Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

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

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

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

Diamond Rings

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

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

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

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

Alternative Engagement Rings

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

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

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

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

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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.

Lydia Courteille | Gem Gossip Lydia Courteille | Gem Gossip Lydia Courteille | Gem Gossip

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

Want more? See my top picks from last year’s show!

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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

WANT MORE? Search my summer favorites

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

Want more? See my top picks from last year’s show!

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Dupuis Important Jewels Auction Set for June 11, 2017

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Canadian auction house, Dupuis, has announced their upcoming Important Jewels sale, set for June 11th, 2017. The sale features over 400 lots of fine jewelry, ranging in time period and price points across the board. From antique and vintage engagement rings to designer hallmarked items, the sale is sure to satisfy any type of collector. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite pieces above, with descriptions below…and I’ve made sure to already sign up to bid online! The sale is on a Sunday, so don’t forget!

Dupuis Important Jewels Auction >> June 11, 2017

Lot 54: Emerald and diamond antique ring, circa 1850 has topped my favorites list so far–this ring immediately caught my attention due to its age and how great of condition it is in. The emerald is approximately three carats with a closed-back setting, typical of the time period. Estimate: $3,655-5,117

Lot 94: Very unique diamond and colored diamond pendant/brooch which depicts the Roman Goddess Diana, a huntress with a bow and arrow. The diamonds are yellow, pink and colorless and form a really neat look when aligned with the outline of the figure. Estimate: $3,655-5,117

Lot 114: This vintage lapis and diamond bracelet steals the show in design and gemstone combination. The piece measures 6.5 inches in length and done in 18k yellow gold. Each lapis is set individually in a plaque-style and the bracelet easily articulates. Estimate: $1,901-2,632

Lot 142: Beauty and elegance; nothing like a Belle Époque piece. This brooch is set with an aquamarine and surrounded by diamonds, portraying a bow. I love the long length of it, as most bows are shorter and wider. By the way, this is all done in platinum! Estimate: $1,316-1,608

Lot 150: I made sure to include this aquamarine ring in my roundup of favorites because it is downright glowing from within! The intense aqua color is striking and I am also a fan of the split-shoulder setting. Can you guess how many carats the aquamarine is?! Try approximately 43! Crazy. Estimate: $9,503-11,696

Lot 173: A great example of a highly unique engagement ring–this ring features a 2.37 carat center diamond with a hexagonal frame around it. The ring is done in 18k yellow gold, is a size 5 and you may not be able to tell from the photo, but the shank is square not round! Estimate: $7,310-10,234

Lot 183: The radiating fire of this black opal is dynamic and striking to say the least! I love the design, as I feel it suits the play-of-color. I’ve learned that opals which exhibit red flashes and red play-of-color are most valuable, so this is truly a rare piece! It is mounted in 18k yellow gold and is an antique piece. Estimate: $1,462-1,901

Lot 184: Another radiant opal, this piece is a pendant that dates back to the early 1900s. It features some diamonds and demantoid garnets (green) and is done in platinum. Such a stunning piece! Estimate: $2,924-4,386

Lot 188: I went for the bold and bright colors on this ring! I also expected this piece to be a signed piece, but I don’t think it is. We’ve got amethyst, pink sapphires, and diamonds mounted in 18k gold. A bold look for a colorful woman! Estimate: $1,462-1,901

Lot 212: Sea shells fit for an enchanted mermaid–these earrings are made entirely out of gemstones and gold! We’ve got tourmalines, peridot, topaz, and cabochon sapphires here…set in 18k yellow gold and signed by Fochtmann and numbered 0066. Definite masterpieces! Estimate: $1,462-2,193

Lot 254: The amount of funky designs I am thinking up using these unmounted tourmalines has my head spinning! What unique colorings?! Pastels at their finest–what would you create using them? The pale pink round tourmaline and minty blue round tourmaline are a great pair, but when you add in the bi-colored cushion cut, it makes the lot! Estimate: $1,462-2,194

Lot 274: Big and bold; this modern take on an asymmetrical engagement ring design keeps us on our toes and wanting me unique designs! The old marquise cut diamond weighs approximately 1.90 carats and is truly one-of-a-kind. Estimate: $5,117-6,579

Lot 328: I also like this engagement ring because it is both modern and chunky at the same time. The round center diamond is about three carats and is safely set in a bezel of 14k white gold. There are also ring guards done in yellow gold, which turns up the design element. Estimate: $13,158-16,082

