30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry into Summertime!

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Summer is next week–can you believe it?! Are you ready?! One of my most favorite things to do in the summer is to plan activities that I wouldn’t normally get to do…this involves taking days off from work, surrounding myself with people I love, and living my best life. I also like making lists or a group of goals to complete over the summer–they can be wishful thinking or very, very serious. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of 30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry just in time for summer!

1. Pick a gemstone, any gemstone, and learn all about it.

2. Find a gem show that is coming to your area and attend!

3. Have a gem or mineral specimen collection? Reorganize it in a cool way.

4. Plan a trip to go gem mining.

5. Do you have a favorite Instagrammer in our jewelry community? Plan a summer meetup.

6. Pick a state that is somewhat close to you, and research the best jewelry store they have to offer. Plan a visit!

7. Make a cool treat on a hot day–these gem ice trays can be filled with any fruity liquid!

8. Find a gemstone print top, bathing suit or towel and wear it to the beach.

9. Reserve a day at the nail salon and go for a gemstone manicure!

10. Buy that jewelry book you’ve been eyeing and lay by the pool with it!

11. Scout out some amazing flowers in your city, buy them, and take some jewelry photos with them.

12. Find a new way of wearing some of your favorite pieces of jewelry.

13. Take a day to clean your most-worn pieces of jewelry.

14. Plan a SWAP party with friends that also love jewelry.

15. Pick a time period you don’t know as much about as your favorite jewelry period, and learn about it!

16. Spend an entire day “hunting” for antique jewelry online–but do it by a pool.

17. Learn about crystal healing and depending on where you live, schedule an appointment with an expert.

18. Throw a gemstone-themed party!

19. Learn about a new designer you’ve never heard of before.

20. Need a new way to store your jewelry? Splurge on a jewelry cabinet and reconfigure it if necessary.

21. Take a jewelry making class.

22. Decide on creating a charm bracelet or necklace–gather charms, buy some new ones and put it together.

23. Get something very special and sentimental made into a piece of jewelry.

24. Size all of your fingers and keep it written down.

25. Get registered to bid at your favorite auction houses.

26. Put on all your favorite Art Deco jewels and watch a 1920s old movie.

27. Hit up your local estate sales or garage sales. You never know!

28. Tell someone thank you by gifting them a piece of jewelry.

29. Get lost on Pinterest by searching “antique jewelry” or “jewelry.”

30. Pick your favorite medium (water colors, arcryllics, pencil, etc) and try drawing/painting a diamond.

xoxoGemGossip

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Let me know which of these you want to do! –> @gemgossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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Doyle & Doyle Debuts Rare Collection of Antique Jewels

1 doyle doyle antique jewelry rings crosses

Doyle & Doyle is thrilled to debut pieces from a spectacular cache of rare antique jewels, all acquired from a single collector. Including jewelry from ancient Rome, 17th century Spain, and 19th century France, these are the best examples of their type and many are hallmarked by well known jewelers. Keep reading for a sneak peek of the historic collection before it goes on exhibition at Doyle & Doyle in September.

2 doyle doyle micromosaic bangle brooch vatican workshop 3 doyle doyle antique micromosaic bangle vatican workshop

These exquisite micromosaic pieces date to the mid-19th century and are hallmarked for the Vatican Workshop of the Papal State.The Vatican’s mosaic studio was founded in the 16th century, its skilled artisans create artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons and pieces for the Pope to give as gifts. The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, Saint Peter’s Square designed by Bernini, and Raphael’s “The School of Athens” are among the many masterpieces you can discover at the Vatican. Originally founded in the 16th century, the skilled artisans working in the Vatican’s mosaic studio create pieces for the Pope to give as gifts and artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons. They also oversee and maintain the ten thousand square meters of colorful mosaics that adorn Saint Peter’s Basilica. This bangle and brooch are beautifully made, featuring glass tesserae so tiny that the designs look like paintings in shades of red, blue, green, and white. Perhaps a wealthy young man purchased them during his Grand Tour through Europe, or they were gifts to an important Church official. No matter their origin, they are little works of art that display the incredible skill of the Vatican’s workshop.

