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Entries in jewelry blog (898)

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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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

Quantity

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

WANT MORE? Check out other engagement ring stories

Why is it so Hard to Find Peridot Jewelry I Like?

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All photos above provided by Market Square Jewelers

Peridot is the birthstone of August, and many of us have come to find that August babies either love it or they hate it. Perhaps the ones that hate peridot haven’t had the same exposure to the gem as myself.

The peridot I know and love is a vibrant yellowish green that pops against yellow gold in such a magnificent and esoteric way. In Ancient Egypt, peridot was known as the Gem of the Sun and rightfully so. A well-cut peridot rivals the beauty of emerald and demantoid garnet, for a fraction of the cost.

In theory, peridot is plentiful and affordable. But while peridot is prized for its lavish and distinct coloring, it can be a struggle finding peridot jewelry that’s worth obsessing over. Unfortunately, so many factors work against peridot becoming an inexpensive jewelry staple like amethyst.

Here are some reasons why it’s so hard to find peridot jewelry I like:

1. Commercial Grade Peridot is Undesirable At Times

As far as amethyst goes, even commercial gems have the ability to be beautiful depending on the cut and hue. In contrast, most commercial peridot on the market looks the same - like small bits of washed out baby food. Too harsh? Based on how many uninformed people hate peridot, maybe not. When the cut is shallow, most of that lovable, vibrant green shade fades to almost clear, and there’s not much left to get excited about.

2. The Lime Green Color Can be Limiting in Design

I can’t recall ever seeing peridot in a white gold design that I liked. Let’s face it, peridot looks best in yellow gold. Most stones have a metal that complements it best, but with peridot, setting the stone in white or rose gold can be absolutely detrimental to the design. If you happen to love peridot in white gold, don’t let me turn you away. But this is why we see less peridot designs on the market than we do more versatile green stones like emerald that happen to look amazing in platinum and rose gold.

3. Large Peridot Stones are Significantly More Expensive

Larger peridot stones tend to maintain their deep coloring better than smaller stones. However, the larger the peridot stone, the more expensive it becomes. I can find affordable amethyst stones that weigh more than 4 carats very easily. Trying to find that same size peridot stone will set me back significantly more money, which is very limiting when jewelry shopping. It’s easy to find smaller peridot stones in places like Arizona and China, but the larger sizes are much more scarce globally, thus impacting the market overall.

4. More Awareness = More Demand

As more people become acquainted with that peridot sweet spot - the stones that are vibrant and well-cut - the demand naturally increases. Supply for quality peridot designs doesn’t fully match this new-found demand, which causes an increase in price and scarcity. This means I’ll have to be hunting for peridot jewelry instead of simply browsing for it. Instead of 10 great options, I may only find 5, and even then, I’ll be competing with other buyers looking for the same item.

With all the reasons why I have so few peridot pieces in my collection, I figured it best to reiterate that it’s not impossible to find worthwhile peridot jewelry. In fact, one of our favorite shops Market Square Jewelers, we feel, has the best selection of peridot jewelry!  The photos above are provided by Market Square Jewelers and all the pieces are available for purchase!  You can check out their website for more peridot jewelry here.

This post was contributed by:

 

 

 

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

Q & A and Visit with Raquel Alonso Perez of Harvard's Museum of Natural History

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My very last stop while in Boston, hours before my flight took off, I had planned the best parting gift--a visit to Harvard University's Museum of Natural History! Sounds dreamy, right?! Well it is and then some. An entire room filled with thousands of minerals and gems is open to the public on Harvard's campus, and Raquel Alonso Perez was there to give me a full tour, including some majorly fun behind-the-scenes stuff. I honestly think my one-on-one time with Raquel had taught me more in one hour than my entire Freshman year at college! I didn't want to leave! I got to hold pieces of gold that came out of the ground looking like sculptures, play with rough diamonds, see some incredible gemstones, and the highlight of my day was getting to spend some time with the Hamlin Necklace--rare and notable because of its gigantic tourmalines it showcases, which are all from the same mine in Maine!

Raquel's hospitality, warmth and passion to share with me what she does at the Mineralogical & Geological Museum was accepted with much gratitude and I had so much fun!  Here's some insight into what Raquel does, illustrated with photos from my visit!  Enjoy! 

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I serve as the Curator of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum (MGMH). Our collections date back to 1798! After 230 years of collecting, the MGMH is one of the oldest, largest and continuously operated mineralogical and geological museum, built for the nation and world-renowned for its fine quality collections, broad representation of species, unique occurrences and large number of type, described, and illustrated specimens. Our repository has become a true library of the earth with over 400,000 objects divided in 4 main collections: minerals, gems, meteorites and rocks. My role as Curator is to provide access to the world-class Earth Science collections at Harvard University, encouraging its use for teaching, research and public education. The favorite part of my job is research and all teaching and academic related activities, in addition to working with the dedicated team of people at the MGMH, the Earth and Planetary Science Department and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, HSMC, where our public gallery is located.

