Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

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

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

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

Diamond Rings

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

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

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

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

Alternative Engagement Rings

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

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

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

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

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Why Are Crystals & Healing Crystals So Popular Right Now?

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So much can be said about crystals and their role in the millennial mind. The mainstream’s relatively recent fascination with crystals is far-reaching and undeniably polarizing. There are those that think a crystal’s ability to heal is hogwash. Others go so far as to dedicate their lives to healing crystal’s seemingly magical powers.

Then there are people like me who fall somewhere in the middle. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely fascinated by crystals, and my collection is vast enough to need its own cabinet or two. I use crystals while meditating, and I even playfully ponder over the unseen “energies” different crystals emit.

But I’m still skeptical. Do I think holding a piece of rose quartz over your heart is going to heal a cardiac arrhythmia? No. Do I think every crystal sends off a different vibration? Not really. What I do know is that each type of crystal has a different composition and absorbs and refracts light (and radiation) in different ways — to put it simply.

Regardless of where you stand, the age of buying druzy crystals in mass numbers is upon us. Crystal healing has been around for centuries, but why all of a sudden are these specimens so in-demand? Skepticism aside, here are some reasons why crystals are so popular:

1. Crystals Are Helpful Meditative Aids:

A crystal doesn’t need to be unearthly magical to help with a simple meditation practice. If the crystal just so happens to emit an energy that helps you channel a goal, great. But that isn’t the point. So much of our own energy is channeled through our thoughts.

If we think a particular stone will enhance our intuition, chances are we’ll be seeing things more clearly. Whether it’s the stone’s work or just our mind, having a token to focus our attention on while meditating can help with the process of destressing.

2. Healing Crystals Lend to Personalized Spiritual Practices:

I’m not a New Age expert, but I do know that the culture developed as a means to explore spirituality for those that don’t fit into the confines of standardized religion. In a New Age practice, no one model that fits all. An individual explores varying belief systems and ideologies, then they practice a mixture based on works for them. One potential area of study is crystal healing, which is an ancient practice that has been around for thousands of years.

Many millennials that don’t easily fit into another religion are adopting this New Age model to help them through difficult times. Whereas some might find their solace in Catholicism, Hinduism or Islam, New Agers might find that same comfort through astrology or paganism.

A recent cultural shift to more New Age type thinking among millennials explains in part why crystal sales have been seeing a resurgence. Before you’re quick to agree or disagree, remember that with belief systems, you don’t necessarily see what you’re believing. If crystals bring someone closer to their spirituality and the universe and if crystals somehow make them a better person because of it, all the power to them. So long as someone’s beliefs are ethically okay and don’t infringe upon someone else’s beliefs, no judgements here.

3. Crystals are Absolutely Fascinating to Look At and Study:

Alright, so let’s get down to the reason why most of my jewelry friends and I are obsessed with crystals. They’re gorgeous! Most of the time they’re completely untainted. And they can grow under the most extreme yet specific conditions. They’re colorful, optically fierce, and exceptional little snowflakes. Okay, I’m going a little overboard, but you get the idea.

Crystals and gemstones that haven’t been dyed or altered in any way are such a profound testament to the beauty of earth and nature. Something as seemingly simple as rain pushing sediment into a mountain crevice can transform into an unworldly treasure millions of years later. Hello, opal! And that’s just one example.

The science behind crystals is vast, complex, and undeniably intriguing. And even when you fully understand the how, you still can’t help but be mystified when you come across an even more radiant and unusual specimen.

Whatever marketing or New Age trend that pushed the mainstream population onto crystals has only promoted what we gemology and geology fanatics have known all along. There’s nothing quite like a perfectly imperfect crystal.

