Jewelry Collection Stories: Lindsey of @ParkAvenueAntiques

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few of my favorite necklaces:

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

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

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

CENTER: 19th c Kerosang with faceted white zircon.

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Here are a few of my favorite rings:

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

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

The Victorian topaz ring was purchased from @ishyantiques.

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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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!

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry and it is a good one! Kate is a full-time art teacher and part-time jewelry enthusiast and collector. You may already be following her on Instagram, but if not you must. Her collection is pretty amazing and her story may resonate with many of you. So without further ado, I give you Kate’s collection story:

I’ve always loved jewelry. I have early memories of playing “dress up” and “jewelry store” with my grandmother Louise. She kept her jewelry in the top dresser drawer. Oh how I loved looking inside those little boxes and seeing all the sparkly jewels inside! We would arrange her jewels on top of carefully arranged bits of pretty fabrics and embroidered handkerchiefs and take turns “shopping.” It was so much fun trying on her white dress gloves and high heels and playing with all those pretty things.

When I was around 10 years old, my dad started giving me jewelry every year for Christmas, mostly rings. One year, I received a topaz ring that had the most amazing shade of bright blue. I adored that ring! Another favorite ring given to me by my dad was a gold signet ring that he had monogramed with my initials. I think I was around 15 at the time. It’s a classic look that will never go out of style and one I wear often today.

One of my favorite early jewelry memories was when my family went out to dinner before my high school senior award night. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was about to win the top artist award in my class, and my parents bought me this beautiful southwestern sterling bracelet and turquoise ring to mark the occasion. For high school graduation, I received a large, modernist sterling and gold ring. At the time, I wasn’t into yellow gold, and these bold sterling pieces were among the most beautiful pieces I owned. Luckily, my parents have continued the tradition of gifting me jewelry for special occasions, and I cherish them all. These pieces help to serve as reminders of special times in my life. My sweet husband has also joined in on the tradition and I have received many beautiful pieces from him now over the years, including my very first (and favorite) Victorian bird bangle bracelet and my beloved antique turquoise and diamond halo ring.

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As a teenager, I was really into second-hand shops–mainly for vintage clothes and small decorative items, but eventually I started picking up inexpensive jewelry and odds-and-ends; like pendants, chokers, chains, etc. At about the same time, I started making beaded jewelry and even gifting and selling pieces to my friends.

Years later, I decided to try my hand at selling handmade jewelry on Etsy. It was a fun, challenging, and creative outlet. Those were the relative early days of Etsy, and I grew as it grew. I did this for a couple of years and slowly started incorporating more and more vintage jewelry components and findings into my pieces. Eventually, the competition increased and my enthusiasm waivered, so I put my shop on hold.

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My love affair with antique jewelry began about eight years ago when my mom and I were antiquing at one of my favorite stores in Richmond, IN. My mom fell head-over-heels for this old gold cameo ring. At first, I was like, “What? Cameos? Ugh, I don’t get it.” Then much to my surprise, my mom professed her life-long love affair with cameos, citing stories from her youth. The shop owner quoted her a low price and my mom quickly bought the ring. She wasn’t one to make fine jewelry purchases on our excursions together, so I was intrigued and wanted to know more. I couldn’t stop staring at this unusual reddish-orange cameo ring on our drive back home; I was fascinated by it. It didn’t look like the girly, pink cameos I was used to seeing. It was more masculine in style and the gold was a rich rose color. The shop owner estimated the ring to be about 120 years old.

To my knowledge, I had never seen a ring that old before and now I wanted one for myself! The more I researched, the more I realized what an amazing deal my mom got on that ring. Sure, it was more than I was used to spending on random antique mall purchases (about $85), but still affordable. This made antique jewelry seem obtainable to me for the first time ever. I started reading jewelry books, researching online, and educating myself on antique jewelry. I liked learning the history behind each piece. It’s a perfect fit for me– combining my love of history, research, sentiment, story, etc.

Inspired by my new passion and focus, I reopened my Etsy shop–selling only vintage and antique jewelry. I absolutely loved hunting for old jewelry, even cameos! Thinking back to that special trip to Richmond with my mom, I believe this was the critical moment that later turned this new interest into a full-blown hobby and part-time job for me.

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Today I have such a deep and sincere appreciation for antique jewelry; I tend to collect a little bit of everything. All in all, I tend to go more for Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco pieces. Rings are probably my favorite type of jewelry to wear and collect. I love everything from dainty to bold, statement rings. I also love antique bangles and Deco necklaces in all sorts of finishes, metals, and styles.

