SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! XCII

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from top to bottom:

Colette Jewelry stacks up some new pieces that are dark yet colorful!

The Gem Hunter showing off some rings of the day, including some that are for sale

The Eden Collective creates a moody feminine vibe with cameos and black hearts

a fist full of Jacquie Aiche jewels some of my favorites in her collections

Roseark wearing Gienia Design + Barry Brinker Fine Jewelry, a winning combination

Doves Jewelry proves that all one color can have a major impact, love it

Logan Hollowell Jewelry creates stacks that are elegant, trendy and downright beautiful

Broken English Jewelry plays with Andrea Fohrman’s celestial rings

stacks and stacks of Sirciam Jewelry on the fingers and on jewelry cases

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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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How to Clean Antique Jewelry: The Important Do’s & Don’ts

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For anyone that’s unfamiliar, antique jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is more than 100 years old. That’s a lot of years for dirt to collect under gemstones, metal to patina, and for grime to take away from the inherent beauty of the heirloom. It’s tempting to pick up a polishing cloth and buff away years of unwanted residue. But wait! Before you do that…

There is a right way and a wrong way to clean antique jewelry. We’ve compiled some basic do’s and don’ts you must know before you potentially ruin your investment.

*Remember, this is a general guide for fine antique jewelry. Some antique jewelry like cameos or hair jewelry require special care beyond what is listed here.

D O N ‘ T


1. Polish away patina on old rose or yellow gold jewelry

Patina is something that takes years to form. Some reproduction jewelry will actually try to fake this patina in order to make an item appear older than it is. For Georgian and Victorian jewelry, it’s important not to go overboard with polishing. You don’t want the yellow gold to be so light and shine like the day it was made.

Be careful if you’re having your rings resized by someone not familiar with antique jewelry. The tendency is to take rings to a high polish once the sizing is done. Advise them only to lightly polish the portion where the gold has been added or taken away on the bottom of the ring shank.

2. Use ultrasonic machines

There are times when it is okay to put antique jewelry into an ultrasonic machine for a very quick clean, and I mean quick. But to err on the side of caution, avoid using them altogether. If you have a platinum and diamond engagement ring from the 1920’s, an ultrasonic machine might be okay if the stones are tight and the prongs are in good shape. Most of the time though, the subtle but intense vibrations from these machines can do more harm than good.

3. Submerge jewelry for a long period

Liquid can be detrimental to some antique jewelry, especially jewelry with cameos, opals, seed pearls, or any other soft stone. For fragile jewelry, it’s best not to completely saturate the piece with liquid at all. Instead, lightly clean with a damp brush or cloth.

4. Clean with harsh chemicals like ammonia

The internet will often tell you how wonderful ammonia is for making your diamonds shine. This might work (in moderation) for new jewelry, but antique jewelry deserves a much gentler approach. Avoid harsh detergents, ammonia, and please never use household cleaners containing bleach!

D O


1. Make a gentle cleaning solution

Sometimes the best way to clean your antique jewelry is by making your own DIY cleaning solution. Most jewelry cleaners you find in the store will cost you a lot more money and may not even be as effective. They may even contain harsh chemicals.

To make your own solution, mix lukewarm water with a small amount of mild soap like Dove until it is sudsy. The key here is in the cleaning technique, not necessarily in the solution.

2. Use a soft toothbrush and lint free cloth

Once you make your solution, it’s time to clean your antique jewelry. You’ll either submerge the item for a few minutes to loosen grime, or if your item contains soft stones, you lightly dampen your toothbrush. Before you begin, make sure no stones are loose.

Then, gently brush your jewelry, paying attention to areas like underneath the stone and underneath the prongs. Use slow circular motions using only light pressure. If the piece is extremely dirty, don’t be tempted to use more pressure; instead, implement more patience. Submerge your jewelry into the solution again (if your jewelry can handle it) then gently repeat, repeat, repeat.

3. Make sure to rinse and dry thoroughly

You don’t want to give fragile jewelry a bath, but you want to be sure you remove any soap residue that might build up and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning your jewelry. Run the jewelry under lukewarm water and pat dry. For rings, take a polishing cloth and very lightly buff the shank, avoiding any area near stones or engravings. Let jewelry completely dry before putting it away.

4. Have the right expectations

Antique jewelry is never meant to look new. If this is your intention when cleaning jewelry, think again. Sure, you want to remove dirt, grime, bacteria, and all that other gross stuff. But you don’t want to take away years of character and patina. Is there a scratch in the gold? Leave it, don’t have it buffed away. Is the gold too dark for your liking? Consider a more modern replica like those from Arik Kastan instead.

