After collecting jewelry for most of my life, I’ve recently realized the reason why the majority of my collection consists of diamonds. I have gone through phases where I buy and acquire, collecting several pieces at once…followed by a breakthrough period where I sell, purge and stash away. Through all of this, I’ve noticed my favorite pieces, ones I would never consider selling and never tire of, are my diamonds. There is something unique about diamonds that is slightly magical — the rarity of one single stone alone is quite breathtaking. Thinking about how it formed deep within the Earth, how it came to be, how it was mined, how it was cut, how it was sold and how it was made to fit a design; all of this fascinates me. Which is why partnering with Real is a Diamond to tell you this story seemed like a no-brainer to me — their platform has been created to educate about diamonds, their rarity, their romance and all that they stand for. As our world is forever evolving, I feel like this message can stop time, just for a moment at least, and initiate people of all walks to evaluate what is rare and authentic in their own lives. One would immediately realize that these are the best parts of our world and we should foster and protect them, as we should diamonds..
My diamond jewelry collection is easily one of the most precious things in my life. Many of my rings date back to the turn-of-the-century, so the diamonds are mostly old mine cuts and old European cuts, which take their rarity to new heights. Heirlooms like these make me stop and think what kind of legacy do I want to leave behind and what items will I pass down. Diamonds are perfect mementos that stand the test of time–they are ideal heirlooms.
Several rings shown above in my collection have been purchased or received to comemorate a special occasion or milestone in my life. As soon as I look at these particular pieces, I automatically am brought back to that moment. My 30th birthday for example, I bought myself an Edwardian diamond ring off of eBay that was probably way more money than I should have been spending at that moment, but looking back now, it was one of the best purchases ever. The ring to me is timeless in every sense, so I wear it all the time–diamonds are like that, they can be worn on any occasion. Another ring was a Christmas gift from my husband, several were to comemorate a trip or jewelry jaunt, and others were from very special people purchased by myself from their personal, private collections. These rings have so many stories to tell and that’s solely with my possession of them–I can’t imagine what their full stories reveal.
Of course the most prominent ring in the bunch is my antique diamond engagement ring. It’s the most worn of them all and most dear to me. It symbolizes my relationship with my husband, our promise to one another and is just as real and rare as our love for one another. There are over 7 billion people on this planet, and we chose each other; and while there are so many kinds of diamonds, I chose this ring as a representation of our love.
We want to know what diamond jewelry is rare and precious to you? What pieces mark a special occasion or milestone in your life? Tag them using the hashtag #RealisRare
This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Real is a Diamond.
My love for the color blue continues, even through fall when oranges & browns are en vogue. I’ve become obsessed with the blue carved lapis ring that I have had listed for sale so much that I’ve decided to move it into my personal collection. I might still let it go but I’m not sure–I think seeing a very similar one in Erie Basin’s sold archives made me want to keep it. Side note: does anyone else just blow through 2-3 hours browsing through Erie Basin’s sold archives?? lol
I want to say I’ve probably sold about 100+ pieces of my personal collection since I decided to get more organized and curated with my collection. I’m quite happy with where my collection is at right now, although I’m still hunting for an epic man-on-the-moon moonstone ring and a kunzite piece. I’ll probably sell more from my collection but in the meantime, these are my faves.
Speaking of being obsessed with blue…my 33rd birthday happened earlier this month and this aquamarine and black enamel beauty from Laurel Stearns became mine! Obviously it was purchased by myself, for myself. Haven’t I made it any more clear, year after year, that everyone should buy themselves a birthday gift?! Anyway, I’ve seriously worn it SO much since I got it and I’m incredibly lucky to have scored this ring late on a Saturday night, within minutes of her posting it.
I’ve been changing up my ear stack since acquiring these David Webb nail earrings and I gotta say I’m fully obsessed with my newest addition, the Vada Jewelryear hanger. It slides behind your ear and gives the illusion of having some of the more unique piercings done. I’ve got three holes in both ears and I think that’s all I can handle. Ear cuffs & ear hangers for life!
I brought along some of Arrow & Anchor Antiques‘ inventory with me when I went to Boston and continued playing with it when I got back. I don’t think most people appreciate the amazingness that is moss agate, pictured in the center. I have a thing for dendritic agate and this combo of rings is just UGHHHHH SO GOOD.
