Jewelry Collection Stories: Lindsey of @ParkAvenueAntiques

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I’ve followed Lindsey of Park Avenue Antiques for a very long time! My first interaction with her was sort of humorous–I remember being on my way out the door to go antiquing for the day with my mom and sister. I was waiting on a ring to go up on the auction block so I unpleasantly made them wait until it did, not realizing it wouldn’t be until another 45 minutes. I can’t remeber exactly why I lost out on the ring, but while in the car finally on our way, I took a screenshot of the ring and posted it on Instagram with the caption, “Who outbid me on this portrait ring?! Confess!!” Lindsey was sweet enough to message me to tell me she had been the final bidder on it and graciously offered it for sale. A story too good to be made up, I’ve treasured that ring ever since! Over the years, we’ve continued to follow each other–even one point I tried meeting up at an antique show, but kept missing her! Hopefully meeting will be in the cards for us in the future, but until then…let’s check out her amazing jewelry collection!

Like many of you, I have been attracted to sparkly things for as far back as I can remember. As a little girl, I collected rocks and minerals, little buttons and sea glass. My father was an antiques dealer and the two of us were always on an “antiquing adventure”. One of our favorite places to visit was Roycroft Antiques in East Aurora, NY. They had a wooden whisky barrel filled with buttons and beads and I would dig through that barrel until my hands were black! Who knows what I thought I’d find in there! It was all about the hunt….

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I share this silver filigree necklace with my daughter Cameron. The three Edwardian silver bears represent her and her two brothers.

Around the age of 5, we moved to Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was a difficult transition. My parents both worked two jobs and I was home alone a lot. My mother always found ways to show me how much I was loved and that she was thinking of me. She came up with a hide and seek game we called “Rubber Legs” which involved hiding a yellow plastic figure. Before she left for work in the morning, she would hide Rubber Legs somewhere for me to find. Then I would hide him somewhere for her. I almost always hid him in her antique spool cabinet/jewelry box. It was a magical place where I wasn’t supposed to “dig around” but I couldn’t help myself! There were sparkly rings, beautiful strings of trade beads, flapper necklaces and cameos. She had all kinds of treasures but my favorite piece was a little gold acorn charm that rattled when shaken.

Once we moved to Hershey, adventures in antiquing with dad still continued. He opened an antique lighting shop in Adamstown, PA in the Black Angus Antiques Mall. Most Sundays I would tag along to help him but really spent most of my days with other dealers. I was fascinated with their knowledge in various fields and eager to hear their stories. This is where my love for jewelry and antiques really started.

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LEFT: Georgian sapphire and rose cut diamond bow brooch in silver topped gold, purchased at the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

When collecting jewelry became a serious passion, I invested in books. Jewelry books on private collections, construction, symbolism, intaglios, various periods and markings. My jewelry library has helped me to educate myself and develop a true respect for the craftsmanship and symbolism that these pieces hold. I try to add one book to my collection every month. I would encourage any aspiring jewelry collector to do this as well.

RIGHT: Eight years ago, I was newly divorced and the only jewelry I had was my and my grandmothers wedding ring. I put some money aside and decided I’d like to create a piece of jewelry that would represent my family. I hoped to create a ring that could be passed on to one of my children. The first jeweler I went to was a rather unpleasant experience. I nearly gave up on my idea but decided to give it one more try. This is when I met Skip Colflesh, the owner of The Jeweler’s Bench in Hershey, PA. He helped me create the perfect ring. We used the diamonds in my grandmothers wedding ring, my engagement ring and each of the children’s birthstones. The first time I saw the ring it was an emotional experience. It was a perfect representation of my life’s journey. The diamonds no longer felt like the loss of a loved one or a failed marriage – they were now something beautiful and very personal. But more than that, I was so grateful for the friendship that had come out of designing the ring together. Skip has become one of my dearest friends and also my mentor. Friends make all the difference.

Park Avenue Antiques

I really don’t have a specific type of jewelry or period that I collect. I am mostly drawn to gemstones and figural pieces but my collection is quite varied. My most heavily worn pieces of jewelry are my watch chains. I love connecting them together for different looks and wearing them with various pendants.

Here are a few of my favorite necklaces:

LEFT: Painted enamel mourning locket depicting a young girl and her dog. It reads “Mary Rutherfurd Prime April 16, 1810 – Died September 9, 1835”

SECOND FROM LEFT: Opal pendant from Arts & Crafts Movement. This pendant reminds me of my favorite spring flower, lilac, and the opals are absolutely electric. I bought this in an antique store in England.

THIRD FROM LEFT: Not easy to pick a favorite, but if I had to, this would be it! Raj Era moonstone pendant from @saintespritofchelsea Beautifully crafted in silver and gold with huge shimmering moonstone cabochons.

CENTER: 19th c Kerosang with faceted white zircon.

Park Avenue Antiques

Here are a few of my favorite rings:

Victorian era amethyst and pearl serpent ring was purchased from David Ashville of Ashville Fine Arts.

The kunzite and diamond ring I bought from @blackamooruk. I believe this ring was originally an early 20th century brooch that was carefully converted. I love the size of the kunzite and it fits my finger perfectly.

The Victorian topaz ring was purchased from @ishyantiques.

The art deco moonstone ring is one of my favorites. It was purchased from Brad Wilson of Wilson’s Estate Jewelry in Philadelphia, PA.

The massive cameo ring I created using a 19th century cameo from @antiquestoreinwayne and a custom gold setting created by Skip Colflesh @thejewelersbenchofhershey.

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LEFT: Agate tree ring – This is one of my creations. I used an agate sourced from an old cufflink mounted in a setting made by @thejewelersbenchofherehey Victorian chrysoberyl and gold band @westandsonjewellery

RIGHT: This is my most recent purchase. My dear friend Will @martindaleasianarts recently took me on a day trip to a quaint town about an hour outside of London where I found it in an antiques shop.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am honored to be a part of the Instagram jewelry community. Your posts have greatly enhanced my knowledge and appreciation for all types of jewelry and the friendships that have developed because of our shared passion for jewelry are priceless to me.

