Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

1. The first diamond engagement ring in recorded history was presented by the Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was set with diamonds in the shape of the letter ‘M’.

2. A new trend for ‘acrostic’ engagement rings emerged during the Victorian period in Britain. These featured words spelled out by the first letters of the gemstones set in the ring. The word ‘regards’ was a favorite, spelled out using a ruby, followed by an emerald, then a garnet and so on.

3. The phrase “Diamonds are forever” has entered the vernacular and lent its name to Sean Connery’s final film as James Bond but did you know that it was originally an advertising slogan? It was coined by De Beers in 1947 to kickstart diamond sales after a lull caused by the Great Depression and World War II.

Diamond Rings

4. Natural diamonds are extremely old and take around a billion years to form in the Earth’s molten interior. Stones used in engagement rings can be anywhere from 900 million years old to an astounding 3.2 billion years old.

5. The ‘carat’ is the main measurement used to judge diamonds and refers to the weight and size of the stone. It is so called because originally carob seeds were used as counterweights for the scales used to weigh diamonds. A modern carat is a metric unit equivalent to 200 milligrams, or 7 thousandths of an ounce!

6. The color of a diamond is another of the major factors that determines how much it costs. Color is graded on a scale that judges how colorless the diamond is, with white stones being the most desirable and thus expensive.

7. Which isn’t to say that other colors of diamonds aren’t much sought after. ‘Fancy diamond’ is the term used to describe a stone when its color falls outside the normal color range. Fancy diamonds can be blue, green, red, yellow, pink and even purple or black.

Alternative Engagement Rings

8. Every precious gem is rated for hardness using the Mohs scale. This is a measure of how resistant the stone is to being scratched. Diamonds top out at 10 on the Mohs scale and are one of the hardest naturally occurring materials in the world.

9. Gemstones with a Mohs rating of 8 or above are generally recommended for engagement rings, because they can stand up to the rigors of daily wear. Sapphires and rubies both score 9 on the Mohs scale while emeralds are only a 7.5 and opals ae just a 6.

10. In some countries, engagement rings don’t feature gemstones at all. The Claddagh ring, a traditional Irish ring, has a motif depicting a pair of hands clasped around a heart and a crown, symbolizing love, friendship and loyalty. While some more modern variants incorporate a ruby or other precious stone, the original version does not have a gemstone set in it.

For dozens more fascinating engagement ring facts, a hundred in all, check out ROX’s guide to All Things Engagement Rings.

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Q & A with Heather B. Moore Jewelry

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore’s story starts with love, laughter and family…and fittingly, just as her jewelry often depicts those words both literally and figuratively, she has brought personalization of jewelry to the highest level. After viewing the video displayed below, you see just how hands-on and multi-faceted her business has become. This interview also touches upon how it all came to be, in the most innocent of ideas and forms. Sometimes we are destined for a certain path and it seems as though Heather was meant to bring memories, quotes and cherished words to life through her jewelry designs. Each piece is heavily sentimental and often instant tear-jerkers. As jewelry enthusiasts, we know how special a personalized piece can be–but how about one that is in the exact handwriting of a loved one? Or an exact doodle from your once 5-year-old son or daughter? I know if and when I start a family, Heather B. Moore‘s designs will be first on my list for a little keepsake!

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We are currently developing an exciting new series based on personal empowerment called the Sculptural Series. Its foundation stems from personalized themes people were requesting for their designs, which usually fell into four common categories: strength, growth, wisdom, and healing. With that as our guide, we started the Sculptural Series to capture moments that feel personal while complementing our other designs.

While we are only launching with a limited selection, this is just the beginning. The world is full of wonderful symbols that have meaningful messages, and Heather B. Moore jewelry is excited to add more sculptural jewelry to the collection in the future.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I only took one jewelry class in college. At the time my focus was cast glass, Venetian glass blowing, and steel work. My sister Wendy was an anthropology major and had moved to Kathmandu, Nepal where she lived with a jeweler’s family. That’s where I started getting interested in what she was doing! After college, I was working for an artist welding large-scale art installations across the country for Judy Pfaff. On the weekends, my sister Wendy used to ask me to make jewelry for fashion shows and low-budget movies in Los Angeles.