Photo on the left features pieces from my personal collection and the photo on the right features rings that are for sale! For details on those: instagram.com/shopgemgossip
BCE Jewelry spent a few days in Nashville and I showed her around town! She also came over to play in my jewelry box and I played with her jewels (seen above). Every year she takes a country-wide road trip and clients secure a spot to view her one-of-a-kind pieces. She usually starts with a full plate of jewels and heads back to California on empty, leaving her to work on some new pieces!
These “animals on wire” rings are just the cutest and I suggested that they could also be worn on chains as pendants, but this was the first time I actually tried my own suggestion. And omg I am in love!! All three are available and are $55 each. The wire is 14k solid gold.
This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry and it is a good one! Kate is a full-time art teacher and part-time jewelry enthusiast and collector. You may already be following her on Instagram, but if not you must. Her collection is pretty amazing and her story may resonate with many of you. So without further ado, I give you Kate’s collection story:
I’ve always loved jewelry. I have early memories of playing “dress up” and “jewelry store” with my grandmother Louise. She kept her jewelry in the top dresser drawer. Oh how I loved looking inside those little boxes and seeing all the sparkly jewels inside! We would arrange her jewels on top of carefully arranged bits of pretty fabrics and embroidered handkerchiefs and take turns “shopping.” It was so much fun trying on her white dress gloves and high heels and playing with all those pretty things.
When I was around 10 years old, my dad started giving me jewelry every year for Christmas, mostly rings. One year, I received a topaz ring that had the most amazing shade of bright blue. I adored that ring! Another favorite ring given to me by my dad was a gold signet ring that he had monogramed with my initials. I think I was around 15 at the time. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style and one I wear often today.
One of my favorite early jewelry memories was when my family went out to dinner before my high school senior award night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to win the top artist award in my class, and my parents bought me this beautiful southwestern sterling bracelet and turquoise ring to mark the occasion. For high school graduation, I received a large, modernist sterling and gold ring. At the time, I wasn’t into yellow gold, and these bold sterling pieces were among the most beautiful pieces I owned. Luckily, my parents have continued the tradition of gifting me jewelry for special occasions, and I cherish them all. These pieces help to serve as reminders of special times in my life. My sweet husband has also joined in on the tradition and I have received many beautiful pieces from him now over the years, including my very first (and favorite) Victorian bird bangle bracelet and my beloved antique turquoise and diamond halo ring.
As a teenager, I was really into second-hand shops–mainly for vintage clothes and small decorative items, but eventually I started picking up inexpensive jewelry and odds-and-ends; like pendants, chokers, chains, etc. At about the same time, I started making beaded jewelry and even gifting and selling pieces to my friends.
Years later, I decided to try my hand at selling handmade jewelry on Etsy. It was a fun, challenging, and creative outlet. Those were the relative early days of Etsy, and I grew as it grew. I did this for a couple of years and slowly started incorporating more and more vintage jewelry components and findings into my pieces. Eventually, the competition increased and my enthusiasm waivered, so I put my shop on hold.
My love affair with antique jewelry began about eight years ago when my mom and I were antiquing at one of my favorite stores in Richmond, IN. My mom fell head-over-heels for this old gold cameo ring. At first, I was like, “What? Cameos? Ugh, I don’t get it.” Then much to my surprise, my mom professed her life-long love affair with cameos, citing stories from her youth. The shop owner quoted her a low price and my mom quickly bought the ring. She wasn’t one to make fine jewelry purchases on our excursions together, so I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I couldn’t stop staring at this unusual reddish-orange cameo ring on our drive back home; I was fascinated by it. It didn’t look like the girly, pink cameos I was used to seeing. It was more masculine in style and the gold was a rich rose color. The shop owner estimated the ring to be about 120 years old.
To my knowledge, I had never seen a ring that old before and now I wanted one for myself! The more I researched, the more I realized what an amazing deal my mom got on that ring. Sure, it was more than I was used to spending on random antique mall purchases (about $85), but still affordable. This made antique jewelry seem obtainable to me for the first time ever. I started reading jewelry books, researching online, and educating myself on antique jewelry. I liked learning the history behind each piece. It’s a perfect fit for me– combining my love of history, research, sentiment, story, etc.
Inspired by my new passion and focus, I reopened my Etsy shop–selling only vintage and antique jewelry. I absolutely loved hunting for old jewelry, even cameos! Thinking back to that special trip to Richmond with my mom, I believe this was the critical moment that later turned this new interest into a full-blown hobby and part-time job for me.
