Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Gem Gossip

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

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

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

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

The Facts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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How to Clean Antique Jewelry: The Important Do’s & Don’ts

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For anyone that’s unfamiliar, antique jewelry is any piece of jewelry that is more than 100 years old. That’s a lot of years for dirt to collect under gemstones, metal to patina, and for grime to take away from the inherent beauty of the heirloom. It’s tempting to pick up a polishing cloth and buff away years of unwanted residue. But wait! Before you do that…

There is a right way and a wrong way to clean antique jewelry. We’ve compiled some basic do’s and don’ts you must know before you potentially ruin your investment.

*Remember, this is a general guide for fine antique jewelry. Some antique jewelry like cameos or hair jewelry require special care beyond what is listed here.

D O N ‘ T


1. Polish away patina on old rose or yellow gold jewelry

Patina is something that takes years to form. Some reproduction jewelry will actually try to fake this patina in order to make an item appear older than it is. For Georgian and Victorian jewelry, it’s important not to go overboard with polishing. You don’t want the yellow gold to be so light and shine like the day it was made.

Be careful if you’re having your rings resized by someone not familiar with antique jewelry. The tendency is to take rings to a high polish once the sizing is done. Advise them only to lightly polish the portion where the gold has been added or taken away on the bottom of the ring shank.

2. Use ultrasonic machines

There are times when it is okay to put antique jewelry into an ultrasonic machine for a very quick clean, and I mean quick. But to err on the side of caution, avoid using them altogether. If you have a platinum and diamond engagement ring from the 1920’s, an ultrasonic machine might be okay if the stones are tight and the prongs are in good shape. Most of the time though, the subtle but intense vibrations from these machines can do more harm than good.

3. Submerge jewelry for a long period

Liquid can be detrimental to some antique jewelry, especially jewelry with cameos, opals, seed pearls, or any other soft stone. For fragile jewelry, it’s best not to completely saturate the piece with liquid at all. Instead, lightly clean with a damp brush or cloth.

4. Clean with harsh chemicals like ammonia

The internet will often tell you how wonderful ammonia is for making your diamonds shine. This might work (in moderation) for new jewelry, but antique jewelry deserves a much gentler approach. Avoid harsh detergents, ammonia, and please never use household cleaners containing bleach!

D O


1. Make a gentle cleaning solution

Sometimes the best way to clean your antique jewelry is by making your own DIY cleaning solution. Most jewelry cleaners you find in the store will cost you a lot more money and may not even be as effective. They may even contain harsh chemicals.

To make your own solution, mix lukewarm water with a small amount of mild soap like Dove until it is sudsy. The key here is in the cleaning technique, not necessarily in the solution.

2. Use a soft toothbrush and lint free cloth

Once you make your solution, it’s time to clean your antique jewelry. You’ll either submerge the item for a few minutes to loosen grime, or if your item contains soft stones, you lightly dampen your toothbrush. Before you begin, make sure no stones are loose.

Then, gently brush your jewelry, paying attention to areas like underneath the stone and underneath the prongs. Use slow circular motions using only light pressure. If the piece is extremely dirty, don’t be tempted to use more pressure; instead, implement more patience. Submerge your jewelry into the solution again (if your jewelry can handle it) then gently repeat, repeat, repeat.

3. Make sure to rinse and dry thoroughly

You don’t want to give fragile jewelry a bath, but you want to be sure you remove any soap residue that might build up and defeat the whole purpose of cleaning your jewelry. Run the jewelry under lukewarm water and pat dry. For rings, take a polishing cloth and very lightly buff the shank, avoiding any area near stones or engravings. Let jewelry completely dry before putting it away.

4. Have the right expectations

Antique jewelry is never meant to look new. If this is your intention when cleaning jewelry, think again. Sure, you want to remove dirt, grime, bacteria, and all that other gross stuff. But you don’t want to take away years of character and patina. Is there a scratch in the gold? Leave it, don’t have it buffed away. Is the gold too dark for your liking? Consider a more modern replica like those from Arik Kastan instead.

How do you clean your antique jewelry? Any tips I missed? Let us know in the comments.

