The Top Jewels that Sparkled in Cannes, 2017

Rihanna Chopard All photos via Getty Images

The Cannes Film Festival is arguably one of the best showcases for the top international jewelry houses to showcase their finest and brightest gems and designs for the world to see.

This 12-day festival brings out the most exceptional designs and creations from the likes of Chopard to Harry Winston.

It’s where you can see leading ladies like Charlize Theron and Jessica Chastain as well as ingénues like Dakota Fanning and Rihanna parading down the red carpet in the latest couture gowns and decadent jewels.

Here are the best jewels from the most revered jewelry houses that were showcased on the festival’s red carpet.

CHOPARD:

The jewelry house has a deep history with the Festival as it’s been the official partner and designer of the coveted Palme d’Or trophy awarded to the most critically-acclaimed movie. This year, the buzz on the red carpet was their collaboration with music super-star Rihanna.

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Singer Rihanna wore emerald, rock crystal quartz and diamond earrings, a black nephrite and diamond bracelet with a 31.95-carat emerald, three emerald and diamond rings and a floral bracelet set with diamonds, all from the Rihanna Loves Chopard High Jewellery collection, at the premiere of the movie ‘Okja’.

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Model Adriana Lima wore a diamond bib by Chopard at the screening of the film ‘Loveless’.

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Actress Miriam Odemba wore a titanium and white gold necklace with kunzites, beryls, tanzanites and diamonds, and matching earrings, from the Red Carpet collection by Chopard.

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Karolina Kurkova wore a sapphire and diamond necklace from the High Jewellery Collection from Chopard at the premiere of ‘Based on a True Story’.

Actress Juliette Binoche wore platinum and diamond earrings by Chopard.

Actress Elizabeth Olsen wore diamond flower stud earrings by Chopard. We simply adore the placement of these earrings.

de GRISOGONO

This jewelry house showcased some of the best and boldest designs to hit the red carpet with their use of brilliant colored stones.

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Model Hailey Baldwin wore stunning drop earrings set with white and brown diamonds, and edged with citrine briolettes.

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Model Jenaye Noah wore a pair of exquisite de Grisogono chandelier earrings that glowed with oval-cut citrines from their Melody of Colours collection. A perfect compliment to her vibrant blue gown.

BVLGARI

This iconic jewelry house showcased their classic Serpenti jewelry and picked up major press when actress and model Emily Ratajkowski was photographed wearing their pieces both on the red carpet and on her personal Instagram.

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Model Bella Hadid wore a Bulgari High Jewellery Serpenti necklace and bracelet in white gold.

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Model and Actress Emily Ratajkowski combined two Bulgari necklaces, one comprised of pearls, rubellites and diamonds from the High Jewelry Collection and the other pendant necklace made with diamonds, emerald and rubies.

BOUCHERON

The design house had some of the most striking statement-making pieces to hit the red carpet at Cannes. Actress Salma Hayek’s necklace rendered us both breathless and speechless!

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Actress Salma Hayek wore the Baïkal necklace with a 78.33-carat Santa Maria aquamarine, moonstones, Akoya pearls and diamonds from the new Hiver Impérial High Jewellery collection by Boucheron

Model Laetitia Casta paired the Lumière de Nuit diamond and pearl earrings from Boucheron’s Hiver Impérial High Jewellery collection with her gown at the premiere of The Meyerowitz Stories in Cannes

De Beers

The classic diamond jewelry house is known for their slogan “a diamond is forever” .This year, Chinese movie actress and taste maker Fan Bingbing embodies the classic elegance of Hollywood that the brand is synonymous with as she modelled a coveted collection of jewels from the house.

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Fan Bingbing wore the Arpeggia five-line earrings, bracelet and Aria ring at the ‘Amant Double’ premiere.

