Jewelry Collection Stories: Emily of @GemCircus

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We are kicking off July with an incredible jewelry collection story from Emily, also known as @GemCircus. If you’re a part of the jewelry Instagram community, you’ll easily recognize some of the jaw-dropping pieces in Emily’s personal collection. From the way she styles her necklace layers, to ring stacks, arm parties, and everything in between, we love her taste and enthusiasm for antique jewelry. I’m so excited she has agreed to share her story with us, so let’s sit back and enjoy:

My love for vintage and antique collecting started when I was a teenager, after my family moved to Vancouver, Canada, from Hong Kong in the early 1990s. I remember it was July when we arrived and I would walk to the nearby library every other day to borrow books to read (our container didn’t arrive almost a month later so all I have in my room were merely a bed, a built-in closet and my backpack). I started to notice our neighbours’ garage sales in my walks and I was amused at the things people were selling – from snow cone machines to music records, jewelry to stuff toys. That summer of looking through other people’s belongings and engaging in rapports gave me a sense of belonging and connection to the community. Ever since then I have become a frequent visitor to community flea markets, thrift shops and antique shows.

My jewelry obsession started around early twenties with vintage jewelry, in particular charms and silver filigree bracelets. I love to style them on mixed metal chains and I still love styling them now.

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I wasn’t picky and didn’t have a favourite period at that time so I usually picked up quirky little things like brooches, pins, jewel “plaques” (which I found out they were called “clasps” later) etc. Even though my collecting seemed to be random at that time, I was already drawn to jewelry that have motifs, like this brass crescent with hand and arrow and the clasped hand ring that I found in a thrift store. Looking back, I believe my love for antique sentimental jewelry originates from this pair!

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A lot of my Instagram followers already knew that I adore Georgian and Victorian sentimental and mourning jewelry, as well as portrait jewelry. This probably relates to my “innate sensitiveness” (as Carl Jung coined it) and the way I see jewelry as not merely an adornment but also a medium for expression, an art, an identity of who we are.

After I started reading books on lover’s eye, portrait miniature and mourning jewelry, I became obsessed with researching stories behind the jewelry that I collect. I realized that the brass crescent and the hand motif ring are not ‘funky little things’ as I thought in my teenage days, they actually carry specific meanings – love, new relationship and friendship – in the Victorian era. As my jewelry collection matures over time, I began to search for jewelry with motifs or meanings, like the urn, masquerade (masked lady), hand (figa, clasped hand, claddagh), heart (double-heart, flaming heart), star and crescent, buckle, swallow, snake, fern, acoutistic (“REGARD” and “DEAREST”) and Halley’s comet etc.

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I like to think that every piece of antique jewelry carries its own story of those before us, and I’m a custodian carrying on its legacy while creating my story with my collection. I love styling and always try to mix and match, experiment with different stacking and mixed metal, and do simple conversions to make every piece wearable. You can see from my Instagram photos that I’ve worn a big opal crescent brooch with another monkey brooch in the middle, stacked seven Art Deco wedding bands to make a statement ring, wrapped my wrist with antique chains and added a micromosaic brooch on top, stacked an Art Deco paste bracelet with a Hermes red enamel bangle, wore brooches on hats, and layered antique gold chains with watch chains. The fun is endless!

I shop everywhere but recently it’s largely online as there aren’t any antique jewelry shops in Hong Kong. I love the Instagram community as I’ve met so many wonderful souls (many of whom have become friends for life) around the world that share my obsession in antique jewelry. I always visit antique and jewelry shops when I travel too. It has been a tradition to bring back a piece of jewelry from each city that I visit.

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One of my obsession is Georgian masquerade jewelry: masked lady ring with ruby bonnet and rose cut diamonds from @karendeakin.antiques ; locket from @abrandtandson and the most recently acquired oval ring from @bijouxvictim

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Ring stacking is a daily essential for me: Georgian blue enamel rose cut diamond urn ring from @lenoredailey ; the moonstone on the mourning ring was a gift from my jeweler in Vancouver (he has kept it for 40 years!) and it fits perfectly on the bezel of the once empty mourning ring; flat cut garnet band from @antiqueanimaljewelry

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Mourning rings and figas: these enamel mourning rings are too big to wear so I usually wear them on gold chains as pendants. The twin coral figas were acquired from different continents yet they look so much alike. The one with emerald and diamonds was found in a UK auction and the one with seed pearl top was found in an antique show in Vancouver.

xoxoGemGossip

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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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Spring Cleaning Your Jewelry Box: Gem Gossip’s Tips!

