Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

DiamondEngagementRings

History of Engagement Rings

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

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

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

Diamond Rings

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

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

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

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

Alternative Engagement Rings

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Gossip Gem

Continue Reading

Why Some Gemstones Make Terrible Engagement Rings

Some Gems Make Terrible Engagement Rings | Gem Gossip

The above gemstones are all beautiful, but which would make a great engagement ring and which two are bad choices for an everyday wear piece?

Alternative engagement rings have been popular long before Princess Diana (and subsequently Kate Middleton) donned a blue sapphire. In fact, diamonds weren’t commonly used in engagement rings until the early 20th century. Stones were picked based on birthdays, symbolism, and what color was in-vogue at the time.

While it can be exciting to imagine an engagement ring with mystical and trendy stones like opal and moonstone, these gemstones actually make terrible engagement rings. So terrible that you might find yourself sulking over a ruined ring with a stone that has been chipped and gouged beyond repair. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Why Won’t Some Gemstones Work?

Even though I don’t recommend wearing your rings ALL the time, most engagement rings are worn nearly every day. Even if you are the gentlest person on the planet, your engagement ring will always be subject to potential damage. Some stones simply shouldn’t take that risk because the gemstone may not be hard enough to handle even the slightest impact.

Every gemstone has a hardness factor, which basically tells us how much bumping and scraping a gem can take before it becomes scratched or damaged. This hardness is ranked between 1-10 on what is known as the Mohs Scale of Hardness. In theory, the higher the number on the Mohs Scale, the harder and more durable the gemstone is. There are exceptions to this rule, but generally, the lower the number, the more you shouldn’t use this stone as an engagement ring.

How Does the Mohs Scale Figure Out Hardness?

The best way I can think to explain this is exactly how I learned it in my Geology 101 class my Freshman year of college. Let’s see if you can follow, and for those of you that already know this, bear with me. The Mohs Scale ranks a gemstone’s hardness by whether or not it can be scratched by other gemstones or materials. If the gemstone being scratched shows a mark or abrasion, it is softer than (or equal to) the material that scratched it. If the hardness is equal, the gemstone that was scratched should also be able to effectively scratch the material that scratched it.

Since diamonds are ranked highest on the Mohs Scale at a 10, they should essentially be able to scratch every other gemstone’s surface.

Why Diamonds are Forever

One reason diamonds are so prized for engagement rings is because of their rank on the Mohs Scale. At a 10, diamonds are the hardest substance known to man. In fact, no other gemstone comes close to this hardness factor. This doesn’t mean diamonds are indestructible (more on this in a future post), but it does mean that it is much more difficult to damage a diamond than say a garnet that ranks between 6.5 – 7.5.

What Stones are the Absolute Worst for Engagement Rings?

Not to dissuade you, but if a gemstone makes this list, you’ll really want to rethink your strategy before using it in an engagement ring. That’s not to say you couldn’t. Some of these stones are significantly less expensive than diamonds, so if they become damaged, they could easily be replaced.

A word of warning though — take extra care not to get sentimentally attached to the stone itself, since you might be forced to replace it someday. You could also opt to not wear the ring every day. Save it for special occasions and wear your wedding band instead. There are no engagement ring rules stating you have to wear your ring seven days a week, and who says you should only have one!

But, regardless, these gemstones will make the worst non-diamond engagement rings:

  1. Opal: Ranks 5.5 – 6.5 and is very susceptible to crazing and chipping.
  2. Moonstone: Ranks 6 – 6.5 with a polished cab surface that is easy to scratch.
  3. Pearl: Ranks 2.5 – 4.5 and has a nacre coating that can peel away.
  4. Emerald: Ranks 7.5 – 8 which is hard but this stone is very prone to cracking.
  5. Garnet: Ranks 6.5 – 7 and will easily show age around facet edges in time.

Best Engagement Ring Stones Other Than Diamonds:

All hope is not lost if you’re set on using a gemstone other than a diamond for your engagement ring. Even though most of these gemstones aren’t as durable as diamonds, they will stay in great shape for a lifetime as long as you take proper care of your jewelry.

Here are some of my favorite alternative engagement ring stones:

  1. Aquamarine: Ranks 7.5 – 8 and has a gorgeous pale blue color.
  2. Blue Sapphire: Ranks 9 with a classic, timeless appeal.
  3. Ruby: Ranks 9 and is perfect for a more feminine style.
  4. Morganite: Ranks 7.5 – 8, is pale with peach undertones.

There are so many other gemstones not listed here and other factors that affect durability, too. But this guide should at least get you started. Remember to always look up a gemstone’s hardness on the Mohs Scale. If it ranks below a 6, do a little more research and weigh your options. Good luck and happy hunting!