This post was contributed by:

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

Source: GossipGem.com

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Book Review: GEM the Definitive Visual Guide

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

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

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

 

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Gem Gossip Visits Heritage Auctions in NYC

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

What is so special about all of these pieces?! They were once owned by Shirley Temple! Heritage Auctions has a collection of Shirley Temple’s jewelry that will go up for auction December 5th-6th

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Outside the Heritage Auctions offices in NYC

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I loved getting to preview these jewels before they went up for auction in September’s Signature Sale

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Heritage Auctions is one of my favorites to bid for luxury items because I know they are authentic and what they offer is pretty incredible! I even fell for some of their high-end designer bags!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

This necklace is 18k white gold by Mattia Cielo and the earring are by Vhernier done in chalcedony. Both were auctioned off in the September Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Three items from Shirley Temple–this charm bracelet is exquisite, made up of platinum and diamond charms! And wow, these diamond rings!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A closeup of the jewels once owned by Shirley Temple–the Tiffany & Co. bracelet was custom made for her, as her favorite color was orange!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A fun and flirty lapis drop pendant with added pearls which create a tassel. And yes, I’ve said it before tassels are in! This once belonged to Shirley Temple

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Channeling Wonder Woman with these cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels. These were gifts from Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Feeling these two together, both in Heritage Auctions’ September Signature Sale.

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

A lapis and diamond necklace by Salvador Dali

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These cuffs sold for over $162,000! Amazing!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

These Cartier panther earrings are everything!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

Love the diversity of what Heritage Auctions offers–here are three bracelets, three very different price points and different eras!

Heritage Auctions | Gem Gossip

All my favorite rings from the September Signature Sale–that moonstone is amazing! It is by Paula Crevoshay

Heritage Auctions always has something exciting going on, whether it is a celebrity’s jewels going up at auction or a fun preview touring across the US, or sales taking place at one of their multiple locations of Dallas, NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Florida, Houston, and Beverly Hills (also a few worldwide). That’s what I like about Heritage Auctions…their ongoing reach at finding pieces to sell is incomparable, they are the experts. The company is a collector’s best friend, as they encourage the hobby of collecting but also want curation to be an important aspect for all collectors, so selling is just as important. Heritage is here to do both of these aspects for you–to help you buy and to help you sell–and their specialized categories are numerous, so whatever you are interested in, Heritage probably has a department for you! I like to focus on jewelry, so for me Heritage is great because not only do they have their Signature Sales, three per year, and Tuesday night auctions, which happen every Tuesday night, so jewelry lovers are fully satisfied.

I visited their headquarters last January in Dallas and got to see the facility first-hand, as well as try on some amazing pieces. This time around when I visited NYC, I got to checkout their east-coast location in the city that never sleeps. Just as suspected, the jewels were incredible and if you want to get excited for an upcoming sale, their December Signature Sale will be an event not to be missed! A lot of the pieces I tried on were from yesterday’s September Signature Sale, where bidders were setting records and auction hammers were flying. A significant lot featuring a pair of matching 18k yellow gold cuffs by Van Cleef & Arpels, were gifted on a wedding day by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to her step sister and sold for $162,500! Being able to wear them and photograph them myself is an honor in and of itself.

Heritage Auctions continually is a dominant source for designer jewelry–like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Blvgari, David Webb, amongst many, many others. Their December Signature Sale, slated for December 5th-6th as a two-day event, has numerous designer pieces. But what you may not realize when glancing at a Tiffany & Co. bracelet or a Blvgari suite in that particular sale is who those pieces once belonged to. Heritage Auctions is so excited to be offering the jewels of Shirley Temple in their December sale! There are several pieces, many of which I got to try on in the photos above. Although the stories behind the jewels, like where or who they are from, when did she wear them, what were her favorites, may not be known, the fact that they were once hers make them that much more special.

Take a look at December’s upcoming catalog, more jewelry will be added as it becomes available:

8.43 carat Emerald cut diamond ring set in platinum, once owned by Shirley Temple

Lapis and pearl tassel necklace, once owned by Shirley Temple

Tiffany & Co. orange enamel and turquoise bracelet, once owned by Shirley Temple

Art Deco platinum charm bracelet featuring 15 charms, once owned by Shirley Temple

Matching pair of Blvgari rings, one in ruby and one in emerald, once owned by Shirley Temple


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Heritage Auctions

445 Park Ave #3

New York, NY 10022

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Book Review: Fancy Color Diamonds – The Pricing Architecture

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Pricing fancy colored diamonds has always been sort of an art for appraisers and diamond dealers—so many factors come into play, lots of unchartered territory. Not to mention, it is so market-driven with many unknowns. To make things even more difficult, fancy colored diamonds are multi-layered themselves, with several factors which come into play when determining a value.