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It’s that time of year–spring cleaning! I tried Googling some spring cleaning facts and came up with 77% of people say they spring clean every year. I’m not sure how accurate that is, but I would think that is a decent amount and glad to know that. I guess the other 23% are either lazy or have a hoarding problem…? I am definitely in the percentage that spring cleans…and I actually like to do a deep cleaning a couple times a year, not just once. When people mention spring cleaning, most think of their house–but I’d like to focus in on spring cleaning jewelry for this article. And just like spring cleaning your house, there are several similarities to spring cleaning your jewelry and the end results will have you feeling revitalized and happy.

Let’s get started:

1. Storage Solutions:

Keeping your jewelry safe, all in one place and consistently visible are three key points for a superb storage solution. I highly recommend the jewelry box that I own, however I did make a lot of changes to it–like ripping out shelves and swapping them out for more ring storage. The jewelry box that I have is from Lori Greiner and I bought mine off QVC about 8 years ago. Since then, they have made a few modifications to the design, but overall it is the same: a mirrored “cabinet” that has built-in everything! Here’s a similar one for sale at Target. It’s ok to have other jewelry boxes–I have several antique ones that I use for either travel or taking photos with–but for the most part, I keep everything in one home base.

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2. Clean Your Actual Jewelry:

After you’ve established your storing options, it wouldn’t be called “spring cleaning” unless we actually cleaned our jewelry! I will admit that I don’t clean my jewelry daily…or weekly…or even monthly for that matter. The only exception to this would be my engagement ring which I make sure to clean monthly and earrings that I wear often. Because I have so many rings, there are very many that get worn only a handful of times in one year, so I often wear and return back to its storing spot without cleaning.

An occasion like spring cleaning is the best time to give all your jewelry a good soak. For this step, I want to stress that many antique pieces should not be cleaned at all. Items like foiled backed gemstones, hair jewelry, mourning pieces, tiny rose cut diamonds that are often irreplaceable, pearls and seed pearls, and other soft gemstone jewelry. This cleaning step I mostly do with my all gold pieces, 80% of my diamond jewelry, sapphire and ruby pieces. First, I get a soft toothbrush and run warm water and dunk the brush in Mr. Clean. I gently brush over each piece and then stick it in my ultrasonic cleaner. I have one I bought from Gesswein–the one that has a steamer and cleaner in one (but my steamer broke after one year of working beautifully). Those who know the power and strength of a steam cleaner will never go back to cleaning diamonds any other way–so sadly my broken steamer is also breaking my heart. Need a new one! I usually use water and either a small cap full of Mr. Clean or whatever cleaning solution your machine comes with.

Depending on how dirty each piece is would equal how long you put each item in the cleaner, but I would say 15-20 minutes is plenty. Another perk of having a jewelry background is having a really handy tool at my grasp–a microscope! I usually take a peek at my gemstone jewelry pieces and check all the stones before throwing them into the cleaner. Loose stones will only get looser, or even worse–fall out in the cleaner. That’s my only other pre-caution.

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3. Go Through Each Item:

Now that you have all your jewelry out of storage and mystery boxes, under beds, and out of old socks (yes, people stash things everywhere), it is a great idea to give each item a thorough evaluation. This is when you decide if you want to keep, trade, or sell–maybe even redesign. You should also take some photos of all your jewelry for inventory purposes and insurance purposes. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve looked through old photos and said, “hey, whatever happened to THAT ring??”

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4. Clean Your Actual Jewelry Box:

Day in and day out you open up your jewelry box, make your selections and then move on with your daily routine. A lot of dust, debris and dirty fingers can add up on your jewelry box, so it is just as important to clean your jewelry storage solution. I made a video of myself doing this and posted it on Instagram–it got a lot of attention because I was using a vaccuum hose attachment and using it without taking any of my rings out of the case. Of course I was being careful, but it is much smarter to do this step when everything is out. My biggest problem is Chiefy’s white hairs that somehow get on the black velvet padding of my jewelry cabinet. Using a hose attachment on my vaccuum is the best solution for this, but you can also use a lint roller. I also make sure to Windex the mirror on the front of my jewelry box and dust/polish the outer wood.

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5. The Finishing Touch:

You’re now on the last and final step to spring cleaning your jewelry box! You should feel really good by now and the best part is about to start. I suggest you put on your favorite tunes (obviously I will suggest Girl Talk Radio on Pandora) and get to work.

