Antique & Vintage Engagement Rings Perfect for a Summer Proposal

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If you read articles frequently on the Internet about “the perfect time to propose” you’ll find that both jewelry stores and the general public see an up tick in proposals and engagement ring shopping around the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s). If you ask any girl awaiting that fateful question of, “will you marry me” you’ll most definitely find that to her, ANYTIME is an ideal time to propose. I personally think that the summer would be a perfect moment to get down on one knee. You could plan a summer getaway, do something fun outdoors, go to the beach…the ideas are endless–and there’s just something special about the summer that one can’t describe.

I’ve teamed up with Bailey’s Fine Jewelry to bring you some enticing engagement ring choices to create ideas for styles you may want to explore or to even find your ring for you (it could be one of these featured!). With four locations across North Carolina, Bailey’s has an incredible selection of engagement ring choices that can’t be beat. And if perhaps you want something vintage or antique, they also specialize in that category as well, which is what we’re going to be focusing on! These rings have just been acquired and have just gotten their close-ups. Now the last step for them is to get slipped onto a forever finger. Will it be yours?

Alternative Elongated Antique Styles

One of my favorite antique styles is this elongated look, which I think makes such a stunning engagement ring choice. These will make anyone do a double take, especially if you want a bold look. Who says all engagement rings need to be a single stone? There are so many different styles with this design–some more scalloped than others, some more floral in design, others very geometric and pointy. All these below would make great choices. You can shop and get more info on each by clicking directly on each photo.

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Fancy Floral Alternative Choices

Flowers are more than just a pretty plant–they are highly symbolic, especially in vintage and antique jewelry and are timeless choices for an engagement ring. Every wedding includes a gorgeous bouquet, but the sad part is that bouquet will die. I have mine sitting at the top of my closet, collecting dust and I’m unsure if I should throw it out or keep it. With a flower arrangement worn on your finger made of diamonds, you never have to worry about it dying! Below are some wonderful choices if you’re into floral engagement rings–click on the photos to get more info and pricing.

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Bring Back the Band

For a sleek, easy going engagement ring style that is can be worn every day, a simple band style is becoming quite popular. The wider style allows you to not have to wear a wedding band–so a two-in-one kind of ring is a smart choice for many. The vintage styles above showcase diamonds and design styles unlike any solitaire you’ll find and it is the unique patterns that often draw people to this choice. You can shop the below styles by clicking on the photos!

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Add a Splash of Color

Sometimes an all-diamond look is not for everyone. Some women prefer color and live colorful lives – and so should their engagement ring! Lucky for you, gemstones come in all sorts of colors, and with an educated choice, you can find the perfect stone for you. Whether you are a lover of pinks, greens, blues or even orange, vintage and antique jewelry utilize lots of stone examples, and the possibilities are endless. When choosing softer stones, be aware that you shouldn’t wear them everyday! Below are some great examples and if you click on the photos you can shop each one!

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This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Bailey’s Fine Jewelry.

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Doyle & Doyle Debuts Rare Collection of Antique Jewels

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

1. The first diamond engagement ring in recorded history was presented by the Emperor Maximilian I of Austria to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was set with diamonds in the shape of the letter ‘M’.

2. A new trend for ‘acrostic’ engagement rings emerged during the Victorian period in Britain. These featured words spelled out by the first letters of the gemstones set in the ring. The word ‘regards’ was a favorite, spelled out using a ruby, followed by an emerald, then a garnet and so on.

3. The phrase “Diamonds are forever” has entered the vernacular and lent its name to Sean Connery’s final film as James Bond but did you know that it was originally an advertising slogan? It was coined by De Beers in 1947 to kickstart diamond sales after a lull caused by the Great Depression and World War II.

Diamond Rings

4. Natural diamonds are extremely old and take around a billion years to form in the Earth’s molten interior. Stones used in engagement rings can be anywhere from 900 million years old to an astounding 3.2 billion years old.

5. The ‘carat’ is the main measurement used to judge diamonds and refers to the weight and size of the stone. It is so called because originally carob seeds were used as counterweights for the scales used to weigh diamonds. A modern carat is a metric unit equivalent to 200 milligrams, or 7 thousandths of an ounce!

6. The color of a diamond is another of the major factors that determines how much it costs. Color is graded on a scale that judges how colorless the diamond is, with white stones being the most desirable and thus expensive.

7. Which isn’t to say that other colors of diamonds aren’t much sought after. ‘Fancy diamond’ is the term used to describe a stone when its color falls outside the normal color range. Fancy diamonds can be blue, green, red, yellow, pink and even purple or black.

