New October Opals from Arik Kastan Jewelry

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Let us enchant you with some of Arik Kastan’s newest designs featuring October’s magical and often obsess-worthy birthstone: OPAL. The brand has been working with opals since the very beginning of launching Arik Kastan and they continue to be a favorite of collectors, and we obviously can’t get enough of them ourselves!

Opals can easily transform any design that is created, any outfit we style, or bad moods we’re feeling. We love opals set in the signature rose gold just as much as the yellow gold, so we think you can’t go wrong picking between the two metals. And as far as gemstones that pair well with opals, we’ve been obsessing over some cool tones like sapphires, emeralds and moonstones–even pearls! Yes, you must check out the newest pearl + opal ring fresh off the jeweler’s bench. You’ll flip!

Enjoy checking out the new styles; all are available with a click of a mouse (or touch of a finger on your phone)!

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Arik Kastan drew from Victorian jewelry to create this stunning pearl and opal cluster ring, which is both bold and has feminine touches. We love it paired with jeans or a dress for fall.

Lyla Ring with opals and pearls, Price: $1,500

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These aren’t just any ordinary garnets, they are rose cuts which give these earrings a vintage-inspired look. They’re nice and large, while still being crazy comfortable.

Pebble Stone Drop earrings with garnet & opal, Price: $1,650


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A hint of blue sapphire sets off this sentimental padlock that can be the layer-ready basis for our collection. Start your stack with this one!

Sapphire + Opal Cluster Padlock, Price: $1,260


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A continued favorite, the signature three-stone ring looks glorious in opal and ready for any October baby to make this her special piece.

Signature Three Stone ring in Opal, Price: $1,320

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Quite possibly our newest favorite gemstone combination emeralds and opals! The green really POPS in these earrings; they’re quite breath-taking.

Nouveau Oval drop earrings, Price: $2,250

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This pinwheel pendant has won our hearts–it’s dainty and precious! Again, slaying in our favorite gemstone combo.

Pinwheel pendant with emerald + opals, Price: $1,320


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An instant favorite, combining floral inspiration with geometric vibes, the Mandala ring has us ready for fall.

Framed Mandala ring in sapphires + opals, Price: $2,750


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Some major boldness with this padlock, which we can’t get enough of. If you want a hefty, gorgeous piece…this is it!

Stained Glass Window padlock with emeralds + opals, Price: $2,470


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Feeling some boho vibes? Say no more, these are for you! Open metalwork, opals and a wonderful lever back.

Arabesque Drop earrings set with opals, Price: $2,030


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If you’re one who loves to stack your heart out, we’ve got you covered too! Our thin stacking band is easy to wear and pairs with almost anything else.

Thin Stacking ring done in opal, Price: $1,150


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It’s hip to be a square and this little padlock thinks so too. Outfitted in opals every square inch and a single moonstone in the center to shake things up a bit!

Square Padlock with opals + moonstone, Price: $1,590

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The Isabel ring makes us feel elegant and refined. We love the hint of blue from the sapphire and know you will too!

Isabel ring set with sapphire + opals, Price; $1,760

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Just a tip: Arik Kastan padlocks make the most beautiful gifts and yes, there are lots of holidays approaching but I won’t name any for the sake of getting virtually slapped!

Horizon Cluster Padlock set with moonstone + opals, Price: $1,370

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Latest Obsessions for Fall 2017

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My love for the color blue continues, even through fall when oranges & browns are en vogue. I’ve become obsessed with the blue carved lapis ring that I have had listed for sale so much that I’ve decided to move it into my personal collection. I might still let it go but I’m not sure–I think seeing a very similar one in Erie Basin’s sold archives made me want to keep it. Side note: does anyone else just blow through 2-3 hours browsing through Erie Basin’s sold archives?? lol

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I want to say I’ve probably sold about 100+ pieces of my personal collection since I decided to get more organized and curated with my collection. I’m quite happy with where my collection is at right now, although I’m still hunting for an epic man-on-the-moon moonstone ring and a kunzite piece. I’ll probably sell more from my collection but in the meantime, these are my faves.

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Speaking of being obsessed with blue…my 33rd birthday happened earlier this month and this aquamarine and black enamel beauty from Laurel Stearns became mine! Obviously it was purchased by myself, for myself. Haven’t I made it any more clear, year after year, that everyone should buy themselves a birthday gift?! Anyway, I’ve seriously worn it SO much since I got it and I’m incredibly lucky to have scored this ring late on a Saturday night, within minutes of her posting it.

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I’ve been changing up my ear stack since acquiring these David Webb nail earrings and I gotta say I’m fully obsessed with my newest addition, the Vada Jewelry ear hanger. It slides behind your ear and gives the illusion of having some of the more unique piercings done. I’ve got three holes in both ears and I think that’s all I can handle. Ear cuffs & ear hangers for life!

