Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Gem Gossip

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Above features every “logo” aka Banner I’ve had over the past nine years, from first inception until now. The evolution shows the progression and most recently we dropped our tagline which we’ve had since day one.

With each passing July, I sit and ponder the beginnings of my blog Gem Gossip–all that it has done and accomplished, and all the potential that lies ahead. It was nine years ago that I first started this website with the sole purpose of connecting with others that love jewelry as much as I do. I never imagined that I would be doing this full-time nine years later and creating my own path. And I have YOU to thank for all this–those who read my blog daily, follow my social media accounts, “like” my photos and send encouraging emails. Thank you. You truly don’t know what it means to me and I’m forever grateful.

To celebrate this year, I’m reminiscing like crazy and sharing with you some facts you might not have known about Gem Gossip! I thought this would be a fun and personal blog post, and I’d love to hear some interesting tidbits regarding YOU and Gem Gossip. Does a blog post stick out in your memory? How did you find or stumble upon my blog? Did I help you out in a way that I don’t know about? I’d love to know! You can email me, write it in the comments below, or share on Instagram–I’ll be posting this on there as well.

PS: There will also be a giveaway coming up, but I have to hit 160k followers on Instagram first, so stay tuned!

The Facts:

1. I started my blog as a result of moving to Tennessee–after uprooting from the only house I had ever lived in my whole life in Upstate NY to TN, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had no job, no car (I sold my car because I didn’t want to drive it 11 hours by myself lol), and knew no one in my new town. I finally decided to invest my time and energy into learning about my biggest passion I had been carrying around with me my whole life–JEWELRY!

2. I was in a long distance relationship at the time I started Gem Gossip. It was because of my ex-boyfriend who suggested I should start a blog about jewelry after I had constantly filled his inbox daily with long hyperlinks of jewelry that I thought was “really cool.” He told me he didn’t care about the jewelry and that I needed an outlet to share my passion with others who felt the same way!

3. The name “Gem Gossip” was conceived after a brainstorm session with my sisters on what to name my future jewelry blog. I knew I couldn’t have my URL be daniellemiele.com because NO ONE knows how to pronounce my last name. It had to be catchy, simple, relate to jewelry and easy to say. I was looking at my sister’s fashion magazines and saw one of the actresses from Gossip Girl on the front cover (that show was the most popular around that time). I whispered aloud, “Gossip Gem” … and then “Gem Gossip” and it all clicked!

4. One of my first emails I’ve ever received from a jewelry designer was from Carolyn Tyler, after I had featured some of her work on my brand new blog. Her email was so encouraging and the excitement that I felt from receiving positive feedback was worth more than gold to me in that moment. I will never forget that kind exchange.

5. On the flipside of that, I’ve received several negative emails over the past nine years. One that called me Southern white trash (I’m from NY, so nice try) and a few that poked fun of my features that included photos of me modeling jewelry. This is both alarming on many levels but also quite comical, in my opinion.

6. The first seven years of writing Gem Gossip were all done part-time on weekends or after work. I was a nanny for the very first year and a half when I moved to Tennessee, and then eventually worked full-time at an antique jewelry store for five years. I would sit behind a microscope Tuesday through Saturday, with a pile of jewelry in a room without windows and crank out appraisals…and then come home bursting with creative energy, not wanting to do anything else except work on my blog.

7. One of my first big writing gigs was for LoveGold–I had no idea at the time how much I would learn in such a positive way from the 2 1/2 years of working with them. I produced exactly 100 pieces of exclusive content for LoveGold and traveled thousands of miles. And I still can’t get enough of yellow gold.

8. I once had a meeting with a very prestigious celebrity stylist. After learning I lived in Nashville she asked me about my love of country music. I told her I hated country music and she kept saying, “So you don’t like Taylor Swift? Not even Taylor Swift??” and I was adamant about not liking Taylor Swift. It was then and there that I realized I could have easily changed my answer to better fit our conversation; for her to “like” me. But I didn’t. I am who I am and I’m not changing for anyone. It is a memory that still sticks with me to this day…and it was with me a few weeks ago when I had some big meetings in NYC.