Alternative Engagement Rings

8. Every precious gem is rated for hardness using the Mohs scale. This is a measure of how resistant the stone is to being scratched. Diamonds top out at 10 on the Mohs scale and are one of the hardest naturally occurring materials in the world.

9. Gemstones with a Mohs rating of 8 or above are generally recommended for engagement rings, because they can stand up to the rigors of daily wear. Sapphires and rubies both score 9 on the Mohs scale while emeralds are only a 7.5 and opals ae just a 6.

10. In some countries, engagement rings don’t feature gemstones at all. The Claddagh ring, a traditional Irish ring, has a motif depicting a pair of hands clasped around a heart and a crown, symbolizing love, friendship and loyalty. While some more modern variants incorporate a ruby or other precious stone, the original version does not have a gemstone set in it.

For dozens more fascinating engagement ring facts, a hundred in all, check out ROX’s guide to All Things Engagement Rings.

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Gem Gossip Visits e. scott originals in Boston, MA

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Minutes outside of Boston, in a town called Somerville, e. scott originals is a jewelry shop and studio where owner and maker Emily Scott Surette and her sidekick Mayble (an adorable Boston Terrier) make dreams come true. For Emily, this space is perfect in every way possible–it fosters her love for interacting with customers and clients, the studio provides endless moments to create, and Mayble gets to greet everyone as they walk through the door! That’s exactly what the dog did when I entered the shop, wonderfully sweaty from the heat wave that followed us up to Boston from Tennessee. I immediately fell in love with the layout and how Emily has decorated e. scott originals. She has incorporated some antique furnishings and decor into the jewelry displays, with some gold frames and mirrors…even an antique chandelier.

There are a few things that make e. scott originals tick, and working with clients one-on-one, making custom pieces from a very personable interaction, is at the top of the list. Emily loves creating new heirlooms from old, passed down jewelry, diamonds and gemstones. She also uses mainly reclaimed, anitque diamonds and recycled metals within all her designs, which we all can appreciate. Custom engagement rings are a big part of what she does, especially with clients who want something local, made by hand and feel like they are a part of the creation process. Emily’s warm personality and welcoming demeanor is just what the jewelry-creating process needs, not to mention her skills and expertise.

Another large part of what e. scott originals does and creates is their own line of highly wearable jewelry. Items that can easily fit with your every day look, like layer-ready necklaces, unique and fashionable earrings and fun gemstone rings. These fill the shelves and cabinet cases of the store and are ready for purchase. They are also ready for other stores, as Emily is looking to expand her wholesale market. Her target audience is ideal for any self-purchasing woman, gift-giving ease, and the price points are great. I did a little self-purchasing myself when I was there–after trying on the long Tuck studs in 14k yellow gold, I loved the look of them and how they could be worn stacked with other earrings I already own. I had to have them!

Before I left, Emily showed me an “inner circle” box that is presented to every couple who purchases an engagement ring/wedding bands from e. scott originals. The box features local businesses that come highly recommended to help easily plan your wedding day. Anything from cake makers, to photographers, and everything in between. You can see the full list here — I love this idea and I feel it shows what kind of business Emily is running: one full of gratitude, creativity and soul! And in case you’re wondering, she is an awesome recommender, as her restaurant suggestions were top notch!

Check out some of my favorite pieces below that you can shop from home:

e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals e scott originals

E Scott Originals

199B Highland Ave.

Somerville, MA 02143

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewels at my Doorstep: Paige Novick

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If there’s one piece of jewelry you’ll always see me wearing, even if I’m in pajamas and have no other jewelry on whatsoever, it is my Paige Novick diamond ear cuff. Easily the most worn piece of jewelry that I own (yes, even surpasses my engagement ring) for many reasons, one being comfort, and the second without a doubt is its effortless way of making one look pulled together. That’s why when I found out Paige most recently launched a new collection called Powerful Pretty Things, I knew it was going to be great.

The inspiration on the new collection? Paige puts it best: “The more we disconnect as a culture through our myriad of devices, the more we will need to connect to something higher. Meditation has gone mainstream. We view this paradigm shift as an opportunity to bring the world of luxury and conscious living together. Hence, the genesis of Powerful Pretty Things—a highly-curated collection of modern relevant pieces with a focus on colored gemstones and their healing properties. By taking the concept of “crystals” out of its usual flower-child context into a luxurious space, we are redefining the category.” This adds a whole new dimension to wearing jewelry, and we’ve talked about the overwhelming popularity and intrigue of crystal healing powers just recently. With the help of some extensive research on Paige’s end, she has combined both worlds of jewelry and crystal healing into one, to enveil her new collection.