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I brought along some of Arrow & Anchor Antiques‘ inventory with me when I went to Boston and continued playing with it when I got back. I don’t think most people appreciate the amazingness that is moss agate, pictured in the center. I have a thing for dendritic agate and this combo of rings is just UGHHHHH SO GOOD.

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Photo on the left features pieces from my personal collection and the photo on the right features rings that are for sale! For details on those: instagram.com/shopgemgossip

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BCE Jewelry spent a few days in Nashville and I showed her around town! She also came over to play in my jewelry box and I played with her jewels (seen above). Every year she takes a country-wide road trip and clients secure a spot to view her one-of-a-kind pieces. She usually starts with a full plate of jewels and heads back to California on empty, leaving her to work on some new pieces!

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These “animals on wire” rings are just the cutest and I suggested that they could also be worn on chains as pendants, but this was the first time I actually tried my own suggestion. And omg I am in love!! All three are available and are $55 each. The wire is 14k solid gold.

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The Hottest Celebrity Jewelry Trend Happening Now–Hoops!

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Jennifer Lopez may have been one of the originators, but now there seems to be a resurgence in the popularity of hoop earrings and celebrities are following suit.

What makes this hoop trend new? Crank the typical thin metal circle hoop earrings up a notch… or 12 notches! We’ve spotted all kinds of luxe versions of the hoop earring — from diamond color coated to encrusted opal slices. Hoops are competing as the new statement earrings on the red carpet.

Not to mention they have a remarkable way of framing the face and are extremely adaptable in size to fit anyone’s face shape. They’re quintessential and dependable. Hoop shaped earrings have been a powerful symbol in numerous cultures throughout history. The oldest earrings archaeologists have discovered belong to Sumerian women who lived in 2500 BC, and favoured the classic gold hoop style.

Hoop earrings are a foolproof, classic staple and if you don’t have a pair of hoop earrings in your jewelry box, check out these celebrity looks for inspiration to add a pair now!

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Hailey Baldwin demonstrating that one pair of hoop earrings is never enough. Hailey wearing 2 pairs of gold hoop earrings from Jennifer Fisher Jewelry at the iGo.live launch event.

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Jennifer Lopez wore Harry Winston three row diamond hoop earrings at the ‘Rei Kawakubi/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’ Costume Institute Gala 2017. She also wore a pair of bold gold Samira hoop earrings by Jennifer Fisher Jewelry in her new music video for ‘Amor Amor Amor’.

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Nicki Minaj wore oversized diamond hoop earrings by Lynn Ban at the 2017 MTV VMAs.

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Rihanna prefers colored diamond encrusted hoop earrings. She wore Rihanna Loves Chopard pink sapphire hoop earrings to the LA premiere of Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. She also wore yellow diamond hoop earrings by Jacob & Co. at the launch of her Fenty Beauty, pictured here.

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Singer Rita Ora wore diamond Tiffany and Co. hoops at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards.

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Sarah Paulson wearing diamond Jasmine hoop earrings by Nirav Modi at the 2017 Screen Actor Guild Awards.

PICTURE credit all GETTY, with the exception of Rihanna photo via WIRE IMAGE

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Leslie Hindman Auction: September Sale is INCREDIBLE

Leslie Hindman: Lot 87

You’ll be enchanted forever by this ring, up for bid at Leslie Hindman Auction in Chicago, IL — this is lot 87 in the three-day bidding extravaganza.

Leslie Hindman: Lot 377 Leslie Hindman: Lot 378 Leslie Hindman: Lot 379 Leslie Hindman: Lot 380

Four mesmerizing opals are on the block at Leslie Hindman, day one, and they come back-to-back in lots 377-380. Get your bidding paddles up!

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers jewelry headquarters in Chicago, IL. To say I’ve got some perspective on how an auction house runs is far from the truth, but I came away being able to put faces with names, insight into a typical day, and a brief intake of the enormous amount of sparkle the jewelry department works with. It was one of my most favorite experiences of this year! Now when I hear that Leslie Hindman has an upcoming auction this September (the 10th-12th to be exact) I have more context of the event, as they are excited to bring a three-day extravaganza with some heavy and hard-hitting bidding in the future. This three-day auction will feature over 1500 items of all price points and eras. If you like big and bold, Victorian or Modern, opals or rubies, they’ve got something for everyone.