Five Crystal Items You Can Shop:

Crystal Gifts | Gem Gossip

Crystals – Paperback by Jennie Harding

Agate Bookends

Crystal Cluster Amethyst Art

Wellness Gem-Water Bottle by VitaJuwel

Green and Blue Mineral Art Print

This post was contributed by:

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

Thanks to Gossip Gem

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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

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The Top Jewelry Trends Seen at Couture 2017

Yael Sonia | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

Jane Taylor Jewelry

1. Rainbow Waves:

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

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

2. Shoulder-Duster Statement Earrings:

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

Yael Sonia | Gem Gossip

3. Modern Geometric:

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

Zoe Chicco | Gem Gossip

4. Gold Wire Necklaces:

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

Sydney Evan | Gem Gossip

5. Charms:

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


Couture 2017

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

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

Couture | Gem Gossip

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

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

See the Anthony Lent website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

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

See the Jacquie Aiche website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

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

See the Suzanne Kalan website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

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

See the Tara Hirshberg website here.

Couture | Gem Gossip

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

See the Arik Kastan website here.


Couture 2017

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

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Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show 2017

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Taking on the Las Vegas Antique Show with Becca of BCE Jewelry, with Lenore Dailey at her booth and we ran into Sheri & Trina of Metier

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Both pieces here (left & right) are from DK Bressler and both are more than meets the eye: the dragonfly is En Tremblant and the diamond brooch can convert into other pieces of jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Two gorgeous booth photos, the left is Platt Boutique Jewelry and the right I cannot remember for the life of me!

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I loved these three rings from Excalibur Jewelry, especially the open metal work on the pointer, & the right photo features an incredible Lightning Ridge Opal set in a turn-of-the-century ring from M&C Stevens

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This large pendant/medallion made me smile, from Platt Boutique Jewelry and the photo on the right are my three favorites from Jacob’s Estate Jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Lenore Dailey’s booth is just jaw-dropping in its own right, so I always take a photo of it every year — the photo on the right is an incredible ring box full of the most beautiful pieces from Simon Teakle

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I think Blue Topaz gets a bad rap–this bracelet is crazy gorgeous, from Clayton Antiques and the photo on the right features a museum-worthy suite of early Victorian jewelry

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

I always have to stop and stare at the crowns I see at the show! The right photo features some of the best rings I saw throughout the entire show–these three, from Under the Crown. Favorite stack ever.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Always a sucker for hearts, I loved this opal brooch from DK Bressler and the photo on the right features three light blue enamel bracelets from Keyamour. Once in a lifetime shot right there!

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I love to see what Joden has and this time around this necklace caught my eye–from the black enamel to the mega gemstones, wow! The photo on the right is a ring tray seen at Mary Ann-tiques

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

The combo of moonstone + rubies is so good, I think that is why I loved this bracelet from Mary Ann-tiques so much. Also this tortoise shell butterfly brooch–wow, so unique and all handcrafted. This one belongs to Platt Boutique Jewelry.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

A box of goodies found at Lucy Verity … the photo on the right are my favorites from Mary Ann-tiques, some rectangles and ovals!

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Sapphire stack from Excalibur Jewelry and the jewelry box on the right was seen at Lucy Verity–that snake bracelet is to die for and unfortunately a little too big on my wrist.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Last photos come from Excalibur–clusters of sapphire and diamonds, which create this amazing bracelet…and the photo on the right are my favorites from Craig Evan Small.

I’ve always associated the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show with The Paris hotel, however this was the first year in a very long time that that particular location was changed. This year’s show was located at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I didn’t know what to expect at all and actually didn’t even know where the convention center was located in regards to where everything else is until the day of the show! To my surprise, I enjoyed the change–but I also will be happy when the show returns to The Paris next year. I attended on opening day and then again the following day, covering as much as I could on day one and attempting to pick up where I left off the next day. I had good company on the second day–Katie of Vada Jewelry (like last year) and Becca of BCE Jewelry who had never attended before! It was cool to see someone experience the show for the first time and she walked away with an awesome diamond cluster ring.

