Leslie Hindman Auction: September Sale is INCREDIBLE

Leslie Hindman: Lot 87

You’ll be enchanted forever by this ring, up for bid at Leslie Hindman Auction in Chicago, IL — this is lot 87 in the three-day bidding extravaganza.

Leslie Hindman: Lot 377 Leslie Hindman: Lot 378 Leslie Hindman: Lot 379 Leslie Hindman: Lot 380

Four mesmerizing opals are on the block at Leslie Hindman, day one, and they come back-to-back in lots 377-380. Get your bidding paddles up!

Earlier this year, I got the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Leslie Hindman Auctioneers jewelry headquarters in Chicago, IL. To say I’ve got some perspective on how an auction house runs is far from the truth, but I came away being able to put faces with names, insight into a typical day, and a brief intake of the enormous amount of sparkle the jewelry department works with. It was one of my most favorite experiences of this year! Now when I hear that Leslie Hindman has an upcoming auction this September (the 10th-12th to be exact) I have more context of the event, as they are excited to bring a three-day extravaganza with some heavy and hard-hitting bidding in the future. This three-day auction will feature over 1500 items of all price points and eras. If you like big and bold, Victorian or Modern, opals or rubies, they’ve got something for everyone.

Let’s take a look at some of my top picks:

Leslie Hindman: Lot 6 Leslie Hindman: Lot 55

Lot 6: Nothing beats an Etruscan Revival basketweave wrap bracelet! This is such a fine example and I love the gemstones used on it–sapphire and diamonds! It gives it a cool look against the warm yellow gold. I also love the granulation work, in both excellent and ready-to-wear condition. This piece may date back to 1870, but never looked more trendy than on an elegant wrist in 2017. Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 55: Lately I’ve written several articles on engagement rings and I’ve been finding that women are wanting something traditional but with a twist! This ring speaks volumes with just the small accent sapphires, as it makes the ring totally unique. The piece is Art Deco and set with a 3.24 carat Old European cut diamond in the center. Love the style and think it should belong to someone who will treasure it as an engagement ring. Estimate: $10,000-15,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 68 Leslie Hindman: Lot 86

Lot 68: I’ve seen the benefits of purchasing pieces that are convertible and this is a fine example of a two-in-one! Meet the silver-topped diamond pendant/brooch of your dreams. This piece totals over five carats of old cut diamonds and radiates from every angle. I could picture it being worn on a chain or worn pinned to a collar. The possibilities are really endless. Estimate: $4,000-6,000

Lot 86: The only kind of bugs I like are jewelled insects! This guy is one for the books–look how cute he is. Set with rose cut diamonds all-original to the piece and a jaw-dropping opal back. I love the detail on the textured gold legs and the ruby eyes. It’s all in the details. Estimate: $2,000-3,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 111A Leslie Hindman: Lot 118

Lot 111A: Plique a jour is jewelry’s version of stained glass and I must say, I don’t own a single piece of this beautiful artform. These earrings though, should and would be the best first piece of plique a jour to add to my collection. I love the colors and I love the design. They are 18k yellow gold and feature 12 brilliant cut diamonds. Estimate: $500-700

Lot 118: This diamond and ruby ring stopped me in my tracks. Wow. It is done in platinum and set with a marquise cut in the center, with calibre French cut rubies and round diamond accents. It is pristinely made and you can see the remarkable craftsmanship even in the photo alone–now I want to see it in person! It could be yours on September 10th. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Leslie Hindman: Lot 124 Leslie Hindman: Lot 300

Lot 124: This ring is so cool for so many reasons! Let’s start with the fact that it has contrasting metals–rose gold and platinum. The design is also pretty amazing, and the different metals really play off this element. The rubies are actually different, if you already couldn’t tell–one is synthetic and the other is genuine. Such a stunning ring. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Lot 300: The coolest earrings I ever did see. These are actually diamond studs with detachable jackets that easily slip on/off the earring posts. There are four jackets total, so lots of possibilities here! And the style of these has never been more on-trend. Geometric and angular, love them. The diamond studs total 2.26 carats. Estimate: 3,000-5,000

Leslie Hindman: Lot 487 Leslie Hindman: Lot 509

Lot 487: I had to include this insane emerald ring because of its colossal size–then I read further and realized it is a piece by Judy Geib. A true artist who hand makes everything herself–fun fact: did you know she taught herself how to make jewelry? No formal training. Her pieces are known for their juxtapositions–like beauty and rawness, fine gold mixed with silver. Estimate: $4,500-6,500

Lot 509: Iconic and chic, I had to include this cuff bracelet from Verdura into my favorites list! It is easily recognizable as a Verdura statement piece. Done in 18k yellow gold, set with peridot, amethyst, and diamond and complete with the Maltese cross enameled in black. What a special bracelet. Estimate: 28,000-38,000

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

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SEPTEMBER SALE: September 10th-12th

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The Hottest Celebrity Jewelry Trend Happening Now–Hoops!

