Q & A with Shelley Gibbs Sanders of The Last Line

The Last Line

Discovering new jewelry brands that are trailblazing in unique ways is my absolute favorite–that is why I jumped for joy after learning about The Last Line, a new project recently launched by jewelry veteran Shelley Gibbs Sanders. Bold colors, chic and iconic pieces…and, wait for it…AMAZING prices! You might scroll around the website and wonder, how can these prices be so good for REAL jewelry that is 14k gold and genuine gemstones?! The answer is their philosophy of being direct-to-consumer, never having a middle man, selling new pieces in batches called “drops.” Their latest drop is actually TODAY where they’ve added to all the incredible earring styles you always wished you could find. These ear stacks are what dreams are made of and that is exactly what Shelley set out to do when creating The Last Line. Can her goal of being “the last line” you will ever need hold true for many of you?! Let’s find out!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley and we encourage you to check out the website and find your perfect piece!

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The Last Line is a continued project, I have been designing this collection for pretty much my whole life and I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone. We just launched at the end of July with earrings and there is so much more to come: necklaces, rings, and bracelets! The inspiration behind the name of The Last Line is it is the last place you’ll have need to look for fine jewelry and trust me, I plan to live up to our name.

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I’ve had the rare opportunity of being on both the design and the production side of the process, which is so helpful and, in the end I am ultimately a consumer so basically it is the trifecta of intel! My career technically began in New York where I studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design before returning home to California to train with Master Jewelers in San Francisco. After learning the tricks of the trade, I returned to Los Angeles to begin my career as a jewelry designer. Over time (and companies!) my roles evolved and I became the head designer and creative director for dozens of celebrity jewelry brands and high-end jewelry houses, working with everything from gold, diamonds, and precious stones.

When we decided to officially launch The Last Line, it was almost four years ago. I have been designing jewelry for almost fifteen years and in every design job I had, I was always thinking if this was my line, how would I do this, what would I change, etc. I felt like I had seen it all, but really when I started to look there were definite holes in the market. It felt polarizing, there were two distinct buckets: reasonably priced, not-so-great design or great design and quality, outrageous price with nothing in the middle, which as a consumer I found so frustrating. Of course, after that I started to speak to my girlfriends, family, literally, everyone and anyone and I knew I wasn’t alone in that thought. Fast forward to today and voilà, introducing The Last Line.

The brand is two-fold: The Heart and The Soul, everything is designed in Los Angeles where I live with my family. The Heart pieces are the core of the brand and your jewelry box; they’re the staples that you never want to take off and that make you feel instantly put together. The Soul pieces are the jaw dropping, make your girlfriends ask, “where did you get that,” expertly crafted, special pieces you want to treat yourself to. Of course, I believe you need both!

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I did a lot of research before we decided to officially launch, I mean truly did research: price, design, size, color, the list goes on. The symbolism of our brand name The Last Line is that we want to be THE place for all of your fine jewelry wants (and needs!), the last place you’ll ever need to go.

There were a few things that were important for me when launching TLL, one of which was pricing. Fine jewelry shopping can be intimidating, a lot of which can be the result of pricing. Because we are direct to consumer, we can present amazing, quality pieces without the retail mark-up. It was also important for me to be (and stay) hands-on with the line; I think building a relationship from the beginning with your clients is key for any brand’s longevity. Being direct-to-consumer is not only a more personal approach, but it’s service driven, which is important when spending $2,000+ on a piece of jewelry online. All of our pieces focus on craftsmanship, much of the Soul collection being handmade in Los Angeles. Having a background in production (and as I jewelry shopper myself) it was important to use quality materials that look great and merit their cost.

One of the coolest things about the line for me, is the actual assortment of jewelry is personal, I wanted to present options, in each drop you will have classics with a twist and then some really fun special pieces. In the first drop, we have everything from a perfect gold sphere stud (in over 5 sizes!) to our signature flower earring in a variety of stones. In the second earring drop, there are solitaire studs in a variety of stones, lots (!) of diamonds, from line earrings, to ear cuffs, to a perfect tennis drop earring and of course this amazing doubles spiral hoop earring you may have seen Nicole Richie sporting. And in the third earring drop, well that’s a secret for now.

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I truly hope that I am working on The Last Line, forever. I love to design of all types of jewelry and I love to create. I can’t stop—it is my obsession. I want to continue to create pieces that connect with women all over the world, it is important for my pieces to speak to the woman who’s just starting her jewelry collection and also excites the existing jewelry client who has her go-to pieces but is looking for that perfect_______. I want our pieces to become heirlooms; they should feel current but not trendy. For me, it is how a woman mixes her jewelry collection that makes it cool. I wanted to create pieces that can be worn but not worried about. The earrings can all be purchased individually, so mixing it up is fully encouraged!

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My engagement ring was one of the first pieces of The Last Line. My husband actually designed it and worked with the jeweler for months. It’s was something we always talked about it and one day there he was with it and it all took off from there —our marriage, our line, everything.

From the line, my favorite piece right now that I own is a 3-way tie between the diamond teddy flower earring with the pave tsavorite stem from the Goldie earring, the medium rose gold diamond safety pin and a special bracelet inspired by childhood which will drop soon.