Piaget

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At the closing of the 70th Cannes Film Festival, actress Jessica Chastain, Piaget’s International Brand ambassador since 2015, paired her show-stopping gown with earrings in white gold set with diamonds from Piaget’s new High Jewellery collection Sunlight Journey.

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Model CoCo Rocha wore earrings in white gold set with diamonds, blue sapphires and black opal from the new High Jewellery Collection Sunlight Journey.

Another noteworthy mention is model Naomi Campbell’s earrings, necklace, ring and cuff in white gold set with emeralds and diamonds from the new High Jewellery Collection Sunlight Journey.

Harry Winston

Known as the “jeweler to the stars” and Nicole Kidman’s ‘go to’ jeweler, Harry Winston notably had Nicole Kidman wear his jewelry on the red carpet. Best bet as she had the most films to debut on the Cannes Red Carpet this year.

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Nicole Kidman wore Secret Cluster diamond earrings, Sunflower ring and diamond bracelet by Harry Winston at ‘How To Talk To Girls At Parties’ premiere.

All above photos via Getty images.

This post was contributed by:

wwwdaily Laura Lee Fulham | T: @WhoWoreWhatDly | W: www.whoworewhatdaily.com

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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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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.

Thanks to Gossip Gem

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Q & A and Visit with Raquel Alonso Perez of Harvard’s Museum of Natural History

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My very last stop while in Boston, hours before my flight took off, I had planned the best parting gift–a visit to Harvard University’s Museum of Natural History! Sounds dreamy, right?! Well it is and then some. An entire room filled with thousands of minerals and gems is open to the public on Harvard’s campus, and Raquel Alonso Perez was there to give me a full tour, including some majorly fun behind-the-scenes stuff. I honestly think my one-on-one time with Raquel had taught me more in one hour than my entire Freshman year at college! I didn’t want to leave! I got to hold pieces of gold that came out of the ground looking like sculptures, play with rough diamonds, see some incredible gemstones, and the highlight of my day was getting to spend some time with the Hamlin Necklace–rare and notable because of its gigantic tourmalines it showcases, which are all from the same mine in Maine!

Raquel’s hospitality, warmth and passion to share with me what she does at the Mineralogical & Geological Museum was accepted with much gratitude and I had so much fun! Here’s some insight into what Raquel does, illustrated with photos from my visit! Enjoy!

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I serve as the Curator of the Mineralogical and Geological Museum (MGMH). Our collections date back to 1798! After 230 years of collecting, the MGMH is one of the oldest, largest and continuously operated mineralogical and geological museum, built for the nation and world-renowned for its fine quality collections, broad representation of species, unique occurrences and large number of type, described, and illustrated specimens. Our repository has become a true library of the earth with over 400,000 objects divided in 4 main collections: minerals, gems, meteorites and rocks. My role as Curator is to provide access to the world-class Earth Science collections at Harvard University, encouraging its use for teaching, research and public education. The favorite part of my job is research and all teaching and academic related activities, in addition to working with the dedicated team of people at the MGMH, the Earth and Planetary Science Department and the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, HSMC, where our public gallery is located.

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In total, the museum has around 400,000 objects divided in 4 main collections: minerals, gems, meteorites and rocks and ore deposits. Only 3550 individual mineral specimens are on display at the Museum, 145 of these include a gemstone of the same variety. My favorite examples are in the wider variety of crystals and gemstones. For example, the beryls, we have a whole case of them displaying 40 specimens full of light and color. I also love the tourmalines, with all of the different kinds displayed with bi-color and watermelon elbaites from Maine, USA. As you can imagine, we have a strong collection of New England minerals, gems, and rare species. We receive a lot of donations, but we couldn’t display our entire collection, even if we wanted! Space is a major constraint, but not the only one. We also have to make hard choices about what to share in order to fulfill the Museum’s mission. Our museum is not only about highlighting aesthetics. We also need to prioritize the display of specimens that will also serve reference and research purposes.