How do you clean your antique jewelry? Any tips I missed? Let us know in the comments.

This post was contributed by:

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

Source: GossipGem.com

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Weekday Wardrobe: When Shoes Are Just As Important As Rings

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If you know me or read my blog, it is apparent that I love jewelry, especially rings. When it comes to fashion–like clothing and accessories–I’m the type of person to look for a deal or purchase online at places that feature trendy clothing mostly under $100, often called “fast fashion.” I look at jewelry as investment pieces, and I know fashion and accessories can be as well, but I have a tough time putting my money into cotton fabric and other materials. Gold is gold and diamonds are diamonds!

In that same breadth, I’ve been really into buying shoes lately and experimenting with different styles. They truly can change an entire look, from a simple outfit to a memorable one! I’m obsessed with these two pairs I recently got from Tobi.com — the Alie Nude Lucite Peep Toe Booties & the Faye Feather Ankle Strap Heels. I took a pair of fishnet socks and wore them underneath the lucite booties to give the look some texture–and the feathers are just so pretty. I love feathers in fashion; like a splash of feathers on a shoe like this or a small clutch purse done in feathers–totally statement-making.

Thought this would be a different take on my normal Weekday Wardrobe posts and hope you like it! Here are the details on my two ring looks and you can shop my shoes below by clicking on the photos!

Lucite Look Rings:

  • elongated diamond ring from Miami Antique Show 2017
  • sapphire and diamond alternative engagement ring from Maejean Vintage, stone cut by TopNotch Faceting
  • gold wave ring from Cleopatra’s Barge Fine Jewelry in Naples, FL
  • diamond elongated ring from Hampton Estate Jewelry
  • wide Eye of Warrior ring from Communion by Joy
  • various baby rings used as pinky rings and midi-rings

Feather Heel Rings:

  • tiny cameo ring from eBay
  • mid-size cameo ring from Ageless Heirlooms
  • different sized baby rings on one pinky
  • “Feel the Love” pinky ring by Jessie V E
  • large Victorian onyx brooch converted into a ring

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WANT MORE? Check out my past Weekday Wardrobe posts

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Alex Cooper Has An Upcoming Auction You Won’t Want to Miss!

Alex Cooper Auction sapphire-wings-ring pendant-earrings Lot 30 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 43 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 43 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 46 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 47 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 47 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 60 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 78 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 86 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 93 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 114 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 119 Alex Cooper Auction

Alex Cooper is one of my favorite auction houses to keep up with, as I’m constantly checking their auction calendar in hopes of their catalog going live. Good news–I’m here to alert you to an upcoming auction and my favorite picks so you don’t have to be clueless! Alex Cooper has their spring Gallery Sale set for April 6th & 8th, 2017 with nearly 200 lots of fine jewelry, spanning all eras and styles. All jewelry lots are scheduled for an April 6th sale date and I’ve got the lowdown on all my top picks, featured above.

I hope you make certain to register to bid–you can bid online via Alex Cooper or on LiveAuctioneers.com

Lot 30: I’ve been seeing a lot of these dress clips that are truly gorgeous and over-the-top resurfacing. I feel like they are having their second wind, as I’ve seen them reimagined, styled in different ways never before seen. This one is an example of one of the prettiest I’ve seen–done in platinum, diamonds and sapphires. If you look closely, there are bullet-shaped and half-moon diamonds, making it truly special. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 43: A ring so enchanting it needs both views shown! I love this enamel dream–set with old European cut diamonds and bright blue enamel–it carries itself with its bold look. It is done in 14k yellow gold and currently a size 7 1/4. I can picture this styled with so many different looks; a fashionista’s fantasy. Estimate: $700-900

Lot 46: This brooch caught my eye because of the calibre cut aquamarine that is set in it, along with the diamonds. This piece is really unique and I love a few things about it–one being the size of it (2.5 inches in length, not too big or too small), two being the color combo (light blue of the aquamarine and the white of the diamonds), and three being that it is a brooch (can be incorporated into your wardrobe in so many ways). Just pin and go! Estimate: $700-900

Lot 47: I said “omg” upon seeing this circular medallion pendant! Not only do I love a good medallion, but the subject being an Egyptian pharaoh has won me over. On top of all that, the details are all colorfully enameled with white, blue, red and green. And I felt it was totally necessary to show off the back with the extra photo because it is THAT good. Look at that winged goddess on the back, such a cool design. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 60: One of my most favorite purchases last year was a solid gold wire choker. It was something that gets A LOT of wear, almost daily. I love it because it is so versatile (I can wear it alone, layered, add a pendant to it…) and totally on trend. These two gold wire necklaces up for auction are both 14k gold and I love the groove in the center, ready for pendants or enhancers to be added. Estimate: $500-700