Let’s take a look at some of my top picks:

Leslie Hindman: Lot 6 Leslie Hindman: Lot 55

Lot 6: Nothing beats an Etruscan Revival basketweave wrap bracelet! This is such a fine example and I love the gemstones used on it–sapphire and diamonds! It gives it a cool look against the warm yellow gold. I also love the granulation work, in both excellent and ready-to-wear condition. This piece may date back to 1870, but never looked more trendy than on an elegant wrist in 2017. Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 55: Lately I’ve written several articles on engagement rings and I’ve been finding that women are wanting something traditional but with a twist! This ring speaks volumes with just the small accent sapphires, as it makes the ring totally unique. The piece is Art Deco and set with a 3.24 carat Old European cut diamond in the center. Love the style and think it should belong to someone who will treasure it as an engagement ring. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 68 Leslie Hindman: Lot 86

Lot 68: I’ve seen the benefits of purchasing pieces that are convertible and this is a fine example of a two-in-one! Meet the silver-topped diamond pendant/brooch of your dreams. This piece totals over five carats of old cut diamonds and radiates from every angle. I could picture it being worn on a chain or worn pinned to a collar. The possibilities are really endless. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 86: The only kind of bugs I like are jewelled insects! This guy is one for the books–look how cute he is. Set with rose cut diamonds all-original to the piece and a jaw-dropping opal back. I love the detail on the textured gold legs and the ruby eyes. It’s all in the details. Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 111A Leslie Hindman: Lot 118

Lot 111A: Plique a jour is jewelry’s version of stained glass and I must say, I don’t own a single piece of this beautiful artform. These earrings though, should and would be the best first piece of plique a jour to add to my collection. I love the colors and I love the design. They are 18k yellow gold and feature 12 brilliant cut diamonds. Estimate: $500-700

Lot 118: This diamond and ruby ring stopped me in my tracks. Wow. It is done in platinum and set with a marquise cut in the center, with calibre French cut rubies and round diamond accents. It is pristinely made and you can see the remarkable craftsmanship even in the photo alone–now I want to see it in person! It could be yours on September 10th. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Leslie Hindman: Lot 124 Leslie Hindman: Lot 300

Lot 124: This ring is so cool for so many reasons! Let’s start with the fact that it has contrasting metals–rose gold and platinum. The design is also pretty amazing, and the different metals really play off this element. The rubies are actually different, if you already couldn’t tell–one is synthetic and the other is genuine. Such a stunning ring. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Lot 300: The coolest earrings I ever did see. These are actually diamond studs with detachable jackets that easily slip on/off the earring posts. There are four jackets total, so lots of possibilities here! And the style of these has never been more on-trend. Geometric and angular, love them. The diamond studs total 2.26 carats. Estimate: 3,000-5,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 487 Leslie Hindman: Lot 509

Lot 487: I had to include this insane emerald ring because of its colossal size–then I read further and realized it is a piece by Judy Geib. A true artist who hand makes everything herself–fun fact: did you know she taught herself how to make jewelry? No formal training. Her pieces are known for their juxtapositions–like beauty and rawness, fine gold mixed with silver. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Lot 509: Iconic and chic, I had to include this cuff bracelet from Verdura into my favorites list! It is easily recognizable as a Verdura statement piece. Done in 18k yellow gold, set with peridot, amethyst, and diamond and complete with the Maltese cross enameled in black. What a special bracelet. Estimate: 28,000-38,000

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

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SEPTEMBER SALE: September 10th-12th

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Late Summer Update from Gem Gossip

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I’ve been getting ready for a big trunk show that I’m doing up in Boston on September 7th at M. Flynn, so all the new acquisitions are killing me. So many great pieces I want to keep for myself! These three are my current favorites and I think they go SO WELL together.

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I love acquiring pieces that I’m completely obsessed with and love more and more each day–this medallion is certainly one of them! I got it from Oakgem at the show in Las Vegas this year. It is 18k yellow gold and the blue gemstone is sodalite. To my surprise, the zodiac featured is Virgo (I didn’t know it when I first got it) which is my zodiac, so it makes it even more special. Thanks to my Instagram followers who helped me figure out which zodiac it was.

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I guess I’ve been unaware how drawn I am to spheres lately. My latest purchase was this moon lamp that I can’t get enough of–I bought it from The Apollo Box, which has some really unique gift items on their site. The moon is apparently made using 3D print technology with eco-friendly materials. The photo on the right is from Instagram account @theearthsgems and I love everything about it! Look at all the variety of minerals and gems each are made of!

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I had the pleasure of viewing a brand new jewelry line called Oli and Tess, a new venture for Polly Wheatley who started designing jewelry after 15 years in the fashion industry. She received a Victorian opal ring from her husband as a gift, which sparked her love for opals. After having a daughter, she wanted to design an opal ring to celebrate her birth, which is how her line indirectly began. Her work has an heirloom quality and feel, using all hand-selected opals.