I started off doing chain work and handmade chain, which we still do today. I also integrated glass beads and stones within the chain, and while we still integrate stones into our chain, we moved away from glass beads to focus on precious stones.

In 2004, I started offering personalization on a number of pieces and everything grew from there. Our personalized collection was created on the foundation that timeless designs start with a blank canvas for our customers, then we collaborate to create the perfect piece. We have the capacity to create the steel stamps of people’s handwriting and children’s drawings as well as a wide variety of fonts and layouts.

I started collecting tools when I was 13. I grew up in the steel industry of Cleveland and loved going to my dad’s factories, so craftsmanship was something that I related to.

The first steel tooling stamps that I purchased were from a garage sale at an old machinist’s house. I carried those stamps around with me for 15 years before knew what to do with them! In 1991, I pulled out those stamps and decided to integrate quotes from my friends and family. I stamped them out onto the silver plaques and then framed it with a handmade cast glass frame.

In 1997, my sister Wendy was in a skiing accident and passed away. Before she passed I stamped a quote she gave me into a piece of metal: “I said to my sister and she said to me, come let’s play laughter together.” I remember loving the quote so much that I took the plaque with her quote off the wall, and I put it in my wallet. To this day I look at it and it makes me smile.

After moving back to Cleveland and receiving the Rising Star Award from the JCK trade show, I had an interview with Real Simple Magazine about why a designer from NYC would move to Cleveland.

During the interview the writer asked a series of silly questions like, “what kind of hair care products do I use?” and, “what is in your purse?” At first I was a little confused, but I pulled out my wallet and got the plaque of my sister’s quote, and they loved it. They photographed it and used it as the focal point of the article.

At the time, I was designing for bigger companies like Banana Republic and I was getting tired of doing trendy jewelry that was “in” one season and “out” the next. I thought it was interesting that they loved the little plaque so much, and that made me think about the unique stamps that I had in the basement, and I knew I wanted to make something for myself. So, I stamped my kids names on some silver discs, framed them in gold, and I created my first personalized necklace.

I fell in love with it because my kids would sit on my lap and flip through the charms and look for their names. That is when it hit me: personalization has more value than the material that it’s on, because personalization is forever. Telling your story is not a trend; it’s a keepsake, an heirloom, and one-of-a-kind… just like the person wearing it.

That is when I knew I was on the right track. I was putting something into the marketplace that I had actually created in 1992… it’s like it all became a full circle.

It’s amazing to think I was so young, but I’m also very proud to say that now we create our own stamps in our steel shop. It’s fun to have the opportunity to create special tooling for each individual customer.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B. Moore | Gem Gossip

Left: the plaque Heather made, with her sister’s special quote Right: a necklace Heather wears almost everyday–it features her new Buddha charm


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I think my proudest moment was winning the Town & Country International Gold Award at the Couture Jewelry Show in Las Vegas.

This is a show where all designers get together and showcase their pieces to stores across the country. Town & Country magazine had sponsored the event, so it was super fancy that year. Most people were in black tie… but I didn’t know that! I showed up late to the party in flip-flops, jeans, a t-shirt and messy hair!

When I thought about designing something for the Gold category, I wanted something no one had yet documented. One topic that came up was that we had never documented someone’s letter, and I had the perfect one. It was a whimsical thank you note from my sister Wendy. She had sent it just days after Christmas and she spoke of the importance of family and new traditions. This was the first year I didn’t spend Christmas with my family because I was with my husband’s family in Canada, so it really hit home for me. It was the last letter I ever got from her. She passed away shortly after Christmas.

We stamped this whole letter on a big yellow gold cuff, with a rose gold frame on the outside and a green gold frame on the inside, then we covered the frame in diamonds.

We arrived late to the awards show party and had already begun to announce the winners, so we quickly grabbed a glass of wine and snuck into some seats just as the announcer said, “And the Gold Award goes to a designer from the city of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame…”

…I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, there’s another designer here from Cleveland,” but then they called my name!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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In a broad sense, my hopes, dreams, and goals are to make sure I can continue to create beautiful pieces for people and documenting their stories. I love that we have the opportunity to work with customers hand-in-hand.

And with the sculptural collection, there are so many amazing symbols that empower people. I just love the direction we are going with that!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I have so many pieces I love and adore! We have a wide variety of designs within the collection, and I truly love all of them. I have many iterations with my children’s names (Henry, Leo, Oliver and Coral). They are my proudest creation!