Today I have such a deep and sincere appreciation for antique jewelry; I tend to collect a little bit of everything. All in all, I tend to go more for Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco pieces. Rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry to wear and collect. I love everything from dainty to bold, statement rings. I also love antique bangles and Deco necklaces in all sorts of finishes, metals, and styles.
One of my favorite things to collect are watches. My favorite makers are Longines and Bucherer. I have everything from watch pins, watch rings, wristwatches, and pocket watches. And I really love long enamel watch necklaces. My love of watch necklaces probably began when I scored an amazing Bucherer red guilloche enamel watch ball necklace for $60 in a small, local antique shop. I later learned this was a remarkable deal for one with its original enamel chain in perfect condition. I’ve since added about 10 more to my collection over the years. I just can’t stop myself when I see a beautiful one for a good price. I have such a weakness for fine guilloche enamel-work.
In addition, I love bird-themed jewelry and have many bird bangles, lockets, etc. I tend to favor cool-color pieces in general (it must be the Pisces in me!). I am very fond of blue–sapphires, lapis, zircon, and turquoise to name a few. Pale lavender chalcedony, dreamy moonstones, and that particular shade of green commonly used in Art Deco pieces–are all personal favorites. I have a growing collection of snake rings, too.
I enjoy shopping at small, local places best. The Midwest is a gold mine for antiques of all kinds. The big jewelry enthusiasts seem to live on either coast and being stuck in the middle has its advantages… lower prices and less pickers. But this seems to get harder every year. My favorite display cases and shops seem to be shutting down. The old dealers retire; some pass away. I think part of me has also wanted to open a brick and mortar shop, but the risks are scary.
Currently, I seem to have the most luck shopping at antique shows and online auctions. I’m always on the hunt for new pieces. I would love to own more niello jewelry, antique enamel bracelets, and gutta percha bangles inlaid with gold. I have a thing for portrait paintings but oddly, own no portrait jewelry. I interned at the National Portrait Gallery right after college and it’s a subject I’m really interested in. I would love to find the perfect emerald ring and more “name” or “initial” jewelry to represent the important people in my life.
Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday (hello, 40!) and had been hunting for the perfect aquamarine birthstone piece of jewelry for months. Then it finally happened…a huge, honking, 14-carat, Victorian, pear-shaped aqua ring in 15K gold popped up on my Instagram feed. Its large size, unfussy setting, and perfect pale-blue color, stopped me dead in my tracks. A direct quote from the seller was, “a mesmerizing, dreamy, huge piece of magic.” Indeed it was. I sold three personal collection rings to make room for this special ring, the latest addition to my jewelry box.
Back when I started wearing, selling, and collecting antique jewelry, I was the only one I knew who did. I just bought what I liked and what I could afford at the time. It wasn’t until I joined IG a couple of years ago that I found other like-minded people who loved and appreciated old jewelry as much as I do. Like most sellers/collectors, I am searching for more high quality and unusual pieces nowadays. Lately, there seems to be more competition, more reproductions, and higher prices on the online auction sites, making it harder to “score” a deal. While I may not be selling forever, I know I will be wearing and enjoying my jewelry for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy. Marking special occasions and making new memories with jewelry are so important to me. Jewelry has a way of keeping our memories alive…providing a tangible reminder… connecting us to the people, places, and significant moments we cherish in life. Happy hunting!
WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories
One of my most frequently asked questions I get is, “where do you find all these amazing vintage and antique jewels?!” And my answer may surprise you, as most would envision me scouring flea markets, old attics and the like to find things like these featured above. It might be easy for me to say ONLINE and it is totally true. Websites like The Three Graces do the hard work for you, scouting out the most unique, wearable and head-turning jewels out there and we should appreciate that! I like knowing that anytime I go on TheThreeGraces.com I can find a whole new batch of sparkly, rare, vintage and antique pieces that expert Lisa Stockhammer Mial has sourced, authenticated, cleaned up and ready for its next lifetime. They also have some pretty special perks like a “no questions asked, free return policy,” offer layaway, and most every ring can be sized to fit! And what is easier than simply logging on to a website and ogling over New Arrivals?!
I got to do just that when choosing my favorite top ten rings that are currently for sale at The Three Graces. A mix of pieces I would love to own, rings that remind me of some favorites from my personal collection, and some that I can’t believe are still available (quick, grab them before someone else does!). Let’s start from the top!