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Jennifer Lopez may have been one of the originators, but now there seems to be a resurgence in the popularity of hoop earrings and celebrities are following suit.

What makes this hoop trend new? Crank the typical thin metal circle hoop earrings up a notch… or 12 notches! We’ve spotted all kinds of luxe versions of the hoop earring — from diamond color coated to encrusted opal slices. Hoops are competing as the new statement earrings on the red carpet.

Not to mention they have a remarkable way of framing the face and are extremely adaptable in size to fit anyone’s face shape. They’re quintessential and dependable. Hoop shaped earrings have been a powerful symbol in numerous cultures throughout history. The oldest earrings archaeologists have discovered belong to Sumerian women who lived in 2500 BC, and favoured the classic gold hoop style.

Hoop earrings are a foolproof, classic staple and if you don’t have a pair of hoop earrings in your jewelry box, check out these celebrity looks for inspiration to add a pair now!

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Hailey Baldwin demonstrating that one pair of hoop earrings is never enough. Hailey wearing 2 pairs of gold hoop earrings from Jennifer Fisher Jewelry at the iGo.live launch event.

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Jennifer Lopez wore Harry Winston three row diamond hoop earrings at the ‘Rei Kawakubi/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between’ Costume Institute Gala 2017. She also wore a pair of bold gold Samira hoop earrings by Jennifer Fisher Jewelry in her new music video for ‘Amor Amor Amor’.

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Nicki Minaj wore oversized diamond hoop earrings by Lynn Ban at the 2017 MTV VMAs.

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Rihanna prefers colored diamond encrusted hoop earrings. She wore Rihanna Loves Chopard pink sapphire hoop earrings to the LA premiere of Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets. She also wore yellow diamond hoop earrings by Jacob & Co. at the launch of her Fenty Beauty, pictured here.

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Singer Rita Ora wore diamond Tiffany and Co. hoops at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards.

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Sarah Paulson wearing diamond Jasmine hoop earrings by Nirav Modi at the 2017 Screen Actor Guild Awards.

PICTURE credit all GETTY, with the exception of Rihanna photo via WIRE IMAGE

This post was contributed by:

wwwdaily Laura Lee Fulham | T: @WhoWoreWhatDly | W: www.whoworewhatdaily.com

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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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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Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Engagement Rings

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History of Engagement Rings

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

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

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

Diamond Rings

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

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

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

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

Alternative Engagement Rings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Harvard Museum | Gem Gossip Harvard Museum | Gem Gossip

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

Harvard Museum | Gem Gossip Harvard Museum | Gem Gossip

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

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xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? You can follow Raquel on Instagram —> @raquelalonsoperez

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Book Review: Women Jewellery Designers

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ACC Publishing will release their newest jewelry book–the oversized and highly impressive book is titled Women Jewellery Designers by Juliet Weir-de La Rochefoucauld. My review can be found in my latest article for the Observer: These 4 Women Are the Biggest Innovators in Jewelry Design

Here’s the link:

http://observer.com/2017/08/women-jewelry-design-history-innovators-book-review/

You can order your copy here:

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The Ten Best Rings Currently For Sale at The Three Graces

The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip

One of my most frequently asked questions I get is, “where do you find all these amazing vintage and antique jewels?!” And my answer may surprise you, as most would envision me scouring flea markets, old attics and the like to find things like these featured above. It might be easy for me to say ONLINE and it is totally true. Websites like The Three Graces do the hard work for you, scouting out the most unique, wearable and head-turning jewels out there and we should appreciate that! I like knowing that anytime I go on TheThreeGraces.com I can find a whole new batch of sparkly, rare, vintage and antique pieces that expert Lisa Stockhammer Mial has sourced, authenticated, cleaned up and ready for its next lifetime. They also have some pretty special perks like a “no questions asked, free return policy,” offer layaway, and most every ring can be sized to fit! And what is easier than simply logging on to a website and ogling over New Arrivals?!