I have a yellow gold bangle with their names on it, a leather bracelet with with their names on it, and a necklace where they each have their own charm! I actually named the frames after them. The Henry frame is a braid like the Nantucket braided bracelets. The Leo frame has a granulation frame for him because he really loves the arts. Then there’s the Oliver frame. He’s really an organized child so I did a spiral frame for him. Coral’s got a bubbly personality, so her frame kind of looks like bubbles!

I like to wear my cuff bracelet that has my sister’s letter with jeans and a t-shirt, but I also wore it to the Beastie Boys black tie Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction.

My sister Halley and I both have a charm with Wendy’s phone number on it. She never had business cards, which we always thought was hilarious! We made it in green gold because her birthday was on Saint Patrick’s Day.

My new favorite necklace has a bunch of charms on it, and it’s a story about my boyfriend Jason and me. We went to high school together so I have one charm that says “You were worth the wait,” and another charm that says “Home is when I’m with you.” And I have a little single initial J charm for his name… and a diamond, of course!

I have a 4mm square cuff bracelet that grounds me–it says “When you look at life through the right lens, everything comes into focus.” Life certainly does throw you some curveballs sometimes… so that helps me through those challenges. The fact that I’m a photographer kind of makes it perfect! My dad gave me my first camera when I was 14 and then shipped me off to Africa with 13 rolls of film. I have been an avid photographer ever since.

I will end with this one:

I have this fantastic ring that has been dubbed “the hockey ring.” It’s my good luck ring for my boys’ games. If it’s not on my finger it’s in my wallet waiting for the next game. I did not put any personalization on it with words… and it’s really quite thick. We call it The Pope Ring at the studio! So when I’m photographing the hockey games (because all three boys are in hockey) if something happens like a goal or a good defensive play, I can bang on the glass with my ring, and I wont hurt my hand! Because of all the banging, overtime it has collected quite a few, great dents! It is essentially personalized from all the dents!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Heather B. Moore.

Heather B. Moore Jewelry

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Spring Cleaning Your Jewelry Box: Gem Gossip’s Tips!

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It’s that time of year–spring cleaning! I tried Googling some spring cleaning facts and came up with 77% of people say they spring clean every year. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I would think that is a decent amount and glad to know that. I guess the other 23% are either lazy or have a hoarding problem…? I am definitely in the percentage that spring cleans…and I actually like to do a deep cleaning a couple times a year, not just once. When people mention spring cleaning, most think of their house–but I’d like to focus in on spring cleaning jewelry for this article. And just like spring cleaning your house, there are several similarities to spring cleaning your jewelry and the end results will have you feeling revitalized and happy.

Let’s get started:

1. Storage Solutions:

Keeping your jewelry safe, all in one place and consistently visible are three key points for a superb storage solution. I highly recommend the jewelry box that I own, however I did make a lot of changes to it–like ripping out shelves and swapping them out for more ring storage. The jewelry box that I have is from Lori Greiner and I bought mine off QVC about 8 years ago. Since then, they have made a few modifications to the design, but overall it is the same: a mirrored “cabinet” that has built-in everything! Here’s a similar one for sale at Target. It’s ok to have other jewelry boxes–I have several antique ones that I use for either travel or taking photos with–but for the most part, I keep everything in one home base.

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2. Clean Your Actual Jewelry:

After you’ve established your storing options, it wouldn’t be called “spring cleaning” unless we actually cleaned our jewelry! I will admit that I don’t clean my jewelry daily…or weekly…or even monthly for that matter. The only exception to this would be my engagement ring which I make sure to clean monthly and earrings that I wear often. Because I have so many rings, there are very many that get worn only a handful of times in one year, so I often wear and return back to its storing spot without cleaning.