9. My #JewelryRoadTrip project involves a lot of travel, appointment making and on-the-spot creativity when visiting stores and designers’ work spaces. My husband Matt usually is the photographer behind all my #JewelryRoadTrip features but there was one big trip he couldn’t make–all my Pennsylvania coverage. My mom ended up coming along with me and taking all the photos. She was SO nervous and wanted to do a good job. I think she did great and it is still such a memorable trip for both of us. It was one of the first literal road trips where we drove my Prius up from Nashville and across the entire state of Pennsylvania over the course of four days. My car surpassed the 100k mileage mark on that trip and we celebrated by eating Arby’s (my favorite road trip fast food place…wait, maybe I am white trash?? See #5).

10. One of my most proud moments was being a co-curator at the Doyle & Doyle Vault series, where the NYC-based antique jewelry store put on their version of a month-long museum exhibition. I chose the topic of Sentimental Rings and several of my personal pieces, including my grandparents’ wedding bands and my grandma’s engagement ring were a part of the exhibit. In order for her ring to get to me, my grandma had to mail me her beloved ring. We both were so nervous for this feat–I had been tracking the package every step of the way. On the day of delivery, it was pouring rain. My alerts told me it had been delivered at my doorstep, but it was nowhere to be found. I was having a full-on panic attack over this. I ran outside in the rain in search of the package. To my surprise, it was sitting on the stoop of my neighbor a few doors down from me. It wasn’t just any neighbor…it was our neighbor that we were in a fully committed “poop war” with. What could I possibly mean by this? Well his dog would go to the bathroom in our yard almost daily…so my husband would take the dog poop and put it on their porch. Dumbest thing ever, but we were totally into it at the time lol. I grabbed the package off their porch and ran back home. That day ended the “poop war” and they moved shortly afterward, so all crisis averted. (By the way, my grandma’s Italian handwriting is the reason for the incorrect delivery–insert Italian hand gesture meaning WTF).

xoxoGemGossip

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Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show 2017

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Thanks to Gossip Gem

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Vegas Prep: Interview with Marion Fasel of The Adventurine

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We are excited to kick off a fun series this week on Gem Gossip — these next five blog features will get you excited and prepped for Vegas Jewelry Week, which is quickly approaching! I’ve asked five people–a mix of designers, editors, and industry insiders–to contribute their insights from this epic event that happens once a year. I’m asking for advice, tips, favorite parts, and much more! Whether it will be your first time attending or you are a professional (and can pack with your eyes closed), these interviews will pique your curiousity and you’ll definitely learn a thing or two! One thing is for sure, we all are SO EXCITED for Vegas.

We are starting the week out with Marion Fasel who is celebrating a big milestone in a few weeks–her online magazine The Adventurine turns one year old at the end of the month. She strategically launched the same day Vegas Jewelry Week began last year and has been covering all kinds of jewelry topics since then (many of which are pictured above). But don’t let the small digit fool you, Marion has been in the jewelry industry for over 25 years. Most notably, she was InStyle’s Contributing Editor of Fine Jewelry & Watches for nearly two decades, has written eight books, and has helped curate several museum exhibitions. It’s no secret I am her number one fan and have been continually cheering her on since I discovered her flipping through the pages of InStyle magazine. Let’s find out more:

How many times have you attended Vegas jewelry week?

I have been 12 times. I haven’t missed a jewelry week in Vegas since the Couture show relocated from the Phoenician in Scottsdale to the Wynn in 2005.


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

I’d give my rookie self a fun tip and a few practical tips.

My fun tip is about gambling. I’d tell myself to gamble. You are in Vegas—some fun must be had. Then I would say, skip the slots. Go in the early evening to the Encore where it can be quiet and find a Black Jack dealer with an empty table. There are usually several. Tell the dealer, you don’t know much about the game but would like to learn. The dealers are incredibly knowledgeable and thrilled to share their tips. If you allow them to guide you about what “the book” says for your hand, you will win. Trust me on this. Just let them tell you how to play.

