The Hottest Celebrity Jewelry Trend Happening Now–Hoops!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This post was contributed by:

wwwdaily Laura Lee Fulham | T: @WhoWoreWhatDly | W:

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Get Creative With Pre-Made Jewelry Components!

This past March, Metalwerx got together with artist-instructor, Paulette Werger to design a workshop that focused on methods for modifying and integrating pre-made components into jewelry in exciting ways. This not only saves you time, but also keeps your work looking unique.  We put together a handful of the inspiring design ideas covered in that class so you can use to take your work to a new level and discover inventive ways to use off-the-rack elements in your jewelry!

Tips and creative uses for a few Halstead Pre-Made Components:

Item #2200 Bead Chain

Cut up that Bead Chain!

Halstead Item #2200
Item #2200

  1. Cut up bead chain and solder in your own fused and forged custom links or elements!
  2. Add a segment of bead chain to an earring as a decorative element like our student, Stephanie Ellis did!
From left to right: Bead Chain from Paulette's class demonstration; Soldering the bead chain; Earrings by Stephanie Ellis featuring bead chain element
From left to right: Bead Chain from Paulette’s class demonstration; Soldering the bead chain; Earrings by Stephanie Ellis featuring bead chain element

Item # 21606EF Drawn cable chain 

Add elements onto, into, and through a Drawn Cable Chain!

Halstead Item #21606EF
Item #21606EF
  1. Ball up wires through each link in a chain to add dimension and movement! To do this: first, ball up one end of a short piece of wire. Feed the straight un-balled end of the wire through one of the links in a cable chain (the ball on the other end should be big enough so it does not fall through), and then ball up the other end!  Add a bunch of these for a dramatic effect!  NOTE: It’s easiest to ball up a bunch of wires at the same time. (Image: Necklace by student, Sarah Demers. Rest are class demos)
  2. Pre-drilled discs can be hung from a chain with a jump ring so they dangle and move.
Left: Demos from Paulette's class; Far right: Necklace by student Sarah Demers
Left: Demos from Paulette’s class; Far right: Necklace by student Sarah Demers

A few (of the many) pre-made components you can alter:

Halstead Item #SQ197
Item #SQ197
Halstead Item #SL2386
Item #SL2386
  • Halstead Item #SUL223
    Item #SUL223

    Pre-made parts can be altered – hammer, keum boo, bend, and more!

    1. Keum boo on part of a premade component while it’s flat (such as a leaf or disc) (Image: Disc earrings by student, Cheryl Curran).
    2. Try using a bending brake or vise to fold a disc in half.
    3. Use the cross peen end of a riveting hammer to add texture and/or ruffle the end of a leaf shape!

Top left: Keum boo earrings by student Cheryl Curran; Top right: textured washers; Bottom left: Textured and fold-formed leaves; Bottom right: Washers linked together
Top left: Keum boo earrings by student Cheryl Curran; Top right: textured washers; Bottom left: Textured and fold-formed leaves; Bottom right: Washers linked together

Item # SL129 Moon Disc  

Make a link from something unexpected – like this moon disc!

Halstead Item #SL129
Item #SL129
  1. Form (dap) and solder the ends of this moon disc together to create links in a chain! The entire chain could be made out of altered discs or just a few links as the focal point of a necklace as in this demo piece by Paulette.

Paulette's demonstration on turning a moon shaped disc into a focal point for a necklace.
Paulette’s demonstration on turning a moon shaped disc into a focal point for a necklace.

Discs and Bars with or without holes

Halstead Item #SL2465
Item #SL2465
Halstead Item #S1297
Item #S1297
Item #SUL200
Item #SUL200
  • Connect links in a new way!
    1. Instead of connecting pre-drilled discs or bars to a commercial chain, here’s a way to use balled up wire as the chain or connection! Some links have two holes and some have one in these pieces
  • Add a disc or bar to tubing as a decorative element, transforming that tube into a cool bead!
    1. Solder a disc, bar, or other part onto a piece of cut up tubing. These can be strung onto a necklace or used in an earring, as shown in Paulette’s demo pieces.
Bar findings take center stage in these demo designs from Paulette's class.
Bar findings take center stage in these demo designs from Paulette’s class.
Various sizes of disc and bar blanks ad fun touches to these demo designs.
Various sizes of disc and bar blanks ad fun touches to these demo designs.

