have always loved jewelry, but I can pinpoint the moment when the love affair began. When I was 16, my Dad took me into Keil’s, an antique jewelry store on Royal Street in New Orleans, and bought me two rings. One was a mother of pearl cameo with an onyx surround, and another was a rose gold carnelian with a gold inlaid intaglio of a Rose of Sharon.

It was an important moment in my understanding of jewelry. My Mom was a big Southwestern jewelry fan (I’ve inherited her collection), but it wasn’t something that resonated strongly with me, though I admired it. I was drawn more to the sentimental, and to the personal.

I did not do a lot of collecting in early adulthood. My husband is Chinese, and so over the years and when we married, I received traditional Chinese 22k gold and jade pieces as gifts, which I look forward to passing on to my children. Traditional Chinese don’t really like lower-karat gold pieces and I liked history and sentiment; so we were in agreement that mall jewelry wasn’t really for me. The jade pieces are my favorites of these, as is a giant 22k dragon and phoenix ring.

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Over the years I have gravitated to certain genres. As an amateur painter, I adore portrait miniatures, and greatly admire the skill required to produce them. I don’t have many, but I’m always on the lookout for special pieces. Recently I acquired a large Georgian locket brooch, from CJ Antiques, surrounded by amethysts and plan to commission a portrait of my kids and dog. One piece I wear often I got from Duvenay, a pretty portrait of Marie Antoinette, with a diamond halo that was converted from a stickpin.

I’m a strong believer in personalization, so mostly every new piece I own has some engraving or dedication on it. When my kids were born, I bought heavy Tiffany Lucida wedding bands and had their names engraved on the outside and their birthdates on the inside. Similarly, I had their names and birthdates engraved on the inside of gemstone and diamond stacking rings. I have several stacking rings, which I love to mix with larger pieces. One set I wear all the time is two ruby keeper rings from Jewellery Hannah, as well as a giardinetto from Pocket of Rocks. Last year I worked with Hoard Jewelry on engraving to flat gold bands for them with personalized messages. One has the cipher of a "nonsense" love song my son used to sing to me as a child when he was barely verbal; only he and I understand it. He later told me that it was his love song to his Mom, and so of course my heart melted. Other antique engraved pieces of jewelry with dedications or initials I own are mostly amatory, including a Russian rock crystal locket with diamond initials on the face that once held hair; a tiny acrostic locket with engraving and locket space for hair; a large, double heart picture frame, and a banded agate mourning locket. A favorite bangle acquired from Lenore Dailey spells, “Dieu Vous Garde,” or “God Protect You.” I also have a locket with that motif. One of my very favorite pieces it is really quite special. I got it from Glorious Antique Jewelry. It is dated 1790 and has some interesting initials on the back, and a lovely message on the front, “Pour ma Sophie pour toujours ma petite cherie toût, 1790” which roughly translates to, “To my Sophie, you will always be my little darling, 1790.”

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I love LOVE, and as such can’t seem to stop seeking out pansy jewelry. I have several enamel and gemstone pieces—a pendant and pocket watch. Pansy jewelry of course was symbolic of the French for “ Pense à moi,” or “ Think of me.” Similarly a Georgian pendant brooch I find myself wearing often simply says, “ L’Amour,” and is decorated with two seed pearl lovebirds. A garnet and white enamel pendant reads in Latin, “ Dulcis Vita::Tibi Vita,” or “ The Good “ Life; Your Life.” One piece I have, ruby hearts with diamond wings, was acquired from Park Avenue Jewelry and I decided to convert it from a brooch to a necklace. I’m a strong believer that jewelry should be worn, and I realized that it would get a lot more use for me personally as a necklace. I got this piece as my mother was dying, and it will always be very special to me as a remembrance of her.

French St. Esprit pieces are also a love and I get a lot of use out of a French regional cross I found. One of the St. Esprits is probably late 18th century and makes a political statement, with its red and blue pastes. A favorite piece of mine is an 1835 rose cut diamond, gold and silver Halley’s Comet pendant (likely converted from a brooch) that I got from Inez Stodel.

 

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Jennifer --> @dupkaspike

A Review of Forevermark Diamonds

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Consumers are constantly evolving. Those interested in buying diamonds are wanting more questions answered than ever before: where did my diamond come from? Was it sourced ethically? Is my diamond worth what I paid for it? How will I know this exact diamond is mine?  Exclusivity and rarity are becoming more and more important, as well as the feeling of confidence in what is one buying. All this added up to the creation of Forevermark and their authentic promise to each and every client who buys a diamond. Forevermark launched in January of 2011 with over 128 years of diamond expertise being a part of the De Beers Group. I wanted to learn more myself about Forevermark and their diamonds, so I got the full experience from my nearest local retailer who carries them--King Jewelers in Nashville, TN. Turns out, King Jewelers was one of the first to adopt Forevermark Diamonds into their repertoire--as David King explained, "Forevermark stands for rarity, something desired by a new group of clients that has recently been growing in the last few years."  Only sold through a select group of "authorized" jewelers, Forevermark is discerning in every step of the process.