One practical tip, don’t let the bellhop take your luggage when you check in. Just take it to your room yourself. If you don’t, you have to wait for it. They won’t leave it in your room unless you are there. Sometimes they are fast, but sometimes they take a while which keeps you waiting in your room before hitting the trade show floor or doing anything your heart desires.

Drink lots of water. It’s the desert and you will get dehydrated even indoors.

Oh, and have a clear strategy for who you want to see. There are a lot of great jewelry designers there and you won’t be able to see everyone, so do a careful edit on your agenda and leave breathing room to explore. The time to explore is key.

Name five things you ALWAYS bring to Vegas Jewelry Week.

I wear heels so I bring Band-Aids. I bring my gambling budget, usually around $200. I bring loads of jewelry, because it’s a jewelry crowd and its Vegas so it’s fun to get decked out. Beyond that it’s pretty standard phone charger, camera, computer. I don’t travel light.

One big difference from last year to this year?

Well, last year I launched my online magazine TheAdventurine.com one day before the Couture show started. The timing was not a coincidence. It’s really the beginning of the formal jewelry season. You see how the trends and designers are shaping up at Couture. I wanted my website anniversary to coincide with the Couture show. I guess the biggest difference is now The Adventurine is humming away.

Favorite things about Vegas Jewelry Week.

Winning at Black Jack. I am kidding. Meeting a talented new designer or just seeing a great new collection from an established designer are my favorite things.

Biggest pet peeve about Vegas Jewelry Week.

It is a bit odd being indoors for a week. During the course of the show, it’s not usual for some people to never step outside for more than a few minutes on the terrace off the trade show floor or to walk to the taxi stand to go out to dinner. I try to make my way to La Cave as often as possible to sit in the outdoor café there for lunch, dinner or drinks.

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

I won a Vespa at the Couture Awards. It’s probably one of the most wonderful and weird things that has ever happened to me anywhere. I actually like public speaking but when I went on stage to accept the scooter, I was so shocked and happy, I was virtually speechless.

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? Check out my coverage from last year

You can follow Marion –> @marionfasel & @theadventurine

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Q & A with Ashley of Jewelry Finds

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

One of the most abundant comments I receive from people is gratitude for instilling a love for antique items, specifically jewelry, into the younger generation. If all else fails, I feel like I’ve contributed to the greater good of this world by promoting an appreciation for the past, rather than buying fast and new products. I’m always excited to profile someone that is younger than me and exudes a passion for antique jewelry which they’ve been fostering on their own, making it their occupation and being successful at it! That’s why I’m really excited to feature Ashley of Jewelry Finds, an online-based antique and vintage jewelry shop that has been run by her and her mother since 2013. Let’s find out more, shall we?

Q&A

I was 20 years old enjoying burgers and shakes around midnight with my friends at a diner in my hometown of Bethesda, Maryland. Suddenly, a woman I had never met walked right up my table and asked if I had ever considered selling jewelry before. Maybe she liked way I laughed? How I talked to people? The way I scarfed down my cheeseburger in 30 seconds? Whatever it was, I now know it was fate. Fast forward two months later and I had my first big city job at Washington D.C.’s oldest antique jeweler. Shortly thereafter, my antique jewelry fairytale was written and I was given an old brooch that changed my life!

Visit my website to read my magical and true story: https://www.jewelryfinds.com/about.html

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

So my love affair of jewelry professionally goes back 13+ years but I actually used to model in jewelry stores for their holiday trunk shows in high school! So I think 17 years?! I am a GIA alumni and love learning about any type of jewelry from any era on any given day! To acquire my pieces I have hundreds of contacts with jewelry wholesalers and auction houses. They know how particular I am and how I like to hand select everything myself! I only pick unique, well preserved and heirloom quality pieces for my clients. I don’t offer pieces in my collection unless I would want it for myself!