4 doyle doyle antique spanish gold crucifix choker long gold chains

The collection includes other ecclesiastical jewels in addition to the Vatican micromosaics, including a variety of gem-set and enameled crosses from many different periods. This striking dimensional crucifix cross is Spanish from the 17th century, detailed with enamel and engraving that resembles wood grain. Although probably not original, we love it worn on the black ribbon choker, especially when layered with antique gold guard chains. Although these are museum quality jewels, they’re definitely wearable!

5 doyle doyle antique diamond heart spanish reliquary

There are also charming examples of sentimental and devotional jewelry. The rose cut diamond encrusted heart hangs from a sweet rose gold dove. The diamonds are foil backed and you can see hints of pink, gold, and even green reflecting through the stones. The rare late 17th century Spanish reliquary pendant is a small compartment that holds a tiny bit of a saint’s blood. It’s backed by a hand painted figure of a female saint and framed by emeralds and garnets. This type of jewel was probably a private devotional artwork. Spain being an intensely Catholic country, people believed in the power of saints to affect their daily life. In additional to more traditional liturgy, 17th century Spaniards prayed to their personal saint to intervene and make their lives better.

6 doyle doyle arts and crafts turquoise pendant art nouveau enamel winged female pendant Gaston Laffitte

The other half of this incredible collection is comprised of museum quality Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau jewelry. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a direct response to the mechanization and poor working conditions engendered by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. Adherents looked to the Middle Ages, nature, and popular folk art for inspiration, seeking to return to an idyllic time before mass production. Shying away from precious materials, Arts & Crafts jewelers favored readily available gemstones, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine, opal, and moonstone. The delicate gold pendant is British, comprised of hand wrought wirework set with bright blue turquoise and glowing moonstone.

7 doyle doyle art nouveau plique a jour enamel necklace Gaston Laffitte silver locket Lucien Coudray

By the end of the century, Art Nouveau artists took the theme of nature to the next level. Art Nouveau jewelry often incorporated idealized female forms with swirling, whiplash hair framed by sensuous flora, like this striking silver mirror locket. Dating to 1900, this lovely piece is hallmarked for French jeweler Lucien Coudray. Coudray specialized in engraving medals and won several prizes for his artistry. Another popular form was a winged female with gossamer enamel wings studded with tiny gems or pearls. This statuesque dragonfly woman was created around 1900 and bears the hallmark of noted Art Nouveau jeweler, Gaston Laffitte. The light filters through the translucent green plique-a-jour enamel wings, creating a delicate stained glass effect.

This is just a small preview of the incredible historic collection – want to see it all? Doyle & Doyle is putting on a public exhibition in September. Email [email protected] for more information and to get on the invite list!

This post was contributed by Juliet Rotenberg of Doyle & Doyle, thank you!!

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Want more?! To check out the store tour of Doyle & Doyle, click here.

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Gem Gossip Visits Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, IL

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Victorian Earrings: Lot 30, Moonstone Necklace: Lot 17

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Bird brooch: Lot 36, Insect brooch: Lot 43

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Amethyst dangle earrings: Lot 11

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Cartier cigar band: Lot 214, snake ring: Lot 24, emerald ring: Lot 49

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Opal ring: Lot 264, Elongated diamond ring: Lot 515, sapphire ring: Lot 69

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Georgian emerald bracelet: Lot 4

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Peridot necklace (comes with matching earrings): Lot 27

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Opal ring: Lot 264, Morganite ring: Lot 61

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Turquoise and enamel brooch: Lot 33A, blue enamel and diamond brooch: Lot 54, Georgian pearl brooch: Lot 31

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Blue topaz collar necklace: Lot 247

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Aquamarine ring: Lot 48, Moonstone ring: Lot 260, Emerald & diamond ring: Lot 57 —- Glass scarab ring: Lot 8, Amethyst ring: Lot 683, Fire opal ring: Lot 5

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Blue enamel (made to look like lapis) and diamond brooch: Lot 54

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Georgian emerald bracelet: Lot 4, Gothic Revival bracelet: Lot 9, Emerald & diamond ring: Lot 49

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Peridot necklace and matching earrings suite: Lot 27

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Emerald & diamond ring: Lot 12, Emerald & diamond dome lattice ring: Lot 482A, oval opal ring: Lot 42

