Obsession: RUIFIER’s Newest Eye Spy Chokers

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I’ve been keeping tabs on my favorite British jewelry brand RUIFIER and I’m happy to report they’ve just launched a new collection! Called the Eye Spy Collection, our latest, favorite jewelry trend comes to life the RUIFIER way. It is a collection of chokers; each choker features Italian leather and a signature RUIFIER charm done in 18k gold and gems dangling from the center. The closures are done in 18k gold with an extended chain, so the perfect fit will be found every time!

The collection retails from £755-£1035 in 18k yellow gold and can be pre-ordered on their website. Each choker captures abstract details of facial expressions in contemporary graphic shapes–from jewelled eyes to a hanging chain forming a mouth–this range explores the significance of visual language. They are fun, trendy and perfect for summer! Layering necklaces has certainly become very popular this year and one essential element to a necklace stack is a great choker.

If you’ve been wishing for a choker to add to your jewelry wardrobe, these are what you’ve been waiting for! You can shop the collection below–there are four different styles in 18k gold. Click photos to shop!


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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with RUIFIER.

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Q & A with Heather B. Moore Jewelry

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore’s story starts with love, laughter and family…and fittingly, just as her jewelry often depicts those words both literally and figuratively, she has brought personalization of jewelry to the highest level. After viewing the video displayed below, you see just how hands-on and multi-faceted her business has become. This interview also touches upon how it all came to be, in the most innocent of ideas and forms. Sometimes we are destined for a certain path and it seems as though Heather was meant to bring memories, quotes and cherished words to life through her jewelry designs. Each piece is heavily sentimental and often instant tear-jerkers. As jewelry enthusiasts, we know how special a personalized piece can be–but how about one that is in the exact handwriting of a loved one? Or an exact doodle from your once 5-year-old son or daughter? I know if and when I start a family, Heather B. Moore‘s designs will be first on my list for a little keepsake!

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We are currently developing an exciting new series based on personal empowerment called the Sculptural Series. Its foundation stems from personalized themes people were requesting for their designs, which usually fell into four common categories: strength, growth, wisdom, and healing. With that as our guide, we started the Sculptural Series to capture moments that feel personal while complementing our other designs.

While we are only launching with a limited selection, this is just the beginning. The world is full of wonderful symbols that have meaningful messages, and Heather B. Moore jewelry is excited to add more sculptural jewelry to the collection in the future.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I only took one jewelry class in college. At the time my focus was cast glass, Venetian glass blowing, and steel work. My sister Wendy was an anthropology major and had moved to Kathmandu, Nepal where she lived with a jeweler’s family. That’s where I started getting interested in what she was doing! After college, I was working for an artist welding large-scale art installations across the country for Judy Pfaff. On the weekends, my sister Wendy used to ask me to make jewelry for fashion shows and low-budget movies in Los Angeles.

I started off doing chain work and handmade chain, which we still do today. I also integrated glass beads and stones within the chain, and while we still integrate stones into our chain, we moved away from glass beads to focus on precious stones.

In 2004, I started offering personalization on a number of pieces and everything grew from there. Our personalized collection was created on the foundation that timeless designs start with a blank canvas for our customers, then we collaborate to create the perfect piece. We have the capacity to create the steel stamps of people’s handwriting and children’s drawings as well as a wide variety of fonts and layouts.

I started collecting tools when I was 13. I grew up in the steel industry of Cleveland and loved going to my dad’s factories, so craftsmanship was something that I related to.

The first steel tooling stamps that I purchased were from a garage sale at an old machinist’s house. I carried those stamps around with me for 15 years before knew what to do with them! In 1991, I pulled out those stamps and decided to integrate quotes from my friends and family. I stamped them out onto the silver plaques and then framed it with a handmade cast glass frame.

In 1997, my sister Wendy was in a skiing accident and passed away. Before she passed I stamped a quote she gave me into a piece of metal: “I said to my sister and she said to me, come let’s play laughter together.” I remember loving the quote so much that I took the plaque with her quote off the wall, and I put it in my wallet. To this day I look at it and it makes me smile.

After moving back to Cleveland and receiving the Rising Star Award from the JCK trade show, I had an interview with Real Simple Magazine about why a designer from NYC would move to Cleveland.

During the interview the writer asked a series of silly questions like, “what kind of hair care products do I use?” and, “what is in your purse?” At first I was a little confused, but I pulled out my wallet and got the plaque of my sister’s quote, and they loved it. They photographed it and used it as the focal point of the article.

At the time, I was designing for bigger companies like Banana Republic and I was getting tired of doing trendy jewelry that was “in” one season and “out” the next. I thought it was interesting that they loved the little plaque so much, and that made me think about the unique stamps that I had in the basement, and I knew I wanted to make something for myself. So, I stamped my kids names on some silver discs, framed them in gold, and I created my first personalized necklace.

I fell in love with it because my kids would sit on my lap and flip through the charms and look for their names. That is when it hit me: personalization has more value than the material that it’s on, because personalization is forever. Telling your story is not a trend; it’s a keepsake, an heirloom, and one-of-a-kind… just like the person wearing it.

That is when I knew I was on the right track. I was putting something into the marketplace that I had actually created in 1992… it’s like it all became a full circle.

It’s amazing to think I was so young, but I’m also very proud to say that now we create our own stamps in our steel shop. It’s fun to have the opportunity to create special tooling for each individual customer.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B. Moore | Gem Gossip

Left: the plaque Heather made, with her sister’s special quote Right: a necklace Heather wears almost everyday–it features her new Buddha charm


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I think my proudest moment was winning the Town & Country International Gold Award at the Couture Jewelry Show in Las Vegas.