Start with organizing within each category–earrings, necklaces, bracelets, charms, and rings. I organize my earrings by studs, dangles, ear cuffs, etc. I have a row of pearl studs, a row of diamond studs…even yellow gold and white gold are separated. I used to organize my rings by how I acquired them–so I would just add my newest acquistion in the next available spot. I realized this wasn’t working out very well and one day I took everything out and organized it differently. I put similar styles together, similar stones together and motifs together. All my moonstone rings are together and they look way cooler that way. You can group by color of gemstone if you’d like–similar to how a closet is organized (definitely not my closet, but coveted closets). I have all my baby rings in a section of their own. I don’t have a particular way of organizing my bracelets or necklaces because I simply don’t have that many.

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I hope these tips will help you and motivate you to SPRING CLEAN your jewelry box! If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me–you can email me at [email protected] or Tweet me! @gemgossip

I’d love to see your photos or videos of you spring cleaning your jewelry box–please tag me!!

xoxoGemGossip

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My Jewel Box: What I Bought In Tucson & Miami 2017

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Hey guys & gals.

hahaha

I’ve never started a blog post like that before. Should I just leave it? Ok, I will.

Here is the long overdue blog post about the items I brought back from my trips to Tucson & Miami. Anytime I go to a jewelry show, I never know what I’m going to find so the energy is always slightly tense and adrenaline is constantly flowing. If I buy something at a show, I never know for certain if I’m going to keep it or sell it–I’ve realized I have to bring it home and introduce it into my collection, wear it a few times, and decide if it feels like it should be mine forever or not. I can’t tell you how I determine that, I just know.

This time around in Tucson, I never knew I would find a piece of jewelry I would love and end up keeping. I was totally focused on buying gems, crystals and random minerals (see second photo) but when I stopped by the Excalibur Estate Jewelry booth at AGTA in Tucson, the ring kind of found me. It didn’t help that I had been searching for a special client of mine for something just like this, but it was out of her budget. I bought it anyway. The whole rest of the trip, I treated it as though it was for my client and that I would be saying goodbye to it as soon as I got home. Every time I thought about selling it, I couldn’t! I also kept looking at pictures of it (actually the exact photo in this blog post) the whole plane ride home. I had to keep it.

My next trip to Miami was only a week later, so normally I would be like “my budget is DONE” after buying something like that in Tucson. I had some good timing with my EBTH sale being launched the same day Miami started. I took my entire inventory and put it up for auction with EBTH–sort of nail-biting as every piece is sold at no reserve–so yes several pieces went for hundreds less than retail value, but I was able to justify finding and buying three amazing new pieces for my personal collection.

The three rings in the last photo above on the left are my Miami Antique Show finds. The furthest one on the left is from Shelly Storch Fine Jewelry–I found it early on in the day on my last day, I made an offer which wasn’t accepted and then came back right before I left at the end of the day. This is one of those rings that you simply can’t stop staring at! The turquoise and black enamel ring was found at Haig’s of Rochester and I love the contrast of the turquoise with the enamel. I think it may have been a stick pin conversion–while most stick pins are tiny, this one is pretty large, which is what I like about it as well. The last purchase from the Miami Antique Show is the Art Nouveau diamond and black enamel ring from Marlene Wong Alvarado Antique & Estate Jewelry. She is a seller who has been in the business for YEARS and is based out of Corpus Christi, Texas. She told me she personally wore that ring for over 20 years, as it was in her personal collection and this was the first time she was offering it for sale. I told her I would take good care of it! It is marked Syman and I couldn’t find much about this maker online. I posted a photo of the ring on a Facebook Group I’m a member of–Antique Jewelry Identification Group–and my friend Jenn believes that it is a Colorado based company from the early 1900s. If you know more about this maker, please contact me!

xoxoGemGossip

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How to Edit your Jewelry Collection & Know When to Sell

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My jewelry collection has gone through SO MANY changes this past year. As a collector, it is important to edit your collection no matter what it is that you collect. My ring collection, for example, has shrunk by at least fifty rings recently and normally this would freak me out, but I actually feel really good about this decision. I recently came across this photo of my collection and was astonished by how many rings I actually had. A more recent photo is shown above, and you can see the amount that has been edited. This decision has allowed me to refine and be precisive about what I like, allowed me to purchase items that I thought were out of my budget, and allowed me to grow my collection in a new way (even though I was subtracting from my collection). You might be wondering how you can do the same, so I’ve put together some tips and recommendations on how you can do just that! And as always, happy collecting!