Leslie Hindman | Gem Gossip

Oval opal ring: Lot 42, Emerald & diamond dome lattice ring: Lot 482A, Emerald & diamond ring: Lot 12 —– Sapphire ring: Lot Lot 69, Elongated diamond ring: Lot 515, Opal ring: Lot 264,

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Moonstone Y-Necklace: Lot 17

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Cartier cigar band: Lot 214

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Gothic Revival bracelet: Lot 9

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I couldn’t tell you how much I was looking forward to meeting the jewelry team behind the Fine Jewelry Department at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago, IL. I’ve been in touch with the infamous windy-city based auction house since finding them online a few years ago. It started off with me registering to bid online at a few of their highlighted jewelry auctions, then I started to feature some of my favorite picks right here on Gem Gossip…then last year I consigned a ring of mine for Leslie Hindman to sell at auction. I was so pleased with how the whole experience panned out, from beginning to end, that I yet again consigned another ring from my personal collection. And what a treat it was to visit in person! Looking through auction catalogs is probably one of my most favorite activities, and to have that experience come to life is a dream come true.

Just as Leslie Hindman Auctioneers seeks out the finest in art, furniture, decorative arts and jewelry, their loyal clients have been bidding with the auction house for years, and have a distinct eye for the best too! Imagine my excitement as I entered the building to find a live auction going on right in front of my eyes–can you believe I’ve never actually been to an auction in real time (besides the car auctions with my dad, but those are outside and umm, unrefined to say the least)?! I received the grand tour and timing was great because all the furniture, fine art and decorative pieces that were currently selling in the auction room were neatly displayed between two large, sun-filled rooms. It looked like walking through an interior decorator’s portfolio. I spotted some gold mirrors and portrait paintings that I couldn’t stop staring at, but headed toward the jewelry department to get down to business.

Leslie Hindman’s Fine Jewelry & Timepieces department consists of Alex Eblen, graduate gemologist and director, James Wallace, graduate gemologist and timepieces specialist, two account specialists Madeline Schroeder & Katie Meyer, another graduate gemologist Meredith Derman, and finally, a cataloguer and jewelry specialist Jamie Henderson. Everyone had set up my favorite jewels in a large spread, front and center of the jewelry department, waiting for their time to shine. This experience for me, is comparable to visiting a dog adoption center–these pieces of jewelry were once loved, worn, and for whatever reason need to find new homes. Just like a dogs, I can’t help but want to take everything home with me! Instead of “cute and cuddly,” the jewels are so gorgeous and jaw-dropping.

Speaking of the jewelry I got to see, everything will be auctioned off on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 starting at noon CST with the second round starting the following day at 10am, and ultimately complete when the last lot is sold. This auction features 1,238 lots of some of the best pieces of fine jewelry, loose gemstones and timepieces. I’ve gone through and picked my favorites, which are seen here in these photos–a neat glimpse into seeing what the jewelry looks like on! I know every cataloguer in the game does the utmost to fully describe each item, including measurements of how wide and long pieces are, but it’s the buyers that can often overlook those details. I’ve been guilty of this myself–the garnet comet ring I bought at auction surprised me so much when I received it in the mail. It was WAY bigger than what I had thought it would be, even though the millimeter size of the stone was given. It ended up being a good surprise–and I hope these photos help put into perspective what each piece would look like on and how they could potentially fit into your collection!

Here’s all the important links you need to know if you plan on bidding at this sale.

Date: Day One April 23, 2017 NOON CST, Day Two April 24, 2017 10am CST

Link to online catalog

Link to register to bid online

Have questions? email someone from the jewelry department directly at [email protected]


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1338 W Lake St.

Chicago, IL 60607

www.lesliehindman.com

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Book Review: Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed

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Have you ever dreamed of going into the vaults and archives of the infamous, world-renowned auction house Christie’s?! I feel like I dream about that on a daily basis and although I’ve never gotten my chance, author Vincent Meylan may hold the key to unlocking that door with his latest book called Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed. In it, he chronicles some of the most headlining jewelry auctions–from British Royalty jewels, to Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, and everything in between. Mr. Meylan had insider’s access to the Christie’s archives to research for this book, where he brings hundreds of color illustrations, including more than 100 original documents reproduced just for the pages of this tome.