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Lindsey –> @ParkAvenueAntiques

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James D. Julia Auction Features 60 Jewelry Items in Upcoming Sale

Hey Gem Gossip readers! As many of you know, writing about upcoming auctions is one of my favorite topics–I’ve written nearly 100 blog posts on this topic throughout the past almost nine years of having this blog! I live it, breathe it, and am constantly talking about jewelry auctions. I love discovering new auction houses and I’m excited to be writing about James D. Julia Auction house today since I never have featured them before. They have an upcoming sale on June 16th, 2017 that is called “June Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry Auction” which is of interest, particularly the 60 lots of fine jewelry items which is at the very beginning of the sale.

James D. Julia Inc. is located in Fairfield, Maine and has been in business for over fifty years. The company began in 1965 by Arthur Julia as a small country auction house which quickly grew over the years. Current owner James D. Julia purchased the company from his father in 1974 after graduating college. Always staying current with the times has been a key to the success of this auction house–state-of-the-art catalogs, photos and descriptions as well as an easy interactive website where bidding can take place from anywhere in the world have allowed an auction house located in Maine compete with world-known names. They are currently ranked as one of the top ten antique auction houses in North America.

The June 16th auction features 60 lots of jewelry items–pieces from the low 100s on up to six-figure digits–so a pretty large assortment. Diamond rings, lots of emeralds, a high-end Breitling watch, jewelry suites, pearls, gorgeous every day jewelry, and everything in between. One of my favorite lots is the last one in the jewelry section–a group of 40 jewelry books! I am such a jewelry book nerd and this lot features a bunch of rare, out-of-print titles. It is definitely worth checking out and the people of James D. Julia were kind enough to create an interactive catalog (embedded above) which features all 60 of the jewelry lots! It is also worthy to note, many of the pieces, starting with lot #1019 as noted in the catalog, are from a private Texas Estate collection which is completely unreserved and thus could result in some excellent buying opportunities.

Here are some of my favorites highlighted:

Lot 1005: A stunning all-diamond bypass style ring, set in 14k white gold and an estimated 1.78 carats total. I love the bypass style, with this piece having three diamonds set at a diagonal. If you’re thinking of a unique alternative engagement ring, this would be a great choice! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 1007: The most expensive/highest estimate piece in the sale–this 10.02 carat natural fancy intense yellow diamond ring! This rare and unique stone is VS-1 in clarity and comes with a diamond certificate from GIA. To accompany the center stone, it is beautifully flanked on each side by bullet shaped diamonds, VVS/VS clarity and FG in color. The ring is done in platinum and 18k white gold. Estimate: $130,000-160,000

Lot 1016: Elegant and charming, this diamond pendant necklace features gorgeous bright white diamonds set into a Art Nouveau treasure. It features a dangling bezel set diamond at the bottom and hangs from a 16″ chain. Nothing like a piece of history. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Lot 1020: A vintage Cartier ring of finest quality–composed of one center emerald cut diamond and two emerald cut emeralds on each side. The ring is done in platinum with 18k yellow gold settings. Center diamond weighs 1.98 carats and the emeralds are Columbian. Can’t get much better than that! Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 1023: I like this ring because it has a bypass style but it also has sort of a serpent look to it! The ring is set with a modified-fan cut emerald and lots of diamond accents, 1.75 carats to be exact! This ring is trendy and classic at the same time. I could easily pair with other pieces for a fun look. Estimate: $1,200-1,800

Lot 1035: If you love a good multi-gemstone piece of jewelry, this one is my pick for you! This cuff is done in 18k yellow gold and bezel set with multiple gemstones of all colors! We’ve got rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and an unidentified yellow stone…all of various shapes and sizes. A truly well-made and exquisite piece! Estimate: $500-800

Lot 1052: This necklace caught my attention the first time I ever looked at this catalog. It consists of a multi-serpent pendant that hangs from a gold toggle necklace–the various gemstones are peridot, garnet, amethyst, and citrine. The layers of serpents graduate in size, as do the gemstones. I’ve never seen a pendant quite like this one before and I’ve always been drawn to serpent jewelry. Estimate: $600-900

Lot 1060: Remember the lot of jewelry books I talked about above–this is the lot! It features 40 different jewelry reference books, including several out-of-print titles. 100 Years of Collectible Jewelry, Cameos Old & New, Jewelry in America 1600-1900, and The Art of Fine Jewelry are definitely intriguing me and I feel like I will be bidding on this lot come auction day!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with James D. Julia.

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Gem Gossip Visits M. Flynn Jewelry in Boston, MA

Come along with me as I take you inside M. Flynn in Boston!

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Such a gorgeous selection of engagement & wedding — these are a mix of Anna Sheffield & M. Flynn’s own bridal designs, shop bridal

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Getting the store tour from co-founder Megan

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some of Page Sargisson zodiac medallions, a best-seller

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I’m wearing some pieces from M. Flynn’s estate selection, the necklace was created out of a collection of vintage hat charms!

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I love the crystal chandeliers and white fixtures–it is its own jewel box!

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Some more vintage pieces from their estate section: antique buttons turned into pendants, a scottie dog, and a stick pin converted into a pendant

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The entire back wall is covered in crystals floating from invisible wire–it is quite magical!

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M. Flynn has all the right studs to create an epic ear stack, shop earrings — and loving the turquoise selection, Mociun + vintage

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Turquoise has taken over a section of this case and we’re not mad at that.

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A fun line of jewelry called Loquet allows you to customize gems and gold trinkets inside a rock crystal dome

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Wearing rings by Misa Jewelry and necklaces by Page Sargisson

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M. Flynn loves working one-on-one with clients to help them find the perfect piece!

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

I can’t get enough of these estate pieces!

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

The shop has been open since 2009 and is located amongst some amazing restaurants and walking areas.