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Q & A and Visit with Emily Stoehrer of MFA Boston

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After a long and exciting week in Boston, I had a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts set up to feed my jewelry history cravings. One of my favorite things about my love and passion for jewelry is learning! Museum exhibits are such a great way to see and learn, often producing a lifelong impact or memory–especially for me. Whenever there is a headlining jewelry exhibit, I like to try to schedule trips in hopes of catching it before it ends. Lucky for Boston, the MFA has quite an extensive jewelry department that is constantly researching, collaborating, and creating new exhibits. I got to have a private tour with Emily Stoehrer who is not only a wealth of knowledge, but highly dedicated and involved in what she does for the museum. I was fascinated in so many ways, as she brought me through the MFA’s current exhibit Past is Present: Revival Jewelry.

Learn more about Emily as she answers my questions below and make sure you stop by the exhibit before it ends in August of 2018. Can’t wait to visit again!

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I am the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry. It’s a unique role in an American fine art museum, which was established in 2006. I was appointed in 2014, and over the last three years have worked to develop the exhibition program; add extraordinary jewels to the collection; connect with jewelers, designers, and collectors; and collaborate with colleagues across the museum to plan programming and events

Spanning thousands of years of jewelry history, there are more than 20,000 objects in the jewelry collection. Highlights include our ancient collections and contemporary jewelry, but over the last decade have added to our holding of fine jewelry. A great example of this is a gift given by the Rothschild family a few years ago, which included an outstanding pearl and diamond necklace that dates to the late nineteenth century. With large, perfectly matched natural pearls, it’s an extraordinary treasure! Yvonne Markowitz (who is the Rita J. Kaplan and Susan B. Kaplan Curator of Jewelry Emerita) and I have worked to establish a jewelry resource center for anyone interested in the study of jewelry, and as part of that we have also worked with the Curator of Design to acquire jewelry with related design drawings. Studying drawings from firms like Trabert & Hoeffer Mauboussin, the manufacturer-jeweler Louis Ferón, and the artist-craftsman Frank Gardner Hale, alongside the jewelry they made, has greatly informed our understanding of jewelry and how the industry operated historically.

We have also worked to add strength to strength by filling in gaps in our historical collection. For example, until recently we did not have anything by Carlo Giuliano. But, this year we added two amazingly naturalistic gold and enamel butterflies to the collection—a Duke of Burgundy and Bath White butterfly, to be specific. They are impossibly thin, and enameled on both sides to show every detail of the butterfly’s body and wings. They are a stunning example of the goldsmith’s art. Another historically important and spectacular ornament that I recently acquired is the Apparitions brooch which was designed by Eugene Grasset and made by Henri Vever for the 1900 Paris Exposition. It’s hauntingly beautiful art nouveau aesthetic won them the Grand Prix.

My favorite part of the job is the research and planning that goes into creating an exhibition—doing research in libraries and archives and taking a deep dive into historical documents, publications, and material culture. Unfortunately, as I run from meeting to meeting, I don’t get to spend as much time doing this as I would like. So, I rely on some a team of volunteers and interns to help with some of it. Once the research has been done, and the objects have been selected, the real fun begins. I have learned so much about the storytelling capabilities of jewelry from working with the MFA’s remarkable exhibition designers, mountmakers, and conservators as we discuss and mock-up how each object will be displayed in the gallery.

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As any lover of jewelry knows, the past has consistently inspired jewelers and designers. While interest in historicism was particularly strong during the nineteenth century, there were great revival jewels made before 1800 and after 1900. In the same way the Victorians struggled with the tension between mass-production and hand-craftsmanship, we grapple with digital design and the pace of modern life. So, I see this as a topic that is as relevant today as it was 150 years ago, and if you think about it that way you’ll notice many examples of twentieth and twenty-first century jewelry that engage with a historical narrative. I hope that visitors enjoy seeing traditional “revivalist” ornaments by outstanding jewelers like Castellani and Giuliano, Bapst and Falize and Boucheron, but also some unexpected surprises like a 9-foot titanium python necklace by Munich-based contemporary jeweler David Bielander, and that the juxtaposition makes them question their notion of revival jewelry.

The exhibition highlights four revival styles: Archeological, Classical, Renaissance, and Egyptian. Each case in the intimate space includes a choice group of jewelry aimed to tell a story – travel, nationalism, graduation, cameo, scarabs, and snakes are just a few of the themes explored. If you pay very close attention to the labels, visitors might also be delighted to learn how early some of these objects were added to the MFA collection. Like the Met, the MFA was founded in 1870, and some of these jewels were acquired in the subsequent decades, making them contemporary jewelry when they were donated. A neoclassical necklace and five brooches with mythological scenes in carved shell cameo, and a Castellani necklace, earrings, and brooch commissioned by the amber collector William Buffum are just two examples of the objects that have resided at the MFA for more than one hundred years. Newer acquisitions on view include: a tour-de-force bracelet by the Roman jeweler Ernesto Pierret that features a central bovine head, granulation, and two menacing faces that come together to form the clap; a spectacular early twentieth-century neck ornament by G. Paulding Farham for Tiffany & Co.; and a slithering silver snake belt/necklace, with sapphire eyes, that Elsa Peretti designed for the American fashion designer Halston in the 1970s.

