Latest Obsessions for Fall 2017

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My love for the color blue continues, even through fall when oranges & browns are en vogue. I’ve become obsessed with the blue carved lapis ring that I have had listed for sale so much that I’ve decided to move it into my personal collection. I might still let it go but I’m not sure–I think seeing a very similar one in Erie Basin’s sold archives made me want to keep it. Side note: does anyone else just blow through 2-3 hours browsing through Erie Basin’s sold archives?? lol

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I want to say I’ve probably sold about 100+ pieces of my personal collection since I decided to get more organized and curated with my collection. I’m quite happy with where my collection is at right now, although I’m still hunting for an epic man-on-the-moon moonstone ring and a kunzite piece. I’ll probably sell more from my collection but in the meantime, these are my faves.

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Speaking of being obsessed with blue…my 33rd birthday happened earlier this month and this aquamarine and black enamel beauty from Laurel Stearns became mine! Obviously it was purchased by myself, for myself. Haven’t I made it any more clear, year after year, that everyone should buy themselves a birthday gift?! Anyway, I’ve seriously worn it SO much since I got it and I’m incredibly lucky to have scored this ring late on a Saturday night, within minutes of her posting it.

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I’ve been changing up my ear stack since acquiring these David Webb nail earrings and I gotta say I’m fully obsessed with my newest addition, the Vada Jewelry ear hanger. It slides behind your ear and gives the illusion of having some of the more unique piercings done. I’ve got three holes in both ears and I think that’s all I can handle. Ear cuffs & ear hangers for life!

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I brought along some of Arrow & Anchor Antiques‘ inventory with me when I went to Boston and continued playing with it when I got back. I don’t think most people appreciate the amazingness that is moss agate, pictured in the center. I have a thing for dendritic agate and this combo of rings is just UGHHHHH SO GOOD.

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Photo on the left features pieces from my personal collection and the photo on the right features rings that are for sale! For details on those: instagram.com/shopgemgossip

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BCE Jewelry spent a few days in Nashville and I showed her around town! She also came over to play in my jewelry box and I played with her jewels (seen above). Every year she takes a country-wide road trip and clients secure a spot to view her one-of-a-kind pieces. She usually starts with a full plate of jewels and heads back to California on empty, leaving her to work on some new pieces!

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These “animals on wire” rings are just the cutest and I suggested that they could also be worn on chains as pendants, but this was the first time I actually tried my own suggestion. And omg I am in love!! All three are available and are $55 each. The wire is 14k solid gold.

xoxoGemGossip

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Summer Getaway: Adventures in New Mexico with Vale Jewelry

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Summertime gives us all the wanderlust vibes you can ever imagine. Our Instagram is typically filled with jewels, gems and all things relating to jewelry design, so it always grabs our attention when our favorite jewelry designers and store owners post an envious getaway pic. We’ve seen glimpses of Paris, tropical islands, Canadian mountains, and everything in between. I’m personally obsessed with the US desert southwest–remember I honeymooned in Sedona, Arizona?–so when I saw a New Mexico landscape scroll onto my screen I had to know more. Luckily the sister duo of Vale Jewelry, Eva & Ava, were more than happy to share about their two-week trip to New Mexico–let’s find out more:

We planned this trip around a visit to Walter de Maria’s groundbreaking land art, The Lightening Field, but it quickly ballooned into a 2-week major road trip around New Mexico. The fifth largest state, but one of the least populated, the vast deserts and scrubland inspired Georgia O’Keeffe body of work as well as numerous other artists. You only have to spend one day there to understand why it’s muse to many creatives, between the sunsets, endless sky, and the ingrained history of crafts. No wonder it picked up the nickname of The Land of Enchantment. Home to most of the US’s oldest Native American and indigenous tribes and pueblos, including the Zuni, Navajo and Hopi, this magical and awe-inspiring land should be on anyone’s travel list.

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Left photo: One of the oldest continuously-inhabited communities in the United States, Taos Pueblo was built in the early 13th century and located right in the Rio Grande Valley. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it holds a very active Tiwa-speaking Native American tribe residing in multi-storied adobe houses built as two complexes made from mud, wood, grass and water. This historic village is located just 1 mile outside Taos. About 4,500 members still live in this area, but only about 150 still reside inside these structures year-round without the modern convenience of running water and electricity. While it is a private community, they do offer visitors to come see parts of the village where locals sell crafts like pottery and local eats like fried bread.