This is a show where all designers get together and showcase their pieces to stores across the country. Town & Country magazine had sponsored the event, so it was super fancy that year. Most people were in black tie… but I didn’t know that! I showed up late to the party in flip-flops, jeans, a t-shirt and messy hair!

When I thought about designing something for the Gold category, I wanted something no one had yet documented. One topic that came up was that we had never documented someone’s letter, and I had the perfect one. It was a whimsical thank you note from my sister Wendy. She had sent it just days after Christmas and she spoke of the importance of family and new traditions. This was the first year I didn’t spend Christmas with my family because I was with my husband’s family in Canada, so it really hit home for me. It was the last letter I ever got from her. She passed away shortly after Christmas.

We stamped this whole letter on a big yellow gold cuff, with a rose gold frame on the outside and a green gold frame on the inside, then we covered the frame in diamonds.

We arrived late to the awards show party and had already begun to announce the winners, so we quickly grabbed a glass of wine and snuck into some seats just as the announcer said, “And the Gold Award goes to a designer from the city of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame…”

…I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, there’s another designer here from Cleveland,” but then they called my name!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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In a broad sense, my hopes, dreams, and goals are to make sure I can continue to create beautiful pieces for people and documenting their stories. I love that we have the opportunity to work with customers hand-in-hand.

And with the sculptural collection, there are so many amazing symbols that empower people. I just love the direction we are going with that!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I have so many pieces I love and adore! We have a wide variety of designs within the collection, and I truly love all of them. I have many iterations with my children’s names (Henry, Leo, Oliver and Coral). They are my proudest creation!

I have a yellow gold bangle with their names on it, a leather bracelet with with their names on it, and a necklace where they each have their own charm! I actually named the frames after them. The Henry frame is a braid like the Nantucket braided bracelets. The Leo frame has a granulation frame for him because he really loves the arts. Then there’s the Oliver frame. He’s really an organized child so I did a spiral frame for him. Coral’s got a bubbly personality, so her frame kind of looks like bubbles!

I like to wear my cuff bracelet that has my sister’s letter with jeans and a t-shirt, but I also wore it to the Beastie Boys black tie Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction.

My sister Halley and I both have a charm with Wendy’s phone number on it. She never had business cards, which we always thought was hilarious! We made it in green gold because her birthday was on Saint Patrick’s Day.

My new favorite necklace has a bunch of charms on it, and it’s a story about my boyfriend Jason and me. We went to high school together so I have one charm that says “You were worth the wait,” and another charm that says “Home is when I’m with you.” And I have a little single initial J charm for his name… and a diamond, of course!

I have a 4mm square cuff bracelet that grounds me–it says “When you look at life through the right lens, everything comes into focus.” Life certainly does throw you some curveballs sometimes… so that helps me through those challenges. The fact that I’m a photographer kind of makes it perfect! My dad gave me my first camera when I was 14 and then shipped me off to Africa with 13 rolls of film. I have been an avid photographer ever since.

I will end with this one:

I have this fantastic ring that has been dubbed “the hockey ring.” It’s my good luck ring for my boys’ games. If it’s not on my finger it’s in my wallet waiting for the next game. I did not put any personalization on it with words… and it’s really quite thick. We call it The Pope Ring at the studio! So when I’m photographing the hockey games (because all three boys are in hockey) if something happens like a goal or a good defensive play, I can bang on the glass with my ring, and I wont hurt my hand! Because of all the banging, overtime it has collected quite a few, great dents! It is essentially personalized from all the dents!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Heather B. Moore.

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Gem Gossip Visits Gem Jewelry Boutique in Chicago, IL

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Bracelets: Pascale Monvoisin 9k wire bracelet, Black wrap bracelet

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

the storefront of Gem Jewelry Boutique with its beautiful gold leaf

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Necklaces: Gem Token black diamond peace sign necklace, Emilie Shapiro watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire necklace, Emilie Shapiro moonstone + sapphire necklace

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love the vignettes that tell a story; displays that speak louder than words

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Some Ruth Tomlinson, Megan Thorne, Gem Token, Satomi Kawakita rings stacked on stacked — shop rings

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Gold elements, mirrors and a window of sunlight; some of my favorite parts of Gem

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Earrings: Ten Thousand Things 18k gold bead dangles, moonstone & diamond stud earrings by Gem Token

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love how every piece is displayed! Love the pieces of recycled leather to display the earrings

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Ear piercing parties are one of Gem’s newest additions–because all these studs need to be worn!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Earrings: Gabriela Artigas Asymmetrical Orbital earring, Lip studs, wwake small chain earrings

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Lips velvet pouch zipper bag on the left, Variance Objects stud earrings + ring on the right!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

“Get Lucky” Figa by Pascale Monvoisin

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

“Dope” “Mama” “Boss” bracelets by Zoe Chicco (these also come in necklaces)

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Not only does Gem sell jewelry, but other lifestyle products like candles, bags, scarves, & home goods

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Necklaces: Gem Token black diamond peace sign necklace, Emilie Shapiro watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire necklace, Emilie Shapiro moonstone + sapphire necklace

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

owner of Gem, Laura Kitsos and myself

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Rings: rough ruby by Emilie Shapiro, twin tourmaline ring by Margaret Solow, watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro —- moonstone + sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro, tourmalated quartz ring by Margaret Solow, opal + pink sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

The interior of the store was done by Laura’s husband who is a general contractor

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love how everything stacks and coordinates perfectly together–lots of different designers shown here!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Our last stop before heading home from our quick but amazing #JewelryRoadTrip to Chicago was Gem Jewelry Boutique, located a few minutes outside of Chicago in Oak Park. I had to see for myself Laura’s talked about and infamous curating skills–both jewelry-wise and display-wise. She is undeniably talented when it comes to putting things together, whether it is an entire store, a single display, an outfit, or a jewelry look. Gem has been open for nearly 13 years, with four different locations over the years. Most recently they moved to a new location which opened in June of 2015 and is what you’re seeing in the photos above. It is Laura’s most favorite location out of the four she has had, and as you can see, rightfully so! Laura says, “I wanted this location to invoke a sophisticated, calming environment yet with the slight edginess that depicts Gem’s image.”