An occasion like spring cleaning is the best time to give all your jewelry a good soak. For this step, I want to stress that many antique pieces should not be cleaned at all. Items like foiled backed gemstones, hair jewelry, mourning pieces, tiny rose cut diamonds that are often irreplaceable, pearls and seed pearls, and other soft gemstone jewelry. This cleaning step I mostly do with my all gold pieces, 80% of my diamond jewelry, sapphire and ruby pieces. First, I get a soft toothbrush and run warm water and dunk the brush in Mr. Clean. I gently brush over each piece and then stick it in my ultrasonic cleaner. I have one I bought from Gesswein–the one that has a steamer and cleaner in one (but my steamer broke after one year of working beautifully). Those who know the power and strength of a steam cleaner will never go back to cleaning diamonds any other way–so sadly my broken steamer is also breaking my heart. Need a new one! I usually use water and either a small cap full of Mr. Clean or whatever cleaning solution your machine comes with.

Depending on how dirty each piece is would equal how long you put each item in the cleaner, but I would say 15-20 minutes is plenty. Another perk of having a jewelry background is having a really handy tool at my grasp–a microscope! I usually take a peek at my gemstone jewelry pieces and check all the stones before throwing them into the cleaner. Loose stones will only get looser, or even worse–fall out in the cleaner. That’s my only other pre-caution.

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3. Go Through Each Item:

Now that you have all your jewelry out of storage and mystery boxes, under beds, and out of old socks (yes, people stash things everywhere), it is a great idea to give each item a thorough evaluation. This is when you decide if you want to keep, trade, or sell–maybe even redesign. You should also take some photos of all your jewelry for inventory purposes and insurance purposes. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through old photos and said, “hey, whatever happened to THAT ring??”

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4. Clean Your Actual Jewelry Box:

Day in and day out you open up your jewelry box, make your selections and then move on with your daily routine. A lot of dust, debris and dirty fingers can add up on your jewelry box, so it is just as important to clean your jewelry storage solution. I made a video of myself doing this and posted it on Instagram–it got a lot of attention because I was using a vaccuum hose attachment and using it without taking any of my rings out of the case. Of course I was being careful, but it is much smarter to do this step when everything is out. My biggest problem is Chiefy’s white hairs that somehow get on the black velvet padding of my jewelry cabinet. Using a hose attachment on my vaccuum is the best solution for this, but you can also use a lint roller. I also make sure to Windex the mirror on the front of my jewelry box and dust/polish the outer wood.

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5. The Finishing Touch:

You’re now on the last and final step to spring cleaning your jewelry box! You should feel really good by now and the best part is about to start. I suggest you put on your favorite tunes (obviously I will suggest Girl Talk Radio on Pandora) and get to work.

Start with organizing within each category–earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, and rings. I organize my earrings by studs, dangles, ear cuffs, etc. I have a row of pearl studs, a row of diamond studs…even yellow gold and white gold are separated. I used to organize my rings by how I acquired them–so I would just add my newest acquistion in the next available spot. I realized this wasn’t working out very well and one day I took everything out and organized it differently. I put similar styles together, similar stones together and motifs together. All my moonstone rings are together and they look way cooler that way. You can group by color of gemstone if you’d like–similar to how a closet is organized (definitely not my closet, but coveted closets). I have all my baby rings in a section of their own. I don’t have a particular way of organizing my bracelets or necklaces because I simply don’t have that many.

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I hope these tips will help you and motivate you to SPRING CLEAN your jewelry box! If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me–you can email me at [email protected] or Tweet me! @gemgossip

I’d love to see your photos or videos of you spring cleaning your jewelry box–please tag me!!

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my tips on how to EDIT your collection

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Gem Gossip Visits Marissa Collections in Naples, FL

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After a full weekend filled with jewelry at the Miami Antique Show, there was nothing I needed more than, well–MORE jewelry! I’ve been dying to visit Marissa Collections in sunny (more like ALWAYS sunny) Naples, Florida. It is just a short jaunt from Miami across the Florida Everglades along Alligator Alley (legit name) for about two hours. The juxtaposition of Miami and Naples couldn’t be anymore stronger, but that’s what makes them both great destinations. After spending most of the day at Marissa Collections, I flew back home to Nashville. I never know how each #JewelryRoadTrip feature is going to come out until I sit down and start editing the photos, and formulate everything I just experienced into words. For me, I feel like being highly impressed may be an understatement–but this store truly is in a category of its own. See what I mean:

In its own category

It’s 2017 and yes, people shop differently. But it’s not always as cut and dry as some may have you thinking. There are articles out there that say brick-and-mortar stores are headed on the way out and that more and more people are shopping online. Well that’s not the full story. Today, shoppers want an experience–something unique, genuine and something that keeps them coming back for more. At Marissa Collections, the shopping experience they’ve created for their clients has been happening for over 40 years. It is exclusive in so many ways that it eliminates the store from ever being put into categories with other jewelry stores or retail shops. So what are the qualities about Marissa Collections that set it apart from the rest? What are they doing that has continually made them a success story, unlike other jewelry stores whose headlines read differently?

