Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you’re a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you’ll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily’s personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I’m so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let’s sit back and enjoy:

My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.

My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.

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I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!

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A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.

After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.

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I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!

I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.

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One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim

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Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry

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Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.

xoxoGemGossip

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The Top Jewelry Trends Seen at Couture 2017

Yael Sonia | Gem Gossip

After acclimating to normal life, and when I say normal I mean not having to take 700+ photos per day while meeting one jewelry designer after the other all while trying to look like I haven’t just slept for 4 hours and only eaten a diet that could sustain a person for a brief moment, I am happily enjoying my quiet reflection time from the Couture show. Happy to be tucked away in laid back Nashville, far from the dry air, noisy crowds and thick cigarette smoke of Vegas. But don’t get me wrong, there is a large part of me that absolutely loves everything about Vegas Jewelry Week--including all that is complained about.

One of my most favorite things to do when Couture is over is go through all my photos, take in all that I just saw and narrow down all the goodness into a small list of top jewelry trends. It is no simple task and I like to keep my trend categories somewhat pinpointed, so they are not so broad. Tracking trends and observing how these trends evolve is some science mixed with a heavy dose of anthropology, and no I don’t mean the lifestyle/clothing store.

So here are the five jewelry trend categories I’ve come up with that were the most dominate in the best way possible from Couture 2017. They are in no particular order and are illustrated using just ONE example of designers I had appointments with–there are several other pieces and designers that also captured these top jewelry trends too!

Jane Taylor Jewelry

1. Rainbow Waves:

I was seeing SO MUCH rainbow around Couture; color everywhere! I was totally loving it. This trend was best exhibited by Jane Taylor Jewelry whose designs get more and more colorful every year. Every ROYGBIV fan out there can spot the gemstone that represents each spectral color. Designers are embracing color and incorporating all colors into their designs. Buyer and jewelry lovers are searching for pieces that are vibrant, colorful and play off one another while still displaying a rainbow of hues.

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2. Shoulder-Duster Statement Earrings:

We’ve seen earrings trend all across the board in the past few years–from simple studs, to ear jackets, to ear climbers/crawlers…even ear cuffs. This year was all about the bold, shoulder-dusting statement earrings. Long in length, sleek in style, and statement-making in their own right. Above, I clearly saw some great examples of this trend at Lydia Courteille. These pieces were quite breath-taking and feature her signature black rhodium and rainbow of gems (which ties in with the first trend). I love Lydia’s gem choices and color combinations. We recommend this trend with pulled back hair and no necklaces.

Yael Sonia | Gem Gossip

3. Modern Geometric:

Perhaps one of my favorite trends, the modern, sculptural pieces that have a hint of geometry to them. This trend is easily showcased best by Brazilian designer Yael Sonia. Her designs exude a futuristic feel, very 3017. She uses Brazilian gemstones and each item is handcrafted in Brazil. I love the 3D cubes, spheres and the use of movement that is also incorporated into her pieces.

Zoe Chicco | Gem Gossip

4. Gold Wire Necklaces:

Chains took a backseat this time around at Couture–it was all about the solid gold wire. Whether it was plain or decorated in gemstones, the wire collar can exquisitely flatter any neckline, all while making a statement. I think the gold wire has gained popularity lately because it almost resembles a choker, has the same capabilities as a regular chain, yet it is heavy, rigid and substantial. Above, one of my favorite gold wire collar necklaces found at Couture 2017–this one is by Zoe Chicco and features bezel set diamonds of various cuts set throughout the piece. It is elegant and edgy at the same time! So good!!

Sydney Evan | Gem Gossip

5. Charms:

I was not expecting charms to be such a highlight and hit at Couture 2017, but they totally were and as a charm collector, I was loving all the interpretations I was seeing! Each designer had their own take on charms–their own motifs and ideas came to life in colorful and gem-set renditions. The most well-known being the Gemfields x MUSE collaboration charm necklace, as people are STILL talking about it! I loved Sydney Evan‘s charms (shown above) as they were quirky, fun and very colorful. Her signature motifs, like the evil eye, the word “Love,” wishbone, lips, etc. were brought to life as charms. The trend is great for many reasons–low price points, easy to collect, and the wearer can choose to wear them any way they want!


