Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Gem Gossip

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Above features every “logo” aka Banner I’ve had over the past nine years, from first inception until now. The evolution shows the progression and most recently we dropped our tagline which we’ve had since day one.

With each passing July, I sit and ponder the beginnings of my blog Gem Gossip–all that it has done and accomplished, and all the potential that lies ahead. It was nine years ago that I first started this website with the sole purpose of connecting with others that love jewelry as much as I do. I never imagined that I would be doing this full-time nine years later and creating my own path. And I have YOU to thank for all this–those who read my blog daily, follow my social media accounts, “like” my photos and send encouraging emails. Thank you. You truly don’t know what it means to me and I’m forever grateful.

To celebrate this year, I’m reminiscing like crazy and sharing with you some facts you might not have known about Gem Gossip! I thought this would be a fun and personal blog post, and I’d love to hear some interesting tidbits regarding YOU and Gem Gossip. Does a blog post stick out in your memory? How did you find or stumble upon my blog? Did I help you out in a way that I don’t know about? I’d love to know! You can email me, write it in the comments below, or share on Instagram–I’ll be posting this on there as well.

PS: There will also be a giveaway coming up, but I have to hit 160k followers on Instagram first, so stay tuned!

The Facts:

1. I started my blog as a result of moving to Tennessee–after uprooting from the only house I had ever lived in my whole life in Upstate NY to TN, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had no job, no car (I sold my car because I didn’t want to drive it 11 hours by myself lol), and knew no one in my new town. I finally decided to invest my time and energy into learning about my biggest passion I had been carrying around with me my whole life–JEWELRY!

2. I was in a long distance relationship at the time I started Gem Gossip. It was because of my ex-boyfriend who suggested I should start a blog about jewelry after I had constantly filled his inbox daily with long hyperlinks of jewelry that I thought was “really cool.” He told me he didn’t care about the jewelry and that I needed an outlet to share my passion with others who felt the same way!

3. The name “Gem Gossip” was conceived after a brainstorm session with my sisters on what to name my future jewelry blog. I knew I couldn’t have my URL be daniellemiele.com because NO ONE knows how to pronounce my last name. It had to be catchy, simple, relate to jewelry and easy to say. I was looking at my sister’s fashion magazines and saw one of the actresses from Gossip Girl on the front cover (that show was the most popular around that time). I whispered aloud, “Gossip Gem” … and then “Gem Gossip” and it all clicked!

4. One of my first emails I’ve ever received from a jewelry designer was from Carolyn Tyler, after I had featured some of her work on my brand new blog. Her email was so encouraging and the excitement that I felt from receiving positive feedback was worth more than gold to me in that moment. I will never forget that kind exchange.

5. On the flipside of that, I’ve received several negative emails over the past nine years. One that called me Southern white trash (I’m from NY, so nice try) and a few that poked fun of my features that included photos of me modeling jewelry. This is both alarming on many levels but also quite comical, in my opinion.

6. The first seven years of writing Gem Gossip were all done part-time on weekends or after work. I was a nanny for the very first year and a half when I moved to Tennessee, and then eventually worked full-time at an antique jewelry store for five years. I would sit behind a microscope Tuesday through Saturday, with a pile of jewelry in a room without windows and crank out appraisals…and then come home bursting with creative energy, not wanting to do anything else except work on my blog.

7. One of my first big writing gigs was for LoveGold–I had no idea at the time how much I would learn in such a positive way from the 2 1/2 years of working with them. I produced exactly 100 pieces of exclusive content for LoveGold and traveled thousands of miles. And I still can’t get enough of yellow gold.

8. I once had a meeting with a very prestigious celebrity stylist. After learning I lived in Nashville she asked me about my love of country music. I told her I hated country music and she kept saying, “So you don’t like Taylor Swift? Not even Taylor Swift??” and I was adamant about not liking Taylor Swift. It was then and there that I realized I could have easily changed my answer to better fit our conversation; for her to “like” me. But I didn’t. I am who I am and I’m not changing for anyone. It is a memory that still sticks with me to this day…and it was with me a few weeks ago when I had some big meetings in NYC.

9. My #JewelryRoadTrip project involves a lot of travel, appointment making and on-the-spot creativity when visiting stores and designers’ work spaces. My husband Matt usually is the photographer behind all my #JewelryRoadTrip features but there was one big trip he couldn’t make–all my Pennsylvania coverage. My mom ended up coming along with me and taking all the photos. She was SO nervous and wanted to do a good job. I think she did great and it is still such a memorable trip for both of us. It was one of the first literal road trips where we drove my Prius up from Nashville and across the entire state of Pennsylvania over the course of four days. My car surpassed the 100k mileage mark on that trip and we celebrated by eating Arby’s (my favorite road trip fast food place…wait, maybe I am white trash?? See #5).