Interested in getting hands on at the Metalwerx studio with Paulette? Join her for her upcoming workshop The Chain Gang: Unique Chains and Links on March 8 – 10, 2019.

More About Metalwerx

Metalwerx  is  here  to  help  you  learn  new  jewelry,  metalworking  and  business  skills,  find  inspiration  among  like-minded  people,  discover  tools  that  will  support  your  artistic  development,  and  welcome  you  into  and  encouraging  and  supportive  community  where  you  can  thrive.  Located  just  outside  of  Boston  Massachusetts,  novice  and  professional  jewelers  can  attend  one  to  five  day  workshops  and  weekly  classes  suited  to  their  needs,  schedule,  budget,  and  interests.  Our  studio  also  provides  workbenches,  equipment,  and  space  for  28 studiomates, a  passionate  group  of  makers.  In  addition,  the  annual  Marketplace  Symposium  presents  inspiring  educational  seminars  and  showcases  materials,  tools,  and  service  vendors  from  all  over  the  country  who  can  help  attendees  determine  the  best  investment  for  their  professional  development.

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Find more inspiration for pre-made findings:

Inspired By Findings: Guest Blog By Katie Hacker

Eva Sherman’s Spectacular Soldered Rings

Riveting Techniques From Gwen Youngblood

The post Get Creative With Pre-Made Jewelry Components! appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxcharm | Gem Gossip Luxcharm | Gem Gossip Luxcharm | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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


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You can follow Kate –> @LuxCharmJewelry


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Q & A and Visit with Emily Stoehrer of MFA Boston

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip MFA Boston | Gem Gossip

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

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


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

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

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

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

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip


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

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

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

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip MFA Boston | Gem Gossip


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

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

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

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

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip MFA Boston | Gem Gossip


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

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

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

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

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip MFA Boston | Gem Gossip


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

MFA Boston | Gem Gossip MFA Boston | Gem Gossip


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

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

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

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

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Is Your Jewelry Product Photography Up to Par? 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid.

Product photography is an essential part of your jewelry business since it is how you represent your pieces to the online and print world. Quality jewelry photography should represent your business and accurately portray your pieces. Working with a professional photographer who is familiar with product photography, especially jewelry, to shoot your pieces is ideal; however, if you have to DIY  your jewelry photography, we have some common mistakes and how to correct them listed below.  These tips will also help you to evaluate your current images.

Problem #1: Blurry/Low Resolution Photos

First and foremost, it is imperative that your pieces be clearly visible in your photos – they’re what you’re selling! When your item is not in focus, customers may be turned off by not being able to clearly see what they are buying. Close up/detail product shots, model shots and beauty shots should all show your item clearly.


First, if you can’t currently invest in a professional photographer, invest in a good camera. It doesn’t need to be a top-of-the-line DSLR, but should have good manual controls (aperture, shutter speed and ISO) and good optical zoom capabilities. Your camera will need to record at the highest resolution, as lower resolution means more pixelated images.

Second, set up shots using a tripod for stabilization or have a place you can rest your elbows while you shoot. The more stable your camera is, the less likely you will have movement in your photos.

Third, set your camera to a low ISO setting: 200 and below for close up/detail shots and 200-400 for model/beauty shots.

Next, remember to be close enough to your item that you won’t have to crop the image later. The smaller your item is in the photograph and the more you have to zoom in digitally, the lower the resolution of the final image.

And finally, make sure your piece is completely in focus. Some cameras have focus-stacking capabilities. If yours doesn’t, you can use a higher f-stop setting to increase your depth of field. If you’re photographing cuffs/bangles and want some of the item blurred to show dimension, make sure the critical points of the item are clear and the blurred parts are still easily recognizable. This is especially true on pieces that may have multiple levels, such as rings.

Below are examples of different levels of sharpness and resolution. The left image is an image that was taken slightly blurry, and to make up for that I sharpened it. You can see that the jewelry looks almost a little grainy, and has more contrast. The middle image was taken on a tripod with low ISO to compose a nice, sharp image. The image on the right was taken at a high ISO setting. You can see how the contrast is lower and the image is slightly grainy.

Problem #2: Bad Lighting/Coloring

Another common issue with jewelry photography is poor lighting. Poor lighting affects the representation of color. Too much light can brighten colors and too much dark can deepen or mute colors. Even if the darker or blown-out look is an artistic choice, it is still important to accompany the stylized image with a clear image that accurately represents your jewelry pieces.