While 80% of the works on view are from the MFA collection, there are also some noteworthy loans. From the collection of Susan B. Kaplan, a startlingly lifelike lion speaks to the genius of Castellani’s designers and craftsmen. Unlike other micromosaic workshops, Castellani left the surface of their work uneven to create a glittering effected. Wartski Ltd., of London, loaned a demi-parure (belt buckle, brooch, and bracelet) by Falize Frères. Enameled on both sides, the glorious ornaments use translucent enamel and foil to create a fantastical scene with birds, like those seen in illuminated manuscripts. Generously sponsored by Cartier, the exhibition includes four magnificent twentieth-century ornaments from the Cartier Collection. Made between 1906 and 1928, the garland style medusa necklace, winged scarab belt buckle, Eye of Horus bracelet (that once belonged to Linda Porter), and the diamond chimera bracelet are outstanding examples of French revival jewelry, and the depth of the MFAs ancient collection allows for these dazzling jewels to be exhibited alongside the ancient artifacts that inspired their design.

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My path to jewelry was a crooked one. I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, and had plans to attend law school. But a few years working in the District Attorney’s office, I changed my mind and I began researching graduate programs in fashion. In 2005 I moved to New York City and enrolled in the two-year Fashion & Textile Studies program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Thanks to FIT’s remarkable alumni network I ended up back in my hometown with an internship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. As an intern I worked with conservators in the Textile Conservation department to relocate the fashion collection.

My first full-time position at the MFA was as a Collections Care Specialist and my responsibilities included preparing more than 10,000 objects from the Asian costume and textile collection for photography – everything from kimono to dragon robes and textile fragments to temple hangings. When that project ended, I became the Curatorial Research Associate reporting to Yvonne Markowitz (then curator of jewelry). For two years I worked with her on the inaugural exhibition in the jewelry gallery, and the book Artful Adornment. Both the exhibition and the book focused on highlights from the MFA’s jewelry collection. Yvonne quickly became a very important part of my life, and has been an extraordinary mentor. She encouraged me to think about a future as a jewelry curator, bringing my knowledge of fashion history to the understanding of jewelry. She enthusiastically introduced me to her contacts and colleagues, took me to conferences, and supported my own research in the field. She also told me to consider a PhD.

During my time at the MFA, I had been teaching courses in textiles and fashion history, and in 2010 I left the Museum and took a position at a small college in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. As Program Director and Assistant Professor, I managed three robust fashion programs with more than 100 students. At the same time I took PhD courses and exams, and began work on my dissertation. My doctoral work focused on the intersection of fashion, jewelry, and media. I examined the vintage jewelry on the red carpet from 1995-2010 using Neil Lane’s collection as a case study.

After nearly 30 years at the MFA, Yvonne retired in 2014 and I was appointed to replace her. Over the last three years, I curated the exhibitions Hollywood Glamour: Fashion and Jewelry from the Silver Screen, Past is Present: Revival Jewelry, and smaller installations; planned jewelry related events and trips for the MFA’s Fashion Council; traveled extensively to lecture, visit art fairs and exhibitions, participated in educational opportunities organized by Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts (ASJRA) and Art Jewelry Forum (AJF) trips, attend conferences, visited collectors, galleries, designers, and jewelers. It’s been a whirlwind. Recently I have taken on two leadership roles, joining the board of directors for the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) and the Boston chapter of the Women’s Jewelry Association (WJA).

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I am immersed in research for two forthcoming exhibitions, and a book related to my doctoral work.

Opening in September 2018, an exhibition of Boston arts and crafts jewelry and metalwork will replace Past is Present in the Stanley H. and Rita J. Kaplan Family Foundation Gallery. From the establishment of the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts to the disastrous 1929 stock market crash that crippled many artist craftsmen, this exhibition will be the first to focus solely on Boston jewelers, and will include design drawings, jewelry, and hollowware by artists like Frank Gardner Hale, Josephine Hartwell Shaw, Margaret Rogers, and Edward Everett Oakes.

That exhibition will be followed by one on Elsa Peretti, who will be celebrating 50 years as a designer in 2020. Beginning her design career making jewelry and accessories for Giorgio Sant’ Angelo and Halston before joining Tiffany & Co., Peretti has created timeless designs that continue to resonate with modern consumers. Her refined taste has focused, primarily, on silver but the exhibition will feature a diverse sample of her work, as well as her inspirations, and—of course—include a fashion element. An esteemed arbiter of style, fashion icon, and friend of many twentieth century notables, this exhibition will celebrate Peretti’s life and career.

My work at the MFA keeps me very busy, but I am also in the midst of writing a book titled Jewelry in Celebrity Culture: Glamour and the Hollywood Spectacle. It will be published as part of I.B. Taurus’s Dress Culture series (edited by Reina Lewis and Elizabeth Wilson). From the tour-de-force necklace that the American firm Trabert & Hoeffer loaned Colette Colbert to wear in the 1935 film The Gilded Lily to the impact of The Representation Project’s #askhermore campaign, the book will examine how jewelry aids in Hollywood’s production of glamour.

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To be honest, the last three years have been a series of highlights. The people I have had the opportunity to meet have been the most memorable. The many conversations and meetings I had with Neil Lane as I conducted research on Hollywood jewelry and his private collection, having lunch with Elsa Peretti in Sant Marti Vell, Spain and discussing her incredible life and work, and spending two days in Wallace Chan’s Hong Kong atelier are at the top of the list!