10. One of my most proud moments was being a co-curator at the Doyle & Doyle Vault series, where the NYC-based antique jewelry store put on their version of a month-long museum exhibition. I chose the topic of Sentimental Rings and several of my personal pieces, including my grandparents’ wedding bands and my grandma’s engagement ring were a part of the exhibit. In order for her ring to get to me, my grandma had to mail me her beloved ring. We both were so nervous for this feat–I had been tracking the package every step of the way. On the day of delivery, it was pouring rain. My alerts told me it had been delivered at my doorstep, but it was nowhere to be found. I was having a full-on panic attack over this. I ran outside in the rain in search of the package. To my surprise, it was sitting on the stoop of my neighbor a few doors down from me. It wasn’t just any neighbor…it was our neighbor that we were in a fully committed “poop war” with. What could I possibly mean by this? Well his dog would go to the bathroom in our yard almost daily…so my husband would take the dog poop and put it on their porch. Dumbest thing ever, but we were totally into it at the time lol. I grabbed the package off their porch and ran back home. That day ended the “poop war” and they moved shortly afterward, so all crisis averted. (By the way, my grandma’s Italian handwriting is the reason for the incorrect delivery–insert Italian hand gesture meaning WTF).

xoxoGemGossip

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Lauren Conrad’s Jewelry Line Might Just Be A Huge Rip Off

LC Lauren Conrad Jewelry Line Photo via Google images

“YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID!” LC screams as MTV makes her accidently run into new nemesis, once best friend, Heidi in an infamous scene of The Hills. If you’re a millennial, you know exactly where you were when that episode aired and you may have even had a “Team LC” t-shirt on. Nearly ten years later, Lauren Conrad has built a mini-empire with her sense of fashion and likeability. She has plugged into the large fanbase created from the show, a show often critiqued for how fake, construed, and far from reality it was.

Meanwhile, I’m over here screaming that same phrase as I look over Lauren’s newly launched jewelry line and see the astronomical prices for the products with her celebrity name on them. Again, something happening here is far from reality.

I haven’t kept up with Lauren or her work for many years, but was surprised to read this morning about her new fine jewelry line launch on Who What Wear. Simple designs–some may call them “classic,” others may say they are undeniably basic. The rings are done in 10k rose and white gold, the lowest karat gold alloy out there to still be considered “fine” jewelry. The gemstones are a mix of commercial grade diamond melee, ranging in full cuts and single cuts, and gemstones like morganite, green quartz and blue topaz.

The descriptions from the Kohl’s website, where you can purchase the jewelry from, give all the details (which I for one am thankful for the full disclosure on the goods, including diamond grades and sizes) however most of these details for the average shopper are just as well off in another language. Clarity, color and diamond weight are descriptors that your average shopper might not be able to connect with or translate.

As an experienced jewelry appraiser with more than nine years in the business, what I saw had alarmed me, and I felt I needed to educate the masses who may not be familiar with evaluating jewelry and putting a monetary value on a piece like this. I’m also 99% sure Lauren herself doesn’t know how to appraise jewelry, let alone design it and price it–so I know it is not her personally that is responsible for these overpriced items. I believe it is my responsibility, as a member of the press, to educate and express my concern when I see something I don’t understand or feel is ridiculous. I am simply an advocate to the blind consumer, who hopefully won’t be so blind after reading this!

I’d like to take a few pieces from the LC Lauren Conrad jewelry line and break them down, in appraiser’s terms, and let you know what retail replacement value I would give these rings if they were brought to me for an appraisal.

LC Lauren Conrad Jewelry Line

First up, this single solitaire ring from the LC Lauren Conrad Collection. Website says it is 10k rose gold and I can see it is clearly stamped that as well. As I alluded to above, 10k gold is the lowest karat grade to be considered fine jewelry, at least in the United States. A quick gold lesson–24k gold is pure gold, it comes out of the ground this way. It is too soft in this form, so the gold is alloyed or combined with other metals to make it more durable and affordable for jewelry wear. 10k gold means that 41.6% of that ring is actual gold, the 58.4% is other metals. Keyword here is affordable; most 10k gold rings are found in stores like WalMart or department stores and pricing should be as such. Not $1,200. That’s insane. If you put this ring on a scale and weighed it for gold weight, a scrap gold value would be most likely around $30-60. That is the offer you would be getting from a jewelry store or pawn shop that buys unwanted jewelry from the public–they wouldn’t even consider the stones because of how low quality they are (they might pop out the morganite and give it back to you).

My retail replacement value: $295, compared to $1,200

LC Lauren Conrad Jewelry Line

Next up, the 1/8th of a carat diamond band done in 10k white gold. Here, let’s focus on the diamonds in this ring–first and foremost the carat weight. One eighth. That’s not a lot. Do you know how tiny the diamonds need to be to ADD UP to an even tinier number of 1/8th?! So tiny! That’s roughly 0.13 carats between, looks like 14 diamonds. The photo of the ring is blown up to show detail, so please please don’t pay $800 for a ring like this with hardly any diamond weight, let alone high quality diamond weight. Just as the other rings within the collection show, the clarity is I-1/I-2 meaning its at the bottom of the scale–eye-visible inclusions abound. We’re talking commercial grade, on-the-brink industrial grade, diamonds.

My retail replacement value: $250, compared to $800

LC Lauren Conrad Jewelry Line

Lastly, this solitaire morganite ring done in 10k rose gold. It’s cute; people are going to love it because the blush color of the stone, paired with the blush color of the rose gold–two very fashionable things happening right now. But the price tag kills me–$2,000! Morganite is a gemstone in the beryl family, the same family of gems as a more well-known stone, emerald. Still, Morganite does not compare to emerald in rarity and price. The price per carat varies widely on Morganite, but on average anywhere from $70-200 is a good estimate. This particular ring features a 1.87 carat stone.