While mainstream consumers think “birthstone jewelry,” Powerful Pretty Things aims at going above and beyond this overly commercialized category and breathe new life into gemstone jewelry. Every piece in the collection is fun, easy-to-wear, sophisticated and on point! I was able to pick an entire look from the new collection and I kept in mind the cystal-healing properties while doing so. For me, I was drawn to pink tourmaline, opal, peridot and garnet–all four of those gemstone spoke to me and I absolutely love the combination of them.

I think you’ll love this new collection from Paige Novick. Take a look at the photos shot by Lauren Newman Photography against Nashville’s newest mural duo, completed respectively by one east-coast and one west-coast artist.

You can shop my entire look below:

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This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Paige Novick.

Paige Novick

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Weekday Wardrobe: New Favorites

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Since coming back from Vegas and NYC, my days have been long and filled with writing and running all kinds of errands. From Sunday morning brunches, to post office runs, to family dinners, my style has been changing daily and almost always depends on what I have planned. Some days I’m lucky if I get a chance to breathe fresh air outside, while other days I’ve spent more time on the road in my car than normal…but that is what I like about being self-employed and I’m excited for the summer.

Most recently, I was playing in my jewelry box and for some reason or another a lightbulb went off–I took my collection of figas and strung them on my hardwire gold collar necklace. As soon as I put the necklace on I knew that this was one of my greatest moves I’ve ever made. I’m obsessed with the look and it totally caters to my collecting mantra by displaying my pieces perfectly. I actually have 6 more figas that don’t have jumprings, so I’m off now to get them put on by my jeweler.

I’ve also been experimenting with different kinds of earrings to create a “full” look, meaning ALL the way up my ear. To achieve this look without the pain of multiple piercings, I suggest some comfortable ear cuffs. Some are more comfortable than others and it depends on the craftsmanship, so try them out–see if you’re able to wear for a full day before committing to buy.

In the first photo shown, I’m wearing a pair of ombré amethyst ear studs with jackets by Jewelmak. These are so cool and give me a pop of color, which is perfect for summertime. I kept it simple up top with 14k gold balls studs in various sizes, a Paige Novick diamond ear cuff and a vintage swirl motif ear cuff I found on Ruby Lane.

The photo below shows off my figa necklace and a carved opal necklace I recently sold. My earring look is simple to recreate; two pearl stud earrings of various sizes and a gold huggie earring from Stacy Nolan.

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day One: (spent doing emails all day and typing blog posts, hence the Beavis & Butthead t-shirt)

Elongated lapis and enamel ring, from Sarah’s Vintage & Estate Jewelry in Buffalo, NY

Antique diamond & sapphire ring from Excalibur Jewelry found in Tucson this year

Pear-shaped vintage lapis ring that I can’t stop wearing because it is so comfortable and bold

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Two:

Diamond crossover pinky ring by Halleh Jewelry

“Ring One” from my Gem Gossip Jewelry line, since retired

Fringe ring in 14k yellow gold by Ashley Childs

A stack of “Ring One with diamond” from my Gem Gossip Jewelry line, since retired

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Three:

Oval vintage Mexican ring done in 14k yellow gold

Crescent moon ring in 14k yellow gold by Amanda Hunt Jewelry

Dendritic agate ring from Joden Jewelry in Grove City, PA

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day Four:

Glass + 10k yellow gold ring, heirloom from my Gram

elongated diamond ring turn-of-the-century from my friend Priscilla

Diamond shaped ring set with old cut brown diamonds, from STORE 5a

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day 5:

turquoise baby rings, worn as pinky ring and midi ring

Victorian turquoise ring from eBay

Victorian turquoise ring with engraving on entire closed-back, from Gold Hatpin

Turquoise and diamond cluster ring found at the Nashville Flea Market

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Dupuis Important Jewels Auction Set for June 11, 2017

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Canadian auction house, Dupuis, has announced their upcoming Important Jewels sale, set for June 11th, 2017. The sale features over 400 lots of fine jewelry, ranging in time period and price points across the board. From antique and vintage engagement rings to designer hallmarked items, the sale is sure to satisfy any type of collector. I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite pieces above, with descriptions below…and I’ve made sure to already sign up to bid online! The sale is on a Sunday, so don’t forget!