What is cool in a nerdy, gem way is Forevermark's diamond inscription which I got to see first-hand with a special inscription viewer which King Jeweler's displays at their store. It was so interesting to learn that less than 1% of the world's diamonds can become a Forevermark diamond. What's more is once a diamond’s provenance and quality have been confirmed, it is inscribed with a unique number that represents the Forevermark promise: that the diamond is beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced. Only then does it become a Forevermark diamond! The inscription is invisible to the naked eye, but with the viewer, you can see the unique number, along with the Forevermark logo. The inscription is 1/20th of a micron deep – 1/5,000th the depth of a human hair – and is placed on the table facet of the diamond, using confidential, proprietary technology. After purchasing a Forevermark diamond, you can register your diamond using the unique number so it is tied to your name forever.

A diamond's journey from beginning to end is typically characterized by a lot of unknowns. With Forevermark, hand-selection and quality control define each step, with no unknowns. It starts with sourcingwhere every Forevermark diamond comes from a mine that has been carefully selected and approved according to strict criteria. Forevermark, as part of The De Beers Group, gives back to the communities where its diamonds are minedFor every acre of land used for mining, five acres are dedicated to the conservation of nature. Additionally, Forevermark, as part of The De Beers Group, contributes to the provision of good quality healthcare and education, and supports women entrepreneurs and their businesses. 

Next, the rough that was mined gets sorted by their experts, with color and clarity being at the forefront. Cutting and polishing come next, where strict standards are held for the craftsmen who carry out this task. Each facet is carefully planned out and will unlock the beauty of the diamond. Now the diamonds are off to be selected and graded, where the Forevermark Diamond Institute has a rigorous 17-step procedure, which includes hand grading. Any Forevermark diamond over 1/2 carat also receives a Forevermark Grading Report which certifies its grade. Those 10 points or larger are then inscribed with a unique number and the Forevermark logo. This careful selection process ensures you end up with a diamond that you can be really proud to give or wear forever, a true value when you are purchasing a diamond.

Ready for consumers, the last step of the journey is to be sold by an authorized Forevermark jeweler as a loose stone or set in a piece of jewelry. Forevermark jewelry, is designed and manufactured by select design partners.

Thanks Forevermark for giving me the opportunity to learn more about your beautiful, important cause. The next time you or myself will see these on the red carpet or at an authorized jeweler, I will be happy to know so much more than just the name. Diamonds are indeed wonderful, but knowing you have a responsibly sourced, rare and high-quality diamond makes that much of a difference. De Beers coined the term, A Diamond is Forever, and its authenticity and allure couldn't be more real! 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Forevermark.

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Diamonds Shined at Couture 2016

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Paige Novick's Diamonds With A Story collaboration pieces

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Sandy Leong's Diamonds With A Story collaboration pieces, inspired as "sound waves in metal"

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Paige Novick's Diamonds With A Story collaboration pieces, inspired by traceable curves

 

Diamonds. Did you see more this year at Couture or less than years in the past? Do you feel as though designers are using diamonds more and more in designs or turning to other colored gemstones? I set out this year to hit the ground running and answer those exact questions, doing my own research. Diamonds have been and possibly will forever be the number one selling gemstone. But with all the fuss over conflict-free, "recycled," eco-conscious and several other trendy names people are putting on responsibly mined diamonds, has that begun to shift the love and allure for diamonds?!

For me, I will always love diamonds--probably even more than any other gemstone. The majority of my personal collection is made up of diamonds. I will never, ever buy or be interested in synthetic diamonds (frankly, I wish they would cease creating them) and that goes for other imitations like moissanite. The rarity and allure of owning a real diamond, whether it is ethically mined or an antique diamond, far outweighs any other desire for an alternative.

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Jade Trau's wrap rings that are becoming iconic to her line

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Polly Wales has created LOTS of new, stunning pieces using diamonds. Her signature style continues to be a favorite and oh so unique.

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Kavant & Sharart Designs who are both inspired by Art Deco and Avant Garde styles

 

Now, a diamond's journey can be tricky. That's why programs like Diamonds With A Story have recently been created to ensure a diamond's origins and its sustainability. Diamonds With A Story came about in partnership with Rio Tinto, as they partnered with a few designers using the ethically sourced diamonds. The capsule collections were created utilizing ethically sourced white and natural color diamonds from Austrailia's Argyle Mine. This year’s designer participants attending the Couture Show include Paige Novick, Suzanne Kalan, Sandy Leong and Matthew Campbell Laurenza. The pieces created using these diamonds from the Argyle Mines are innovative and extremely wearable. It was neat to see how the designers interpreted the stones differently with their own design aesthetic and contrasting against their collections.