My retail replacement value: $375, compared to $2,000

I understand these prices are set with a huge premium as a celebrity is endorsing them, the profit needs to be split and divided multiple times amongst several different channels–I GET THAT. But, hopefully after reading this you will understand that these pieces have a value that doesn’t match up to the retail price given. It is high-end prices with low-end products. Heck, there’s even a “Buy one, get one half off” sale going on–so if that doesn’t concern you, then you must just be shopping for the name brand.

 

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Five Important Things I Learned from Being a Jewelry Appraiser

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Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a profession such as “jewelry appraiser.” It was something that I fell into by chance and I’m grateful/thankful everyday for that–because although I never thought it would be something I would do, there wasn’t a day that went by which I didn’t learn something new during that time. My mind was like a sponge during the first few months of picking up the skills of jewelry appraising–from measuring, to formulating, comparing and researching–everything came almost naturally for me. Market values and research were aspects I really enjoyed about the job. Things like checking out auctions results, following market trends, and so on–these are things I still do to this day although I don’t appraise jewelry on a regular basis anymore. From the moment I picked up the profession and for five years straight, I appraised piles of 10-25 pieces on a weekly basis–that is, fully written up, documented appraisals for insurance purposes. I’ve worked with clients of all walks of life, even traveling to rural Illinois to appraise an entire estate of about 100 items.

Being a jewelry appraiser is a fun job and very rewarding, but also has its downfalls. For me, personally, I worked in an office with no windows. The days were long when you had piles of jewelry to appraise–just you and a microscope. My eyesight has never been the same, but obviously aging will also do that to you. I enjoyed breaking stereotypes of a “typical appraiser.” Young women usually aren’t the ones getting pulled from the back of a jewelry store when someone has a question about their jewelry. I remember a customer telling me, “wait you’re the appraiser? I was expecting an older man!”

I’ve been putting together this list for awhile now and wanted to share my top insights/important things I’ve learned from my five years of being a jewelry appraiser–let’s start from the top:

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1. While most appraisals I’ve done were dealing with happy clients that were getting insurance on their items to hopefully prevent anything bad from happening so they could potentially be covered–I also dealt with the opposite. So many disgruntled clients who were stolen from or lost an item that they deemed “irreplaceable” only to have it vanish. It happens–jewelry gets stolen, jewelry gets lost. I couldn’t recommend getting your jewelry appraised enough! I have never heard so many of the same stories of how things got stolen–the caregiver, the plumber, a son/daughter’s friend that came over, the list goes on. Bottom line, if you frequently have people coming in/out of your house–your jewelry items need to be insured and hidden.

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2. I’ve also appraised lots of items that were randomly found by people–whether it was on the ground, inside an old house that was being renovated, or at garage sales in a junk pile–dreams do come true and treasure is still out there!! My favorite story comes from a lady who was renovating a house that was recently purchased. She was moving an old, tall grandfather clock that was left with the house, when she noticed something behind the pendulum part of the clock. It was a ring box with a solitaire ring inside. She thought for sure it was fake, but sure enough it was an Old European cut diamond that was 1.50 carats and worth $10k!

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3. There are a lot of appraisers out there that aren’t doing it right. They think putting a crazy high value on a retail replacement appraisal will make their customer happy because it is nowhere near what they paid for that same item. So, this in turn makes the customer incredibly satisfied, thinking they got a steal of a deal. It is crazy because I honestly can’t even find comparables or a way to justify valuing some jewelry items so high. In the end, it doesn’t really help anyone because the customer ends up paying higher deductibles on insurance and also when they go to sell their jewelry, they have this clouded value of what they think that item is worth. Find an appraiser that is putting reasonable values on things and not outlandish replacement values.

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4. If there is any type of jewelry that I feel doesn’t hold its value over time, it would have to be watches. I know so many people are going to hate me for saying this, including my husband who invests in Rolexes (not smart lol), but it is true. Resale values on watches are usually less than 1/3 of what you paid for it. That is relatively speaking though. And yes, there are some watches that age like fine wine and hold, if not increase, their value.

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5. You’re only slightly offending your appraiser when you ask to be present while appraising your jewelry. This was my number one request I would get asked when people would make an appraisal appointment. It was hard to make exceptions for people and allow them to come back into normally-closed-quarters for the public. But at the same time, I could relate and understand where they were coming from. I can’t imagine leaving my engagement ring with someone for several days to get appraised. So while it may easily be taken offensively from an appraiser’s point of view, looking at it from a concerned client’s point of view helps. And yes, I would make exceptions–but no, not everyone does!

xoxoGemGossip

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*All above photos are pieces of jewelry I’ve appraised during my five years as a jewelry appraiser. None of them belong to me.