For some reason the reoccurring theme for me this year was large, circular pendants aka medallions. It seemed like every booth I visited, I spotted one or was attracted to one. I like how with every show, I’m not sure what I’m going to find or what I will be drawn to…it is always something different. I brought home a really cool medallion zodiac pendant, which I will share in another post! I also brought back nearly ten pieces to sell for @shopGEMGOSSIP, some of which have already sold but you can certainly browse what is still available.

From the gorgeous diamond crowns I spotted at several booths, to lots of diamond cocktail rings, there was some major selections going on at this show. Lots of buyers were going full force and commenting on what a great show it was. I noticed an up tick in traffic flow up and down the aisles and saw a lot of buying happening.

As always, I have the best time roaming the aisles, running into people I know and chatting with my favorite dealers. It is fun catching up with everyone and I can’t believe this was my sixth year attending the show. And even after six years, I still relish in finding awesome pieces and the thrill of the hunt definitely still lives on at these shows. I hope that never changes!

Thanks for another great year, Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show…can’t wait until next year!

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Read my other posts from the same show, years of the past:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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Dupuis Important Jewels Auction Set for June 11, 2017

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

Dupuis Important Jewels Auction >> June 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of my favorites highlighted:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Clean Antique Jewelry: The Important Do’s & Don’ts

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For anyone that’s unfamiliar, antique jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is more than 100 years old. That’s a lot of years for dirt to collect under gemstones, metal to patina, and for grime to take away from the inherent beauty of the heirloom. It’s tempting to pick up a polishing cloth and buff away years of unwanted residue. But wait! Before you do that…

There is a right way and a wrong way to clean antique jewelry. We’ve compiled some basic do’s and don’ts you must know before you potentially ruin your investment.

*Remember, this is a general guide for fine antique jewelry. Some antique jewelry like cameos or hair jewelry require special care beyond what is listed here.

D O N ‘ T


1. Polish away patina on old rose or yellow gold jewelry

Patina is something that takes years to form. Some reproduction jewelry will actually try to fake this patina in order to make an item appear older than it is. For Georgian and Victorian jewelry, it’s important not to go overboard with polishing. You don’t want the yellow gold to be so light and shine like the day it was made.

Be careful if you’re having your rings resized by someone not familiar with antique jewelry. The tendency is to take rings to a high polish once the sizing is done. Advise them only to lightly polish the portion where the gold has been added or taken away on the bottom of the ring shank.

2. Use ultrasonic machines

There are times when it is okay to put antique jewelry into an ultrasonic machine for a very quick clean, and I mean quick. But to err on the side of caution, avoid using them altogether. If you have a platinum and diamond engagement ring from the 1920’s, an ultrasonic machine might be okay if the stones are tight and the prongs are in good shape. Most of the time though, the subtle but intense vibrations from these machines can do more harm than good.

3. Submerge jewelry for a long period

Liquid can be detrimental to some antique jewelry, especially jewelry with cameos, opals, seed pearls, or any other soft stone. For fragile jewelry, it’s best not to completely saturate the piece with liquid at all. Instead, lightly clean with a damp brush or cloth.

4. Clean with harsh chemicals like ammonia

The internet will often tell you how wonderful ammonia is for making your diamonds shine. This might work (in moderation) for new jewelry, but antique jewelry deserves a much gentler approach. Avoid harsh detergents, ammonia, and please never use household cleaners containing bleach!

D O


1. Make a gentle cleaning solution

Sometimes the best way to clean your antique jewelry is by making your own DIY cleaning solution. Most jewelry cleaners you find in the store will cost you a lot more money and may not even be as effective. They may even contain harsh chemicals.

To make your own solution, mix lukewarm water with a small amount of mild soap like Dove until it is sudsy. The key here is in the cleaning technique, not necessarily in the solution.