Right photo: San Geronimo has a storied past as one of the first post-Columbian Spanish Catholic churches in the US. Built by Native Americans of the Taos Pueblo people under the suppression of the Spanish missionaries and colonial powers, this one featured above is actually the third reincarnation. It was one of the many churches destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt when tensions between the native tribes and Spanish colonial presence boiled over. The current church shown above was built in the 18th century.

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Left photo: The ladder above resembles some of the staircases used in many pueblos as well as native and local adobe houses. Typically, the staircases are made of local timber such as pine, spruce and ponderosa. These ladders were precious items since the wood had to be cut down from forests located quite a distance from local desert pueblos. They were passed down from generation to generation. In traditional Pueblo culture, the people of the original land came to this land by the underworld. Hence, many pueblos build ceremonial underground chambers within these adobe houses called kivas that the chieftains use for religious song, prayer and ceremonies. The one above is one from the Acoma pueblo featuring a double ladder for going up and down with a lightening rod shape holding the two together.

Right photo: On our way back from staying overnight at The Lightening Field in Quemado, we stopped by Pie Town. Yes, you read that right, it’s a town named after one of the best desserts having taken its name from an early settler of the town in the 1920s that made the town famous with a highway pie shop. The pies above are at a local pie shop called Pie-O-Neer. The Macaroon Apple Pie and Cherry Cherry Pies are worth the stop. And yes, we ate all 4…and then took a few for the road.

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Left photo: One of our favorite stops for local barbeque, Rudy’s had the most incredible brisket and baby back ribs, this is the place to stop for New Mexican bar-b-q in Albuquerque, friendliest staff and the tastiest homemade cherry and apricot cobblers this side of the Rio Grande! If in Santa Fe and craving local barbeque, stop by a food truck called Santa Fe BBQ.

Right photo: A must when you’re in Santa Fe. The New Mexican picnic above is breakfast at a local favorite called Tia Sophia’s. They make some of the best sopapillas, the pillowy fried quick breads in the image. Order everything ‘Christmas’ which means doused in both the red and green chiles. Also, a stop at Gabriel’s just outside Santa Fe is a must too. Known for their tableside guacamole and carne adovada, neither will disappoint! The local enchiladas and tamales are things to order when in town.

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Left photo: This is the view from Sandia Peak after hopping off the tramway. The crest here reaches over 10,500 feet and the tramway’s the world’s second longest ride. The sunsets and sunrise in New Mexico are unreal, typically fiery red and orange against the bluest backdrop.

Right photo: A quick hike in Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Park is a must if you’re in central New Mexico. Formed by volcanic ash deposits that have since been weather-worn to form sand-colored cylindrical cone shapes standing side-by-side. A walk in between these canyons is awe-inspiring.

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Left photo: No trip to New Mexico is complete without a stop at White Sands National Park. The world’s largest gypsum dune runs for over 275 square miles. So big, this dune can even be seen from satellite in outer space. Despite temperatures reaching 120F during the afternoon, the gypsum sand never gets hot due to the gypsum crystal’s natural ability to reflect the sun and the fact that it does not convert light into heat. We went barefoot and even did some dune-sledding down the steep cliffs. For a cool experience, plan to camp overnight.

Right photo: Another stop along the way is Carlsbad Caverns and watching the enchanting Bat Flight where over 500,000 local Brazilian Free-Tailed bats make their nightly migration from the cave to feed. It’s a coordinated visual symphony!

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Showing off some vintage Native American silver by Navajo and Zuni tribes made between the 1900s and 1950s. We picked up these older pieces during our travel around New Mexico. Some of our favorite stops include:

Shopping Guide:

  • Rainbow Man (Santa Fe) – amazing selection of fabrics, weavings, jewelry and objects
  • Santa Fe Exchange (Santa Fe) – wide range of both sterling silver, objects and some turn of the century pieces
  • Shalako Indian Store (Santa Fe) – widest vintage sterling silver shop, great for Concho belts, rings, and bangles. Nancy and Marsha are both well-informed on Native American jewelry
  • Palms Trading (Alburquerque) – solid selection of old pawn, blankets, shoes and food stuff
  • Rose’s Pottery (Bernanillo) – housed behind Rose’s is an old theatre that the owner converted to a small private collection of early Pre-Columbian to middle of the century art and pottery. If you’re lucky, she’ll give you a tour of this collection passed down from her father. The front features a beautiful collection of Kachina dolls and pottery from all the major pueblos
  • Old Town Antiques (Alburquerque) – the owner Connie is like an encyclopedia of New Mexican crafts, beautiful selection of both jewelry and objects, she even offers Pre-Columbian artifacts.