Marissa Collections has developed their own secret sauce, starting with the store covering 10,000 square feet of posh. When you first walk in, besides immediately being offered a beverage, you may notice the obvious sections that the store is set up within. Notice I didn’t use the word “divided” because although there are definite sections, they all fuse and flow together.

Whether you’re visiting to shop for a special occasion or wanting to browse, you’ll come to find the store feels like one big dressing room. It is noted that a good amount of jewelry sales are made in their dressing rooms because the simple fact that jewelry is necessary to top off any outfit! It just makes it that much better. And the jewelry that Marissa Collections hand-selects for their cases is quite special in its own right.

The Designers

Wanting to create a line-up of jewelry designers that didn’t overlap, each having a sense of individuality was very important to Marissa Collections. If a designer specializes in 22k yellow gold designs, there won’t be others offered in store that look or feel similar. The curation extends from all parts of the world, each producing amazing pieces, some comparable to pieces of art. If you like big and bold, trendy and layer-ready, sentimental and celebratory, Marissa Collections’ selection is extensive.

Designers like Silvia Furmanovich–a Brazilian powerhouse who uses ancient techniques paired with bold designs and color. Often incorporating organic materials like wood and shells, her jewelry fits right into the Florida style of Marissa Collections.

Irene Neuwirth jewelry is a favorite–what’s not to love of her colorful gemstones, one-of-a-kind designs and sea-inspired looks. Marissa Collections is proud to house many outstanding pieces from this California-based designer.

Nikos Koulis brings Greek radiance to Marissa Collections with his striking and colorful designs. His sharp aesthetic has created a large following with only a few years in business.

Arunashi will inspire and make your jaw-drop with his luxurious and extremely unique designs. I was surprised by the light-weight titanium used in his pieces–the colorful metals and rare gemstones, all mixed into one bold and beautiful jewel.

I loved learning about designers I was unfamiliar with until seeing and experiencing them at Marissa Collections. Designers like Tamara Comolli, Inbar, Shamballa Jewels, all whom I wasn’t familiar with and easily fell for once I saw and learned of their work. Seeing some Gem Gossip favorites like Shay Jewelry, Todd Reed, Sylva & Cie, Victor Velyan, Dana Rebecca Designs, Wendy Yue, Spinelli Kilcollin, and Alison Lou, all whom Marissa Collections proudly carries.

The Family

Marissa Collections’ legacy begins in 1975 with Marissa & Burt Hartington, husband and wife team, who opened the store with one goal in mind: to help clients develop their individual style. The creativity and eye for curation of Marissa has lead to the store continually growing over the years. Their dedicated retail space for jewelry is just nearly 10 years old, which their son Jay has taken the reigns of. The designers chosen for Marissa Collections are both equal parts ideal for the store’s clients and all around great additions to outfits which the store is known for. Jay says it is important to show women how to wear the pieces they offer. Cultivating great style begins with exploring different ways of wearing things and learning how to accessorize with jewelry.

Not Just Jewelry

Although my main focus on this #JewelryRoadTrip feature is obviously the jewelry, I would be leaving a big part out if I didn’t mention what else Marissa Collections offers. The specialty shop is truly a destination store where people come from all over the world to experience something quite like this. Fashions from high end designers (like Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Brunello Cucinelli), shoes, handbags, menswear, couture gowns and even a makeup studio are all features of the store. The staff is equipped with experienced stylists who are at the forefront of fashion and can help you find the perfect outfit whether it is for a very specific special occasion or for everyday wear. Marissa Collections prides itself on the relationships it grows between their clients and stylists; connections that run deeper than any other store-to-shopper bond.