Jewelry photography (and generally all good photography) should have some areas of light and dark and a spectrum of tones in between.  Too much dark or light can throw off how an item looks, and can hide detail and/or change color appearance. While images will look slightly different as far as color and brightness go depending on what medium the viewer is using (phone, computer, print) it is still important to try to optimize your photos to be as clear and correctly colored as possible.

Be sure to photograph your images with a good light source. If your light is too bright, a diffuser helps to break up the light (a white or light colored semi-opaque piece of cloth or paper work well). You may consider investing in a light tent to shoot in, which range from $10 and up depending on size and complexity. A light tent is a white box made from paper or fabric in which you can set up your items to help control light/light diffusion on the pieces. These are usually collapsible for easy storage.

If you are working with a good light amount but are experiencing a halo of brightness around a piece, which particularly happens with silver, set your camera to a higher f-stop number. This offsets the change in brightness with a slower shutter speed, which will close down the aperture of the lens to restrict how much light is getting in the camera. This should eliminate the problem.

Make sure as you are shooting that the color of your item is well represented in your images. Some post-shooting image corrections may be necessary to make colors of items as true to life.

Below are three examples of lighting. The images on the far left and right may be extreme, however I have seen many sites that have the blown-out beauty shot without a clearly lit detail shot to represent the piece accurately.

Problem #3: Reflection

The last common issue in jewelry photography is reflection. This can be the biggest hurdle to represent your jewelry accurately as metals (especially brightly polished) act like tiny mirrors. The photographer and the setting can all be captured in the reflection. Perhaps the worst offender is shadows that reflect to show the item in black instead of gold or silver.


Use awareness and positioning to your advantage when shooting your jewelry. Be aware of reflections in your jewelry, and use positioning to help angle your items for good reflections. In a pinch, use a sheet of paper or aluminum foil to dispel black reflections on your item. A light tent is also beneficial when dealing with reflections as the white walls of the tent will cast a neutral reflection on your piece.

Below is an example of a bad reflection and a good reflection. The image to the left has decent lighting, however the flat studs are difficult to identify as silver. The image on the right was composed with a reflector, bouncing the light onto the flat surface to give it a bright silver look.

Quick Tips for Good Photographs

  • If possible, hire a professional!
  • Invest in a good camera with manual controls and good optical zoom
  • Use High Resolution + Low ISO number for clear /optimal images
  • Use a tripod or arm rest to make sure your camera is steady when shooting
  • Shoot close enough to the piece so you don’t have to crop close later
  • Use good lighting when photographing pieces
  • Invest in equipment like a light tent to help control lighting
  • Set camera to a higher f-stop number if a light halo appears around your piece
  • Color representation is accurate, if not use post-processing to correct
  • Be aware of reflections, and use positioning and/or reflectors to ensure correct representation.

For more tips on product photography:

Jewelry Photography Tips: How To Use Your Phone

Halstead Jewelry Minute: Photo Studio Tips – Pt 1. Tripods

Halstead Jewelry Minute: Photo Studio Tips Pt. 2 – Lighting

Bethany has been with Halstead for just over two years as the product photographer. She has been practicing photography for over twenty years. She lives in Prescott, AZ with her husband and young son.

The post Is Your Jewelry Product Photography Up to Par? 3 Common Mistakes to Avoid. appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.

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Arik Kastan Debuts New Styles at Couture 2017

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip ArikKastan Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Arik Kastan and their team have been busy debuting some new designs and collections while out in Vegas for Couture. Buyers, press, journalists all hovered over their booth to get a glimpse of the new styles and fun gemstone combinations that still have people talking. As usual, Arik Kastan’s booth was one that couldn’t be missed when attending this year’s tradeshow.

If you missed out attending Vegas, we’ve got you covered in this installment–which is shown here on Gem Gossip, as well as all of Arik Kastan’s Newsletter subscribers. Be sure to sign up if you haven’t below!

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

A padlock on a thin chain is all you need for a night out in Vegas! This one has us telling our friends it is perfect in every way. Classic and cool for a modern woman who still likes a nod from the past.

Oval cluster padlock in emerald + diamonds, Price: $2,360

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

We weren’t ready for how much of an impact we would bring to Couture with our green agate pieces! Comments like, “what stone is this, it is amazing?!” and “this green color is glowing!!” have really made us proud. This ring is one of our favorites.