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I look forward to seeing the field grow in new and exciting ways. There are so many M.A. programs that embrace the study of jewelry history, and there remain extensive subjects awaiting scholarly work. Coupled with a G.G. I think there is extraordinary potential for research and writing. I was lucky to have a great mentor, who guided my career path, and if you can find an experienced curator or historian to play that role for you, it’s priceless. This field is so welcoming. I encourage anyone interested in jewelry to find others that share their passion, social media is a great place for this.

Being a museum curator is much more multi-faceted than I realized after leaving graduate school. Even after years working at the Museum, it wasn’t until I was a curator that I realized the diverse requirements of the job—a natural curiosity, a mastery of your subject area and how it connects to other types of art, a vision and strong ideas that you can translate into exhibitions, excellence in building and maintaining relationships with artists and collectors, as well as strong research, writing, and public speaking skills.

I am very lucky that the MFA has such a vibrant jewelry program. My position, the gallery, and the prominence of jewelry at the MFA is all thanks to tremendous generosity Susan B. Kaplan. It is our hope that other American fine art museums will expand their collection, exhibition, and publication related to jewelry. And, that similar positions will emerge at other American museums.

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WANT MORE? You can follow Emily on Instagram —> @jewelcurator

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Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show 2017

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Taking on the Las Vegas Antique Show with Becca of BCE Jewelry, with Lenore Dailey at her booth and we ran into Sheri & Trina of Metier

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Both pieces here (left & right) are from DK Bressler and both are more than meets the eye: the dragonfly is En Tremblant and the diamond brooch can convert into other pieces of jewelry

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Two gorgeous booth photos, the left is Platt Boutique Jewelry and the right I cannot remember for the life of me!

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I loved these three rings from Excalibur Jewelry, especially the open metal work on the pointer, & the right photo features an incredible Lightning Ridge Opal set in a turn-of-the-century ring from M&C Stevens

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This large pendant/medallion made me smile, from Platt Boutique Jewelry and the photo on the right are my three favorites from Jacob’s Estate Jewelry

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Lenore Dailey’s booth is just jaw-dropping in its own right, so I always take a photo of it every year — the photo on the right is an incredible ring box full of the most beautiful pieces from Simon Teakle

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I think Blue Topaz gets a bad rap–this bracelet is crazy gorgeous, from Clayton Antiques and the photo on the right features a museum-worthy suite of early Victorian jewelry

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I always have to stop and stare at the crowns I see at the show! The right photo features some of the best rings I saw throughout the entire show–these three, from Under the Crown. Favorite stack ever.

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Always a sucker for hearts, I loved this opal brooch from DK Bressler and the photo on the right features three light blue enamel bracelets from Keyamour. Once in a lifetime shot right there!

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I love to see what Joden has and this time around this necklace caught my eye–from the black enamel to the mega gemstones, wow! The photo on the right is a ring tray seen at Mary Ann-tiques

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The combo of moonstone + rubies is so good, I think that is why I loved this bracelet from Mary Ann-tiques so much. Also this tortoise shell butterfly brooch–wow, so unique and all handcrafted. This one belongs to Platt Boutique Jewelry.

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A box of goodies found at Lucy Verity … the photo on the right are my favorites from Mary Ann-tiques, some rectangles and ovals!

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Sapphire stack from Excalibur Jewelry and the jewelry box on the right was seen at Lucy Verity–that snake bracelet is to die for and unfortunately a little too big on my wrist.

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Last photos come from Excalibur–clusters of sapphire and diamonds, which create this amazing bracelet…and the photo on the right are my favorites from Craig Evan Small.

I’ve always associated the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show with The Paris hotel, however this was the first year in a very long time that that particular location was changed. This year’s show was located at the Las Vegas Convention Center. I didn’t know what to expect at all and actually didn’t even know where the convention center was located in regards to where everything else is until the day of the show! To my surprise, I enjoyed the change–but I also will be happy when the show returns to The Paris next year. I attended on opening day and then again the following day, covering as much as I could on day one and attempting to pick up where I left off the next day. I had good company on the second day–Katie of Vada Jewelry (like last year) and Becca of BCE Jewelry who had never attended before! It was cool to see someone experience the show for the first time and she walked away with an awesome diamond cluster ring.

For some reason the reoccurring theme for me this year was large, circular pendants aka medallions. It seemed like every booth I visited, I spotted one or was attracted to one. I like how with every show, I’m not sure what I’m going to find or what I will be drawn to…it is always something different. I brought home a really cool medallion zodiac pendant, which I will share in another post! I also brought back nearly ten pieces to sell for @shopGEMGOSSIP, some of which have already sold but you can certainly browse what is still available.

From the gorgeous diamond crowns I spotted at several booths, to lots of diamond cocktail rings, there was some major selections going on at this show. Lots of buyers were going full force and commenting on what a great show it was. I noticed an up tick in traffic flow up and down the aisles and saw a lot of buying happening.

As always, I have the best time roaming the aisles, running into people I know and chatting with my favorite dealers. It is fun catching up with everyone and I can’t believe this was my sixth year attending the show. And even after six years, I still relish in finding awesome pieces and the thrill of the hunt definitely still lives on at these shows. I hope that never changes!

Thanks for another great year, Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show…can’t wait until next year!