Emerald Art Deco Ring & Diamond Filigree Halo Ring
1. There’s something unique about an Art Deco ring shaped like this emerald and diamond one! Not only does it elongate the finger, but it surely gets people staring. I love how delicate yet statement-making this ring is. Set in platinum with a stunning emerald, currently a size 6.5 and ready for a finger to shine on! Price: $4,950
2. At first I thought this would make such a beautiful engagement ring but then I saw the photos created by The Three Graces with my picks and I am really loving how this ring also looks as a right hand ring! I love when rings are versatile like that and this one definitely doesn’t have a bad angle even if you tried. The center diamond is just over a half carat and has a gorgeous sparkle to it. Price: $3,650
Deco Rock Crystal Ring & Large Moonstone Sapphire Cluster Ring
3. This ring is one of the best examples of rock crystal jewelry I’ve seen! I love the contrast of the blue sapphires along with the frostiness of the crystal and white diamond. This ring would be a perfect anniversary or birthday gift and I can almost guarantee this will get a lot of wear–it goes with everything! It is currently a size 7 1/4 and done in 14k white gold. Price: $1,350
4. If you know my personal collection as well as you know your own, you will understand why I HAD to choose this grand moonstone and sapphire ring! I have an almost identical one in my collection and the compliments that I get on it are nonstop. If you’ve been wanting to find something similar, this is it! Currently a size 5 1/2 with 2.88 carats of bright blue sapphires. Price: $4.450
Antique Citrine Ring & Vintage Amethyst Halo Ring
5. A pop of yellow added to any outfit instantly brightens everything! That’s why I love this citrine ring so much–I quickly become happy as soon as I look at it. I think this would be an ideal ring to wear in the summer and it could easily transition to fall wardrobes and colors. This art deco ring is currently a size 4 1/2 and can be resized for its new owner. Price: $1,275
6. Purple was my favorite color for most of my childhood. Anyone lucky enough to have a February birthdate can call amethyst their birthstone and this particular ring would be perfect for you. Or if you’re like me and just love the color purple, then yes you deserve this ring too. Currently a size 8 1/4 and can be sized to your liking. Price: $1,350
Bohemian Turquoise Ring & Bold Opal Cluster Ring
7. Turquoise is one of my most favorite gemstones–I can’t get enough of it! When most people think of turquoise, they think of Persian turquoise and although that is most desirable and valuable, I actually like when turquoise shows veining, different patterns and depth of color. This particular ring has great natural veining and I love the design–simple yet bold! The ring is done in 8k yellow gold and currently a size 6 3/4. Price: $650
8. So we all know my obsession with opals and if I didn’t have so many opal rings, THIS would be in my virtual shopping cart right now. Everything about it is amazing to me–the design (large oval cluster), the opals (a nice play-of-color that glows in the right light), and the size (big and bold). Don’t miss out on this vintage one-of-a-kind, done in 10k yellow gold. Price: $2,195
Edwardian Diamond Heart Ring & “Four Corners” Sapphire, Diamond Ring
9. Never thought I’d be such a sucker for hearts, but I absolutely love them, especially the antique versions. This is an exceptional ring, dating back to the Edwardian period and set with rose cut diamonds in a silver topped setting. The band is done in 14k yellow gold and currently a size 5 1/2. If you love heart jewelry as much as I do, you won’t let this one slip away! Price: $3,850
10. Ok, this ring is one that will stop you dead in your tracks and I’m so in love with it! The design is really unique–The Three Graces describes it perfectly by saying, “modernist flavor with strong design elements.” The intensity of the blue sapphires is insane and it is one in a million. This ring deserves a good home that provides lots of love and care! 😉 Price: $4,450
This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with The Three Graces.
The above gemstones are all beautiful, but which would make a great engagement ring and which two are bad choices for an everyday wear piece?
Alternative engagement rings have been popular long before Princess Diana (and subsequently Kate Middleton) donned a blue sapphire. In fact, diamonds weren’t commonly used in engagement rings until the early 20th century. Stones were picked based on birthdays, symbolism, and what color was in-vogue at the time.
While it can be exciting to imagine an engagement ring with mystical and trendy stones like opal and moonstone, these gemstones actually make terrible engagement rings. So terrible that you might find yourself sulking over a ruined ring with a stone that has been chipped and gouged beyond repair. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Why Won’t Some Gemstones Work?
Even though I don’t recommend wearing your rings ALL the time, most engagement rings are worn nearly every day. Even if you are the gentlest person on the planet, your engagement ring will always be subject to potential damage. Some stones simply shouldn’t take that risk because the gemstone may not be hard enough to handle even the slightest impact.