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I am a geologist by training specialized in mineralogy, gemology, geochemistry and petrology. There are too many “logy’s” in there! These branches of Earth Sciences come together in a fascinating way, giving color and texture to the world we inhabit. In 2006 I completed my PhD at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland, where I studied how the earth crust is formed, by comparing it with artificial rocks produced in the lab. After graduation, I took a short break to have my two children, Marco and Amaya, and returned in 2009 to professional life to work as a research assistant at the Earth and Planetary Science Department, Harvard University. A year later I was hired as Assistant Curator to take care of the rock collection at the MGMH and got appointed head Curator of the entire MGMH collections in 2011.

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I’ve always wondered why minerals acquire a color and not other colors. We know so little about the chemistry and the physics involved! My passion, stimulated by my daily encounter with Harvard’s amazing collections, is to uncover the story behind nature’s color choices! My work in the past 2 years has been focused in tourmalines and beryls. The most common color of elbaites from Main, USA is green but they also come in blue, yellow, pink, colorless and with many different hues and tones. With the use of non-destructive analytical techniques, I was able to determine the chemical distribution, trace element patterns and color correlation in a suite of elbaites from Maine, Hamlin Collection. In addition, this non-destructive dual-technique used in this study (Confocal Micro Raman Spectroscopy and LA- ICPMS, laser ablation-induced coupled plasma-mass spectrometry) has great potential to be applied to other gemmological materials to also distinguish provenance, natural versus synthetic materials and treatments. My current project aims to better understand the formation of emeralds, and is focused on the geology of the emerald deposit of Irondro, Madagascar. In fact, I mostly focus on rocks from Madagascar, which is a blessing, since the MGMH is quickly becoming the main repository of minerals, rocks and gemstones from this part of the world. I also benefit from the museum’s vast network. I sometimes end up requesting research material from friends, donors and supporters of the Museum from faraway lands! However, my main priority and where most of my work goes is into ensuring that the MGMH’s collections are curated according to the highest standards of museum best practices for their preservation in perpetuity and use by future generations. Digitization plays an important role to achieve these goals and our ambition to open them up to a wider audience, especially those concerning research, education and public outreach, which will result in an online database of our collections sometime in the fall of 2017.

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Every day, in the environment I am, could end up being a highlight and making you proud of the work you do, especially when it can impact other people life’s. I would like to share with you a portion of an e-mail I received from one of the female students attending my class at the Harvard Summer school as a beautiful example. “..Here again I want to say thank you for bringing me my best summer ever. I really enjoyed the lecture. Every time when listening to the lecture, I really feel I’m being educated and have more knowledge on mineralogy and gemology. The happiness of gaining knowledge is hard to express; it’s like seeing the moon coming out of the clouds and lighting up a street in the dark midnight. Also, I love the labs. I feel so good identifying minerals by myself, putting everything I learnt into use. I’m also fascinated by the gemstone experiments. I can’t wait to get a full set of tools and practice in the gem markets back in China. What I really want to appreciate is that for all your support for me to do more microscope experiments. I know that doing the experiment before class means you have to skip lunch, I’m really sorry. The experiment is so incredible, I never see those features before, and I couldn’t fully understand everything without doing the actual experiment. The image is fantastic. I gasp that people ever create those ways for examine stones. What I like most is the field trip. The behind the scene of the museum is awesome. I never thought that museum work would be so interesting. There are so many stories behind every collection! I also really really like the field trip to mine. You became my idol when you drove the van packed with all of us and fed us snacks. Working in the field is so different and I think I need more field work to really become a geology people. I sometimes feel so shame that I learned so much knowledge but still like a baby when put in the field. However, going to the field makes a lot of knowledge easier to understand. In the mine, when I saw you standing on the shiny mica mountain, I feel like you are one of the best women in the world—- a woman who could stand in the field with knowledge, and explore the earth, go right after the unknown, a kind of woman I really want to be. It is this summer that I, for the first time in forever, really willing to go to university; not because it is what everybody do, but because all the knowledge and skills I could get, all the resource I could access, and all the fantastic professors in the future I will meet to motivate my life..”