I joined the online retail world in 2013 with four pieces of my own jewelry for sale and since it has grown to over 200 carefully hand curated heirloom quality pieces of art! I am strictly a web-based business so I have the time to add new pieces weekly! Check back often! Just click on my ‘Newest Finds’ section on my website or click on the link below:

https://www.jewelryfinds.com/products/newest-finds.html

In case you were wondering how I got ALL of this done, I didn’t want to forget the backbone of the company and co-owner of Jewelry Finds®, my mom Janet! She is Jewelry Finds® amazing photographer, videographer, bookkeeper, graphic designer, website designer, shipping expert and my BEST FRIEND! She loves jewelry just as much as I do and I make sure to spoil her every chance I get! We both share a love for antique jewelry, cute animals and Joni Mitchell. She’s the web guru. I’m the jewelry guru. It was a match made in heaven for a web based antique fine jewelry business from the very start.

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

Hands down, my favorite piece in my collection for sale is this enormous and rare Art Nouveau enamel and diamond ring! It features gorgeous shaded green and pastel yellow enameling, chunky old mine cut diamonds, and a central Peruzzi cut diamond weighing approximately .80cts . This ring is made entirely in era appropriate brushed 18k green-yellow gold. It’s a museum worthy piece!

Here is the link everyone and don’t forget to watch it’s YouTube video!

https://www.jewelryfinds.com/product/antique-diamond-ring-art-nouveau-1900s-green-enamel-cushion-cut-peruzzi-diamond-18k-yellow-gold-statement-ring.html

Featured front-and-center in photo below:

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

1) A pristine and classic ‘Moi Et Toi’ early Edwardian ‘Tiffany & Co.’ old European cut diamond and natural emerald bypass ring with original hallmarks.

2) This Victorian moonstone and old mine cut diamond heart locket with intricate enameling & hand engraving.

3) And last but not least, a pair of late Victorian chandelier earrings measuring over just over 2.5” inches long made in era appropriate 14k yellow gold with sterling silver tops. These earrings featured almost three carats of chunky and sparkling old mine cut, table cut, and antique pear cut diamonds. Ugh. Officially depressed!

one two three Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

Q&A

My Victorian 14k Yellow Gold & Old Mine Cut Diamond Brooch, of course!

(This brooch changed Ashley’s life, read the full story & see it here >> https://www.jewelryfinds.com/about.html )

Jewelry Finds | Gem Gossip

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

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Just in Time for Easter: Fabergé Eggs from A La Vieille Russie

ALVR | Faberge

Miniature white enamel egg set with a red enamel coin of Elizabeth I and four cushion-cut sapphires. By Fabergé, ca. 1895.

ALVR | Faberge

Miniature egg with white enamel stripes and set with a turquoise. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.

ALVR | Faberge

A jouré yellow and green gold egg, punctuated with rose diamonds around the center. By Fabergé , workmaster A. Hollming, ca. 1900.

ALVR | Faberge

A two-color gold-mounted egg-form aventurine quartz hand seal on brilliant translucent green enamel base. By Faberge, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.

Legendary Fabergé eggs–eggs so popular, that almost everyone knows what you’re talking about when you mention their name. For me, these were my first obsession above all other types of jewelry. I remember going to my local public library and wanting to check out a book on making crafts out of egg cartons–I saw the recommendation on Reading Rainbow! Instead, I found my way to a book on Fabergé eggs and was infatuated. In fact, for the first time in my life, I loved the book so much I never returned it. I didn’t care it was wrong because this book lit up my life! My second run in with Fabergé eggs happened when I was in high school. I became obsessed with watching Joan Rivers on QVC and admired her love of Fabergé eggs. Back then, she had created her own jewelry line with bundles of three eggs per chain of her own miniature versions of “Fabergé eggs.” I ordered my first trio of eggs and was hooked. I can’t remember how many I collected over the next few years, but after graduating college, I was able to pay for my trip to study abroad from selling my Joan Rivers Egg Collection. It was quite a few. I honestly wish I still had those eggs, but I wouldn’t trade my overseas experience for anything!

It is no myth that Fabergé eggs are enchanting, often mysterious, and full of intrigue. If you were married to a Russian tsar, the ideal Easter gift would be a Fabergé egg designed by none other than Carl Fabergé himself. The first ever Fabergé egg was made in 1885 and presented to Alexander III. Since then, it varies as to how many are apparently out there, but some sources say 65 Imperial eggs were made, some say 50, some say 52, but it is known that only 43 have survived–there is a really comprehensive table that describes each, citing where the egg is now. A few are cited as “Lost” and it is with lots of hope that they will be recovered someday.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

Circular aquamarine and diamond Imperial Presentation brooch with an Imperial crown decoration. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1913.