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Shirley Temple Jewels Highlight Heritage Auction’s December Sale

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Heritage Auctions, December 5th 2016

Heritage Auctions, December 5th 2016

Heritage Auctions, December 5th 2016

Heritage Auctions, December 5th 2016

Heritage Auctions, December 5th 2016

Truly one of the highlights of my career was getting to try on pieces of jewelry that once belonged to Shirley Temple when I visited Heritage Auctions in NYC a few months ago! Well these rare jewels are now finally up for auction at Heritage, where their December sales are jam-packed with some incredible jewelry. The amount and variety they have to offer is astounding. There are over 2,000 items in their Holiday Signature Sale which starts on December 5th at 10am CST. There’s no typo there, no extra zero was tapped when typing! Of the 2,000 and some items, over 80 pieces were once owned by Shirley Temple.

Above are some of my favorites, along with a fun collage of some of the gorgeous loose gemstones that are also included in the sale. Did you know they sell loose gems too?! Many come with certificates and are waiting to be set into something beautiful to be worn.

>> Heritage Holiday Jewelry Signature Auction, December 5th, 2016

Lot 54032: A French diamond, lapis, turquoise clip brooch, Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54637: A Cartier Ceylon yellow sapphire ring, Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 54638: A French Victorian turquoise and diamond bracelet (once owned by Shirley Temple), Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54661: A pair of emerald and lapis dangle earrings, Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 54774: An opal inlay bracelet set with tourmaline, Estimate: $2,000-3,000

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WANT MORE? Check out my visit, where I got to try on some of the jewels of Shirley Temple, being auctioned off December 5th!

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Gem Gossip Visits Heritage Auctions in NYC

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

What is so special about all of these pieces?! They were once owned by Shirley Temple! Heritage Auctions has a collection of Shirley Temple’s jewelry that will go up for auction December 5th-6th

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Outside the Heritage Auctions offices in NYC

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I loved getting to preview these jewels before they went up for auction in September’s Signature Sale

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Heritage Auctions is one of my favorites to bid for luxury items because I know they are authentic and what they offer is pretty incredible! I even fell for some of their high-end designer bags!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

This necklace is 18k white gold by Mattia Cielo and the earring are by Vhernier done in chalcedony. Both were auctioned off in the September Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Three items from Shirley Temple–this charm bracelet is exquisite, made up of platinum and diamond charms! And wow, these diamond rings!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A closeup of the jewels once owned by Shirley Temple–the Tiffany & Co. bracelet was custom made for her, as her favorite color was orange!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A fun and flirty lapis drop pendant with added pearls which create a tassel. And yes, I’ve said it before tassels are in! This once belonged to Shirley Temple

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Channeling Wonder Woman with these cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels. These were gifts from Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Feeling these two together, both in Heritage Auctions’ September Signature Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A lapis and diamond necklace by Salvador Dali

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These cuffs sold for over $162,000! Amazing!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These Cartier panther earrings are everything!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Love the diversity of what Heritage Auctions offers–here are three bracelets, three very different price points and different eras!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

All my favorite rings from the September Signature Sale–that moonstone is amazing! It is by Paula Crevoshay

Heritage Auctions always has something exciting going on, whether it is a celebrity’s jewels going up at auction or a fun preview touring across the US, or sales taking place at one of their multiple locations of Dallas, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Houston, and Beverly Hills (also a few worldwide). That’s what I like about Heritage Auctions…their ongoing reach at finding pieces to sell is incomparable, they are the experts. The company is a collector’s best friend, as they encourage the hobby of collecting but also want curation to be an important aspect for all collectors, so selling is just as important. Heritage is here to do both of these aspects for you–to help you buy and to help you sell–and their specialized categories are numerous, so whatever you are interested in, Heritage probably has a department for you! I like to focus on jewelry, so for me Heritage is great because not only do they have their Signature Sales, three per year, and Tuesday night auctions, which happen every Tuesday night, so jewelry lovers are fully satisfied.

I visited their headquarters last January in Dallas and got to see the facility first-hand, as well as try on some amazing pieces. This time around when I visited NYC, I got to checkout their east-coast location in the city that never sleeps. Just as suspected, the jewels were incredible and if you want to get excited for an upcoming sale, their December Signature Sale will be an event not to be missed! A lot of the pieces I tried on were from yesterday’s September Signature Sale, where bidders were setting records and auction hammers were flying. A significant lot featuring a pair of matching 18k yellow gold cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels, were gifted on a wedding day by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to her step sister and sold for $162,500! Being able to wear them and photograph them myself is an honor in and of itself.

Heritage Auctions continually is a dominant source for designer jewelry–like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Blvgari, David Webb, amongst many, many others. Their December Signature Sale, slated for December 5th-6th as a two-day event, has numerous designer pieces. But what you may not realize when glancing at a Tiffany & Co. bracelet or a Blvgari suite in that particular sale is who those pieces once belonged to. Heritage Auctions is so excited to be offering the jewels of Shirley Temple in their December sale! There are several pieces, many of which I got to try on in the photos above. Although the stories behind the jewels, like where or who they are from, when did she wear them, what were her favorites, may not be known, the fact that they were once hers make them that much more special.

Take a look at December’s upcoming catalog, more jewelry will be added as it becomes available:

8.43 carat Emerald cut diamond ring set in platinum, once owned by Shirley Temple

Lapis and pearl tassel necklace, once owned by Shirley Temple

Tiffany & Co. orange enamel and turquoise bracelet, once owned by Shirley Temple

Art Deco platinum charm bracelet featuring 15 charms, once owned by Shirley Temple

Matching pair of Blvgari rings, one in ruby and one in emerald, once owned by Shirley Temple


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Heritage Auctions

445 Park Ave #3

New York, NY 10022

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Buying Vintage Engagement Rings

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So you know that she wants a vintage engagement ring, but what now? This handy and comprehensive guide, written by the experts at Estate Diamond Jewelry will hopefully shed some light on a journey fraught with potential pitfalls for the uninformed, and make the whole process much easier than it otherwise might be.