Five-Stone Art Deco ring in green agate + sapphire, Price: $1,280

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Since we are on a green/blue kick, we’ve changed things up by using emeralds and turquoise. This earring style and gemstone combo are totally chic, and we could picture these on a summer getaway on a plane near you!

Deco Rhombus Drop Earrings in turquoise + emerald, Price: $1,830

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

To go along with the above earrings, we’ve created this ring which is sweet as can be! It is stack-ready and as we’ve said before, awaiting summer. Try wearing this one on your pinky if you’re wanting to do something more unique. Your friends will catch on.

Deco Lilac ring in turquoise + emerald, Price: $1,170

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Feeling the summer heat over here in Vegas, which is why we’re opting to keep our necklace situation simple. We have been wearing the Aster necklace most of the week and it has brought the right amount of sparkle and femininity to our lives. Definitely our kind of Vegas vibes.

Aster Pendant in diamonds, Price: $1,830

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

Before we head back to LA from scorching Vegas, we want to point out our Delilah ring because SHE’S CUTE. One of our most-requested rings during our trade show and we can’t wait to see these on your fingers!

Delilah ring in emerald + diamonds, Price: $2,200

Arik Kastan | Gem Gossip

We couldn’t wait to show off our newest vintage-inspired bow rings which debuted at Couture. And the newest gemstone color combo that had store and editors swooning–green agate and sapphires. Look out for them to hit the website soon! Can’t wait? Email [email protected]

Don’t miss another Arik Kastan Newsletter!

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3 Types of Necklace Chain Extenders

Don’t get stuck with the wrong chain length! A fantastic way to upsell your jewelry is by offering necklace chain extenders which will extend any necklace by 1-3.25 inches. Chain extenders are perfect for customers who want versatility when they purchase a necklace. That way they can wear the same piece with several different necklines in their wardrobe.

Plain Chain Extenders

Plain Jewelry Chain Extenders
Extenders come in different lengths and link styles. Some are just basic chain segments with open links that you can easily hook onto with a lobster clasp or spring ring at any point along the length. Leave them plain, or personalize extenders by adding a bead or drop to the end. You can keep loose charms on hand to let the customers choose their customization.  Or, personalize them by adding your branded logo tags or custom monogram blanks for the client.

Fancy Necklace Chain Extenders

These fancy extenders are a great solution for shows since they are already embellished for a finished look. Keep several on hand so you never lose a sale because a ready-to-wear necklace is too short for a customer’s taste. It often takes too much time at an event to swap out a chain altogether or remake a design, so quickly attach an extension to solve the problem instead. Customers appreciate the added service and are willing to pay for the length they want.

Fancy Necklace Chain Extenders

Add a Little Something…

Collar with Extender

For the image above I used two filigree heart charms, two necklace chain extenders, and a Bali style sterling bead to finish this angled wire neck collar. These small touches can really make a piece stand out. As you can see, the charm dangles from the neck down the back when the necklace is worn; which adds a special touch to the necklace design.

Chain extenders are an inexpensive way to upsell your necklaces and bring happiness to your customers. At Halstead, we have necklace chain extenders in sterling silver, gold-filled, rose gold-filled and 14Kt gold. You can also see our selection of adjustable neck chains which have extenders already attached or adjustable slides to vary the length.

You may be interested in our blog Necklace Length Guide, which covers necklines and necklaces. We’ve taken the 9 most popular necklines and matched them with the most suitable necklace lengths. You can read tips, tricks and download a printable reference chart.

The post 3 Types of Necklace Chain Extenders appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.

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Pricing Strategy Tips for Jewelry Business Profitability

Pricing is every bit as important as the physical work itself. In some regards it is even more important than design ability because if the numbers don’t add up, regardless of how great the design and execution, the prospect for profitable success is limited. So, let’s dive in to the issue of price.

What is a Pricing Strategy?

Many people use a pricing formula, which is an essential part of setting prices, but, not all pricing formulas include a pricing strategy. A formula is an equation, whether simple or complex, and it entails adding up numbers and arriving at a selling price. And although a formula arrives at a selling price, that selling price may not guarantee profitability.