Eating Guide:

  • Tia Sophia’s (Santa Fe) – best brunch and breakfast place for New Mexican cuisine
  • Café Pasqual’s (Santa Fe) – modern twist on New Mexican with some delicious homemade cookies
  • Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q (Alburquerque) – fantastic ribs, brisket, daily special cobblers and desserts
  • Gabriel’s (Santa Fe) – delicious guacamole and carne adovada
  • Frontier (Alburquerque) – a mix of everything, an all-day diner styled location popular with locals, young and old
  • Jimmy’s on Jefferson (Alburquerque) – quick local favorite for breakfast, order Steve’s Breakfast Special featuring a plate of hash with green chile.
  • Grove Cafe & Market (Alburquerque) – modern eatery with homemade granola and breakfast and brunch
  • Cocina Azul (Alburquerque) – great lunch spot for some of the best carne adovada and homemade and fresh sopapillas and posole
  • Farm & Table (Alburquerque) – fresh and modern New Mexican classics as well as farm-to-table dinners with a small working farm on the back
  • Golden Crown Panaderia (Alburquerque) – tasty fruit empanadas

Cultural Guide:

  • Georgia O’Keefe Ghost Ranch (plan advance for an overnight stay, it books up early)
  • Georgia O’Keefe Museum
  • Walter de Maria The Lightening Field (apply in February when they open up spaces, openings close within minutes)
  • Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument (get there early before it gets too hot)
  • White Sands National Park (come here right before sunset for the most magical view)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (don’t miss the last elevator down at 5pm)
  • Rio Grande Gorge & Bridge (shop from the local artists selling at the foot of the bridge, view is not for the faint of heart)
  • Roswell, NW (stop at the museum and eat at Big D’s for their famous green chile burger)
  • Sandia Mountains (go there an hour before sunset)
  • Taos Pueblo
  • Acoma Pueblo

xoxoGemGossip

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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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Gems of Knowledge Podcast Appearance!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! I know I don’t normally put out a new blog post on Saturday/Sunday, but I just had to share this as it was just posted an hour ago. I made an appearance as the first special guest on the newly launched Gems of Knowledge, a cool concept that combines podcast and Youtube video into one! Watch as I speak with the host David Bellman of Bellman Jewelers located in New Hampshire, along with Justin Krall and Rachel Putney. We talk about how Gem Gossip was born, my Jewelry Road Trip project, my ring collection and about becoming a Graduate Gemologist. You can also witness someone interrupting the podcast 😉

Just want to thank Gems of Knowledge for having me as their first guest and hope I can visit Bellman Jewelers someday soon!

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Gem Gossip Visits Sunday & Sunday Antiques, NE Ohio

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

A look into one of Sunday & Sunday Antiques’ ring boxes

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Diamonds rings and pocket watch chains are just some of their specialties

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: turquoise, opal & garnet, opal cluster

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: Rhodolite garnet dangle, opal cluster, rhodolite and pearl dangle

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Cameos are one of Carolyn’s most favorite kind of jewelry

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

This Topaz is beckoning you to dive in!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Lots of diamond rings and two bangles

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

You can shop these: opal & garnet, turquoise, opal cluster

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Shop my necklaces here & here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Some of my personal favorites, all are available!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Where shall I begin???

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Shop these from left to right: here, here, here, here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Just a cool cat cameo, shop him here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Love these three dainty necklaces, shop these here, here, here

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

One of the most intricate and fancy blackamoors I’ve ever seen!

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Sunday & Sunday has a great selection of signet rings

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

A diamond and sapphire Art Deco brooch/necklace pendant, so stunning!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

A closer look into the ring box…

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Which elongated diamond ring is your favorite?!