Dupuis Important Jewels Auction >> June 11, 2017

Lot 54: Emerald and diamond antique ring, circa 1850 has topped my favorites list so far–this ring immediately caught my attention due to its age and how great of condition it is in. The emerald is approximately three carats with a closed-back setting, typical of the time period. Estimate: $3,655-5,117

Lot 94: Very unique diamond and colored diamond pendant/brooch which depicts the Roman Goddess Diana, a huntress with a bow and arrow. The diamonds are yellow, pink and colorless and form a really neat look when aligned with the outline of the figure. Estimate: $3,655-5,117

Lot 114: This vintage lapis and diamond bracelet steals the show in design and gemstone combination. The piece measures 6.5 inches in length and done in 18k yellow gold. Each lapis is set individually in a plaque-style and the bracelet easily articulates. Estimate: $1,901-2,632

Lot 142: Beauty and elegance; nothing like a Belle Époque piece. This brooch is set with an aquamarine and surrounded by diamonds, portraying a bow. I love the long length of it, as most bows are shorter and wider. By the way, this is all done in platinum! Estimate: $1,316-1,608

Lot 150: I made sure to include this aquamarine ring in my roundup of favorites because it is downright glowing from within! The intense aqua color is striking and I am also a fan of the split-shoulder setting. Can you guess how many carats the aquamarine is?! Try approximately 43! Crazy. Estimate: $9,503-11,696

Lot 173: A great example of a highly unique engagement ring–this ring features a 2.37 carat center diamond with a hexagonal frame around it. The ring is done in 18k yellow gold, is a size 5 and you may not be able to tell from the photo, but the shank is square not round! Estimate: $7,310-10,234

Lot 183: The radiating fire of this black opal is dynamic and striking to say the least! I love the design, as I feel it suits the play-of-color. I’ve learned that opals which exhibit red flashes and red play-of-color are most valuable, so this is truly a rare piece! It is mounted in 18k yellow gold and is an antique piece. Estimate: $1,462-1,901

Lot 184: Another radiant opal, this piece is a pendant that dates back to the early 1900s. It features some diamonds and demantoid garnets (green) and is done in platinum. Such a stunning piece! Estimate: $2,924-4,386

Lot 188: I went for the bold and bright colors on this ring! I also expected this piece to be a signed piece, but I don’t think it is. We’ve got amethyst, pink sapphires, and diamonds mounted in 18k gold. A bold look for a colorful woman! Estimate: $1,462-1,901

Lot 212: Sea shells fit for an enchanted mermaid–these earrings are made entirely out of gemstones and gold! We’ve got tourmalines, peridot, topaz, and cabochon sapphires here…set in 18k yellow gold and signed by Fochtmann and numbered 0066. Definite masterpieces! Estimate: $1,462-2,193

Lot 254: The amount of funky designs I am thinking up using these unmounted tourmalines has my head spinning! What unique colorings?! Pastels at their finest–what would you create using them? The pale pink round tourmaline and minty blue round tourmaline are a great pair, but when you add in the bi-colored cushion cut, it makes the lot! Estimate: $1,462-2,194

Lot 274: Big and bold; this modern take on an asymmetrical engagement ring design keeps us on our toes and wanting me unique designs! The old marquise cut diamond weighs approximately 1.90 carats and is truly one-of-a-kind. Estimate: $5,117-6,579

Lot 328: I also like this engagement ring because it is both modern and chunky at the same time. The round center diamond is about three carats and is safely set in a bezel of 14k white gold. There are also ring guards done in yellow gold, which turns up the design element. Estimate: $13,158-16,082

Lot 383: A large and rare no-heat sapphire that is pear-shaped and totally gorgeous. The sapphire weighs 10.32 carats and set beautifully amongst a necklace of 18k yellow gold and a wonderful design. Between the pinwheel style of the main design and the attention to detail, this necklace will surely fly off the auction block! Estimate: $23,392-26,316

Lot 395: It doesn’t get much better than antique Tiffany & Co. and this ring is the epitomy of grace and style! Set with a center emerald cut sapphire weighing 4.65 carats, flanked on each side by a pair of old pear-shaped diamonds weighing approximately 2.50 carats, finished in platinum. A stunning piece of history, that is just as beautiful today. Estimate: $87,720-109,650

Lot 397: Large and in charge–this diamond solitaire ring is not playing around! Weighing in at a lofty 6.35 carats and set in 18k white gold. I like the simple, classic mounting with the six-prong setting. It is perfect for a diamond like this! Estimate: $43,860-58,480

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Dupuis.

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Top Ten Rings from STORE 5a in Columbus, OH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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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