A pricing strategy is more comprehensive than a formula, and for a formula to be sound and profitable, it should be based on a strategic foundation. A pricing strategy includes more than just a formulaic equation of numbers; it includes a full accounting and understanding of what the numbers represent.

Knowing the numbers is the only way to make them add up in a formula that portends success as a business owner.

In the pricing formulas disclosed by many of this year’s applicants there were two noticeable categories which were lacking; the categories of profit and overhead. These are two areas we should examine in depth to determine what was overlooked or underestimated, and how to remediate that.

A pricing strategy requires a formula that ensures the selling price includes all the overhead and expenses of running the business and leaves nothing out of the product cost. In order to determine whether there is the ability to meet expenses, it is essential to know the actual production overhead costs of running the business.


Many formulas are based on a multiplier or factor for simple markup of costs such as materials and labor. Here are two formula examples that were commonly used:

labor + materials x (a number or percentage) = selling price

labor + materials + packaging x (a number or percentage) = selling price

The multiplier or markup percentage in these formulas is supposed to provide revenue above the cost of materials and labor to cover overhead and provide profit, but very few of the formulas cited an actual estimation of overhead costs or an indication of a profit margin. Without knowing the actual cost of overhead, or factoring in an amount of profit, it is impossible to know if a multiplier is sufficient to the task of ensuring profitability.

So, here is the great reveal about the secret pricing formula…….there is no secret pricing formula!

A typical formula based on someone else’s numbers that is not tailored to your exact situation, may not be functional for your actual costs and expenses. So, to be certain a formula works for you, you really have to know your own numbers. First and foremost, is overhead. Understanding this number is vital.

Calculating Overhead Costs

Evaluating the overhead costs, accurately, is essential to creating a simple and effective formula.

Determining the actual overhead is not such a daunting task. Here is a simple approach I gleaned from my mentor, Alan Revere, when I took his Marketing Designer Jewelry class in 1994.

Add all the costs of running your business (aside from labor and materials) divide that total by the number of hours worked to determine the overhead cost per hour.

(overhead / hours = cost per hour)

This approach is simple, direct, approachable and effective. It is best to figure out annual overhead cost because in many locations monthly expenses vary throughout the year, so the annual total of all expenses provides the most accurate result and is easiest to calculate.

The average expected full time work schedule in the US is 40 hours per week, 50 weeks per year. That adds up to 2000 hours for full time employment. Annual overhead divided by 2000 hours equals the overhead cost per hour to run your business. For every hour of labor, there is an hour of overhead cost.

It is important to accurately track the actual number of hours worked. If working part time or less than 40 hours per week, the overhead cost per hour is higher. Conversely, if working more than 40 hours per week, the overhead cost per hour is lower.

(This simple overhead cost analysis is based on an individual self-employed person with no employees. In the case of employees, divide the overhead cost by total number of employee hours to determine accurate hourly overhead cost per person.)

Simply put, labor is the time it takes to make each object. It is the hands on time of interacting with materials whether that is done entirely by the artist or done by employees or subcontractors.

Labor might also include design time, time spent on merchandising, packaging, display, administrative time, everything that goes into producing the completed work. In essence, labor is everything that is done to create a finished product.

Overhead is everything except materials (and labor) that goes into making the work. For each hour of labor, in house, there is an equivalent hour of overhead cost to provide the space and tools and equipment and infrastructure to be able to make the product.

Some people combine labor and overhead into a single figure in their pricing formula. That is an acceptable simplification – provided the annual overhead does not change from year to year.

For many of us, the overhead cost does change from one year to the next – utilities and taxes increase, costs of business supplies and services also tend to increase. For this reason I prefer to keep labor and overhead as two separate figures in my formula.

The starting formula is:

labor + materials + overhead = product cost

If you are not yet aware of what the actual overhead of your business amounts to, it is worth taking the time to figure it out, because, not doing that means you are just guessing what it costs you to be in business. If you file taxes, all the financial information you need is already there in your tax return; just add up the expenses and see what the real numbers say.

Now that our overhead is accounted for, we are still missing something – what about profit?

Is our business making a profit?

Calculating Profit

For a business to actually be profitable requires producing sufficient revenue to pay for everything it takes to make the work, and have something left over. If everything is paid for with the revenue generated, but there is nothing left afterwards, the business may be meeting expenses but it is not producing a profit.