Natural pearl and diamond floral brooch with blue enamel border. By Fabergé, Moscow, 1896-1908.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

Diamond and green garnet necklace mounted in platinum. By Fabergé, ca. 1900.

Natural pearl ruby and diamond necklace set in platinum and gold. By Fabergé, ca.1900.

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Fabergé gold-mounted lozenge-form brooch, set with diamonds and red enamel wreath over white guilloché enamel ground. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, ca 1890.

Lozenge brooch with a central cabochon moonstone, set with rose diamonds, and white enamel. By Fabergé, workmaster A. Hollming, St. Petersburg, ca. 1900.

Fabergé eggs created for the general public, not just zsars, continued being the company’s most popular pieces. In the year 1900, the House of Fabergé was completed which literally was a large building which centralized all the operations–bringing together workshops, artisans, a design department, even Carl Fabergé’s own place of residence, in one large building. Throughout the turn-of-the-century, Fabergé turned out elaborate pieces of jewelry, decorative drinking cups and bowls, items for writing, miniature hardstone animals, a wide variety of photo frames (as Kodak launched its first camera), and much, much more. He employed hundreds of craftsmen under conditions that were very superior, with great pay. As success continued, expansion happened, until the first World War broke out in 1914. The House of Fabergé lost a lot of workers to the draft, precious metals were haulted to use, so the items that were produced during this time were created from materials like copper, nephrite, brass, and silver. Carl Fabergé ultimately fled Russia and died in 1920.

Many of the pieces of jewlery and decorative arts which Fabergé created during its height of success are highly collectible. A La Vieille Russie, a shop in NYC, has specialized in Fabergé since opening in 1961. You’ll be amazed by these authentic, one-of-a-kind Fabergé items, including some eggs that ALVR currently has in their inventory. If you haven’t read the blog post featuring my visit to ALVR, you must! Here is the link.

ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge ALVR | Faberge

White enamel and two-color gold hanging bellpush. Contained in original fitted hollywood box. By Fabergé, St. Petersburg, workmaster H. Wigström, ca. 1915.

Carved two-color jasper miniature egg in the form of a Kingfisher with diamond eyes. By Fabergé, Moscow, ca. 1900.

Gold-mounted brilliant pink guilloché enamel egg-form pendant locket, the opening set with rose diamonds. By Fabergé, workmaster M. Perchin. St. Petersburg, ca. 1895.

Anyway, I thought the quick history on Fabergé paired with some pieces that are available would make my readers very happy on Easter! Hope you enjoyed!

Works Cited:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabergé_egg

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts app called Fabergé at VMFA

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

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Leslie of @PinkPirahnah

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from someone I’ve actually met in person, which doesn’t happen too often since so many people from our lovely Instagram community are from all parts of the world. Leslie came to the GIA Alumni meeting when I spoke in DC last summer and I recognized her right away because of the opal ring she was wearing! Funny how sometimes that happens. It has been fun getting to know her on Instagram and am so excited she agreed to share her personal collection story with us–take it away Leslie:

“I am a total museum junky by nature and my love for classical art and history runs deep. However, jewelry as art was not on my radar until about 12 years ago when I found my first vintage piece, the pretzel ring. Yes, I had a few token pieces of mall jewelry but I never really thought there was much substance to jewelry until I discovered the vintage and antique world. A golden pretzel with diamond salt appealed to my sense of humor and art. It was also meaningful to me as a Speech Pathologist working with my special needs children on requesting items, one of those items was actually pretzels! I can’t tell you how many kiddos have actually tried to lick it over the years! This one ring started an obsession but also introduced me to my friend Lara from Icon Style in NYC. I learned so much from her over the next few years and with her help I really grew my collection and love for all eras.