The storefront is a beautiful jewel in its own right (I love the gold-leaf on the windows) and when you walk through the front door, you are immediately met with the open and airiness of the space. It proves to be an ideal jewelry showroom. The gems and jewelry sparkle in the sunlight, and the dark gray walls with mirrored and gold accents make you feel like you’re actually inside a jewelry box. The custom sliding cases and the large cabinet against the wall were all created specially for the space, thanks to Laura’s husband Michael. Another very sentimental addition to the store--the giant antique gold mirror–which was restored and outfitted with back-lighting, was essentially a wedding present from Michael, but ended up being the perfect focal point for the store. And I can agree! I love the mirror…and I can attest to the fact that jewelry stores NEED mirrors. I think they are essential!

Laura hadn’t always been on a clear path to opening a jewelry boutique from the beginning. She was actually the one designing and creating jewelry, teaching herself along the way, taking a couple metalsmithing classes and being inspired. This was back in 1995 when she lived in Portland, Oregon. Before that, it was her grandmother Lucile, who lived to be 101 years old, who infused a passion for jewelry in Laura from a very young age. Laura reminisces, “Each time I’d see her, she’d take me into her bedroom and on the bed we’d lay out all her boxes and jewelry while she told me the story behind each piece. It was heaven to me! And at the end, she’d always give me a piece. I learned how jewelry tells a story.”

One fateful day, Laura strolled into Twist in Portland and had an epiphany. In 2004 her first store opened, mainly selling her own designs and some vintage pieces. It goes without saying that the store has evolved very much over the years, especially beginning with what is featured. About two years into having the store, Laura attended a market show in NYC and a whole new world opened up before her eyes. She became passionate about supporting and learning about other designers, especially women artisans. Laura says, “Over the years, the store has evolved in that we now carry more designers than ever and I am focusing on a finer brand. The price point has risen over the years because I am carrying designers that are reputable, unique and are not mass producing their work. I appreciate “hand made” jewelry and especially jewelry made by women. I try to curate with that point of view.”

Designers like Vale Jewelry, Brooke Gregson, Emilie Shapiro, Blanca Monros Gomez, Arik Kastan, Megan Thorne, wwake, and Ruth Tomlinson are favorites and staples amongst Gem’s lineup. One of their newest additions, Pascale Monvoisin was an Instagram discovery for the store–which proves to designers that you can be discovered on social media! Although the mix of designers is eclectic and spans different countries and different continents, they all flow together and are able to be styled easily for a cohesive look because of Laura’s eye. You may see Gem Token as one of the designers featured several times in the photos above–that is the store’s own line of jewelry! Gem is also really excited about adding a few more brands to their roster, including Rusty Thought which is coming soon!

I loved visiting Gem and if you’re in the Chicago area, you are lucky to have such a great local jewelry store! Whatever your jewelry needs are or if you need a special gift, you will leave happy. I loved seeing a few customers come into the store while I was there and each person had a better day because they chose to come inside Gem. I know I sure did!

GemJewelryBoutique

135 North Oak Park Avenue

Oak Park, IL 60301

Phone: 708-386-8400

www.shopgemjewelry.com

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How 3 Nashville Entrepreneurs Style Their Dana Seng Jewelry

Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip

The life of an entrepreneur: forever in motion, on the go, and fast-paced. Sometimes you need your jewelry to be that way too! I’m always on the hunt for something I know I can throw on and automatically look good, something I can style with a variety of different outfits, and something that is timeless and will withstand a hectic lifestyle. The piece of jewelry that does it for me is my Dana Seng birthstone initial charm necklace, without a doubt! It goes with just about anything…when I put it on I already feel put together…and the best part is that it was made for me! I picked out the letter I wanted and the gemstone I wanted–D for Danielle (my first name) and sapphire for my birthstone (and luckily blue is a color that goes great with almost my entire wardrobe).

Dana Seng Jewelry prides itself on creating jewelry that fits this exact remedy–for “every style” and for “every woman.” I thought it would be fun to see how three different women style their own Dana Seng Jewelry pieces, so I took three Nashville entrepreneurs (myself included) and without any direction, told everyone to style their piece with what fits their lifestyle and how it fits in their everyday look. It was so interesting to see how a simple initial gemstone necklace or ring could be worn in different ways, suit unique styles and become a staple to someone’s wardrobe. One thing is for sure, we all agreed how simple, yet statement-making our birthstone initial pieces are and how much they’ve become an everyday occurrence within our style.

Let’s find out more:

Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip

Danielle

By day, I’m writing my blog Gem Gossip, editing photos, pulling ideas and planning my next move…by night, I’m cooking the latest Blue Apron, catching up on Shameless, playing with my dogs and most likely ripping out carpet somewhere in my house. Even if there are days where I don’t leave my office, I like to at least throw on a piece of jewelry that makes me feel good and oftentimes it is my Dana Seng Jewelry initial necklace. My style is casual, always pants (I’ve never been a dress-wearer, but I’m trying) and I love a good blouse, like the one I’m wearing. I mostly wear vintage or antique jewelry, and my initial necklace from Dana Seng fits in perfectly.

Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip

Lauren

When she’s not busy building her photography empire, Lauren Newman, a Florida-born, California-dreaming entrepreneur is exploring Nashville, always on the lookout for new places to shoot. Photography is her passion and so is traveling. Her style is romantic with an edge, often pairing a pretty dress with a leather jacket. Her Dana Seng Jewelry is an initial birthstone ring–she chose an L for her first name, done in garnets for her birth month of January. It pairs perfectly with her other gold, delicate rings and is exactly her jewelry style. She likes wearing rings when she’s out on a photoshoot because every time she clicks the camera, they sparkle!

You can follow Lauren on Instagram here.

Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip Dana Seng Jewelry | Gem Gossip

Alyssa

Documenting her daily outfits and inspirations has been something that has come natural for Nashville fashion blogger Alyssa. She has been writing Dreaming Trees since 2014 where her creativity flows and her bohemian style is put front and center. Her Dana Seng birthstone initial charm necklace easily transitions from her nine to five day job, to her photoshoots she executes for her blog. She chose an A for her first name set with Peridot for her August birthday in a necklace. As you can see, mixing her initial necklace with her usual Southwestern silver rings and other delicate gold necklaces fits her style and she makes it her own! Whether Alyssa is wearing a vintage dress or a new trendy designer, her Dana Seng necklace can blend with either and easily layer with other jewelry.

You can follow Alyssa on Instagram here.

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All photos by Lauren Newman Photography.

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Dana Seng Jewelry.

Dana Seng

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Check out the Q&A Interview I did with Dana!

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DIY Empress Cord necklace

For a while, I was tempted to try my hand at Soutache jewelry. Soutache originated as a flat, narrow braid used to ornament clothing and hide seams.

For a while, I was tempted to try my hand at Soutache jewelry. Soutache originated as a flat, narrow braid used to ornament clothing and hide seams. It was also used to indicate ranks and to monogram clothes and accessories. Over the years, it was adapted as a jewelry making technique, as you could form loops, curls and swirls easily, creating excellent ornamental bezels to hold cabochons and beads over a flat base. Though I am not exceptional at embroidery and a mere novice when it comes to beadwork, I can handle embroidery projects like a yoke or even jewelry. But at the same time, I am impatient; I like projects, that can be done in a matter of minutes, or a couple of hours at the most making soutache less than ideal as a technique that I would enjoy pursuing.


As a mixed media artist, whenever I come across a labor intensive technique exclusive to a particular medium, I look for ways to simplify the process by which I can combine it with another material or technique. I try to come up with alternate methods that might imitate or bring about the concept or simply the look of the piece but from a different perspective. By doing this, I mean no offense to the original craft, artisan or the process. Instead, I try to establish a new, previously unsought route to practicing a familiar craft. In this case, I thought, why not adapt the concept of ‘capturing a focal using a cord bezel’ from Soutache jewelry and morph it into something modern by using round cords and wire wrapping. Copy and adapt, as they say in Marketing – Simple!
While I was mulling over this idea, I came across these beautiful fine silk twisted cords at Endless Leather and thought that they would be perfect to create quick and easy jewelry that was fit for an Empress. Check the tutorial below to see how I made this beautiful necklace in 10 minutes, excluding drying time.

DIY Empress Cord necklace

Materials
1.Silk Cord 4mm – beige
2. Silk Cord 4mm – gray taupe

3. 1.5″ long Maroon Crystal Focal with brass setting
4. Champagne gold rhinestone shank button
5. 26g brass wire
6. Jewelry findings (gold plated) – 6mm End caps – 1 pair, 1 lobster clasp, and 2 jump rings
7. 2 part epoxy resin or any strong glue
Tools – Nose pliers, wire cutter, scissors and clear tape

Method
1. Cut the cords to size (mine are 25″ and 24″) leaving 1 cm extra on each end. Tape the end to stop the yarns from untwisting and fraying
2. Bend the cords in half to find the middle point. Make a little loop and place your rhinestone focal in the center to mark the required length. This is the point where you would be wire wrapping the button. Remember to keep both cords, flat and parallel to one another while measuring.
3. Cut about 8″ of wire (more or less depending on the no. of wraps that you want) and insert it into the shank of the rhinestone button. Place the button at the marked point.


4. Making sure that the cords are flat, start wrapping by coming to the center and feeding the wire into the loop before coming out the other side. Repeat 2-3 times until secure and do not cut the wire.You can use 28g wire if your shank hole is very small.
5. Cut about 10″-12″ of wire ( you can take more and cut away the excess), make a “U loop” and insert it at the bottom (center) of the focal*.
6. Push the focal into the loop pushing the wire behind
*My focal was back open with gaps all around its circumference making it ideal for this design. You can also pick a focal with multiple holes or channels.


7. Starting from the back, wrap the focal to both cords, keeping them flat, one side at a time.
8. Repeat the wrap on the other side
9. Insert the ends of this wire into the previous (horizontal wrap) and secure
# Optional – Wrap around cords once again before you tuck the ends into the horizontal wrap
10. Finish the ends of the horizontal wrap wire by twisting and tucking them into the center gap. Press all wire ends down to smoothen them and eliminate pokey ends.

11. Cut away the individual clear tape bindings and carefully wrap both cords together with the same piece of tape. Cut away the excess tape and repeat on the other side. Instead of tape, you can also use sewing thread to bind the cords
12. Glue the end caps on and let dry (depending on instructions on the glue) and add the clasp and rings once dried.