1. Although I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I’ve spoken with people who have and read a few blogs about this decluttering strategy. A part of me fears this technique, since I live in a world where I love my things and have way too many things, while another part of me thrives off of getting rid of stuff. It is a never-ending battle–but just as Marie teaches in her book, you must take each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy? Do this with your jewelry collection! You’d be surprised at what items you’ve been holding on to for the most random reasons, and how they actually spark the opposite of joy.

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2. Go through all your jewelry items and remove pieces that need repairs–these could be rings with missing stones, jewelry that you’ve always hated but wanted to give a “makeover” to, pieces that rarely get worn, or items that you’ve been meaning to convert into something else. Removing these from your main jewelry box will allow you to focus on what you have that is wearable and you often see things in a different light when there is less.

Once you’ve removed these items, put them in little baggies or envelopes and write on them what needs to be done to each piece so that you are able to love it again and wear it again. Is it a ring sizing? Write down “size ring to 5 to fit my ring finger” and then place it in a pile. If you’re redesigning pieces you own, feel free to draw to the best of your ability your design idea.

Now that you have all your “repair” items, find a reputable jeweler that you know and trust. Hopefully you’ve worked with him or her before so you know what to expect and know their capabilities. Set a goal of dropping off 2-3 items per week until all your repairs are finally finished. You’ll get momentum going once you’ve picked up your first batch of finished items–it’s like getting a new piece of jewelry all over again!

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3. Certain gemstones turn me off and you have to get comfortable with yourself as a collector to realize that. This means buying things at one time that you realize aren’t for you or just simply don’t like anymore. There are a few gemstones and gemstone colors that I’m not a fan of, but I used to be–colors that don’t really go with my skintone or aren’t pleasing to my eye as much as another color family. The point is to recognize this, either sell or repurpose these items to “edit” your collection, and then take the money you’ve made from selling these items to buy jewelry that fits within your new editing parameters.

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4. Trends come and go, but in the world of jewelry–certain trends stay longer than most disposable fashion trends. Also, like many trends, they can resurface several years from now and those items you “wish you had that you sold years ago” could be the next coolest thing. So, if you have a piece of jewelry that may be considered “trendy” but you honestly love it, but wearing it today may not necessarily fit with what you’re wearing now–I would think twice about selling something like this!

A prime example of this for me and my collection was the dainty jewelry trend (which is still actually very strong today). I liked this trend at first and it also fit with my budget a few years ago. I started gravitating toward bigger, bolder pieces and have never been able to look at a dainty ring the same again. I ended up selling most of my dainty rings and found that selling like five dainty rings could get me one bold piece, which was music to my ears. The bigger pieces bring me more joy and hopefully that doesn’t change anytime soon! 😉

Another examples of this is gold chains. Growing up, I received a lot of gold chains from my grandparents as gifts from Italy. I went through a phase in college where I only wore this one chain of my dad’s with a medallion of St. Anthony on it (my dad gave me both), so I sold every other chain I owned because I simply never wore anything else. Today, I would kill to have some of those chains now–there was some really cool pieces which now would be very trendy with the chain layering trend that is happening today.

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5. Knowing when, what and how to sell is a big task that has some complications here and there, but luckily if you purchased your items you want to now sell at the right price back then, it should be able to yield the same price if not more today. Jewelry is great like that because gold and gemstones are almost always valuable (I’m not talking about fashion jewelry or costume pieces).

If you haven’t worn a piece of jewelry for over five years, I think it is safe to say you should sell it–or at least ask yourself, why haven’t you worn it? Once you’ve gathered pieces that you feel ok with selling, now you have to figure out what platform you’d like to sell them.

Sites like eBay, Etsy and Ruby Lane are all great options if you have a large amount of pieces you’d like to sell. If you open a shop on any of these sites and you’re not a formal antique seller, it is important that you state that in your bio/about section. There is a big difference between a dealer and a collector who has lots of items and just wants to sell them. Be open to making mistakes and allowing to accept returns if it is your first time selling.

If you’re a collector on Instagram and a part of the Instagram Antique Jewelry Community (idk why I capitalized that lol) then selling some items on your Instagram page is a fast and easy way to accomplish that. It is also fee-free, whereas with the sites I mentioned above take a fee if you sell through them. But this option is only as good as the size of your audience. Etsy, eBay and Ruby Lane have thousands and thousands of visitors everyday, whereas your Instagram page might be short of that number.