Other research has been done on Millennials and their response to diamonds. This age group, which I am a part of, includes those who were born in the early 1980s and up through the 90s...some even including those born in the beginning of 2000. Most recently, the Diamond Producers Association revealed its newest campaign targeting this age group after extensive research on their views of diamonds. The campaign takes the idea of "Real is Rare" and hopes to build connections with this and diamonds. The Diamond Producers Association states, "The platform emerges from deep insight work with the millennial audience revealing that while diamonds do have appeal for this generation, relevance and emotional engagement can be heightened via new concepts...The opportunity exists for diamonds to represent the rare, precious and real connections that millennials crave. “Real is Rare” redefines diamonds for the 21st century, giving them new meaning as a symbol to celebrate the real connections we choose to make."

I'm excited for these new platforms that are emerging and promoting the love for diamonds. I think it starts with learning to appreciate such rarity, and to know where and how diamonds are produced. Jewelry designers can easily foster the enchantment of diamonds, as I saw at Couture this year. Innovative designs and creations that make your jaw drop are just the start of creating such desire.

Below are some of the best examples of artists and designers using diamonds in the most innovative and alluring ways:

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Eva Fehren's rings which use diamonds to create some incredible geometric looks. Many larger, central diamonds are specially cut in their own geometric shape, further creating a unique, one-of-a-kind ring.

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

The display at TAP by Todd Pownell--truly should be known as a diamond artist, along with jewelry designer. I don't think I've ever been more in awe of the way diamonds are set/aligned/patterned/strung. It's insane.

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Lana Jewelry who recently added black diamonds to their line up

Diamonds at Couture | Gem Gossip

Wearing Suzanne Kalan, another game changer in the industry, using baguette cut diamonds in the most innovative way

 

I loved seeing and experiencing diamonds at Couture. Being aware of seeing which designers used them, talking with stores and buyers at the show and getting their opinion on diamonds in the marketplace has been really informative. I know diamonds are here to stay and it is up to us to continue to keep it this way.

To learn more about diamonds and experience diamonds in every way possible, check out 1001 Diamonds. Here are all their platforms:

 

This post was brought to you in collaboration with 1001 Diamonds.

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Top Five Diamond Jewelry Moments of Gem Gossip

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I was recently asked by Diamond Information Center to reminisce about my top five diamond moments in my jewelry career. This task immediately began a lengthy brainstorming session and a trip down memory lane. The Diamond Information Center is a platform for all things diamonds, including promoting diamonds both big and small. They are your source, both literally and figuratively, for diamonds! If you know me you know that diamonds are a favorite gemstone of mine, if not THE favorite gemstone. When I look into my jewelry box, it is the most abundant gem in my collection.

Naturally, that had to be one of my top five moments--all my favorite diamond rings I've collected throughout the years all together in one family photo. I've got old cuts and round brilliants...some excellent color, some off-color. Either way, I love them all the same. Some diamonds are incredibly significant, while others were spur-of-the-moment purchases with no meaning whatsoever. One band including six diamonds was hand-selected and matched by myself, as I've spent hours upon hours matching, sorting, cleaning and grading diamonds in my career. And one ring used to be a favorite and is now for sale (furthest front on the right). Most importantly, my diamonds tell my story and that's all that really matters!

Fancy yellows have always intrigued me and I've never seen such a large selection all in one location than the one time I visited Zadok Jewelers in Houston, TX. I had so much fun looking at each one and seeing the different intensities of the yellow color. My engagement ring definitely leans toward the yellow side on the color-grading scale, but it is not considered a fancy. Be sure to learn about the variations in color and what they're worth by doing some research!

Antique jewelry is always going to be high on my list of memorable moments and this diamond brooch took my breath away like no other pin has. I spotted it while on my #JewelryRoadTrip in Austin, TX at Abercrombie Gems. I immediately pictured it on a bride on her wedding day and then eventually passed down through generations, so every female bride in the family would wear this special brooch. I love a good dangle, and not only does this brooch have that, but it is a fancy yellow diamond--something a little unexpected.  I also love the time period this brooch was made--turn-of-the-century Edwardian, a favorite time period of mine to collect.

I couldn't leave out my most favorite British diamond encounter--meeting Jessica McCormack was amazing for so many reasons aside from the jewelry, but really--THE JEWELRY.  These rings were over the top, absolute favorites. I only dream of owning a piece from her one day. And yes, the Brits can do diamonds like no other.

Lastly, I wanted to include some LOOSE diamonds into the mix since that is an important step in the life cycle of a diamond.  Before you can become a piece of jewelry, you have to shine and sparkle in your own way. These two creations were made by Perpetuum Jewels, based out of San Francisco and NYC.  They are known for their incredible selection of old cut diamonds--like the rare 18th century Peruzzi cuts that are mixed in within these collages. The heart is 44 carats and the butterfly is 40 carats.  Perfection!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with 1001 Diamonds.

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