#Tip 1 – Wire Wrapping- make a small loop at the end of the wire that you are tucking in. Even if it gets out of the nest it will blunt and will not poke
# Tip 2 While using resin to glue the cords to the caps, apply glue on the inside of the caps, push the cords in and hold. The tape on the cord might make it slippery, so it’s necessary to bind the cords until they dry
#Tip 3 For a more Soutache flavour, add seed beads on the outer cord or create beaded wire wraps

Once upon a time, fine jewelry was the prerogative of just the rich and royals folks. Master craftsmen would spend multiple hours, days or sometimes even weeks perfecting a single piece by hand in a manner that would be worth presenting to an emperor or an empress. Any and all surrogate procedures were considered shortcuts and were severely condoned as they brought down the value or the “fineness” of the product. Over a period of time, with fashion as the epicenter of change, costume jewelry came to the forefront and alternate materials were accepted. Now simplification, abstraction, reduction and morphing of procedures are not just allowed, they are in fact encouraged in the same way as fine jewelry practices.
So do not shy away from morphing traditional techniques and ideas to create new forms and if you try my tutorial do share your pictures on my Facebook page or tag my Instagram profile.

I hope you found it interesting

Cheers

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Q & A with A La Vieille Russie in NYC

ALVR ALVR

It only took one quick glance from my whizzing cab on the busy streets of NYC–I locked onto the gilded windows with my eyes and secretly swooned as I sped by A La Vieille Russie. The antique gallery specializes in rare jewelry, Fabergé, decorative arts and Russian treasures, and stands on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street in all its glory. It’s a shop unlike any other and it belongs in no other place than NYC. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to visit NYC as often as I’d like to, but hopefully soon I will get a chance to visit ALVR rather than drive right by it only wishing I could stop.

The inventory on display at A La Vieille Russie is what most would describe as “exquisite,” or in my own words, “museum-worthy.” If you love Art Deco engagment rings, yes ALVR has them…but how about a rare piece of French Victorian jewelry, perfectly executed and in excellent condition?! Or even better, how about a diamond spray brooch with an origin most likely of the Russian Crown Jewels?! That’s what sets ALVR apart from the rest. The jewelry is magnificent and it speaks for itself.

I had to know more about this gallery that stands out from the crowd…about their jewelry, most importantly, and their views on the antique jewelry industry. With such an extraordinary store and resume, I fielded some questions and enjoyed hearing the intriguing responses. Hope you enjoy too!

q1

We source our jewelry from around the world but the majority of it we find in England and the European continent.

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q2

The short answer is no. For instance, we have a postcard in our archives from an antique jewelry dealer, writing to his son in the 1820s saying “I don’t know how you are going to continue in business, I can’t find any merchandise”. We think dealers have always felt this way and really great antique pieces are becoming harder and harder to find. They are out there but along with being harder to find, the quality we seek has become a lot more expensive. It is easy to spend a million dollars but we would actually find it very difficult given the quality and the rarity of the pieces we are on the hunt for. However, as time goes on, pieces become vintage and eventually antique. Most of our collection comes from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century but we are beginning to collect exceptional jewels from the mid-20th century and we even have some “vintage” jewels from the 1970s and ‘80s.

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We are world renown for our Fabergé and have formed some of the most important Fabergé collections in the world. The Messer Schaffer’s father, Alexander Schaffer, is known for introducing Fabergé to America and Fabergé himself was a client of our firm in 19th century Kiev. We are also known for our Imperial Russian treasures and European Objects of Vertu and snuffboxes. Interestingly, snuffboxes are considered by most to be the top end of jewelry. Primarily snuffboxes were made for men, however, in her lifetime, Catherine the Great had the largest collection and the story is that she supposedly had a snuffbox on every window ledge of the Winter Palace, known today as the main building of the Hermitage Museum. Given the number of windows in the Winter Palace, 1,945 to be exact, this story must be an exaggeration. However, it is possible that she had at least one in each of its 1,057 rooms.

In terms of jewelry, we consider ourselves to be “where the unusual is usual.” We look for the highest level of craftsmanship, the finest materials as well as unusual and innovative designs. We get most excited about delightfully unusual jewels and over the years, some of our favorite pieces have included materials such as wood, leather, gunmetal, human hair, copper, brass, celluloid etc. Of course, rings do very well for us as they are easily worn with today’s fashions. We try to carry a range of momento mori rings, hardstone cameo rings, Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and cocktail rings. Rare, high quality rings always sell and oddly enough, at the moment we are also all out of tiaras.

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Art Deco is eternally popular. Lately, we have also seen a returned interest in mid-nineteenth century jewelry (1830-1870) in the Georgian, Victorian and Revival styles. Art Nouveau ebbs and flows in popularity but we love it always. Artist jewelry such as pieces by Salvador Dalí or jewels by Hollywood celebrity jeweler Paul Flato also always has an audience. There is definitely an increase in the salability and desirability of antique jewels and we think it is due to two main factors: 1) People are looking for individuality and do not want to be a part of the herd. So much of today’s jewelry is ubiquitous or a continuation of branding and people are favoring unique antique pieces more and more. 2) Some of our jewelry we consider “subway jewelry”, as in you can wear it anytime, anywhere, depending on the audience. Some of our best pieces do not appear as obvious bling and are quite understated. You could wear these pieces on the subway without anyone realizing what you had on and then once you got to the opening night of the Opera, everyone would know what you’re wearing.

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Any? We have several! One of our favorites is from a few years back. A friend and client came into our gallery one day saying that her sister had passed away and was wondering if we would be interested in looking at her massive collection of jewelry in Jersey. Of course, we said yes and when the subject was broached with one of our firm’s principals, he immediately said “get in a car and drive out there”. To which the response was “No can do, it is the Isle of Jersey… off of the coast of France!” We ended up with over three hundred and fifty pieces of fabulous jewelry.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.