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Marissa Collections | Gem Gossip

Marissa Collections

1167 3rd St. S

Naples, FL 34102

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My Personal Collection Up For Auction via EBTH.com

EBTH | Gem Gossip EBTH | Gem Gossip

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Hey Everyone! Just wanted to let you all know something pretty exciting–I took nearly 50 pieces from my personal collection and put them on Everything But the House (EBTH)! What is so great about this auction website is the amount of unique, highly curated items that go up for bidding every day of the week. You can basically shop estate sales from the comfort of your own home. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve purchased from EBTH–several large gold mirrors (as pictured in my feature), one of my absolute favorite rings, and a lot of rock & mineral specimens. The variety of what you can find is impressive!

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Types of precious metal wire

Like most jewelry makers, I started out by stringing and knotting beads and then slowly moved to wire before going on to explore the wonderful world of mixed media and metal smithing. Apart from making ear hooks, clasps, eyepins, bails or frames on a regular basis, I do the occasional viking knit or wire crochet.While I am no expert in wire work, it is important to learn to work with wire as its ridiculously easy to create your own hooks and clasps customising them every single time.However this post is not about making any products with wire but more to do with the basics of understanding wire and is aimed at beginners.

Like most jewelry makers, I started out by stringing and knotting beads and then slowly moved to wire before going on to explore the wonderful world of mixed media and metal smithing. Apart from making ear hooks, clasps, eyepins, bails or frames on a regular basis, I do the occasional viking knit or wire crochet.While I am no expert in wire work, it is important to learn to work with wire as its ridiculously easy to create your own hooks and clasps customising them every single time.
However this post is not about making any products with wire but more to do with the basics of understanding wire and is aimed at beginners. It is a culmination of my learning of many years (I still have a lot to learn) so it will include snippets from many books and websites apart from my own observations.

What is wire?
Wire is a usually thin, flexible strand of metal that can be made in many shapes, diameters and hardness. It can be finished using many processes including coating and plating and can be electrically insulated. Thin individual wires can be twisted together to create a cable. Wire, like cord, can be used for twisting, wrapping, bezel making, prong making, weaving, knitting, crochet and macrame while making jewelry


Jewelry Wire Materials
Jewelry wires can be majorly classified into three categories – Precious metal, base metal and finished wire or wire with effects. In this post, I’ll discuss only Types of precious metal wire with reference to usage and yes, availability (in India).

sterling silver bangles – Yoola Design

Silver
Most commonly used precious metal wires are pure silver and sterling silver. Sterling Silver or SS is an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, Fine Silver is 99% pure silver while Karen hill tribe silver is 97% pure silver. Pure silver is nonreactive, less likely to cause allergic reactions and tarnishes slower. Silver that is used to make ornaments like Anklets, jhumkas (earrings), nose studs in India are 80 – 85% pure. The Cost of the wires varies from place to place and from day to day depending on the Share market. In India, any silver jeweller with a manufacturing unit will smelt and roll out silver wire in any gauge that you want (however, it might not be uniform). Locally I have found sterling silver to be more expensive than fine silver.
Argentium® sterling silver is a tarnish-resistant variety of sterling silver that consists of 92.5% silver, 1.2% germanium, and 6.3% copper. It does not develop fire scale easily and makes cleanup relatively painless. As its tarnish resistant, the wire remains shiny for a longer period but it is not very easily available and is not as cost effective as fine silver, in India. Though not as wire, Argentium is available as jewelry and as vessels in premium silver jewelry stores like VBJ and NAC in India

Infinity Wire necklace – Yoola Design

Gold & Vermeil
Though Gold wire is unavailable in India (for retail buying purposes) it is the most used wire by Indian jewellers. Internationally Gold wire is available in many karat values: 12K, 14K, 18K, and 22K. Karat (K or KT) refers to the purity of gold. 24K gold is the purest gold and is too soft and therefore alloys are preferable. Apart from yellow gold wire, rose gold (red gold) and white gold wires are also available online.

Vermeil is 24K gold electroplated over 925 sterling silver and its purity is gauged using the microns of plating (usually 2-4 microns). To be considered VERMEIL; (pronounced Vehr May) the gold must be at least 10 karat (42%) and be at least 2.5 micrometers thick. Vermeil was initially produced by fire gilding process which was then abandoned as it was considered unsafe. One gram gold is not Vermeil as the one here refers to 1 micron plating.