This post was contributed by:

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

Continue Gossip Gem

Continue Reading

James D. Julia Auction Features 60 Jewelry Items in Upcoming Sale

Hey Gem Gossip readers! As many of you know, writing about upcoming auctions is one of my favorite topics–I’ve written nearly 100 blog posts on this topic throughout the past almost nine years of having this blog! I live it, breathe it, and am constantly talking about jewelry auctions. I love discovering new auction houses and I’m excited to be writing about James D. Julia Auction house today since I never have featured them before. They have an upcoming sale on June 16th, 2017 that is called “June Rare Lamps, Glass & Fine Jewelry Auction” which is of interest, particularly the 60 lots of fine jewelry items which is at the very beginning of the sale.

James D. Julia Inc. is located in Fairfield, Maine and has been in business for over fifty years. The company began in 1965 by Arthur Julia as a small country auction house which quickly grew over the years. Current owner James D. Julia purchased the company from his father in 1974 after graduating college. Always staying current with the times has been a key to the success of this auction house–state-of-the-art catalogs, photos and descriptions as well as an easy interactive website where bidding can take place from anywhere in the world have allowed an auction house located in Maine compete with world-known names. They are currently ranked as one of the top ten antique auction houses in North America.

The June 16th auction features 60 lots of jewelry items–pieces from the low 100s on up to six-figure digits–so a pretty large assortment. Diamond rings, lots of emeralds, a high-end Breitling watch, jewelry suites, pearls, gorgeous every day jewelry, and everything in between. One of my favorite lots is the last one in the jewelry section–a group of 40 jewelry books! I am such a jewelry book nerd and this lot features a bunch of rare, out-of-print titles. It is definitely worth checking out and the people of James D. Julia were kind enough to create an interactive catalog (embedded above) which features all 60 of the jewelry lots! It is also worthy to note, many of the pieces, starting with lot #1019 as noted in the catalog, are from a private Texas Estate collection which is completely unreserved and thus could result in some excellent buying opportunities.

Here are some of my favorites highlighted:

Lot 1005: A stunning all-diamond bypass style ring, set in 14k white gold and an estimated 1.78 carats total. I love the bypass style, with this piece having three diamonds set at a diagonal. If you’re thinking of a unique alternative engagement ring, this would be a great choice! Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Lot 1007: The most expensive/highest estimate piece in the sale–this 10.02 carat natural fancy intense yellow diamond ring! This rare and unique stone is VS-1 in clarity and comes with a diamond certificate from GIA. To accompany the center stone, it is beautifully flanked on each side by bullet shaped diamonds, VVS/VS clarity and FG in color. The ring is done in platinum and 18k white gold. Estimate: $130,000-160,000

Lot 1016: Elegant and charming, this diamond pendant necklace features gorgeous bright white diamonds set into a Art Nouveau treasure. It features a dangling bezel set diamond at the bottom and hangs from a 16″ chain. Nothing like a piece of history. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Lot 1020: A vintage Cartier ring of finest quality–composed of one center emerald cut diamond and two emerald cut emeralds on each side. The ring is done in platinum with 18k yellow gold settings. Center diamond weighs 1.98 carats and the emeralds are Columbian. Can’t get much better than that! Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 1023: I like this ring because it has a bypass style but it also has sort of a serpent look to it! The ring is set with a modified-fan cut emerald and lots of diamond accents, 1.75 carats to be exact! This ring is trendy and classic at the same time. I could easily pair with other pieces for a fun look. Estimate: $1,200-1,800

Lot 1035: If you love a good multi-gemstone piece of jewelry, this one is my pick for you! This cuff is done in 18k yellow gold and bezel set with multiple gemstones of all colors! We’ve got rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and an unidentified yellow stone…all of various shapes and sizes. A truly well-made and exquisite piece! Estimate: $500-800

Lot 1052: This necklace caught my attention the first time I ever looked at this catalog. It consists of a multi-serpent pendant that hangs from a gold toggle necklace–the various gemstones are peridot, garnet, amethyst, and citrine. The layers of serpents graduate in size, as do the gemstones. I’ve never seen a pendant quite like this one before and I’ve always been drawn to serpent jewelry. Estimate: $600-900

Lot 1060: Remember the lot of jewelry books I talked about above–this is the lot! It features 40 different jewelry reference books, including several out-of-print titles. 100 Years of Collectible Jewelry, Cameos Old & New, Jewelry in America 1600-1900, and The Art of Fine Jewelry are definitely intriguing me and I feel like I will be bidding on this lot come auction day!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with James D. Julia.