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My best piece of advice for anyone in general is to follow their passion, work hard, overcome challenges, focus and don’t give up! The combination of passion and perseverance will bring you where you want to be.

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Summer Getaway: Adventures in New Mexico with Vale Jewelry

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Summertime gives us all the wanderlust vibes you can ever imagine. Our Instagram is typically filled with jewels, gems and all things relating to jewelry design, so it always grabs our attention when our favorite jewelry designers and store owners post an envious getaway pic. We’ve seen glimpses of Paris, tropical islands, Canadian mountains, and everything in between. I’m personally obsessed with the US desert southwest–remember I honeymooned in Sedona, Arizona?–so when I saw a New Mexico landscape scroll onto my screen I had to know more. Luckily the sister duo of Vale Jewelry, Eva & Ava, were more than happy to share about their two-week trip to New Mexico–let’s find out more:

We planned this trip around a visit to Walter de Maria’s groundbreaking land art, The Lightening Field, but it quickly ballooned into a 2-week major road trip around New Mexico. The fifth largest state, but one of the least populated, the vast deserts and scrubland inspired Georgia O’Keeffe body of work as well as numerous other artists. You only have to spend one day there to understand why it’s muse to many creatives, between the sunsets, endless sky, and the ingrained history of crafts. No wonder it picked up the nickname of The Land of Enchantment. Home to most of the US’s oldest Native American and indigenous tribes and pueblos, including the Zuni, Navajo and Hopi, this magical and awe-inspiring land should be on anyone’s travel list.

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Left photo: One of the oldest continuously-inhabited communities in the United States, Taos Pueblo was built in the early 13th century and located right in the Rio Grande Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it holds a very active Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe residing in multi-storied adobe houses built as two complexes made from mud, wood, grass and water. This historic village is located just 1 mile outside Taos. About 4,500 members still live in this area, but only about 150 still reside inside these structures year-round without the modern convenience of running water and electricity. While it is a private community, they do offer visitors to come see parts of the village where locals sell crafts like pottery and local eats like fried bread.

Right photo: San Geronimo has a storied past as one of the first post-Columbian Spanish Catholic churches in the US. Built by Native Americans of the Taos Pueblo people under the suppression of the Spanish missionaries and colonial powers, this one featured above is actually the third reincarnation. It was one of the many churches destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt when tensions between the native tribes and Spanish colonial presence boiled over. The current church shown above was built in the 18th century.

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Left photo: The ladder above resembles some of the staircases used in many pueblos as well as native and local adobe houses. Typically, the staircases are made of local timber such as pine, spruce and ponderosa. These ladders were precious items since the wood had to be cut down from forests located quite a distance from local desert pueblos. They were passed down from generation to generation. In traditional Pueblo culture, the people of the original land came to this land by the underworld. Hence, many pueblos build ceremonial underground chambers within these adobe houses called kivas that the chieftains use for religious song, prayer and ceremonies. The one above is one from the Acoma pueblo featuring a double ladder for going up and down with a lightening rod shape holding the two together.

Right photo: On our way back from staying overnight at The Lightening Field in Quemado, we stopped by Pie Town. Yes, you read that right, it’s a town named after one of the best desserts having taken its name from an early settler of the town in the 1920s that made the town famous with a highway pie shop. The pies above are at a local pie shop called Pie-O-Neer. The Macaroon Apple Pie and Cherry Cherry Pies are worth the stop. And yes, we ate all 4…and then took a few for the road.

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Left photo: One of our favorite stops for local barbeque, Rudy’s had the most incredible brisket and baby back ribs, this is the place to stop for New Mexican bar-b-q in Albuquerque, friendliest staff and the tastiest homemade cherry and apricot cobblers this side of the Rio Grande! If in Santa Fe and craving local barbeque, stop by a food truck called Santa Fe BBQ.