Couture 2017

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30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry into Summertime!

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Summer is next week–can you believe it?! Are you ready?! One of my most favorite things to do in the summer is to plan activities that I wouldn’t normally get to do…this involves taking days off from work, surrounding myself with people I love, and living my best life. I also like making lists or a group of goals to complete over the summer–they can be wishful thinking or very, very serious. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of 30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry just in time for summer!

1. Pick a gemstone, any gemstone, and learn all about it.

2. Find a gem show that is coming to your area and attend!

3. Have a gem or mineral specimen collection? Reorganize it in a cool way.

4. Plan a trip to go gem mining.

5. Do you have a favorite Instagrammer in our jewelry community? Plan a summer meetup.

6. Pick a state that is somewhat close to you, and research the best jewelry store they have to offer. Plan a visit!

7. Make a cool treat on a hot day–these gem ice trays can be filled with any fruity liquid!

8. Find a gemstone print top, bathing suit or towel and wear it to the beach.

9. Reserve a day at the nail salon and go for a gemstone manicure!

10. Buy that jewelry book you’ve been eyeing and lay by the pool with it!

11. Scout out some amazing flowers in your city, buy them, and take some jewelry photos with them.

12. Find a new way of wearing some of your favorite pieces of jewelry.

13. Take a day to clean your most-worn pieces of jewelry.

14. Plan a SWAP party with friends that also love jewelry.

15. Pick a time period you don’t know as much about as your favorite jewelry period, and learn about it!

16. Spend an entire day “hunting” for antique jewelry online–but do it by a pool.

17. Learn about crystal healing and depending on where you live, schedule an appointment with an expert.

18. Throw a gemstone-themed party!

19. Learn about a new designer you’ve never heard of before.

20. Need a new way to store your jewelry? Splurge on a jewelry cabinet and reconfigure it if necessary.

21. Take a jewelry making class.

22. Decide on creating a charm bracelet or necklace–gather charms, buy some new ones and put it together.

23. Get something very special and sentimental made into a piece of jewelry.

24. Size all of your fingers and keep it written down.

25. Get registered to bid at your favorite auction houses.

26. Put on all your favorite Art Deco jewels and watch a 1920s old movie.

27. Hit up your local estate sales or garage sales. You never know!

28. Tell someone thank you by gifting them a piece of jewelry.

29. Get lost on Pinterest by searching “antique jewelry” or “jewelry.”

30. Pick your favorite medium (water colors, arcryllics, pencil, etc) and try drawing/painting a diamond.

xoxoGemGossip

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Let me know which of these you want to do! –> @gemgossip

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Top Five Pieces I Wanted to Take Home With Me at Couture 2017

Couture | Gem Gossip

This year the Couture show opened its doors to hundreds of buyers and press from all over the world, while I walked in a day late of opening day, I was quick and eager to dive into all that it had to offer. Each designer stood beaming behind their booths, creativity on full power and all their blood, sweat and tears front and center under the grappling lights. More on the show in general in a few days, but I wanted to focus in on five pieces, from five different designers that I felt stood out to me. These pieces may not be the flashiest or have the biggest gemstones; they are pieces I would want for my personal collection–items I could see myself wearing and enjoying on a daily basis. There are lots of jewels at Couture that were bold, striking and great for editorial shoots–but translating them into every day wear for an average American didn’t quite fit in my eyes. Yes these jewels might be fun to drool over, to take a photo of, or to just simply stare at, but as I stood there thinking to myself, “what if I owned a store in Nashville, what would I buy that would fit my audience?” I realized that sort of changed my entire thinking while browsing. Most of the time when I’m in “Gem Gossip mode” I’m one-sided in my thinking, focusing on what pieces would photograph well, what would my followers want to see, what would get the most “likes.” So here are my top five pieces that I surely wanted to take home with me at Couture 2017!