JDJ-logo

Follow on Facebook

More GGem

Continue Reading

Jewelry Collection Stories: Danielle of @jasmyntea

Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossop Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip Jasmyntea | Gem Gossip

This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from a favorite Instagram collector of mine and it’s not because we share the same name, although that helps 😉 It is because Danielle’s style and curation of such a fine collection is unlike any other! She has a fierce eye for what she loves and I’ve been wanting to know her story for quite awhile now. We finally got her story (she is a busy San Francisco dweller, with a full-time job that doesn’t involve jewelry) and she has provided some amazing photos of her personal collection. Let’s dive into her story!

“I have always been a collector. Whether it was collecting vintage jewelry, or vintage clothing, or books on costume and fashion. I’m always looking for unique items that speak to me in some way. I first fell in love with jewelry when I was about 12 and would ride my bike to the thrift store to look for treasures. I always liked vintage clothing, shoes, jewelry and scarves. Old pieces have stories within them. And I always liked to imagine the travels the pieces went through before I became their custodian.

My mother does not really wear much jewelry. Most of the jewelry she wears, except her wedding band, was probably given to her by her sisters or her daughters. She has very few pieces, so I didn’t really grow up surrounded by jewelry. I didn’t know one of my grandmothers as they both passed away before I was born. But I do wear her gold framed glasses from the 1940s every day as my own eyeglasses. I love this connection with my past. My other grandmother didn’t really have much affinity for jewelry either. So I’m not really sure where my love of jewelry and antiques comes from–but I can tell you that I’m obsessed 🙂

When I first started collecting jewelry in high school I liked vintage brooches and small enamel pins. This was what I could afford to purchase. From vintage pins, I branched out to vintage sterling. I always loved going to antique stores and hunting for unusual, inexpensive pieces. My early collection included David Anderson Norwegian pins and bracelets, sterling charm bracelets, bakelite bangles, and funky long beads to layer. I always liked layering, mixing and creating a story with my jewelry. As my style evolved I also liked to support local jewelry artists, so I would go to fairs and stores that sold the work of local jewelry artists and try to pick pieces I liked. My modern collection is made of up certain designers – Marla Aaron, Judy Geib, Gabriela Kiss, Louison Rare and Fine (GemstoneGypsy), Jean Jean Vintage, Gillian Conroy, Variance Objects, Dahlia Khanner, Alberian and Aulde, Amali Jewelry and local San Francisco artists Betsy Barron and Alix Bluh. I tend to gravitate towards jewelry artists versus major designer jewelry. Although one of the first pieces I completely coveted when I was 16 was Tiffany’s Elsa Perreti sterling bean necklace.

In the recent years I have gravitated towards building my antique collection. I love to go to antique fairs and shows, stop in small antique shops when I travel and I follow many antique jewelry sellers on IG. If you are curious, my first IG discovery was Erie Basin and my early purchases were a Toi et Moi Victorian diamond ring and a French link bracelet that many people have asked if they could purchase from me. Finding the antique jewelry community on IG has been very meaningful to me. I feel like I’ve found a crew of fellow jewelry enthusiasts that I can geek out about Georgian jewels, or old cut diamonds, or how to style antique and modern jewelry together. Before IG I never really participated in social media. Finding the IG community of jewelry lovers has been a nice addition in my life, so I don’t drive my husband and sons nuts with my jewelry interests. I’ve also enjoyed meeting fellow IG collectors on my travels.

I can’t really categorize what I collect, because I look for unusual pieces or pieces that resonate for me in some way. I feel like I am the custodian of the pieces I collect. I can’t always articulate why I fall in love with pieces. Sometimes the piece feels sentimental, sometimes the piece will fill an aspect of my collection that I need for a look I’m striving for. On a broad level, I like Georgian and Victorian jewelry. And then I like modern pieces that provide contrast for the more sweet/sentimental antique pieces. I love to mix antique and modern pieces together. Probably my favorite thing to mix are Marla Aaron locks with my antique necklaces, charms and brooches. Mixing and styling jewelry is a creative outlet for me. It’s self-expression—what I’m trying to put out there on a given day. I mix everything: yellow, rose, green gold, platinum and silver. On most days I have on five types of metal. I actually tend to prefer wearing mixed metals versus monochromatic styling. Although sometimes I like to do all gold or all silver or all one kind of gemstone.

I’m sentimental when it comes to jewelry. I always wear a Marla Aaron lock which to me symbolizes to hold fast to what’s important. I once did post on IG about how my modern jewelry spirit animal is my engraved Marla Aaron lock that has all family initials hidden within the engraved design. If I had to pick an antique spirit animal it would probably either be antique chains or signet rings. My thorn necklace (by Gillian Conroy) symbolizes that life has thorns to deal with but I am strong enough to weather the thorns. My hand bloodstone signet ring from Metier with the word “confido,” which means trust, reminds me to trust myself. And then on any given day, my other jewelry represents other items of importance to me or things I’m trying to stay centered about. My Mizpah ring from TheOneILoveNYC is for my husband and me, and my Souvenir bangle from Lucy Verity hasn’t left my wrist since I got it last year – I look down and remember. My Lenore heart rings: to remember love, my signets: to remember the people who are important to me, my memento mori ring from Nvitblanche: to remember to live in the moment, my ruby locket from Circa 1700 has diamonds in it from my mother-in-law in the amount of Pi carats (ok I’m a definite geek). Recently my husband and I gave each other Gabriela Kiss eye rings to symbolize us watching over each other.