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We know how much I’m obsessed with Egyptian Revival jewelry, so this turquoise scarab collection was an awesome find! TBH it was a large pendant and one bracelet–I had my jeweler turn the bracelet into ten different pendants and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out! They will be offered for sale over on @shopGEMGOSSIP very soon!

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Some treasures I brought back from my trip to Boston in the left photo–I added a carved Jade Buddha to my charm necklace from Long’s Jewelers and these 14k yellow gold Tuck studs from e scott originals. The photo on the right is from last week at the county fair. I ate way too much fried foods (got super sick actually) and played some games. The games and the baby goats are my favorite part of the fair. Worst part of the fair: ruining your favorite sneakers and getting in the way so you end up being the reason why a sheep escapes. lol

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Some of my newest acquisitions–this Victorian black enamel ring (I think the top piece is Victorian and it was made into a ring) was a really unique find. I’m still adjusting to it and might sell it but I don’t know yet! Sometimes pieces speak to you right away, other times you have to grow to love them. I also got this ’03 date ring from Rusted Anchor Antiques and I think it pair awesome with my big diamond band and gold Saxon chain ring from Walters Faith.

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More favorites from my personal collection — two pieces I want to talk about here: the 9k yellow gold Pacman hoop earrings by Ellie Air Jewellery and the letter D Vadabet charm set with a diamond from Vada Jewelry. Loving these two pieces so much right now.

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I was working hard one day and that sometimes forces me to “disrobe” my jewelry, which is what I did. The pile of rings sitting in my windowsill against the sunlight were perfect in that moment, I had to capture it in a photo. The 1917 date ring was a cool find from Louison Rare & Fine when Angela had a 50% off sale. Yes, that’s why it is important to follow everyone closely on Instagram because you never know when someone is going to have an insane sale.

The photo on the right was snapped in the car on the way back from Kentucky after a day full of antiquing. I somehow created a new collection (not that I need to collect anymore things) which consists of little porcelain dogs. I can’t explain how the collection is not just any porcelain dog–they have to look somewhat cute/creepy in the strangest way possible. It’s a very personal collection lol. The date ring I’m wearing here is from Eddie & Rose and it may be one of my favorite date rings in my collection.

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Latest and greatest ear stack I’ve got going on, here’s what it consists of: Paige Novick ear cuff, tiny huggie hoop from Stacy Nolan Jewelry, Paige Novick‘s newest creation from her Powerful Pretty Things collection the Prism Suspender earring worn upwards, Pacman hoops from Ellie Air Jewellery. My perfect summer ear stack!!

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Seriously might be my favorite piece in my entire collection–I find it so rewarding to collect something for several years before you can finally piece it all together and make something of it. That’s exactly what my figa collection is; years of collecting and one day randomly putting it together with my gold collar from Arrow & Anchor Antiques. These things were meant for each other. And I highly recommend getting a solid gold, stiff collar necklace for your charm collection. It will change the way you wear charms!

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Here’s a fun project I did over the summer: I took these three near and dear pieces that I hardly ever wear and mashed them together to form a giant long stick pendant. I actually am obsessed with it beyond words. Each is special to me, but the tanzanite pendant is most special of all. It was the first piece of jewelry I ever bought for myself…and I was in 7th grade! I learned about Tanzanite from the home shopping channels and fell in love with the stone. I went to the one and only jewelry store in my hometown mall and found this special pendant–it was $150. That was SO much money to me back when I was 13 years old. I put it on layaway and would do chores around the house and babysit. Eventually I earned enough to buy it and I wore it all the time.

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This is just another styled look from over the summer–a jewelry look that I really liked paired with an off-the-shoulder top that I really love also. I think I’ve already gone over almost every piece that is pictured here, but if you’re wondering about something in particular, let me know!

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Q & A with Shelley Gibbs Sanders of The Last Line

The Last Line

Discovering new jewelry brands that are trailblazing in unique ways is my absolute favorite–that is why I jumped for joy after learning about The Last Line, a new project recently launched by jewelry veteran Shelley Gibbs Sanders. Bold colors, chic and iconic pieces…and, wait for it…AMAZING prices! You might scroll around the website and wonder, how can these prices be so good for REAL jewelry that is 14k gold and genuine gemstones?! The answer is their philosophy of being direct-to-consumer, never having a middle man, selling new pieces in batches called “drops.” Their latest drop is actually TODAY where they’ve added to all the incredible earring styles you always wished you could find. These ear stacks are what dreams are made of and that is exactly what Shelley set out to do when creating The Last Line. Can her goal of being “the last line” you will ever need hold true for many of you?! Let’s find out!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley and we encourage you to check out the website and find your perfect piece!