Fancy colored diamonds are such a specialized category of diamonds, and yes, the fancy color diamond circle is small and exclusive. Often times, this category within the jewelry industry can be seen as intimidating—mostly because it is a specialized area of expertise. Here’s where the experts come into play. People like Eden Rachminov who has dedicated several years of researching fancy colored diamonds in order to write and release a book which delves into the pricing architecture of this interesting, market-driven world of colored diamonds.

Mr. Rachminov has written two books, the first called The Fancy Color Diamond Book, which we won’t be focusing on in this blog post, but it debuted in 2010 and is the first installment of all things FCD. The second book, Fancy Color Diamonds: The Pricing Architecture, is the book I received above and am reviewing here. It features 10 years worth of research and data collection, along with insight from first-hand experience in the business to formulate a new system for valuing fancy color diamonds. “The Layer System” presented in this book is a unique approach to illustrate the many impactful commercial characteristics absent from the GIA gemological report. Each attribute is represented as a “layer” and each layer is a chapter in the book. The impressive Appendix accompanied with the book includes 15 premium charts and over 10,000 coefficient tables that decode the complex fancy color pricing structure and the premiums each characteristic imparts.

This book is ideal for anyone in the jewelry industry that wants to better understand fancy color diamonds. Whether you’re a diamond miner, an appraiser, a sales associate or collector, this book can fit your niche and help you find insight. I love the gorgeous and vibrant photos of fancy color diamonds within the book (a few shown above). My favorite quote from the book juxtaposes what most are familiar with when we think of diamonds—colorless stones. It says, “In the colorless diamond world, buyers pursue “less:” less color, fewer inclusions and little if no fluorescence, to the point where the “void” symbolizes perfection.” This is so not the case for fancies. And this book will show you what I mean!

Fancy Colored Diamonds: The Pricing Architecture is practical, straight forward and aims to educate. It is also complex and at times challenging, but the wealth of information is incredible!

To order:

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CLICK HERE TO ORDER

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Source: GossipGem.com

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Book Review – Jewellery design by Elizabeth Galton

If you have ever walked into a fashion, art or design school library, chances are that you would have come across the “Basics Series” by Ava Publishing.

If you have ever walked into a fashion, art or design school library, chances are that you would have come across the “Basics Series” by Ava Publishing. From Advertising to Typography, they have about 19 main titles and innumerable subtitles providing in-depth knowledge of all art, design, and fashion related industries. The Book “Jewellery design by Elizabeth Galton” is a part of the Fashion series (book no. 10) and is a must read for all jewellery designers, artists, managers, retailers and instructors.

The book is divided into seven main chapters which cover everything from the history of jewellery to jewellery styles and ethical practices, from research, Design development, realisation and marketing to introducing case studies of different jewellers, artists and designers from across the world. This 184-page book offers a 360 perspective of the jewellery industry making the reader want for more. Elizabeth gives an insight into the lives of jewelry designers like Stephen webster, Anne Kazuro Guinnet,Theo Fennell and Shaun Leane through expert interviews that offer real advice. Answers to questions like “What do you look for in a junior designer?” or “How do you identify a target market?” are particularly enlightening. Though this book was published in 2012, I think its valid even today. But I do hope for a newer edition soon discussing new media opportunities in design.

The first two chapters are set in a design school process based subject style with lots of input on fashion basics, terminology, fashion through ages and style identification. Discussion of the styles of various designers are thought provoking and opens up new vistas of thinking. You also get input on ethical design and fair trade policies.
The next chapter offers insight on basic design process methodology used by most designers. It talks about the need for trend research, how to create a mood board and discusses modes of research.

The fourth chapter begins with a description of a design brief and talks about how designers use them to ideate, generate forms and come up with concepts. The book talks about the importance of pencil or rough sketches, the requirement of technical drawings, how the final designs are selected and how they are converted into CADs for production. The chapter details range design, project management, recording and review of the collection in addition to CAD-CAM which I found fascinating.