One of my favorite things to collect are watches. My favorite makers are Longines and Bucherer. I have everything from watch pins, watch rings, wristwatches, and pocket watches. And I really love long enamel watch necklaces. My love of watch necklaces probably began when I scored an amazing Bucherer red guilloche enamel watch ball necklace for $60 in a small, local antique shop. I later learned this was a remarkable deal for one with its original enamel chain in perfect condition. I’ve since added about 10 more to my collection over the years. I just can’t stop myself when I see a beautiful one for a good price. I have such a weakness for fine guilloche enamel-work.

In addition, I love bird-themed jewelry and have many bird bangles, lockets, etc. I tend to favor cool-color pieces in general (it must be the Pisces in me!). I am very fond of blue–sapphires, lapis, zircon, and turquoise to name a few. Pale lavender chalcedony, dreamy moonstones, and that particular shade of green commonly used in Art Deco pieces–are all personal favorites. I have a growing collection of snake rings, too.

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I enjoy shopping at small, local places best. The Midwest is a gold mine for antiques of all kinds. The big jewelry enthusiasts seem to live on either coast and being stuck in the middle has its advantages… lower prices and less pickers. But this seems to get harder every year. My favorite display cases and shops seem to be shutting down. The old dealers retire; some pass away. I think part of me has also wanted to open a brick and mortar shop, but the risks are scary.

Currently, I seem to have the most luck shopping at antique shows and online auctions. I’m always on the hunt for new pieces. I would love to own more niello jewelry, antique enamel bracelets, and gutta percha bangles inlaid with gold. I have a thing for portrait paintings but oddly, own no portrait jewelry. I interned at the National Portrait Gallery right after college and it’s a subject I’m really interested in. I would love to find the perfect emerald ring and more “name” or “initial” jewelry to represent the important people in my life.

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Recently I celebrated a milestone birthday (hello, 40!) and had been hunting for the perfect aquamarine birthstone piece of jewelry for months. Then it finally happened…a huge, honking, 14-carat, Victorian, pear-shaped aqua ring in 15K gold popped up on my Instagram feed. Its large size, unfussy setting, and perfect pale-blue color, stopped me dead in my tracks. A direct quote from the seller was, “a mesmerizing, dreamy, huge piece of magic.” Indeed it was. I sold three personal collection rings to make room for this special ring, the latest addition to my jewelry box.

Back when I started wearing, selling, and collecting antique jewelry, I was the only one I knew who did. I just bought what I liked and what I could afford at the time. It wasn’t until I joined IG a couple of years ago that I found other like-minded people who loved and appreciated old jewelry as much as I do. Like most sellers/collectors, I am searching for more high quality and unusual pieces nowadays. Lately, there seems to be more competition, more reproductions, and higher prices on the online auction sites, making it harder to “score” a deal. While I may not be selling forever, I know I will be wearing and enjoying my jewelry for the rest of my life. It brings me so much joy. Marking special occasions and making new memories with jewelry are so important to me. Jewelry has a way of keeping our memories alive…providing a tangible reminder… connecting us to the people, places, and significant moments we cherish in life. Happy hunting!

xoxoGemGossip

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Exclusive Gem Gossip Logo Pins!

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You guys, I’m so happy to offer these exclusive Gem Gossip logo pins FINALLY! These have been in the works for quite some time, spearheaded by my sister Bunny Miele. We both are very particular about design, colors, perfection, so after lots of trial and error, my vision finally came to life. These are enamel with a white background and gold lettering.

I’ve collected travel pins since I was in 4th grade and I have an entire black-velvet covered board hanging on my wall full of pins! So cool to create my very own and I hope you all like them. If you’re an avid Gem Gossip reader or fan, these are perfect for you. Show off your support for Gem Gossip–pin them to your collar, shoes, jeans, jean jacket…anything!

Details: White & Gold enamel, Brass plating

Dimensions: 1 1/4″ x 1/3″

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Doyle & Doyle Debuts Rare Collection of Antique Jewels

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Doyle & Doyle is thrilled to debut pieces from a spectacular cache of rare antique jewels, all acquired from a single collector. Including jewelry from ancient Rome, 17th century Spain, and 19th century France, these are the best examples of their type and many are hallmarked by well known jewelers. Keep reading for a sneak peek of the historic collection before it goes on exhibition at Doyle & Doyle in September.