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The Last Line is a continued project, I have been designing this collection for pretty much my whole life and I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone. We just launched at the end of July with earrings and there is so much more to come: necklaces, rings, and bracelets! The inspiration behind the name of The Last Line is it is the last place you’ll have need to look for fine jewelry and trust me, I plan to live up to our name.

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I’ve had the rare opportunity of being on both the design and the production side of the process, which is so helpful and, in the end I am ultimately a consumer so basically it is the trifecta of intel! My career technically began in New York where I studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design before returning home to California to train with Master Jewelers in San Francisco. After learning the tricks of the trade, I returned to Los Angeles to begin my career as a jewelry designer. Over time (and companies!) my roles evolved and I became the head designer and creative director for dozens of celebrity jewelry brands and high-end jewelry houses, working with everything from gold, diamonds, and precious stones.

When we decided to officially launch The Last Line, it was almost four years ago. I have been designing jewelry for almost fifteen years and in every design job I had, I was always thinking if this was my line, how would I do this, what would I change, etc. I felt like I had seen it all, but really when I started to look there were definite holes in the market. It felt polarizing, there were two distinct buckets: reasonably priced, not-so-great design or great design and quality, outrageous price with nothing in the middle, which as a consumer I found so frustrating. Of course, after that I started to speak to my girlfriends, family, literally, everyone and anyone and I knew I wasn’t alone in that thought. Fast forward to today and voilà, introducing The Last Line.

The brand is two-fold: The Heart and The Soul, everything is designed in Los Angeles where I live with my family. The Heart pieces are the core of the brand and your jewelry box; they’re the staples that you never want to take off and that make you feel instantly put together. The Soul pieces are the jaw dropping, make your girlfriends ask, “where did you get that,” expertly crafted, special pieces you want to treat yourself to. Of course, I believe you need both!

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I did a lot of research before we decided to officially launch, I mean truly did research: price, design, size, color, the list goes on. The symbolism of our brand name The Last Line is that we want to be THE place for all of your fine jewelry wants (and needs!), the last place you’ll ever need to go.

There were a few things that were important for me when launching TLL, one of which was pricing. Fine jewelry shopping can be intimidating, a lot of which can be the result of pricing. Because we are direct to consumer, we can present amazing, quality pieces without the retail mark-up. It was also important for me to be (and stay) hands-on with the line; I think building a relationship from the beginning with your clients is key for any brand’s longevity. Being direct-to-consumer is not only a more personal approach, but it’s service driven, which is important when spending $2,000+ on a piece of jewelry online. All of our pieces focus on craftsmanship, much of the Soul collection being handmade in Los Angeles. Having a background in production (and as I jewelry shopper myself) it was important to use quality materials that look great and merit their cost.

One of the coolest things about the line for me, is the actual assortment of jewelry is personal, I wanted to present options, in each drop you will have classics with a twist and then some really fun special pieces. In the first drop, we have everything from a perfect gold sphere stud (in over 5 sizes!) to our signature flower earring in a variety of stones. In the second earring drop, there are solitaire studs in a variety of stones, lots (!) of diamonds, from line earrings, to ear cuffs, to a perfect tennis drop earring and of course this amazing doubles spiral hoop earring you may have seen Nicole Richie sporting. And in the third earring drop, well that’s a secret for now.

The Last Line | Gem Gossip

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I truly hope that I am working on The Last Line, forever. I love to design of all types of jewelry and I love to create. I can’t stop—it is my obsession. I want to continue to create pieces that connect with women all over the world, it is important for my pieces to speak to the woman who’s just starting her jewelry collection and also excites the existing jewelry client who has her go-to pieces but is looking for that perfect_______. I want our pieces to become heirlooms; they should feel current but not trendy. For me, it is how a woman mixes her jewelry collection that makes it cool. I wanted to create pieces that can be worn but not worried about. The earrings can all be purchased individually, so mixing it up is fully encouraged!

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My engagement ring was one of the first pieces of The Last Line. My husband actually designed it and worked with the jeweler for months. It’s was something we always talked about it and one day there he was with it and it all took off from there —our marriage, our line, everything.

From the line, my favorite piece right now that I own is a 3-way tie between the diamond teddy flower earring with the pave tsavorite stem from the Goldie earring, the medium rose gold diamond safety pin and a special bracelet inspired by childhood which will drop soon.

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Q & A and Visit with Emily Stoehrer of MFA Boston

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After a long and exciting week in Boston, I had a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts set up to feed my jewelry history cravings. One of my favorite things about my love and passion for jewelry is learning! Museum exhibits are such a great way to see and learn, often producing a lifelong impact or memory–especially for me. Whenever there is a headlining jewelry exhibit, I like to try to schedule trips in hopes of catching it before it ends. Lucky for Boston, the MFA has quite an extensive jewelry department that is constantly researching, collaborating, and creating new exhibits. I got to have a private tour with Emily Stoehrer who is not only a wealth of knowledge, but highly dedicated and involved in what she does for the museum. I was fascinated in so many ways, as she brought me through the MFA’s current exhibit Past is Present: Revival Jewelry.