1. Anthony Lent Crescent Moonface bangles: being celestial obsessed must be commemorated somehow and these bangles fit the bill in many ways. First off, they are wearable and go with just about anything, for any occasion. Secondly, they are timeless and can be passed down through generations. Best part is they are each hand-made by Anthony Lent himself in his Philadelphia-based studio.

See the Anthony Lent website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

2. Anything in opal from Jacquie Aiche: If you’ve visited Jacquie Aiche’s booth at Couture, you know–every year she outfits her spot in gems and mineral specimens that have you feeling like you’ve been transported to her world. And once inside, there’s no shortage of jewelry–each corner and nook is filled with displays, dripping in jewelry. And that’s exactly their mantra–cover yourself in their pieces and style yourself to the max. Every necklace, bracelet, earring, ring and body chain complements one another, and now we know why she has so many devote “tribe” members!

See the Jacquie Aiche website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

3. Stackable, easy on-and-off chokers from Suzanne Kalan: ok, we all have realized chokers are still going strong in popularity and if you’re really wanting to invest in something that is well-constructed, easy to wear, and gorgeous all-around, I suggest these! Suzanne Kalan is known for her baguette diamond wizardry and she follows through again in the choker design department. At the show, the chokers were displayed in large bunches, stacked together and they looked just as good, if not better when worn! There’s no clasp or ties, it is flexible, so you can take it on and off SO easily!

See the Suzanne Kalan website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

4. Enamel surf boards from Tara Hirshberg: I loved all the charms I was seeing at Couture this year and these enameled surf boards were a definite highlight from the debuting designer. I have never surfed before in my life and honestly am frightened beyond belief of the ocean, but even with those pitted against me, I have never wanted a gold surf board more in my life! haha! I love the colors used, the size of them and the wearability. Creating surf-related jewels came naturally for LA-based designer Tara and her ocean living and ocean loving life.

See the Tara Hirshberg website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

5. New diamond bow rings from Arik Kastan: I always look forward to seeing the new designs from vintage-inspired Arik Kastan. This year’s new bow rings had my head spinning and jaw-dropping. They are perfect to stack and fit right in with other antique pieces, as seen here stacked with some other fun Arik Kastan rings. Loving all the green agate too! Tough decision though choosing which bow–the top or bottom??

See the Arik Kastan website here.


Couture 2017

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Q & A with Heather B. Moore Jewelry

Heather B. Moore

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

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

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

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will end with this one:

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

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

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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 😉 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 🙂

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

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Q & A with Mother/Daughter Duo of Charmco

Charmco | Gem Gossip

There are quite a few jewelry businesses that feature mother-daughter duos in this industry. Each one having a story rich in passion, a love for what they’re doing AND for one another, and above all, a special bond you truly can’t have with anyone else. Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and jewelry is a wonderful and powerful gift to give any mother–but a charm that has significance and meaning, one that connects you two together will make her heart sing! Even better if you get that charm from Charmco, a mother-daughter run business that has been deeply connected to charms and promotes this in every way possible! After hearing their story, you’ll not only want to start your own charm collection (if you haven’t already), but also buy your mom a personalized charm for her to unwrap on Mother’s Day!

Q1 | Gem Gossip

It started with my grandma Boomie’s charm bracelet. I remember when she would visit my sister and I would go over each and every charm and beg her to tell us what they were and she would have fun telling us stories. My mother inherited the bracelet and decided to use a few of these special charms to build a bracelet for us. ​She searched for the rest of the charms to make the bracelets meaningful to us; I lived in NYC and worked in communications while my sister was working on a farm in Bali so you can imagine how different the bracelets could be! It was hard to find great charms to add so it took quite a while. When she gifted us the bracelets, needless to say we were both blown away! Wherever I wore my charm bracelet it seemed to spark a conversation- I even remember showing my charms to a stranger on the subway and going over what each little treasure meant to me. My mother had always been a collector of vintage and antique jewelry and I loved the idea of starting a business where we could help people find great charms so we launched C.H.A.R.M, an acronym for “Charms Have A Real Meaning”. An awesome name for our company but not a great one for a web based retailer so a few years later we became Charmco.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Q2 | Gem Gossip