2. Use a soft toothbrush and lint free cloth

Once you make your solution, it’s time to clean your antique jewelry. You’ll either submerge the item for a few minutes to loosen grime, or if your item contains soft stones, you lightly dampen your toothbrush. Before you begin, make sure no stones are loose.

Then, gently brush your jewelry, paying attention to areas like underneath the stone and underneath the prongs. Use slow circular motions using only light pressure. If the piece is extremely dirty, don’t be tempted to use more pressure; instead, implement more patience. Submerge your jewelry into the solution again (if your jewelry can handle it) then gently repeat, repeat, repeat.

3. Make sure to rinse and dry thoroughly

You don’t want to give fragile jewelry a bath, but you want to be sure you remove any soap residue that might build up and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning your jewelry. Run the jewelry under lukewarm water and pat dry. For rings, take a polishing cloth and very lightly buff the shank, avoiding any area near stones or engravings. Let jewelry completely dry before putting it away.

4. Have the right expectations

Antique jewelry is never meant to look new. If this is your intention when cleaning jewelry, think again. Sure, you want to remove dirt, grime, bacteria, and all that other gross stuff. But you don’t want to take away years of character and patina. Is there a scratch in the gold? Leave it, don’t have it buffed away. Is the gold too dark for your liking? Consider a more modern replica like those from Arik Kastan instead.

How do you clean your antique jewelry? Any tips I missed? Let us know in the comments.

This post was contributed by:

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

Source: GossipGem.com

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Vegas Prep: Interview with Hannah of Diamondoodles

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Today’s Vegas Jewelry Week prep interview features Hannah of Diamondoodles, jewelry friend and creative genius. You may not know that I first met Hannah back when she was attending GIA in Carlsbad–I was there taking my 20 stone exam and she reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in speaking to a small group of students about what I do. We kept in touch to say the least (as I’m covered in sparkly stickers and pins by Diamondoodles) and it has been great to see her Diamondoodles evolve. If you want to see what I mean, check out this ancient feature I did of Hannah when she first started doodling with gems.

How many times have you attended Vegas jewelry week?

This will be my third year in Vegas for jewelry week.


Biggest tip for Vegas jewelry week you’d give your rookie self on the eve of your first time going to Vegas?

My trade show advice is: ALWAYS wear comfortable shoes. People tend to dress more formally at the Vegas jewelry shows, so there can be a temptation to put on stylish heels. I am telling you, it’s never worth it! I spend what feels like 32 hours each day on my feet in Vegas, so I would rather keep my feet happy than worry about sartorial critics.

Name five things you ALWAYS bring to Vegas Jewelry Week.

1. Big ol’ tote bag

2. External battery charger

Pro Tip: If you want the charger to actually make your life easier, recharge it every night. Otherwise, it’s just another piece of junk in your bag after day one.

3. Concealer – I don’t sleep a lot.

4Extra Lighting – Trade show lighting is notoriously difficult for photography, so I have taken to bringing my own extra lights to get crispy gemstone photos and make the jewelry pop.

Benjamin Guttery @ThirdCoastGems – I’ve literally never been to jewelry week without him <3

BONUS: During all my travels I carry a snack in my purse to ward off hanger.

One big difference from last year to this year?

I will be taking over the @AGTA_Gems social media during the AGTA show at Jewelry week this year.

Don’t worry folks, I will still be posting goodies from the Couture Show and AGTA on my @Diamondoodles account.

Favorite things about Vegas Jewelry Week.

The jewelry industry really embraces the work/play lifestyle. In Vegas that lifestyle gets exaggerated 10 fold. I’m exhausted after Jewelry Week, but it’s a blissful exhaustion from all the productivity and fun that I had.

Biggest pet peeve about Vegas Jewelry Week.

I never get to go to the pool!

Weirdest thing to happen to you during Vegas Jewelry Week in the past.

Isn’t there a quote about this… “What Hannah does in Vegas, stays in Vegas”

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my coverage from last year

You can follow Hannah –> @Diamondoodles

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