Right photo: A must when you’re in Santa Fe. The New Mexican picnic above is breakfast at a local favorite called Tia Sophia’s. They make some of the best sopapillas, the pillowy fried quick breads in the image. Order everything ‘Christmas’ which means doused in both the red and green chiles. Also, a stop at Gabriel’s just outside Santa Fe is a must too. Known for their tableside guacamole and carne adovada, neither will disappoint! The local enchiladas and tamales are things to order when in town.

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Left photo: This is the view from Sandia Peak after hopping off the tramway. The crest here reaches over 10,500 feet and the tramway’s the world’s second longest ride. The sunsets and sunrise in New Mexico are unreal, typically fiery red and orange against the bluest backdrop.

Right photo: A quick hike in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park is a must if you’re in central New Mexico. Formed by volcanic ash deposits that have since been weather-worn to form sand-colored cylindrical cone shapes standing side-by-side. A walk in between these canyons is awe-inspiring.

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Left photo: No trip to New Mexico is complete without a stop at White Sands National Park. The world’s largest gypsum dune runs for over 275 square miles. So big, this dune can even be seen from satellite in outer space. Despite temperatures reaching 120F during the afternoon, the gypsum sand never gets hot due to the gypsum crystal’s natural ability to reflect the sun and the fact that it does not convert light into heat. We went barefoot and even did some dune-sledding down the steep cliffs. For a cool experience, plan to camp overnight.

Right photo: Another stop along the way is Carlsbad Caverns and watching the enchanting Bat Flight where over 500,000 local Brazilian Free-Tailed bats make their nightly migration from the cave to feed. It’s a coordinated visual symphony!

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Showing off some vintage Native American silver by Navajo and Zuni tribes made between the 1900s and 1950s. We picked up these older pieces during our travel around New Mexico. Some of our favorite stops include:

Shopping Guide:

  • Rainbow Man (Santa Fe) – amazing selection of fabrics, weavings, jewelry and objects
  • Santa Fe Exchange (Santa Fe) – wide range of both sterling silver, objects and some turn of the century pieces
  • Shalako Indian Store (Santa Fe) – widest vintage sterling silver shop, great for Concho belts, rings, and bangles. Nancy and Marsha are both well-informed on Native American jewelry
  • Palms Trading (Alburquerque) – solid selection of old pawn, blankets, shoes and food stuff
  • Rose’s Pottery (Bernanillo) – housed behind Rose’s is an old theatre that the owner converted to a small private collection of early Pre-Columbian to middle of the century art and pottery. If you’re lucky, she’ll give you a tour of this collection passed down from her father. The front features a beautiful collection of Kachina dolls and pottery from all the major pueblos
  • Old Town Antiques (Alburquerque) – the owner Connie is like an encyclopedia of New Mexican crafts, beautiful selection of both jewelry and objects, she even offers Pre-Columbian artifacts.

Eating Guide:

  • Tia Sophia’s (Santa Fe) – best brunch and breakfast place for New Mexican cuisine
  • Café Pasqual’s (Santa Fe) – modern twist on New Mexican with some delicious homemade cookies
  • Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q (Alburquerque) – fantastic ribs, brisket, daily special cobblers and desserts
  • Gabriel’s (Santa Fe) – delicious guacamole and carne adovada
  • Frontier (Alburquerque) – a mix of everything, an all-day diner styled location popular with locals, young and old
  • Jimmy’s on Jefferson (Alburquerque) – quick local favorite for breakfast, order Steve’s Breakfast Special featuring a plate of hash with green chile.
  • Grove Cafe & Market (Alburquerque) – modern eatery with homemade granola and breakfast and brunch
  • Cocina Azul (Alburquerque) – great lunch spot for some of the best carne adovada and homemade and fresh sopapillas and posole
  • Farm & Table (Alburquerque) – fresh and modern New Mexican classics as well as farm-to-table dinners with a small working farm on the back
  • Golden Crown Panaderia (Alburquerque) – tasty fruit empanadas