We started traveling and educating ourselves and collecting and by Spring 2002, we began to work with private clients in NYC by appointment to make custom charm bracelets. Soon after that we developed our first website. It was an informational site which had a questionnaire in a pdf form that was downloaded by customers with questions that were supposed to reveal their true charm nature! We had piles of forms come in and we would build a sampling of their bracelet based on the answers. We were sending charm bracelet all over the US and were featured in a variety of popular magazines and had a great word of mouth business. We started doing trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman and for about 3 years we sold through Bergdorfs, Neiman Marcus and Fragments showroom and to a variety of boutiques. We moved our focus online in 2005 with an ecommerce site and now Charmco is home to over 700 collection charms all made in NYC, more than 1000 vintage charms, charm bracelets and necklaces to mix and match.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q3 | Gem Gossip

A charm bracelet or charm necklace is so personal, it tells your story, your travels and your loves– all around. It’s a piece of jewelry that’s classic so it avoids being on trend one season and out the next. It can be passed down from one generation to the next and get transformed into the next person’s wearable life story. The charms I have from my Grandmother are some of my most precious. Charm gifting, in itself, becomes a tradition. We have mothers, husbands, daughters, sisters, friends, grandmothers returning every year on the dot for another charm for their bracelet. Charm bracelets, unlike any other jewelry is a growing reflection of one’s life.

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Q4 | Gem Gossip

Some of our all time favorites are also some of the most popular charms. My absolute favorite is our Custom Calendar; a charm where your special date is marked with a Diamond and which is entirely bespoke. Other classics are an engraved monogram disc, retro baby booties that can be engraved with a birth date or a name ​and famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, which we make 4 different ways. Our all time most popular category is travel; a classic charm bracelet theme. ​New styles people are loving include our new martini glass with a Diamond olive and our elephant mom and baby charm. The martini glass is classic and has a fun diamond olive spark to it and the elephant mom and baby gets an “aww” from everyone when they see the mom carrying the little baby with her trunk.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Untitled

Q5 | Gem Gossip

We see more symbolic charms like unicorns and lightning bolts rising in popularity. The infinity symbol is a charm that’s popular at the moment and I think it’s a concept charm that people embrace right now.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q6 | Gem Gossip

Lisa:

The charm bracelet that inspired our business has evolved through the years. I have custom calendars for each of my two daughter’s birthdays. I paired them with a mini vintage rooster and rat charm to mark their Chinese Zodiac for our three years in Hong Kong. One of my favorite charms is a movable roulette wheel with a little bead that moves with a shake and lands on a winning number. I still test my luck! I also have always cherished my devil that pops out of the martini shaker. I do like a good dry vodka martini! I’ve just started building a separate travel charm necklace and my favorite piece on this necklace isn’t the most “fantastic” charm but it means a lot to me. It’s a golden mountain range of Crested Butte Colorado where I got engaged to my husband. The day I found that charm, I also learned I was pregnant with my first daughter Audrey, so it has super special meaning!

Leslie:

I tend to think in themes and Diamonds are my birthstone. One of my favorite charm bracelets is packed with Diamond charms I have collected over the years. The light bulb charm literally “lights” up with all my good ideas! My Sputnik bracelet features five vintage gem-filled Sputniks inspired by the 1950’s space satellite. My main charm bracelet is like a short bio of my life with quirks and all. I have a vintage crystal photo globe charm with a photo of my ex husband (father to my daughters) on one side and my husband of the past 35 years on the other! I also have a vintage troll doll, which represents my era that I love and a taxi meter that rotates from vacant to occupied to forever – A classic love charm.

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Top-left: Lisa’s Travel Necklace — Top-right: Leslie’s Sputnik charm bracelet

Bottom-left: Lisa’s main charm bracelet — Bottom-right: Leslie’s main charm bracelet

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Charmco.