You may wonder what pieces I am on the hunt for next. I try to keep an open mind when I am hunting for jewelry, because you never know what you might find. I always ask myself does this resonate for me, will I really wear it and reach for this piece everyday? I like to purchase pieces that I will wear, I don’t like for jewelry to just sit in my jewelry box. I don’t necessarily keep a running wish list. Although at the beginning of 2016 I did an IG jewelry wishlist post and when I look back on it now, I did end up collecting some of the items on my wishlist during 2016, (like my French cut eternity band from Platt Boutique Jewelry). Right now I’m coveting high carat gold items – 22K gold bands (I just got one from Metier) and poesy rings, a Georgian memento mori ring and chains, always more chains. Recently, I’ve been loving layering a lot of gold watch chains.

In closing, almost every piece I wear holds meaning for me of something I want to remember or a story I want to tell that day with my jewelry. Jewelry wearing and styling is my personal storytelling.”

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Danielle –> @jasmyntea

Source: GossipGem.com

Continue Reading

Original Miami Antique Show 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

Continue Reading

Valentine’s Day Picks from KAVADOR

Kavador | Gem Gossip Kavador | Gem Gossip Kavador | Gem Gossip Kavador | Gem Gossip

Launched in 2015, Kavador was created with a main goal in mind: to dig into the vaults of jewelry stores around the country and give these hidden jewels their time to shine online! Jennie Pastor, CEO and Founder of Kavador, and myself have a few things in common. One of them being that we both realize there are so many amazing pieces of jewelry out there belonging to smaller, independent jewelers that don’t have the means to promote their inventory online. Websites are expensive and having one that is fully functional with e-commerce capability is often way over a jewelry store owner’s head. Just as I like to travel the US, visiting jewelry stores to showcase all that is out there, Kavador does as well! Only they have a whole team dedicated to curating items they find and listing them online, available for purchase. Kavador has quickly become a growing marketplace for stores to sell their pieces and for jewelry lovers to frequent often to find new treasures. And if you glance at their inventory, you’ll recognize right away how this website needs to be on your radar and checked regularly! Their SOLD gallery is fun to look at as well, although it is slightly sad because they’ve already found their forever home.

I’m so excited to partner with Kavador–not only have I gotten the chance to learn more about this amazing company and speak with Jennie (interview below) but I also got to curate my own favorites just in time for Valentine’s Day. I’ve also got a special treat for everyone–have $150 credit on me! Have fun exploring the vaults of Kavador and use code GEMGOSSIP150 from now until the end of February for your $150 credit.

As a kid, I have always been attracted to glitter and sparkle – I made my own accessories, tinkered with colorful nails and clothes and hair… No surprise then that I married into a family of jewelers and gemologists!

My family has been in the fine jewelry business for over 40 years, owning and operating independent retail jewelry stores and developing relationships with jewelry lovers and buyers as they select and maintain jewelry for generations. I’ve personally watched how dramatically the industry has changed in the last decade, specifically the challenges faced by independent local retailers in the face of changing consumer buying patterns and reduced in-store foot traffic.

Continue Reading

Beadfest Summer 2016 part II

Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work.

Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work. But it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have wonderful and generous instructors. I spoke about Jean Breaderoe and Marti Brown in the part one of the Beadfest post. In this post, I would like to share my experiences of the other two workshops that I attended with Richard Salley and Lisel Crowley.


Day 3: Stacking Stones
When I was selecting workshops to attend, I was very particularly that I learn at least 4 different skills. I chose metal as my common link and wanted to pick one metal clay, one coloring or patina, one bezel setting and an another class for some extra soldering input. I kept changing the classes to fit into the available time, skill level and their affordability. But, however, I chose I kept coming back to the stacking stones class by Richard Salley. His pieces looked so chunky and store bought (meaning so well made that it could be casted using a machine mould) I backed off thinking that I don’t have enough soldering experience to do justice to it and then he wanted us to bring tools. How was I going to carry saw blades and hammers on an international flight? Finally, I summoned up some courage and wrote to him. He was very sweet and offered to teach me if I was interested. Ofcourse, I was interested! He stayed true to his word at the workshop and taught me very patiently, calling me “Little girl” all the while 🙂
In a few hours, I learned how to size a cab, drill a hole in an agate cab (it was super hard!!), make a bezel, saw the backplate, make silver balls, rivets stones, set a stone, and solder a ring base to the bezel. I did that all at one shot for the first time. My very first bezel was a perfect fit for the stone OMG!! Though I melted one of the silver beads during the final solder and had a normal redo with the riveting (flaring) the turquoise stone setting to agate, the ring turned out to be pretty decent.