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Read my other posts from the same show, years of the past:

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

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Dupuis Important Jewels Auction Set for June 11, 2017

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

Dupuis Important Jewels Auction >> June 11, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hey guys & gals.

hahaha

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Leslie of @PinkPirahnah

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This month’s Jewelry Collection Story comes from someone I’ve actually met in person, which doesn’t happen too often since so many people from our lovely Instagram community are from all parts of the world. Leslie came to the GIA Alumni meeting when I spoke in DC last summer and I recognized her right away because of the opal ring she was wearing! Funny how sometimes that happens. It has been fun getting to know her on Instagram and am so excited she agreed to share her personal collection story with us–take it away Leslie:

“I am a total museum junky by nature and my love for classical art and history runs deep. However, jewelry as art was not on my radar until about 12 years ago when I found my first vintage piece, the pretzel ring. Yes, I had a few token pieces of mall jewelry but I never really thought there was much substance to jewelry until I discovered the vintage and antique world. A golden pretzel with diamond salt appealed to my sense of humor and art. It was also meaningful to me as a Speech Pathologist working with my special needs children on requesting items, one of those items was actually pretzels! I can’t tell you how many kiddos have actually tried to lick it over the years! This one ring started an obsession but also introduced me to my friend Lara from Icon Style in NYC. I learned so much from her over the next few years and with her help I really grew my collection and love for all eras.

My current collection includes Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau. Art Deco, Vintage and a few Georgian pieces. I don’t necessarily have a preferred era but I think the biggest appeal of antique and vintage jewelry is how unique and detailed the pieces can be. Color is a big factor for me but most importantly I like quirk. If it’s funny or unique, I have to have it! I love to mix and match eras and pile it on pretty thick. Certainly, no one would accuse me of neglecting my jewelry.

One thing I wear every day is obviously my Art Deco engagement ring. I had always assumed I would get a Victorian cluster ring but when I tried this piece on I fell hard for its lively black opal.

The one motif that I am magnetically drawn to is snakes. I can spot a serpent in a jewelry case like a shark scenting blood in the water. In fact, I found my tiny snake earrings despite their purposely discreet location in my friend’s display case. In the histories of various civilizations, snakes have come to symbolize many ideas but my favorite is that of eternal love. Symbolism aside, snakes have the unique visual impact that I find hard to resist.

Charms are another obsession I have. I try to limit myself but I just love some of the funny and super detailed pieces you can find. My favorite charm is my vintage gold ghost. He is perfectly crafted and has the most beautiful brown marquise diamond eyes that peek from behind his sheet.

Another style of jewelry I desperately love is Art Deco era “pools of light.” Layering these rock crystal orbs is addictive but also causes some serious neck strain. I have several pieces but the most interesting one is a rock crystal orb the size of a jaw breaker. It is completely encased in an open silver work shell depicting bunnies paddling in canoes.

Rings are my go-to to buy and again I don’t discriminate. I collect a variety of stones, styles, and metals. One thing I don’t like to do is size my rings. I have a few exceptions but in general I try not to alter the finger bling that comes into my collection. If one is too big I simply stack it with gold bands to adjust the fit.

When I was first collecting I would shop at Icon Style in NYC and I would go to all the big NYC shows religiously. Having relocated to the DMV area I have had more opportunities to go to antiquing in rural areas but also go to the bigger shows like the DC flea and the Baltimore Antique Show. I don’t shop online much but I have found several lovely pieces through the Instagram community.”

xoxoGemGossip

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Gem Gossip Visits Marissa Collections in Naples, FL

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After a full weekend filled with jewelry at the Miami Antique Show, there was nothing I needed more than, well–MORE jewelry! I’ve been dying to visit Marissa Collections in sunny (more like ALWAYS sunny) Naples, Florida. It is just a short jaunt from Miami across the Florida Everglades along Alligator Alley (legit name) for about two hours. The juxtaposition of Miami and Naples couldn’t be anymore stronger, but that’s what makes them both great destinations. After spending most of the day at Marissa Collections, I flew back home to Nashville. I never know how each #JewelryRoadTrip feature is going to come out until I sit down and start editing the photos, and formulate everything I just experienced into words. For me, I feel like being highly impressed may be an understatement–but this store truly is in a category of its own. See what I mean:

In its own category

It’s 2017 and yes, people shop differently. But it’s not always as cut and dry as some may have you thinking. There are articles out there that say brick-and-mortar stores are headed on the way out and that more and more people are shopping online. Well that’s not the full story. Today, shoppers want an experience–something unique, genuine and something that keeps them coming back for more. At Marissa Collections, the shopping experience they’ve created for their clients has been happening for over 40 years. It is exclusive in so many ways that it eliminates the store from ever being put into categories with other jewelry stores or retail shops. So what are the qualities about Marissa Collections that set it apart from the rest? What are they doing that has continually made them a success story, unlike other jewelry stores whose headlines read differently?

Marissa Collections has developed their own secret sauce, starting with the store covering 10,000 square feet of posh. When you first walk in, besides immediately being offered a beverage, you may notice the obvious sections that the store is set up within. Notice I didn’t use the word “divided” because although there are definite sections, they all fuse and flow together.

Whether you’re visiting to shop for a special occasion or wanting to browse, you’ll come to find the store feels like one big dressing room. It is noted that a good amount of jewelry sales are made in their dressing rooms because the simple fact that jewelry is necessary to top off any outfit! It just makes it that much better. And the jewelry that Marissa Collections hand-selects for their cases is quite special in its own right.