You can also TRADE — I started the hashtag #gemgossipSWAP for those interested in posting items they’re willing to part with and find others’ who want to trade as well. I’ve personally used the hashtag myself and am now the proud owner of a ring I traded with someone.

xoxoGemGossip

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Five Important Things I Learned from Being a Jewelry Appraiser

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Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a profession such as “jewelry appraiser.” It was something that I fell into by chance and I’m grateful/thankful everyday for that–because although I never thought it would be something I would do, there wasn’t a day that went by which I didn’t learn something new during that time. My mind was like a sponge during the first few months of picking up the skills of jewelry appraising–from measuring, to formulating, comparing and researching–everything came almost naturally for me. Market values and research were aspects I really enjoyed about the job. Things like checking out auctions results, following market trends, and so on–these are things I still do to this day although I don’t appraise jewelry on a regular basis anymore. From the moment I picked up the profession and for five years straight, I appraised piles of 10-25 pieces on a weekly basis–that is, fully written up, documented appraisals for insurance purposes. I’ve worked with clients of all walks of life, even traveling to rural Illinois to appraise an entire estate of about 100 items.

Being a jewelry appraiser is a fun job and very rewarding, but also has its downfalls. For me, personally, I worked in an office with no windows. The days were long when you had piles of jewelry to appraise–just you and a microscope. My eyesight has never been the same, but obviously aging will also do that to you. I enjoyed breaking stereotypes of a “typical appraiser.” Young women usually aren’t the ones getting pulled from the back of a jewelry store when someone has a question about their jewelry. I remember a customer telling me, “wait you’re the appraiser? I was expecting an older man!”

I’ve been putting together this list for awhile now and wanted to share my top insights/important things I’ve learned from my five years of being a jewelry appraiser–let’s start from the top:

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1. While most appraisals I’ve done were dealing with happy clients that were getting insurance on their items to hopefully prevent anything bad from happening so they could potentially be covered–I also dealt with the opposite. So many disgruntled clients who were stolen from or lost an item that they deemed “irreplaceable” only to have it vanish. It happens–jewelry gets stolen, jewelry gets lost. I couldn’t recommend getting your jewelry appraised enough! I have never heard so many of the same stories of how things got stolen–the caregiver, the plumber, a son/daughter’s friend that came over, the list goes on. Bottom line, if you frequently have people coming in/out of your house–your jewelry items need to be insured and hidden.

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2. I’ve also appraised lots of items that were randomly found by people–whether it was on the ground, inside an old house that was being renovated, or at garage sales in a junk pile–dreams do come true and treasure is still out there!! My favorite story comes from a lady who was renovating a house that was recently purchased. She was moving an old, tall grandfather clock that was left with the house, when she noticed something behind the pendulum part of the clock. It was a ring box with a solitaire ring inside. She thought for sure it was fake, but sure enough it was an Old European cut diamond that was 1.50 carats and worth $10k!

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3. There are a lot of appraisers out there that aren’t doing it right. They think putting a crazy high value on a retail replacement appraisal will make their customer happy because it is nowhere near what they paid for that same item. So, this in turn makes the customer incredibly satisfied, thinking they got a steal of a deal. It is crazy because I honestly can’t even find comparables or a way to justify valuing some jewelry items so high. In the end, it doesn’t really help anyone because the customer ends up paying higher deductibles on insurance and also when they go to sell their jewelry, they have this clouded value of what they think that item is worth. Find an appraiser that is putting reasonable values on things and not outlandish replacement values.

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4. If there is any type of jewelry that I feel doesn’t hold its value over time, it would have to be watches. I know so many people are going to hate me for saying this, including my husband who invests in Rolexes (not smart lol), but it is true. Resale values on watches are usually less than 1/3 of what you paid for it. That is relatively speaking though. And yes, there are some watches that age like fine wine and hold, if not increase, their value.

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5. You’re only slightly offending your appraiser when you ask to be present while appraising your jewelry. This was my number one request I would get asked when people would make an appraisal appointment. It was hard to make exceptions for people and allow them to come back into normally-closed-quarters for the public. But at the same time, I could relate and understand where they were coming from. I can’t imagine leaving my engagement ring with someone for several days to get appraised. So while it may easily be taken offensively from an appraiser’s point of view, looking at it from a concerned client’s point of view helps. And yes, I would make exceptions–but no, not everyone does!

xoxoGemGossip

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*All above photos are pieces of jewelry I’ve appraised during my five years as a jewelry appraiser. None of them belong to me.