Palladium
Discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston, Palladium is an incredibly rare silverish metal. My only knowledge of palladium is that it is used to give white coloring to white gold and it is often suggested as an alternative to Platinum as it is less dense. Only as I was writing this article, I came to know that palladium wires are also available. Experts who have used Palladium wire, please share your knowledge in the comments section.

Silver filled and Gold Filled
Silver Filled and Gold Filled wire are made by bonding a layer of sterling silver or 14K gold onto a base metal core, which is usually a copper or a brass alloy and are finished with an anti-tarnish coating to preserve the shine. Here the layer of precious metal is much thicker than the film on plated metals. The thickness of the silver is denoted with a fraction, 1/20 or 1/10, referring to the ratio of silver to brass/copper by weight, For Example, 1/10 has a thicker layer of silver than the 1/20 variety. The core of silver-filled wire will be visible on the ends of the wire; if wire ends will be exposed, they may need electroplating to cover it, particularly if the wire is very thick. But this can be used to your advantage as you can create many usual textures by sanding or hammering. In gold filled – the ratio of gold to brass is denoted as 14/20 or 12/20 to denote the karat value of the gold 14 stand for 14-karat gold and 20 represents 1/20th or 5% of the total weight of the material.

Cleopatra necklace – Yoola Design

Silver Plated and Gold Plated
These are Copper or brass (depending on the country) wire plated with Silver or Gold and technically come under finished wires. The wires look as shiny as the real metal in the beginning but plating wears off over time often becoming yellowish, greenish or blackish in the process. On over manipulation (bending, twisting and repeated straightening) or on rough handling, the coating will chip away leaving the base metal wire visible. To create a more luxurious product, articles made of silver wire can be plated in Gold water (different from Electroplating) and is often referred to as “Gold dipping” by Indian Jewellers. A similar Rhodium dipping can also be done.

Dancing fish silver necklace – Ksemi

Tips for Working with Precious Wire
1.The first thing to do is get yourself a set of good wire working as there is no point in marring gold wire with a cheap cutter or pliers. Coat pliers with Tool magic (or equivalent potions) and use nylon jaws, fingers to wrap wherever possible.
2. Plan ahead and measure well. A precious metal wire is expensive so it is essential to use only the required length to keep your piece cost effective. It will help to prototype the piece in copper or brass before you work with expensive metals
3. Collect end bits – you can melt bits (of silver) into balls for granulation work and bigger bits can be flattened to use as dangles or ornamentation.
4. Know your metal – especially when you are about to solder or patina it! Silver or gold filled wire act differently when you try to ball them using a torch and develop firescale which is hard to remove.
5. Avoid using abrasive sandpapers or sticks on the filled and plated variety

I have also come across Platinum wire, particularly in electronic circles but I am not sure if there are independent artists who use them for jewelry. I have worked with silver, sterling, Vermeil, Filled and plated wires before, though in a limited capacity, and can safely say that you don’t require extremely advanced wire working skills to handle them. I encourage you to go for it, if you feel that it will add value to your designs. Some popular sites to buy precious metal wire are Rings-things and Cooksongold apart from etsy stores. Contact your local jeweller for silver wire and gold and silver plating on the wire.

Those were my tips on working with precious metal wire. Please share your tips for working with precious wire and your experience of working with them.

Wire Crochet jewelry pictures courtesy: Yael Falk, Yoola Designs

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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12 of My Latest Obsessions + Tips on How To Stay Focused

Gem Gossip Obsessions

1. My diamond collection: diamonds make me happy and so does my collection of antique elongated rings. Just looking at these brings me joy and satisfaction–I see hard work, long hours and lots of dedication. I love my new antique ring box given to me by Sarah of Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry from my latest #JewelryRoadTrip adventure.

Gem Gossip Obsessions

2. Luckily for me, my office (where I sit and complete almost every single blog post) is incredibly inspiring to me. My walls are filled with treasures I’ve collected over the years–like these gold frames. I’ve turned an entire wall into a gallery wall which houses them. The other walls feature a gallery of gold mirrors, book shelves filled with jewelry books, and the last and final wall is in the works. Can’t wait to reveal that one soon!

Gem Gossip Obsessions

3. Speaking of jewelry books, they are definitely an obsession. I’ve been loving my latest favorite–Wartski: The First 150 Years by Geoffrey Munn, given to me by Mr. Munn himself. I pinch myself sometimes reminiscing about visiting that store in London back in 2014. You can read the blog post from that visit here and you can order the book here.