Lot 78: I picked these 14k white gold diamond snowflake dangle earrings because I have a very similar pair of stud earrings which I love. These immediately transport me to a pretty wintertime setting, with snowflakes falling and holiday happiness. These earrings feature two carats total of diamonds. Estimate: $300-500

Lot 86: As many of you know, I have a special place in my heart for bypass rings. This one is pretty unique–with the crossover design and including a swirl of diamonds intertwined. The two main diamonds weigh approximately 0.78 carats and 0.82 carats. Estimate: $3,000-3,500

Lot 93: With the rarity of these pairs of wedding bracelets getting tougher and tougher to find, this makes lot 93 that much better. You’ve got an immaculate pair of wedding bracelets and both are present. I love the buckle motif of these gold plated bracelets and the best part is the black enamel details! Estimate: $200-400

Lot 114: I love lots like these where you get a few rings, not just one! They often complement each other so whomever wins the lot already has a ring stack ready to be worn! This particular lot features a tiger’s eye ring, a Victorian pearl ring and a lemon quartz ring. What a great grouping! Estimate: $80-200

Lot 119: Lastly, this cameo and intaglio pair stood out to me–a Grecian beauty and fair maiden! Just as a cameo is the opposite of an intaglio, these two couldn’t be anymore different. I love the juxtaposition between them. The black onyx intaglio is done in 9k gold and the cameo is 14k gold. Estimate: $100-300

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Alex Cooper Auctions.

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Gem Gossip Visits Sunday & Sunday Antiques, NE Ohio

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A look into one of Sunday & Sunday Antiques’ ring boxes

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Diamonds rings and pocket watch chains are just some of their specialties

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: turquoise, opal & garnet, opal cluster

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: Rhodolite garnet dangle, opal cluster, rhodolite and pearl dangle

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Cameos are one of Carolyn’s most favorite kind of jewelry

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

This Topaz is beckoning you to dive in!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Lots of diamond rings and two bangles

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: opal & garnet, turquoise, opal cluster

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Shop my necklaces here & here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Some of my personal favorites, all are available!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Where shall I begin???

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Shop these from left to right: here, here, here, here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Just a cool cat cameo, shop him here

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Love these three dainty necklaces, shop these here, here, here

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One of the most intricate and fancy blackamoors I’ve ever seen!

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Sunday & Sunday has a great selection of signet rings

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

A diamond and sapphire Art Deco brooch/necklace pendant, so stunning!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

A closer look into the ring box…

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Which elongated diamond ring is your favorite?!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Love the variety of turquoise rings, shop here, here, here

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Shop the snake ring, synthetic ruby navette, lava cameo

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Shop the onyx & diamond, blue wedgwood

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Putting Ohio on the Jewelry Road Trip map was a goal of mine for this year, and I’m so happy that it started out with an adventurous and jewel-filled excursion to the Northeastern portion of this great state. Carolyn & Ed are a husband and wife dream team that are known as Sunday & Sunday Antiques. With nearly 35 years in the antique business, they are ones you’ll want to bookmark and constantly check their inventory, because with their experience, collectors’ eye and connections, they find some amazing pieces. For me, it all started when I first connected with Carolyn a couple Decembers ago. I stumbled upon an onyx ring with tri-colored gold details from the 1920s and had to have it. I usually discover virtual shops and jewelry to buy via Instagram, and this was an Etsy-browse find–so I made sure to encourage Sunday & Sunday Antiques to join Instagram! A few years later, Carolyn has been hooked since the day she joined and boasts over 31k followers.

I knew visiting with Sunday & Sunday Antiques was going to be fun–lots of inventory (with the best part being that most of it is actually listed, ready to purchase), lots of laughs, and lots of stories. Growing up, Carolyn had always been attracted to shiny things and she even worked at a jewelry store briefly before meeting her sparkliest treasure–her husband Ed! He had grown up in the business, having his dad as his apprentice, learning how to fix and restore watches, as well as repairing jewelry since he was a teenager. While most kids were out running around causing chaos, Ed was tinkering at flea markets and finding things that caught his eye. Once Carolyn & Ed were married, they formed Sunday & Sunday Antiques and set up at antique shows all across the US. They would travel all around, buying and selling, making memories and friends along the way.