The Designers

Wanting to create a line-up of jewelry designers that didn’t overlap, each having a sense of individuality was very important to Marissa Collections. If a designer specializes in 22k yellow gold designs, there won’t be others offered in store that look or feel similar. The curation extends from all parts of the world, each producing amazing pieces, some comparable to pieces of art. If you like big and bold, trendy and layer-ready, sentimental and celebratory, Marissa Collections’ selection is extensive.

Designers like Silvia Furmanovich–a Brazilian powerhouse who uses ancient techniques paired with bold designs and color. Often incorporating organic materials like wood and shells, her jewelry fits right into the Florida style of Marissa Collections.

Irene Neuwirth jewelry is a favorite–what’s not to love of her colorful gemstones, one-of-a-kind designs and sea-inspired looks. Marissa Collections is proud to house many outstanding pieces from this California-based designer.

Nikos Koulis brings Greek radiance to Marissa Collections with his striking and colorful designs. His sharp aesthetic has created a large following with only a few years in business.

Arunashi will inspire and make your jaw-drop with his luxurious and extremely unique designs. I was surprised by the light-weight titanium used in his pieces–the colorful metals and rare gemstones, all mixed into one bold and beautiful jewel.

I loved learning about designers I was unfamiliar with until seeing and experiencing them at Marissa Collections. Designers like Tamara Comolli, Inbar, Shamballa Jewels, all whom I wasn’t familiar with and easily fell for once I saw and learned of their work. Seeing some Gem Gossip favorites like Shay Jewelry, Todd Reed, Sylva & Cie, Victor Velyan, Dana Rebecca Designs, Wendy Yue, Spinelli Kilcollin, and Alison Lou, all whom Marissa Collections proudly carries.

The Family

Marissa Collections’ legacy begins in 1975 with Marissa & Burt Hartington, husband and wife team, who opened the store with one goal in mind: to help clients develop their individual style. The creativity and eye for curation of Marissa has lead to the store continually growing over the years. Their dedicated retail space for jewelry is just nearly 10 years old, which their son Jay has taken the reigns of. The designers chosen for Marissa Collections are both equal parts ideal for the store’s clients and all around great additions to outfits which the store is known for. Jay says it is important to show women how to wear the pieces they offer. Cultivating great style begins with exploring different ways of wearing things and learning how to accessorize with jewelry.

Not Just Jewelry

Although my main focus on this #JewelryRoadTrip feature is obviously the jewelry, I would be leaving a big part out if I didn’t mention what else Marissa Collections offers. The specialty shop is truly a destination store where people come from all over the world to experience something quite like this. Fashions from high end designers (like Michael Kors, Oscar de la Renta, Brunello Cucinelli), shoes, handbags, menswear, couture gowns and even a makeup studio are all features of the store. The staff is equipped with experienced stylists who are at the forefront of fashion and can help you find the perfect outfit whether it is for a very specific special occasion or for everyday wear. Marissa Collections prides itself on the relationships it grows between their clients and stylists; connections that run deeper than any other store-to-shopper bond.

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Marissa Collections

1167 3rd St. S

Naples, FL 34102

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Tucson Gem Show: Don’t Miss the JOGS Show!

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JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show is one of the leading jewelry events in North America, let alone the annual Tucson Gem Shows. It brings approximately 40,000 visitors to the Tucson region annually, including international and national dealers from across the globe. Jewelry manufacturers, miners, stone cutters, carvers, jewelry designers, importers and treasure hunters from 26 countries make the trek to Tucson every year! This annual show is an absolute must for jewelry hunters chasing unique jewelry and gems masterpieces, stunning new jewelry lines that manufacturers were preparing all year long for the JOGS Show buyers, making JOGS perfect event for restocking for the new year.

I would recommend checking out the JOGS Show for at least 2 or more days—why?? Because it features more than 800 booths! They also offer cool things like jewelry making classes and seminars (over 200 possibilities with classes taught by world renowned designers and craftspeople). The atmosphere is friendly and inviting, just an overall upbeat and warm place. You never know who you might run into—new business contacts, stone collectors, miners, and jewelry designers. Those are just a few special reasons to love and attend the JOGS show. Other reasons include amazing deals (liquidation prices mean you could buy a ring for under $100 and see that very same ring at a store or mall a few months later for $100s), be ahead of the trend forecast (much of what is offered will become the next upcoming trends), and other perks like free parking, free shuttles and complimentary brunch buffet for qualified buyers.