Material Profit

There are two areas of profit for us to consider.  First is material profit. As visual artists, in order to make our work, the first thing we have to do is invest in materials. Since we are making an investment, we should be able to realize a profit on our investment. Material profit is a markup or percentage above our actual cost of materials intended to generate a return on the investment we make in the materials we use.

Profit on investment is a simple enough concept, but there is a strategic component to material profit beyond just the return on investment. Material profit enables us to acquire new materials and increase our product inventory.

At the beginning of business start-up, most of us will find it necessary to reinvest some of our personal earnings (wages) into materials to make new work, but this is not a viable path to long term business success. Our wages are what fund our personal overhead. This is what we need to pay for our residence, our rent or mortgage, our food, clothing, transportation, health and wellbeing, insurance, taxes, and all of the other personal expenses of an adult human. If our wages also have to provide new materials to support growth in the business, the potential for perpetuating growth is very limited.

Strategic material profit is what enables us to fund growth by providing the ability to replace the material used in the items that have sold, and purchase additional material to make added items without relying on spending our wages to acquire new materials.

Thus the evolving formula is now:

labor + (materials + profit) + overhead = product cost

Here are some examples of application of simple markup percentages to fund growth in inventory:

33% material profit = every time 3 items are sold, they can be replaced with material for 4 items.

50% material profit = every time 2 items are sold, they can be replaced with material for 3 items.

100% material profit = every time 1 item is sold, it can be replaced with material for 2 items.

As is evident in the percentages, the higher the amount of material profit the quicker inventory can grow. But, the successful employment of this inventory growth strategy is wholly dependent upon one important factor – proper use of the material revenue. In order for this scenario to work the funds must be directed towards replacing the used materials, acquiring new materials, and creating new work.

Like many of the numbers we need to determine how much material markup or profit we can realize, this is an individual decision. This decision is affected by several factors: volume of sales, length of time the investment is tied up in materials before it turns over, amount of value added content in design and execution that goes into the transformation of raw material to finished product, the perceived value, price point and placement of the finished work in the marketplace.

Business Profit

The second type of profit to consider is business profit. In addition to covering all the costs of doing business and paying for materials and labor, overhead and expenses, there should be some additional revenue for a business owner and entrepreneur. If all that is generated is wages, without business profit, there is again little room for growth and perpetuation of the business. We may be employing ourselves but we are not profiting.

So, how can we determine what is an appropriate amount of business profit, and where can we include it in the formula? The first step is identifying our business goals and objectives.

To make the next forward movement a business might require any of the following:

  • new tools or equipment to streamline process or increase productivity
  • additional education or technical development
  • hiring and training staff
  • moving to a larger studio
  • starting or expanding a promotional campaign

If we know we will need to buy a rolling mill, or take a workshop, or hire an assistant, we can assess the anticipated costs and factor them into our equation to help determine the amount of business profit required for the desired investment.

This takes projection forward to estimate the needs and plan the timeframe, and it also requires knowing the amount of the annual business revenue. Here is a hypothetical example:

Let’s imagine a new big ticket item such as a rolling mill or other assorted equipment will cost $2500, and we want to make the purchase within one year.

We will have to generate $2500 in business profit for our projected growth. We can proportion this as a simple percentage added to the product cost, determined by our gross annual revenue.

If annual revenue is $50,000 it will require adding a business profit of 5% to our pricing formula to generate $2500.

If annual revenue is $25,000 it will require adding a business profit of 10% to our pricing formula to generate $2500.

This is a simplified example, using a specific monetary objective as the determining factor of the amount of business profit needed in the next yearly cycle. There are other ways to assess what we need for sustained growth and development over the course of time. We might examine a three year or five year projection of growth and financial needs rather than just a single year. The numbers might also change depending on our business plan and short term or long range objectives. The important part is to get started by thinking about the next steps in the development of your business and what funding will be required.

The addition of business profit can be included as follows for our revised pricing formula:

labor + (materials + profit) + overhead = product cost

product cost + business profit = selling price

This pricing formula indicates a pricing strategy that accomplishes three important things for our business to grow and prosper:

  • include overhead expense in our product cost
  • provide a return on material investment to create new inventory
  • provide a fund for business growth

Utilizing this formulaic approach provides a stable foundation to developing a reliable and accurate pricing system. Once you know the actual overhead expenses, material profit markup, and business profit margin, you can reduce the formula to a simple multiplier and incorporate the numbers any way that suits you.