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Nautical, New England style fully represented in the Turk’s Head collection by AGA Correa

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Fashion jewelry also lines the shelves of the shop, along with jewelry books and other jewel-inspired gifts

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An up-close shot of the necklaces from Page Sargisson & diamond Misa Jewelry

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Shop M. Flynn’s estate collection

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myself with the founders & owners of M. Flynn, sister duo Megan & Moria

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Gorgeous crystal chandeliers are the perfect touch to the light and airy decor

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Vintage charms found at M. Flynn

A dazzling curtain of crystals which doubles as artwork…all the best jewelry books one can fathom…flawless displays…sparkling jewelry of all kinds…and one mascot named Stu. This reads as the ultimate recipe for a beautiful, successful jewelry store, which happens to be a real-life place. It is called M. Flynn Jewelry and the shop is located in Boston, Massachusetts. I was lucky enough to visit the store on my #JewelryRoadTrip, where I learned all about its beginnings, what it has to offer, as well as the two sisters behind the namesake: Megan & Moria Flynn!

Opened in 2009, the store fostered the sisters’ love for all things sparkly. Elizabeth Taylor is a jewelry icon for all of the world, but for Megan & Moria, she is everything! They wanted to create a space where they can serve multiple needs for their clients and the store has evolved over the past several years, growing along the way. Their are a few important features of M. Flynn Jewelry–so let’s break down each one!

Their own line of jewelry: if you need classic, every day wear pieces the M. Flynn line is just what you’re looking for. Gemstone rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings make up the line, including bridal options as well. They also have a collaboration collection called the Gates Collection which they’ve created along with an interior designer/blogger that is highly popular–Erin Gates.

Designer jewelry: M. Flynn has been expanding each year, adding new designers they feel are a good fit for both their store and the Boston area. Some of the best selling and favorites are Adel Chefridi, Page Sargisson, EF Collection, Misa Jewelry, Mociun, Loquet, Kelly Bello, and more.

Bridal jewelry: An ideal destination for all your wedding needs, M. Flynn can create your dream ring! They also have a large assortment of finished pieces from their own designs, as well as top designer engagement rings from Anna Sheffield, Mociun, Misa Jewelry, and Page Sargisson. They also have a selection of men’s wedding bands too!

Estate Jewelry: All periods, all styles–M. Flynn loves it all, so if it is delicate and sentimental or retro and unique, you will find it here. Lots of rings, some earrings and necklaces, and a large assortment of charms. This section is ever-changing and always one-of-a-kind, so check back often!

Fashion Jewelry: I know Gem Gossip does not cover fashion jewelry at all, but it is noteworthy that M. Flynn does carry fashion jewelry–lots of different designers, such as Lizzie Fortunato, Pamela Love, and Alexis Bittar–and great price points for gift-giving season.

Gifts/Accessories: Who knew jewelry-related gifts were so fun?! Gem Water bottles, jewelry travel cases, fragrances, cards, candles, jewelry books…you name it, they have it! I need this store in my life during the holidays!

Custom design: Besides all the above amazingness, M. Flynn also can custom design your dream piece. Whether you bring in family stones or have nothing at all except for a few slight ideas, they are here to help with that. You will be loving the finished result and coming back for more.

Hope you enjoy browsing the above photos from my visit–I know you will have heart-emoji eyes while doing so. Megan & Moria are truly so nice and have such a passion for what they do–I also have major respect for Megan getting her gemology degree at GIA. Not many store owners do so and I think that’s amazing! Next time you’re in Boston, pop in and say hi–make sure to pet Stu for me!

M Flynn

40 Waltham St.

Boston, MA 02118

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Summer Getaway: Adventures in New Mexico with Vale Jewelry

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Summertime gives us all the wanderlust vibes you can ever imagine. Our Instagram is typically filled with jewels, gems and all things relating to jewelry design, so it always grabs our attention when our favorite jewelry designers and store owners post an envious getaway pic. We’ve seen glimpses of Paris, tropical islands, Canadian mountains, and everything in between. I’m personally obsessed with the US desert southwest–remember I honeymooned in Sedona, Arizona?–so when I saw a New Mexico landscape scroll onto my screen I had to know more. Luckily the sister duo of Vale Jewelry, Eva & Ava, were more than happy to share about their two-week trip to New Mexico–let’s find out more:

We planned this trip around a visit to Walter de Maria’s groundbreaking land art, The Lightening Field, but it quickly ballooned into a 2-week major road trip around New Mexico. The fifth largest state, but one of the least populated, the vast deserts and scrubland inspired Georgia O’Keeffe body of work as well as numerous other artists. You only have to spend one day there to understand why it’s muse to many creatives, between the sunsets, endless sky, and the ingrained history of crafts. No wonder it picked up the nickname of The Land of Enchantment. Home to most of the US’s oldest Native American and indigenous tribes and pueblos, including the Zuni, Navajo and Hopi, this magical and awe-inspiring land should be on anyone’s travel list.

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Left photo: One of the oldest continuously-inhabited communities in the United States, Taos Pueblo was built in the early 13th century and located right in the Rio Grande Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it holds a very active Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe residing in multi-storied adobe houses built as two complexes made from mud, wood, grass and water. This historic village is located just 1 mile outside Taos. About 4,500 members still live in this area, but only about 150 still reside inside these structures year-round without the modern convenience of running water and electricity. While it is a private community, they do offer visitors to come see parts of the village where locals sell crafts like pottery and local eats like fried bread.

Right photo: San Geronimo has a storied past as one of the first post-Columbian Spanish Catholic churches in the US. Built by Native Americans of the Taos Pueblo people under the suppression of the Spanish missionaries and colonial powers, this one featured above is actually the third reincarnation. It was one of the many churches destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt when tensions between the native tribes and Spanish colonial presence boiled over. The current church shown above was built in the 18th century.

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Left photo: The ladder above resembles some of the staircases used in many pueblos as well as native and local adobe houses. Typically, the staircases are made of local timber such as pine, spruce and ponderosa. These ladders were precious items since the wood had to be cut down from forests located quite a distance from local desert pueblos. They were passed down from generation to generation. In traditional Pueblo culture, the people of the original land came to this land by the underworld. Hence, many pueblos build ceremonial underground chambers within these adobe houses called kivas that the chieftains use for religious song, prayer and ceremonies. The one above is one from the Acoma pueblo featuring a double ladder for going up and down with a lightening rod shape holding the two together.