My current collection includes Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau. Art Deco, Vintage and a few Georgian pieces. I don’t necessarily have a preferred era but I think the biggest appeal of antique and vintage jewelry is how unique and detailed the pieces can be. Color is a big factor for me but most importantly I like quirk. If it’s funny or unique, I have to have it! I love to mix and match eras and pile it on pretty thick. Certainly, no one would accuse me of neglecting my jewelry.

One thing I wear every day is obviously my Art Deco engagement ring. I had always assumed I would get a Victorian cluster ring but when I tried this piece on I fell hard for its lively black opal.

The one motif that I am magnetically drawn to is snakes. I can spot a serpent in a jewelry case like a shark scenting blood in the water. In fact, I found my tiny snake earrings despite their purposely discreet location in my friend’s display case. In the histories of various civilizations, snakes have come to symbolize many ideas but my favorite is that of eternal love. Symbolism aside, snakes have the unique visual impact that I find hard to resist.

Charms are another obsession I have. I try to limit myself but I just love some of the funny and super detailed pieces you can find. My favorite charm is my vintage gold ghost. He is perfectly crafted and has the most beautiful brown marquise diamond eyes that peek from behind his sheet.

Another style of jewelry I desperately love is Art Deco era “pools of light.” Layering these rock crystal orbs is addictive but also causes some serious neck strain. I have several pieces but the most interesting one is a rock crystal orb the size of a jaw breaker. It is completely encased in an open silver work shell depicting bunnies paddling in canoes.

Rings are my go-to to buy and again I don’t discriminate. I collect a variety of stones, styles, and metals. One thing I don’t like to do is size my rings. I have a few exceptions but in general I try not to alter the finger bling that comes into my collection. If one is too big I simply stack it with gold bands to adjust the fit.

When I was first collecting I would shop at Icon Style in NYC and I would go to all the big NYC shows religiously. Having relocated to the DMV area I have had more opportunities to go to antiquing in rural areas but also go to the bigger shows like the DC flea and the Baltimore Antique Show. I don’t shop online much but I have found several lovely pieces through the Instagram community.”

xoxoGemGossip

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Metal Cloud Earrings

I have a confession to make – “I am crazy about clouds and I love taking pictures of the sky!” If I could photograph anything I wanted to, I would probably photograph clouds.

I have a confession to make – “I am crazy about clouds and I love taking pictures of the sky!” If I could photograph anything I wanted to, I would probably photograph clouds. For me there is no “ordinary” cloud – every cloud is special and beautiful in its own way. I have pissed off many with this compulsion of mine, to stop, admire, and photograph clouds even when I am in the middle of something important. From dates to functions, from roadtrips to photoshoots – none have been spared. So to hear Keith Christiansen, a curator at the MET museum speak about his attachment for clouds was very satisfying.

Photographs taken at New York City, Udaipur and Chennai

At one point he explains why he takes pictures of clouds and the sky – “it is not a record of a place that I have been too but rather an emotion that I felt standing there and looking at it.” I do not think that I can summarise my feelings for the sky and clouds any better than how Keith feels.
Many, Many artists have taken inspiration from clouds, from Sunrise and sunset skies to fuel their imagination. Next only to flowers, I consider the ever changing nature of clouds as the universal definition of strong inspirational direction.
This Month’s we’re all ears challenge is all about Weather – wind patterns, clouds and rain and as inspiration Erin had provided us with Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses that I had posted in the September ABS challenge here

I had great plans for all sorts of earrings when I started writing this post a week back and was then struck down by 102 deg fever. But I have made 2 pairs at the last moment. One is a direct realisation of cloud earring showcasing deep dark booming clouds and the other is a more stylised version of cloud movement in the evening just before the golden hour. The long stud meant to be worn as evening or party wear. Both are studs and are made of brass – brass flower stamping blanks (cut into the cloud shape) and brass wire. I have used my new texture hammer from Parawire to add interest to both pieces. I somehow like the texture on the wire better, what do you guys think?