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Top Gold Jewelry Trends for 2017, with May Is Gold Month

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This is my fourth year partnering with May Is Gold Month and I think it goes without saying that I love all things karat gold! In preparing for this trend post, I thought it would be a good idea to spread out almost all of my jewelry across my entire desk. Scattering each piece allowed for all the memories, sentiment, special occasions and sparkle to overflow at once. I was reminded how powerful gold can be in more ways than one. It also helped me fully understand why May Is Gold Month exists and why they are so adamant about celebrating a single metal.

When found in the ground, gold can look like an undesirable pebble; dirty and hiding its value. It is the makers and jewelry designers who unlock the true beauty of gold when they create a piece of jewelry using gold. It comes to life and takes shape–it can be made to look shiny, textured, brushed, or hammered. It can be rose, green, red, or brown (even some other colors too). A single piece of gold jewelry can provoke laughter, tears and joy, all at the same time. It also can unlock the trends, feelings and historical happenings from which time period it was made.

All of my karat gold jewelry has a special place and meaning in my life. Some pieces were created during the turn-of-the-century, when other metals were being discovered and created…but gold always reigned supreme. Other pieces were designed specially for me by jewelry friends who have become like family. And my most important pieces of karat gold jewelry have been passed down to me, with tender stories and rich histories. It is my passion to teach others how to take all these jewels and style them in numerous ways, and it is May Is Gold Month‘s commitment to celebrating this that makes May one of my favorite months!

So this year’s trends will keep you on your toes–let’s get creative, as I challenge you each week to showing me how you style, wear and show me your karat gold with these six weekly trends–have fun!

Wrist Ornaments | Gem Gossip

Trend #1: Wrist Ornaments

My wrists have been BFF with these Victorian hinged bangles since the day I acquired each one. You know how the Cartier Love bracelets are known to “become a part of you” once you wear one–it is the same with these guys to me–and better yet, not every girl has a Victorian bangle. These are all 14k yellow gold and are uniquely me. I’m hoping to add another to my stack soon!

Jumping Through Hoops | Gem Gossip

Trend #2: Jumping Through Hoops

Let’s face it, hoops never go out of style–they may go on a hiatus every so often–but come back even stronger than ever every time. Like right now! Hoops are so popular–I’ve had these large, very light-weight 14k gold hoops for years now. I decided to update my hoop look by adding these post hoops that are tiny but very wide by J. Hannah. I love how modern they can look and how easy they can pair with just about anything!

Finger Frill | Gem Gossip

Trend #3: Finger Frill

Ah, easily my favorite of the weekly trends. Lately I’ve been loving all-gold looks paired together…ones that are geometric and linear in nature, with bends, twists, and curves. The newest addition is the one I’m wearing on my ring finger. It is a simple wave and the wave perfectly fits and accentuates my engagement ring. It has been my go-to wedding band as of late. A simple design can create such a unique impact!

Neck Jazz | Gem Gossip

Trend #4: Neck Jazz

My neck has been getting extra love lately as I’ve been really into karat gold necklaces, pendants and different types of chains. I added a solid gold wire necklace a few months ago to my jewelry wardrobe and it has been a game-changer. So many things I can do with it, the possibilities are limitless! I sometimes wear it alone, I can easily throw on a pendants or a grouping of charms, and I can layer it up as well, like seen here. I’ve been collecting lots of Egyptian Revival pendants and charms, like my ankh I’m wearing. I also can’t get enough of my DMD Metal Shaman necklace with a diamond drool and my simple diamond with no setting whatsoever (it is a pierced, free-standing diamond) necklace from La Brune & La Blonde.

Ear Decor | Gem Gossip

Trend #5: Ear Decor

How many of you got a new ear piercing this past year just because of how trendy karat gold earrings are?! Whether you pile on stud after stud, go for an ear cuff look, or go big and bold, ear decor has never been more popular! One of my favorite earrings are by Grace Lee Designs and she calls these Whisper Mobiles as each is like an art installation on your ear, but they are whisper-thin and ultra lightweight. I am wearing three different styles in one ear, all done in 14k yellow gold.