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Love the variety of turquoise rings, shop here, here, here

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Shop the snake ring, synthetic ruby navette, lava cameo

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Shop the onyx & diamond, blue wedgwood

Sunday & Sunday | Gem Gossip

Putting Ohio on the Jewelry Road Trip map was a goal of mine for this year, and I’m so happy that it started out with an adventurous and jewel-filled excursion to the Northeastern portion of this great state. Carolyn & Ed are a husband and wife dream team that are known as Sunday & Sunday Antiques. With nearly 35 years in the antique business, they are ones you’ll want to bookmark and constantly check their inventory, because with their experience, collectors’ eye and connections, they find some amazing pieces. For me, it all started when I first connected with Carolyn a couple Decembers ago. I stumbled upon an onyx ring with tri-colored gold details from the 1920s and had to have it. I usually discover virtual shops and jewelry to buy via Instagram, and this was an Etsy-browse find–so I made sure to encourage Sunday & Sunday Antiques to join Instagram! A few years later, Carolyn has been hooked since the day she joined and boasts over 31k followers.

I knew visiting with Sunday & Sunday Antiques was going to be fun–lots of inventory (with the best part being that most of it is actually listed, ready to purchase), lots of laughs, and lots of stories. Growing up, Carolyn had always been attracted to shiny things and she even worked at a jewelry store briefly before meeting her sparkliest treasure–her husband Ed! He had grown up in the business, having his dad as his apprentice, learning how to fix and restore watches, as well as repairing jewelry since he was a teenager. While most kids were out running around causing chaos, Ed was tinkering at flea markets and finding things that caught his eye. Once Carolyn & Ed were married, they formed Sunday & Sunday Antiques and set up at antique shows all across the US. They would travel all around, buying and selling, making memories and friends along the way.

Carolyn made a really smart move by being an early adopter of the Internet. In the antique jewelry world, 8-10 years ago NO ONE was really on the world wide web–only a few big names that have continued to lead the pack had a website, if anything. Sunday & Sunday is a proud member of Ruby Lane, with a platinum status since joining in 2000. They also are on Etsy, which they joined in early 2009. The husband and wife duo complement each other in terms of putting their strengths to work to run their online antique business. Carolyn has got the photography down to a science, with a position-shoot-next method that will turn heads. She also is in charge of listing, answering emails, shipping and appraising. Ed does a lot of the buying and meticulously restores and checks each piece before listing. He has a knack for perfection and in a business like this, customers appreciate that. Transitioning their business from traveling shows to strictly online-only has been a great leap of faith, but one they are enjoying to the fullest and very thankful for every step of the way. And don’t mention the word retirement to either of them–antiques are a way of life!

The passion that both Ed & Carolyn have for antiques and antique jewelry resonates throughout every part of their life. It was awesome to connect with such great people and get an inside look into their world. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing it as well through my eyes and be sure to check out more from Sunday & Sunday Antiques around the web:

Sunday & Sunday Antiques

Sunday & Sunday Antiques

North East, Ohio

Ruby Lane

Etsy

Pinterest

Facebook

Instagram

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Heather of @SpeakeasyJewels

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I was lucky enough to meet Heather before our Instagram community of collectors came into formation. It was during a time when she was in search of the perfect antique engagement ring and I was working full time at a local antique jewelry store in Nashville. We had been emailing back and forth and had a few contenders. What better way to seal the deal than a 12-hour road trip to Nashville?! I got to meet Heather and her future husband, help her try on some gorgeous jewels and it was a great day! Four years later she is sharing her jewelry collection here with us! Take it away Heather:

When and why did I start collecting jewelry? For weeks I couldn’t get my jewel story rolling because the answers were evading me. I cannot recall a time when I didn’t love jewelry and have memories as little girl sifting through any jewelry box or drawer I encountered, much to the chagrin of the women around me. I swear I’ve recovered from this behavior or at least ask permission before rifling. I thought it was my paternal grandma who sparked the collector in me since she was an avid one herself, but I was missing something or rather someone.

It should have been obvious since I worked for him for almost a decade – my Dad is the reason I am a collector. Classic cars, particularly Cadillacs of the 1950s and ‘60s, are his passion. He instilled in me an appreciation for the past and a desire to preserve relics of history. I often find there is an unspoken bond between those of us who collect vintage and antique no matter the category. The way he reflects on the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program through which many classic cars were destroyed echoes the horror we jewelry collectors feel when thinking about scrapping and melting. He understands why I collect antique and vintage jewelry and for Christmas a few years ago gifted me my first loupe with my initials engraved on the side – it is something I cherish. I hope one day I can pass along to my children the same tinkerer and antiquarian heart he has given me.