Right photo: On our way back from staying overnight at The Lightening Field in Quemado, we stopped by Pie Town. Yes, you read that right, it’s a town named after one of the best desserts having taken its name from an early settler of the town in the 1920s that made the town famous with a highway pie shop. The pies above are at a local pie shop called Pie-O-Neer. The Macaroon Apple Pie and Cherry Cherry Pies are worth the stop. And yes, we ate all 4…and then took a few for the road.

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Left photo: One of our favorite stops for local barbeque, Rudy’s had the most incredible brisket and baby back ribs, this is the place to stop for New Mexican bar-b-q in Albuquerque, friendliest staff and the tastiest homemade cherry and apricot cobblers this side of the Rio Grande! If in Santa Fe and craving local barbeque, stop by a food truck called Santa Fe BBQ.

Right photo: A must when you’re in Santa Fe. The New Mexican picnic above is breakfast at a local favorite called Tia Sophia’s. They make some of the best sopapillas, the pillowy fried quick breads in the image. Order everything ‘Christmas’ which means doused in both the red and green chiles. Also, a stop at Gabriel’s just outside Santa Fe is a must too. Known for their tableside guacamole and carne adovada, neither will disappoint! The local enchiladas and tamales are things to order when in town.

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Left photo: This is the view from Sandia Peak after hopping off the tramway. The crest here reaches over 10,500 feet and the tramway’s the world’s second longest ride. The sunsets and sunrise in New Mexico are unreal, typically fiery red and orange against the bluest backdrop.

Right photo: A quick hike in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park is a must if you’re in central New Mexico. Formed by volcanic ash deposits that have since been weather-worn to form sand-colored cylindrical cone shapes standing side-by-side. A walk in between these canyons is awe-inspiring.

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Left photo: No trip to New Mexico is complete without a stop at White Sands National Park. The world’s largest gypsum dune runs for over 275 square miles. So big, this dune can even be seen from satellite in outer space. Despite temperatures reaching 120F during the afternoon, the gypsum sand never gets hot due to the gypsum crystal’s natural ability to reflect the sun and the fact that it does not convert light into heat. We went barefoot and even did some dune-sledding down the steep cliffs. For a cool experience, plan to camp overnight.

Right photo: Another stop along the way is Carlsbad Caverns and watching the enchanting Bat Flight where over 500,000 local Brazilian Free-Tailed bats make their nightly migration from the cave to feed. It’s a coordinated visual symphony!

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Showing off some vintage Native American silver by Navajo and Zuni tribes made between the 1900s and 1950s. We picked up these older pieces during our travel around New Mexico. Some of our favorite stops include:

Shopping Guide:

  • Rainbow Man (Santa Fe) – amazing selection of fabrics, weavings, jewelry and objects
  • Santa Fe Exchange (Santa Fe) – wide range of both sterling silver, objects and some turn of the century pieces
  • Shalako Indian Store (Santa Fe) – widest vintage sterling silver shop, great for Concho belts, rings, and bangles. Nancy and Marsha are both well-informed on Native American jewelry
  • Palms Trading (Alburquerque) – solid selection of old pawn, blankets, shoes and food stuff
  • Rose’s Pottery (Bernanillo) – housed behind Rose’s is an old theatre that the owner converted to a small private collection of early Pre-Columbian to middle of the century art and pottery. If you’re lucky, she’ll give you a tour of this collection passed down from her father. The front features a beautiful collection of Kachina dolls and pottery from all the major pueblos
  • Old Town Antiques (Alburquerque) – the owner Connie is like an encyclopedia of New Mexican crafts, beautiful selection of both jewelry and objects, she even offers Pre-Columbian artifacts.

Eating Guide:

  • Tia Sophia’s (Santa Fe) – best brunch and breakfast place for New Mexican cuisine
  • Café Pasqual’s (Santa Fe) – modern twist on New Mexican with some delicious homemade cookies
  • Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q (Alburquerque) – fantastic ribs, brisket, daily special cobblers and desserts
  • Gabriel’s (Santa Fe) – delicious guacamole and carne adovada
  • Frontier (Alburquerque) – a mix of everything, an all-day diner styled location popular with locals, young and old
  • Jimmy’s on Jefferson (Alburquerque) – quick local favorite for breakfast, order Steve’s Breakfast Special featuring a plate of hash with green chile.
  • Grove Cafe & Market (Alburquerque) – modern eatery with homemade granola and breakfast and brunch
  • Cocina Azul (Alburquerque) – great lunch spot for some of the best carne adovada and homemade and fresh sopapillas and posole
  • Farm & Table (Alburquerque) – fresh and modern New Mexican classics as well as farm-to-table dinners with a small working farm on the back
  • Golden Crown Panaderia (Alburquerque) – tasty fruit empanadas

Cultural Guide:

  • Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch (plan advance for an overnight stay, it books up early)
  • Georgia O’Keefe Museum
  • Walter de Maria The Lightening Field (apply in February when they open up spaces, openings close within minutes)
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (get there early before it gets too hot)
  • White Sands National Park (come here right before sunset for the most magical view)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (don’t miss the last elevator down at 5pm)
  • Rio Grande Gorge & Bridge (shop from the local artists selling at the foot of the bridge, view is not for the faint of heart)
  • Roswell, NW (stop at the museum and eat at Big D’s for their famous green chile burger)
  • Sandia Mountains (go there an hour before sunset)
  • Taos Pueblo
  • Acoma Pueblo

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? You can follow Vale Jewelry —> @valejewelry

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Book Review: Women Jewellery Designers

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ACC Publishing will release their newest jewelry book–the oversized and highly impressive book is titled Women Jewellery Designers by Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld. My review can be found in my latest article for the Observer: These 4 Women Are the Biggest Innovators in Jewelry Design

Here’s the link:

http://observer.com/2017/08/women-jewelry-design-history-innovators-book-review/

You can order your copy here:

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Read This Before Buying Antique Jewelry Online or Through Instagram!