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Jewelry Marketing 101: What’s NOT Working

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So you’re the creative type…or the type that has a unique eye. You’re a jewelry designer, an antique jewelry seller, or someone that has jewelry ready to sell. Jewelry marketing is a whole different realm of what most would consider typical jewelry business tasks. It is something I never thought I would be able to give my opinion on, but I can because I’ve lived it and found myself in this sector of the business more than I realized. I’m trying to break down my tips into simple steps anyone can take, whether you’re a veteran in this business and want to try something new or if you just graduated from a trade school with a jewelry collection on the horizon. So here is my list of ways you can market your brand or your jewelry line, with an emphasis on things that also DON’T work!

1. Photography is everything! Invest in a good camera or better yet, someone that is a photographer with jewelry or product photography as their specialty. If you ask anyone, they will tell you–jewelry is so hard to photograph! And they’re right.

Good photos may be a key aspect to showing off jewelry and that isn’t groundbreaking news. But what I’m about to say next might be: don’t use photos that are highly photoshopped or unrealistic. As a consumer, we want to see the actual piece of jewelry in a real setting–make it relatable, attainable. I don’t want to see an overphotoshopped model wearing jewelry in a posed setting with a fake smile. I want to see real women wearing jewelry in their everyday lives. Editorial shoots are cool, but just don’t overphotoshop.

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2. Social media platforms are SO important. Set yours up to look professional, concise and engaging. You want someone to look at your page and become interested. Grab their attention. Something that is quite popular right now is having a condensed, clean look that all flows together. Basically, a uniform and on-brand look. Every picture fits with your brand and is professionally executed.

This sounds all good, but I’m actually going to tell you the opposite. I like when jewelry brands mix things up, keep me on my toes and post photos that are off-the-cusp. Keep me INTERESTED. Uniform branding is often BORING. For example, here’s what not to do: first post is a high res image of a ring, next photo is a quote, next photo is the jewelry worn on a model, next image is a bunch of flowers, and then it repeats without missing a step. Nothing random ever thrown in the mix. Don’t do that!

I’ve asked Brooke of Arrow & Anchor Antiques, which boasts nearly 18k followers on Instagram with only 550 posts ever, what her opinion on the matter is…she says,“I am hesitant to have a uniform branding for my company. My aesthetic is my brand and it’s all over the place. I dig that. It may not appeal to the masses, but is that really my target audience? I’m selling one-of-a-kind vintage and antique pieces that might be better sold in an intimate setting like a trunk show or private sale.”

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Festive 2016 collection

Sayuri has been known for its thematic well planned seasonal collections but it always wasn’t the case.

Sayuri has been known for its thematic well planned seasonal collections but it always wasn’t the case. When I started Sayuri in 2008, I wasn’t trying to cater to a particular audience who like thematic pieces, I was attempting to strike a chord with every woman who wanted something unique and special, something that she would not find anywhere. So I made ranges of jewelry – pieces to fit every style, every color and every price point. Eight years later, life has come a full circle for me and here is a Festive collection that is literally a collection of random thoughts, concepts, and designs.
Presenting pieces from the Festive 2016 collection that are in shades or blue and pink. I’ll post the remaining designs in a following post.

Festive 2016 collection

Unique, handmade colorful beaded necklaces with a variety of interesting mixed media pendants.

Vibrant Lotus Necklace – A long statement necklace with a Lotus paper and resin pendant and multicolored beads
Luminescent sea – Inspired by the frothy sea waters and floating algae the beaded necklace of glass and howlite beads come with a shimmery mixed media pendant.

Beach sparkle necklace – Silk cord necklace with glass beads and a silver foil – paper pendant set in resin
At Indian beaches you can see a rare sight – of women dressed up in silks, flowers and in their finest jewels (particularly during festivals) as opposed to being in quick drying beachwear as in other countries. My necklace though made in traditional blues and greens of the beach theme have elements like silk cord, rhinestones and metal foil to as an ode to this interesting fashion adaptation that is based on a social agenda of looking your best when you go out with your family.

Colors pops – Looped beaded necklace in bright colors with brass links. Picture a Saturday evening at the beach during sunset – its cool, a bit crowded and completely colorful with an energetic vibe. Colorful umbrellas, balloons, cotton candy stalls, and kites dot the beach completely replacing the brown and blue color spectrum with lots of vibrant colors.