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These exquisite micromosaic pieces date to the mid-19th century and are hallmarked for the Vatican Workshop of the Papal State.The Vatican’s mosaic studio was founded in the 16th century, its skilled artisans create artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons and pieces for the Pope to give as gifts. The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, Saint Peter’s Square designed by Bernini, and Raphael’s “The School of Athens” are among the many masterpieces you can discover at the Vatican. Originally founded in the 16th century, the skilled artisans working in the Vatican’s mosaic studio create pieces for the Pope to give as gifts and artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons. They also oversee and maintain the ten thousand square meters of colorful mosaics that adorn Saint Peter’s Basilica. This bangle and brooch are beautifully made, featuring glass tesserae so tiny that the designs look like paintings in shades of red, blue, green, and white. Perhaps a wealthy young man purchased them during his Grand Tour through Europe, or they were gifts to an important Church official. No matter their origin, they are little works of art that display the incredible skill of the Vatican’s workshop.

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The collection includes other ecclesiastical jewels in addition to the Vatican micromosaics, including a variety of gem-set and enameled crosses from many different periods. This striking dimensional crucifix cross is Spanish from the 17th century, detailed with enamel and engraving that resembles wood grain. Although probably not original, we love it worn on the black ribbon choker, especially when layered with antique gold guard chains. Although these are museum quality jewels, they’re definitely wearable!

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There are also charming examples of sentimental and devotional jewelry. The rose cut diamond encrusted heart hangs from a sweet rose gold dove. The diamonds are foil backed and you can see hints of pink, gold, and even green reflecting through the stones. The rare late 17th century Spanish reliquary pendant is a small compartment that holds a tiny bit of a saint’s blood. It’s backed by a hand painted figure of a female saint and framed by emeralds and garnets. This type of jewel was probably a private devotional artwork. Spain being an intensely Catholic country, people believed in the power of saints to affect their daily life. In additional to more traditional liturgy, 17th century Spaniards prayed to their personal saint to intervene and make their lives better.

6 doyle doyle arts and crafts turquoise pendant art nouveau enamel winged female pendant Gaston Laffitte

The other half of this incredible collection is comprised of museum quality Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau jewelry. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a direct response to the mechanization and poor working conditions engendered by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. Adherents looked to the Middle Ages, nature, and popular folk art for inspiration, seeking to return to an idyllic time before mass production. Shying away from precious materials, Arts & Crafts jewelers favored readily available gemstones, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine, opal, and moonstone. The delicate gold pendant is British, comprised of hand wrought wirework set with bright blue turquoise and glowing moonstone.

7 doyle doyle art nouveau plique a jour enamel necklace Gaston Laffitte silver locket Lucien Coudray

By the end of the century, Art Nouveau artists took the theme of nature to the next level. Art Nouveau jewelry often incorporated idealized female forms with swirling, whiplash hair framed by sensuous flora, like this striking silver mirror locket. Dating to 1900, this lovely piece is hallmarked for French jeweler Lucien Coudray. Coudray specialized in engraving medals and won several prizes for his artistry. Another popular form was a winged female with gossamer enamel wings studded with tiny gems or pearls. This statuesque dragonfly woman was created around 1900 and bears the hallmark of noted Art Nouveau jeweler, Gaston Laffitte. The light filters through the translucent green plique-a-jour enamel wings, creating a delicate stained glass effect.

This is just a small preview of the incredible historic collection – want to see it all? Doyle & Doyle is putting on a public exhibition in September. Email [email protected] for more information and to get on the invite list!

This post was contributed by Juliet Rotenberg of Doyle & Doyle, thank you!!

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Want more?! To check out the store tour of Doyle & Doyle, click here.

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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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Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Weekday Wardrobe: New Favorites

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Since coming back from Vegas and NYC, my days have been long and filled with writing and running all kinds of errands. From Sunday morning brunches, to post office runs, to family dinners, my style has been changing daily and almost always depends on what I have planned. Some days I’m lucky if I get a chance to breathe fresh air outside, while other days I’ve spent more time on the road in my car than normal…but that is what I like about being self-employed and I’m excited for the summer.

Most recently, I was playing in my jewelry box and for some reason or another a lightbulb went off–I took my collection of figas and strung them on my hardwire gold collar necklace. As soon as I put the necklace on I knew that this was one of my greatest moves I’ve ever made. I’m obsessed with the look and it totally caters to my collecting mantra by displaying my pieces perfectly. I actually have 6 more figas that don’t have jumprings, so I’m off now to get them put on by my jeweler.