Gem Gossip Obsessions

4. My crystal point collection makes me happy as it is eye-catching in every way possible. It is one of my newest collections, so watching it grow has been fun– it has been slow but steady. My first ones I ever got came from my trip to Raleigh when I went to a local gem show that happened to fall on the same day I was making an in-store appearance at Bailey’s Fine Jewelry. Such a special memory.

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Gem Gossip Visits Kathryn Elyse Jewelry in Seattle, WA

Wearing turquoise & diamond earrings, boulder opal and chrysocolla malachite necklaces

Kathryn Elyse | Gem Gossip

Pretty pops of color are Kathryn’s signature style, rutilated quartz & pink opal are a favorite

Kathryn Elyse | Gem Gossip

This tassel necklace is done in 18k yellow gold with an adjustable chain (also available in rose or white gold, with a variety of gemstone choices)

Checking out all the jewelry at Kathryn’s studio

Kathryn Elyse | Gem Gossip

So much color–which is your favorite?!

Kathryn Elyse | Gem Gossip

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Caring for Gemstone Jewelry

The love for gemstones and gemstones jewelry is not something very recent or new. There is strong evidence of jewelry and gemstones even in the earliest known civilizations, like those of the Mohenjo-daro and Harappan civilisation or Egypt

The love for gemstones and gemstones jewelry is not something very recent or new. There is strong evidence of jewelry and gemstones even in the earliest known civilizations, like those of the Mohenjo-daro and Harappan civilisation or Egypt. Royalty, from around the world have fought great battles and plundered nations for dazzling gems. Cleopatra, was crazy for Emeralds and Mughal emperors including Shah Jahaan had verses of the Holy Quran and even the line of succession of kings engraved on humongous rubies

With the shimmer and shine of gemstone jewelry taking over the fashion world in a big way everybody wants to own as much as possible. Natural stones are quite expensive and buying them is not an everyday affair but they can become treasured heirloom pieces if they are well cared for. To help you take care of your precious pieces here are a few tips you that could follow.

Caring for Gemstone Jewelry
Most of the gems are soft and vulnerable to cracking on pressure or impact, hence avoid wearing such gems in rings. Even if you have such rings, try to wear them carefully so that they do not bump in hard surfaces or else they might chip or crack
– Avoid prolonged and continuous exposure of the gemstones to sunshine as the UV rays and heat in sunshine acts as a bleaching agent or sometimes a darkening agent, fading away the color of gems, especially Topaz.

– Try your best to make sure that the jewelry you wear, does not comes in contact with perfumes and lotions, as the minerals and chemicals in them create a coating over the jewelry and end up diminishing their shine.
– Proper storage is as imperative as the proper cleaning of precious jewels. So, store them in an airtight box at a moisture-free place in your cupboard and use padded storage boxes for carrying your gemstone jewelry while travelling.

Cleaning Gemstone Jewelry

The gemstones jewelry that you wear daily like wedding and engagement rings or pendants must be cleaned on regular basis as they gather a lot of dead skin, dirt, grease and particles, ruining the shine and degrading the life of the stones. Here is how to clean them
– Once you take off your gemstones jewelry, clean them by wiping gently with a soft cotton cloth in circular motion, rather than a coarse rubbing
– Avoid using hard detergents, chlorine based cleaners or ‘Colin’ like cleaners, and even toothpaste for cleaning your gemstones for they ruin the surface of the ornamental jewelry, particularly the ones with coated gemstones.
Wash gemstone pieces in lukewarm water using a soft brush (Like a clean makeup brush) and mild liquid soap and pat dry with a towel
Always read and follow the instructions carefully before using ultrasonic cleaners for your gemstone jewelry and avoid using them for fracture filled gems and stones like moonstone, pearl and coral.
– Approach a professional jeweler to clean very ornamental pieces for you, rather than attempting to doing it by yourself.

As with any other product, it is important to rest your jewelry in between wears. Frequent cleaning and proper care will help you retain the gleam of your precious jewelry for ages. Do check out previous posts on how to clean your jewelry for tips and tricks. Do you have any more gemstone cleaning tips? If so add them in the cmments.

 

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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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Source: GossipGem.com

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