A Quick Rundown on the Vintage Eras

We believe that understanding the vintage jewelry eras is very important. These terms are repeated endlessly throughout the vintage jewelry scene, and recognizing the vintage jewelry eras is the first step to beginning to understand vintage jewelry.

The Victorian Era spanned from 1836 – 1901

Victorian-Rings

The Edwardian Era spanned from 1901 – 1915

Edwardian-Rings

The Art Deco Era spanned from 1920 – 1939

Art-Deco-Rings

The Retro Era spanned from 1935 – 1950

Retro-Rings

The earliest era is the Georgian Era, spanning from 1714 – 1835, unfortunately, there aren’t many genuine Georgian Rings available on the market anymore. Most of the genuine Georgian rings are not in a stable enough condition to wear on a daily basis. The Art Nouveau Era, spanned from 1895 – 1910, and partially overlapped the Victorian and Edwardian Era. The Art Nouveau designs and motifs however, didn’t really lend themselves to be easily adapted to the traditional vintage engagement ring. The rings shown above can be found here.

The Four C’s and Diamond Quality

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The Four ‘C’s of diamond classification are Carat (size), Clarity (flawlessness), Color (how “white” it is) and Cut (the quality of the cut and how the finished stone appears). A reputable dealer will happily go over each of these with you for any stone that catches your eye. Even if you have a modest budget, it is important that you feel comfortable and have a good understanding of the stone that you are interested in.

Also, bear in mind that compromising in one area will get you a strength in another. If size is important to you, you may have to compromise on clarity or color to find a diamond within your budget.

The Classes of Diamonds

Carat – The larger the number the heavier the diamond weighs. One carat weighs 200 mg.

Color – The whiteness of the diamond. The whitest diamonds are ranked as a D. The diamonds get more yellow as the letters move closer to Z.

Clarity – The clarity of a diamond ranges from F (no inclusions), IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and I3 (included).

Cut – The cut measures the perfection of the facets of the diamond. There are four standard rankings: excellent, very good, good, and fair. (Please note that antique diamonds tend to rank lower on this scale because they were cut by hand.)

For a comprehensive walk-through on everything that you need to know about diamonds, click here.

Determining Antique Diamonds

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Determining the age of a diamond accurately is very hard, even for experts, but we can give you a few tips to help you at least determine if the diamond is old.

  • The culet. If you look down the center of the diamond and see a culet (a rounded facet at the bottom) there likelyhood of the diamond being old is extremely high.
  • The table. The table is the flat surface at the top of the diamond. Current GIA standards favor a larger table surface. Older diamonds will usually have much smaller tables.
  • The girdle. A frosted girdle is good indicator that the diamond is old.

For more information on dating antique diamonds and why antique diamonds are treasured, click here.

The Style and Design

Most people have heard the term “solitaire ring” without ever really fully understanding what it means. A solitaire ring is simply a ring with a single stone, usually but not exclusively a diamond, and has become an iconic representation of an engagement ring. But solitaires, as popular as they have become in recent years are just one in an almost endless array of designs for engagement rings.

There are several popular periods for antique engagement rings, many of which have gone on to influence modern day designs significantly. One of the most important periods for design generally, and which had a terrific impact on ring design was the Art Deco period of the early 20th Century. Art Deco is demonstrated by symmetrical, even at times quite aggressive designs that lend themselves perfectly to drawing the eye to the diamond of the engagement ring.

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Considered a little more “edgy” that earlier style periods, both in construction and intent, the symmetry of engagement rings from this period manages to stay clear of straying into what might otherwise have been early “bling” by the considered cut and placement of the stones. It isn’t unusual to see a center diamond surrounded by a pavement of small sapphires or rubies, or even other diamonds. This can allow the center diamond to be a little smaller and, therefore, a little less expensive whilst appearing bigger than it really is.

The fact is, though, that style is a very personal thing. Find something you like, and then ask yourself will your future fiancé like it. Actually looking at her current ring collection before you start shopping, or the ones she wears at least, will give you some idea of what to look for. If she has rings she wears all the time, don’t be afraid to look for an engagement ring that might compliment them, whether by color or design.

Platinum is the metal of choice for the band of the ring, due to it being hypoallergenic, but the choices extend to gold in many colors, giving a wide range of choices. Antique rings from the Victorian Era will very likely have silver in them as well.

To understand a little bit more about vintage motifs and styles, click here.

The Budget

Only you can decide how much your budget should be. Of all the questions that you and your fiancée will be asked about the ring, “How much was it” won’t – or at least shouldn’t – be one of them. As long as you stay within your budget, don’t be drawn into overpaying for a ring just so that you can brag about the cost.

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If your fiancée is really the one for you, you could put an old beer can ring pull on her finger and it wouldn’t matter. (Don’t do that, by the way, the tactic only works in movies.) Leave the cost boasts to the celebrities.