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Swap and hop Reveal

Vanakkam, Vandanam, Namasthe to all the folks visiting JewelsOfSayuri for the Bead peeps swap and hop reveal.

Vanakkam, Vandanam, Namasthe to all the folks visiting JewelsOfSayuri for the Bead peeps swap and hop reveal. Our Hostess Linda had put together a list of 53 magnificent jewelry blogs and bloggers early this year for a bead swap and now its time for the reveal. My Partner is Kelly Hosford Patterson of Pyxeestyx- The travelling Sideshow and to see what we sent each other, check out the swap intro post here.
The beads were all so gorgeous and the colors – green and blue, and fitting perfectly in my comfort zone. I assumed that it would be extremely simple and I would churn out pieces by the dozen.
Since most of my customers prefer pieces with an Indian traditional look, I hardly get to experiment with very modern, western arrangements. Hence, for this reveal, I decided that I would make a piece that was completely western. After some brainstorming and word association, I settled on the following words – Rustic, frosted, mouldy, dreamlike to guide my design process.

Ceramic and metal necklace by Sayuri


Of the Yore Necklace: The idea here was to use the copper domed disc, the ceramic (?) tube and the bone sort of piece as the focal component(s) by marrying them together with wire. This simple process proved to be extremely frustrating because of the sound that arises when ceramic/frosted glass/natural components/chalk strike metal. Metal on metal is even worse! (You should see me when my colleagues eat lunch with their metal spoons 🙁 ) It was this minuscule sound that drove me absolutely mad and my teeth start grinding even when I just think of it. I somehow powered through it and finished the piece but I did not even want to touch it, so I took it apart and remade it using embroidery thread.To avoid any more friction and the resultant noise I replaced the beads at the neck with a strand of leather cord and cotton cord each – in brown and blue respectively to bring out the colors of the main components.

Ceramic and metal necklace by Sayuri

The bone piece and the sea glass still feels chalky to touch and I am wondering if coating it with some sort of a sealant will help? Any Suggestions? I love how this piece looks and really want ot wear it

Neel – Gulab Earrings (Blue and pink earrings): For my second piece, I made a quick pair of wire earrings with the carved fan shaped blue sea glass beads and rose quartz beads to match a new printed pink, blue, and beige cotton shirt. I cheated a bit and wore them both to work on Tuesday 🙂 before the reveal.

sea glass earrings by Sayuri

When I saw Peeps disclosing that they had made 3 -8 pieces for the hop, I made another pair of earrings but gave them away to my cousin without photographing it, so I decided to do one more using the packaging paper.

Misty Moor – I made a recycled paper pendant with foil encasement on the sides and add patina inks for more depth. It started off as shrapnel sort of form, very modern looking. But I wasn’t really happy with it, so I added some rhinestone and ball chain to it (Okay, I gave in and Indianised it!). After these pictures were taken, I have poured resin into it. I used the green nuggets and the patterned beads from the beads that Kelly sent me and finished it with organza ribbon. It feels a little imbalanced, ( I am unable to put my finger on what is wrong!). Maybe the pendant is shimmery and the beads look a little dull? I might restring it after the hop – design/color/material suggestions are welcome.

beaded neckalce with paper pendant by Sayuri beaded neckalce with paper pendant by Sayuri

Those are the pieces that I made, I still have lots of goodies left and hopefully you would see them in future designs. So what did Kelly make with the goodies that I sent her? Visit her blog the travelling Sideshow to find out. Special thanks to Linda for hosting this hop with amazing artists. Please do take time out to visit blogs of other participants of the Bead peeps swap and hop II. Happy Hopping!

Participant List with blog links

1. Linda Anderson28.Rosantia Petkova
2. Natalie Davidson29. Claire Fabian
3. Marcy Lamberson30.Inge von Roos
4.Kathy Lindemer31.Rachel Mallis
5.Dita Basu32.Sam Waghron
6.Andrea Glick33.Lori Schneider
7.Kristina Peck34.Fay Wolfenden
8.Shai Williams
9. Catherine La ViteSeed Beaders
10. Christina Hickman35.Suse Stelljes
11. Gloria allen36.Ginger Bishop
12. Teresa Schurter37.Nelly May
13.Maria Rosa Sharrow38.Rebecca White
14. Susan Kelly39.Sheila Prosterman
15. Jenny Kyrlach40.Catherine King
16.Michelle McCarthy41.Pallavi Asher
17. Terry Jeanette Carter42.Krafty Max
18.Lee Koopman43.Renetha Stanziano
19. Laurie Vyselaar44.Becky Pancake
20.Marianne Baxter45.Katy Heider
21.Divya N (You are here)46.Deborah Apodaca
22. Kelly Hosford Patterson (my partner)47.Heather Richter
23.Johana Nunez48. Tami Norris
24. Kari Asbury49. Brandy Scozzari
25.Robin Reed50. Kathleen Breeding
26.Kristina Hahn Eleniak51.Veralynne Malone
27.Robin Lynne Showstack52.Bobbie Rafferty
53. Lori Blanchard

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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

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Q & A with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry

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With each collection released and each encounter I have with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry, I am more and more intrigued…spellbound, you could say. From the first concept of the lookbook (which I still have laid out like a coffee table best seller) to her enchanting video launch depicting her vision and a glimpse into her world, Lisa Kim strikes again, this time debuting a new collection called The Seabeast. The concept and inspiration will leave you curious to see what is next and the new pieces are gorgeous. Highly wearable ear climbers, earrings, necklaces and a unique ring make up The Seabeast collection. If you’re like me, you want to know more about the pieces and some insights into the designer, so here you go! Hope you enjoy:

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My boyfriend and I love to cook. We were in the kitchen making dinner one day several months ago when he told me about the cockentrice, which originated from the Middle Ages in Europe. A suckling pig and a capon were sewn together to create a whole new beast that was roasted and served on a platter. This was culinary drama designed to amaze and delight guests while feeding them. The idea of a creature made of different parts stuck in my head and it shaped the story behind The Seabeast. Mythological beasts are mash-ups anyway; the unicorn is a horse with a horn, the manticore is a lion with a human head, rows of shark-like teeth, bat wings, and a scorpion tail.