Cultural Guide:

  • Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch (plan advance for an overnight stay, it books up early)
  • Georgia O’Keefe Museum
  • Walter de Maria The Lightening Field (apply in February when they open up spaces, openings close within minutes)
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (get there early before it gets too hot)
  • White Sands National Park (come here right before sunset for the most magical view)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (don’t miss the last elevator down at 5pm)
  • Rio Grande Gorge & Bridge (shop from the local artists selling at the foot of the bridge, view is not for the faint of heart)
  • Roswell, NW (stop at the museum and eat at Big D’s for their famous green chile burger)
  • Sandia Mountains (go there an hour before sunset)
  • Taos Pueblo
  • Acoma Pueblo

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WANT MORE? You can follow Vale Jewelry —> @valejewelry

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Book Review: Women Jewellery Designers

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ACC Publishing will release their newest jewelry book–the oversized and highly impressive book is titled Women Jewellery Designers by Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld. My review can be found in my latest article for the Observer: These 4 Women Are the Biggest Innovators in Jewelry Design

Here’s the link:

http://observer.com/2017/08/women-jewelry-design-history-innovators-book-review/

You can order your copy here:

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Read This Before Buying Antique Jewelry Online or Through Instagram!

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Both Lauren and I have noticed a slightly frightening upsurge in the amount of overnight “antique jewelry dealers” these past few months. I’ve nominated Lauren to give her insight and take on this, along with some important tips we should all be aware of before buying any antique piece online or via Instagram. I’ll let Lauren take it away:

Selling fine second-hand jewelry is no simple task that just anyone can pick up by attending a few estate sales. Dealers must continually strive to expand their education and invest in their business so they can offer the best and most honest experience to their customers.

For me, selling antique jewelry was something I fell into by chance in late 2005. I learned my most basic knowledge by apprenticing under a few dealers that had been in the business for decades. This oral history only took me so far. I then conquered many books, took classes, and met with as many other dealers and jewelers as I could.

This happenstance quickly turned into a full on passion; perhaps it’s even my calling if there is such a thing. Over the next nine years, I evolved my business, Ageless Heirlooms until it took form as a brick and mortar shop on the busiest street in town. The lessons are countless and the experience over these years was immeasurably valuable.

Sometimes life takes you unexpected places, and the moment that I could no longer devote 100% of my time to selling antique jewelry was when I decided to take a huge step backward and regroup in late 2014. I closed my brick and mortar shop and continued writing about jewelry, in the hopes that one day I would get back into retail and help reconnect heirlooms with their next generation keepers.

During my almost three year departure from retail, the antique jewelry business changed a lot. The antique jewelry market, like most any business, has always been prone to scammers and dishonesty. But as this niche market keeps expanding, I’ve noticed that more and more dealers pop in and out of the scene — some legitimate and others that are trying to take advantage of the trend. It saddens me to think that there are dealers out there that are either intentionally or unknowingly misguiding their consumers. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and perpetuates the idea that buying fine second-hand jewelry is a shady practice. I assure you, it’s not.

Shopping for estate jewelry takes a certain degree of trust in the people you’re buying from, especially if you’re just learning all the ins and outs. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you’re buying from someone who is worth supporting.

1. Are they GIA certified or have any other accreditations?

To have your GIA certification is arguably the most important feat in the fine jewelry world. This certification shows that the dealer has put a tremendous investment in their education and are much more competent at grading gemstones than someone that doesn’t have it. If you’re buying very high-end antique jewelry, this question should be high on your priority list. What schooling has this person gone through? If they haven’t, have they had someone else that is GIA certified look over the item in question?