De Beers, the diamond mining and dealing giant first coined the phrase “A month’s salary that lasts a lifetime” to boost sales within a falling diamond market during the lean years of the 1930s. They upgraded it to “Two month’s salary…” by the 1980s, so it seems their campaign paid off.

So is two month’s salary a fair price? It all depends.

Will it be a single solitaire diamond, or one with more stones in the setting? Will it have different stones such as sapphires or rubies as well as the diamonds. How big will the stones be? What will the quality of the stones and the setting be?

Any one of them can make a huge difference to the cost of the ring. The key is NOT to see the vintage ring as an investment, although it will more than likely rise in value, but to see it as part of your life story. A permanent, irrefutable element in a story that now involves two people.

Set your budget and have a cast iron determination to stay within it. Or at least within 20% of the top end if you see something you really like. Whether this is two month’s salary or just enough so you can eat this week makes no difference. The main thing is to find a ring that you’ll both love. An engagement ring isn’t just a piece of jewelry, it is the guardian of a treasured moment that you will share forever.

Quality and Assurances

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This is where finding a reputable dealer with a sound background and credentials becomes crucial.

Most vintage engagement rings will have one primary (and possibly many accenting) diamonds within the setting. As mentioned above, diamonds come in a wide range of qualities and, by extension, values. The best diamonds sell for very high prices and have lots of nuances, but that doesn’t mean lower valued stones should be overlooked.

To all but the practised eye of an expert, many of the internal flaws and color tints that lower some value from the stone will be all but undetectable to an untrained eye, even yours. A trained and honest salesperson should be able to navigate you along the path, educating you along the way, and helping you make this important decision.

Certifications and Insurance

If you have a budget that allows you to consider a diamond in excess of 1 carat, you should get a certification or appraisal into the grading of the stone. These are independently produced and certify the quality of the diamond should you need it at any point for insurance or other purposes.

Speaking of insurance, make sure you get the right level of cover for the ring you buy. There are specialist jewelry insurers as well as cover being usually available from your home and contents insurer. Have the ring re-valued every couple of years and make sure you upgrade the cover if needed. Not that the emotional value of an engagement ring can ever be measured, but loss and damage does happen and a “free” replacement is better than paying twice.

For more information on how to insure your jewelry, click here.

A Final Thought

The value of an engagement ring can’t just be measured in dollars, it’s far too important to simply be a financial thing. What it signifies is a partnership that is taking a significant step forward and which will define you both for decades to come. Above all else, buy an engagement ring that shows the purchase wasn’t just about you. We all like, and need, to feel appreciated so keep that in mind when you make the single biggest “I appreciate you” statement of your life.

This post was written and brought to you by Estate Diamond Jewelry.

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Thanks to Gossip Gem

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The Best Diamonds in Seattle, WA

My trip to Seattle had me traveling all over this beautiful city located in the US’s Northwest in search of the best jewelry to be seen! I quickly discovered that Seattle may be nicknamed the “Emerald City,” but it sure had a lot of amazing DIAMONDS. Thanks to 1001 Diamonds, I put together a list of the TOP FIVE best shops in Seattle to find diamonds. Whether you’re looking for your perfect engagement ring, a right hand ring with diamonds, a diamond necklace or bracelet, or even a pair of diamond earrings, these places have it all. Let’s start with number five:

Isadora’s Antique & Estate Jewelry —

A store certainly not short on diamonds, Isadora’s had the most amazing selection of vintage and antique pieces. If an antique diamond is what you’re seeking, this is the place to go! Anything from antique rose cuts to Old European cuts, their cases were full. The store also had an impressive selection of antique earrings, which is a niche not normally covered well by other antique jewelry shops. The photo above depicts a brilliant selection of what they have to offer. That antique diamond necklace is insane! The rings range from late 1800s to early 1930s, and each truly is so unique. To read more about this shop click here.

Diamonds in Seattle | Gem Gossip

Alexandria Rossoff Rare Jewels & Finds —

Antique and modern engagement ring selection here is two thumbs up! The price range lets you find something no matter your budget, and Alexandria’s experience in the business will allow you to customize what you want if necessary. From bold solitaire diamond styles, to antique clusters and everything in between, this shop is a must see. The diamonds’ cut, clarity and color also is shown in a wide variety, which is what I like as well. A diamond with a low color? Yes, you can find that here, but you can also find high ranking colors too. No discrimination here–as long as it sparkles. That’s important!

Diamonds in Seattle | Gem Gossip

Alana Jewelry —

One of the most shopped at Seattle jewelry stores for many reasons, Alana Jewelry always carries LOTS of diamonds because they are in demand! Many of their customers walk into the store because it is located in a busy mall and end up leaving with diamonds, never planning on it beforehand. The heavy foot traffic allows for their diamond inventory to be constantly changing and consistently well-versed. In order to appeal to many different tastes, they have all sorts of styles, eras, shapes, sizes and price ranges. Alana Jewelry sells both antique and modern jewelry, with appraisals on all their diamonds.