I was super thrilled that I bought more silver from him to try and set a chunky lapis lazuli cab that I had bought in Mt.Abu in 2012. Then disaster struck at every stage, I melted the bezel wire, burnt away silver beads and my base plate became shapeless. How much ever I tried I couldn’t fix it, even after Richard taught me how. By this time, even those participants who were trying complicated cutouts for their first piece had finished them and left. But Richard was extremely patient, and he fixed the bezel for me and showed me how to smooth a setting over a large stone. The “D” is slightly tilted and the texturing has flared out the metal in a couple of places but overall I am happy with it. So I patina-ed and sealed it after coming home but I am yet to string it.


Day Four – Romancing the Stone
On the final day I took up he Precious metal clay class with the PMC queen Lisel Crowley. I am not a clay person to begin with, so I took up this class to challenge myself knowing fully well that I will not be working with PMC anytime in the near future as its very expensive and I don’t have a kiln to fire my pieces in. As expected I didn’t enjoy this class much. My clay was extremely dry and it had to be reconditioned many times and I had to redo my bezel over 5 times as it kept cracking. Also the stone that I initially picked turned out to be too big for the amount of clay that we were given so I had to change my design as well. But somehow I figured things out and made one Art Nouveau style vine pendant and another mini charm using a cubic zirconia stone that I had with me and scraps of leftover clay.

I did learn a lot about what not to do with clay in this class – like, if you want a textured impression at the back plate then you must be careful during the final cleanup before firing and you must not sand after dehydrating but after firing. I also found that cold hands like mine are actually an advantage when working with PMC.


I brushed it clean, patinaed and sealed this piece after I came back but I am yet to string it or wear it. I like the fact that it is quite heavy and looks like an antique heirloom (probably worn by some medieval princess)


I cannot conclude writing about my beadfest experiences without mentioning all the wonderful people I met there. Everyone was so friendly and even extra nice when they found out that I had come all the way from India.I had a fan girl moment when I clicked a selfie with the Susan Lenart Kazmer of Ice Resin and Justin Russo of Ranger inks. I cannot forget the ever helpful and ever Ellie who manned Beadfest’s FB page and answered all my queries patiently. On the second day after the niobium I met Lori Schneider and Robin Showstack who stayed with me as roommates for the rest of the fest. It was so much fun being with them – listening to their stories, learning from their experiences and at night showing off each others haul of the day. I have never stayed with or even spent a lot of time with people (in person of course, nah, Social media doesn’t count!) who share my love for all things jewelry in a very long time. Thank you guys for making my beadfest trip very enjoyable and memorable.
If I ever get an opportunity to attend beadfest or a similar event with beads and jewelry I would definitely be there. It the meanwhile I need to work on my completely diminished physical health and slightly shaky financial health and get back to normal boring life.
I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

[||||Thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Special thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Greetings to:jewelsofsayuri blog |Source: jewelsofsayuri|More at:jewelsofsayuri blog|

Continue Reading

Beadfest Summer 2016 – a retrospection

Beadfest Fall is almost upon us (from October 13-16th 2016) at Tacoma but I realise that I am yet to write about my experiences at Beadfest Summer 2016. The last month has been pretty exacting – I have been extremely sick yet was working full time.

Beadfest Fall is almost upon us (from October 13-16th 2016) at Tacoma but I realise that I am yet to write about my experiences at Beadfest Summer 2016. The last month has been pretty exacting – I have been extremely sick yet was working full time. I was the organiser of a 2 week long event with competitions and ceremonies at work and then came the navaratri display. But slowly I am getting a handle on things so without much ado here are the highlights of my beadfest workshop experience – well in two quick successive posts. Beadfest Summer 2016 happened at Oaks, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. From King of Prussia (where I stayed at) I had to go through the valley Forge park to get to Audoban and Oaks. The first morning I was pretty scared, for the route looked like a hill station roa d- completely green and devoid of houses or stores for a few miles but then slowly I began to enjoy it for it is impossible to find such beautiful trails in Chennai. So coming back to the workshops – I had such fantastic learning and so many experiences in four days that I cannot do it justice by by cramming it all into one post. Hence in this post I am going to only talk about the first two workshops.