Learn more about Emily as she answers my questions below and make sure you stop by the exhibit before it ends in August of 2018. Can’t wait to visit again!

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I am the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry. It’s a unique role in an American fine art museum, which was established in 2006. I was appointed in 2014, and over the last three years have worked to develop the exhibition program; add extraordinary jewels to the collection; connect with jewelers, designers, and collectors; and collaborate with colleagues across the museum to plan programming and events

Spanning thousands of years of jewelry history, there are more than 20,000 objects in the jewelry collection. Highlights include our ancient collections and contemporary jewelry, but over the last decade have added to our holding of fine jewelry. A great example of this is a gift given by the Rothschild family a few years ago, which included an outstanding pearl and diamond necklace that dates to the late nineteenth century. With large, perfectly matched natural pearls, it’s an extraordinary treasure! Yvonne Markowitz (who is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry Emerita) and I have worked to establish a jewelry resource center for anyone interested in the study of jewelry, and as part of that we have also worked with the Curator of Design to acquire jewelry with related design drawings. Studying drawings from firms like Trabert & Hoeffer Mauboussin, the manufacturer-jeweler Louis Ferón, and the artist-craftsman Frank Gardner Hale, alongside the jewelry they made, has greatly informed our understanding of jewelry and how the industry operated historically.

We have also worked to add strength to strength by filling in gaps in our historical collection. For example, until recently we did not have anything by Carlo Giuliano. But, this year we added two amazingly naturalistic gold and enamel butterflies to the collection—a Duke of Burgundy and Bath White butterfly, to be specific. They are impossibly thin, and enameled on both sides to show every detail of the butterfly’s body and wings. They are a stunning example of the goldsmith’s art. Another historically important and spectacular ornament that I recently acquired is the Apparitions brooch which was designed by Eugene Grasset and made by Henri Vever for the 1900 Paris Exposition. It’s hauntingly beautiful art nouveau aesthetic won them the Grand Prix.

My favorite part of the job is the research and planning that goes into creating an exhibition—doing research in libraries and archives and taking a deep dive into historical documents, publications, and material culture. Unfortunately, as I run from meeting to meeting, I don’t get to spend as much time doing this as I would like. So, I rely on some a team of volunteers and interns to help with some of it. Once the research has been done, and the objects have been selected, the real fun begins. I have learned so much about the storytelling capabilities of jewelry from working with the MFA’s remarkable exhibition designers, mountmakers, and conservators as we discuss and mock-up how each object will be displayed in the gallery.

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As any lover of jewelry knows, the past has consistently inspired jewelers and designers. While interest in historicism was particularly strong during the nineteenth century, there were great revival jewels made before 1800 and after 1900. In the same way the Victorians struggled with the tension between mass-production and hand-craftsmanship, we grapple with digital design and the pace of modern life. So, I see this as a topic that is as relevant today as it was 150 years ago, and if you think about it that way you’ll notice many examples of twentieth and twenty-first century jewelry that engage with a historical narrative. I hope that visitors enjoy seeing traditional “revivalist” ornaments by outstanding jewelers like Castellani and Giuliano, Bapst and Falize and Boucheron, but also some unexpected surprises like a 9-foot titanium python necklace by Munich-based contemporary jeweler David Bielander, and that the juxtaposition makes them question their notion of revival jewelry.

The exhibition highlights four revival styles: Archeological, Classical, Renaissance, and Egyptian. Each case in the intimate space includes a choice group of jewelry aimed to tell a story – travel, nationalism, graduation, cameo, scarabs, and snakes are just a few of the themes explored. If you pay very close attention to the labels, visitors might also be delighted to learn how early some of these objects were added to the MFA collection. Like the Met, the MFA was founded in 1870, and some of these jewels were acquired in the subsequent decades, making them contemporary jewelry when they were donated. A neoclassical necklace and five brooches with mythological scenes in carved shell cameo, and a Castellani necklace, earrings, and brooch commissioned by the amber collector William Buffum are just two examples of the objects that have resided at the MFA for more than one hundred years. Newer acquisitions on view include: a tour-de-force bracelet by the Roman jeweler Ernesto Pierret that features a central bovine head, granulation, and two menacing faces that come together to form the clap; a spectacular early twentieth-century neck ornament by G. Paulding Farham for Tiffany & Co.; and a slithering silver snake belt/necklace, with sapphire eyes, that Elsa Peretti designed for the American fashion designer Halston in the 1970s.