The history behind Christie’s is even more extensive than what I thought–with their first sale being on December 5, 1766! It is interesting to read that during this revolutionary time, the events that took place may have actually benefited Christie’s because so many people of royalty were being sent to the guillotine. Chapter two has quite the attention-grabbing title of “Murdered Queens.” The extensive stories behind each historical piece are quite fascinating, and I am thoroughly enjoying the paintings of the royals as well as photos of the jewels which illustrate the book. It gives you insight into European royalty as well, including history and intriquing stories behind many of their ill-fated lives.

Chapter 11 is a favorite, titled “Diamonds are Christie’s Best Friends,” it chronicles a few of the top-selling, biggest, rarest and most stunning diamonds to ever grace Christie’s auction floor. This chapter opens up about how mysterious and extensive their diamond sales were over the past couple centuries. The earliest diamond consignments reveal not much on where they came from…and in the same breadth, where did they end up once sold? A trio of rubies, for example, went up for auction in 1891. The weight and rarity of any one of these, if they were to resurface, would shatter any record ever set. So astonishing.

Aside from the last chapter, it is noteworthy to check out the Appendix. It lists significant names of pieces/collections that went up for auction by year, starting with the year 1767. It is a great, quick reference as well as a “who’s who” amongst those who sold pieces through Christie’s.

The auction world is quite mysterious, legendary and totally unique. It is one of my favorite parts of my jewelry hobby. This book encompasses all this and more, and should you find yourself daydreaming of all the jaw-dropping jewels that once passed through Christie’s auction house–you might want to buy yourself this book to know exactly how incredible they truly are!

To purchase your own copy of Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed, click below:

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Jewels at my Doorstep: FREYWILLE Jewelry

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FREYWILLE is a name synonymous with quality and fine craftsmanship. When the Austrian-based company reached out to me to feature their jewelry, I knew exactly how to make it come alive. After all, jewelry is just metal, gems and in FREYWILLE’s case, fine enamel–the moment you wear that jewelry it fulfills its destiny of what the designer intended his or her creation to become. Frey Wille’s new Ultimate Kiss Collection is the latest launch of jewels to be released. The collection is inspired by Gustav Klimt’s world famous masterpiece “The Kiss” and each piece, like all their jewelry, is handmade in their Vienna headquarters where it all started in 1951.

You may have noticed that FREYWILLE often uses famous paintings as inspiration for their fire enameled jewelry and you’re absolutely right! They’ve depicted several artists’ work, many of them being Austrian-born painters. Their first approach at using artwork as inspiration came in the 90s when the Claude Monet Foundation had FREYWILLE create a collection based off the artist. Since then, it has become their signature and their collectors eagerly await to see what the next beautiful scene will be depicted in the designs. As stated, the Ultimate Kiss Collection features Gustav Klimt’s work; the same artist has been featured in previous collections and it has a whimsical, colorful feel–perfect for an 18k yellow gold backdrop.

I love the jewels that were sent to me for this feature. I’ve been a fan of FREYWILLE for awhile now and particularly love their round ring design, which I made sure to be a part of the shoot. Something about the well-made disc, with a dome of enamel and a central diamond just gets me! FREYWILLE has boutiques worldwide–in fact they have over 100 in several different countries, spanning four continents! For my US fans, there are two locations stateside: one in NYC and one in Beverly Hills. For me, this was my first time ever holding a piece of FREYWILLE, as I’ve only seen their jewelry behind glass. And wow, what an experience! To touch the beauty and feel the hard work that has gone into each piece is fulfilling.

The ever-changing, bustling downtown streets of Nashville provided the perfect cool and modern backdrop for this shoot. Each piece popped against the bright orange crushed velvet and proved to be wearable in every sense of the word. Whether your style is sophisticated chic or laidback cool, these jewels from FREYWILLE will pair great with either look. I can’t wait to learn more about this creative company and see what new collections and artwork they will incorporate into their fine line. Happy 65 years FREYWILLE!

Jewels I wore in this feature; all can be found and purchased at shop.freywille.com:

18k Donna Bangle from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Nautilus Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k Tango Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Pendant with Angel Hair chain from the Ultimate Kiss Collection ​

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Earrings from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

All photography shot by Lauren Newman for GemGossip.com

This post was brought to you in collaboration with FREYWILLE.