I offer different iterations of the same animal in The Seabeast. The initial release features pendants and earrings that are fusions of scales, fins, waves, and shark teeth. I always like to leave some interpretation up to the viewer so I tend to steer away from literal design; but with this collection I felt compelled to design The Eye of The Beast, which is a departure for me. There are other pieces in the collection with ferocious teeth and spines like the ones you find on crab shells and conch shells.

Did Leviathan really exist? Was there a Kraken that smashed ships to their doom? Did the Midgard Serpent truly wrap itself around the world? Is it still there? Could it be that these myths and tall tales were about one and the same creature that has ruled the deepest and the most secret parts of the Earth all this time? Science would tell us otherwise, but we can’t really say for certain that this creature is pure fiction. I like to think that this beast once lived and that its parts were scattered. Once re-assembled, it will live again. I aim to suspend your disbelief. I want you to possess a piece of this creature and take on its power and believe that it is real.

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From an early age I would draw and write stories while listening to music. This led me to my first career as a storyboard artist in animation. It was a fun occupation for sure but I never stopped dreaming stories of heroes in my fantasy world.

I was still working in animation when I signed up for a wax carving course at a small jewelry school here in L.A. One month into the course I committed to becoming a jewelry designer and business owner. I quit my job in 2011.

I took a bench jeweler course at the school. In the following year I interned for fashion designer Michael Schmidt where I got to work on some amazing metal projects for pop artists. After that I went to work for Tony Swatton, a blacksmith, bladesmith, leatherworker, costumer – a truly remarkable maker of all things. If you’ve watched film and tv in the past thirty years, chances are you’ve seen his work. (Remember the Vikings from the Capital One commercials? Tony made all of their gear.) Michael and Tony are two very different guys but they had one thing in common: They made incredible accessories that punched up a performer’s onstage presence. I came away from these places feeling really empowered by the things we worked on. I really wanted to create that feeling with statement fine jewelry.

I had the fortune of studying chasing and repoussé under European masters Valentin Yotkov and Davide Bigazzi. Chasing and repoussé are ancient metalworking techniques that allowed me to create my signature cuff bracelets that remind everyone of Wonder Woman. My bracelets are made by hand using tools and thousands of hammer blows. It’s a more efficient use of metal compared to casting – this means I can go pretty large with my designs and they remain surprisingly light in weight.

I am a member of AGTA and I serve as Communications Chair at WJA Los Angeles. In 2013 I received the Carelle-WJA Grant in Honor of Brooke Tivol McGrath. This was a cash grant of $5,000 that allowed me to produce a look book with my first collection that helped me establish the look of my brand. I feel incredibly blessed to have received this aid from WJA.

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Selling my first piece – a custom rubelite ring in 18k gold. My passion lies in bespoke pieces for fierce and independent women. You know who they are –they’re the ones who speak up and turn heads whenever they enter a room.

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I aim to grow this collection over the coming months. You can expect to see more parts of the beast. There will be one-of-a-kinds with colored stones, pearls, and diamonds.

I would like to partner with more retailers. Consumer values have been changing a lot these past few years and retailers have had to evolve with this. I strongly believe brick-and-mortar stores are still incredibly important despite the rise of e-commerce. Women know what they want more than ever before. They will always want a place where they can experience jewelry in person and connect with it.

From the very beginning my goal has been to create magic in metal. This is my raison d’être. Running a business involves wearing all kinds of hats which I love, but at the end of the day all I want is bad-ass jewelry for our bad-ass selves.

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My cavansite ring. It’s the one piece I made for myself so far. It looks magical and everyone always asks about it. It has heft like all my other designs. My pieces aren’t just pleasing to look at – they have to feel substantial and luxurious, too. My jewelry has presence just like the women who wear it.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry.

Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry

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Check out Diamonds in the Library, who also is featuring the new collection today as well!

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Four New Jewelry Trends You Need to Try with Fellows Auctions

lot 29 Lot 57 Lot 489 Lot 38 Lot 233 Lot 298 Lot 230 Lot 502 Lot 693 Lot 81 Lot 425 Lot 479

With the warmer season headed our way (thankfully!) it is time to break the mold and try some new jewelry styles! Just as any stylist would tell you, sift through your wardrobe and purge the tops and bottoms you haven’t worn in awhile, you must do the same with your jewelry wardrobe. My favorite thing to do if you’re not into letting pieces of your jewelry go is to simply adopt a new way of wearing jewelry which you haven’t done before! I’ve come up with FOUR new jewelry trends I will definitely be trying this season, in hopes you will do the same.

Lucky for us, Fellows Auction has an Antique & Modern Jewellery sale coming up May 12th that has pieces of jewelry which fit perfectly with my four trends. I love Fellows Auctions and their selection continues to be top notch! I sometimes wish I had the time and money to visit England again, but honestly bidding with Fellows and browsing through their catalogues is just as good and saves time/money 😉

Be sure to register to bid and let us know if you try any of these jewelry style suggestions:

MUST TRY: Bold Earrings + Slicked back hair (sans necklace!)