Lot 383: A large and rare no-heat sapphire that is pear-shaped and totally gorgeous. The sapphire weighs 10.32 carats and set beautifully amongst a necklace of 18k yellow gold and a wonderful design. Between the pinwheel style of the main design and the attention to detail, this necklace will surely fly off the auction block! Estimate: $23,392-26,316

Lot 395: It doesn’t get much better than antique Tiffany & Co. and this ring is the epitomy of grace and style! Set with a center emerald cut sapphire weighing 4.65 carats, flanked on each side by a pair of old pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 2.50 carats, finished in platinum. A stunning piece of history, that is just as beautiful today. Estimate: $87,720-109,650

Lot 397: Large and in charge–this diamond solitaire ring is not playing around! Weighing in at a lofty 6.35 carats and set in 18k white gold. I like the simple, classic mounting with the six-prong setting. It is perfect for a diamond like this! Estimate: $43,860-58,480

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Dupuis.

Dupuis Auction | Gem Gossip

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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 Designers Work with Gold: Six Unique Stories

A point of view that needs to be explored more often and more inquisitively is the role of THE MAKER. Every jewelry designer has a story, a technique, preferences and ways of doing things…but a favorite metal? That’s easy, it is usually GOLD. I teamed up with May Is Gold Month to delve further into this perspective, asking six different jewelry designers the same two questions. What will their answers reveal about using gold in their jewelry designs? Let’s find out!

You can also take a look at the MAKERS which May Is Gold Month is featuring on their page here.

Above video features Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Anthony Lent creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for a special client. Each piece is handmade by the maker himself in his studio.

Anthony Lent Jewelry Anthony Lent Jewelry

Anthony Lent Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

For years I only worked in gold and some platinum. For me doing non conventional designs and creating them in a precious metal like 18k yellow gold was sort of an identity- the imagery in my designs was unusual to see in such a fine material.

Why do you like working with gold?

It is the most pleasurable metal to work with! The color of a rich 18 or 22k gold piece of jewelry is unlike anything else in nature. The way light plays off the material, the density of it, and its malleability is in my opinion why people have lusted after it for thousands of years.

>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.

Jessie V E Jessie V E

Jessie V E Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is absolutely essential in my work. The finish and feel of gold is like no other metal, and because I mostly use diamonds in my pieces, it’s really important that the jewellery they’re held in is as precious as the stones. I remember the first time I got to use gold at the bench while I was studying for my jewellery degree at university. I honestly didn’t realise it would be that different to working in silver but i was so wrong! From that moment the love affair with gold started and I physically couldn’t design anything without it. Although I don’t make the pieces at the bench myself for Jessie V E, I work very closely with the workshop, ensuring we use the highest quality gold in each expertly hand made piece.

Why do you like working with gold?

Often my jewellery has a symbolic or emotional feel, with the majority of the pieces being personalised or ‘semi-bespoke’, because I want them to become heirlooms passed down and cherished by future generations. Gold not only has the nostalgic and warm feel of the jewellery you remember seeing your grandparents and parents wearing when you were younger, but also from a more practical sense, gold is a metal that very few people have an allergy to, therefore making it perfect for everyday jewellery that lasts longer than a lifetime. There is just something about the feel, weight and warm glow of a gold piece of jewellery that is perfect for attaching memories and sentiment to, while looking beautiful and timeless.

>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.

Metalicious Jewelry Metalicious Jewelry

Metalicious Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is important in my work because it has a rich history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Gold never corrodes and it was thought to symbolize immortality. This makes it the perfect ring for wedding and commitment bands.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is a beautiful metal to work with, it’s malleable yet extremely durable. I love the range of colors you can achieve by alloying gold with other metals. It gives me the flexibility to create unique alternative engagement rings, to match my customers personalities perfectly.

>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.

Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos

Johnny Ninos Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold has played a big role in progressing my work. While transitioning from silver, the cost of gold required me to slow down and focus more intently on the details. I remember honing in on each file stroke and tightening my burr control; skills I now apply to all materials regardless of cost.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is an easy metal to love. It’s luscious and has a rich, deep character. When I’m working with gold it’s soft qualities preserve the handmade nature of the piece while still allowing for structure, durability, and precision.

>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.

Grace Lee Designs Grace Lee Designs

Grace Lee Designs

How is gold important in your work?