While 80% of the works on view are from the MFA collection, there are also some noteworthy loans. From the collection of Susan B. Kaplan, a startlingly lifelike lion speaks to the genius of Castellani’s designers and craftsmen. Unlike other micromosaic workshops, Castellani left the surface of their work uneven to create a glittering effected. Wartski Ltd., of London, loaned a demi-parure (belt buckle, brooch, and bracelet) by Falize Frères. Enameled on both sides, the glorious ornaments use translucent enamel and foil to create a fantastical scene with birds, like those seen in illuminated manuscripts. Generously sponsored by Cartier, the exhibition includes four magnificent twentieth-century ornaments from the Cartier Collection. Made between 1906 and 1928, the garland style medusa necklace, winged scarab belt buckle, Eye of Horus bracelet (that once belonged to Linda Porter), and the diamond chimera bracelet are outstanding examples of French revival jewelry, and the depth of the MFAs ancient collection allows for these dazzling jewels to be exhibited alongside the ancient artifacts that inspired their design.

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My path to jewelry was a crooked one. I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and had plans to attend law school. But a few years working in the District Attorney’s office, I changed my mind and I began researching graduate programs in fashion. In 2005 I moved to New York City and enrolled in the two-year Fashion & Textile Studies program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Thanks to FIT’s remarkable alumni network I ended up back in my hometown with an internship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As an intern I worked with conservators in the Textile Conservation department to relocate the fashion collection.

My first full-time position at the MFA was as a Collections Care Specialist and my responsibilities included preparing more than 10,000 objects from the Asian costume and textile collection for photography – everything from kimono to dragon robes and textile fragments to temple hangings. When that project ended, I became the Curatorial Research Associate reporting to Yvonne Markowitz (then curator of jewelry). For two years I worked with her on the inaugural exhibition in the jewelry gallery, and the book Artful Adornment. Both the exhibition and the book focused on highlights from the MFA’s jewelry collection. Yvonne quickly became a very important part of my life, and has been an extraordinary mentor. She encouraged me to think about a future as a jewelry curator, bringing my knowledge of fashion history to the understanding of jewelry. She enthusiastically introduced me to her contacts and colleagues, took me to conferences, and supported my own research in the field. She also told me to consider a PhD.

During my time at the MFA, I had been teaching courses in textiles and fashion history, and in 2010 I left the Museum and took a position at a small college in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. As Program Director and Assistant Professor, I managed three robust fashion programs with more than 100 students. At the same time I took PhD courses and exams, and began work on my dissertation. My doctoral work focused on the intersection of fashion, jewelry, and media. I examined the vintage jewelry on the red carpet from 1995-2010 using Neil Lane’s collection as a case study.

After nearly 30 years at the MFA, Yvonne retired in 2014 and I was appointed to replace her. Over the last three years, I curated the exhibitions Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, Past is Present: Revival Jewelry, and smaller installations; planned jewelry related events and trips for the MFA’s Fashion Council; traveled extensively to lecture, visit art fairs and exhibitions, participated in educational opportunities organized by Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA) and Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) trips, attend conferences, visited collectors, galleries, designers, and jewelers. It’s been a whirlwind. Recently I have taken on two leadership roles, joining the board of directors for the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and the Boston chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA).

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I am immersed in research for two forthcoming exhibitions, and a book related to my doctoral work.

Opening in September 2018, an exhibition of Boston arts and crafts jewelry and metalwork will replace Past is Present in the Stanley H. and Rita J. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery. From the establishment of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts to the disastrous 1929 stock market crash that crippled many artist craftsmen, this exhibition will be the first to focus solely on Boston jewelers, and will include design drawings, jewelry, and hollowware by artists like Frank Gardner Hale, Josephine Hartwell Shaw, Margaret Rogers, and Edward Everett Oakes.

That exhibition will be followed by one on Elsa Peretti, who will be celebrating 50 years as a designer in 2020. Beginning her design career making jewelry and accessories for Giorgio Sant’ Angelo and Halston before joining Tiffany & Co., Peretti has created timeless designs that continue to resonate with modern consumers. Her refined taste has focused, primarily, on silver but the exhibition will feature a diverse sample of her work, as well as her inspirations, and—of course—include a fashion element. An esteemed arbiter of style, fashion icon, and friend of many twentieth century notables, this exhibition will celebrate Peretti’s life and career.

My work at the MFA keeps me very busy, but I am also in the midst of writing a book titled Jewelry in Celebrity Culture: Glamour and the Hollywood Spectacle. It will be published as part of I.B. Taurus’s Dress Culture series (edited by Reina Lewis and Elizabeth Wilson). From the tour-de-force necklace that the American firm Trabert & Hoeffer loaned Colette Colbert to wear in the 1935 film The Gilded Lily to the impact of The Representation Project’s #askhermore campaign, the book will examine how jewelry aids in Hollywood’s production of glamour.