Chapter five is a hodgepodge of sorts. It begins with jewelry management and details the roles of various people involved in the design, production, and marketing of jewelry. It also discusses hallmarking, sampling, pricing. Strangely, the author, here, talks about materials – gold, vermeil, sterling silver which feels very odd. Maybe a separate chapter focussing on materials would have been better.
Chapter six is all about presentation. It begins with inputs on photography, branding, look book and portfolio generation, packaging and branches on creating a web/virtual presence through PR and Social media marketing.the sequencing feels confused.

Chapeter seven details the various career aspects that a jewelry design aspirant might have and details grants available, schemes, awards and corporate projects. The book ends with a solid glossary, a fantastic list of references and a few more interviews. At the very end, we see a teaser from another Basics – fashion design series “working with ethics” which is quite thought provoking.

I am a very tough critic (my students would know!) and I hardly approve of anything but I love this book. I think that this book is for everybody (beginner or expert) who wants to be a part of jewellery industry as it provides invaluable input to self-taught artists who do not have a design background and sharpens the dull schooled minds with a dose of reality.
Where to buy:
Follow these links: Amazon.com (International) Amazon.in (India)

As this is a fantastic book resource, I didnt feel like sharing high res images of the pages of the book. Hence the dull cell phone pics. I hope that it wouldn’t deter you from seeking out the book. This book is now on my wishlist of things to buy as this particular copy is from the library 🙂

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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

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Bridesmaid gifts – Flower Jewelry

Bridesmaid gifts is a relatively new concept in India . Though we do buy new clothes and very rarely jewelry trinkets for our close relatives, hardly anybody will wear it for the actual wedding as it won’t be grand enough for a wedding

Bridesmaid gifts is a relatively new concept in India . Though we do buy new clothes and very rarely jewelry trinkets for our close relatives, hardly anybody will wear it for the actual wedding as it won’t be grand enough for a wedding. But with Flower Jewelry gaining popularity, many Indian and NonresidentIndian (NRI) brides have turned to Flower jewelry as Bridesmaid gifts for their pre-wedding festivities
This US based bride wanted initially Half matha pattis as gifts for her sisters and sister-in-laws to match with their green and gold outfits for her Gaye Holud Ceremony. Slowly as we got talking, the gift grew to accommodate long necklaces and matching earrings.


The challenge here was to design pieces that were grand enough to be worn to a wedding, yet not so grand that they’ll upstage the bride. Also, there had to be a small difference between two sets of design (I presume two sets were for the bride’s own sisters and the other two for her inlaws) So, out of the four two were three strand necklaces with three big and two small flowers as the focal and the other two were two strand necklaces with two big and one small flower each as a focal. In the picture below, you can see both the two strand 3mm bead necklaces with flower focals.


The green swatch that I worked with was tricky – it was an unusual green that you usually won’t find in ribbons. So I superimposed ribbon roses of 2 shades of green to arrive at the perfect color.

As these were gifts, I went with simple yet festive packaging (check them out on my Instagram page). I used hot pink earrings cards (upcycled from unused handmade paper left behind by students) with a little gold star tape and I used pink tissue paper (used by jewelry stores to wrap silver jewelry) and printed out little green Sayuri labels. They are so pretty, aren’t they?


So what did the lovely bride get for herself as Gaye Holud Jewelry? The rich red flower set with red bud roses and gold beads. It is a set with a choker with a single rose, chest length necklace, earrings, Haathphool and matha tikka (single line matha patti) or forehead ornament.


Check out my reviews page on Facebook to see what the bride has to say.


If you have ever attended a workshop at Sayuri or bought my creations or simply are a friend who has nice things to say about me and my brand, please review Sayuri on facebook to help keep up my reputation as a 5-star brand.
So what do you think of Flower Jewelry as quirky cultural bridesmaids gifts? Even if you do not follow the customs or rituals I think that these trinkets would make fun, colorful and economical gifts for friends and family.

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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Top Ten of the BEST Rings Available at EraGem

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I love browsing EraGem frequently to view their new arrivals in case there is something I can’t live without! EraGem has such a great selection and keen eye for providing the best in antique and estate jewelry. With the company based in Bellevue, Washington, visiting the store is may not be an option for many, including myself. Luckily their inventory is updated regularly online and easy to shop from the goodness of my computer screen. Recently, I went ahead with my usual check-in to EraGem.com and had way too many favorites! And like a dream come true, I got to pick my TOP TEN favorite rings currently available and they were all sent to me for “review.” And by “review,” I mean play with, lust over and stare at!