JOGS gained popularity by having diverse international and domestic pavilions: Amber Jewelry – direct manufacturers and designers from Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Indonesia and Columbia with large variety of amber cameos, carvings, beads and designer jewelry; Southwest/Native Americans – handmade Native American Jewelry, Southwestern/Indian Arts and Crafts reflect the mastery of techniques; Major miners and dealers with finished sterling silver jewelry, cabochons, beads and rough from the world’s best turquoise mines; Indonesian/Bali Jewelry Manufacturers – direct manufacturers and designers of sterling silver and gold jewelry with semi-precious stones, shells, wood, pearls and corals, handmade from Bali and all around Indonesia; Silver Manufacturers​ – superior selection of finished sterling silver jewelry presented by the largest silver jewelry manufacturers and famous jewelry designers from USA, India, Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Italy and other countries; Nepal Group – ethnic tribal handcrafted jewelry, crafts and gifts from Nepal and Tibet; International ​Jewelry ​Designers; ​International ​Gemstones – international dealers bring their stocks of gemstones, precious and semi-precious from low to exceptional quality; rarest colored stones, cut stones, specimen, cabs, rough, fossils and beads from Thailand, India, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Columbia, Africa, Russia, Bolivia, and other countries and Stone/Mineral Decor – finished gemstone products, rough materials for decor purposes: sculptures, luxury fountains, stone and petrified wood furniture, onyx decorative home and kitchen decor, hand carved interior decorations from China, Madagascar, Brazil, Africa, and much more.

Registration is already open. To save time in line, pre-register now, just follow the link here.

JOGS Tucson Show is a not to be missed gem and jewelry event of the year!

This post was brought to you in collaboration with JOGS.

JOGS Gem and Jewelry Show

Show Dates: Jan 26 – Feb 6, 2017

10 am – 6 pm, last day Feb 6 10 am – 4 pm

Address: Tucson Expo Center, 3750 E Irvington Rd, Tucson, AZ 85714

Pre-registration link: http://jogsshow.com/register/?cmpn=gemgossip

For more info please visit www.jogsshow.com


>> P.S. JOGS Gem and Jewelry Show 2017 will host the biggest clam in the world!!!! from Volker Bassen (Volker Bassen will be showcasing it at JOGS Tucson Show along with other unique pieces).

He found the clam personally in East Africa. Once cleaned and polished it weighted 355 kg, making it the biggest giant clam in the world! It took him a week to clean out the giant clam as it was full of calcified lime stone, almost as hard as cement. To his surprise, he found a blister pearl the size of a tomato followed by a smaller one, 2 pearls in one clam! He called the largest of the pearls ‘Pearl of Noah’ and the smaller pearl ‘Pearl of Siv’ (names of his sons). Being 1256 carats, the Pearl of Noah is the largest T.Gigantea pearl ever found while the Pearl of Siv being 758 carats, making it the second largest T.Gigantea pearl in the world. The pearls are now in Switzerland to be dated, estimated age between 200,000 to 240,000 years old, making them the oldest baroque pearls ever found. The clam is absolutely unique and largest one and will be presented exclusively at JOGS Tucson Gem and Jewelry Show only.

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Beadfest beads

Hello folks, thanks for all the comments on Facebook, Instagram, blog and mail asking about my well being. I am truly grateful for your love and affection

Hello folks, thanks for all the comments on Facebook, Instagram, blog and mail asking about my well being. I am truly grateful for your love and affection. As my trip was very short (11 + 1 extra day due to time difference it was very hectic. Out of the 12 days, I spent 4 days travelling, 4 days at beadfest and 4 days sightseeing, apart from being sick for 9 of them (and still am with a horrible cold that refuses to go). But I don’t want to keep you guys waiting to hear about my adventures, and so, here is a short post on the beautiful beads that I saw at Beadfest Summer 2016, held at Oaks near Philadelphia, United states of America, between the 17th-21st of August (expo from 19th to21st)

This was my first time at Beadfest and first time in USA so before my Travel I had this question on my mind – what to buy at Beadfest? Why, Beads, ofcourse, people said, as it is literally in the name BEAD FEST”. I saw beads, a great variety of them and went around photographing quite a lot as well. Beads were available in every color, shape, size and material possible. It was like an exotic treasure filled cave.
Friends, who saw my instagram posts asked me if I bought them all, Sadly my answer is no. I visually feasted on them, but I didn’t buy any as most beads were from India or China and are available here at atleast half their respective fest prices and I was on a teeny weeny budget. But they were beautiful to see, and wonderful to touch and feel. Here are some of the bead pictures


Semi Precious Beads
I think there was enough Lapis Lazuli there to buy a small house in the countryside. Wonderfully blue and beautifully streaked, lapis was available in every shape possible – coins, nuggets, teardrops, rounds, and cabochons.

 

There was no dearth of semi precious beads like carnelian and agate either. I found lots of large agate slices in pastel colors and druzy agates in candy shades. Again just with regard to price (without thinking about quality) these were higher in price compared to even American web stores like Firemountaingems, beadaholique or even Autnie’s beads (which I consider slightly pricey). But they were extremely yummy to look at.


Pearls and MOP
There were 3-4 types of pearls available – real fresh water pearls, synthetic pearls, Shell pearls, and Swarovski pearls. Most of the pearls were from China or were being sold by Chinese vendors.

The MOP connectors were fascinating and they reminded me of the printed shell buttons that I used in my Valentine showers of love button necklace tutorial here

Glass
Most glass beads were Artisan made Lampwork beads or seed beads. I know that manufactured or recycled glass beads are not easily available in America, but I was surprised to see that the Indian vendors not carry them as well. I hope they do realise the opportunity and fill in the gap soon. The following picture was taken on Friday, when the expo was relatively free, I couldn’t take any pictures on the weekend as the lampwork booths and by extension the expo was quite packed with people.

 

Resin and Acrylic
Beadfest has something for everyone in terms of beads. While I saw individual beads being sold $12-$20, I also saw bunches of $3-$5 resin and acrylic beads and loads 1 dollar crystal strands.