Everything in my collection is solid gold and made locally with ethically sourced materials. When I started my collection, almost 10 years ago now, there was a lack of minimal fine jewelry. Personally, I was at a point in my life when I didn’t want to invest in jewelry that will tarnish or turn my finger green. If the outside of my finger is green then who knows what’s happening on the inside of my body.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is intrinsically a soft and malleable metal yet strong and unchanging. Its value comes from these physical properties and its rarity. Gold was discovered thousands of years ago yet still today it remains one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. I like working with gold because of the creative possibilities with a malleable yet unchanging raw material are endless and lasting. If you look at my collection we have pieces like the iconic Whisper Ring – that is airy and whisper thin yet can be worn everyday. The fact that it is solid 14k gold means you don’t need to take it off to shower or wash your hands. The fact that is solid 14k gold also means your piece will not change and can be passed on for generations.

I think it is rare and valuable to be flexible yet constant simultaneously. It is almost an oxymoron. Think about some of your favorite people – perhaps they are flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances yet you are confident they will also remain the same at a core level. Personally, I like these intrinsic characteristics in gold and in people.

As a designer that’s what I hope to do – to evolve yet stay constant. As I continue to create new collections it is my hope that people will continue to be able to appreciate and recognize my work as distinctively GL.

>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.

SophieHughes SophieHughes SophieHughes

Sophie Hughes Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Why do you like working with gold?

There is a very potent mystique intrinsic to gold – it is radiant, lush and seductive. It looks and feels luxurious on the body. The specific alloy of 18 karat gold I use in my work is bright and rich, with an old-world feel supplied by its cool undertones. As a designer, I appreciate its versatility as a material – it stands on its own but also plays nice visually when set with precious stones or fused over the surface of oxidized sterling silver.

I draw a lot of excitement and inspiration from the unlimited design possibilities of gold. Plus, working with it is an absolute dream! It remains clean when heated, is smooth as butter, and responds beautifully to the textures of the antique hammers I utilize in my work. It’s super forgiving because it has a great capacity to be worked and re-worked.

Gold is also easily recycled so its use aligns with my values as a designer. The metal mining industry is disruptive to the environment and is notorious for unscrupulous labor and business practices, so partnering with refineries who melt and mill precious, reclaimed scrap allows me access to material I feel good about working with and my clients feel good about wearing.

>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.

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

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

May Is Gold Month | Gem Gossip May Is Gold Month | Gem Gossip May Is Gold Month | Gem Gossip

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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

Bonhams New York, April 24, 2017

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

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

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

Leading Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

Other Favorites:

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

Necklaces

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

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

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

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

Rings

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

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

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

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

Miscellaneous

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

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

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

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

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An Alternative Engagement Ring + Custom Top Notch Faceting Sapphire

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Back in July of last year I alerted my readers to my search for an alternative, more “user-friendly” engagement ring for everyday wear. I also penned a “Rules of Engagement” blog post which generated a lot of feedback and I enjoyed hearing everyone’s take on something that is often not talked about. If you haven’t read the blog post–I totally encourage you!

Well since then, I’ve been on the hunt for a genuine sapphire to replace the synthetic one that was in this antique cluster ring from Maejean Vintage. Sometimes when hunting for jewelry, you have to keep in mind that if the piece is not exactly “perfect” to you, there’s always ways of changing out gemstones, or re-enameling a piece that has heavy enamel damage, or resetting the design to make it more appealing. You have to train your eye to envision a piece of jewelry reimagined.

Finding a sapphire was tougher than I thought! Browsing online proved tough because I knew I had to be able to see the gemstone in person to judge if it was the right color blue that I wanted. I realized the best place to find something would most likely be in Tucson at the annual gem shows. I was ready to make it one of my projects while in Tucson a few months ago. At that point I realized I was going to have to buy a stone and get it recut so it would properly fit. I kept finding sapphires I really loved the colors of but hated to think of spending so much money on a larger stone that would just need cutting down. I figured my best bet would be to buy a more affordable price per carat sapphire, and hopefully once recut, it would look better than the lower price point that it truly is/was.

That goal was sort of lofty but I knew Jean-Noel of Top Notch Faceting could turn my ordinary stone into something magical. After some Top Notch Faceting, the once dark blue sapphire opened up and now has a brighter, more brilliant shine and sparkle. The blue lightened up a bit, but still has its velvety color which is what I wanted from the very beginning. I love that the stone is not a cookie-cutter cut–it has its own unique shape and style that Jean-Noel is known for and makes the stone and now ring that much more special.

I’m so happy with how this ring came out and it is truly a testament to having patience and making sure every step of the creation process is exactly what you want. Settling for something less than what you are envisioning just because it would be quicker is not always the answer. I’m also loving the fact that this ring will become important in my jewelry wardrobe and it is from some of my favorite people in the jewelry industry–Maejean Vintage & Top Notch Faceting.

Let me know your thoughts on the ring! Would love to hear!

xoxoGemGossip

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