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In total, the museum has around 400,000 objects divided in 4 main collections: minerals, gems, meteorites and rocks and ore deposits. Only 3550 individual mineral specimens are on display at the Museum, 145 of these include a gemstone of the same variety. My favorite examples are in the wider variety of crystals and gemstones. For example, the beryls, we have a whole case of them displaying 40 specimens full of light and color. I also love the tourmalines, with all of the different kinds displayed with bi-color and watermelon elbaites from Maine, USA. As you can imagine, we have a strong collection of New England minerals, gems, and rare species. We receive a lot of donations, but we couldn’t display our entire collection, even if we wanted! Space is a major constraint, but not the only one. We also have to make hard choices about what to share in order to fulfill the Museum’s mission. Our museum is not only about highlighting aesthetics. We also need to prioritize the display of specimens that will also serve reference and research purposes.

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I am a geologist by training specialized in mineralogy, gemology, geochemistry and petrology. There are too many “logy’s” in there! These branches of Earth Sciences come together in a fascinating way, giving color and texture to the world we inhabit. In 2006 I completed my PhD at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, where I studied how the earth crust is formed, by comparing it with artificial rocks produced in the lab. After graduation, I took a short break to have my two children, Marco and Amaya, and returned in 2009 to professional life to work as a research assistant at the Earth and Planetary Science Department, Harvard University. A year later I was hired as Assistant Curator to take care of the rock collection at the MGMH and got appointed head Curator of the entire MGMH collections in 2011.

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I’ve always wondered why minerals acquire a color and not other colors. We know so little about the chemistry and the physics involved! My passion, stimulated by my daily encounter with Harvard’s amazing collections, is to uncover the story behind nature’s color choices! My work in the past 2 years has been focused in tourmalines and beryls. The most common color of elbaites from Main, USA is green but they also come in blue, yellow, pink, colorless and with many different hues and tones. With the use of non-destructive analytical techniques, I was able to determine the chemical distribution, trace element patterns and color correlation in a suite of elbaites from Maine, Hamlin Collection. In addition, this non-destructive dual-technique used in this study (Confocal Micro Raman Spectroscopy and LA- ICPMS, laser ablation-induced coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) has great potential to be applied to other gemmological materials to also distinguish provenance, natural versus synthetic materials and treatments. My current project aims to better understand the formation of emeralds, and is focused on the geology of the emerald deposit of Irondro, Madagascar. In fact, I mostly focus on rocks from Madagascar, which is a blessing, since the MGMH is quickly becoming the main repository of minerals, rocks and gemstones from this part of the world. I also benefit from the museum's vast network. I sometimes end up requesting research material from friends, donors and supporters of the Museum from faraway lands! However, my main priority and where most of my work goes is into ensuring that the MGMH’s collections are curated according to the highest standards of museum best practices for their preservation in perpetuity and use by future generations. Digitization plays an important role to achieve these goals and our ambition to open them up to a wider audience, especially those concerning research, education and public outreach, which will result in an online database of our collections sometime in the fall of 2017.

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Every day, in the environment I am, could end up being a highlight and making you proud of the work you do, especially when it can impact other people life’s. I would like to share with you a portion of an e-mail I received from one of the female students attending my class at the Harvard Summer school as a beautiful example. “..Here again I want to say thank you for bringing me my best summer ever. I really enjoyed the lecture. Every time when listening to the lecture, I really feel I'm being educated and have more knowledge on mineralogy and gemology. The happiness of gaining knowledge is hard to express; it's like seeing the moon coming out of the clouds and lighting up a street in the dark midnight. Also, I love the labs. I feel so good identifying minerals by myself, putting everything I learnt into use. I'm also fascinated by the gemstone experiments. I can't wait to get a full set of tools and practice in the gem markets back in China. What I really want to appreciate is that for all your support for me to do more microscope experiments. I know that doing the experiment before class means you have to skip lunch, I'm really sorry. The experiment is so incredible, I never see those features before, and I couldn't fully understand everything without doing the actual experiment. The image is fantastic. I gasp that people ever create those ways for examine stones. What I like most is the field trip. The behind the scene of the museum is awesome. I never thought that museum work would be so interesting. There are so many stories behind every collection! I also really really like the field trip to mine. You became my idol when you drove the van packed with all of us and fed us snacks. Working in the field is so different and I think I need more field work to really become a geology people. I sometimes feel so shame that I learned so much knowledge but still like a baby when put in the field. However, going to the field makes a lot of knowledge easier to understand. In the mine, when I saw you standing on the shiny mica mountain, I feel like you are one of the best women in the world---- a woman who could stand in the field with knowledge, and explore the earth, go right after the unknown, a kind of woman I really want to be. It is this summer that I, for the first time in forever, really willing to go to university; not because it is what everybody do, but because all the knowledge and skills I could get, all the resource I could access, and all the fantastic professors in the future I will meet to motivate my life..”

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My best piece of advice for anyone in general is to follow their passion, work hard, overcome challenges, focus and don’t give up! The combination of passion and perseverance will bring you where you want to be.

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xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? You can follow Raquel on Instagram ---> @raquelalonsoperez