2. How many years have they been in business?

Ask me in my first few years of selling antique jewelry if this question was important, and I would still agree that yes, it is. I was so fortunate that so many customers took a chance on me in my early years, but I had a full backing from other partners that had many years experience under their belts. It wasn’t until I had over five years experience that I considered going out on my own. Sometimes it’s worth it to take a chance on someone, but make sure you get to know them a little bit first.

3. Are their prices consistent with other dealers?

Antique jewelry isn’t always an apples to apples comparison. But, in the broad scope, prices for similar pieces should fall within a similar range. Anything that is way off the mark, whether priced too high or too low is a red flag for me.

However, sometimes antique jewelry businesses with lots of employees will have higher prices — they need this markup to survive. This higher price is worth it at times because many of these businesses have access to rare antique jewelry that smaller dealers don’t. Pay a higher price only if that item is rare and other reputable dealers don’t have anything similar for less.

Too cheap a price could indicate that the item is a reproduction, is in poor shape, the dealer is a fly by night, or maybe you just found a bargain. Either way, it’s worth looking into more thoroughly.

4. Do they have a brick & mortar shop or a website?

Any signs that this person has invested time, money and energy into their business is a good thing. Do they have a website, an Etsy shop or a brick and mortar that they keep updated? Are they active on social media? That is a good indicator that this business is their primary source of income, and they take pride in it. People who take pride in their online businesses are less likely to jeopardize it by acting shady.

5. How is their feedback/online reviews?

If the person is selling on Etsy or eBay, it is an absolute no brainer to read as much of their feedback as possible before you purchase. This won’t necessarily be a foolproof method, but it certainly helps when you’re buying on the internet.

6. Do you see any reproductions being passed off as old?

It might be hard to know what reproductions look like from a picture, but they are out there in full force! If you have browsed some sites that openly sell reproduction jewelry like Jan’s Jewells, you’ll have some idea which items are being remade. If you catch a reproduction being passed off as old, or the description is vague using terms like “antique-style Art Deco ring”, this is a red flag. Let me know if you’re interested in more ways you can spot reproductions online because there’s a lot that can be said here!

7. Do you notice that some items aren’t dated?

I’ve seen it where some antique jewelry dealers want to sell reproductions (they are easier to find and are cheaper), but they don’t want to be upfront about it for whatever reason. If you spot jewelry on a dealer’s site that has no mention of the item’s age at all, this is a red flag. Ask them openly if the item is new or old, and hopefully, if they passed a lot of these other questions, they’ll be honest and tell you.

Do you have any other ways you vet out antique jewelry sellers? Let me know in the comments and as always, happy hunting!


This post was contributed by:

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

Thanks to Gossip Gem

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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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How Designers Work with Gold: Six Unique Stories

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

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

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

Anthony Lent Jewelry Anthony Lent Jewelry

Anthony Lent Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.

Jessie V E Jessie V E

Jessie V E Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.

Metalicious Jewelry Metalicious Jewelry

Metalicious Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.

Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos

Johnny Ninos Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.

Grace Lee Designs Grace Lee Designs

Grace Lee Designs

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

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

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

>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.

SophieHughes SophieHughes SophieHughes

Sophie Hughes Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Why do you like working with gold?

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

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

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

>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.

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

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Top Ten Rings from STORE 5a in Columbus, OH

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I learned of STORE 5a when on my #JewelryRoadTrip last month in the Ohio area. The shop caught my attention because they are all about selling pre-owned items–things like designer handbags, watches, and of course fine jewelry. It is stores like STORE 5a where you can find hidden gems and that one piece you’ve been missing from your collection, easily. Luckily they have two locations, both in Columbus, Ohio–one being in the Easton Market and the other in Short North. Taking the word pre-owned and putting their own spin on it, STORE 5a shows how you can save money, be socially responsible and own a piece of fashion history, all while shopping at their store.