Diamonds in Seattle | Gem Gossip

TWIST —

Wanting something more unique but brand new? TWIST has you covered! Their wide variety of fine jewelry, with designers specializing in diamonds in particular will leave you breathless. So many new innovations are coming to the forefront and TWIST is always the first to release them. Inverted diamonds? They have them! Black, grey, brown and other “rustic” diamonds? Yes, they have them! A quick glance at their bridal selection will have you wanting something unlike anyone else, thanks to their fine curation of stunning jewels. Shop diamond specialists like TAP by Todd Pownell, Mandrel Studio, Rebecca Overmann, Mallary Marks, Cathy Waterman, and SO MANY more!

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Keep Your Jewels Safe & Secure with Brown Safes

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A jewelry collection is as good as its storage system, and if you like the best of the best, look no further than Brown Safes. Collecting jewelry and maintaining its beauty by taking care of it is one part of the equation—the other part: keeping your jewelry safe, protected and insured is just as important and sometimes goes without being talked about! That’s why this blog post is so vital. I’ve written thousands of articles on what pieces you should be buying, whether it is a new trend or a fun designer who is doing something creative…but only a handful articles on how to store your jewelry once it is purchased. Working as an appraiser for six years, I’ve seen the downside of owning jewelry when those assets become lost or stolen, or even worse—gone without having an appraisal. I’ve preached over and over how necessary it is to get your jewelry appraised and insured, as that was what I did for people at my past job. After that first step, storing jewelry in a protected and visually appealing way is the next piece of the puzzle. If you’ve been wondering what the best option is for this, I’m glad you’re reading this!

Brown Safes is a company that manufactures a different kind of jewelry safe—one that is pretty and one that defines luxury, all while maintaining and keeping guard of the most precious material possessions of your life! The company was founded in 1980 and their line of products ranges from vaults that are extremely rugged, and able to withstand severe attack, to pristine gem and jewelry safes outfitted in exotic finishes and fine metals. Whatever your storage solutions involve, Brown Safe Manufacturing has you covered.

Within Brown Safes Luxury series, there are several types, all which are customizable to your needs. There’s even a watch-focused safe that features programmable winders! I love the options for in-safe lighting and if you go online to their website, you can see the options that are available in a step-by-step fashion. Each safe is customizable and tailored to your liking, from the overall size, to the outside color and inside finish, the hardware type and even the lock (either a dial, a standard electrical, or biometrical with integrated handle). Once you start to customize the inside, you can choose from several hardwoods, fabrics and drawer pulls.

Vice President of Brown Safe, Lynel Brown Berryhill, says, “I think today’s busy women really appreciate having one central location where all their jewelry is secure and organized. Nobody has time to go searching through drawers full of various jewelry boxes in the morning.” I agree! It is also fun to hear about the latest projects in which Lynel has been working on, as one of her many duties is being in charge of custom safe design and sales. She just finished creating a custom jewelry safe for a celebrity’s three-year-old daughter…and even a custom safe for a dog’s jeweled collars and charms!

Be sure to check out Brown Safe to see all their options and start building your dream jewelry safe today!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Brown Safe.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Brooke of Arrow & Anchor Antiques

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I met Brooke back in 2012 when she came to me for some appraisals on jewelry of hers. I guess you could say, the rest is history! But really though, once I saw her collection and began talking with her that day four years ago, I saw we had much more in common than just a love for jewelry. Since then we’ve traveled many miles together, spent thousands of dollars together, took hundreds of pictures of jewelry and laughed all along the way. I enjoy helping her build Arrow & Anchor Antiques and talking about jewelry nonstop. Here’s a collection that continues to get fine tuned and curated. Can’t wait to see where her collection is several years from now, and most importantly 40 years from now, when we’re scooting around the Miami Beach Antique Show together all cute and wrinkly, covered in jewels:

“My collection is small, as I’ve only been collecting for 6 or 7 years, so a short time in the grand scheme of collecting. I’m obsessed with Art Nouveau and mid-century modern jewelry right now. My latest craze is Victorian silver bangles, although I thought Danielle wouldn’t speak to me after I confessed this. Our text convo is posted on my Instagram. Jewelry to me is my personal way of expressing myself. My fashion style is basic (Vintage Levis and an old tee). Rings on every finger alll day every day. Most of them tell a story but the ones that don’t will eventually!”

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First photo: Favorite rings — Arik Kastan 2 Stone Garnet and Rose Gold Ring. Tamar is the beauty behind Arik Kastan. Danielle and I had an amazing night with her in Vegas years ago and I have adored her ever since (that seems to happen often in this industry). Her pieces are everything that I love from a good modern jewelry piece. The quality is amazing and the stones are insanely beautiful.

Meredith Khan Love Twist Ring – I mean, this ring explains itself. It is truly an amazing design. Very comfortable and well crafted. I wear it everyday.

14k Gold Serpent Ring – I have only had this ring for a month and I have lost it twice. I actually saged it yesterday in hopes that I can remove whatever energy is making this ring disappear.

Azurmalachite pinky ring from Vulpecula Jewelry

Second photo: My mom handed both of these bracelets down to me. She made both. The first is a delicate silver cuff with a star and wings. The second was created out of coins from her travels. The sound that the coin bracelet makes is really nice.

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My favorite piece of jewelry is this Sagittarius Cartier ring from the 1970s. I’m an Aquarius. I collect zodiac rings from Cartier–they are hard to find. When I find one I quickly buy it…no thought just pure excitement and panic to get it first.