Every gemstone has a hardness factor, which basically tells us how much bumping and scraping a gem can take before it becomes scratched or damaged. This hardness is ranked between 1-10 on what is known as the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In theory, the higher the number on the Mohs Scale, the harder and more durable the gemstone is. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally, the lower the number, the more you shouldn’t use this stone as an engagement ring.
How Does the Mohs Scale Figure Out Hardness?
The best way I can think to explain this is exactly how I learned it in my Geology 101 class my Freshman year of college. Let’s see if you can follow, and for those of you that already know this, bear with me. The Mohs Scale ranks a gemstone’s hardness by whether or not it can be scratched by other gemstones or materials. If the gemstone being scratched shows a mark or abrasion, it is softer than (or equal to) the material that scratched it. If the hardness is equal, the gemstone that was scratched should also be able to effectively scratch the material that scratched it.
Since diamonds are ranked highest on the Mohs Scale at a 10, they should essentially be able to scratch every other gemstone’s surface.
Why Diamonds are Forever
One reason diamonds are so prized for engagement rings is because of their rank on the Mohs Scale. At a 10, diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. In fact, no other gemstone comes close to this hardness factor. This doesn’t mean diamonds are indestructible (more on this in a future post), but it does mean that it is much more difficult to damage a diamond than say a garnet that ranks between 6.5 – 7.5.
What Stones are the Absolute Worst for Engagement Rings?
Not to dissuade you, but if a gemstone makes this list, you’ll really want to rethink your strategy before using it in an engagement ring. That’s not to say you couldn’t. Some of these stones are significantly less expensive than diamonds, so if they become damaged, they could easily be replaced.
A word of warning though — take extra care not to get sentimentally attached to the stone itself, since you might be forced to replace it someday. You could also opt to not wear the ring every day. Save it for special occasions and wear your wedding band instead. There are no engagement ring rules stating you have to wear your ring seven days a week, and who says you should only have one!
But, regardless, these gemstones will make the worst non-diamond engagement rings:
Opal: Ranks 5.5 – 6.5 and is very susceptible to crazing and chipping.
Moonstone: Ranks 6 – 6.5 with a polished cab surface that is easy to scratch.
Pearl: Ranks 2.5 – 4.5 and has a nacre coating that can peel away.
Emerald: Ranks 7.5 – 8 which is hard but this stone is very prone to cracking.
Garnet: Ranks 6.5 – 7 and will easily show age around facet edges in time.
Best Engagement Ring Stones Other Than Diamonds:
All hope is not lost if you’re set on using a gemstone other than a diamond for your engagement ring. Even though most of these gemstones aren’t as durable as diamonds, they will stay in great shape for a lifetime as long as you take proper care of your jewelry.
Here are some of my favorite alternative engagement ring stones:
Aquamarine: Ranks 7.5 – 8 and has a gorgeous pale blue color.
Blue Sapphire: Ranks 9 with a classic, timeless appeal.
Ruby: Ranks 9 and is perfect for a more feminine style.
Morganite: Ranks 7.5 – 8, is pale with peach undertones.
There are so many other gemstones not listed here and other factors that affect durability, too. But this guide should at least get you started. Remember to always look up a gemstone’s hardness on the Mohs Scale. If it ranks below a 6, do a little more research and weigh your options. Good luck and happy hunting!
We are back with this month’s Jewelry Collection Story and it comes from Nathalie whom I discovered on Instagram! She has been posting eye-catching and droolworthy images of her personal collection, including her incredible and rare antique ring case collection. It was awesome to see that she found my #JewelryRoadTrip to Ohio alluring enough to buy two of the rings I featured–I love when people are able to connect that way with items that I showcase, it is honestly why I started the #JewelryRoadTrip project in the first place! I had to know more about her and her story, as well as see first-hand her gorgeous collection. Take it away Nathalie:
My journey with jewelry began with a 24K yellow gold bracelet. It was a Sweet Sixteen birthday gift from my mother, my first jewelry piece from her – and I was disappointed. At that age, I was hoping for new clothes, new shoes, or the latest coolest CD player. I thanked my mother and tucked it away because I thought yellow gold was for old ladies. Every year after that, she continued to bestow yellow gold to me on my birthdays. They came in the form of more bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Each time, I would thank her, put away the pieces, and never wear them.