Carolyn made a really smart move by being an early adopter of the Internet. In the antique jewelry world, 8-10 years ago NO ONE was really on the world wide web–only a few big names that have continued to lead the pack had a website, if anything. Sunday & Sunday is a proud member of Ruby Lane, with a platinum status since joining in 2000. They also are on Etsy, which they joined in early 2009. The husband and wife duo complement each other in terms of putting their strengths to work to run their online antique business. Carolyn has got the photography down to a science, with a position-shoot-next method that will turn heads. She also is in charge of listing, answering emails, shipping and appraising. Ed does a lot of the buying and meticulously restores and checks each piece before listing. He has a knack for perfection and in a business like this, customers appreciate that. Transitioning their business from traveling shows to strictly online-only has been a great leap of faith, but one they are enjoying to the fullest and very thankful for every step of the way. And don’t mention the word retirement to either of them–antiques are a way of life!

The passion that both Ed & Carolyn have for antiques and antique jewelry resonates throughout every part of their life. It was awesome to connect with such great people and get an inside look into their world. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing it as well through my eyes and be sure to check out more from Sunday & Sunday Antiques around the web:

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Original Miami Antique Show 2017

The biggest change this year: the new location–the Miami-Dade County Expo Center where the fair happens every year

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Left: I always flock to Lucy Verity for her jewel box of treasures–both her original antique displays and wealth of knowledge, paired with her hilarious demeanor always gives me good energy. Right: The back of a pocket watch that I wish I would’ve bought!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: Spiders creep me out, but this necklace is on a different level! I LOVE it! Right: A box of chocolates has nothing on this box of Jogani jewels!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Stopped by DK Bressler to “oooh & awe” and this made my heart beat faster! A very early piece with original fitted box.

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These case photos give me life and make me excited for next year!

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Left: We felt amethyst was a huge sensation at the antique show–this relatively inexpensive stone will be trending for sure. Right: Rows of mourning rings from Spare Room Antiques are always so interesting and never macabre.

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: I couldn’t tell you how many amazing pieces Mary Anntiques had, so if I had to narrow it down to only two, it would be this carved emerald cameo and lapis ring. Right: I zoomed in on a ring I had been trying to track down for forever–but the booth was busy and I was leaving!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Insane diamonds found at Dover Jewelry–the one on my pointer is nearly 20 carats! This will probably be on a celebrity’s finger in the future…just wonder which one?!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: Died for opals at the show–especially this brooch from Gold Hatpin. Right: Ah, this ring. Fit like a glove and is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen. From Select Antique Jewelry.

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Let’s Face It: Face Jewelry is All the Rage!

Anthony Lent Jewelry Face Jewelry | Gem Gossip

If someone says to you, “face jewelry is my latest obsession,” you might think they mean those decals and metal parts hanging from eyebrows and on foreheads a la Givenchy and their Fall 2015 runway looks. Or you might think they mean cameo jewelry. I’m actually talking about new, designer jewelry that depicts faces as a main design motif. For one reason or another, I’ve always been drawn to faces in jewelry–whether they are beautiful, scary, happy or horrified…or all the above, like Anthony Lent’s Emotions eternity band. As of recently, I realized that there are quite a few “face jewelry” superstars on today’s market. I wanted to collect several here and display them within this blog post, but most importantly–I want to get your feedback on face jewelry. Do you like it? Which piece is your favorite? And do you know of any others (I KNOW I’m missing some)?

King of faces (and hands, and butts, and lips…) Anthony Lent’s moonfaces are a jolly kind of face jewelry. This photo depicts the assortment of sizes, styles and options that his iconic sculpted design is available in.

Clockwise, starting at the top:

Peculiar pendants by Fraser Hamilton which combine the abstractness of the face with the style of his work–totally love them

Hannah Blount created this Lioness diamond lady ring using white and gray diamonds–this piece was inspired by Art Nouveau cameos and is handmade by Hannah in her Boston studio

My newest discovery–Rush Jewelry Design–does this awesome face pendant done in 18k yellow gold, called the Beast of Burden

I instantly became obsessed with this necklace by Amsterdam Sauer, a Brazilian jewelry company founded in the 1940s. This piece is a part of their Tribes Collection, along with a few other face jewels.

Lady of the Cosmos earrings by Cleopatra’s Bling will totally brighten anyone’s day! I love this design–the faces are almost cartoony but I wouldn’t put them in the same category as emoji jewelry. This is a new level!

Of course, as mentioned in the beginning paragraph, the Emotions ring by Anthony Lent will amaze you and yes, you’re seeing multiple emotions in one ring. And notice that the faces share eyes…now wrap that around your brain and try to reflect of what this ring could possibly symbolize!

Another piece by Hannah Blount, this one more well-known–her signature Grey Lady ring done in yellow gold, which comes in three different sizes, little, medium, big!