The most important thing is knowing the numbers! Investing the time to figure out your own individual numbers is the very best investment you can make towards ensuring your business is priced for profitability.

Judging the Halstead Grant

Being the guest juror for the 2018 Halstead Grant Award was quite an honor and an opportunity I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed. It was also a very enriching and illuminating experience to be a member of the judging panel and review and discuss the well prepared applications of so many talented jewelry makers.

The Halstead Grant Award is a very unique competition; it is far more comprehensive than judging finished pieces of jewelry against one another in an assessment based primarily on design and execution. The application for the Grant involves a highly detailed in depth examination of each applicant’s business, including not only design and execution but also their marketing plan, production capabilities, financial and growth projections along with an outline of how they would use the award resources to make their next step forward in business development.

Looking behind the design and execution of the work to all the other aspects of what it entails to be a professional visual artist is where the potential for success, or otherwise, really starts to show through. With a thorough examination of the finer details of a financial plan, areas of weakness become apparent and overall viability as a business becomes evident, or not.

Among many of this year’s applicants and finalists there was a common deficiency that I was inspired to address, one that is both crucial and essential to the prospect of success or failure as a business – this challenge lies in the issue of pricing. We’d love to hear your response to this article in the comments below.

For more pricing strategy and business tips, we recommend:

Pricing Your Jewelry

How to Start a Jewelry Business the Right Way

5 Tips for a Successful Jewelry Business

Michael David Sturlin - HeadshotMichael David Sturlin is a renowned studio jewelry artist, goldsmith, writer, educator, and industry consultant. With over 40 years in the metalsmithing and jewelry industry, Michael has learned the ins and outs of not only jewelry making, but marketing your business and setting it up for success. He taught the Marketing Designer Jewelry class at Revere Academy for 10 years and hosts retreats at his Scottsdale studio each year. He recently served as the 2018 Halstead Grant guest judge.

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5 Reasons to Choose Laboratory-Grown Diamonds and Colored Stones

Laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones are the perfect alternative to natural mined stones. They can make the perfect, and affordable, addition to your jewelry line – even sterling silver collections!

What are laboratory-grown stones?

Laboratory-grown stones are diamonds and gemstones created in a laboratory mimicking natural growing conditions. These exact processes can vary, but there are 2 main ones: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). The “ingredients” for diamonds or gemstones are placed in a crucible and left to run through one of these processes until crystals have formed. This can take as little as 10 days or as long as a year! They have the same physical, chemical, and visual properties as a mined stone and to all but the highly trained eye will look no different than a mined stone. The main difference is usually seen in the price and/or color intensity. For some stones, the price difference between laboratory-grown and mined stones could be significant.

Creating a laboratory-grown diamond

Halstead Laboratory-Grown Diamonds

There are 2 popular processes to create laboratory-grown diamonds: High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT) and Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). HPHT uses extremely high amounts of

pressure and extremely high temperatures to grow diamond crystals from diamond seeds. This combination of pressure and temperature mimics the Earth’s internal processes that create natural mined diamonds by allowing molten materials to dissolve a high purity carbon source. This carbon is then attaches to the diamond seeds and precipitates a large diamond.

In the CVD process, scientists expose methane gas to high-energy plasma radiation. This energy breaks the atomic bonds of the methane (CH4) and allows the carbon to attach to the diamond seeds. In this method, diamond growth occurs under much lower pressures and over larger areas.

Halstead now offers beautiful laboratory-grown diamonds from .015 Ct to .10 Ct in the GHSI color and clarity range. Halstead’s diamonds are created under the HPHT method.

Comparison: CZ, lab grown, mined natural, moissanite

The most popular alternatives to a mined diamond are laboratory-grown, cubic zirconia, and moissanite. When compared to CZs and moissanite, it’s easy to see that laboratory-grown diamonds and natural mined diamonds are nearly indistinguishable.

Creating laboratory-grown colored stones

Halstead Laboratory-Grown Gemstones - Ruby & Emerald

Scientists create laboratory-grown gemstones a little differently. They start with a naturally mined slice of crystal placed in a crucible chamber. A liquid mix of ingredients to feed crystal growth is put in the chamber then subjected to extremely high temperatures of at least 1,100 degrees Celsius. These chambers are then sealed for 6 months to a year under controlled conditions meant to simulate the conditions the stone grows in inside the Earth. Barring any lengthy loss of power, the gemstone crystals are nearly identical to one found in nature; sometimes they may even have better color saturation.