We’re all ears – its cloudy

I have blinged up both earrings with swarovski crystals and lots of pearls. I also like how the loreals in the first earrings move a lot without making much sound, an attribute I prefer in my earrings. On hindsight, I think I should have not wrapped such heavy pearls to the earrings. As it quite long and tilts to the side (as per the design) it feels even more heavy. But it would be nice to wear it on an evening out and be the cynosure of all eyes. That’s it for this reveal folks and as I close I am going to leave you with more cloud pictures I took in the last few years all over the world.
Photographs taken at Chennai, Kathmandu, New Jersey, and Philadephia

I just realised that even though my inspiration pictures are colorful, vibrant with a happy vibe my designs are dull and melancholic, maybe reflecting my current state of mind and body. Maybe looking at all the beady baubles that the other participants made would cheer me up so I am off to visit the challenge reveal page. Why don’t you all join me ?

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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Book Review: GEM the Definitive Visual Guide

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Earlier this year I finally did something every American needs to do at least once in their lifetime: I visited Washington DC and the Smithsonian. I could have spent the entire day, from open until close, in the National Museum of Natural History–their National Gem & Mineral Collection is one of the best, not to mention some of the most exquisite finished pieces of jewelry, each with such incredible history. When I found out about the newest book release from the Smithsonian, I knew it was going to be comprehensive and chalk-full of colorful examples of all things I love (gems and jewels). And hey, I was right. I’ve been flipping and stopping, gawking and reading all day.

First off, the breakdown. The Introduction highlights the basics, because whether you’re a student or a novice, a professional or a graduate gemologist, we all need to review the foundation. The best part about the intro is the photos–vibrant depictions of each term and visually appealing on every level. The next section brings Native Elements to life: gold, silver, platinum, copper, bronze and diamonds, mixed in with some special vignettes about important and noteworthy pieces. The largest section, speaking in terms of breadth and depth, is all about Gemstones! From Agate to Zircon and everything in between, each stone is given a description, scientific specs, and gorgeous examples featuring the particular gem in different forms (rough, faceted, carved, set in jewelry, etc). Rocks and Minerals make up the final section of the book, before the very end–a very handy directory, glossary and index.

Hopefully my photos will give you an idea as well of what this amazing book is all about! I think it is perfect for every gem lover, jewelry enthusiast, or person who loves to learn. This book needs to be in the libraries of every middle school and high school! If I happened upon this when I was in middle school, my future in the gem and jewelry industry may have started even earlier than it did. My jewelry book library is pretty extensive, but this particular title is unlike anything out there. I love it!

 

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Metropolitan museum of Art New York

In my last post on “One day in New York City” I wrote about my visit to the MET – the mother of all museums and a temple of art. The one on Fifth avenue that I visited, is over 2 million sqft in area and has over 5000 years of art.

In my last post on “One day in New York City” I wrote about my visit to the MET – the mother of all museums and a temple of art. The one on Fifth avenue that I visited, is over 2 million sqft in area and has over 5000 years of art. Before my visit, I had planned on seeing the Greek exhibit, Some renaissance paintings, Impressionist wing and the Manus Machina exhibit as I thought only that was possible in the four hours that I had there. But as soon as I stepped inside I became greedy, (yes, this was the FOMO that I was talking about in my previous posts) and wanted to see more. I ended up seeing both the Greek and Roman wings, the Polynesian, Americas, and a part of the Arts of Africa wing, Modern art – realism, Impressionism, a little bit of post-modern art, a portion of the Old masters section, the Manus Machina exhibit, a section of the Byzantine gallery, and the Egyptian section with the mummies and the temple. To streamline the visit, I looked only at Jewelry and accessory exhibits in the Roman, Americas, and Egyptian wing.
Here are pictures of a few favourites. You can find the pictures from the impressionist wing in my post on Expression of impressions. I apologise in advance for the dull and sometimes unsharp pictures; a lot of the exhibits had dim lighting and flash photography was not permitted.