I got to do just that when choosing my favorite top ten rings that are currently for sale at The Three Graces. A mix of pieces I would love to own, rings that remind me of some favorites from my personal collection, and some that I can’t believe are still available (quick, grab them before someone else does!). Let’s start from the top!

Emerald Art Deco Ring & Diamond Filigree Halo Ring

1. There’s something unique about an Art Deco ring shaped like this emerald and diamond one! Not only does it elongate the finger, but it surely gets people staring. I love how delicate yet statement-making this ring is. Set in platinum with a stunning emerald, currently a size 6.5 and ready for a finger to shine on! Price: $4,950

2. At first I thought this would make such a beautiful engagement ring but then I saw the photos created by The Three Graces with my picks and I am really loving how this ring also looks as a right hand ring! I love when rings are versatile like that and this one definitely doesn’t have a bad angle even if you tried. The center diamond is just over a half carat and has a gorgeous sparkle to it. Price: $3,650

The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip

Deco Rock Crystal Ring & Large Moonstone Sapphire Cluster Ring

3. This ring is one of the best examples of rock crystal jewelry I’ve seen! I love the contrast of the blue sapphires along with the frostiness of the crystal and white diamond. This ring would be a perfect anniversary or birthday gift and I can almost guarantee this will get a lot of wear–it goes with everything! It is currently a size 7 1/4 and done in 14k white gold. Price: $1,350

4. If you know my personal collection as well as you know your own, you will understand why I HAD to choose this grand moonstone and sapphire ring! I have an almost identical one in my collection and the compliments that I get on it are nonstop. If you’ve been wanting to find something similar, this is it! Currently a size 5 1/2 with 2.88 carats of bright blue sapphires. Price: $4.450

The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip

Antique Citrine Ring & Vintage Amethyst Halo Ring

5. A pop of yellow added to any outfit instantly brightens everything! That’s why I love this citrine ring so much–I quickly become happy as soon as I look at it. I think this would be an ideal ring to wear in the summer and it could easily transition to fall wardrobes and colors. This art deco ring is currently a size 4 1/2 and can be resized for its new owner. Price: $1,275

6. Purple was my favorite color for most of my childhood. Anyone lucky enough to have a February birthdate can call amethyst their birthstone and this particular ring would be perfect for you. Or if you’re like me and just love the color purple, then yes you deserve this ring too. Currently a size 8 1/4 and can be sized to your liking. Price: $1,350

The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip

Bohemian Turquoise Ring & Bold Opal Cluster Ring

7. Turquoise is one of my most favorite gemstones–I can’t get enough of it! When most people think of turquoise, they think of Persian turquoise and although that is most desirable and valuable, I actually like when turquoise shows veining, different patterns and depth of color. This particular ring has great natural veining and I love the design–simple yet bold! The ring is done in 8k yellow gold and currently a size 6 3/4. Price: $650

8. So we all know my obsession with opals and if I didn’t have so many opal rings, THIS would be in my virtual shopping cart right now. Everything about it is amazing to me–the design (large oval cluster), the opals (a nice play-of-color that glows in the right light), and the size (big and bold). Don’t miss out on this vintage one-of-a-kind, done in 10k yellow gold. Price: $2,195

The Three Graces | Gem Gossip The Three Graces | Gem Gossip

Edwardian Diamond Heart Ring & “Four Corners” Sapphire, Diamond Ring

9. Never thought I’d be such a sucker for hearts, but I absolutely love them, especially the antique versions. This is an exceptional ring, dating back to the Edwardian period and set with rose cut diamonds in a silver topped setting. The band is done in 14k yellow gold and currently a size 5 1/2. If you love heart jewelry as much as I do, you won’t let this one slip away! Price: $3,850

10. Ok, this ring is one that will stop you dead in your tracks and I’m so in love with it! The design is really unique–The Three Graces describes it perfectly by saying, “modernist flavor with strong design elements.” The intensity of the blue sapphires is insane and it is one in a million. This ring deserves a good home that provides lots of love and care! 😉 Price: $4,450

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with The Three Graces.

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How Designers Work with Gold: Six Unique Stories

A point of view that needs to be explored more often and more inquisitively is the role of THE MAKER. Every jewelry designer has a story, a technique, preferences and ways of doing things…but a favorite metal? That’s easy, it is usually GOLD. I teamed up with May Is Gold Month to delve further into this perspective, asking six different jewelry designers the same two questions. What will their answers reveal about using gold in their jewelry designs? Let’s find out!

You can also take a look at the MAKERS which May Is Gold Month is featuring on their page here.