Halstead now offers laboratory-grown gemstones in Alexandrite, Sapphire (blue, yellow, white, and Padparadscha), Emerald, and Ruby.

How to describe and market laboratory-grown stones to customers

Some customers will already understand the benefits of a laboratory-grown diamond or gemstone. And some will actively seek out and only purchase laboratory-grown stones. If a customer is unsure about purchasing laboratory-grown stones, here are a few ways to explain their benefits.

Environmental impact of mining

Victor Mine -
Photo of Canadian Victor Mine from

Mining of all kinds have come under fire for destroying local environments and ecosystems and the diamond industry is no exception. Land that was previously rich farm land has become littered with patches of abandoned mining pits. Soil erosion and deforestation have caused many local populations to relocate.

Pits used to mine diamonds can be up to a couple miles deep. It takes moving almost 2,000 tons of earth to find a 1ct rough diamond. Once mining operations cease, few governments have regulations to return the area to its original state. But it is nearly impossible to return the land and ecosystem completely back to normal.

Laboratory-grown diamonds take up far fewer of Earth’s natural resources and are far more likely to keep communities and ecosystems intact.

Mining labor conditions

Over half of the world’s diamonds come from African nations. Many of these populations live in poverty, with some earning less than $1 a day – even while mining for diamonds. These miners often work in unsafe conditions without proper tools and safety equipment. The risk of accidents, such as landslides or collapses, is extremely high for these miners. In addition, some reports state that as many as 46% of the workers at a particular mine are under the age of 16 and have left school to help their families by working in the mines.

Laboratory-grown stones are created in a scientific lab, providing a much lower level of danger for workers. It would also be very unlikely to have child labor in the process.

Diamonds and stones from conflict zones

Customers may have heard about “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds” but may not fully understand what this means. In many diamond mining countries, rebel groups use profits from diamond mines to finance their movements against their government. In reality, this also includes violence and human rights violations against many miners. The Kimberley Process was setup in 2003 to try and stop the trade of these diamonds by providing certificates for “conflict-free diamonds”. However, counterfeit certificates are not unheard of. This mandate also only takes into account diamonds whose profits are used to fund rebel movements. The narrow definition of conflict has allowed diamonds from mines with violence and human rights violations to be certified as adhering to the Kimberley Process.

Laboratory-grown diamonds are one of the few ways to be absolutely sure that a diamond has not come from a conflict zone.

Transparency and full disclosure

Laboratory-grown diamonds and gemstones ensure that a jeweler can provide full disclosure about a stone from start to finish. There are very few other ways for a jeweler to be 100% certain that a stone is truly conflict-free, created under fair working conditions, and as environmentally friendly as possible.

Beautiful heirloom quality stones

Halstead Laboratory-Grown DiamondsDon’t fear that a laboratory-grown stone won’t last as long as a natural mined stone! In some cases, they can be even more durable since there are fewer inclusions in many stones. It’s important for a customer to realize that just because a stone didn’t come from the Earth and take many years to grow doesn’t mean it’s not a beautiful stone worthy of passing down. To an untrained eye, most laboratory-grown stones will look exactly like a mined stone. It takes training and equipment to be able to detect differences.

Alternatives to natural mined stones, especially diamonds, are becoming more and more popular. As consumers realize the true price of their diamond, many are turning to guaranteed non-conflict stones. Don’t be afraid to help them find a way to have their sparkle and enjoy it too!

Shop Halstead’s selection of laboratory-grown diamonds and laboratory-grown gemstones.

The post 5 Reasons to Choose Laboratory-Grown Diamonds and Colored Stones appeared first on Halstead Jewelry Blog.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Lindsey of @ParkAvenueAntiques

Park Avenue Antiques Park Avenue Antiques Park Avenue Antiques Park Avenue Antiques

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

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

Park Avenue Antiques Park Avenue Antiques

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few of my favorite necklaces:

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

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

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

CENTER: 19th c Kerosang with faceted white zircon.

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Here are a few of my favorite rings:

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

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

The Victorian topaz ring was purchased from @ishyantiques.

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

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

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

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

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


WANT MORE? Check out the other Jewelry Collection Stories

You can follow Lindsey –> @ParkAvenueAntiques


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