Lot 29: This trend is all about the earrings, so the bolder they are, the better! These are intricate, special and made in the Victorian Era, so they won’t let you down. Perfecting the slicked back hair look may take a professional to do or if you want to try yourself go for it. It takes a little to get used to, especially if you’re keen on having hair flowing in your face at all times. These earrings are geometric and have the best gemstone combo.

Lot 57: These urn-inspired dangle earrings need to be shown off! You will love them even more after realizing the green urns are actually emeralds. The seed pearl details emitting a dainty vibe, that would stand out with hair totally slicked back and no other necklaces.

Lot 489: I have a thing for torpedo-like motif dangles of the Victorian Era and these earrings depict everything I’m loving about that! Set with pretty purple amethyst and seed pearls, these will be sure to stand out. I love how amethyst is having a huge comeback and if you’re not aware of that, here you go! 😉

MUST TRY: Black Velvet choker with brooch

Lot 38: I love the choker trend and it can be achieved easily with my own spin on it–changing out brooches by pinning them either directly in the middle of a piece of wide black velvet or toward the bottom so the brooch “dangles” downward. To accentuate the “dangle” vibe, pick a brooch that actually has a dangle feature. This turquoise and pearl brooch is perfect, as it has a boho feel and the colors scream summer.

Lot 233: Again, amethyst is hugely popular so adding this brooch to a black velvet choker will have you dominating jewelry trends. This brooch even has some “swag” chains hanging from it. I think it would look good with a thick or thin piece of black velvet–which can be secured with a safety pin or if you can sew, some velcro.

Lot 298: Everything you could ever want in a Victorian brooch–carbuncle garnet, tassles, torpedo-motif dangles…bold gold. This would look so stunning hanging close to the neck. Show it off even more by wearing no other jewelry with your hair pulled back–all eyes on this brooch!

MUST TRY: Statement Pinky Ring

Lot 230: Always wanted a pinky ring but never got around to finding something that fits your tiniest finger?! Well now is your chance! Statement pinky rings are huge for summer…in fact, it might be the only thing you can get away with wearing on your fingers during these hot months. I like something bold and colorful, this ring is a great option, using multiple gemstones–not one repeats itself!

Lot 502: A cluster ring can do wonders for a small, little pinky. This ring features an oval cut sapphire surrounded by diamonds–a classic, yes, but take a look at the etching along the band. Incredibly done! All signs point to YES you need this.

Lot 693: If you want more of an antique cluster ring for your statement pinky ring, look no further than this piece. Set with a stone cameo of a woman’s profile, surrounded by rose cut diamonds…and the best part–the shank and setting are so unique. Such a masterpiece. Your pinky will thank you!

MUST TRY: DIY Bolo Tie using pin to secure

Lot 81: If this isn’t the coolest Egyptian Revival piece, I don’t know what is! The bolo tie, often popular for men especially cowboys, found its height during the 80s and is having a comeback, but for women! Just get some braided black leather, usually they have metal on the ends that is pointed…and is cinched by a clip. I think changing out the clip with different pins would be so fun. This pin would be great, I love the lapis detail against the yellow gold.

Lot 425: Victorian swirls of seed pearls make this a great option for a bolo tie. Unique green enameling gives it a nature-inspired look, finished off with a diamond in the center. Place the pin at the highest it can go for a choker look with the bolo tie or loosely in the middle just above the heart.

Lot 479: Crescent moons are wildly popular and have been that way for centuries. This one–even more special than your average crescent moon, even though crescent moons are hardly average. Set with diamonds and bright blue turquoise, it has my stylish mind wandering. Totally up for the bolo tie challenge using this piece, it would look killer!

 

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Florence Welch in Gucci Jewelry at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards

Florence Welch_Jewelry 3 Florence Welch_Jewelry 2 Gucci Flora ring in 18kt gold, blue sapphires and diamonds Gucci Flora ring in 18kt gold, diamond and blue sapphires Icon ring Le Marché des Merveilles ring with Bee motif in 18kt yellow gold

The Grammy Awards may have been almost a month ago, but this look is still buzzing in my head–and maybe yours too! And not just because one of the new Gucci rings features a bee, but because how perfect the Gucci dress goes with all four rings…and I was cheering when Gucci annouced Florence Welch as their latest ambassador. She is perfect for the job, as she is a magpie herself, wearing rings on every finger during her performances and stunning crowds with her jewelry choices. Creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele, is doing wonders for the brand–mixing his gothic revival style and love for adornment–making jewelry not just an accessory, but a focal point. And hey, if I could have both Florence and Alessandro in one room with myself, I think I would freeze up and not know what to say, because there’s way too much thanks and praise to be said.

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards took place on Monday, February 15th, 2016 at The Staples Center, Los Angeles and I was in California on my #JewelryRoadTrip, completely oblivious to what was going on in the real world. I would have loved to have seen this look live on the red carpet. Luckily, I received an email from Gucci’s PR and when I opened it, it was love at first sight. I had to make sure I posted this epic look on Gem Gossip, even if it were weeks later!
Florence Welch wore a Gucci Pre-Fall 2016 pale pink silk chiffon long sleeve gown with ruffle neckline, sequin trompe l’oeil belt detail with star, heart, moon and dragonfly embroideries with nude leather platform high heels with cat head detail. She completed her look with a Le Marché des Merveilles ring with Bee motif in 18kt yellow gold, an Icon ring in 18kt yellow gold with citrine quartz, London topaz, pink and green tourmalines and two Gucci Flora rings in 18kt gold, diamond and blue sapphires. Perfection.
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