Above video features Philadelphia-based jewelry designer Anthony Lent creating a one-of-a-kind engagement ring for a special client. Each piece is handmade by the maker himself in his studio.

Anthony Lent Jewelry Anthony Lent Jewelry

Anthony Lent Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

For years I only worked in gold and some platinum. For me doing non conventional designs and creating them in a precious metal like 18k yellow gold was sort of an identity- the imagery in my designs was unusual to see in such a fine material.

Why do you like working with gold?

It is the most pleasurable metal to work with! The color of a rich 18 or 22k gold piece of jewelry is unlike anything else in nature. The way light plays off the material, the density of it, and its malleability is in my opinion why people have lusted after it for thousands of years.

>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.

Jessie V E Jessie V E

Jessie V E Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is absolutely essential in my work. The finish and feel of gold is like no other metal, and because I mostly use diamonds in my pieces, it’s really important that the jewellery they’re held in is as precious as the stones. I remember the first time I got to use gold at the bench while I was studying for my jewellery degree at university. I honestly didn’t realise it would be that different to working in silver but i was so wrong! From that moment the love affair with gold started and I physically couldn’t design anything without it. Although I don’t make the pieces at the bench myself for Jessie V E, I work very closely with the workshop, ensuring we use the highest quality gold in each expertly hand made piece.

Why do you like working with gold?

Often my jewellery has a symbolic or emotional feel, with the majority of the pieces being personalised or ‘semi-bespoke’, because I want them to become heirlooms passed down and cherished by future generations. Gold not only has the nostalgic and warm feel of the jewellery you remember seeing your grandparents and parents wearing when you were younger, but also from a more practical sense, gold is a metal that very few people have an allergy to, therefore making it perfect for everyday jewellery that lasts longer than a lifetime. There is just something about the feel, weight and warm glow of a gold piece of jewellery that is perfect for attaching memories and sentiment to, while looking beautiful and timeless.

>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.

Metalicious Jewelry Metalicious Jewelry

Metalicious Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold is important in my work because it has a rich history that dates back to the ancient Egyptians. Gold never corrodes and it was thought to symbolize immortality. This makes it the perfect ring for wedding and commitment bands.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is a beautiful metal to work with, it’s malleable yet extremely durable. I love the range of colors you can achieve by alloying gold with other metals. It gives me the flexibility to create unique alternative engagement rings, to match my customers personalities perfectly.

>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.

Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos

Johnny Ninos Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Gold has played a big role in progressing my work. While transitioning from silver, the cost of gold required me to slow down and focus more intently on the details. I remember honing in on each file stroke and tightening my burr control; skills I now apply to all materials regardless of cost.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is an easy metal to love. It’s luscious and has a rich, deep character. When I’m working with gold it’s soft qualities preserve the handmade nature of the piece while still allowing for structure, durability, and precision.

>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.

Grace Lee Designs Grace Lee Designs

Grace Lee Designs

How is gold important in your work?

Everything in my collection is solid gold and made locally with ethically sourced materials. When I started my collection, almost 10 years ago now, there was a lack of minimal fine jewelry. Personally, I was at a point in my life when I didn’t want to invest in jewelry that will tarnish or turn my finger green. If the outside of my finger is green then who knows what’s happening on the inside of my body.

Why do you like working with gold?

Gold is intrinsically a soft and malleable metal yet strong and unchanging. Its value comes from these physical properties and its rarity. Gold was discovered thousands of years ago yet still today it remains one of Earth’s most valuable natural resources. I like working with gold because of the creative possibilities with a malleable yet unchanging raw material are endless and lasting. If you look at my collection we have pieces like the iconic Whisper Ring – that is airy and whisper thin yet can be worn everyday. The fact that it is solid 14k gold means you don’t need to take it off to shower or wash your hands. The fact that is solid 14k gold also means your piece will not change and can be passed on for generations.

I think it is rare and valuable to be flexible yet constant simultaneously. It is almost an oxymoron. Think about some of your favorite people – perhaps they are flexible and can adapt to changing circumstances yet you are confident they will also remain the same at a core level. Personally, I like these intrinsic characteristics in gold and in people.

As a designer that’s what I hope to do – to evolve yet stay constant. As I continue to create new collections it is my hope that people will continue to be able to appreciate and recognize my work as distinctively GL.

>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.

SophieHughes SophieHughes SophieHughes

Sophie Hughes Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Why do you like working with gold?