I hope to someday get to visit one of their stores, but in the meantime, their jewels came to me! Here are my TOP TEN favorite rings from their current inventory:

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1. 14k yellow gold solitaire rutilated Kunzite ring, Price: $2,750

I don’t know but for some reason I went from not liking pink to being ALL ABOUT pink! This kunzite ring is vibrant, glowing and pouring out color in every direction. What is neat about it this particular piece is that it features some rutile inclusions that have become a part of the unique look of the stone. Rutile thin fibers of another mineral that often get in the cross path of another mineral when forming underground. The result is often really cool, like in this ring!

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2. Platinum and 18k yellow gold tourmaline and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

The center gemstone in this ring immediately caught my attention and you wouldn’t realize how different the setting is until you saw the side profile view, above! The flattened shank is actually really comfortable–now I know why so many men have a square wedding band. The tourmaline is such a pretty blue-green color, accented perfectly with a rubellite (just another word for red/pink tourmaline).

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3. 14k white gold diamond and sapphire bubble ring, Price: $3,950

A cluster of geometric goodness consisting of diamonds and sapphires, this ring is bold and beautiful! There’s quite a lot of diamond weight here–nearly three carats! It sparkles like crazy and the way the ring is designed, it has a comfort fit where the shank meets the front. I love how elongated it is and takes up quite a lot of space on the finger! A must in my book.

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4. 14k yellow gold diamond and sapphire owl ring, Price: $1,960

Something about owls that people just love–my gram collected owls for years…had them all over her house! I would have preferred this owl ring over a house full of owls any day! The eyes are two glowing sapphires and there are also diamonds which form its classic scowl. I love the detail of the texture of the gold–makeshift feathers right there! Such a cool piece.

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5. 18k yellow gold and platinum emerald and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

This ring is all about the details! From the gilded, scrolling shank, to the contrasting metals, and even the details of the “petals,” it checks every box. It also doesn’t hurt that it is very photogenic! It is bold and earthy, with lots of vintage vibes going on. Maybe you’re a May baby and need a birthstone ring that you’ve been hunting for?! This may be it!

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6. 18k yellow gold old mine cut diamond and sapphire flower ring, Price: $1,450

Perfect for spring, or really, any time of year for that matter–this flower ring is the cutest! It is set with one center old mine cut diamond that is approx. 0.40 carats, surrounded by gold petals with sapphire accents. I’ve always loved the combination of yellow gold, blue sapphire and diamonds. This little vintage beauty is a definite favorite!

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7. 18k white gold filigree synthetic sapphire and diamond ring, Price: $998

Ah, the classic three-stone filigree ring–a staple in every antique jewelry collector’s jewel box. I remember purchasing mine when I first started collecting–since then I upgraded by removing the center stone and replacing it with a diamond. This could easily be done with this one too, but I do love the contrast of the blue and the white gold/white diamonds. Such a precious piece with a great price!

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8. Platinum irraditated yellow pear-cut diamond set with accent diamonds, Price: $7,150

If anything is becoming as of late, it is these incredible pear-cuts that are thankfully trending. I love a good pear cut and this particular diamond has some intense yellow color to it, enhanced through a process called irradiation. I love its design and silhouette–it looks as though it is two rings, but it is all one seamless ring. And it sparkles like crazy!

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9. 14k yellow gold amethyst and pink tourmaline ring, Price: $1,662

I love a juicy color combo and this is amethyst/pink tourmaline duo is pretty incredible! Besides the fact that the design is really stunning in its own right, I simply can’t get enough of this ring. I can picture it being paired with a very casual t-shirt and jeans look, and make a big impact. Make this your statement ring that people recognize you by!

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10. 14k white gold diamond snowflake ring, Price: $1,225

This ring most resembles a snowflake to me, but could be open for interpretation. It features both princess cut and round brilliant cut diamonds to create the design, every stone being bezel set. This would be an ideal ring for every day wear. The diamonds total approx. 1.21 carats and whether you love the winter or love the concept of snowflakes each being totally unique, this ring is for you!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with STORE 5a.

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