Reflections Dew Drop: Icy blue crystal necklace with a Silver foil pendant that has a matt blue patina on it. For added interest I have used silver foil glass beads and silver crystals along with purple glass beads and a double sided purple and green matt crystal bead. The necklace has a lot of intrinsic shine but without that blingly over the top rhinestone type of shine.

So how do you like these pieces? yes, some of them were made for various challenges (ABS, BNB – “The day at the beach”, etc,.) and with certain tweaks, I thought that they would all fit in.
They are all available for sale, please email me to buy

I hope you find it interesting
Cheers

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

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Tips & Tricks on Effectively Using Snapchat or Instagram Stories

Janna Conner Janna Conner

One way to “bring to life” your brand is through Snapchat or Instagram Stories. Over the last few years, Instagram has become such an integral part of business and branding, it sort of has become a place where jewelry designers, jewelry stores and influencers have gone to display their aesthetic and grow their following. Sometimes an Instagram account can grow stale–although photos that are pleasing to the eye may continue to grab your audience’s attention, how can you suplement this platform and bring your photos to life?? That’s where Snapchat and Instagram’s newly launched “Instagram Stories” comes into play. You can ignore them all you want, but these additions are fun ways of engaging fans and you may be missing out on a new, up-and-coming niche.

That’s why I’ve elicited the help of jewelry designer Janna Connor to share her tips and tricks to effectively using Snapchat and/or Instagram Stories. Her brand has no doubt grown because of social media and she is always ready to take on the next big thing. Janna’s use of both these platforms as one of the first and few jewelry designers to use them and DO IT WELL has gained a lot of attention. Her quirky snaps, glimpses of everyday life of a jewelry designer and peeks of her personal life are leaving her fans wanting more.

So without further ado, take it away Janna:

“Ok so you’re on Instagram, that’s great. But don’t kid yourself by saying you don’t need to be on Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat as well. According to Forbes, “Over 60% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 38 are Snapchat users.” What is so great about Snapchat and Instagram Stories? While Instagram is the glossy magazine editorial layout, Snapchat is the more personal behind the scenes look to Instagram’s manicured perfection. Instagram’s answer to Snapchat Instagram Stories came out earlier this month and has been a massive hit. Why? Because it’s so easy to use and easy to find people on it, both things that unfortunately Snapchat is not. But Snapchat can become easy if you spend a little time on it everyday.

Here are my 5 tips for killing it in the Insta-stories/Snapchat world:

1. Be consistent. That means you have to post everyday. Not just once a week, not just when you feel like it but everyday. If you are consistent about posting then people will expect and look forward to watching your content. If you’re erratic and all over the place with your posting schedule then people will get bored and move on. Even if you are overwhelmed by the prospect of posting on yet another social media channel, don’t over think it. Start simple. Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee? Snuggling with a favorite pet? Going for a walk in a scenic area? Checking out a new store? Post it. If there are some days when you just aren’t feeling it then give yourself a pass and post only a few times. Increase gradually and work up to posting more. As they say, fake it till you make it. The more you do it the more second hand it will become and the easier it will become.

2. Just like on regular Instagram, don’t dump all your content at one time. That’s a major pet peeve. Think about it: If you see 15 pictures in a row, by the time you get to 15 you are not nearly as excited/focused as you were on 1-3. We’re all busy, with limited time and a lot of people we follow and a lot of content to get through in a day. But if you post 5 times a day, 3 pics each, then chances are people will stick it out and see all of your content. And the whole reason for posting is so that people will see it, right? So make it easy for them. Also, by posting several times a day, you will continually be moved to the top of the feed and the chances that people will see your post will increase dramatically.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

3. So, really what’s so great about Snapchat and Instagram stories anyways? Everything. Until recently when they added the Camera Roll function to SC and currently with Insta Stories is that you have to take the picture/video solely within the app. That means no Facetune no Snapseed, no photo retouching (with the exception of Snapchat’s amazing filters!). Just what you snap is what you get. What’s great about this is that it enables you to be a lot freer with your content. It’s not going to be perfect but it doesn’t have to be…because it only lasts for 24 hours! So who cares if a snap isn’t taken at the most flattering angle or you have a blemish in another… Big deal! It’s only up for 24 hours and you can always delete it later. That’s not to say you should post completely indiscriminately. Of course not. I would advise against posting anything lewd, illegal and no drunk pics. If you are a public profile then keep in mind that anyone can see these, including your coworkers and employees. So have fun but keep it clean guys! Another thing I love about Snapchat is that nobody can see how many followers another account has or how many views their content received. It really evens the playing field so there isn’t this overt competition to posting. It’s just for fun and that’s something that I think people gloss over too quickly. Sometimes it’s good to just do things because they’re fun or silly, it can stimulate you in many unforeseen creative ways and you may not even know it!