Gold for Guys | Gem Gossip

Trend #6: Gold for Guys

In a world with over 7 billion inhabitants, it is kismet that we find a partner that wants to spend the rest of its life on Earth with you. I happened to find that special person and what made our relationship even better was that he loves jewelry just as much as I do! From karat gold medallions, to karat gold sword stick pins, and everything in between, my husband loves wearing and collecting gold. My husband’s advice to any guy? “You should invest in a really nice karat gold bracelet that easily goes with your everyday style.” I agree!!

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with May Is Gold Month.

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Jewels at my Doorstep: Alexis Kletjian Jewelry

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All the April showers have rained down on us all month long and I’m here waiting for the May flowers, which will hopefully be worth the wait! Spring is one of my most favorite times of the year; a time of rebirth, growth, freshness and strength. What better way than to capture all that in our latest Jewels at my Doorstep shoot because it is so fitting with the designer being featured–Alexis Kletjian. Her jewelry is created and designed with the intention of being a part of your every day wardrobe, being passed down, and becoming a part of your legacy. The word legacy is very important to Alexis–it is a word she often thinks of when celebrating milestones, both in life and online. Celebration often goes hand-in-hand with giving/receiving jewelry, and it is exactly that idea which Alexis feels her jewelry line lends itself perfectly with. She also celebrates online anytime her social media platforms hit a special milestone and she gives back by drawing names from anyone who has emailed her with their legacy story! Winner receives $1000 good toward a piece from the Alexis Kletjian collections.

A milestone like a birthday, anniversary or holiday are all ideal moments to share a piece of Alexis Kletjian jewelry–a shield pendant, a hexagon band, or any of her initial charms–there are so many great pieces. I was really excited to see her jewels, as I haven’t seen them in awhile. I also got to experience some never-before-seen pieces she has been busy cooking up! Like the emerald and diamond crossover ring and the opal lotus star pendant with one-of-a-kind boulder opals. Definitely some of my favorite pieces! We can’t forget the Retiarii earrings because those need their own special introduction. Glamorous, sleek and bold–shining bright with diamonds set in the “netting” of the design (a retiarii is an ancient gladiator net used to protect oneself in battle) and dangling with two specially cut chrysoberyls by Top Notch Faceting. These earrings can be customized, as Alexis also makes them in all gold, all diamonds, or all diamonds + moonstone. The bangles were beyond belief, as they came done in 18k gold with three different eternity style gemstone varieties: demantoid garnet, chrome diopside, and tanzanite. Lastly, we must discuss my obsession with these “crystal ball” looking rings because when I look into them, I can see my future. They are actually prehnite cabochons and although you might not have ever heard of that stone before, get familiar! Alexis just put it on the map.

Our shoot was set on a glorious spring morning in Nashville; our location being Belmont University–one of the prettiest schools I’ve ever been to. They are known for their lavish gardens, with over 14,000 tulips (imported from the Netherlands), and over 100 species of trees and shrubs. Efforts have been put in place to keep the campus classified as a tree sanctuary. The photos were shot by Lauren Newman Photography and we used as much of the gardens, plants, trees and flowers as possible in all the shots. We hope you enjoy!

Earrings:

18k yellow gold Retiarii earrings set with diamonds and dangling chrysoberyls cut by TopNotch Faceting

18k yellow gold mini star stud earrings set with diamonds

Bracelets:

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with demantoid garnets

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with chrome diopside

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with tanzanite

Necklaces:

14k yellow gold Lotus shield pendant set with tanzanite and diamonds

14k yellow gold Lucky star shield pendant set with an emerald

18k yellow gold Lotus star pendant set with boulder opals

Rings:

18k yellow gold prehnite cabochon signet rings, in two different sizes

14k yellow gold mini hexagon bands, one in emerald and one in diamonds

14k yellow gold hexagon bands, one in demantoid garnet and one in diamonds

14k yellow gold emerald and diamond crossover ring

Shop Now:

online at alexiskletjian.com OR email [email protected]

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Alexis Kletjian Jewelry.

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

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

Let’s get started:

1. Storage Solutions:

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

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2. Clean Your Actual Jewelry:

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

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

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

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3. Go Through Each Item:

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

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4. Clean Your Actual Jewelry Box:

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

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5. The Finishing Touch:

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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