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Weekday Wardrobe: 5 Ring Stacks + Necklace Layer Look

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

You didn’t think I forgot about the Weekday Wardrobe posts, did you?! Well, to be honest, I almost did. Promise I’ll start being better about rounding up my weekly looks and putting them into blog posts. This month’s ring stacks and jewelry looks have been fun, mixing and matching new finds and playing around more with charms and necklaces. I’m addicted to my black velvet choker and realized how much more chic it can make any necklace look when paired with it! Above, I’m wearing mine with my Starling Jewelry emerald necklace called the Colette Pave necklace. This cutie is so simple and perfect to wear every day. I like the craftsmanship of the piece–it is made really well and the chain is Italian. Emeralds are becoming my obsession. My longer chain holds my sentimental and favorite charms–my two Fox & Bond Minis, representing our wedding day and 1st year of marriage, and my Jean Jean Vintage Cachet Charm, which I’ve developed a habit for holding onto whenever I’m nervous.

Below you’ll find five different ring stacks I’ve worn this week, let’s start with Day One!

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

Day One:

14k gold antique thick band, favorite pinky ring, found on eBay

Onyx two-tone gold filigree ring, a Christmas present to myself last year, from Sunday & Sunday Antiques

Garnet and diamond with blue enamel “comet” ring, from Skinner Auctions

10k gold and glass ring that used to be my Gram’s wedding ring

Weekday Wardrobe | Gem Gossip

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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 Alana Jewelry in Seattle, WA

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Elongated Etruscan revival ring, onyx ring on ring finger, banded agate shield ring, Victorian bangles

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Fabulous Art Deco diamond & emerald bracelet, 1950s emerald & diamond ring, 1950s emerald & diamond pendant

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Topaz & Black Opal bracelet, carved opal cameo ring, oval opal in filigree setting, rectangular opal in filigree setting, garnet doublet surrounded by opal cluster ring

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This bracelet is CRAZY! Genuine Topaz & Zircon set in 14k white gold, Retro abstract citrine ring, turquoise & diamond navette, citrine filigree ring, large oval turquoise ring

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Garnet & blue enamel ring, sapphire & diamond cluster ring

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From left to right: garnet dragon ring, pearl & emerald ring, diamond oval ring, Victorian Etruscan revival onyx ring, round Moonstone cluster ring, East-West diamond Edwardian ring, moonstone cluster ring, enamel woman conversion ring

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Boy, were bucket list items being checked off rapidly on this #JewelryRoadTrip to Seattle! Alana Jewelry has been high on my list of places I wanted to see for SO long now. It was about a 30 minute drive from Hotel Vintage in Downtown Seattle, and it was nice to get out of the city and explore more. Alana Jewelry is located in the Northgate Mall and has been there since day one! The store is easy to get to if you park near JC Penney or near the food court. Who would have ever thought that some of the best antique jewelry in the country is located in a place where you can buy some Auntie Anne’s pretzels, find your inner goth at Hot Topic and call it a day?! I was actually feeling quite emo after all the jewelry that Alana has to offer–it is mind-blowing in the best way possible! They love being located inside a mall for many reasons, for one the foot traffic alone is seriously good. Countless sales have been made from people who didn’t intend on going to a jewelry store to buy jewelry, but they happened to be at a mall to buy something else on their list, and the jewelry found them!

The first thing I noticed and what stood out to me were their displays! They are unlike anything I’ve seen–everything has a place, everything tells a story. There’s old black & white photographs mixed in with a few other trinkets here and there, but for the most part–every display matches, using a clean beige color display. A few black velvet ones can be spotted for certain sections, but for the most part, everything has a consistent flow. Most importantly, height is used to an advantage, where you have almost a “stadium-seating” effect with the jewelry displays, so everything can be packed in tighter. This means eye candy galore! And it’s ok if you stand in front of a small section and zone out. I know I sure did.

It was such an honor to meet the founder and owner Alana herself and hear her story in her own words rather than via email. If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember I did a blog post featuring the store back in January of 2015. You can read the blog post here. It tells the story of Alana Antique & Estate Jewelry, how it came to be and the story is so inspiring, all written by Alana herself. You totally should read the post before you go on–it will take about 4 minutes! 😉 I also got to meet Heather, Alana’s daughter, as well as a few sales associates of the store.