Favorite places to find antique jewelry and treasure hunt? eBay, Etsy, trade shows, Ruby Lane, Instagram, and one favorite place in driving distance from my house in Nashville.

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First photo: both these rings are special because they are from Danielle!

Second photo: I had a 9 year relationship that ended in 2014. I kept the original setting from my engagement ring as a reminder of exactly what a certain moment felt like (I will leave it at that). I had the inner bezel polished so now it is just a platinum setting without the center stone. It sounds depressing but it is a positive reminder for me that I made the right decision. You can be in a long term relationship with a wonderful person and still feel completely lonely if you don’t have a solid relationship with yourself.

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First photo: I love vintage watches and have a small collection available through Arrow and Anchor. My Cartier Love Bracelet hasn’t left my wrist in 3 years.

Second photo: A few of my Cartier Zodiac rings!

Follow Brooke on Instagram @ArrowandAnchorAntiques


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A Rainbow of Jewels at Heritage Auctions December 7th Signature Sale

Lot 54058 Heritage Auction Lot 54360 Heritage Auction

Lot 54142 Heritage Auction Lot 55278 Heritage Auction

Lot 54269 Heritage Auction Lot 54743 Heritage Auction

Lot 54095 Heritage Auction Lot 54408 Heritage Auction

Lot 54138 Heritage Auction Lot 54278 Heritage Auction

Lot 54096 Heritage Auction Lot 54640 Heritage Auction

Swinging from deep cherry reds, to vibrant orange, on up through mossy green and the moody blues, where one finally lands at the end of the vibrant rainbow of color, this year’s December Sale from Heritage Auction takes you on a color-filled adventure with their offerings. Whether you’ve been searching for a specific color or certain tone or saturation of hue, the plethora of gemstones give you so many possibilities. If I wanted to search for an orange-colored jewel, I may not realize how many options there are from this December Signature Sale from Heritage–I could go with deep and vibrant coral, or light and citrus Topaz, or even a non-nacreous option of a melo melo pearl hanging from an orange-colored silk cord necklace! And to think, most would automatically assume citrine! So, open up your eyes to the rainbow of options from the December 7th Signature Sale from Heritage Auctions.

Let’s start with red and work our way down to violet!

Lot 54058: Most would think of ruby red, but these tourmalines exhibit the prettiest shades of red and dark pink, sprinkled with diamonds in a domed style. Set in 18k yellow gold, these earrings are made to flatter and contain an impressive carat weight of pink tourmaline–over 50 carats! Be a lady in red with these! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 54360: An enticing and enchanting ruby ring, perfect in every way! Designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, featuring one cushion cut ruby weighing approximately 3.80 carats, surrounded by diamonds totaling six carats! The ring is set in platinum and 18k yellow gold, truly special. Estimate: $30,000-40,000

Lot 54142: One word in the notes section for this listing and sure sums up everything about these platinum and coral earrings–stunning! And we all can agree, if only to see these in person and try them on! The coral is precisely cut and the craftsmanship is high, marked with maker’s mark Cicada. Estimate: $8,000-10,000

Lot 55278: Bold carved coral creates this orange sensation for a jewelry suite–featuring a ring and pair of matching earrings. Very modern in style, maybe even slightly futuristic, this set includes some sparkle thanks to diamonds, a total of one carat all together. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 54269: As bright as the sun, this gigantic yellow sapphire which weighs 20.56 carats, mounted in a fabulous platinum and diamond setting. The split-shank style of the ring offsets the boldness of the large gem, giving it a more dainty feel. Such a stunner. Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 54743: The glowing orangey-yellow of Topaz makes these 18k white gold stud earrings shine. Set amongst round cut and baguette cut diamonds, the earrings have a fun style, and are great for any occasion! Very versatile! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 54095: The color green of Tsavorite garnet is unlike any other green! It gives me holiday vibes and that is perfect this time of year. These hoops are something else–pave through and through, all set in 18k white gold with a black rhodium finish. Love them! Estimate: $3,500-4,500

Lot 54408: This necklace stopped me in my tracks. The beads are carved green beryl, dispersed with black onyx and diamond in 18k white gold. Such a unique, one-of-a-kind piece, destined to be treasured forever. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54138: Navettes are nice, especially when they are set with a gorgeous 3.50 carat sapphire! This ring pulls out all the stops, from its platinum setting, to superbly matched and set diamonds, it has it all. I can picture this making someone very happy Christmas morning! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 54278: Another moody blue for our rainbow of gems is this lot, featuring a central pear-shaped sapphire surrounded by others in oval. The ring is all set in 14k white gold and is such a classy look. You can’t go wrong with sapphires, let’s be honest! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 54096: To represent our indigo color in this rainbow-filled blog post, a light-pastel colored sapphire with no heat treatment does the job! This beautiful ring features a 7.43 carat sapphire which comes with a certificate from GIA. The setting has a halo of diamonds and is a sizable 7, in 14k white gold. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 54640: Had to include the royal purple exemplified by amethyst and this pieces is my favorite from the sale. A round mixed cut amethyst set in a crowned garland platinum and white gold brooch. A relic from the early 1900s past, I love how stylish it can be in today’s time. Estimate: $1,800-2,400

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Heritage Auctions.

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Source: GossipGem.com

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