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Both Lauren and I have noticed a slightly frightening upsurge in the amount of overnight “antique jewelry dealers” these past few months. I’ve nominated Lauren to give her insight and take on this, along with some important tips we should all be aware of before buying any antique piece online or via Instagram. I’ll let Lauren take it away:

Selling fine second-hand jewelry is no simple task that just anyone can pick up by attending a few estate sales. Dealers must continually strive to expand their education and invest in their business so they can offer the best and most honest experience to their customers.

For me, selling antique jewelry was something I fell into by chance in late 2005. I learned my most basic knowledge by apprenticing under a few dealers that had been in the business for decades. This oral history only took me so far. I then conquered many books, took classes, and met with as many other dealers and jewelers as I could.

This happenstance quickly turned into a full on passion; perhaps it’s even my calling if there is such a thing. Over the next nine years, I evolved my business, Ageless Heirlooms until it took form as a brick and mortar shop on the busiest street in town. The lessons are countless and the experience over these years was immeasurably valuable.

Sometimes life takes you unexpected places, and the moment that I could no longer devote 100% of my time to selling antique jewelry was when I decided to take a huge step backward and regroup in late 2014. I closed my brick and mortar shop and continued writing about jewelry, in the hopes that one day I would get back into retail and help reconnect heirlooms with their next generation keepers.

During my almost three year departure from retail, the antique jewelry business changed a lot. The antique jewelry market, like most any business, has always been prone to scammers and dishonesty. But as this niche market keeps expanding, I’ve noticed that more and more dealers pop in and out of the scene — some legitimate and others that are trying to take advantage of the trend. It saddens me to think that there are dealers out there that are either intentionally or unknowingly misguiding their consumers. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and perpetuates the idea that buying fine second-hand jewelry is a shady practice. I assure you, it’s not.

Shopping for estate jewelry takes a certain degree of trust in the people you’re buying from, especially if you’re just learning all the ins and outs. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you’re buying from someone who is worth supporting.

1. Are they GIA certified or have any other accreditations?

To have your GIA certification is arguably the most important feat in the fine jewelry world. This certification shows that the dealer has put a tremendous investment in their education and are much more competent at grading gemstones than someone that doesn’t have it. If you’re buying very high-end antique jewelry, this question should be high on your priority list. What schooling has this person gone through? If they haven’t, have they had someone else that is GIA certified look over the item in question?

2. How many years have they been in business?

Ask me in my first few years of selling antique jewelry if this question was important, and I would still agree that yes, it is. I was so fortunate that so many customers took a chance on me in my early years, but I had a full backing from other partners that had many years experience under their belts. It wasn’t until I had over five years experience that I considered going out on my own. Sometimes it’s worth it to take a chance on someone, but make sure you get to know them a little bit first.

3. Are their prices consistent with other dealers?

Antique jewelry isn’t always an apples to apples comparison. But, in the broad scope, prices for similar pieces should fall within a similar range. Anything that is way off the mark, whether priced too high or too low is a red flag for me.

However, sometimes antique jewelry businesses with lots of employees will have higher prices — they need this markup to survive. This higher price is worth it at times because many of these businesses have access to rare antique jewelry that smaller dealers don’t. Pay a higher price only if that item is rare and other reputable dealers don’t have anything similar for less.

Too cheap a price could indicate that the item is a reproduction, is in poor shape, the dealer is a fly by night, or maybe you just found a bargain. Either way, it’s worth looking into more thoroughly.

4. Do they have a brick & mortar shop or a website?

Any signs that this person has invested time, money and energy into their business is a good thing. Do they have a website, an Etsy shop or a brick and mortar that they keep updated? Are they active on social media? That is a good indicator that this business is their primary source of income, and they take pride in it. People who take pride in their online businesses are less likely to jeopardize it by acting shady.

5. How is their feedback/online reviews?

If the person is selling on Etsy or eBay, it is an absolute no brainer to read as much of their feedback as possible before you purchase. This won’t necessarily be a foolproof method, but it certainly helps when you’re buying on the internet.

6. Do you see any reproductions being passed off as old?

It might be hard to know what reproductions look like from a picture, but they are out there in full force! If you have browsed some sites that openly sell reproduction jewelry like Jan’s Jewells, you’ll have some idea which items are being remade. If you catch a reproduction being passed off as old, or the description is vague using terms like “antique-style Art Deco ring”, this is a red flag. Let me know if you’re interested in more ways you can spot reproductions online because there’s a lot that can be said here!

7. Do you notice that some items aren’t dated?

I’ve seen it where some antique jewelry dealers want to sell reproductions (they are easier to find and are cheaper), but they don’t want to be upfront about it for whatever reason. If you spot jewelry on a dealer’s site that has no mention of the item’s age at all, this is a red flag. Ask them openly if the item is new or old, and hopefully, if they passed a lot of these other questions, they’ll be honest and tell you.

Do you have any other ways you vet out antique jewelry sellers? Let me know in the comments and as always, happy hunting!


This post was contributed by:

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

Thanks to Gossip Gem

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Vegas Prep: Interview with Marion Fasel of The Adventurine

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We are excited to kick off a fun series this week on Gem Gossip — these next five blog features will get you excited and prepped for Vegas Jewelry Week, which is quickly approaching! I’ve asked five people–a mix of designers, editors, and industry insiders–to contribute their insights from this epic event that happens once a year. I’m asking for advice, tips, favorite parts, and much more! Whether it will be your first time attending or you are a professional (and can pack with your eyes closed), these interviews will pique your curiousity and you’ll definitely learn a thing or two! One thing is for sure, we all are SO EXCITED for Vegas.

We are starting the week out with Marion Fasel who is celebrating a big milestone in a few weeks–her online magazine The Adventurine turns one year old at the end of the month. She strategically launched the same day Vegas Jewelry Week began last year and has been covering all kinds of jewelry topics since then (many of which are pictured above). But don’t let the small digit fool you, Marion has been in the jewelry industry for over 25 years. Most notably, she was InStyle’s Contributing Editor of Fine Jewelry & Watches for nearly two decades, has written eight books, and has helped curate several museum exhibitions. It’s no secret I am her number one fan and have been continually cheering her on since I discovered her flipping through the pages of InStyle magazine. Let’s find out more:

How many times have you attended Vegas jewelry week?