There is a very potent mystique intrinsic to gold – it is radiant, lush and seductive. It looks and feels luxurious on the body. The specific alloy of 18 karat gold I use in my work is bright and rich, with an old-world feel supplied by its cool undertones. As a designer, I appreciate its versatility as a material – it stands on its own but also plays nice visually when set with precious stones or fused over the surface of oxidized sterling silver.

I draw a lot of excitement and inspiration from the unlimited design possibilities of gold. Plus, working with it is an absolute dream! It remains clean when heated, is smooth as butter, and responds beautifully to the textures of the antique hammers I utilize in my work. It’s super forgiving because it has a great capacity to be worked and re-worked.

Gold is also easily recycled so its use aligns with my values as a designer. The metal mining industry is disruptive to the environment and is notorious for unscrupulous labor and business practices, so partnering with refineries who melt and mill precious, reclaimed scrap allows me access to material I feel good about working with and my clients feel good about wearing.

>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with May Is Gold Month.

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Jewels at my Doorstep: Alexis Kletjian Jewelry

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All the April showers have rained down on us all month long and I’m here waiting for the May flowers, which will hopefully be worth the wait! Spring is one of my most favorite times of the year; a time of rebirth, growth, freshness and strength. What better way than to capture all that in our latest Jewels at my Doorstep shoot because it is so fitting with the designer being featured–Alexis Kletjian. Her jewelry is created and designed with the intention of being a part of your every day wardrobe, being passed down, and becoming a part of your legacy. The word legacy is very important to Alexis–it is a word she often thinks of when celebrating milestones, both in life and online. Celebration often goes hand-in-hand with giving/receiving jewelry, and it is exactly that idea which Alexis feels her jewelry line lends itself perfectly with. She also celebrates online anytime her social media platforms hit a special milestone and she gives back by drawing names from anyone who has emailed her with their legacy story! Winner receives $1000 good toward a piece from the Alexis Kletjian collections.

A milestone like a birthday, anniversary or holiday are all ideal moments to share a piece of Alexis Kletjian jewelry–a shield pendant, a hexagon band, or any of her initial charms–there are so many great pieces. I was really excited to see her jewels, as I haven’t seen them in awhile. I also got to experience some never-before-seen pieces she has been busy cooking up! Like the emerald and diamond crossover ring and the opal lotus star pendant with one-of-a-kind boulder opals. Definitely some of my favorite pieces! We can’t forget the Retiarii earrings because those need their own special introduction. Glamorous, sleek and bold–shining bright with diamonds set in the “netting” of the design (a retiarii is an ancient gladiator net used to protect oneself in battle) and dangling with two specially cut chrysoberyls by Top Notch Faceting. These earrings can be customized, as Alexis also makes them in all gold, all diamonds, or all diamonds + moonstone. The bangles were beyond belief, as they came done in 18k gold with three different eternity style gemstone varieties: demantoid garnet, chrome diopside, and tanzanite. Lastly, we must discuss my obsession with these “crystal ball” looking rings because when I look into them, I can see my future. They are actually prehnite cabochons and although you might not have ever heard of that stone before, get familiar! Alexis just put it on the map.

Our shoot was set on a glorious spring morning in Nashville; our location being Belmont University–one of the prettiest schools I’ve ever been to. They are known for their lavish gardens, with over 14,000 tulips (imported from the Netherlands), and over 100 species of trees and shrubs. Efforts have been put in place to keep the campus classified as a tree sanctuary. The photos were shot by Lauren Newman Photography and we used as much of the gardens, plants, trees and flowers as possible in all the shots. We hope you enjoy!

Earrings:

18k yellow gold Retiarii earrings set with diamonds and dangling chrysoberyls cut by TopNotch Faceting

18k yellow gold mini star stud earrings set with diamonds

Bracelets:

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with demantoid garnets

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with chrome diopside

18k yellow gold Oscar bangle set with tanzanite

Necklaces:

14k yellow gold Lotus shield pendant set with tanzanite and diamonds

14k yellow gold Lucky star shield pendant set with an emerald

18k yellow gold Lotus star pendant set with boulder opals

Rings:

18k yellow gold prehnite cabochon signet rings, in two different sizes

14k yellow gold mini hexagon bands, one in emerald and one in diamonds

14k yellow gold hexagon bands, one in demantoid garnet and one in diamonds

14k yellow gold emerald and diamond crossover ring

Shop Now:

online at alexiskletjian.com OR email [email protected]

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Alexis Kletjian Jewelry.

Alexis Kletjian Jewelry

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