I obviously had way too much fun with this group of ten–each one unique in its own way and highly covetable. So, without further ado–here are my TOP TEN from EraGem:

Era Gem | Gem Gossip Era Gem | Gem Gossip

1. Aquamarine–a gemstone named after seawater, with such a calming blue color. This particular ring available from EraGem really caught my eye not only because of the gemstone but the bi-color gold. Green gold and rose gold is a rare and unique combination–you can see it here in this ring. The aqua is approximately 1.70 carats and is circa 1940s. Price: $1,799 (click on photo for details)

2. Wow, jaw-dropping in every way possible! If you are looking for a statement-making opal ring, this is it! It truly glows thanks to the play-of-color of the opal as well as it being categorized as a jelly opal (more transparent than a typical opal). To make it even more outstanding, the setting is so beautiful with the perfect amount and size diamonds. This opal is its own galaxy and from every different angle, it looks different. Love it! Price: $4,499 (click on photo for details)

Era Gem | Gem Gossip Era Gem | Gem Gossip

3. If you follow my blog you know I love malachite! Vintage malachite rings are getting harder and harder to find, at least in my opinion. This particular ring is from the 1960s and I love the size and heft of it. So comfortable and a piece that would fit in with any wardrobe. The diamonds on both sides are a cool touch and the split shank is pretty cool too. Price: $1,899 (click on photo for details)

4. Comfort level, 10 out of 10! This handmade twist ring is one of those that you put on and never take off. I love the hammered finish and the maker’s mark is hand etched on the inside of the ring. I can see and feel the time and effort it took to handmake this ring. One end is set with an emerald, the other is set with a champagne diamond. A unique duo for such an eclectic ring. Price: $1,469 (click on photo for details)

Era Gem | Gem Gossip Era Gem | Gem Gossip

5. I love a good architecturally bold gold ring–this particular piece jumped out at me while browsing EraGem. Let me just say for the record, this ring in person is quite different than any photo could show. The feel and smoothness of this ring when worn is so hard to photograph, but it is totally all there! It is one of those rings that when you put it on, you’re one with the ring. Sounds weird, but if you collect and wear rings, you know what I mean! Love the design, love the feel. Marked 18k “Gabriel” and would love to know more about the ring’s origins. Price: $1,599 (click on photo for details)

6. A cameo unlike any cameo, striking at first for its color, then once you realize the army green shade contrasting against the purple/brown hue, you start to really like and want this ring! I don’t own many cameos–shell cameos tend to not go well with my skin color and my wardrobe. But THIS. On another level! The seed pearls surrounding the hardstone cameo add a feminine touch. Price: $1,999 (click on photo for details)

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7. A cocktail ring is named a cocktail ring because of pieces like this! The true definition. And can we talk about the lapis and turquoise combination?! An underrated duo. This ring deserves some sunny skies and a nice refreshing beverage. I like it for the index or middle finger, definitely. And yes, statement-making enough to wear alone, no other rings. Extra bonus with the pyrite flecks in the lapis. Price: $2,399 (click on photo for details)

8. Faceted hematite? Have you seen a ring like this before?! Apparently faceted hematite was a thing in the 1970s, unfortunately I feel like a lot of this type of jewelry got melted. This ring truly knocked my socks off and I kinda fell in love. I like darker stones and may have an overload of onyx, so acquiring this ring was cool for my collection–another stone on the dark side that wasn’t an onyx or black enamel. Yes, you heard that right–I loved it so much I couldn’t bear sending it back to EraGem with the others. Price: mine.

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9. Probably the most photogenic out of the bunch and for good reasons. This massive crystal opal ring is stunning. I couldn’t stop staring at it. Whoever ends up with this ring will have many, many wonderful years looking into this galactic opal. It is truly mesmerizing. The metal on the inside of this flower ring is antiqued, meaning it is blackened which makes everything stand out even more–both the colors of the opal and the design of the ring. EraGem has really outdone itself with this one! Price: $4,999 (click on photo for details)

10. Last but certainly not least, I picked this pear-shaped opal ring because not everyone loves a huge, cocktail ring and not everyone loves yellow gold. This ring is done in 14k white gold and is classic through and through. Perfect for a graduation gift or for someone who has a birthday or anniversary in October. The diamonds that surround the opal are bright, white and sparkle like crazy. Price: $1,499 (click on photo for details)

This post was brought to you in collaboration with EraGem.