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To be honest, the last three years have been a series of highlights. The people I have had the opportunity to meet have been the most memorable. The many conversations and meetings I had with Neil Lane as I conducted research on Hollywood jewelry and his private collection, having lunch with Elsa Peretti in Sant Marti Vell, Spain and discussing her incredible life and work, and spending two days in Wallace Chan’s Hong Kong atelier are at the top of the list!

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I look forward to seeing the field grow in new and exciting ways. There are so many M.A. programs that embrace the study of jewelry history, and there remain extensive subjects awaiting scholarly work. Coupled with a G.G. I think there is extraordinary potential for research and writing. I was lucky to have a great mentor, who guided my career path, and if you can find an experienced curator or historian to play that role for you, it’s priceless. This field is so welcoming. I encourage anyone interested in jewelry to find others that share their passion, social media is a great place for this.

Being a museum curator is much more multi-faceted than I realized after leaving graduate school. Even after years working at the Museum, it wasn’t until I was a curator that I realized the diverse requirements of the job—a natural curiosity, a mastery of your subject area and how it connects to other types of art, a vision and strong ideas that you can translate into exhibitions, excellence in building and maintaining relationships with artists and collectors, as well as strong research, writing, and public speaking skills.

I am very lucky that the MFA has such a vibrant jewelry program. My position, the gallery, and the prominence of jewelry at the MFA is all thanks to tremendous generosity Susan B. Kaplan. It is our hope that other American fine art museums will expand their collection, exhibition, and publication related to jewelry. And, that similar positions will emerge at other American museums.

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WANT MORE? You can follow Emily on Instagram —> @jewelcurator

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Gem Gossip Visits M. Flynn Jewelry in Boston, MA

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

Getting the store tour from co-founder Megan

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

some of Page Sargisson zodiac medallions, a best-seller

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

Wearing rings by Misa Jewelry and necklaces by Page Sargisson

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

I can’t get enough of these estate pieces!

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

Shop M. Flynn’s estate collection

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

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

M Flynn | Gem Gossip

Vintage charms found at M. Flynn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

M Flynn

40 Waltham St.

Boston, MA 02118

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Gem Gossip Visits e. scott originals in Boston, MA

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Minutes outside of Boston, in a town called Somerville, e. scott originals is a jewelry shop and studio where owner and maker Emily Scott Surette and her sidekick Mayble (an adorable Boston Terrier) make dreams come true. For Emily, this space is perfect in every way possible–it fosters her love for interacting with customers and clients, the studio provides endless moments to create, and Mayble gets to greet everyone as they walk through the door! That’s exactly what the dog did when I entered the shop, wonderfully sweaty from the heat wave that followed us up to Boston from Tennessee. I immediately fell in love with the layout and how Emily has decorated e. scott originals. She has incorporated some antique furnishings and decor into the jewelry displays, with some gold frames and mirrors…even an antique chandelier.

There are a few things that make e. scott originals tick, and working with clients one-on-one, making custom pieces from a very personable interaction, is at the top of the list. Emily loves creating new heirlooms from old, passed down jewelry, diamonds and gemstones. She also uses mainly reclaimed, anitque diamonds and recycled metals within all her designs, which we all can appreciate. Custom engagement rings are a big part of what she does, especially with clients who want something local, made by hand and feel like they are a part of the creation process. Emily’s warm personality and welcoming demeanor is just what the jewelry-creating process needs, not to mention her skills and expertise.

Another large part of what e. scott originals does and creates is their own line of highly wearable jewelry. Items that can easily fit with your every day look, like layer-ready necklaces, unique and fashionable earrings and fun gemstone rings. These fill the shelves and cabinet cases of the store and are ready for purchase. They are also ready for other stores, as Emily is looking to expand her wholesale market. Her target audience is ideal for any self-purchasing woman, gift-giving ease, and the price points are great. I did a little self-purchasing myself when I was there–after trying on the long Tuck studs in 14k yellow gold, I loved the look of them and how they could be worn stacked with other earrings I already own. I had to have them!

Before I left, Emily showed me an “inner circle” box that is presented to every couple who purchases an engagement ring/wedding bands from e. scott originals. The box features local businesses that come highly recommended to help easily plan your wedding day. Anything from cake makers, to photographers, and everything in between. You can see the full list here — I love this idea and I feel it shows what kind of business Emily is running: one full of gratitude, creativity and soul! And in case you’re wondering, she is an awesome recommender, as her restaurant suggestions were top notch!

Check out some of my favorite pieces below that you can shop from home:

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E Scott Originals

199B Highland Ave.

Somerville, MA 02143

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