Last but not least, in the middle hangs a quirky little pendant, tribal mask dude slurping up some diamond drool. Probably the best thing you’ll see all year. This cool design is by dmdmetal!

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Jennifer of @Dupkaspike

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To end out the year, our last Jewelry Collection Story comes from Jennifer, or as many may know her on Instagram, @Dupkaspike. Her collection is eclectic, heavily sentimental and so fun to look at. She captured her collecting essence perfectly in these photos. Now if only I can meet her one day and she them in person! 😉 …take it away Jennifer:

I can’t say that I have always loved jewelry, but I can pinpoint the moment when the love affair began. When I was 16, my Dad took me into Keil’s, an antique jewelry store on Royal Street in New Orleans, and bought me two rings. One was a mother of pearl cameo with an onyx surround, and another was a rose gold carnelian with a gold inlaid intaglio of a Rose of Sharon.

It was an important moment in my understanding of jewelry. My Mom was a big Southwestern jewelry fan (I’ve inherited her collection), but it wasn’t something that resonated strongly with me, though I admired it. I was drawn more to the sentimental, and to the personal.

I did not do a lot of collecting in early adulthood. My husband is Chinese, and so over the years and when we married, I received traditional Chinese 22k gold and jade pieces as gifts, which I look forward to passing on to my children. Traditional Chinese don’t really like lower-karat gold pieces and I liked history and sentiment; so we were in agreement that mall jewelry wasn’t really for me. The jade pieces are my favorites of these, as is a giant 22k dragon and phoenix ring.

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Over the years I have gravitated to certain genres. As an amateur painter, I adore portrait miniatures, and greatly admire the skill required to produce them. I don’t have many, but I’m always on the lookout for special pieces. Recently I acquired a large Georgian locket brooch, from CJ Antiques, surrounded by amethysts and plan to commission a portrait of my kids and dog. One piece I wear often I got from Duvenay, a pretty portrait of Marie Antoinette, with a diamond halo that was converted from a stickpin.

I’m a strong believer in personalization, so mostly every new piece I own has some engraving or dedication on it. When my kids were born, I bought heavy Tiffany Lucida wedding bands and had their names engraved on the outside and their birthdates on the inside. Similarly, I had their names and birthdates engraved on the inside of gemstone and diamond stacking rings. I have several stacking rings, which I love to mix with larger pieces. One set I wear all the time is two ruby keeper rings from Jewellery Hannah, as well as a giardinetto from Pocket of Rocks. Last year I worked with Hoard Jewelry on engraving to flat gold bands for them with personalized messages. One has the cipher of a “nonsense” love song my son used to sing to me as a child when he was barely verbal; only he and I understand it. He later told me that it was his love song to his Mom, and so of course my heart melted. Other antique engraved pieces of jewelry with dedications or initials I own are mostly amatory, including a Russian rock crystal locket with diamond initials on the face that once held hair; a tiny acrostic locket with engraving and locket space for hair; a large, double heart picture frame, and a banded agate mourning locket. A favorite bangle acquired from Lenore Dailey spells, “Dieu Vous Garde,” or “God Protect You.” I also have a locket with that motif. One of my very favorite pieces it is really quite special. I got it from Glorious Antique Jewelry. It is dated 1790 and has some interesting initials on the back, and a lovely message on the front, “Pour ma Sophie pour toujours ma petite cherie toût, 1790” which roughly translates to, “To my Sophie, you will always be my little darling, 1790.”

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I love LOVE, and as such can’t seem to stop seeking out pansy jewelry. I have several enamel and gemstone pieces—a pendant and pocket watch. Pansy jewelry of course was symbolic of the French for “ Pense à moi,” or “ Think of me.” Similarly a Georgian pendant brooch I find myself wearing often simply says, “ L’Amour,” and is decorated with two seed pearl lovebirds. A garnet and white enamel pendant reads in Latin, “ Dulcis Vita::Tibi Vita,” or “ The Good “ Life; Your Life.” One piece I have, ruby hearts with diamond wings, was acquired from Park Avenue Jewelry and I decided to convert it from a brooch to a necklace. I’m a strong believer that jewelry should be worn, and I realized that it would get a lot more use for me personally as a necklace. I got this piece as my mother was dying, and it will always be very special to me as a remembrance of her.

French St. Esprit pieces are also a love and I get a lot of use out of a French regional cross I found. One of the St. Esprits is probably late 18th century and makes a political statement, with its red and blue pastes. A favorite piece of mine is an 1835 rose cut diamond, gold and silver Halley’s Comet pendant (likely converted from a brooch) that I got from Inez Stodel.

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