On my 21st birthday, after receiving another piece of yellow gold jewelry it finally occurred to me to ask my mother why she chose this as my annual gift over other things. To this she replied, “When you were 7 months old, your father and I had to escape our mother country (Vietnam) and when we arrived to our new country (France), I had to sell my jewelry in order to get things like food.” And she kept on talking and sharing. And I felt shame for being ungrateful, heartbreak for the hardships my parents endured. I also started to see and love my mother in a whole new light. She is my Wonder Woman. And this was also the day I truly fell in love with jewelry and became a collector.
A while back, there was a question floating around in the Instagram world asking “Does jewelry make you a better person?” To that I say “Yes, it does!” It can lift your spirits up, it can create a bond between people, it can commemorate the loss of a loved one, or punctuate a special occasion. Sometimes it is just downright magical. If you are reading this blog, then I am sure you have chased or currently chasing some unicorn in the form of a ring, bracelet, necklace, or earrings.
I look for treasures in all kinds of places: at my local shops, fairs, and online (eBay, Etsy, Ruby Lane). Collecting has its ebbs and flows. I have gone years without buying a single piece, and other times when that is all I can think about! What attracts me also seems to have its cycles which is why I rarely part with any of my pieces. I am an equal bling opportunist, but I tend to gravitate towards rings. I do think I am at a point where I need to par down a bit to make room for some new fabulous pieces. Discovering the Instagram community truly enriched my knowledge and appreciation for past and current jewelry, in addition to making some lovely connections with others who understand this passion.
When I became a mom two and half years ago, I started daydreaming about what stories I would share with my daughter. Every time I bring out my jewelry to play she is always by my side asking to play along. It is so fun to see her light up as I let her try on my pieces. Little does she know that she is already the owner of something very special. When she had turned one month old my mother had gifted her the sweetest 24K gold bracelet. And there will be many more treasures waiting for her.
WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories
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!
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.
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.
Left: the plaque Heather made, with her sister’s special quote Right: a necklace Heather wears almost everyday–it features her new Buddha charm
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!
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!
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!
This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Heather B. Moore.
There are quite a few jewelry businesses that feature mother-daughter duos in this industry. Each one having a story rich in passion, a love for what they’re doing AND for one another, and above all, a special bond you truly can’t have with anyone else. Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and jewelry is a wonderful and powerful gift to give any mother–but a charm that has significance and meaning, one that connects you two together will make her heart sing! Even better if you get that charm from Charmco, a mother-daughter run business that has been deeply connected to charms and promotes this in every way possible! After hearing their story, you’ll not only want to start your own charm collection (if you haven’t already), but also buy your mom a personalized charm for her to unwrap on Mother’s Day!
It started with my grandma Boomie’s charm bracelet. I remember when she would visit my sister and I would go over each and every charm and beg her to tell us what they were and she would have fun telling us stories. My mother inherited the bracelet and decided to use a few of these special charms to build a bracelet for us. She searched for the rest of the charms to make the bracelets meaningful to us; I lived in NYC and worked in communications while my sister was working on a farm in Bali so you can imagine how different the bracelets could be! It was hard to find great charms to add so it took quite a while. When she gifted us the bracelets, needless to say we were both blown away! Wherever I wore my charm bracelet it seemed to spark a conversation- I even remember showing my charms to a stranger on the subway and going over what each little treasure meant to me. My mother had always been a collector of vintage and antique jewelry and I loved the idea of starting a business where we could help people find great charms so we launched C.H.A.R.M, an acronym for “Charms Have A Real Meaning”. An awesome name for our company but not a great one for a web based retailer so a few years later we became Charmco.
We started traveling and educating ourselves and collecting and by Spring 2002, we began to work with private clients in NYC by appointment to make custom charm bracelets. Soon after that we developed our first website. It was an informational site which had a questionnaire in a pdf form that was downloaded by customers with questions that were supposed to reveal their true charm nature! We had piles of forms come in and we would build a sampling of their bracelet based on the answers. We were sending charm bracelet all over the US and were featured in a variety of popular magazines and had a great word of mouth business. We started doing trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman and for about 3 years we sold through Bergdorfs, Neiman Marcus and Fragments showroom and to a variety of boutiques. We moved our focus online in 2005 with an ecommerce site and now Charmco is home to over 700 collection charms all made in NYC, more than 1000 vintage charms, charm bracelets and necklaces to mix and match.