I have been 12 times. I haven’t missed a jewelry week in Vegas since the Couture show relocated from the Phoenician in Scottsdale to the Wynn in 2005.


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

I’d give my rookie self a fun tip and a few practical tips.

My fun tip is about gambling. I’d tell myself to gamble. You are in Vegas—some fun must be had. Then I would say, skip the slots. Go in the early evening to the Encore where it can be quiet and find a Black Jack dealer with an empty table. There are usually several. Tell the dealer, you don’t know much about the game but would like to learn. The dealers are incredibly knowledgeable and thrilled to share their tips. If you allow them to guide you about what “the book” says for your hand, you will win. Trust me on this. Just let them tell you how to play.

One practical tip, don’t let the bellhop take your luggage when you check in. Just take it to your room yourself. If you don’t, you have to wait for it. They won’t leave it in your room unless you are there. Sometimes they are fast, but sometimes they take a while which keeps you waiting in your room before hitting the trade show floor or doing anything your heart desires.

Drink lots of water. It’s the desert and you will get dehydrated even indoors.

Oh, and have a clear strategy for who you want to see. There are a lot of great jewelry designers there and you won’t be able to see everyone, so do a careful edit on your agenda and leave breathing room to explore. The time to explore is key.

Name five things you ALWAYS bring to Vegas Jewelry Week.

I wear heels so I bring Band-Aids. I bring my gambling budget, usually around $200. I bring loads of jewelry, because it’s a jewelry crowd and its Vegas so it’s fun to get decked out. Beyond that it’s pretty standard phone charger, camera, computer. I don’t travel light.

One big difference from last year to this year?

Well, last year I launched my online magazine TheAdventurine.com one day before the Couture show started. The timing was not a coincidence. It’s really the beginning of the formal jewelry season. You see how the trends and designers are shaping up at Couture. I wanted my website anniversary to coincide with the Couture show. I guess the biggest difference is now The Adventurine is humming away.

Favorite things about Vegas Jewelry Week.

Winning at Black Jack. I am kidding. Meeting a talented new designer or just seeing a great new collection from an established designer are my favorite things.

Biggest pet peeve about Vegas Jewelry Week.

It is a bit odd being indoors for a week. During the course of the show, it’s not usual for some people to never step outside for more than a few minutes on the terrace off the trade show floor or to walk to the taxi stand to go out to dinner. I try to make my way to La Cave as often as possible to sit in the outdoor café there for lunch, dinner or drinks.

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

I won a Vespa at the Couture Awards. It’s probably one of the most wonderful and weird things that has ever happened to me anywhere. I actually like public speaking but when I went on stage to accept the scooter, I was so shocked and happy, I was virtually speechless.

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my coverage from last year

You can follow Marion –> @marionfasel & @theadventurine

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Danielle of @jasmyntea

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from a favorite Instagram collector of mine and it’s not because we share the same name, although that helps ūüėČ It is because Danielle’s style and curation of such a fine collection is unlike any other! She has a fierce eye for what she loves and I’ve been wanting to know her story for quite awhile now. We finally got her story (she is a busy San Francisco dweller, with a full-time job that doesn’t involve jewelry) and she has provided some amazing photos of her personal collection. Let’s dive into her story!

“I have always been a collector. Whether it was collecting vintage jewelry, or vintage clothing, or books on costume and fashion. I’m always looking for unique items that speak to me in some way. I first fell in love with jewelry when I was about 12 and would ride my bike to the thrift store to look for treasures. I always liked vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and scarves. Old pieces have stories within them. And I always liked to imagine the travels the pieces went through before I became their custodian.

My mother does not really wear much jewelry. Most of the jewelry she wears, except her wedding band, was probably given to her by her sisters or her daughters. She has very few pieces, so I didn’t really grow up surrounded by jewelry. I didn’t know one of my grandmothers as they both passed away before I was born. But I do wear her gold framed glasses from the 1940s every day as my own eyeglasses. I love this connection with my past. My other grandmother didn’t really have much affinity for jewelry either. So I’m not really sure where my love of jewelry and antiques comes from–but I can tell you that I’m obsessed ūüôā

When I first started collecting jewelry in high school I liked vintage brooches and small enamel pins. This was what I could afford to purchase. From vintage pins, I branched out to vintage sterling. I always loved going to antique stores and hunting for unusual, inexpensive pieces. My early collection included David Anderson Norwegian pins and bracelets, sterling charm bracelets, bakelite bangles, and funky long beads to layer. I always liked layering, mixing and creating a story with my jewelry. As my style evolved I also liked to support local jewelry artists, so I would go to fairs and stores that sold the work of local jewelry artists and try to pick pieces I liked. My modern collection is made of up certain designers – Marla Aaron, Judy Geib, Gabriela Kiss, Louison Rare and Fine (GemstoneGypsy), Jean Jean Vintage, Gillian Conroy, Variance Objects, Dahlia Khanner, Alberian and Aulde, Amali Jewelry and local San Francisco artists Betsy Barron and Alix Bluh. I tend to gravitate towards jewelry artists versus major designer jewelry. Although one of the first pieces I completely coveted when I was 16 was Tiffany’s Elsa Perreti sterling bean necklace.

In the recent years I have gravitated towards building my antique collection. I love to go to antique fairs and shows, stop in small antique shops when I travel and I follow many antique jewelry sellers on IG. If you are curious, my first IG discovery was Erie Basin and my early purchases were a Toi et Moi Victorian diamond ring and a French link bracelet that many people have asked if they could purchase from me. Finding the antique jewelry community on IG has been very meaningful to me. I feel like I’ve found a crew of fellow jewelry enthusiasts that I can geek out about Georgian jewels, or old cut diamonds, or how to style antique and modern jewelry together. Before IG I never really participated in social media. Finding the IG community of jewelry lovers has been a nice addition in my life, so I don’t drive my husband and sons nuts with my jewelry interests. I’ve also enjoyed meeting fellow IG collectors on my travels.