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Online Jewelry making classes

I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops

I was talking to my friend and fellow blogger a few days back regarding her Europe travels and she remarked that she had only travelled to all those places as she was already stationed abroad and that it requires dedication to travel to another country (and continent) just to learn a skill and better yourself. She, ofcourse was referring to my latest USA travel to attend Beadfest Workshops. Some people might consider me lucky but only I know the hurdles that I had to cross and planning and work that I had to do (and still doing) to make the trip happen.
Many have also written to me asking if I could teach them enamelling or Precious metal clay that I learnt there. As a full time design educator, I am not someone who takes teaching lightly and without really practicing what I had learnt ( I mean I just did it once in a few hours time!) and experimenting with different techniques I cannot teach them.
But this Diwali, we are all indeed lucky. You and me can take any class we want, from world class instructors in the comfort of our our own homes for just $20 at Craftsy. Post contains affiliate links

craftsy classes sale

Yes you heard it right! Craftsy is now having a mega sale on its classes – you can learn anything from water color painting to how to sew a bra or how to solder metal for $20 starting today till Monday. Isn’t this a great Diwali bonus?
The best part about craftsy classes is, once you buy a class, it never expires. So you can watch the demo over and over again or go back to it and watch a particular step if you ever get a doubt which is not possible in a live class which far outweighs the other benefits

 

Craftsy online classes

I do agree that not everything can be learnt online, in a asynchronous platform. As jewelry being a touchy feely subject you might think that learning online might not work out for you. This issue can be simply solved by picking classes and techniques that can easily be learnt online. Here is a handy guide aka cheat sheet to help you figure that out.

How to Pick Jewelry making classes online

1. Material Availability – Pick a class where the materials are easily available to you (locally) or that use materials in stock as you need to be able to practise the skill that you just learned. For E.g – Take a Creative wire jewelry class if you already have base metal or artistic wire and required tools with you
2. Technique Up gradation A new or advanced technique class where you have experience with the material For e.g A Metal Form folding class will help advance your sheet metal skills, A Resin casing and sculpting class will help you further polish your resin jewelry making skills

cheat sheet on how to pick a online class

3. Learning tips and tricks To get guidance from a master – to learn tips and tricks of the trade. If you are self taught in soldering, then taking a course like Soldering Success in Every Scenario will equip you with tips and tricks that you would take years to learn by yourself.
4. International Exposure Pick a class which is not taught locally in your state or country. Believe me, it is much easier (and cheaper) to import materials and try out a technique taught online rather than flying to another country to try learning it, especially if you are not sure if you are going to practice it professionally after learning it. It is almost impossible to find a tutor to teach Torch fired Enamelling in India but it can be easily learnt online.

Pin or print out the above cheat sheet on how to pick a online class and use it as a guide whenever you are faced with a dilemma. Remember to never let your age, health or financial issues come in the way of your learning to be the best that you can be. Whether you are looking to add a new skill to your repertoire or pursue a new hobby, I hope that craftsy’s classes give you the best that you are looking for.


I hope you found it interesting. Wishing you all a very very Happy Diwali. May this festival of Lights with your lives with happiness and prosperity Cheers

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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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DIY 4th of July Tasseled Choker necklace

People, who dress up for the holidays often do so for the spirit of the celebration without really being concerned about fashion trends.

People, who dress up for the holidays often do so for the spirit of the celebration without really being concerned about fashion trends. This very same reason, on the other hand also stops people from dressing up, out of fear of looking dated or jaded. In my opinion, the best way to dress up for the holidays would be with accessories that are absolutely in trend. With 4th of July fast approaching, here is a really quick DIY necklace that combines two of this season’s most favourite trends – choker necklace and tassels. This necklace can be made in less than an hour’s time, making it the perfect “day before” project. Here is what you need

Tasseled Choker necklace
Materials
Blue Bernat mega bulky yarn
– red embroidery thread
– white or off white embroidery thread
– blue embroidery thread
– Scissors
– Fabric glue

Method
Make the tassels: These mini tassels are a lot of fun and are very easy to make.
1. Wrap embroidery red around the first and middle finger of your non dominant hand 15-20 (until you get the desired thickness). #Tip: Start wrapping with the end facing downwards, it can be trimmed later.
2. Slide it off your finger and tie a knot about 1 cm from the top.
3. Trim the ends to make them level and flush it out. Repeat steps 1-3 to make 3 more tassels and keep them aside

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