Crackle Enamel necklace by sayuri


Day 1: Celestial Fusion
I couldn’t have asked for a better class to start my beadfest experience or a better teacher than Jean Van Brederode of Charmed I’m Sure Studio. Jean was very sweet and patient and her work with both Crackle Enamel and stamped solder was fantastic and very inspiring. Including me there were only five of us in the class so we got to learn and experiment a lot. At first, we learnt was to create the back piece for prong setting – cutting the plate and wire, making the bail and soldering them together using sheet solder which was all very new for me.

Then we domed another disc and enamelled it in layers. I was working with full dedication at great speed (inspite of cutting my thumb in the first 10 minutes) until I spilled a load of enamel powder on my disc and panicked. Jean calmed me down and helped me streamline it. I did a couple of firing adding colors each time that I had a fabulous piece in the end that I set and wore it immediately. I then made another piece to practice – this time using black crackle enamel.
Crackle Enamel necklace by sayuri

Some instructors do not like to part with extra supplies but Jean encouraged us to make as many pieces as we wanted in the 7-hour class which was so refreshing. I made three extra discs and 2 sets of earring charms. I also tried counter enamelling. In the Beadfest site this class was referred to as “Kiln enamelling” which troubled me as I wanted to learn torch enamelling (something that I could do at home) but it turned out to be torch enamelling only. Jean had brought a kiln but we never used it.

black Crackle Enamel by sayuri
Using black Crackle Enamel
Continue Reading

Gem Gossip Visits Pippin Vintage Jewelry in NYC

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Pippin Vintage Jewelry storefront — and off to the left, which you can almost see, Pippin Home which is their sister store, full of vintage decor, clothes and knick knacks

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

What you see as you walk in the doorway–just like rummaging through a treasure hunter’s best kept secret!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Some easy favorites from their fine jewelry case.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

A look into the jewelry case! Wow, so many treasures!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Besides the two large fine jewelry cases, the store is a mix of costume jewelry neatly displayed, vintage purses and other items, as you can see here.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Pippin Vintage has some really gorgeous antique engagement rings; their price points are amazing too!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

A fun mix of vintage fine rings from Pippin Vintage–and look at that display! Such a cool idea!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Love these vintage purses!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Some more favorites currently available from Pippin Vintage!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

The costume jewelry displays on this side of the store are so fun!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

I’ve never loved a trio more than these three! That coral navette is so cool!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Two stunning antique diamond brooches from Pippin Vintage.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Another look into the fine jewelry case! See anything you like?!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

These diamond earrings belong on a beautiful bride!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Was enchanted by this charm display–three tiers of charms and the best part, it closes, folding into a box.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Pairing the onyx with the elongated sapphire and diamond ring is a match made in heaven! And that rose cut diamond cluster?! Yes!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

So many rings, so little time!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Pippin Vintage is located on a cozy street in Chelsea, NYC

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

If you love vintage purses and handbags, like the one above, you gotta check out Pippin Vintage–they have quite a few stashed all around the store.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

With each season and holiday, Pippin Vintage changes their decor. I arrived just as the Autumn leaves were going up for their Fall displays.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Two very special pieces, this amethyst brooch and this bold quartz ring!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Lots of ladies in Pippin Vintage, makes the place even prettier!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

If you’re on the engagement ring hunt, be sure to stop by Pippin Vintage Jewelry.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

So much goodness in one photo!

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

An extraordinary sapphire and diamond ring from Pippin Vintage.

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

The girls of Pippin Vintage (not pictured, owners Stephen & Rachel)

Pippin Vintage | Gem Gossip

Just can’t get enough of this combo! If you see any here you like, contact Pippin Vintage!

I love finding hidden gems–those stores you might walk right by and never have known what treasures await inside. Pippin Vintage Jewelry is exactly one of those stores! Think of it like a long lost treasure trove or attic which once belonged to a group of the coolest, hippest girls of the past, now transformed into a store for all to rummage through! And that’s exactly what owners Rachel and Stephen set out to create, a space that inspires adornment, an eclectic collection for those who love jewelry and things of the past, right in the heart of Chelsea. You can tell from my photos that Pippin Vintage is one of those stores that you can spend quite some time in and not realize the hours slipping by, while at the same time you are transported back in time with every item you see. From the entire wall filled with vintage costume jewelry, to the antique clutches and purses, even fashionable hats from the bygone eras, the entire store is a whimsy.

Pippin Vintage Jewelry first began before it was an actual store. Back during the times of the old Chelsea Flea Markets, Stephen would sell his preloved treasures found at auctions in the Northeast, and when I say treasures, I mean a little bit of everything! Jewelry was a part of the equation, but a small part, and it needed more attention than what it was getting. Rachel noticed this right away, she always had a penchant for jewels, especially the antique kind. With some organization and a woman’s touch, jewelry soon became their best seller. Eventually the Chelsea Flea Markets closed down for good and the duo found themselves looking for a space to rent with a dream to open a store. In 2006 they happened upon the most ideal spot and in the spring of 2007, Pippin Vintage opened its doors for the first time.