 
 

I saw lots of different types of beads from across the world – African discs, Tibetan turquoise, Nepal cabs, beetle wings, and Afghan Coins. I recognised a majority of those materials I have come across them in Neena Shilvocks’s Caprilicious Jewellery blogposts previously. Oh Neena! You should have been there, you could have gotten all your favourite stuff at one place 🙂

Cabochons
There were multiple vendors selling Cabochons, but this particular booth was captivating as it had a huge wall of cabs. This image only shows a portion of their display which by itself is drool worthy.


Apart from these types of beads, there are also wooden beads and disks, enamelled beads, metal beads, and Polymer clay beads. If you are in America then beadfest is one of the best places to buy beads for the variety is just fantastic. A really big crowd comes out just to shop for beads at the expo. On Sunday afternoon, I saw and heard so many Indians (Tamil, Kannada and Hindi was spoken freely) that I felt that I was in Alwarpet or RA Puram in Chennai than in Oaks, Pennsylvania. South Indians are obsessed about quality and value and the fact that they were out there, shopping in large numbers only goes to show the quality of merchandise that was being showcased and sold there.

So what did I buy if not beads? To find out the answer to that question tune in later in the week to see my USA supplies haul.
PS: I have a small Giveaway upcoming for Readers in India – Stay tuned!!
I hope you found it interesting
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I dream of Travel

80’s -90’s kids in India might remember watching “I dream of Jeannie” (in color) a fantasy comedy starring Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. With the Naivety only eight-year-olds could muster, I told my friends that I liked the show – how the Jeannie travels or conjures up things with a blink of an eye I was teased as “Jeanie (Genie)” for the rest of my school life

80’s -90’s kids in India might remember watching “I dream of Jeannie” (in color) a fantasy comedy starring Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. With the Naivety only eight-year-olds could muster, I told my friends that I liked the show – how the Jeannie travels or conjures up things with a blink of an eye I was teased as “Jeanie (Genie)” for the rest of my school life. So much so that I got the confidence to wear a single ponytail once again only in my late 20’s. Jokes aside, I have always been drawn towards the exotic, the Jeannie, treasures, magic carpets and the works; a calling that could be fulfilled only through travel.

I have friends and relatives who shop obsessively for silk sarees, designer jeans and dresses or gold jewelry. There are those who splurge on suits, cars, watches, and shoes. Though I do like having fine things in life much as the next person (A pair of solitaire earrings or a Chanel bag would be welcome gifts) I wouldn’t mind wearing basic tees or kurtas bought five years ago and jewelry made up of orphaned beads to save money for travel. A lot of them consider me crazy for living this way, but they fail to understand that while shopping brings momentary pleasure, traveling fills you with memories that last a lifetime. Only a few understand that I want to be a traveller and not just a tourist.

I am fortunate to be raised by parents (and grandparents) who believed that traveling is the truest form of education. All through my childhood, I saw my mother travel like a local and my father always traveled in comfort. My style is, therefore, a mixture of both – I splurge on one aspect of the trip, focus on comfort for another but act like a local for rest of the trip.
My travels – whether they involve a ride around the Icy Himalayan mountains of Nepal, dancing in Rajasthan, playing with tigers in Chiang Mai or shopping in the colorful Gujarat markets they always include a learning of some sort particularly with regard to art, craft, and design. They also always have a bead, gemstone or jewelry purchase or skill training tied up with them. These travels and the purchases are a sort of coming age symbols in my life.


I remember buying a Shell brooch in Mysore (at the age of 9) for my mother and my first pearl earrings (at 11 after saving money for almost a year) in New Delhi. I bought my first precious gemstone in Columbo and my first silver jewelry in Nepal.
Sayuri bloomed as a business in the early days mainly due to the fact that I would travel to markets across the country (and yes later abroad) to buy beads and supplies that were not available locally. I was never afraid to experiment with materials that were foreign to me and combining them with local skills and ideas is what enabled me to become a mixed media artist.

As a kid, I wasn’t interested in visiting Europe or America but was very curious to explore the east – Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. Having done 3 out of 6, now I am extremely interested in the west. I would love to

– Go for cycle rides in Amsterdam and look at the tulips and windmills
– Walk around the street of Rome and soak up both culture as well as Fashion. Well, Let’s throw in Greece (gorgeous Santorini), Barcelona ( to see Antonio Gaudi’s work) and Paris into the itinerary while I imagine myself in Europe
visit Kutch during the full moon in January, The temples, forts and palaces in Madhya Pradesh and the North East a month after the rains when it’s dry yet green
Last but not the least Visit AmericaLas Vegas casinos, Grand Canyon, Manhattan and yes Disneyworld. I know, that is a strange combination yet it is completely acceptable to the child in my adult body. As the fifth avenue is way beyond my budget, even in my dreams, I‘ll exchange them for the shoppable (is that even a word?) Michaels and vintage stores. And most importantly attend Beadfest or the bead and button show and CHA. I want to take up lots of classes, shop, and meet all my blogging and designer friends from the US.


These are my dream travel plans and I hope that a very important one among them comes true very very soon. Do share with me your dream travel plans and destinations. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you?

I am blogging about my dreams and passions for the Club Mahindra #DreamTrails activity at BlogAdda. You can get a Club Mahindra Membership to own your holidays!

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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