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Q & A with Lisa Kim Fine Jewelry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Buy and Care for Antique Jewelry

Ancient Victorian Bangle Bracelet

Purchasing antique jewelry means buying something truly special. Each necklace, watch, earring, and brooch has a long history behind it that makes the piece unique, even if it was just one among hundreds when it was new. Learning to recognize and appreciate quality antique jewelry comes with time and practice, but we’ll begin with some basic knowledge to get you started.

First off, let’s clear the air about something. The terms “antique” and “vintage” are not one and the same. “Antique” has a legally defined meaning, whereas “vintage” does not. While both terms are often thrown around imprudently, the US Customs Agency defines an antique as something that is at least 100 years old and less than 50 percent restored. The term “vintage” merely describes an item that was popular in another era, though some trade specialists apply a 50- to 100-year age bracket to the term.

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What to Look For:

Every antique belongs to an era, and you might discover that you prefer one over the other. Learn the styles and distinctions of the Georgian (1790-1831), Victorian (1837-1901), Edwardian (1901-1915), and other eras famous for their distinct styles of jewelry. Many of these eras contain smaller periods when specific themes gained popularity.

Familiarize yourself with the designs, materials, and manufacturing techniques of the desired era and period. Victorian Romantic period jewelry typically features animals, flowers, and other nature-related themes, while the Grand Victorian era was known for large, dark gemstones, silver, and engravings of the Queen, for example.

If you must inspect an antique engagement ring yourself, invest in a loupe. A loupe is a small magnifying glass used by jewelers and watchmakers. Look for workshops in your town or even online to train your eye on what to look for and how to use it. Be sure to check the piece’s condition. Search for rust and discoloration, solder where the piece might have been broken and put back together, and other forms of wear and tear.

Where to Buy:

You can purchase antique jewelry from several types of merchants, but your knowledge and skill in recognizing fakes and appraising genuine pieces will largely govern where you should shop. We’ll list a few types of outlets here from the lowest to highest degree of knowledge required.

Professional jewelers and consignment stores: Brick and mortar stores with professional staff and reputations to lose are the safest bet for buying antique jewelry if you don’t have time to invest in learning the ins and outs of the trade yourself. Experts can make recommendations, and you can see each piece in person.

Online retailers and professional marketplaces: The best deals can often be found online from reputable ecommerce outlets. While you don’t get a hands-on look at each piece, these e-stores usually include multiple photos, detailed descriptions, and sometimes even live support staff to answer any questions you might have. 1stdibs is an excellent option for online antique jewelry shoppers.

Online from reputable merchants: Online consumer-to-consumer marketplaces like eBay can offer great deals on antique jewelry, but make sure to thoroughly check the merchant’s rating, customer reviews, and return policy. Compare prices at multiple vendors, and always remember: if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Estate sales and auctions: At this point, you’re pretty much on your own for verifying and appraising a piece of jewelry. Bring your loupe and be ready to do some research. Don’t count on the merchant to be knowledgeable or honest about what they are selling.

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Cleaning & Care:

Now that you’ve bought your antique bracelet, spend some time keeping it in good condition. Store jewelry in a soft-lined container at a moderate temperature with multiple compartments. Apply beauty products like makeup and hairspray prior to putting on your jewelry, as the chemicals in these products can cause harm. Don’t wear your jewelry when bathing, exercising, or cleaning, as chemicals and sweat can cause corrosion and discoloration.

If you notice a stone is loose or some other malfunction, take the piece to a jeweler who is experienced in handling antiques. Don’t use ultrasonic cleaners and beware of dip cleaners that can eat away at enamel and other coatings. Jewelry polishing cloths are a good all-around solution. It’s always better to under-clean than to over-clean.

Every type of metal, coating, and stone have different cleaning and storage requirements, so invest some time researching what’s best for your piece. Sterling silver should be stored somewhere airtight, for example, while pieces containing pearls should be stored somewhere breathable.

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