Metropolitan museum of Art New York

Greek and Roman
These were the first two galleries that I saw and they far surpassed my expectations. Even after seeing the entire gallery I couldn’t believe the amazing craftsmanship of the jewelry that was displayed. I have studied Greek art and taught Greek ideals and costumes for a while now but truth be told I never expected them to be so well made with intricate work and luscious stones. The Intaglio rings and Signet rings of the emperors and officers in garnet and coral were fascinating.

greek jewelry

Of all the jewelry that I saw, I was most fascinated by this Greek Hair bun ornament. I have seen variations of this ( Kondai valai – Hair burn fillet) being worn in India, but I never expected to see a Greek version of it, that too it gold. The round focal is reminiscent of the traditional Indian “Naga choodamani” where a snake is the focal instead of a woman’s face. Could this have been a probable Indo-Greek Design collaboration?

greek hair ornament

Polynesia and Americas
This was the wing I didn’t even plan to see – I thin I might not find anything more than some totems or masks here. Boy, I was wrong. This was the wing that I spent the most time in and enjoyed the most. I was like watching all the ‘Treasure hunt” movies at once and being transported to an era that was mythical, rich and full of glory.

wooden mask totem
The jewelry was from various places like Panama, Costa Rica, and Columbia and warranties its own post so I’ll offer only a glimpse here. The elaborate nose rings, plain pectoral ornaments, burial masks and pendants were beyond amazing. Could the head beads have been worn by Head hunters of the period?
columbian gold jewelry
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September ABS – Expression of impressions

As a design student in the early 2000’s the art movement that I was most drawn to was impressionism. Everything about the movement – from how it came into existence, it journey including Neo and post impressionism, the artists, their style, and the range of subjects fascinated.

As a design student in the early 2000’s the art movement that I was most drawn to was impressionism. Everything about the movement – from how it came into existence, it journey including Neo and post impressionism, the artists, their style, and the range of subjects fascinated. The more art and design history I studied, the more I started relating to the overall Positivist philosophy of art which is the rejection of Romantic subjectivism in favor of the objective description of the ordinary world. Impressionism, Post-impressionism, Expressionism, Fauvism are all the art movements of the positivist age and are linked not just by the time period or brushstroke technique but also by the treatment of a subject that implied a certain degree of distortion. While Impressionism is more fluid and spontaneous, expressionism is more intense and emotional. Artists like Van Gogh were able to successfully bridge both.

Pebeo paint jewelry


September’s Art bead Scene challenge is to create an art bead/components or Jewelry with art beads inspired by Paula Modersohn-Becker’s “Old Woman from the Poorhouse in the Garden with Glass Ball and Poppies” which is an expressionist style of painting. While I found the colors in the painting calling to me, I somehow could not comprehend the imagery. I found it closer to Paul Gauguin’s primitivist impressionism works maybe due to the presence of brown skin tone and rust colored clothing.

You might wonder how difficult can it be to decode a picture of a woman holding flowers, but I didn’t find it compelling. So I took a leaf out of Edvard Munch’s Scream and Anxiety – the classic textbook reference in Expressionism, I decided to make pendants with streaks of colors and visual texture that is visible in Paula’s painting. Again I wasn’t very convinced by the color palette that was provided, so I proceeded to make my own from the painting. In usual design school style (where only a maximum of five colors are allowed in the color board) I picked an unconventional palette of reddish rust, muted blue, pale green, deep mustard and one neutral black.

Pebeo paint jewelry canvas

 

Expression of impressions
Beyond the given painting, my inspiration comes from me visit to the Modern art gallery – particularly the Impressionist wing at the Metropolitan museum of art. So I call my work as my Expression of impressions on my mind there.
The first pendant is based on an idea I have been wanting to try for a very long time Mini canvas like pendants. For this piece I used artists’ canvas as the base and played around with Pebeo Prisma colors that I got at Michaels. In my metal image of the inspiration picture I saw bluish purple ( I guess that was my impressionist brain mixing colors by itself) so the pendant has a large dose of bluish purple in it due to which it looks cooler than the painting. I am still exploring bail and necklace options for it (nothing seems to work) so I am open to suggestions.
 
enamelled metal pendant

I was not sure if just a colored canvas pendant would be considered a valid entry for the challenge, so I made another. I used an embossed copper circle, that was flame painted and partially enamelled with Vitreous crackle enamel (made by me at beadfest). I added pebeo paints and Ice resin jewel tints to get paints streaks and texture on it. This just has a hole on the top as I am figuring out bead options to make it into a necklace.

air chasing on copper jewelry
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