I’ve also been experimenting with different kinds of earrings to create a “full” look, meaning ALL the way up my ear. To achieve this look without the pain of multiple piercings, I suggest some comfortable ear cuffs. Some are more comfortable than others and it depends on the craftsmanship, so try them out–see if you’re able to wear for a full day before committing to buy.

In the first photo shown, I’m wearing a pair of ombré amethyst ear studs with jackets by Jewelmak. These are so cool and give me a pop of color, which is perfect for summertime. I kept it simple up top with 14k gold balls studs in various sizes, a Paige Novick diamond ear cuff and a vintage swirl motif ear cuff I found on Ruby Lane.

The photo below shows off my figa necklace and a carved opal necklace I recently sold. My earring look is simple to recreate; two pearl stud earrings of various sizes and a gold huggie earring from Stacy Nolan.

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Day One: (spent doing emails all day and typing blog posts, hence the Beavis & Butthead t-shirt)

Elongated lapis and enamel ring, from Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry in Buffalo, NY

Antique diamond & sapphire ring from Excalibur Jewelry found in Tucson this year

Pear-shaped vintage lapis ring that I can’t stop wearing because it is so comfortable and bold

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Day Two:

Diamond crossover pinky ring by Halleh Jewelry

“Ring One” from my Gem Gossip Jewelry line, since retired

Fringe ring in 14k yellow gold by Ashley Childs

A stack of “Ring One with diamond” from my Gem Gossip Jewelry line, since retired

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Day Three:

Oval vintage Mexican ring done in 14k yellow gold

Crescent moon ring in 14k yellow gold by Amanda Hunt Jewelry

Dendritic agate ring from Joden Jewelry in Grove City, PA

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Day Four:

Glass + 10k yellow gold ring, heirloom from my Gram

elongated diamond ring turn-of-the-century from my friend Priscilla

Diamond shaped ring set with old cut brown diamonds, from STORE 5a

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Day 5:

turquoise baby rings, worn as pinky ring and midi ring

Victorian turquoise ring from eBay

Victorian turquoise ring with engraving on entire closed-back, from Gold Hatpin

Turquoise and diamond cluster ring found at the Nashville Flea Market

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David Webb Makes Their Debut at Couture

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Don’t ever say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. At nearly 70 years old, David Webb still reigns supreme as an iconic, American jewelry house full of the most exquisite designs. One look at a David Webb piece and you KNOW it is a David Webb piece. From the finest craftsmanship, to the bold enamels and well-known motifs, the jewelry has been delighting since 1948. They have a strong following, a large amount of die-hard collectors and a presence known worldwide; not to mention a showroom/workshop located on Madison Avenue in NYC and a boutique in Beverly Hills. You’d think debuting for the first time at a tradeshow would not be on their agenda. Could such a legendary American brand make a move like that? And if so, how could they “do it their way”?

I was very curious myself…however feeling more excited than any other emotion. I made sure that David Webb was first on my Couture agenda–Villa 112 was the place and I was ready to gawk, gander and swoon. Walking into the Villa, I thought I was in their NYC boutique for a minute. Luxury was brought to the desert and the animal kingdom followed along too. I got to see many of the pieces that hit the red carpet over the past year–like totem necklaces, which one was worn by Nicole Richie back in November and I still can’t think of a better look. I love seeing David Webb worn on the red carpet and it is always magical when it happens. Speaking of red carpet, nothing would look more incredible than the turquoise and emerald necklace I got to try on while at Couture–could you imagine that on the red carpet?! Hopefully it will happen in the future. I also got to revisit some animal favorites–like panthers and cats (rings) and dolphins, fish and snakes (bracelets).

One new aspect of David Webb which debuted during Vegas Jewelry Week, is a scaled down collection with a lower price point than typical pieces. This new collection, called Motif, features black and white enamel and appeals to all ages. There are also new entry-level pieces from the Tool Chest collection, which I actually am a proud-owner of from the off-chance I entered my name into the drawing to win a pair of Nail Stud Earrings. I couldn’t believe I won! I’ve obviously been wearing them ever since. (The next day I wore them to the Antique Show, and almost every dealer commented on them!) I’ve included a photo of the earrings above (last photo) and they are done in 18k hammered gold and are only $680.

Be sure to stop by David Webb if you’re ever in the NYC area or Beverly Hills to check the new collection out. If you thought you’d never be able to afford a piece of David Webb, think again–this new collection may be your chance!

Special thanks to Levi Higgs of David Webb for taking the photos!


Couture 2017

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