A charm bracelet or charm necklace is so personal, it tells your story, your travels and your loves– all around. It’s a piece of jewelry that’s classic so it avoids being on trend one season and out the next. It can be passed down from one generation to the next and get transformed into the next person’s wearable life story. The charms I have from my Grandmother are some of my most precious. Charm gifting, in itself, becomes a tradition. We have mothers, husbands, daughters, sisters, friends, grandmothers returning every year on the dot for another charm for their bracelet. Charm bracelets, unlike any other jewelry is a growing reflection of one’s life.
Some of our all time favorites are also some of the most popular charms. My absolute favorite is our Custom Calendar; a charm where your special date is marked with a Diamond and which is entirely bespoke. Other classics are an engraved monogram disc, retro baby booties that can be engraved with a birth date or a name and famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, which we make 4 different ways. Our all time most popular category is travel; a classic charm bracelet theme. New styles people are loving include our new martini glass with a Diamond olive and our elephant mom and baby charm. The martini glass is classic and has a fun diamond olive spark to it and the elephant mom and baby gets an “aww” from everyone when they see the mom carrying the little baby with her trunk.
We see more symbolic charms like unicorns and lightning bolts rising in popularity. The infinity symbol is a charm that’s popular at the moment and I think it’s a concept charm that people embrace right now.
The charm bracelet that inspired our business has evolved through the years. I have custom calendars for each of my two daughter’s birthdays. I paired them with a mini vintage rooster and rat charm to mark their Chinese Zodiac for our three years in Hong Kong. One of my favorite charms is a movable roulette wheel with a little bead that moves with a shake and lands on a winning number. I still test my luck! I also have always cherished my devil that pops out of the martini shaker. I do like a good dry vodka martini! I’ve just started building a separate travel charm necklace and my favorite piece on this necklace isn’t the most “fantastic” charm but it means a lot to me. It’s a golden mountain range of Crested Butte Colorado where I got engaged to my husband. The day I found that charm, I also learned I was pregnant with my first daughter Audrey, so it has super special meaning!
I tend to think in themes and Diamonds are my birthstone. One of my favorite charm bracelets is packed with Diamond charms I have collected over the years. The light bulb charm literally “lights” up with all my good ideas! My Sputnik bracelet features five vintage gem-filled Sputniks inspired by the 1950’s space satellite. My main charm bracelet is like a short bio of my life with quirks and all. I have a vintage crystal photo globe charm with a photo of my ex husband (father to my daughters) on one side and my husband of the past 35 years on the other! I also have a vintage troll doll, which represents my era that I love and a taxi meter that rotates from vacant to occupied to forever – A classic love charm.
All the April showers have rained down on us all month long and I’m here waiting for the May flowers, which will hopefully be worth the wait! Spring is one of my most favorite times of the year; a time of rebirth, growth, freshness and strength. What better way than to capture all that in our latest Jewels at my Doorstep shoot because it is so fitting with the designer being featured–Alexis Kletjian. Her jewelry is created and designed with the intention of being a part of your every day wardrobe, being passed down, and becoming a part of your legacy. The word legacy is very important to Alexis–it is a word she often thinks of when celebrating milestones, both in life and online. Celebration often goes hand-in-hand with giving/receiving jewelry, and it is exactly that idea which Alexis feels her jewelry line lends itself perfectly with. She also celebrates online anytime her social media platforms hit a special milestone and she gives back by drawing names from anyone who has emailed her with their legacy story! Winner receives $1000 good toward a piece from the Alexis Kletjian collections.
A milestone like a birthday, anniversary or holiday are all ideal moments to share a piece of Alexis Kletjian jewelry–a shield pendant, a hexagon band, or any of her initial charms–there are so many great pieces. I was really excited to see her jewels, as I haven’t seen them in awhile. I also got to experience some never-before-seen pieces she has been busy cooking up! Like the emerald and diamond crossover ring and the opal lotus star pendant with one-of-a-kind boulder opals. Definitely some of my favorite pieces! We can’t forget the Retiarii earrings because those need their own special introduction. Glamorous, sleek and bold–shining bright with diamonds set in the “netting” of the design (a retiarii is an ancient gladiator net used to protect oneself in battle) and dangling with two specially cut chrysoberyls by Top Notch Faceting. These earrings can be customized, as Alexis also makes them in all gold, all diamonds, or all diamonds + moonstone. The bangles were beyond belief, as they came done in 18k gold with three different eternity style gemstone varieties: demantoid garnet, chrome diopside, and tanzanite. Lastly, we must discuss my obsession with these “crystal ball” looking rings because when I look into them, I can see my future. They are actually prehnite cabochons and although you might not have ever heard of that stone before, get familiar! Alexis just put it on the map.