One thing is for sure, Pippin Vintage Jewelry has thrived upon their enthusiastic and dedicated customers. They love their NYC people–to the owners, being a part of the city that never sleeps is their favorite part of this business. One thing I noticed is their approachable pricing. For many, buying things in the city is just so darn expensive. But not here. Pippin Vintage accounts value as one of their most important parts of their business model. They even encourage trades amongst their fine jewelry clients who may have some fine jewelry they don’t wear anymore, but may have found something they want amongst the cases. And yes, there are two whole cases within their fine jewelry selection. Lots of rings, charms, earrings, necklaces and bracelets from many different time periods. Their price points are great too; you can find items like small gold charms for a couple hundred dollars, while also displayed next to a diamond Art Deco bracelet for $25,000. That’s what I love about this shop, it is a true treasure hunt in the heart of NYC.

I’ve enjoyed my time while visiting and even more so while emailing with Rachel. Her stories intrigue me, like the one about her experience with an estate of a “hoarder” who lived in the Bronx. She was a seamstress during the 1920s/30s and had hoards of buttons, jewelry and collection of Bakelite jewelry. Rachel said you walked in the door and everything was jam packed from floor to ceiling of stuff! I’m sure it was an unforgettable experience.

If you get the chance to visit NYC, make sure to put Pippin Vintage Jewelry on your itinerary! The neighborhood that the store is located in is just the cutest and their home goods store is also a must see–Pippin Home–which sells vintage and antique furniture, home decor, trinkets and some clothes. It is just right next door. May I also suggest the Mexican restaurant across the street–Serenata. One of the best lunches I’ve ever had!

Thanks Pippin Vintage for having me! I will be back next time I’m in town!

Pippin Vintage

112 W 17th St.

New York, NY 10011

Follow on Facebook

Follow on Instagram

Continue Gossip Gem

Continue Reading

One day in New York City

If you are here for the We’re all ears Challenge reveal , then skip to the end of the post to see the earrings.

If you are here for the We‘re all ears Challenge reveal , then skip to the end of the post to see the earrings. But if you have five minutes, you could read about my recent travels and my “New York State of Mind”.

In a New York State of Mind

My USA journey began with a flight to JFK where I was picked by my Aunt and Uncle, and driven to their home in the picturesque Albertson. It was everything I had read about American suburbs – calm and quiet, yet not very far from the main road, surprisingly dotted with Indian and Pakistani stores. It might as well been a villa colony along the ECR if not for the American flag fluttering in the porch of many a house.

The next morning, after depositing my luggage at a charming place in Woodside, near Queens Blvd I left to board a train that would take me to Hudson yards station, wherein began my sightseeing Trip. They say that New Yorkers walk a lot – and by the time I reached Pier 83, near the Intrepid Air and Space Museum from Hudson yard, I realised the truth behind that remark. It was a long brutal walk, considered peanuts by NYC standards. Thankfully, the warehouses along the way provided much needed shade during that terribly hot day. I soon boarded a cruise boat and after securing a seat at the upper half covered deck, waited in anticipation to see Lady Liberty.

The Landmark cruise, a 90 minute ride on the Hudson river was a great and comfortable way to see the famed Manhattan skyline even on a very hot day. Within minutes of the cruise I could see the Skyscrapers – all concrete and glass. World Trade Center, 9/11 memorial, Empire State building, Battery park were on one side while the other side offered a peak into New Jersey. Contrary to the note on the Cruise website, the cruise neither goes around the Statue of Liberty nor do we get to see it twice. After a brief glimpse from a good distance we took a U Turn to see the famous Brooklyn Bridge and the Williamsburg bridge. I felt sorry for the folks who did not rush to the deck to take their pictures but waited patiently for the boat to turn around; they never got a chance to take pictures of the SOL after that. Sometimes, patience doesn’t pay.

The commentary was very informative to begin with, but it got boring towards the end with the guide going on and on about the 9/11 memorial, the great “New York rush hour” and Captain Sully’s landing on the Hudson. Maybe with the movie coming up (it has been released now) the guide thought it would be interesting to people, but people got bored and started talking really loudly during the return journey. Instead, we could have spent more time at the statue of liberty as 5 minutes is hardly enough to soak up her splendor. It was however, very interesting, to see people take ferry rides, helicopter rides, go yatching and yes go jet skiing on the river.