I can’t really categorize what I collect, because I look for unusual pieces or pieces that resonate for me in some way. I feel like I am the custodian of the pieces I collect. I can’t always articulate why I fall in love with pieces. Sometimes the piece feels sentimental, sometimes the piece will fill an aspect of my collection that I need for a look I’m striving for. On a broad level, I like Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And then I like modern pieces that provide contrast for the more sweet/sentimental antique pieces. I love to mix antique and modern pieces together. Probably my favorite thing to mix are Marla Aaron locks with my antique necklaces, charms and brooches. Mixing and styling jewelry is a creative outlet for me. It’s self-expression—what I’m trying to put out there on a given day. I mix everything: yellow, rose, green gold, platinum and silver. On most days I have on five types of metal. I actually tend to prefer wearing mixed metals versus monochromatic styling. Although sometimes I like to do all gold or all silver or all one kind of gemstone.

I’m sentimental when it comes to jewelry. I always wear a Marla Aaron lock which to me symbolizes to hold fast to what’s important. I once did post on IG about how my modern jewelry spirit animal is my engraved Marla Aaron lock that has all family initials hidden within the engraved design. If I had to pick an antique spirit animal it would probably either be antique chains or signet rings. My thorn necklace (by Gillian Conroy) symbolizes that life has thorns to deal with but I am strong enough to weather the thorns. My hand bloodstone signet ring from Metier with the word “confido,” which means trust, reminds me to trust myself. And then on any given day, my other jewelry represents other items of importance to me or things I’m trying to stay centered about. My Mizpah ring from TheOneILoveNYC is for my husband and me, and my Souvenir bangle from Lucy Verity hasn’t left my wrist since I got it last year – I look down and remember. My Lenore heart rings: to remember love, my signets: to remember the people who are important to me, my memento mori ring from Nvitblanche: to remember to live in the moment, my ruby locket from Circa 1700 has diamonds in it from my mother-in-law in the amount of Pi carats (ok I’m a definite geek). Recently my husband and I gave each other Gabriela Kiss eye rings to symbolize us watching over each other.

You may wonder what pieces I am on the hunt for next. I try to keep an open mind when I am hunting for jewelry, because you never know what you might find. I always ask myself does this resonate for me, will I really wear it and reach for this piece everyday? I like to purchase pieces that I will wear, I don’t like for jewelry to just sit in my jewelry box. I don’t necessarily keep a running wish list. Although at the beginning of 2016 I did an IG jewelry wishlist post and when I look back on it now, I did end up collecting some of the items on my wishlist during 2016, (like my French cut eternity band from Platt Boutique Jewelry). Right now I’m coveting high carat gold items – 22K gold bands (I just got one from Metier) and poesy rings, a Georgian memento mori ring and chains, always more chains. Recently, I’ve been loving layering a lot of gold watch chains.

In closing, almost every piece I wear holds meaning for me of something I want to remember or a story I want to tell that day with my jewelry. Jewelry wearing and styling is my personal storytelling.”

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Danielle –> @jasmyntea

Source: GossipGem.com

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Bonhams New York Fine Jewelry Sale Set for April 24, 2017

An important fancy colored diamond and diamond ring 124 (2) A pair of diamond day-night earrings, Van Cleef & Arpels, 129

Bonhams New York, April 24, 2017

133 lots of jewelry top off the upcoming New York sale from Bonhams. This is my first blog post featuring the highly respected auction house which is a global enterprise, having eight different locations worldwide. Their history as an auction house is one for the books, as they’ve been shattering records and facilitating some of the best exchanges in the world. In the US, we have three Bonhams locations, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco (primary sales rooms are New York, Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong), with their online presence @BonhamsJewels Instagram which focuses on all things jewelry. It is a delight to look at and with every upcoming sale, the excitement and momentum is contagious. There are some serious lust-worthy jewels in their New York sale, which I’m going to be covering within this blog post.

The sale date is April 24th, 2017 and the start time is 3pm EST. If you want to get in on the fun, be sure to register to bid in advance of the sale date and surely don’t be intimidated by bidding online! If I can do it, you can do it! Let’s talk highlights…

I can’t pinpoint one particular pièce de résistance of the entire sale, so I’m going to choose these four jewels and make them my final answer! One aspect of Bonhams’ sales is the wow-factor. There are always pieces that make you stop and stare–whether they are big diamonds, fancy colored stones, bold sapphires or juicy emeralds–this is exactly what I’m talking about!

Leading Highlights:

Lot 124: If you know a thing or two about fancy yellow diamonds, you’ll realize this ring is IT. The center stone clocks in at 6.32 carats–color rating of fancy vivid yellow and clarity is VVS-1. I can’t even fathom something so remarkable as the center stone, however to make it even more amazing, it also is set in a ring with two diamonds on each side. These said diamonds are GIA certified as well and are a 2.08 ct & 2.07 ct, both F color stones with VS-1/2 clarity. If you want to see this baby on a hand, click here. Estimate: $400,000-600,000

Lot 129: Nothing more chic than a pair of day/night diamond earrings from Van Cleef & Arpels. A definite highlight of the sale, these earrings are set with nearly 30 carats of diamonds! Wow! All rounds, pear and marquise cuts which are done in platinum and 18k white gold for a stunning pair. The dangles can be removed to reveal stud earrings for an easy, on-the-go look! Estimate: $60,000-80,000

A fine ruby and diamond clip brooch, Cartier, circa 1935 132 A diamond rivière necklace 133

Lot 132: Ok, if you’ve been following me lately, you’ve realized I’ve kind of been obsessed over dress clips lately. For some reason, I keep seeing them pop up everywhere, including some great ones at auction. This one is crème de la crème, being signed Cartier and circa 1935. This Art Deco clip is set with a stunning Burmese ruby, over five carats of diamonds and sugarloaf and cabochon cut rubies. Such an elegant piece of history. Estimate: $300,000-400,000