Our shoot was set on a glorious spring morning in Nashville; our location being Belmont University–one of the prettiest schools I’ve ever been to. They are known for their lavish gardens, with over 14,000 tulips (imported from the Netherlands), and over 100 species of trees and shrubs. Efforts have been put in place to keep the campus classified as a tree sanctuary. The photos were shot by Lauren Newman Photography and we used as much of the gardens, plants, trees and flowers as possible in all the shots. We hope you enjoy!
18k yellow gold Retiarii earrings set with diamonds and dangling chrysoberyls cut by TopNotch Faceting
18k yellow gold mini star stud earrings set with diamonds
18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with demantoid garnets
18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with chrome diopside
18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with tanzanite
14k yellow gold Lotus shield pendant set with tanzanite and diamonds
14k yellow gold Lucky star shield pendant set with an emerald
18k yellow gold Lotus star pendant set with boulder opals
18k yellow gold prehnite cabochon signet rings, in two different sizes
14k yellow gold mini hexagon bands, one in emerald and one in diamonds
14k yellow gold hexagon bands, one in demantoid garnet and one in diamonds
14k yellow gold emerald and diamond crossover ring
The life of an entrepreneur: forever in motion, on the go, and fast-paced. Sometimes you need your jewelry to be that way too! I’m always on the hunt for something I know I can throw on and automatically look good, something I can style with a variety of different outfits, and something that is timeless and will withstand a hectic lifestyle. The piece of jewelry that does it for me is my Dana Seng birthstone initial charm necklace, without a doubt! It goes with just about anything…when I put it on I already feel put together…and the best part is that it was made for me! I picked out the letter I wanted and the gemstone I wanted–D for Danielle (my first name) and sapphire for my birthstone (and luckily blue is a color that goes great with almost my entire wardrobe).
Dana Seng Jewelry prides itself on creating jewelry that fits this exact remedy–for “every style” and for “every woman.” I thought it would be fun to see how three different women style their own Dana Seng Jewelry pieces, so I took three Nashville entrepreneurs (myself included) and without any direction, told everyone to style their piece with what fits their lifestyle and how it fits in their everyday look. It was so interesting to see how a simple initial gemstone necklace or ring could be worn in different ways, suit unique styles and become a staple to someone’s wardrobe. One thing is for sure, we all agreed how simple, yet statement-making our birthstone initial pieces are and how much they’ve become an everyday occurrence within our style.
Let’s find out more:
By day, I’m writing my blog Gem Gossip, editing photos, pulling ideas and planning my next move…by night, I’m cooking the latest Blue Apron, catching up on Shameless, playing with my dogs and most likely ripping out carpet somewhere in my house. Even if there are days where I don’t leave my office, I like to at least throw on a piece of jewelry that makes me feel good and oftentimes it is my Dana Seng Jewelry initial necklace. My style is casual, always pants (I’ve never been a dress-wearer, but I’m trying) and I love a good blouse, like the one I’m wearing. I mostly wear vintage or antique jewelry, and my initial necklace from Dana Seng fits in perfectly.
When she’s not busy building her photography empire, Lauren Newman, a Florida-born, California-dreaming entrepreneur is exploring Nashville, always on the lookout for new places to shoot. Photography is her passion and so is traveling. Her style is romantic with an edge, often pairing a pretty dress with a leather jacket. Her Dana Seng Jewelry is an initial birthstone ring–she chose an L for her first name, done in garnets for her birth month of January. It pairs perfectly with her other gold, delicate rings and is exactly her jewelry style. She likes wearing rings when she’s out on a photoshoot because every time she clicks the camera, they sparkle!
You can follow Lauren on Instagram here.
Documenting her daily outfits and inspirations has been something that has come natural for Nashville fashion blogger Alyssa. She has been writing Dreaming Trees since 2014 where her creativity flows and her bohemian style is put front and center. Her Dana Seng birthstone initial charm necklace easily transitions from her nine to five day job, to her photoshoots she executes for her blog. She chose an A for her first name set with Peridot for her August birthday in a necklace. As you can see, mixing her initial necklace with her usual Southwestern silver rings and other delicate gold necklaces fits her style and she makes it her own! Whether Alyssa is wearing a vintage dress or a new trendy designer, her Dana Seng necklace can blend with either and easily layer with other jewelry.
You can follow Alyssa on Instagram here.
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All photos by Lauren Newman Photography.
This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Dana Seng Jewelry.