4. Now, you know when to post and how to post but how about what to post? Coming up with new ideas for content can be challenging. I recommend doing a little research and checking out what those you admire are up to. Take notes on what you like and what you don’t like and try it out for yourself. If you have new product coming in, snap it. If you have new packaging in, take a snap. Trying out a new restaurant, take a snap. Traveling somewhere interesting, take a snap. Think about what things you would find interesting and include those. Now, please don’t take a million different snaps of the same restaurant or the same place, just a few will suffice. Less is more! I’m a jewelry designer, and I have access to tons of jewelry, so I often post a pic or a video of what I’m wearing everyday. I figure it might be interesting for others to see how I put my jewelry together and how I accessorize. If I have new interesting stones in, I snap them or if there is an interesting piece in progress, I take a snap. I try to keep it to things that wouldn’t necessarily look great as a finished image on Instagram but are still interesting. Insta stories and SC is a great way for people to see behind the scenes into what makes you, you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. This helps to personalize you and make you more relatable. I like to do seasonal style guides or cross promote blog posts, or just a day in the life at my design studio or out exploring the city. I love going to museums so I’m sure to snap any art that moves me or interesting architecture. There are so many inspiring things in the world, just take a look around! Doodle on your photos, use stickers in Snapchat (hopefully these will come soon to Insta stories) and use captions. Personally, I like when people provide context for their stories so you’re not just looking at random images.

Janna Conner Janna Conner

5. Last but not least, use the video option. Snapchat and Insta-stories can help connect your followers to who is really behind your brand. To get to know the real you. So for that to happen, they want to hear your voice and see you in action. Make sure to add videos at least once a day, it can’t all be photos. I’m personally wary of doing too many of these because it can be annoying when there are blasts of sound from one story to the next. Always keep it short and sweet. Essentially Instagram Stories is your Instagram come to life so make it fun!

>> I hope you enjoyed my tips! If you want to see what I’ve been up to check my out on Instagram @jannaconner and Snapchat at Janna_Conner I also do social media consulting, for both big and small companies. If interested in finding out more please contact me at [email protected]

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Jewelry Road Trip: Washington, DC & Alexandria, VA

Hallowed Estate | Gem Gossip Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled Untitled Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled Hillwood Estate, DC Hillwood Estate, DC Untitled

Recently I took a trip to the Washington, DC area. I had two speaking engagements that I was a part of–the first one being DC’s GIA Alumni chapter meeting and the second one AGS Conclave. Excitement was what this trip was all about after I realized both were in the same area, however one week apart. I could have flown in and out for both occasions, but since I had never been to DC before, I decided to make an entire trip out of it! So this blog post compiles all that I did in between those two events (which I already wrote about here and here). It was also a very special trip because I brought my mom along with me (who also had never been to DC before) and we took a few days to drive up to Pennsylvania and visit my Gram too.

Day One in DC started with having the entire morning and most of the afternoon to ourselves before my 7pm presentation. It was a rainy day unfortunately, but we made the most of it by checking out two museums. All the photos above are from our visit to Hillwood Estate–a gorgeous mansion once owned by Marjorie Merriweather Post back in the 1950s. Marjorie is an incredibly interesting person, as her wealth was acquired by her father who founded Postum Cereal Company (General Foods) which she took over at the young age of 27 when her father passed away. She was a collector and lover of jewelry, arts and gardens. When she decorated her large estate, she deliberately knew she wanted it to become a museum one day, as she was driven to open up the doors to the public. Most importantly, she wanted to share the lifetime of joy she got out of collecting with everyone else. To learn more about Marjorie Merriweather Post, check out this video.

After our time spent at Hillwood, we dined at the cafe on the premises which was great and then headed to Tudor Place, another much smaller and older estate open to the public through guided tours only. We also weren’t allowed to take any pictures and I was saddened to not experience very many pieces of jewelry on the tour–only a very small curio cabinet with less than ten items. The area in which Tudor Place is located is just the cutest though.

Hillwood Museum

4155 Linnean Ave. NW

Washington, DC 20008

Tudor Place

1644 31st St NW

Washington, DC 20007

Smithsonian | Gem Gossip Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled Untitled

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