Lot 133: Leading the sale is this catalog cover star–an exquisite diamond riviére necklace. This piece is composed of 63 diamonds which graduate in size; the biggest diamond in the center weighing 3.05 carats. All in all, the grand total carat weight is approximately 44 carats! A once-in-a-lifetime necklace for a very special lady…and if you’re wondering, it’s done in platinum. Estimate: $200,000-300,000

Other Favorites:

A black opal, demantoid and sapphire necklace, attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co.,  6 An Arts and Crafts citrine, diamond and gem-set pendant,  8 A diamond solitaire pendant necklace, Golconda  104

Necklaces

Lot 6: Anytime I see the words “black opal” I know it’s going to be pretty incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever met a black opal I didn’t like. This particular necklace is extra special because it is circa 1915 and attributed to Louis Comfort Tiffany for Tiffany & Co. The detail in this piece is great as the chain is accented by demantoid garnets and sapphire–and also love the gold filigree. Estimate: $15,000-25,000

Lot 8: An Arts & Crafts necklace that is quite unique–set with a citrine and some diamonds, circa 1915. I love the silhouette of this piece, with the draped chains and dangle. The craftsmanship of the chain sets it apart from others I’ve seen. And the colors–perfect for fall! Estimate: $7,000-9,000

Lot 104: As we’ve seen lately, heart shaped gem cuts are going strong. This pendant necklace is a bold 4.46 carats of a heart cut diamond, done in platinum. The specs on the diamond are VS-1 clarity and D color. I can picture it sparkling from a neck and looking gorgeous. It is simple, however anything but dainty! Estimate: $75,000-95,000

An emerald, diamond and onyx ring 20 A coral, diamond and enamel ring, Donald Claflin for Tiffany & Co. 22 A diamond solitaire ring 69

Rings

Lot 20: I think this is one of the most beautiful rings I’ve seen up at auction in awhile. Mounted in platinum, set with a large 8.36 carat emerald and surrounded by diamonds, onyx and smaller emeralds. I love everything about this ring–from the style, to the gemstone combination, to the width of it. An heirloom that will be treasured for years to come–I am already jealous of whomever places the winning bid. Estimate: $15,000-20,000

Lot 22: This fun Tiffany & Co. ring has a striking color combination made up by the coral and blue enamel. Of course it is from the 1970s, a time period I’m obsessed with–their jewels and music, yes please. Done in 18k yellow gold with some diamond accent to finish off the design, this ring will stop people in their tracks! Bet! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 69: A ring that could single-handedly bring back the marquise cut as the most popular diamond cut! The ring is set with a VVS-2 clarity, I color diamond that is GIA certified. It weighs 6.07 carats and one request–making a major impact on the finger. I also love the fact that it is done in 18k yellow gold. Estimate: $70,000-80,000

A diamond and emerald pendant-brooch  5 An art deco diamond, sapphire, spinel and black onyx dress clip  17 A pair of fancy colored diamond and diamond earrings 125

Miscellaneous

Lot 5: This pendant/brooch is two pieces of jewelry in one! And did I mention the style and design is just breath-taking?! Lozenge-shaped emeralds dazzle with old European cut and old mine cut diamonds are set in this plaque style pendant, set in platinum. Estimate: $9,000-12,000

Lot 17: Of course I had to include another dress clip because I’m smitten with them. This one is more affordable than the amazing Cartier one mentioned earlier–but still just as gorgeous. And this one is also Art Deco, done in diamonds, sapphire, spinel and black onyx, all set in platinum. Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 125: THESE. The cuts on these diamonds make them look like real ice–they are pear-shaped rose cut diamonds as petals and then the center of each flower is a fancy pink diamond. Such a great combination. The earrings total 17.59 carats of diamonds and are done in 18k white and rose gold. Estimate: $70,000-90,000

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Bonhams New York.

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Source: GossipGem.com

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Book Review: Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed

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Have you ever dreamed of going into the vaults and archives of the infamous, world-renowned auction house Christie’s?! I feel like I dream about that on a daily basis and although I’ve never gotten my chance, author Vincent Meylan may hold the key to unlocking that door with his latest book called Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed. In it, he chronicles some of the most headlining jewelry auctions–from British Royalty jewels, to Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, and everything in between. Mr. Meylan had insider’s access to the Christie’s archives to research for this book, where he brings hundreds of color illustrations, including more than 100 original documents reproduced just for the pages of this tome.

The history behind Christie’s is even more extensive than what I thought–with their first sale being on December 5, 1766! It is interesting to read that during this revolutionary time, the events that took place may have actually benefited Christie’s because so many people of royalty were being sent to the guillotine. Chapter two has quite the attention-grabbing title of “Murdered Queens.” The extensive stories behind each historical piece are quite fascinating, and I am thoroughly enjoying the paintings of the royals as well as photos of the jewels which illustrate the book. It gives you insight into European royalty as well, including history and intriquing stories behind many of their ill-fated lives.

Chapter 11 is a favorite, titled “Diamonds are Christie’s Best Friends,” it chronicles a few of the top-selling, biggest, rarest and most stunning diamonds to ever grace Christie’s auction floor. This chapter opens up about how mysterious and extensive their diamond sales were over the past couple centuries. The earliest diamond consignments reveal not much on where they came from…and in the same breadth, where did they end up once sold? A trio of rubies, for example, went up for auction in 1891. The weight and rarity of any one of these, if they were to resurface, would shatter any record ever set. So astonishing.

Aside from the last chapter, it is noteworthy to check out the Appendix. It lists significant names of pieces/collections that went up for auction by year, starting with the year 1767. It is a great, quick reference as well as a “who’s who” amongst those who sold pieces through Christie’s.

The auction world is quite mysterious, legendary and totally unique. It is one of my favorite parts of my jewelry hobby. This book encompasses all this and more, and should you find yourself daydreaming of all the jaw-dropping jewels that once passed through Christie’s auction house–you might want to buy yourself this book to know exactly how incredible they truly are!

To purchase your own copy of Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed, click below:

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