I tried on so many pieces! It was really hard to choose just a select few, but I thought of it as, “if I were to be able to buy whatever I wanted right now, what would I choose?!” Of course, I chose a lot of rings, pieces that were really unique and also had to hone in on the best opals I could find. I learned that Alana Jewelry doesn’t have to look far for the jewelry they sell, it comes to them! They are constantly buying in store and have special buying hours for those interested in selling. Alana Jewelry has continually been ranked highest sales per square foot in the mall, a title Alana is really proud of, as if you could remember from her original story she was breaking out in hives the first day she opened their doors to the public. Now over 20 years later, she has so much joy from the store she can’t even begin to describe it.

This store visit has brought ME so much joy, thanks everyone at Alana Jewelry for showing me your wonderful store. I can’t wait to tell everyone about it and hopefully the next time someone visits Seattle, they make the trip out of downtown and to the Northgate Mall to see you!

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Northgate Mall 401 NE Northgate Way #520

Seattle, WA 98125

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Gem Gossip Visits Alexandria Rossoff Jewels & Rare Finds in Seattle, WA

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Diamond cluster navette ring, Five-stone Edwardian ring

Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip

Edwardian diamond cluster dangle earrings

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Left to right: Emerald ring #1, Emerald ring #2, Emerald ring #3, Green tourmaline ring

Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip

Mid-Century Tiffany & Co. earrings, thick Retro yellow gold snake chain necklace

Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip

Emerald cut diamond ring with sapphire side stones, large sapphire ring with diamond side stones

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Festoon diamond necklace, diamond rose cut dangle earrings

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Pearl, sapphire and diamond bar brooch, Matching Edwardian pearl and diamond bracelet

Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip

Three-diamond Gypsy band, Hexagonal Amethyst ring, Victorian pearl band, smaller amethyst surrounded by pearls, larger amethyst surrounded by pearls set in filigree

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Round halo ring, cute Old Mine cut ring, domed filigree ring, domed filigree ring on right hand

Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip Alexandria Rossoff | Gem Gossip

Golden Beryl ring, Alexandrite ring, large antique Opal ring, snake ring

Next stop on the Seattle #JewelryRoadTrip was Alexandria Rossoff Jewels & Rare Finds, a stone’s throw away from where we were staying, Hotel Vintage. We walked to the shop which is located on 4th Avenue; lucky for us it was a beautiful and sunny summer day in Seattle. If you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I would highly recommend the summertime. Alexandria’s store has been on my radar for quite some time, in fact, back in 2010 when I would write about stores I hope to visit one day, this store was one of my features. I also named Alexandria Rossoff my favorite Facebook “Like” back in 2012. And one of my most favorite people in the jewelry industry, Levi Higgs, actually interned at Alexandria Rossoff’s back when he went to the University of Washington for his undergraduate degree. He now lives in NYC and works for David Webb.

I had so much anticipation going into this visit that excitement wouldn’t even begin to describe it! Meeting Alexandria for the first time was like meeting a longtime friend, as she has been in the jewelry business since 1980. She has worked in every aspect of this business and is a wealth of knowledge, as well as being regarded as the antique jewelry expert in the Seattle area. Her business has changed addresses a few times over the years, which has allowed Alex to creatively depict the feel for each storefront and reinvent her brand. Her partner brings a unique aspect to her antique jewelry business, with the ability to design jewelry, hand-engrave and make waxes for casting. This adds a whole new dimension to the store.

Walking into Alexandria Rossoff Jewels & Rare Finds, you’ll notice the elegance of the store paired with some Hollywood Glamour. The floor to ceiling windows allow some glorious sunlight to fill the entire space, easily becoming a selling tool as the gemstones light up with sparkle. The engagement and bridal selection is filled with antique and vintage diamond rings, along with some alternative options, like sapphires, rubies, even pearl suites fit for that stunningly beautiful wedding day look! I love the display fixtures and how each told a story–whether it was color-coordinated, gem-coordinated or era-coordinated–the vignettes help put together a look. And boy, did I get busy putting together some looks! Hope you enjoy the photos above, fixed with captions to depict pieces you can easily shop online. If you see pieces I’m wearing that aren’t online, simply email [email protected]

Alexandria Rossoff is a must-see if you’re in the Seattle area! Next time you’re there, snap some photos and tag me on Instagram–I’d love to see how my visit inspired yours.

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1304 4th Ave.

Seattle, WA 98101

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