After a quick lunch consisting of a muffin and an apple, I ubered to the Met. The Metropolitan museum of art is heaven on earth for artists, designers and connoisseurs of beauty. I really missed my mom and wished that she got an opportunity to see it as well, so I called her (woke her up in the middle of the night) and described the exhibits as I was walking through the Greek section. People say that those who are not artistically inclined can see 4 sections in a day and those who love art can only see 2. I, on the other hand saw 8 exhibits. I rushed through them as FOMO (fear of missing out) gripped me until they basically threw me out at 5:30 PM. “When am I ever going to get an opportunity like this again”, I told myself, forcing my brain into absorbing everything I saw and wishing that I had skipped the cruise and been at the Met at the opening time instead. I will write soon about extraordinary jewelry exhibits and Manus Machina very soon.

I chose to see only three places in NYC and the last on my list was the “Sunset view from the Top pf Rock”. I had gotten a glimpse of Central Park earlier on my way over to the MET but as I travelled towards TOR, I was able to appreciate Central park once again, this time only for $5 as I was driven along the 5th avenue. Thank God for share -Uber that nobody wants to share 😀 My Driver turned out to be a freelance Graphic designer and so he was happy to point out signages and thematic displays of Fashion stores along the famous street.

fifth avenue new york

Even though I was late for my TOR appointment I took my time in seeing portions of the Rockefeller center and browsed at Anthropologie to my heart’s content. But I missed seeing the inside of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and going through more high end stores on that street. If given an another chance, I would do it differently.
My image of New York city, like most other Indians is created based on stories of cousins or relatives who live abroad or is crafted through American Television shows. In my case it was the TV shows like “Sex and the City”, “White Collar” and “Castle” that made me visit TOR at sunset. I fell in love with how the Empire state building looked in the “so called evening light” in the shows but only when I actually reached TOR, I realised that the light in those scenes come from the opposite side, meaning that they could been shot during sunrise. I reached the 67th floor around 7 PM awaiting the 7:55 PM sunset but the sun tested all of us by setting at 8:20 PM. By then, both the 69th and 70th floors had become extremely crowded, filled with frustrated people who were disappointed with their dull, unsharp pictures on a very humid and cloudy day. I guess ‘just seeing’ the Empire state building in all its splendor doesn’t hold the magic that it once did in the minds of people.

empire state building

Ten minutes after the sunset, I gave the Empire state building one last look and left with a heavy heart for I was leaving New York without seeing my favourite Chrysler building properly. My return journey was full of drama for I got lost in the subway maze. New Yorkers, I realised much Chennaites are perfectly capable of giving contradicting directions. GPS was also useless considering the number of roads that had closed due to ongoing construction. One side of most roads were dug up and it took all of my Chennai street smartness to avoid falling into any of them. I was thankful that I had been a city mouse for a while now. After wandering around lost for nearly an hour I reached the Times square. Maybe I was extremely tired and hungry, but to me it looked like someone had setup huge TV screens in Ranganathan Street. I was once again transported to Chennai and quickly reversed my steps to the station. But in a way I was blessed for I got see another glimpse of the Chrysler building as though it was poking its head to say hello to me.

empire state building at night

After shopping for band aids for my bruised feet and inexpensive drugstore makeup (which is very good btw) I finally reached the alarmingly quiet Woodside by 10:40 PM and heated up some soup that was to be my dinner. My day however was far from being over. My Airbnb host turned out to be a FIT graduate of Indian Origin and we ended up talking about uptil midnight about design, fashion and our ethnicity despite my blasting headache. She was quite surprised at how much I had packed into one day in Manahattan.
The next morning I packed my bags, bid my host and New York adieu as I travelled to New Jersey and that my dear readers was my day in New York. We have come to the end of a long post, which was supposed to be the first in my US series. At some point during typing this post, I started imagining myself to be Carrie writing her column and got carried away, sorry!

New York Sunset earrings

Coincidentally, this month‘s We‘re all ears Challenge is all about skyscrapers and the inspiration post features quite a few from New York. So it only fair that I wrote about my New York experience. Both the earrings – New York Sunset and Boxed up sky scrapers were made using the Niobium components that I made in my Rainforest leaves earrings class with Marti Brown at Beadfest. I have used the boxy rectangular shapes of the buildings and the sunset colors for my earrings. The seed beads represent the lit up windows and the scrunched up textures (and folds) represent the repair and construction work happening in the streets and in the buildings.

That was my Day in New York City, I hope you found it interesting

PS: If you are like me and like Billy Joel pop over to listen to his famous In a New York State of Mind Tamil Folks can always listen to New York nagaram orangum neram
Cheers

[||||Thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Special thanks to:jewelsofsayuri blog|Greetings to:jewelsofsayuri blog |Source: jewelsofsayuri|More at:jewelsofsayuri blog|

Continue Reading